- Food and Cooking
Top 10 Recipes
The, "Chef", W. K. Hayes
My love for cooking
When I am not writing, I always enjoy cooking and spending time in the kitchen. Even the simplest of dishes is, met with the mad urge to add some flare to, my cooking. Therefore, it is only natural I should write an article about the top ten dinners most American eat.
Number 10: Tacos
Tacos are so well loved and so very yummy, when made right. Is there a secret recipe in this repertoire of secret recipes? You had better believe it! Making tacos is simple but making great tacos takes a little time and effort. So, are you ready to learn how to take a taco and listen to the wows coming from friends and family?
Begin by getting shredded lettuce, a two-pound pack of hamburger, soft or hard shelled tacos, shredded three-cheese blend, one medium sized onion, one or two green bell peppers. Make sure the green peppers are firm for sweetness. Grab a pack of taco seasoning and grab some chili powder. You will also need Bac-o’s, Worcestershire sauce and crushed garlic.
Now that you have everything rounded up, it is time to begin. Start by using a medium sized pot and boil your hamburger, and two tablespoons of Bac-o’s in water until it is broken up, fine. Once the hamburger is fully cooked and is finely broken up, drain the burger of any water and grease.
Next, add your taco season pack, two teaspoons of chili and mix everything up. Cover the hamburger and sauté your chopped up onions and peppers until they are grilled with just a little black around the edges.
After that, all you have to do is make the tacos and serve them up for dinner. Oh, and do not forget the diced tomatoes if you like them. You can also add sour cream as well.
Number 9: Frech Fries
French Fries Recipe
Within the past few years, I have developed an odd allergic reaction to anything, potato. Sigh! Alas, until then I had some great recipes for French fries including this one that I will still suffer through making for others.
First, grab out your favorite kind of fries. Whether they be French fries, crinkles cuts, shoe-string or steak cut fries, grab the one you like the most. Once you have your fries, in hand, you will need two more things, some awesome chili. If you made my chili recipe then you should be all set with having extra chili on hand for this little recipe. If not, find some good chili. Wendy’s Restaurants have great chili for on the fly dishes like this. The last thing you will need is some Velveeta cheese or squeeze cheese in the can.
Fry up your fries until they are crisp but avoid cooking them too much. You want the fries slightly crunching but not hard. Once the fries are frying, heat up the chili and get out however many salad bowls you will need for dinner.
Make a bed of fries in the salad bowl and use a ladle to serve the chili over the top. Try to avoid getting too much of the chili broth while you do this. Next, if you decided to go with Velveeta, cut the cheese into thin slices, layer them, on top of the chili, and microwave for twenty seconds, roughly, until the cheese had melted down over the chili. After that, enjoy dinner and it only took you about twenty minutes to make.
Number 8: Chili
There is nothing more warming than a great bowl of chili. Almost every state has a chili cook-off and although I have yet to enter the local town contest where I live, I do love cooking chili.
To me, a chili should be thick, flavorful, and tasty. Granted, in Texas, if you can taste the chili it is not hot enough or, so I have been told. I will confess, I am a tender-tongued person and I do avoid five-alarm chili, personally. So, this recipe might be a bit tame for the fire-breathers of the world.
Slow cook your hamburger down in a pot of water. Believe, it or not, the water actually helps to break the hamburger down real fine. Once the burger has finished soaking, drain it off if you like. Next, open up about three cans of crushed tomatoes and dump them in the pot. Then, add in a large diced-up onion, two diced up bell peppers, a teaspoon of chili powder, a teaspoon of garlic, two cans of chili beans or red kidney beans, two tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of sugar, a quarter cup of Worcestershire sauce and mix well.
Let the chili slow cook on medium low-to-low, depending on your stove. Stir it occasionally. Now, if you want to burn the hair out of your mouth I would suggest adding Red Savina Habanero, green jalapeño, diced up and a bottle of Tabasco or Texas Pete. Yep, use the whole bottle but do not say you were not, warned.
Number 7: Barbecue
Barbecue covers such a wide variety of foods including, barbecue ribs, barbecue chicken, barbecue shrimp. The list goes on and on for the many types of barbecue. Therefore, instead of breaking down each one into various recipes, I am going to share my top-secret barbecue sauce with you.
Grab your favorite barbecue sauce. Fact is, grab about three bottles, and empty them into a small pot. Now, add about one half-cup of brown sugar, one teaspoon of crushed garlic, one tablespoon of hickory-smoked flavoring, one-quarter cup of white vinegar and two tablespoons of butter. Turn the burner on to low and stir the sauce slowly. Clean up some of your mess while you wait for the sauce to warm up while occasionally stirring.
Normally, I make my sauce from scratch but I have found that this sauce works great when you are in a hurry or are cooking ribs which, takes forever, anyway. You can slow cook a pot roast in a crock-pot until the roast is easily, pulled apart, and use this sauce to make homemade barbecue. You can use this barbecue sauce for your chicken or for making barbecue bacon burgers.
Just some quick tips:
Barbecue Ribs: Use baby back ribs. Add the barbecue sauce before soaking them but make sure you have plenty to cover them after they finish cooking, too.
Barbecue Beef: Cook a pot roast in a crock-pot and add Bac-o’s to get a good smoked flavor in the roast.
Barbecue Pork: Use onions when slow cooking barbecue pork in a crock-pot. If you are making barbecue pork, try adding vinegar to the crock-pot to help cut down on the fat. The vinegar will also help make pulling the pork apart, much easier on you.
Barbecue Chicken: Same thing, slow cook the chicken with the sauce on it but save plenty of sauce to brush on afterwards.
Barbecue Shrimp: Boil the shrimp first. Most people have a bad habit of barbecuing shrimp wrong and they come out rubbery. Precook the shrimp, add the little jokers to the grill, and slap on some sauce. Let them cook for a couple of minutes with the cover down and pull them.
Number 6: Steak
Now, before I start getting hate mail from vegetarians, please note that I love plant life. Plants provide the oxygen we so desperately need to breathe. Therefore, before you harass, me about being a carnivore, just remember, you are eating up all of my oxygen.
Now then, there are many ways to obtain an awesome steak. This recipe however, is for those that enjoy their steak well done but want it so tender they can cut it with a fork. Yes, it is possible to do and you are about to learn how.
First, get you some great steaks. Then, lay them in a baking pan and use a fork to tenderize the steaks. Trust this; you will want holes versus using a meat mallet. Next, fill the pan one-third the height of the steaks, with water. Then, add barbecue spice, Bac-o’s, some crushed garlic, and steak rub. Be generous with the spices, you will thank me later. The Bac-o’s will add a smoky flavor to the steaks, which is always, welcomed. Another thing you can add is A1 Steak sauce to the top of the steak, rub the sauce in before adding any of the spices but that is up to you.
Now that the steaks are ready, set your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and cover the steaks with tin foil. Do not use a lid. You need to make a good tight seal around the steaks and lids do not work that well. Once the steaks are wrapped up tight, slide them into the oven, make a note of the time and let them slow cook for three hours.
Yep, that is three hours. Do not try to pull them at two no matter what your stomach tells you. Let the steaks cook for the three full hours. When they are done cooking, they will be delicious and you will be able to cut them with a fork. For the record, I did try pulling them after two hours and I would have been better off frying them in a pan. Three seems to be the magic number for getting the steaks right and 325 is the best temperature, too.
Number 5: Spaghetti
Now you are in for a rare treat. A 104 year-Old Italian woman gave my mom a recipe for spaghetti sauce that was given to her by her mom, back in the mid 1970s, in effect, making this recipe over 140 years, old.
The art of cooking the sauce was with laziness throughout the years as the recipe was adapted for personal preference and the availability of ingredients, but I do remember the original recipe very clearly.
Most people do not have an herb garden and so, the recipe you will be getting will, be my humble version. However, if you do have an herb garden and would like to have the original recipe, please send a message. Since the recipe belongs to her family, legally the recipe cannot be, posted on the web or shared online but you can try the recipe, if you have five hours of time to spare.
Since most of us do not have five hours to slow cook the sauce form absolute scratch, we are going to jump ahead and use some cheats.
What you will need:
(Hope you are ready to go grocery shopping!)
Two big jars of spaghetti sauce: (Please note that I said jars. Canned spaghetti sauce has a twang that even the sugar trick does not help much.) Not only that, but the brighter the sauce the fresher it is.
One pound of hamburger: Get the good lean stuff. Avoid buying hamburger you cannot see through the package.
One pound of sausage: Same thing…clear package, always.
One big yellow onion: When it comes time, I will show you some tricks with cutting onions without crying the whole time.
Two Bell Peppers: Grab to green ones. Give them a little squeeze to make sure they are still firm. The harder the pepper is, the sweeter the pepper will taste.
Grab a jar of crushed garlic. Yes, you might be tempted to use a fresh garlic clove but cooking garlic properly takes hours. The longer garlic cooks, the sweeter it gets.
Two cans of crushed tomatoes: Yep…here is another quick cheat.
Two cans of tomato paste: This helps thicken the sauce in less cook time
One bottle of Worcestershire sauce: You will not need the whole bottle but you will need some.
One bottle of Ketchup: Ketchup is a basic tomato sauce and is better than buying canned tomato sauce.
One bottle of Italian seasoning: You could buy the seasonings separately but a stitch in time saves, me from listing all of them. LOL
One bottle of soy sauce: You only need a tablespoon of this. Soy is great and it saves on using table salt.
Real bacon bits: Use Bac-o’s…they have a great smoked flavor they add to your food. Using them in your spaghetti sauce will add a kind of smokiness that kicks it up some.
One bag of sugar: Just encase you do not have any at home
A1 steak sauce: A teaspoon will give your spaghetti sauce some nice zip.
I will warn you, even this sauce takes at least an hour to cook although I prefer letting my sauce cook for four hours. Get out your frying pan and fry up the hamburger until it is brown. Then, grab the biggest pot you own and dump the drained burger into it. Next, crumble up your sausage as best you can and fry it up. After you have cooked and drained it, toss the sausage on top of the hamburger. With both meats done, start dumping both jars of sauce, the whole bottle of ketchup, the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste, into the pot and stir. Also, dice up your onions and peppers and add them, as well.
Once you have the sauce mixed up, add two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, (Thank goodness for spell check), one teaspoon of minced garlic and a teaspoon of A1. Then, add two tablespoons of Bac-o’s, and stir the sauce again and turn on the heat to low. Then, add one tablespoon of Italian seasoning, one tablespoon of sugar, one tablespoon of soy sauce and stir, again. Stir the sauce occasionally and try to keep a lid on the sauce. If the sauce starts bubbling, remove the lid and stir.
Cooking the sauce for one hour will work but allowing the sauce to slowly cook for four hours really brings more of an authentic realm to the sauce and it really is better when slow cooked that long. Slowing cooking the sauce while stirring occasionally, also makes the sauce thicker. The onions and peppers will be softer too.
Once you reach the point where you just have to eat or die, it is time to make the pasta. Grab out a big box of noodles and a good size pot to boil them in. Fill a one-gallon pot two-thirds full with water. Add a tablespoon of salt and one-eight cup of oil to the water and set it on high.
When the water comes to a boil, dump the box of noodles in the water and kill time cleaning around the kitchen. Here is one of my favorite tricks in the kitchen. When you think, the noodles are about, done, take on out of the pot carefully, and toss it on a cabinet door. If the noodle has finished cooking, the noodle will stick to the wall or cabinet. If it falls to the floor, then let the pasta cook for a few more minutes.
When the noodle does stick to the wall or cabinet door, pull the pasta, and drain it off in a colander. Then, quickly run cold water on the pasta and make sure there are no clumps where the noodles might have cooked together. Do not worry about the noodles being cold. The spaghetti sauce will quickly heat them up and the cold water helps ensure that the noodles do not become gummy in texture.
Number 4: Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken Recipe
Fried chicken is so delicious when done right. Unfortunately, most people overcook their chicken, burn the crust or never cook their chicken long enough. Therefore, here is a one-o-one article about cooking chicken the right way. First, take your pan out, fill it one-fourth full, with oil and set the temperature between low and medium.
Next, get out your self-rising flour. Do not use the plain kind for this recipe. Now, with the right flour in hand, measure out two heaping cups worth and dump the flour in a gallon size bag or mixing bowl. Add the following, one tablespoon of salt, one tablespoon of peeper, one tablespoon of garlic power, one tablespoon of butter flakes, one tablespoon of oregano, and one tablespoon of onion powder. You can add paprika or any of your other favorite spices, too.
Shake the bag or mix the contents of the bowl until all the spices look mixed in, really, well. Then, take a small pinch of flour and drop it in the oil. If the oil sizzles, it is ready, if not then give it some more time.
Take out the chicken you plan on using. I prefer boneless chicken breasts but any type of chicken you like, works just fine. Rinse the chicken real good and cut away any excess fat the butcher left on it just to raise the cost. Yea, they do stuff like that.
Now that you have prepped the chicken, take another pinch of flour and test the oil again. If it sizzles, the oil is ready. If the oil does not sizzle, turn it up to medium and spend the next few minutes cleaning up the kitchen, while you wait.
Once the oil is ready, take one breast and lay it in the flour, roll it over a few good times and then, carefully lay it to the side. Do not stick the bread peice in the frying pan just yet. You will want to give the flour a minute to really, cling to the chicken before putting it in the oil. Do about three or four pieces this way. Once you have the last one floured, ease the pieces into the frying pan and begin flouring the next round. Try to hurry a little, though. You still need to wash your hands and get ready to turn the chicken over.
As soon as you see the sides turning to a crisp-golden color, grab your tongs and carefully roll the chicken over. Continue cleaning up any mess you made, or bread some more chicken for the next round. Once the other side has turned golden brown, rotate the chicken again. Make sure your frying pan sits evenly on the burner or some pieces will cook faster than others will.
After you have rotated the pieces while controlling the browning process, you might want to check and see if the pieces are, done. Take a fork and knife, and gently cut a slit in the thickest piece. If the breast is white all the way through, you can take your first batch of chicken up. Make sure you place the chicken on a strainer or, at least, use several paper towels folded over on a plate. Also, use a clean cloth to lie across the chicken to keep annoying insects off your food.
Number 3: Hotdogs
750,000,000 hotdogs are eaten a year by Americans, alone. Naturally, this would be seen as the number one food but hotdogs are an individual dish whereas a single, pizza can be enjoyed by four or five, people at a time. Not to mention, over 3 billion pizzas are, sold in America each year.
Hotdogs are what they are. There are some great toppings a person, can choose to use on a hotdog but most prefer onions, chili, melted cheddar, ketchup, and mustard on theirs.
Another great way to enjoy hotdogs is in beanie-weenies. With a preference for spicing up beanie-weenies, here is the recipe. Take two cans of baked beans, add two tablespoons of butter, a tablespoon of brown sugar and a teaspoon of regular sugar. Sugar is great to use on anything canned. Something about sugar takes the canned flavor out of anything and should always be used to get a, fresher taste.
Now then, grab out your favorite pack of hotdogs, I prefer the cheese dogs and cut them into bite size pieces. Grab you a medium sized pot, add both cans of beans and the other ingredients. Once the butter has melted down, add you hotdogs. You will want to wait for the butter to melt encase you use cheese hotdogs. Adding the cheesy dogs before then will make it hard for you to determine if the butter is completely, melted causing you to melt all the cheese out of the hotdogs. If you want to add onion, sauté the onion first and add it to the beanie-weenies when you start to cook the mix.
Number 2: Hamburgers
Hamburgers are a staple-point in most Americans diet but making the perfect hamburger can be tricky. The main reason many people have trouble obtaining the perfect burger is fairly, simple, they cook the hamburger wrong. The trick to cooking a great hamburger is to keep it turning. Letting the hamburger sit on one side, too long, will dry the meat out. Let the burger barely start to brown in the frying pan and then, flip it. Keep the burger going back and forth like this, until it is, done.
Now, let us rewind to the part where the burger is actually being, made. Take a pound of hamburger; add two tablespoons of sautéed onions, two tablespoons of bell peppers, one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, one tablespoon of A1 Steak Sauce, a half a teaspoon of garlic, and maybe some pepper. Mix and pat out four good size burgers.
Allow the hamburger patties to breathe for a moment while you heat up your frying pan on medium. You may be in a hurry to be, done but using too much heat will shock the burger, make it a bit tough, and dry, on the outside. Once the frying pan is ready, remember to use the flipping method mentioned earlier until the burgers are ready for you to enjoy.
On rare occasion, I will treat myself to something special but I only do this maybe once a year. I like to fry up a pack of bacon and just as soon as it is starting to brown, I will add barbecue sauce and let it simmer for five minutes. While the bacon is simmering, I will grill some onion, sliced into rings and sautéed to perfection. Then, I put my burger on the bun; add a slice of Munster cheese, my barbecue bacon on and finally, the grilled onions. In addition, I might sauté some mushrooms and throw them on top too.
Number 1: Pizza
Who does not love a steam, gooey pizza? Pizza has been around since the mid-eighteen hundreds and is one of the best ways to kick back with an American football game.
Try this recipe. First, start by creating a nice sauce. A meatless spaghetti sauce works perfect as a base. Usually, it is one-half jar of sauce will make good size pizzas. Add a teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce, one teaspoon of soy sauce, one-half teaspoon of Italian blend seasoning and one-half teaspoon of crushed garlic. Also, add one teaspoon of sugar and let the sauce simmer while stirring occasionally.
Generally, speaking you can actually buy you pizza dough premade from pizza places. Just ask them if you can get a couple. Spread the dough out on a thin layer of flour and cornmeal mixed, together. Only use one-fourth as much cornmeal to flour, ratio. Once you have the dough spread out, move it to the baking pan and sprinkle a light dusting of parmesan and Italian seasonings around the edge.
By then, the sauce should be ready for you to add. Using a ladle, pour a blob of sauce in the middle of the dough and use the bottom of the ladle to make circles as use move the sauce outwards. If you want more sauce, add some more and spread it out the same way. Go ahead, and turn your over on to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and let the oven warm up.
Once you have added the sauce, it is time to add the toppings. Start by making a layer of cheese starting from the outside of the pizza and working your way inwards. Bear in mind, that as a pizza cooks, toppings have a tendency to gravitate towards the center of the pizza so, try to keep the outside layer of cheese thicker than the middle.
If you plan, to use mushrooms, use the canned ones. Uncooked mushrooms will not have time to really, soften up properly in the time it takes to cook a pizza. If you plan on using onions and peppers, sauté them first but make sure, you do not over-cook them. All other toppings will cook properly in the thirty minutes it will take for your pizza to be done.
After you have added all of your favorite toppings, it is time for the final layer of cheese. Naturally, use mozzarella but try adding shred provolone if you really want to impress the ones with your cooking skills. Provolone stretches better than mozzarella to give your pizza that great commercial pizza look. You can use just about any kind of cheese but do not forget the shredded provolone.
On a footnote
The recipes presented here have been, enjoyed all over the United States, in my travels and I still enjoy cooking them, to this day for friends and family. I really hope that you will try these recipes for you and your family. If anyone would like their favorite, recipes, for any of these foods will added to the article, just let me know and please bookmark this page for future reference. Also, when you do try out the recipes here, please leave comments with your opinion of the recipes. Thank you.