Crispy Onion Rings

 

onion-ringsIndependence day will be celebrated a little differently this year at the Melton house. Instead of the typical grilling we are planning a fish fry. Greg and Wes went deep sea fishing in Florida recently, and we have grouper, snapper, and wahoo in the freezer.

We seldom fry because I don’t like the splattering mess that it creates. However, Greg will set up the fryer outside, and we will be in business. With delicious Vidalia onions in season, I plan to cut up a few so that we can have these terrific Crispy Onion Rings too!

The coating is light, crispy, and fabulous. Savannah even said these onion rings were better than The Varsity, and I must agree! They fry up very fast and can be kept warm in a 200° F oven.

 

Crispy Onion Rings
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 to 3 large Vidalia onions, cut crosswise into ½-inch rings
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, more for sprinkling
  • 3 to 4 c. club soda, chilled
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ c. cornstarch
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the cornstarch, baking powder, and 2 tsp. kosher salt. Whisk in 3 cups club soda until the batter is smooth. Add more club soda, about 1 tbsp. at a time, until the mixture is the consistency of thin pancake batter. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil to 380°F. Dip 8 onion rings in the batter, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Fry the onion rings in the hot oil over high heat, turning occasionally, until golden and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining onion rings and batter and serve hot or warm.

 

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Skillet Almond Shortbread

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I love shortbread. I can’t pass it up when I’m in Panera or any other place with shortbread. I’ll choose it over chocolate any day. It reminds me of the old-fashioned tea cakes that my mama and grandmother use to make.

I recently tried this Trisha Yearwood recipe for Skillet Almond Shortbread and was hooked from the first bite! The almond extract and almonds make a delicious addition to the shortbread! It’s so simple to prepare, no mixer needed. Whisk the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in the other bowl. Combine the two and pour into the skillet. It’s just that easy. The most difficult thing about this recipe is waiting for the shortbread to cool!

Skillet Almond Shortbread
 
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Ingredients
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1½ c. plus 2 tbsp. sugar
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 lg. eggs
  • 1½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • ½ c. sliced almonds with skins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking spray, set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir 1½ c. sugar into the melted butter. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the extract, mix and set aside.
  3. Sift the flour and salt into a small bowl. Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture a little at a time. When mixed well, pour the batter into the prepared skillet. Top with sliced almonds and sprinkle with full 2 tbsp. of sugar. Bake until slightly brown on top, about 35 minutes. Cool the shortbread in the skillet. When cool, use the foil to life the shortbread from the skillet; remove the foil before serving.

 

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BLT Stuffed Avocado

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I was a fan of avocados from the moment I tried them!  Never did I consider the health benefits until about a year ago.  There is much in my daily diet that really shouldn’t be.   So, adding something to my diet that is delicious and good for me is a no brainer.

The list of health benefits is more than I could ever cover here.  They are high in good fats, low in cholesterol, have more potassium than a banana, and they may help prevent cancer.  They are so easy to incorporate into your diet.  Of course, guacamole is always good, but you can also add them to smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, and salads.  I eat avocado toast several times a week.

This recipe for BLT Stuffed Avocados is amazingly easy and delicious!  I typically don’t stuff the avocados but serve the salad from a bowl. However, if you want to serve this salad to guests, the stuffed avocado shells makes a lovely platter.

5.0 from 1 reviews
BLT Stuffed Avocado
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 avocados, pitted
  • ¼ c. cubed toasted bread
  • ½ c. chopped tomatoes
  • ½ c. chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Scoop out avocados, leaving a small border. Dice Avocado and place in a medium bowl. Add toasted and cubed bread, tomatoes, lettuce, and bacon. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Divide salad among the 3 avocado halves.

 

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Crispy Salt and Vinegar Smashed Potatoes

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When I was a young cook, potatoes were a specialty of mine.  After all, I could prepare them various ways to end up with something different each time.  Times sure do change because I rarely cook potatoes these days.  Mostly, because Greg likes to eat a low-carb diet.  Sometimes I just get a craving that I can’t stop, though.  These potatoes were a result of one of those cravings.
The crispy smashed potatoes are delicious on their own, but when you add the salt and vinegar it takes these babies over the top!  They are perfect as a side with hamburgers and hot dogs or delicious with a meat and sides.
Watch the potatoes closely during the last 20 minutes of baking.  It may not take quite that long.  Also, if you have a few potatoes that are too big, it’s fine to cut the larger potatoes in half, or even quarter them.  I have had to do this before.  However, if you do this be sure to toss the boiled potatoes very gently with the butter, because they will fall apart easily.

 

Crispy Salt and Vinegar Smashed Potatoes
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 lb. baby potatoes (Red, White, or Yukon Gold)
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Add potatoes and 1 tbsp. kosher salt to a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Drain and return potatoes to saucepan. Add butter and gently toss to coat. Transfer potatoes to prepared baking sheet, spreading them out in a singer layer. Using a heavy mug or glad, gently press down on each potato until it pops and smash down to about ½-inch thickness.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove potatoes from oven and turn each with a spatula. Drizzle with olive oil and continue baking for 20 minutes more.
  5. Once baked, sprinkle with vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve hot.

 

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Garden Fresh Cottage Cheese Salad

 

 

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It has been years since I have been in a restaurant that serves a salad plate. I can remember when they were on the menu of many southern restaurants, and they were a lunch item favorite of mine. Most salad plates included a scoop of either tuna or chicken salad, a scoop of cottage cheese, with fresh fruit all served on a lovely lettuce-lined plate. Always served with crackers and occasionally served with a zucchini or bran muffin too.

I received several vintage cookbooks as gifts after my recent surgery. I spent hours looking through them and have a long list of recipes that I can’t wait to try. I found this one in an old North Carolina cookbook given to me by my friend Loretta and her daughter Katy.

This yummy Garden Fresh Cottage Cheese Salad would be perfect served on the old Southern salad plate. It makes a perfect summertime lunch but would also be delicious served as a side dish. This recipe is very versatile; you can add most any vegetable that you like, or omit some of the vegetables listed if you prefer. You can add a splash of Worchestershire sauce or tabasco sauce, sprinkle in some dry Ranch dressing mix or dry Italian dressing mix if desired.

With the fresh vegetables, this salad is only good for about 24 hours. At that point, it starts to get a little too watery.

 

Garden Fresh Cottage Cheese Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 pint low fat cottage cheese
  • ½ chopped bell pepper
  • ½ to 1 bunch chopped green onions
  • 1 cucumber peeled,seeded, and chopped
  • 2 radishes, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl combine cottage cheese, bell pepper, green onions, cucumber, and tomatoes. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate at least a hour before serving. Serve with crackers.
Notes
Optional ingredients:
Dry Ranch dressing mix, dry Italian dressing mix, splash of Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, or try different vegetables.

 

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