99 Kinds of Bread: # 1 Southern Hushpuppies

love hushpuppies.  I mean, I really love them.  Unfortunately, since I limit my intake of fried food, I don’t make or eat them very often.  Since I’m not originally from the south, I had never had a wonderful hushpuppy until I moved here.  And it took several experimentations to get the perfect consistency and method to produce actual spheres (rather than misshapen blobs).  But finally I have done it!  The perfect round hushpuppy, thanks to a cookie scoop!

I also had to thicken up the batter so that they properly fell into the hot oil, without leaving a long tail behind them.  A little bit of sugar, buttermilk, and onions make these hushpuppies divine.

hushpuppy batter

The oil must be really hot before you add the hushpuppies.  A cookie scoop works miracles to make the perfect round hushpuppy!

Behold, sweet, golden fried perfection.

Southern Hushpuppies

These have the perfect consistency and texture.  I wish I could have more.

inside the perfect hushpuppy

Southern Hushpuppies

  • Servings: about 16 hushpuppies
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Classic southern cornmeal hushpuppies

Ingredients

  • 3 cups vegetable or canola oil (for deep frying)
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tb vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 ts baking soda
  • 1/4 ts salt
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely minced

Directions

1. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk in the buttermilk (you can substitute 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 Tb of vinegar added, let sit for 5 mins before adding to cornmeal), oil, and egg.   Stir in the minced onions.

2. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep-fryer.  When the oil is hot, use a cookie scoop to drop spoonfuls into the hot oil.  Fry about half of the batter at a time, so that the fryer is not too crowded.  Turn the hushpuppies after about 2 minutes.  Fry until golden, 5-6 minutes total.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a paper towel lined bowl.  Repeat with the remaining batter.

99-taste.com adapted from Allrecipes

99 Types of Cookies: # 3 Banana Pudding Cookies

These Banana Pudding Cookies are AMAZING and EASY!  They are another concoction thanks to my daughter.  After taste testing, she described them as “sweet, with melty, gooey chips, and a surprising crunch.”  The crunch is provided by vanilla wafers, which are paired with white chocolate chips in a banana-flavored cookie dough.  Banana pudding turned cookie!  Yum!

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You can whip these cookies up in 20 minutes.  No chilling required, just mix and drop and they turn out beautifully chewy.

banana pudding cookies ready for baking

I think these are a new favorite of mine.

Banana Pudding Cookie

This recipe bakes up 24 cookies, perfect for sharing.

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Banana Pudding Cookies

Banana Pudding Cookies

  • Servings: about 24 cookies
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Chewy banana pudding cookies studded with white chocolate chips and vanilla wafer pieces

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ ts baking soda
  • ½ cup margarine, softened (use one with a high vegetable oil content like Land O’Lakes)
  • 2 Tb white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 3.4 oz pkg instant banana pudding
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 8 vanilla wafer cookies
  • yellow food coloring, optional

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Beat margarine, brown sugar, and white sugar until completely creamy. Beat in banana pudding mix until fully combined with the butter mixture, then beat in the egg.  Add a few drops of yellow food coloring, if desired.  Mix in flour and baking soda until fully incorporated.  Break the vanilla wafers into pieces and add them to the cookie dough, along with the white chocolate chips.  Stir until combined.

 
3. Use a cookie scoop or large spoon to drop by tablespoonfuls on cookie sheet.  Bake in upper third of oven for 8-9 minutes.  Do not over bake.  Cookies will appear underdone, but will set while cooling.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

99-taste.com

99 Variations of Chocolate Chip Cookies: # 2 Hershey Chunk Cookies

It’s time for some more chocolate chip cookies, which honestly, are probably my number one favorite dessert.  So trying to come up with 99 variations is not a chore, it’s a labor of love.

This version has a lot of cookie, with just an occasional studding of super sweet milk chocolate (provided by Hershey bars).  It is also a small batch recipe, which means you can gobble them up quickly and then make some more cookies!

Hershey chunk cookie dough

You don’t need to chill this cookie dough to get great cookies, but it is beneficial to refrigerate the chocolate bars first so that the chunks break off in nice clean pieces.

Hershey chunk cookie dough blob

I love cookies that can be made in about 20 minutes.  Not too long to wait for that gooey sweetness.

Hershey Chunk Cookie

If you like more cookie than chocolate, this is a good recipe to try.

A pile of Hershey Chunk Cookies

Hershey Chunk Cookies

Hershey Chunk Cookies

  • Servings: 18-20 cookies
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Chewy, buttery cookies studded with chunks of milk chocolate

Credit: 99Taste original by Leslie

Ingredients

  • ½ cup margarine, softened (use a high vegetable oil content one like Land O’ Lakes)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 TB brown sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 2 TB white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ ts vanilla
  • ¼ ts baking powder
  • ¼ ts baking soda
  • ¼ ts salt
  • 1 cup plus 3 TB all-purpose flour
  • 2 milk chocolate Hershey bars, refrigerated

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine both sugars with the softened butter until creamy.   Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
  3. Break Hershey bars into pieces (refrigeration makes this easier and cleaner).  Stir the chunks of chocolate into the cookie batter.
  4. Drop by tablespoonfuls a couple of inches apart onto cookie sheet.  Bake in oven 9-11 mins., until just barely browned on the bottom.

 

 

 

99 Kinds of Stir Fries: # 1 Sticky Garlic Chicken

I love stir fries because they come together quickly enough to be made on a weeknight, they are relatively healthy, and they can be made in a lot of different variations.  Sticky Garlic Chicken has a very balanced flavor – not overly salty, spicy, sweet, or vinegary.  The sticky sauce coats the chicken nicely and the cornstarch coating provides wonderful crispiness.

The smaller you make your pieces of chicken, the crispier and saucier they will be.

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Stir frying involves high heat, which creates the crunch of the coating.  You only need a small amount of oil and about 20 minutes total cooking time.cooked cornstarch coated chicken

My family loved that the sauce was not over-powering, but still flavorful.

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To finish the dish, I garnished with green onions.

Sticky Garlic Chicken

For a milder Asian tasting dish, give this one a try.

Sticky Garlic Chicken

  • Servings: 4
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Cornstarch coated chicken pieces tossed with a sticky, garlic sauce

Author: 99Taste original by Leslie

Ingredients

  • 3 TB oil
  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • ¾ cup chicken broth (I use reduced sodium)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
  • 3 Tb dark brown sugar
  • 1 ts sesame oil
  • 2 ts sriracha sauce
  • ¼ ts salt
  • 1 Tb cornstarch mixed in ¼ cup water
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 ts garlic, minced

Directions

  1. Cut chicken breast into small bite-size pieces.  Pour cornstarch into a plastic gallon bag. Add chicken pieces and shake to coat.
  2. In a bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients: chicken broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, sriracha, and salt.  In a separate bowl, stir 1 Tb of cornstarch into ¼ cup cold water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces.  Cook on high about 10 mins, stirring and flipping the chicken often, until the coating is browned and crispy.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking another 10 mins until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Add the minced garlic.  Cook and stir until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Pour the sauce into the skillet. Stir until all chicken pieces are coated.  Continue cooking on medium-low until sauce has thickened, about 3 mins. Add the sliced green onion and cook until slightly tender.  Serve with cooked white rice or fried rice.

99 Flavors of Overnight Oats: # 2 Sugared Pecan & Cranberry Overnight Oats

Did I say that Apple Toffee was my favorite flavor of overnight oats?  Well, I have a new favorite!  This Sugared Pecan & Cranberry version was delicious!

Making the sugared pecans only takes about 10 minutes and is well worth the effort.  A little water, sugar, cinnamon, and a dash of salt creates crunchy, sweetened pecans.  It was hard not to gobble them all up right away instead of saving them for the oatmeal.  Make sure you cook them long enough that the water has been evaporated and the sugar mixture is bubbly and frothy.

cooking sugared pecans

It is also important that you immediately transfer the pecans to a piece of wax paper when done cooking.  Otherwise they will become stuck in your pan.

Sugared Pecans

I put half of the pecans and cranberries in the oats overnight and saved the other half to pour on top in the morning.

Sugared Pecan and Cranberry Overnight Oats

The combination of sugared pecans and tart cranberries gives these oats a sweet taste with a crunchy and chewy texture.

Sugared Pecan & Cranberry Overnight Oats

Sugared Pecan & Cranberry Overnight Oats

Sugared Pecan & Cranberry Overnight Oats

  • Servings: 1
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Overnight oats with crunchy, sugared pecans and dried cranberries

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 ts flaxseed
  • 2 Tb dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tb pecan pieces
  • 2 Tb sugar
  • 1 Tb water
  • 1 dash ground cinnamon
  • 1 dash salt

Directions

1. To make sugared pecans, combine pecans, sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until water is evaporated and mixture is bubbly, about 10 minutes.  Immediately transfer the pecans to a piece of wax paper to cool.
2. Pour oats into a mason jar or another jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Add flaxseed, half of the sugared pecans, and 1 Tb of dried cranberries.  Pour in the milk, seal the lid, and shake until well combined.  Place the jar in the fridge overnight.  Reserve the remaining pecans and cranberries to add on top the following morning.

 

99 Flavors of Pizza: # 1 Thin Crust Pizza

I’ve made A LOT of homemade pizzas in the past 30 years.  Every few years, I try a new pizza crust recipe, and we decide that it is our new favorite.  But I’ve never found a truly thin crust recipe – until now.  My family said this is the best pizza I’ve ever made.  The crust is the same recipe that I used for my calzones.  It requires no rising and baking it on my pizza pan with holes on the bottom resulted in a thin, crispy bottomed pizza.

For the dough, make sure you are using a rapid rise or quick rise yeast.  Add the yeast dry to the flour.  Your water must be very warm – 120 to 130 degrees for the yeast to activate.  You’ll need to knead the dough for several minutes to achieve smoothness and elasticity.

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My husband, having worked at pizza parlor in his younger days, rolled and stretched the dough.  He said the elasticity was perfect.  Your initial rolling doesn’t have to be a perfect circle, because you can finish stretching it on the pizza pan.

Thin Pizza Crust

My family will not let me divulge my secret pizza sauce recipe, which I have been making unchanged since I was eight years old.  All I can tell you is that it’s very simple and involves a can of tomato sauce with spices and seasonings.

Pizza Sauce

The crust recipe makes enough for two thin crust pizzas.  I made a large 14″ and a small 10.”  Top with whatever toppings you like.  I used a combination of mozzarella and shredded Mexican cheese, which we preferred over just mozzarella.

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To achieve a truly crispy crust, you do need a pizza pan with holes in it.  Otherwise, the crust will be soft.

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I could eat this thin crust pizza every week!  It really is that good.

Thin Crust Pizza

 

Thin crust pizza

  • Servings: 6-8
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Credit: 99Taste original by Leslie with crust adapted from Fleishmann’s

Crust ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 envelope or 2 ts rapid rise yeast
  • ½ ts salt
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1 cup hot water (120-130 degrees)

Topping ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup pizza sauce
  • 12 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • sliced pepperoni, cooked sausage, or any desired pizza toppings
  • cooking spray & cornmeal (for dusting the pan)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix 2 cups flour with the dry yeast and salt. Stir in the hot water and olive oil, then add ½ cup more flour.  When the dough starts to come together, transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 5 minutes. Whenever the dough feels sticky while kneading, add a tiny bit of flour. After the dough has become completely smooth and elastic, cover with a clean dishcloth and let rest 10 minutes.
3. Divide the dough into two pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a thin circle. Spray a pizza pan that has holes in it with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Transfer the crust to the pizza pan and stretch the dough to the edges of the pan.  On each crust, spread on pizza sauce, top with both cheeses, and desired pizza toppings.
4. Bake the pizzas on lower rack in the oven for about 10 mins, or until crust is browned on the bottom.  Slice with a pizza cutter and enjoy!

99 Flavors of Overnight Oats: # 1 Toffee Apple Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are great because they are super healthy, high in protein, and can be grabbed in the morning for a quick breakfast or on-the-go.  This flavor – Toffee Apple – requires a little bit of extra prep time in the morning, but it is well worth it!  Toffee Apple Overnight Oats is the best kind of overnight oats I have tried so far.

I only added 1 tablespoon of toffee bits, so as not to negate the healthiness of this recipe, but still give the oats a tiny sweet crunch.

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Mix the first few ingredients in about a minute and pop in the fridge overnight!  Next morning, cook the apples.  The thinner you slice the apples, the faster they will cook.  I used a whole apple, but only put half in my overnight oats.  You could use all of the apple, or save some for later, or make two jars of overnight oats.

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Cooking the apples with the butter, sugar, and cinnamon creates a beautiful syrup.  Let the mixture cool for a couple of minutes after cooking and it will thicken.

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Top your toffee overnight oats with cinnamon sauteed apples and you’ve got a truly delicious breakfast!

Toffee Apple Overnight Oats

Toffee Apple Overnight Oats

  • Servings: 1
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Overnight oats with toffee bits, topped with sauteed cinnamon apples

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 ts flaxseed
  • 1 Tb toffee bits
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
  • 1/2 Tb butter
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 1/4 ts ground cinnamon

Directions

1. Pour oats into a mason jar or another jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Add flaxseed and toffee bits.  Pour in milk last, seal on lid, and shake until well mixed.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.
2. When ready to serve, heat butter in a small frying pan.  Add sliced apples and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.  Cook apples over medium heat until tender, about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Pour all or half of the apples with their syrup on the top of the overnight oats.  Enjoy!