When I first announced that I wanted to plan out my menus for an entire year many thought me totally NUTS! My thought was you plan a menu every week, so why not collect all 52 menus and end up with your menus planned for the next year. The benefits of having a meal plan are numerous. These posts are about the menus I planned and how I did them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I know, I am very behind on posting menus, but I have a good excuse—life, it’s been very busy.  I have plans to catch up, that is for certain.  But in the meantime here is a Patterson Pantry food related post for you.

It is amazing what will trigger your taste buds.  You can be having a casual conversation with someone and they will mention a food and suddenly you have to have it.  A commercial on tv can trigger a similar reaction.  Even games like Farmtown where you “Make” various foods can have you suddenly craving that food.

That’s what happened to me yesterday and it triggered not only a web search, but a re-creation of a recipe to suit my family’s needs and tastes.

Then of course it triggered this post.

 All too often many of us will decide we want a recipe and search the web for the “perfect” recipe for the desired food.  But the question is what is the “perfect” recipe?

We all have a “selective eater” in our family, which will rule out a recipe that was otherwise very close to what we want.  Or we will be short an ingredient.  So we tend to move on to the next recipe and end up frustrated.

Instead of doing this make that recipe your own.  Find one that sounds good and adapt it. 

Yesterday I was reading a post on a yahoogroups list and someone mentioned hush puppies.  That night’s menu called for fish sticks, tater tots and spinach with corn muffins.  Suddenly I wanted hush puppies instead of corn muffins.  Being too lazy to go to the kitchen and pull a cookbook I hit the web.

The first Hush Puppy recipe that popped up was for Jalapeno Hush Puppies.  OOOOOH!  Now that sounded great! So I clicked the link to Tastykitchen.com and read the recipe.  You got it! It was basically good, but I knew the sheer amount the recipe made was waaaay too much for the three of us for dinner.  No problem, not only am I quick with numbers I have a program (Master Cook Deluxe) that will shrink the recipe for me with the click of a button. 

Then I read the ingredients.  WOW!  That is a lot of onion powder—more than my family would want, so I cut that down to a little under one half of what it called for.  Since that was for flavoring and would not affect the rising of the dough it was an easy fix.

Next my eyes fell on the huge amount of diced jalapeno.  No wonder the recipe called them a spicy appetizer!  Burn!  Too much for my frail tummy.  So that got cut way down as well. 

So the Jalapeno Hush Puppy Original Recipe was tweaked to Jan’s Jalapeno Hush Puppies with Variations Recipe.

When I went to make the recipe I discovered I was temporarily out of Cajun Seasoning. It took me less than five minutes to whip that up at a far cheaper price than a bottle of the spice would have cost me at the grocery.  Again this was a recipe I found on the web, well actually several recipes and I sort of adapted several of them to meet my family’s taste.  Cutting down the salt, adding garlic etc.

The result was a delicious, almost spicy sopapilla tasting hush puppy to go with dinner.  I also had over half of the batter leftover. 

This prompted a discussion during dinner about what to do with the batter.  Anyone who knows me, knows I hate waste, especially food waste.  So I needed a use for all that batter that was leftover. We decided I would refrigerate it and the next night use it as batter for the scheduled homemade Chicken Nuggets.  It the batter was too thin I would just add a small amount of flour and or cornmeal to adapt it to stick to the chicken while frying.   

This of course lead to more discussion about using it on things like hot dogs for a “corn dog” , on cheese sticks, as a batter for all sorts of veggies and the list went on and on.

Then there was the fact the batter was slightly sweet.  Almost sopapilla tasting.  Ahhh, leave the Cajun Seasoning and jalapenos out and serve with honey or powdered sugar.  It would be perfect and quick.

Then my son mentioned how much the dough was like the “donuts” he and his father like so much at our favorite Chinese food restaurant.  This prompted an experiment to leave out the spicy stuff, fry and roll in either plain or cinnamon sugar.  Perfect!

All this because someone mentioned hush puppies in passing. 

My family now has another Master Mix because of all the uses we came up with for it. I will now make up a large batch of the dry ingredients both with and without the Cajun Seasoning.  To have on hand to make small batches for batter frying any number of things.  That is a true adaptation of a basic recipe.  So what recipe could you adapt for your family?

Jan who is always tweaking recipes in OK

1 comment:

  1. Great idea! You know me, I am going to have to at least try it to satisfy my curiosity Lea