If I inspired you, I've done my job!

March 31, 2011

Mashed Over Leftovers?

If you have leftover mashed potatoes as I had after making hot pockets with potatoes, put it to work. In my experience re-heating mashed potatoes never worked. I tried oven, cast iron, steam, but it wouldn't come out tasty.

Until I tried this dish. I don't even know its name—moussaka? lasagna?—but it is worth having one! My friend shared this recipe, or rather description, via email. It stuck in my head because of a creative allegory she used: she called a middle layer "an oreo stuffing"

Meat And Potatoes Layers
1 lb meat—I used ground beef
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
Salt+ground black pepper
leftover mashed potatoes—about pound and a half
1 whole egg
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup plain (or seasoned) bread crumbs (optional)

In a frying skillet, brown beef and add onions, pine nuts, salt+pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F; layer a lasagna pan with 1/2 mashed potatoes;
Layer browned beef;
Layer the remaining mashed potatoes; beat egg with cream and pour over;
Top with bread crumbs. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a dollop of sour cream on a side.
If you don't like beef, you can layer fried beans or greens, such as spinach or kale, sautéed with onions—as long as there's an 'oreo stuffing' inside!

March 30, 2011

Haliva—Circassian Pierogies

Strolling through the frozen isle in my supermarket, looking for ideas for my last Meltdown for March, hoping that the weather will melt down soon, too I came across pierogies. Right next to Polish pockets full of yummy I saw Chinese dim sum and egg rolls, Italian ravioli and even Turkish borek. Then I spotted Mexican empanadas, looking so sad with a frown next to frozen empanada dough disks. It dawned on me that there is variant unleavened dough wrapped around stuffing creations, fried or boiled, in almost any cuisine. I remembered our own—haliva. Whether fried or boiled—psi haliva, or with different stuffing—cheese, potatoes, meat—they are always a special treat!
I have heard that nowadays many cooks use frozen dough to make these hot pockets (oh, boy! now the jingle from the commercial ad for “Hot Pockets” is stuck in my head) and I agree that it is quite convenient. So why not make your own and freeze them?

Unleavened dough is very easy to make. All you need is water, egg, pinch of salt and flour. To be exact:
1 cup of warm water (102° F)
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3 ½ + cups all purpose flour (you can use white or whole wheat)
  1. Put salt in the water, add egg and mix it all until well combined;
  2. On a clean dry surface pile up the flour, make a well and slowly pour water+egg mixture with one hand, starting the dough with the other;
  3. Knead the dough until semi-soft and smooth, cover and let rest for about half an hour for gluten to set.
Roll the dough in batches to 1/8˝ thick and cut out circles 5 ½˝ in diameter—I used a top of a small sauce pan.
This recipe yields about 50 disks 5 ½˝ in diameter. You can make these shapes smaller or bigger, depending on how you are going to use them. We like bigger size for fried halivas. Layer parchment paper in-between the disks or flour them generously and freeze them up to one month in a zip lock bag, 10 per each package. When needed, thaw the disks at room temperature for about one hour in the bag.

Unleavened dough is very versatile. You can stuff it and fry, boil or bake. You can make ravioli, tortellini, pierories, pelmenis, empanadas, dim sum, egg rolls, manti, borek, haliva and you can even layer it to make a lasagne dish! Not to mention it makes yummy unleavened bread.

Since this time of the year for unleavened breads and vegetarian diet, I decided to make cheese haliva this time. I made my own milk cheese.

I might sound intimidating to make home made cheese, but I can assure you it is not scary at all! All you need is a gallon of milk, a cup of white distilled vinegar, and some seasoning, if you desire.

This is what you do: bring a gallon of milk to a boil in a large stockpot. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. When milk starts to foam, turn off heat and add vinegar. Let it curd for 8 to 10 minutes, add seasoning—I used 1 teaspoon of ground savory and 1 teaspoon of salt. Line a colander with cheesecloth and pour the cheese through. You can collect the whey to use it in other dough recipes or to drink—it is quite thirst quenching—by putting a large bowl under the colander. Let the whey cool and then transfer it to a jar with lid and refrigerate. What is left in colander is your homemade cheese for haliva. Set it aside as you prepare your dough.

To assemble halivas, put one tablespoon of cheese on the disk, brush the edges with water using your finger or pastry brush, turn it and pinch sides with fork. I make large pinches because I like the crunchy edge. You can also use the dough wheel but I do not have one so fork works for me.

In a large skillet, heat ½ cup of vegetable oil—any light frying oil that does not burn, I used corn oil—and fry 3-4 haliva at a time. 2 minutes on each side. Do not let it brown; the color should be gold or orange.
Transfer the pockets onto a platter lined with paper towel to soak up the excess oil. Serve with hot tea, yogurt drink, or that whey that you have collected while making cheese.


{Note} If you don't like cheese you can substitute it with mashed potatoes. I know I will have to make potato version, too, just for Maya—my meat and potatoes girl!

Spring Cleaning or Cleaning Out Your Wallet?

When I first bought my swiffer mop, it was a love at first application! What is not to love—it is always ready when you are. This sort of a commitment any mother can appreciate. What else is there standing by ready to be used as soon as need arrives? No fuss, no mess, nothing but squeaky-clean floors!

Few years later, when I had my last child I thought of reconsidering this magic wand. You see, being the youngest out of three siblings my baby son literary grew up on the floor. While I was tending my choirs around the house he would keep himself busy with toys on the floor and thus secure from any falls—you can’t fall lower then the floor. It was the safest place. Or was it?

Ever mobile crawling baby would venture far beyond his place mat and explore the housescape around him. Sometimes he would come across little flecks of food that he would vacuum adamantly, other times he would encounter even smaller specks that he wouldn’t even aware of—the chemicals, which he’d slobber up with an ever curious mouth of his.

Yes, the chemicals that were left by my wonderful loyal helper. I had to stop using the solution at once. I still had some pads left that I was trying to use dry or with a home made all purpose cleaning solution, a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and water and few drops of essential oils. It seemed I had a perfect solution!

However, being a mom I learned to be conscious about my budget. Moping floors with disposable pads seemed as ludicrous as cleaning with dollar bills. Another lesson taught by motherhood is a respect for environment. The three RRR—reuse, reduce, recycle—and my own interpretation—regard, respect, responsibility—had been my mantra for the past 5 years. I could not buy these pads any longer. Plus, for the same reasons I stopped using paper towels, replacing them with cloth rags and microfiber clothe, both machine washable, for dusting and cleaning surfaces.

And there I was with a useless carcass of a swiffer mop in a utility closet and messy floors around. There is no substitute for getting down on your knees to clean the floors, not even other mops out there, which scared me tremendously because of anti propaganda of bacteria that it carries, but who's got time to mop this way every day? I had to find something that would be easy to use, ready any time and reusable.

One day, I was shopping on etsy.com and came across these wonderful replacement covers and it clicked!

Now I am going to make my own by cutting up old jersey t-shirts into strips and using it as yarn to crochet the cover. You can also use machine washable microfiber cloths; just sew the edges so it can easily slip onto your mop.

As I mentioned earlier, you can make your own all-purpose cleaning solution. Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar, say 1 cup to 1 cup and add 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. I like eucalyptus for its smell but sometimes use lavender. A small bottle lasts pretty long, too.

Easy to make, easy to use, easy for your wallet and easy on the environment!

March 22, 2011

Banana NOT Cookies—Scones!

Banana nut bread was one of the first recipes I've tried when I braved to bake for the first time. I'm still learning this mathematically meticulous science—yes, cooking is art, baking is science—but I do sometimes venture to mash up different recipes to make my own creations.

This time I've decided to make banana nut cookies. I merged the recipe of banana nut bread with a recipe for cookie and set off to bake them. Little did I know that I miscalculated flour and the size of the cookies—they came out of the oven looking like scones. And we liked them!

Banana Nut {Not Cookies} Scones
1 cup brown sugar
2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
3 over ripen bananas, mashed
(I cut a tip off and squeeze them like from the tube)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. In a bowl, beat together butter and sugar until creamy, add bananas and vanilla and mix it all well;
  2. In another bowl, combine flour with soda and salt;
  3. Add dry mixture to the wet and mix all until well combined (about 5 minutes on high). Then fold in the nuts;
  4. Refrigerate the batter for few hours, overnight perhaps if you're want to bake the scones for breakfast;
  5. Preheat oven to 350° F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat;
Scoop on a prepared baking sheet, about 1˝ apart and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.
I was a bit chewed up that the cookies didn't melt, but I gladly chewed the doughy scones up instead!

Give your pillow a second chance!

I have a confession to make—I'm a worst consumer ever! I just don't like spending money. Not because I'm cheap, but because it peeves me that I have to spend money on something I can make myself. Something like decorative throw pillows for example.

Every now and again, I am faced a dilemma: to buy or not to buy. When in comes to bed pillows, however, I do buy. Although I know that technically I would be able to make it myself, but for some reason I would splurge on a new cloud soft cushion for my head to rest upon comfortably in a nightly dream cinema. Recently, I bough two new queen size pillows since mine had flattened down and leveled with mattress.

After relatively long term servitude these faithful servants were now free from my oppression, but alas useless sitting around in my closet. I chose to give them another chance—after all what's good of a servant that's not serving? I decided to recycle them into throw pillows for my newly remodeled living room.

All I needed is a pair of fancy pillowcases that would match my living room colors. Just so happened I bought an embroidered brown curtain panel on a clearance sale to adorn my living room windows. I only found one at that time and was hoping to find its pair but never succeeded.
This curtain, too, was just laying in the closet awaiting for its destiny to unfold. Now was the time. I used this panel to make zippered removable pillow cases.
Here's what I used:
2 used flattened queen size standard pillows
1 55˝x 84˝ window panel
2 16˝ zippers of matching color

Cut the pillow open on one short side, remove the stuffing
Cut the pillowcase into square shape: fold diagonally and cut off the excess fabric
Re-stuff the pillow: use all the stuffing to make your new square pillow fluffier its old rectangular incarnation
Baste and stitch together the open end of the pillow and it's ready. Repeat with the second one.
Fold and cut the curtain fabric to the size of the pillow with one folded side and stitch together two sides leaving the third one open for the zipper. Attach the zipper. Repeat with the second pillow case.
Don't throw your old pillow away, throw them on the couch!

{Note: I had leftover material from the curtain that I will use to create two more throw pillows once I have a new retiree from the bedroom :) }

March 21, 2011

Greatest gift of all

11 years ago I accepted the greatest gift that life has given me. Although I was scared and uncertain of what to do with the gift, I gladly took it into my hands. And I never want to let go.
11 years has passed like galloping wild horses, I'm still holding this gift close to my heart, as I forever will.
11 years taught me something I will never be able to forget: how to share myself with another, how to multiply my love by dividing my heart, how to be patient, selfless and how to set my priorities.
11 years ago I became a mother for the first time.
Of all the treasures in the world
That could fall
Down to my feet
Most wonderful God had bestowed
It's you, my daughter,
You, my sweet!
One year ago, I made this cake for my daughter's birthday. We were remodeling our kitchen and I didn't have an oven. Only a cook top. I was determent not to make this little obstacle to stay in a way of a home made birthday cake. You see, one of the best part of becoming a parent, you develop a problem solving skills. So I came up with a pancake layered strawberry short cake. It was good, to say the least. I might seem like a lot of work, but in reality it isn't and it worth the effort.

Strawberry Short Pan Cake

1} Pancake mix:


3 3/4 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

3/4 cup white sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


3 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 Tb spoon baking powder

1 Tb spoon baking soda

  1. Mix WET with an electric mixer in on bowl, mix DRY in a sifter, mix WET and DRY together and beat until incorporated.
  2. Ladle about a cup of the batter on a hot, non-stick skillet, fry on med-high to prevent burning until it bubbles; flip and fry while cooked through.
  3. Repeat until you run out of batter. Stack the giant pancakes and make filling.

2} Cream filling:

8 oz heavy/whipping cream

8 oz confectioner's sugar

a drop of red food coloring (if desired)

Whip cream with an electric mixer in a clean bowl until peaks form then, slowly add sugar, continuing to whip and finish up with food coloring. That's all!

3} Assembly:

Few tablespoons of good quality strawberry jam
Handful of fresh strawberries, sliced lengthwise
{I use my egg slicer for perfect strawberry slices}
  1. Smear generously strawberry jam on the first pancake, cover with the second one; smear generously whipped cream on top of the second pancake, cover with third; smear generously strawberry jam on the third pancake; cover with the forth, repeat...
  2. Last pancake should be covered with whipped cream and crowned with sliced strawberries. Keep the cake and/or leftovers in a refrigerator.Many things changed since last year—we finished our kitchen and of course now I have an oven and all, but one thing will come back—this wonderful cake! I'm off to make it!

Spring has sprung

On March 20th it was first a day of Spring. And even though Winter does not want to go, holding on to the last wilted leaf that was left by her dear friend Autumn, soon young Spring, accompanied by cheerful chirping of returning birds and bickering streams, followed by the parade of frolicking of emerging from slumber insects and under the awning of velvety sun rays will rightfully ascend the throne.

Despite Winter's desperate attempt to linger by covering the ground with bleak snow, plump buds on the trees are ready to burst with life and it tells me that gardening season is near. Soon, I will sink my hands into soft fertile soil preparing it to accept seeds to nurture and grow.

In many cultures around the world for many years spring represented rebirth, a new beginning. Especially for those, whose wheel of life was tuning on the endless farming fields. And of course this change of season was always met with special celebrations.

My people, Circassians, was no exclusion. Living on fertile land every spring they would begin sowing in early spring. But before they would celebrate a new year, the first day of spring, МафIэщхьэтыхь (Mafeshhetih) or Гъэрэ щIырэ щызэхэкI—Spring Equinox. These festivities included cultural rituals involving games (Adyga Jegw), dancing as well as religious customs: Circassians made an offering to their gods by slaughtering a black animal, most offten young black chickens in hope that this sacrifice will rid of bad spirits and bring a pleasant and plentiful farming season. The chicken would then be prepared in a traditional dish Djedlibje that translates to "Fried Chicken"—a creamy chicken dish.

Back in North Caucasus my mom and grandma would cook it with sour cream. When I first tried to recreate it here with sour cream, it wouldn't taste the same. Then I discovered that heavy cream in lieu of sour works much better.

We used a special spice, Djedgin—chicken powder—that was a ground powder of dry wild thyme or savory. I was able to find it here, too.

And the authentic recipe calls for whole chicken, cut into portions. I use boneless skinless breast and thighs because it's easier to eat and faster to cook.

One tradition remains unchanged: I serve this dish with pasta—an authentic Circassian spoon bread made of millet. I've posted the recipe before here.

Circassian Creamy Chicken
3 lb skinless boneless chicken
(this time I used 1 1/2 lb of breast and 1 1/2 lb of boneless thighs)
1 cup finely chopped onions
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoon ground savory (or thyme) divided
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 TB spoons olive oil
16 oz heavy cream
1 cup cold water
1 1/2 TB spoons all purpose flour
  1. Cut chicken into 1˝x2˝ pieces, add half of ground savory, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, mix with chicken and set aside.
  2. In a dutch oven or heavy pot heat 2 TB spoons of oil. Add chicken to it and brown it on a high heat for 5 minutes stirring frequently to prevent burning. When chicken is white and starts to turn golden brown, add onions and garlic, lower the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 20–30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add 1 1/2 TB spoons of flour to cold water and whisk it until all flour is dissolved. Pour this water into the pot, rase heat and bring it to boil.
  4. Add cream, let it boil over the hight heat, then immediately lower the heat to low add the rest of the spices and let simmer for 10 minutes to let the sauce thicken a bit.
  5. Turn off heat, let stand for couple of minutes and serve with pasta.

March 16, 2011

Bean There, Done What?

Today I will deviate from my Big Meltdown mini series to continue with another one I started this January. Back than I highlighted barley as an ingredient/product of the month and then in February beets stepped up into the spot light. March is already half way through and I better pick an ingredient! So I decided to muse upon beans. Looks like I'm going in almost alphabetical order, but trust me, it's not intentional.

My relationship with beans begun rather slowly. As a child, the only kind of beans I ever knew were red kidney beans. We ate beans rather scarcely for no particular reason. Sometimes sautéed with onions, sometimes in salads, where it would be a second or even third ingredient, and almost never as a separate side or main dish.

If I only knew then what I know about beans now.

Over the years since I turned my interest to nutritional values of different food I have been amazed with beans and their potential. First of all it is packed with protein—plant protein—which is a catalyst of our metabolic process. Secondly, unlike other protein rich food beans contain no fat calories and are low in sodium, naturally.
Three basic nutritional staples are tightly packed in each little seed: protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber. In addition, beans contain important vitamins and minerals such as folate, vitamin B1, potassium, calcium, iron among others.
These multitaskers can do so much for you. While health benefits may vary from one kind to another, they have some commonality. Following regiment rich in beans may prevent such conditions as high blood pressure due to potassium content, type 2 diabetes, obesity because fiber in beans helps curb your appetite, high LDL cholesterol levels and even some cancers due to antioxidants that are in some varieties such as black beans.
There isn't a cuisine in the world that doesn't have a dish or two with beans. Growing well in many areas of the world, beans have also been cultivated by humans for ages. Found wild in nature fist, they appeal to human taste buds, I'm guessing, right away.

In my case, however, it wasn't love at first bite. I mean I used to eat beans in salads and mixed in with something else, but not dishes where beans are star ingredient. After learning more about this wonderful nature's diet pill, I ventured to add more beans to my regimen. So I started buying canned beans.
I understand, that the fact that they are canned may not significantly lower their potential and using canned beans can cut prep time tremendously, it is only when I started to cook with dry beans I really liked them. Perhaps for me it was the 'texture' issue, but I still believe it's worth the effort to cook with dry beans rather then canned.
Now, I can honestly declare beans one of my top favorite ingredients. With so many varieties that are different in color, shape, size, texture and taste anyone can find his favorite little seed. I haven't come across a bean I didn't like, yet!

To profess my love to beans further, I started to grow them in my garden collecting a plentiful harvest from late June to early September for three years now. First green beans, then some dry ones, too. I'm looking forward to this year's gardening season!

When cooking with dry beans you need to soak them previously. There are two basic ways to do so: 1) overnight in cold water; 2) for at least 2 hours in boiling water. I must confess, I never soaked beans in boiling water and can't tell you how it works. I use overnight soaking method: empty out 16 oz package of dry beans in a pot big enough to fit about 2 QT of cold water to cover beans; leave overnight. Now before you ready to cook the beans, there's one important step you must undertake: drain and rinse the beans well. The element that makes eating beans a gastrointestinal revolution is now in the water that they have been soaking in. That's why you need to drain, rinse well and cook them in fresh water, thus reducing the impact of that revolution.
Cook beans in slightly salted water until they are soft all the way through: break a single bean and make sure the inside is all translucent. Depending on the kind of bean it could take from 30 to 50 minutes. Undercooked beans contain toxic element {I googled for its name and here it is: Phytohaemagglutinin. I dare you read it out loud!} and can give us moderate or even severe discomfort. Try not to overcook them, either. However, if you do, don't get upset—you can always mush them into a tasty side dish.
And last, but not least bean benefit is that they are dirt cheap! Just scratch the dirt part!

March is almost over and fresh seasonal produce is still scarce around here. But we need vitamins, so adding beans to your diet would be a great option.

Today I'm sharing a simple salad yet again. I made it with cooked lima beans, mild peperoncini peppers, red onions and some herbs. It is so easy so I'm not even going to post a formal recipe.

Warm+Light Lima Bean Salad
Soak beans+cook them+mix them with some chopped peppers, onions and herbs+add salt'n'pepper+dress with extra virgin olive oil and viola!
{Note: you don't have to cool beans down, just toss it in with the rest of the ingredients and enjoy!}

You can do so much with beans: salads, soups, main dishes and even deserts! Stay tuned for more delicious ways to enjoy these nature's diet pills as I'll be cooking with them very often. You might call me a crazy bean lady! Minus the "crazy" :)

March 15, 2011

Bottles and Bands

…come together well! It doesn't rhyme but never the less they do go together!

I'm talking about those colorful bands that hold the bunches of your favorite fresh produce together. Now these stretchy ribbons will be holding oil that runs down the slick bottle glass. And if you collect enough of those colorful bands you can make nice patterns, too. Just an idea…

If only it was this easy to tame the big oil spills…

March 14, 2011

DIY Chicken Nuggets—for real!

Slowly but surely the snow continues to melt around here, revealing last year's mush of fallen leaves and un-trimmed grass. With the cheerful accompaniment of birds' chirping I'm happy to see my backyard covered with mud rather than snow and ice. The meltdown continues.

This time I'm melting down the all time, all kids' (as far as I know) favorite—chicken nuggets. Many of us, parents, already know how unhealthy pre-cooked frozen version could be so I won't go into details. First time I cooked home made nuggets was a while ago. I repeated the attempt few more times but it digressed. Because of one problem—my home made nuggets would never come out good enough for kids to make a switch. Why, oh why?!

One day, I was watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, the very fist episode of his reality show in US and I realized what I was doing wrong. And it was revolutionary, indeed! However, very simple.

Fist of all, I was making them from the whole piece of chicken breast thus creating an unfamiliar texture. Kids could be very sensitive to the texture issue, you know! Second, I was baking them in the oven, thus making the outside not so crispy—another criteria that has not passed my chicken nuggets experts' judgement.

I saw Jamie pulverized chicken carcass in a food processor and then shape the nuggets/patties and then frying them in a little bit of oil—how easy is that! Plus this technique reminded me of the familiar one we use to make "Kotlets" (meat patties) out of minced/ground beef back in Russia.

So I tried the new way to make real nuggets. But instead of chicken carcass that was used in Jamie's experiment as a repellent, I used the expensive cut—chicken breast. And it worked! Passed kids approval on the spot with "so crispy", "so juicy" and "tasted just like the real ones" feedback. Clearly, the term 'real' is used very loosely here!

Here's what I did…

DIY Real Chicken Nuggets
{Note 1: This recipe yields 16 pieces and I fried them in a small(er) non-stick skillet, 8 at a time. For this reason I needed to add fresh oil to the pan for the second batch. But if you have bigger frying pan, you can fry them all at once and don't need to add more oil. I used olive oil (not the extra virgin) but any vegetable light oil of your choice will do}

1 1/4 lb boneless chicken breast (about 2 breasts) extra fat trimmed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground savory
(or any other dry herb of your choice)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
(if you can't find it, make it yourself—see note below)
1/2 teaspoon dry savory
(or any other dry herb of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon paprika—optional, but gives a nice color

1/4 cup olive oil (+a little more if you're frying in batches)
  1. Prep chicken: Wash and pat it dry. Cut into chunks and put it in the food processor (blender) with spices: salt, pepper, savory, onion and garlic powder. Pulse two times, set aside.
  2. Prep crumbs: add savory and paprika to the bread crumbs and mix well with fork.
    {Note 2: If you can't buy Panko bread crumbs, make it by drying 2-3 white bread slices with crust cut off in 325°F oven for 10-15 minutes until the bread is dry but not toasted. Cool a little and crumb with your hands or in a food processor}
  3. Shape the balls: measure the chicken with the cookie scoop (or tablespoon) then roll in flour and shape balls; set aside.
  4. Assemble the nuggets: make a breading "station": eggs in one bowl, crumbs mix in the other. Dip a nugget ball into eggs then roll it in the crumbs, one at a time. Press with thumb to flatten the ball. After all nuggets are shaped, pop them in the fridge while you heat oil in the pan.
  5. Fry nuggets on medium-hight to high (on my electric cook top's dial it is set to 8, so it's not all the way high but close to it), 5 minutes on one side. Flip and fry 5 more minutes. Place them on a dish towel as you take them from the pan so the excess oil is absorbed.
  6. Serve with your favorite condiment—my kids gobbled them up with ketchup—and some vegetables on the side. Plain 'ol me likes it with plain 'ol sour cream :)
My little critics happily reported that I will never have to by the 'real' chicken nuggets again. For real?!