Deep Fried Calamari Rings

I have been thinking about a food that I used to enjoy when I lived in Canada. Every so often I’d go to a local Chinese Buffet and they had a really good calamari dish. There was a background flavor like egg yolks, and it was cooked with sliced onions, broccoli, and seasoned with chili flakes.

I loved it.

For a few years after moving back to the states, I tried finding a recipe. I even tried to contact the restaurant to no avail.

A few days ago I brought it up to my husband and he went and bought a package of frozen calamari rings with tentacles. I had never cooked that sort of thing before, neither has he. So we did some research and tried our hand at making deep fried calamari.

Last night we tried. And failed… miserably. It was like eating breaded rubberbands.

I asked some of my friends that I knew enjoyed cooking and  there were a few suggestions made. More research was done on my part. It seems most recipes I found, they marinated the calamari in buttermilk or milk.

We didn’t have buttermilk, but I knew you could make buttermilk. So tonight I tried again, and OYM!!! (Oh Your Mom!!!)

It. was. awesome! So tender and good. Hooray! No more eating breaded rubberbands! It didn’t taste like the calamari I had in Canada, but it was still good.

So, without further ado…

Deep Fried Calamari Rings with Tentacles

3 cups buttermilk (or homemade buttermilk–3 cups whole milk + 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, stir; let rest 5 minutes, stir)
2 lbs. frozen pre-cut calamari rings with tentacles, thawed/drained
3-4 eggs
2 cups Flour
Seasonings of your choice (I used paprika and sea salt)
Vegetable oil

Thaw frozen calamari under cool running water; drain.
Prepare buttermilk if you’re making your own.
In a medium or large bowl, add thawed/drained calamari and buttermilk; cover & refrigerate for 4 hours.
Add oil as directed for your deep fryer; heat to 360′ F.
Drain calamari well.
In a small bowl beat eggs. In a medium bowl mix flour and your spices. (OR you could use flour only and add a touch of salt after cooking).
Dredge calamari in flour mixture, then in eggs, and back into flour mixture coating well; shake off excess flour.
Fry in small batches until golden. Serve as desired.

We cooked angel hair pasta, added marinara sauce, and topped it off with calamari rings.

These can be eaten as a snack or as part of a meal. Enjoy!

xCraftyChickx’s AntiPasto Pasta Salad

My family and I enjoy this pasta salad as a meal during summertime. It’s not too heavy and there isn’t much cooking involved to heat up your kitchen or house. It can also be a dish on the side. It’s great for summer picnics or for potluck meals.

xCraftyChickx’s AntiPasto Pasta Salad    Serves 8-10

1 (1 lb) package ANY Rotini pasta, cooked & drained
1 package sliced pepperoni, quartered
1 1/2 to 2 (1 lb) blocks Pepperjack Cheese, cubed
1 large can ripe olives, drained & sliced
2 cans diced tomatoes, well drained
1 (8 oz) bottle Italian Dressing

Cook pasta as directed on package; rinse with cold water and drain well.
Meanwhile, quarter pepperoni slices, cube the cheese, slice olives and drain tomatoes well.
In a large bowl combine pasta, pepperoni, cheese, olives and tomatoes. Add dressing; mix well.
Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Variations: You could substitute ONE package of cheese with plain Monterey Jack cheese. You could also substitute 1/2 can of diced tomatoes with chiles (well drained) for 1 can of the plain diced tomatoes.

xCraftyChickx’s Queso Chicken & Rice Skillet

I love the simplicity, and clean up, of a one (or two) pot meal. This is my latest kitchen creation:

Queso Chicken & Rice Skillet           Serves 6-8

xCraftyChickx’s Queso Chicken & Rice Skillet

Rice, cooked (2-qt saucepan 1/2 full)
1 Tbsp. butter
6 bone/skinless chicken cutlets or breasts
1 (14.75 oz) can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 1/2 cans water (I used the empty soup can)
4 Tbsp. Dill Vegetable Dip
4 Tbsp. Salsa con Queso dip
4 Tbsp. Chunky Black bean & Corn Salsa
2 Tbsp. Bacon Ranch Dressing
1 (2.25oz) can ripe sliced olives (or 8 Tbsp sliced ripe olives)
2 Tbsp. Seasoned Bread Crumbs (used as a thickener)
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

Cook rice as directed being sure it’s not too wet and sticky.
In a large skillet, melt butter on medium heat, and cook chicken until no longer pink and browning; remove from pan, cube, and set aside.
In same skillet, on medium heat, add soup, water, dill dip, salsa dip, salsa, and dressing; mix well. Stir in olives and bread crumbs.
Re-add chicken and stir in cheese until it begins to melt. Fold in cooked rice.
Serve hot.

xCraftyChickx’s Bean with Ham Soup

We don’t have it often, but my family and I enjoy homemade bean soup. In this recipe I used leftover ham from Christmas dinner that was heated in a crockpot in water and apple cider. (Ham was fully cooked; reheated in 6 quart crockpot/slow cooker with half pot of water and about a cup or so of apple cider).

Dawn’s Homemade Bean with Ham Soup
16 servings  235 calories each

xCraftyChickx's Bean with Ham Soup

xCraftyChickx’s Bean with Ham Soup

1 (2 lb. bag) dried northern beans
leftover ham (estimated 2 lbs of meat), with bone(s) AND juice it was cooked in
5 med (or 3 large or 1 XTRA large carrot), diced8 small russet potatoes (3″ potatoes), diced small
1 large onion, chopped
12+/- cups water
sea salt & pepper to taste (ham will give salty flavor too so don’t use a lot)

Soak beans as directed (fast soak or overnight).

Rinse beans.

Add beans to large stockpot (6 qt).
Add juice from ham and add water up to 2/3 full; add ham bone(s). Add salt and pepper.Cook on HIGH heat to boiling; boil for 30-45 minutes then add potatoes & carrots. Add water until it’s about 1 1/2″ from top of stock pot (it will cook down).
Reduce heat to med-high (cook between a simmer and rolling boil).
Add onions and cook for 45 minutes or until beans are soft.
Add ham during the last 15 or 20 minutes of cooking.

Momma’s Kickin’ Chicken Noodles

My kids have named some of my recipes, this being one of them.

DawnsKickinChickenNoodles

12 oz bag of egg noodles
8 chicken cutlets, cooked, cut into chunks
2 (14.5 oz) cans Cream of Mushroom OR Cream of Chicken Soup
1 1/2 can (use empty soup can) milk
1/3 (use empty soup can) water
6 dashes low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp celery salt
black pepper. to taste
1 (14.5 oz) can cut green beans, drained
3 or 4 oz. Utz RED HOT flavored potato chips, crumbled

Cook noodles as directed on package; drain & set aside.
Meanwhile cook chicken until cooked through; set aside.
In a large non-stick skillet, on medium heat, add soup, milk, water; mix well. Add spices and soy sauce; stir to mix.
Add green beans, chicken & noodles, stirring well to coat. Add crumbled chips, stir and heat through. Serve warm.

Variation: Cook a large onion & 3 diced celery stalks in butter, add to sauce with the green beans, and meat. Finally add the crumbled chips.

Creamy Cheesy Mexican Chicken w/ Onions & Peppers over Rice

I like to experiment in the kitchen. This recipe was an instant hit with my family.
It’s yummy and filling.

 

4 bone/skinless chicken breasts, cooked, cubed
1 to 2 cups of white rice, cooked
2 (14.75 oz/418g) cans cream of chicken soup
water (2 1/2 cups–I filled an empty soup can about 1 1/2 times)
4 oz. sour cream
1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
1/2 cup Mild Taco Sauce (may use medium/hot if desired–use more or less to suit your taste)
1 (14 oz/397 g) pkg. peppers & onion stir-fry veggies

Cook rice as directed; cover & set aside.
In a large non-stick skillet, cook chicken til no longer pink; drain & set aside.
In skillet, on medium-low heat, heat veggies through; remove & set aside.
In same skillet, add soup and water; mix well. Add taco sauce, sour cream, & cheese; stir until cheese is melted into the sauce. Re-add veggies and chicken pieces; heat through.
Serve chicken mixture over warm cooked rice.

Homemade Lasagna Skillet

An easy variation of an unhealthy, processed food, boxed meal. No “Helper” needed!
My kids LOVED this!!

Homemade Lasagna Skillet
1 lb. pkg Wide Egg Noodles OR Mafalda/Mafalde Pasta
1 lb. ground beef (85/15 lean)
1 (24oz) can Hunt’s Spaghetti Sauce
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp Chili powder
1/2 of a (24 oz) carton cottage cheese (4% milk fat)
1 cup 2% milk
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Garlic powder, Salt, & Pepper, to taste

Cook pasta as directed; drain & set aside.
In a large non-stick skillet, cook ground beef; drain & set aside.
In same skillet on medium-low heat, add sauce, water, chili powder, & spices; stir to blend.
Add cottage cheese; stir to mix.
Add cooked ground beef and cooked pasta; mix well.
Add shredded mozzarella and milk. Stir and heat through until cheese is nicely melted. (It will be stringy)

Variation: Cook & drain 1 lb. ground bulk sausage. Mix sausage and ground beef together. Add to sauce and follow rest of the recipe.