No Recipe Donuts

I’ve seen this non-recipe for donuts going around for awhile now and I’ve always been curious.  I love donuts, so I was a bit skeptical about how they would turn. I mean, there is no way using biscuit dough would be as delicious as a donut.

Oh, I was so wrong, and I wish I had made this sooner so they could have been a part of my life for longer.

They are so super easy and, except for the frying in hot oil part, could be a fun project for the kids. It’d be a cool breakfast treat after a sleep over or even just a Saturday morning.

I took these to work with me and they were a way bigger hit than I even imagined they would be. They were obviously best right after I made them, with the crispy outside and soft, warm inside. But even the next day, they were still really good.

All you need is a pop can of biscuits, a small round biscuit or cookie cutter, and vegetable oil. I used just the regular buttermilk biscuits, so I don’t know what the result would be if you used some of the other varieties like extra butter or extra flaky.

Separate the biscuits and cut the hole out of the middle. Set each aside. You can fry up the donut holes too.

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Carefully, add the dough to the hot oil. It only takes about a minute or so on each side to get them cooked through and golden brown, so I would recommend having all the biscuits cut out ahead of time so you are ready to go for each batch. Place each donut on a wire rack to cool.

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I made two kinds: chocolate frosted and cinnamon-sugar. For the cinnamon-sugar, you have to work fast and carefully, because you need the donuts to be hot when you put on the cinnamon-sugar. I did them right after they came out of the oil (hence why you need to work fast and carefully).

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For the chocolate frosted, you can wait until they are cooled enough to handle. I just used regular canned chocolate frosting and put it in a bowl. Microwave for about 30 seconds and stir. Repeat until the frosting is melted. Dip the donuts into the frosting and place back on the rack. Add the sprinkles and let the frosting set.

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You can do all these same steps to make the donut holes too.  You can also top the donuts however you want. I see endless possiblities here!

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Basic Mac ‘n Cheese

Oh man. Macaroni and cheese. Mac ‘n Cheese.

Just the mention of it’s name conjures up happy thoughts of warm, ooey, gooey goodness. Comfort food at it’s finest. 

Growing up, my mom always made mac and cheese from scratch. I didn’t even know any different. I never even had the Kraft Blue Box Mac ‘n Cheese with the unnatural neon orange dust until I was in college.

Of course, I loved the fake stuff and bought like 10 boxes (they were the epitome of cheap eats for a broke college girl!). But, my heart always belonged to the homemade stuff. And the heart wants what the heart wants, am I right? 

I love making macaroni and cheese because it is easy and my kids love it. Like most kids, they devour it. And I feel much better about giving them something I made instead of the “processed cheese food” found in the box. (*Important Note: I still give them the boxed stuff sometimes. So what? My mother-in-law doesn’t cook anything and she gives them the boxed stuff too. NBD. Just keeping it real, guys.) 

This is my recipe for basic macaroni and cheese. I’ll add some alterations you can make at the end of the post: 

1 box of pasta. You can any short pasta you want, but I usually use elbow, rotini, or shells.

6 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons flour

3 cups milk (I use 2% because that’s what we have in the house all the time)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 cups shredded cheese. For this one, I used equal parts sharp cheddar, mild cheddar, and white cheddar. See end of post for alternatives.

Boil the pasta in salted water according to package directions. I always do the lower end of the time because it will continue cooking in the oven. For example, if the box says 7-9 minutes, do 7 minutes. 

While the pasta is boiling, make your cheese sauce:

Melt butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Stir together until combined for a couple minutes. Keep stirring so it cooks out the flour taste, but doesn’t burn.   

Add the milk, one cup at a time. Stir well to combine. Let each addition come to a slow boil/simmer before adding the next cup. This is your béchamel sauce and should be thickened to the point that it will lightly cover the back of a spoon or spatula.

Stir in your salt and pepper and turn off the heat.
    

Add 2-1/2 cups of cheese and stir to combine, reserving the last 1-1/2 cups. Now you have a cheese sauce. 

  

Drain your pasta and add it back into the pot. Add the cheese sauce and stir to cover all the pasta in that liquid gold.

Pour the cheesy pasta into a baking dish and cover with the remaining shredded cheese.

  
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until golden and bubbly. 

Grab a fork and feel like a kid again.

  
 

*Tip:

You can make this ahead of time. Just stop before putting it in the oven. Cover and refrigerate overnight or freeze for a couple months. If you go the freezer route, I would use a disposable aluminum pan, not a glass baking dish. When it freezes, it will expand and could break your dish. 

Fun ways to switch it up: 

* Add chopped up ham. A great way to use leftovers from Easter or Christmas. Or just buy some ham and throw it in. It’s yummy.

* Add bacon. Bacon. Enough said.

* Add a spoonful or two of sour cream, mascarpone, or plain greek yogurt for extra creaminess (and extra protein from the greek yogurt!)

* Add a spoonful or two of pureed butternut squash as a way to sneak in some extra veggies. It doesn’t really change the flavor much or the color, so kids won’t even notice it. Yay extra nutrition!

* Speaking of extra nutrition, chop up some broccoli and throw it in.

* Play around with different cheeses. Cheddars are great, adding pepperjack gives it a nice kick, havarti is good, provolone, parmesan,gouda, muenster. Any good melting cheese. Combine a few and see what happens. Probably a whole lot of deliciousness! I’ve even heard of people adding blue cheese. That is definitely not something I would do, but my hubby would love it.

* Make a batch and put it in the fridge. After it’s cooled and hardened a bit, cut it into small squares. Set up a dredging station (a dish with flour and a dish with beaten egg). Dip the squares in the flour, then the egg, then back in the flour. Fry them in hot vegetable oil. It’s a great appetizer that everyone will love!

How do you do mac ‘n cheese?

Chicken Fingers 

My 5-year-old son has spent the better part of his life as a SUPER picky eater. Like, dinner could be a nightmare if chicken nuggets or mac n cheese weren’t nearby.  Finally, over the past year (maybe a little less), he’s been more and more willing to try new things. And surprise, surprise! He actually is discovering that he likes more than just chicken nuggets! It’s a dream 5 years in the making. I do many a happy dance these days.

My 2-year-old daughter, on the other hand, is a total foodie! She will eat pretty much anything I put in front of her. Thank God, because 2 picky eaters would have been too much for me!

Now that my son is willing to try new things, I am able to give him healthier choices. He still has a strong preference for chicken nuggets so I figure being able to make them for him is way better than the store-bought kind. And he loved them! So who could ask for more?

(Let’s not kid ourselves, though. I’m busy. I totally have a supply of Tyson dino nuggets on hand at all times!)

This recipe is super easy and actually makes a lot, so you’ll have leftovers. It is an adaptation of this Betty Crocker recipe (meaning, I changed a couple things, but it is pretty much the same recipe. Credit where credit is due, people).

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs
1 cup pancake mix (the real mix, not the “just add water” kind)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (it would probably be yummy with chedder too. Experiment!)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons melted butter

Cut your chicken into fingers. You can also use pre-cut chicken tenders. I don’t see why you couldn’t make them smaller and make them nuggets, if you wanted. The biggest point is to make sure they are as much the same size as possible.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl, set aside.

Put the pancake mix, cheese, garlic powder, salt, and paprika in a gallon ziplock bag.

Working in batches, coat the chicken in the egg and then put in the bag. Do about 1/2 at a time. Even less would work. Don’t crowd it otherwise it won’t coat well.

Place the chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet (make sure to spray the foil with non-stick spray first. This is very important. Don’t ask me how I know that.) Drizzle with melted butter.

Bake at 450 degrees for 7 minutes. Flip, and bake 7 minutes more.

Enjoy!

I dipped mine in BBQ sauce, but I’m not going to lie; it didn’t need it. Maybe ranch would have been good if you need a dipping sauce at all. Or maybe if you used cheddar instead, the BBQ sauce would have been good. I think it was the combo of BBQ and Parmesan that wasn’t quite the bees knees.

It was still super delicious though! My hubby requested we add this to the rotation. Works for me. Anything I can get ALL my family to eat at the same time is a winner in my book!

See? He loved it!

And of course she liked it! She’s my foodie protege! :0)