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Refrigerator Makeover: Cooking Edition

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Posted by admin on Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My cooking adventures continue. This time, I had my mama in the kitchen with me and we were cooking up a storm. We turned what seemed to be a barren fridge of jumbled ingredients into a feast of munchies that we can eat on for the week.

Breakfast on the go

For a morning pick-me-up, I took a simple banana nut muffin mix and gave it a little Brittany touch. First, I followed the package instructions and combined the muffin mix with ½ cup of water until the batter was smooth. Then, I stirred in a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon and a heaping spoonful of crunchy peanut butter until everything was combined. After spooning the batter into lined muffin tins, I baked them in a 400 degree oven for about 19 minutes and viola! You’ve turned an ordinary muffin mix into something you can call your own. The peanut butter not only adds to the nutty flavor, but it gives you that extra protein power to keep you going until lunch, and the cinnamon and nutmeg give the muffins that little kiss of sweetness that allow these muffins to double as a dessert and satisfy your sweet tooth cravings.

Light, moist, soft, crunchy - all the components you want your banana nut muffins to have!

The perfect summer side dish

Summer is the season for grilling; but you need something to pair with your hot dogs and hamburgers. What’s better than good ole’ macaroni salad? Nothing! My mom and I have added a few little twists to bump up the flavor that will have you coming back for seconds…and thirds!

Start by cooking up a box of elbow noodles until slightly tender – about 7 to 8 minutes – along with hard boiling 8 eggs for about 16½ minutes. When they’re done cooking, drain and run cold water over both your eggs and noodles, and then place your noodles into a large mixing bowl. To the noodles, add 1 cup of mayo, 1 tablespoon of mustard (you can use Dijon or a grainy mustard for a little added kick), ¼ teaspoon of celery salt, ¼ teaspoon of seasoning salt (which is a salt blend that’s packed with flavor), 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, ¼ teaspoon of cracked black pepper, and 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley. For the eggs, chop all but one and add it to the noodles and seasonings and stir everything together until it’s thoroughly combined. Transfer the macaroni into your serving bowl and with that last egg, slice it into even rounds and scatter them on top of your macaroni salad. Now to top it off, sprinkle some paprika over it all and the mac salad is ready to devour!

It may not be the most beautiful macaroni salad, but one bite will have you coming back for more...and more!

The starter course

For those summer cook-outs you need something to munch on while the main dish is being prepared. Everyone puts out chips and dip, so surprise your guests with these hush puppies and they’ll be poppin’ those puppies into their mouths left and right.

This is another recipe where you can take some help from the store and start with a packaged mix of hush puppies. To the mix, add ¾ cup of water like it says, along with 1 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/8 teaspoon of cracked black pepper, ½ teaspoon of dried thyme and a sprinkle of chopped parsley. Mix everything together and then let the batter sit for about 5 minutes. To a large pot of hot oil (peanut or canola oil work best), add small spoonfuls of your batter and let them cook, turning them every 30 seconds to 1 minute until they’re golden brown. Line a plate with plenty of paper towels to allow for some of the oil to drip off of your hush puppies. Serve these puppies warm alongside a chipotle mayo and you’ve got yourself a simple starter that’s different from the typical potato chip.

These hush puppies are crunchy outside and soft inside and pack a great flavor punch.

We didn’t have much to start with in the fridge, but my mom and I were able to scrounge up some ingredients and whip up some tasty munchies that we can go to whenever we need something to nibble on. Next time you have what appears to be a fridge full of nada, look again and do a little cooking experimentation of your own!

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