Category Archives: Recipes

Kel’s Famous Crunchy Fried Chicken

Kel's Cafe Crunchy Fried chicken

I decided to learn how to fry chicken and make homemade gravy while I was still in high school. I was dating Ted, who later turned out to be my ex-husband. His mom, Geraldine, made some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had, to this day. She used an electric fryer and as much as I tried to duplicate her recipe, I couldn’t get it exactly right. My Dad made really good fried chicken as well, and he used cast-iron skillets instead of electric fryers. I couldn’t replicate his recipe either, so I decided to take some of the techniques from both of them and come up with my own signature dish. And that I did.

By the time I was in college, I had a recipe that I was quite pleased with. I bought a cast-iron skillet that I used just for frying chicken and still have to this day (I have my Dad’s skillets, too!) Unlike my Dad and Geraldine, I decided to marinate my chicken in buttermilk at least 6-8 hours before frying. Buttermilk is a natural tenderizer and helps to make the chicken nice and juicy. I also added crushed cornflakes to my flour mixture, which gives the chicken extra crunch.

Three essentials for Ke's fried chicken

This was one of my most requested dishes for several years, until the age monster made so many of us watch our fried food intake. But every now and then, I love to get out my cast-iron skillets and fry up a batch of this wonderful comfort food. National Fried Chicken Day is July 6th — a great reason to give this a try, or make some for your Fourth of July celebration. You’ll be glad you did!

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Kel’s Basic Black Bean Salad

Kels' basic black bean salad

I love black beans, especially in salads. I’ve been making this particular black bean salad for years and it’s one of my go-to dishes to take to pot luck lunches or dinners. It goes great with Mexican dishes, as a side to chicken and fish, or as a stand-alone salad. Not only is this black bean salad fast and easy to make, it is good for you and, as an added bonus, vegan. The red bell peppers and corn give it a slight bit of sweetness and a lot of crunch, and the jalapeño hot sauce and lime juice make the perfect marinade for it. It is one of my most requested recipes!

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Kel’s Individual Pineapple Upside Down Cakes With Grand Marnier

Place pinapple and cherry in ramekin

Break out your ramekins – it’s time to make individual pineapple upside down cakes. These mini-cakes are so cute and the brown sugar and Grand Marnier sauce is awesome. It soaks into the cake, making it incredibly moist, not to mention mouthwatering delicious.

So good!

I use fresh pineapple for this, but you can use the canned rings instead (buy the pineapple in its own juice, not heavy syrup.) Also, I use a boxed cake mix, but feel free to use your favorite homemade cake batter. I did have enough batter from the cake mix to make six cupcakes, which made the kids happy! Or, just make more of these fantastic pineapple upside down cakes.

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Jerry’s Most Delicious Marinated Yellow Squash

Pour the marinade over the squash

My friend and fellow foodie, Jerry Jackson, sent me this recipe for marinated yellow squash the other day. Jerry is (among other roles) senior editor and publisher of FMI Quarterly, the journal I edit, and he loves to go to all of the new restaurants in the area and then let me know which ones are worth visiting. We meet several times a year to discuss Quarterly production, etc., usually at an area restaurant, which is much better than getting together in the office.

After reading his recipe, I knew I would have to try it since I love yellow squash. Two added bonuses are (1) it is vegan, and (2), it does not require any cooking. The marinade is excellent, with two types of vinegar and just the right amount of sugar. The sweet onion, green pepper and celery add extra crunch to the dish. Perfect for the summer – light, yet tangy and refreshing. A perfect blend of flavors that is good for you! Continue reading

Joyce’s Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas For a Crowd

Enchiladas out of the oven

For nearly 30 years, a group of us who used to work or hang out at The Pub in Raleigh (now closed) has been going to the beach for a week around Memorial Day. While many of the faces have changed during the years, one thing has remained constant and that is the wonderful food that is prepared during the week.

chicken enchilada

For several years I have only been able to stay a couple of days, and last year I had the pleasure of trying some of Joyce’s most excellent leftover chicken enchiladas for lunch. When I heard she was making them again this year, I asked if she’d be willing for me to post her recipe, complete with photos. Lucky for all of us, she said yes. These enchiladas are fantastic – wonderfully spiced with tons of cheese. And perfect for leftovers the next day! Continue reading

Kel’s Pineapple Tomato Salsa with Avocado

Kel's pineapple tomato salsa with avocado

Fresh pineapples and avocados were on sale in several different grocery stores the other day – I think they were marking down these items after Cinco de Mayo. Whatever the reason, I was thrilled and decided to make a new salsa with said pineapple, avocado and tomatoes as the base. This stuff rocks – what a great and refreshing salsa that goes great with pork (and I imagine salmon or other fish), or by itself as a delicious and refreshing dip with tortilla chips.

I knew I had a hit on my hands the first time I made this salsa and left it on a counter at work — once my coworkers discovered it they told others they had to try it! I made it a week later when we were at the beach with a bunch of friends, again to many positive reviews. Don’t hesitate to take this to a pool party or picnic this summer — it won’t last long!

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Kel’s Tangy Cocktail Sauce

Tangy cocktail sauce

I found some large, cooked shrimp on sale at the grocery store the other day and decided to make some shrimp cocktails as appetizers. I have the bad habit of buying prepared cocktail sauce in a bottle and only using half of it, so the rest usually is out of date by the time I’m ready to use it again. To keep from wasting any cocktail sauce, I decided to make my own, since all of the ingredients needed are staples in my kitchen, except for fresh horseradish.

Fresh horseradish

The great thing about this sauce, in addition to it being so fresh, is that you control the spiciness and tanginess with the amount of horseradish and lemon juice you use. Plus, you make only what you need. It’s so simple, but oh so good!

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Kel’s Terrific Tomatoes Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

fill tomatoes with spinach and cheese mistureTomato season will be upon us soon and I can’t wait — a freshly picked homegrown tomato is one of my top-five favorite foods, and maybe in my top three. I still like tomatoes when I can’t get them straight out of the garden, but am more likely to cook them since the quality isn’t quite the same.

The other day I found some decent-looking tomatoes on sale and decided to stuff them with cheese and breadcrumbs. Spinach also was on sale, so I figured I would add that to the mix as well as Parmesan/Reggiano cheese and some Gruyere that I already had at home. My last decision was between Italian breadcrumbs or panko. Time to experiment!

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Kel’s Lemony-Garlic Angel Hair Pasta with Bacon, Butter and Olives

Lemony-garlic angel hairHere’s a refreshing pasta dish that I have been making for years. It stars fresh angel hair, lemon and garlic, and is quick and simple to make. The addition of bacon, black and Spanish olives, butter and Parmesan/Reggiano cheese makes it melt-in-your-mouth heavenly. Leave out the bacon for a vegetarian version that also is sure to please! If you don’t have fresh pasta, the boxed angel hair is good too, it just doesn’t absorb the sauce quite as well.

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Product Review: Nasoya® Vegan Nayonaise and NayoWhipped Sandwich Spreads

Nasoya Products

I recently was asked to review Nasoya’s® Vegan Nayonaise and NayoWhipped products and was more than happy to do so since I spend several weeks (or more) on a vegan diet in the summer. (Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the Nasoya® company in any way.) Nasoya®, which is known for its tofu products, recently reformulated its line of vegan sandwich spreads and dressings to make them “smoother, creamier and more delicious than ever before.”

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