Country Fried Chicken

Jeff prefers chicken without bones, so I searched out a country fried chicken recipe and found this one on I’ve made it several times, and it’s great. The breading does often fall off while you’re eating it. But it’s delicious. The gravy is also very good, but you need to incorporate every bit of brown that you can get out of the oil so that it has the most flavor. It takes a lot of time, but it’s nice to make every once in a while.

If you’re making this gluten free, of course just switch out the flour for gluten free flour. It turns out delicious. The picture below is gluten free. I’ve even made it dairy free by adding 2 Tbsp. lemon juice to 2 c. almond milk for the buttermilk and using almond milk in the gravy.

Country Fried Chicken

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium-hard
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Very delicious, but it takes a fair amount of time and milk.


  • 4 Chicken Breasts, halved
  • 2 c. Buttermilk (or 2 c. milk + 2 Tbsp. lemon juice)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 c. Milk
  • 2 c. Flour (or gluten free flour with xanthan gum)
  • 1 Tbsp. Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying


  •  1/4 c. Reserved Pan Drippings (get every bit of brown that you can)
  • 1/4 c. Reserved Flour Mixture
  • 2 c. Chicken Broth or Stock (or 2 tsp. Members Mark Chicken Base and 2 c. water)
  • 1/2 c. Milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Carefully pound each chicken breast half flat without tearing, with each chicken piece about the size of your hand or slightly smaller. Place chicken in a gallon bag and pour buttermilk over. Press as much air as you can out of the bag, seal, and place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight).

In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs and milk, set aside. In a separate shallow dish, stir flour, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Set aside about 1/4 c. of this dry mixture for the gravy later.

Remove chicken from Ziploc, shake off excess buttermilk, and dredge each piece evenly with four mixture. Lightly shake off excess, dip in egg/milk mixture, then place back in flour mixture, giving it a double coating of flour. Place chicken on a cookie sheet until ready to fry.

Preheat 1/4 inch of oil in electric skillet until reaches 350. Add each piece of chicken to the oil without overcrowding (you may have to do this in batches) for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until crispy and golden. Place cooked chicken on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet to catch excess oil. Place in warm oven (about 200-degrees) until ready to serve.

For gravy: Drain off all but about 1/4 c. of the oil from the pan. Whisk reserved flour mixture into the oil until the flour has absorbed the oil. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Whisk constantly and reduce heat to a simmer. Once the gravy starts to thicken, slowly add milk (you may not need all of it) to thin to desired consistency, whisking constantly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over chicken and mashed potatoes.


Sweet Pork

This sweet pork comes from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, and is a lot like Cafe Rio’s. It’s amazing, and we’ve made it for several large group events and birthday parties. Plus, pork shoulder is often on sale for 99 cents, so the meat is surprisingly cheap (although the sauces make it more costly).

It makes a lot, and we usually freeze the leftovers in quart bags to use in the future. You can use the sweet pork to make into sweet pork burritos with seasoned black beans and cilantro lime rice, or into sweet pork salad with the beans, cilantro lime rice, pico de gallo, and jalapeno ranch dressing.

And luckily this one is naturally gluten free.

Sweet Pork

  • Servings: A LOT
  • Difficulty: medium
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Great for big gatherings, and it freezes well.



  •  1 Tbsp. cumin
  •  1 Tbsp. Paprika
  •  1 Tbsp. Onion Powder
  •  1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  •  1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
  •  2 tsp. Salt
  •  1/2 tsp. Black Pepper


  •  3-5 lbs. Pork Shoulder (or boneless sirloin pork roast, but it’s not as good)
  •  1 c. Root Beer or Cola
  •  1 c. Green Salsa (aka salsa verde. Herdez is great, but use Mild–medium is surprisingly hot)


    •  2 c. Red Enchilada Sauce (Rosarita is good)
    •  1/2 c. Brown Sugar
    •  8 oz. Chopped Green Chiles
    •  1 c. Green Salsa


For seasoning: Combine all the seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl. Measure out 2 Tbsp. of the mixture and save for later. Cut the pork roast into large chunks (4-6 inches) and rub the remaining seasoning mixture (not the reserved 2 Tbsp.) evenly over all sides of the pork.

For pork: Add the soda and green salsa to the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Add the seasoned pork. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 5-6 hours until tender. Transfer the pork to a cutting board or pan and shred. Discard all but 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in the slow cooker, then add the shredded pork back.

For sauce: To the pork in the slow cooker, add the 2 tablespoons of reserved spices and the rest of the sauce ingredients, then stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 15-20 minutes until heated through.

Strawberry Bacon Salad

This is a nice summery meal, and it makes lots of leftovers. You can use prepackaged candied pecans, but I usually make my own because I can make a lot–and they’re much cheaper. The coating from the candied pecans does tend to dissolve off in the leftovers, though. Haha, that’s if you don’t secretly sneak all the candied pecans before dinner–they’re too tempting! Sometimes the red onion can be a bit much, so we often opt for green onions instead. You can opt to add feta cheese, but we found that the salad didn’t need it, with the salt from the bacon. And this salad is delicious, but it does take a fair amount of time to make.

For the salad in the picture, I just used one package of spinach, 1 pound of strawberries, a package of bacon, 1 bunch of green onions, a rotisserie chicken, and I made my own candied pecans. And I used Kroger Poppy Seed dressing, much cheaper than Brianna’s.

And luckily the poppy seed dressing is gluten free, so this one is naturally gluten free.

Strawberry Bacon Salad

  • Servings: 6-8?
  • Difficulty: medium
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Delicious and summery–try not to eat all the pecans before mealtime. Haha


  • 1-2 (8 oz.) pkgs. Spinach
  • 1-2 lb. Strawberries, sliced
  • 1 pkg. Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 small Red Onion, diced OR 1 bunch Green Onions, sliced
  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken, broken down into pieces OR 4 Chicken Breasts, cubed and cooked
  • 2 c. Candied Pecans (prepackaged or using recipe below)
  • Brianna’s or Kroger Poppy Seed Dressing

Candied Pecans

  • 3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Water
  • 1/4 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 c. Pecan halves


Place the spinach in a very large bowl, then place the rest of the ingredients on top, except the dressing. We generally don’t toss the salad because everything falls to the bottom of the bowl. Each person can add dressing as desired.

For candied pecans: In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, water and vanilla. In a heavy frying pan on medium-high heat, toast pecans until they smell nutty and brown. Be careful because once they’re toasted, they can start to burn quickly. Pour the liquid over the nuts and mix to coat. Spread nuts on wax paper or Silpat to cool and harden.

Cowboy Surprise

I think in the strictest sense, cowboy surprise basically meant whatever the cowboy had ended up in the pot. But we’ve standardized it a little more (although not with terribly exact measurements), occasionally adding some extra stuff from our fridge like leftover bell peppers or vegetables. It’s kind of like a fancy Hamburger Helper, haha. But it’s pretty cheap and makes lots of good leftovers.

If you’re making it gluten free, I find that gluten free rotini holds up the best. But any gluten free pasta does tend to fall apart eventually, especially with stirring or after microwaving as a leftover. And condensed tomato soup does have flour, so make sure to use the substitute.

Cowboy Surprise

  • Servings: 8?
  • Difficulty: easy
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Fast and easy, and it makes lots of leftovers.


  • 3 c. Macaroni (uncooked) (or gluten free rotini)
  • 1-2 lbs. Hamburger
  • 1 Onion, minced
  • 2 tsp. Minced Garlic
  • 2 cans Tomato Soup
    • For gluten free, use:
    • 16 oz. Tomato Sauce
    • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
    • 2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
    • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ c. Ketchup
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. Brown Sugar (about)
  • ½ tsp. Chili Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 c. Shredded Cheddar Cheese


Cook the pasta and drain. To save a pan, you can cook the rest in that same pan, then add back the macaroni. Cook hamburger and onion, then combine remaining ingredients in pot on stove and heat. Make sure it’s sweet enough. Add cheese at end. For gluten free, make sure to adjust flavors as much as possible before adding pasta because it will fall apart more easily with stirring.

Chicken Enchiladas

Haha, these enchiladas are certainly not authentic–Wait, Mexican cooks don’t use Cream of Chicken soup?–but they are delicious, and you likely have all the ingredients on hand all the time. And one pan makes quite a few leftovers if you want easy lunches for the week.

I’m still working on a gluten free version of this that tastes good. For a while I wasn’t able to handle dairy, so I tried vegan sour cream and GF Mission tortillas, and it was terrible. And the tortillas turned to mush. When I was able to handle dairy again, I tried it with corn tortillas, but then it tasted very much of oil from the tortillas. I think maybe I’ll try making my own gluten free flour tortillas before I attempt this again.

Chicken Enchiladas

  • Servings: 9?
  • Difficulty: medium
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Mild, delicious, and makes lots of leftovers.


  • About 3 lb. Chicken Breasts, cubed
  • 1 Onion, minced
  • 2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1/3 can Water (or chicken broth)
  • 1-2 c. Sour cream
  • Flour Tortillas (about 6)
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese


Cook cubed chicken. Add onion and cook until translucent. Mix in soup and water until bubbly and well mixed. Add sour cream to the sauce/gravy last. To assemble, spoon a little sauce and chicken in bottom of greased 9×13 pan. Then cover with a layer of 2 tortillas. Then spoon on a layer of sauce and chicken. Then a layer of 2 tortillas. Then a layer of sauce and chicken. Then 2 tortillas (for three layers of tortillas total). Finally, a thick layer of cheese on top. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes till cheese is melted and slightly brown. Optional: Top with salsa for extra flavor.