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Friday, November 15, 2013

I have a confession....

I don't use coupons.  It's out..I've said it.  I've watched TV shows about extreme couponing and I'm impressed that they can get so much for so little.  But they spend a LOT of time doing that.  Also I just don't see it working out for me and I'll tell  you why.  Living in a small rural area, we don't have Jewel, Kroger, and all of those big national chain grocery stores.  We have the Walmart, an Aldi, and a couple other little grocery stores and then in my tiny town, we have a little bitty 4 aisle supermarket.  We don't have double coupon days or rewards cards or anything like that.  When I worked in a large city, I adored shopping at Kroger.  I could spend hours traipsing up and down the aisles, looking at all the cool stuff.  I am a grocery store geek!

Another reason I don't use coupons is that I rarely buy name brand items.  I see people in the store who have Campbell's soup, and Tostitos tortilla chips, and Starkist tuna and things like that and I watch their total go sky high.  I was a brand name snob once but tough times call for tough measures and generic is my go-to brand now. Buying generic is usually, but not always, cheaper than buying name brand, even with a coupon. My final hold out was on things like shortening and flour but I've broken down and now buy generic or get it at Aldi's.  I bake a mean pie and it's just as mean with generic flour and shortening as it is with Crisco and Pillsbury.  No complaints here!  

Another trick that I use in the grocery store is that I buy mark downs.  I work at Walmart and usually I work until 10 p.m.  I get my groceries after work and their meat is just being marked down at that time of the night.  What is marked down is generally what makes the menu for the next week.  The other night I bought a 6 1/2 pound chicken for $4.31.  I buy a whole chicken every week and I boil it then shred the meat.  That gives us 2 chicken meals and a potful of chicken stock.  It also gives the outside stray cats a plateful of warm chicken stuff and bones which they love.  You can get 20-30% off meat by buying mark downs and they go straight to my freezer.  I have never had a problem with spoiled meat by buying mark downs. 

Sometimes you can even get boneless skinless chicken breast or tenderloins for pretty cheap.  Which leads me to my most requested recipe from the children....Hot Wings! I sometimes use actual chicken wings for my Hot Wings but more often than not I use boneless breast cut into strips or chunks.  I played around with my recipe quite a bit before settling on it and we think these taste very much like the wings you get from Hooters.  You can adjust the amount of hot sauce to your liking.  This isn't necessarily an inexpensive dish to make..that's why marked down chicken and butter from Aldi's helps!  And yes it has to be Crystal Hot Sauce!

Carol's Chicken Hot Wings

3 pounds chicken wings or BSCB cut into chunks
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Tony Chachere’s®Creole seasoning (can be ordered here!)
3 eggs
 ½ cup milk
1 teaspoon Crystal® hot sauce (can be ordered here!)
Enough canola oil to fill a dutch oven 2/3 full (approximately 1 ½ quarts)
1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
½ cup Crystal® hot sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Pour the oil into a deep kettle or dutch oven and start heating it over medium-high heat.  Cut the wing tips off the chicken wing and discard.Cut the remaining wing into 2 pieces, the drummette and the wingette using a kitchen shears or knife.  Here's a handy picture so you know what I'm talking about. 


In a large bowl mix the flour, salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning. Set aside.  In a medium bowl mix the milk, eggs, and  teaspoon of hot sauce.  Put the butter, 1/2 cup of hot sauce, and garlic powder in a 2 qt saucepan and heat it gently, whisking occasionally, for 20 - 30 minutes.  Dip the chicken pieces into the flour mixture, then into the egg mixture, then back into the flour mixture.

When your oil mixture reaches 360° and it MUST be that temperature to cook the chicken properly, you can begin frying the chicken.  I cook 4 - 6 pieces at a time, depending on how big the chicken is. Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken is at 165° F.  The temperature of the chicken can be checked by putting the cooking thermometer probe into the meaty part of the chicken making sure it is not touching the bone.  The chicken will have a golden brown color.  The frying process takes approximately 8 to 10 minutes.

      Remove the chicken from the hot oil with a tongs and drain well on paper towels. When you've fried all the chicken, put them into a serving bowl. By this time your wing sauce will be piping hot and yummy so just pour it over the chicken pieces and stir them around a bit so the sauce hits all of them.  This is what mine look like in my extra fancy green plastic bowl. 

You can serve them with Bleu Cheese or Ranch dressing but the kids just like them plain.  This may not be the most budget friendly meal but it's definitely cheaper than eating them at the actual restaurant.  And if you wear your tightest shirt and tiniest shorts while cooking them, the atmosphere is the same too!

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