Thursday, August 11, 2022

Chorizo and jalapeño corn fritters

Eating corn straight from the cob is a Midwestern summer delicacy. But another great option is to use the corn for fritters. Corn fritters are more filling, and they’re easily customizable to your liking. Another bonus is you can use the cobs to make corn stock after removing the kernels.

First, a few notes on the fritter batter:
  • You can customize the fritters with different cheeses and spices.
  • Feel free to swap the chorizo for bacon, use vegetarian crumbles, or omit entirely.
  • You can use gluten-free cornbread mix.
  • Don’t over mix the batter. It will be very thick.
  • Chill the batter for at least 30 minutes before cooking. 1 hour is preferred. Or you can make the batter a day in advance.

And here are some important tips for pan frying the fritters:
  • Cook fresh corn kernels for a few minutes to soften them because they won’t cook much in the pan. I do this in the microwave before I shuck the corn.
  • Make sure the oil in the pan is hot (around 350 degrees) before dropping the batter in the pan.
  • Keep the temperature on medium-low to avoid oil splatters.
  • Space the fritters evenly around skillet in a clockwise direction so you always know which ones to turn first.
  • Don’t overcrowd the skillet.
  • Salt fritters immediately after cooking. 
  • Place cooked fritters on baking sheet in oven set as low as possible (that’s 170 degrees Fahrenheit for most ovens) so they remain warm while you finish cooking the rest of the batter

It couldn't be easier to make a corn stock with the leftover corn cobs. Just place the corn cobs in a stock pot with 1 gallon cold water, 1 bay leaf, and 10 black peppercorns. Bring the water temperature to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 1 - 2 hours. Strain the stock and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze.

Chorizo and jalapeño corn fritters


  • 304 grams (2 cups) cornbread mix (about 1.25 standard 8.5 ounce Jiffy boxes)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound (3 cups from about 4 cobs) corn kernels
  • 113 grams (4 ounces) cooked chorizo
  • 113 grams (4 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 30 grams (about 1 medium) jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 12 grams (1/4 cup) chives or scallion greens, minced
  • 80 grams (2/3 cup) whole milk
  • 114 grams (2 large) eggs
  • Vegetable oil, canola oil, coconut oil, or ghee for frying
  1. Mix cornbread mix, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and black pepper in large bowl.
  2. Add corn, cheese, jalapeño, and chives and mix until coated.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Pour into dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
  4. Refrigerate mixture for at least 30 minutes. 1 hour is preferred. Can also be refrigerated overnight.
  5. Pour oil into large cast iron skillet until 1/8-inch of bottom is coated. Heat over medium-low until oil is shimmering.
  6. Drop 4 (1/4-cup) portions of batter evenly around the pan and flatten each slightly.
  7. Cook until golden-brown on bottom, about 3 minutes.
  8. Flip and cook until other side is golden-brown, about 3 more minutes.
  9. Transfer fritters to paper towel-lined baking sheet and place in 170 degree Fahrenheit oven to keep warm while making fritters with remaining batter.
  10. Serve fritters warm with sour cream or yogurt sauce.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Zapple Crisp


This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

It’s zucchini season and you or someone you know is probably overloaded with zucchini. Fortunately, it is an incredibly versatile ingredient. So versatile, in fact, that it makes a great apple substitute in apple crisp. I first saw “zapple crisp” on TikTok and thought “No way!” But it actually works really well. I can almost guarantee no one would notice the substitution (I tricked my own family). Zucchini slices even look like apple slices once the seeds are removed!

I don’t recommend doing a straight substitute of zucchini using your favorite apple crisp recipe. There are a few changes you need to make in order for it to taste more like apple. You definitely need to use lemon juice to make it a little tart. Additionally, I used a little cream of tartar, which is an acidic ingredient and it gives baked goods a slightly sour, tangy taste (that’s what gives snickerdoodles their unique flavor).

Additionally, how you slice the zucchini is very important. You have to remove the peel and the seeds.. When you do those two things, the zucchini slices really look like apple slices.

One more thing I want to point out—I baked this in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish. It would certainly fit in an 8x8 or 9x9, but you get a better crisp topping to zucchini filling ratio when you spread it out in a larger dish.

I also want to point out that I used melted butter in the crisp topping. If you use cold butter pieces crumbled into the oats and flour, the topping won't crisp and the texture isn't as good. It's called zapple CRISP for a reason! But if you start with melted butter, the topping will brown and crisp better on top of the filling. I use Challenge unsalted butter in this recipe because it's churned daily from the freshest 100% real pasteurized sweet cream.

Zapple Crisp

Yield: 8 servings


For the zucchini filling

  • 2 pounds zucchini
  • 105 grams (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 grams (1 Tablespoon) all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the crisp topping

  • 210 grams (1 cup) brown sugar
  • 120 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour 
  • 90 grams (1 cup) rolled oats
  • 8 Tablespoons (1/2 cup) Challenge unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


For the zucchini filling

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray 11x7-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Peel zucchini and slice in half lengthwise. Remove seeds from center of zucchini and slice into 1/8-inch pieces. They should resemble apple slices. Place in large bowl.
  3. Mix remaining filling ingredients and add to bowl with zucchini slices. Mix until slices are evenly coated. Spread evenly in baking dish.

For the crisp topping

  1. Mix all topping ingredients and spread evenly over zucchini filling.
  2. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until filling is bubbly and crisp topping is golden brown.
  3. Zapple crisp is best served hot with vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Extend the life of your tomatoes with these recipes


If you have a garden in Indiana, chances are you have tomato plants. And we are fast approaching the most magical time of the year when tomatoes come in… and they don’t stop. So for about a month we’re swimming in tomatoes, and then nothing. That’s why I wanted to share a few recipes that will help you enjoy your tomatoes for a longer time.

The first recipe I want to discuss is tomato confit. Confit (pronounced con-fee) is a preservation method in which food is slowly cooked in fat. It isn’t like a little drizzle of fat. Confit is like a fat bath.

For meat (like traditional duck confit), the item is usually cooked in its own fat. But for foods like tomatoes and garlic, the food is slow-cooked in olive oil and then stored in jars in the oil it was cooked in. The fat makes it hard for bacteria to grow and it reduces oxidation, thus extending the time before it spoils.

Tomatoes cooked in this method will keep their shape and their natural, fresh flavor.

You can store tomato confit in the refrigerator in glass jars (making sure the tomatoes are fully covered in oil) for a month. You can also freeze tomato confit in freezer-safe jars for up to 3 months.

You can use tomato confit as a sauce with pasta or spooned over meat or seafood. Or you can even use it as a condiment on a sandwich or on good quality bread with a little ricotta spread.

After you eat all the tomatoes, use the olive oil for dressings, as a dip with bread, or just about anything else you can think of.

Tomato confit


  • 1 pound tomatoes
  • 10 sprigs fresh herbs (thyme, basil, and rosemary are my favorites)
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place tomatoes in single layer in baking dish. Arrange herbs and garlic around tomatoes.
  3. Add balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour olive oil into dish until tomatoes are halfway submerged. Add more olive oil if necessary.
  5. Bake for 2 hours, or until tomatoes are soft but they haven’t burst.
  6. Transfer to jars with cooking oil. Make sure tomatoes are submerged in oil before closing lid.
  7. Cool to room temperature and store in refrigerator for up to a month.

Not all pickling involves cucumbers. You can pickle just about anything! It’s more of a process than a recipe, and it involves soaking vegetables in a brine that’s usually equal parts vinegar and water. 

So why pickle tomatoes? The acid in the brine solution slows the growth of harmful bacteria and preserves tomatoes past their normal expiration. Pickling also gives the tomatoes a delicious tangy, salty flavor that makes them a unique ingredient to use in a wide variety of dishes.

The recipe I’m sharing is a “quick pickle” recipe, meaning there’s no canning required. It also means you must store them in the refrigerator and eat them within a month.

Pickled Tomatoes


  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 sprigs fresh herbs (thyme, basil, and dill are great choices)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar 


  1. Use skewer to poke hole through each tomato.
  2. Place garlic, herbs, and coriander seeds in pint jar.
  3. Pack tomatoes into jar.
  4. Combine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve salt and sugar.
  5. Pour brine over tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch at top. 
  6. Tap jar a few times to remove air bubbles. Top off jar with more brine if necessary.
  7. Screw on lid and cool to room temperature before storing in refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
  8. Wait at least 48 hours before eating.

Sun-dried tomatoes are tomatoes minus the water. As a result, the flavor is very intense and concentrated. I use sun-dried tomatoes in a wide variety of dishes. They’re great in salads, in pastas, in pesto, in omelets… 

Here’s a secret you probably already guessed—sun-dried tomatoes aren’t always dried in the sun. You can make sun-dried tomatoes at home in your oven. Cut smaller tomatoes in half and larger tomatoes in quarters. Any type of tomato works well. Just make sure the cut pieces are uniform so they dry at the same rate. Other than tomatoes, the only other ingredient you need to make these is salt. Sprinkling a little salt on top will help the tomatoes release moisture. You can also add dried herbs and seasonings for additional flavor.

Store the tomatoes for several months in the refrigerator or up to a year in the freezer. Just don’t place them in the crisper drawer because they need to remain moisture free.

Sun-dried tomatoes


  • 8 ounces tomatoes, cut in half or quartered depending on size, pulp removed from larger varieties
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and line baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Place tomatoes cut-side up on baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake for 3 hours. 
  3. Flip tomatoes and smash to remove an excess moisture.
  4. Return to oven for an hour or until tomatoes are very dry but still pliable.
  5. Store in air-tight bag in refrigerator for several months or in freezer for up to a year.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Easiest baked macaroni and cheese

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I realize the “best” macaroni and cheese is very subjective because many people have differing opinions when it comes to consistency, flavors, cooking method, etc. But most people get excited about any version of homemade macaroni and cheese. And I think this version is absolutely delicious. 

This recipe is extra special because you don't have to boil the pasta ahead of time! This may seem like a simple step and not much of a shortcut, but as a new mom I know any amount of time-saver, whether it be for cooking time or dishwashing time, is a big deal!

I realize this isn't the correct culinary method for cooking macaroni and cheese, and I'm mildly concerned my chefs at school will be ashamed. But as of lately, easy recipes are the best recipes, and what's most important is that this recipe is downright delicious!

What is the best type of pasta for macaroni and cheese?

Most people just use elbow macaroni pasta because “macaroni” is right in the name. But actually, pasta with ridges is far better because the sauce clings to the ridges. That’s why the best pasta to use is cavatappi. Its corkscrew shape means lots of areas for sauce to cling onto.

What cheeses are best?

Young, moist cheeses melt better than older, drier ones. So avoid cheeses like parmesan and manchego (although they could make for a good crunchy topping). I like to stick with sharp cheddar for taste, smoked gouda for complexity, and American cheese. Why use processed American cheese? Because it contains stabilizers that will prevent your cheese sauce from breaking and turning grainy. Velveeta does the same thing. I also used cream cheese in the sauce to make it extra creamy. I used Challenge cream cheese for this recipe because the taste and texture is far superior to anything else I've found on the market. That's because it's made with real milk, cream, and other natural ingredients.

Why grate your own cheese?

Yes, it is a pain, but it makes a huge difference! That’s because pre-shredded cheese is coated in additives that prevent it from clumping. But those same additives also prevent it from melting well.

What type of milk?

You want milk high in fat for an extra creamy macaroni and cheese. Some people use heavy cream or half and half, but I find it can make the dish greasy. Instead, I used evaporated milk. Evaporated milk has more protein than regular milk, but less fat than heavy cream, resulting in a creamy filling without it being too greasy.

What should you use as a topping?

I like to use extra cheese or panko because it’s light and airy, but you could use cracker crumbs, breadcrumbs, fried onions, etc. Or you could forego a crunch topping.

Easiest baked macaroni and cheese

Yield: About 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons Challenge unsalted butter
  • 3 cups evaporated milk
  • 8 ounces Challenge cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (set aside 4 ounces for topping)
  • 8 ounces smoked gouda cheese, grated (set aside 4 ounces for topping)
  • 6 ounces American cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 pound cavatappi pasta, uncooked


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease 7x11-inch square baking dish with butter. Set aside.
  2. Blend evaporated milk, cream cheese, dry mustard, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, ground cayenne, smoked paprika, and black pepper. 
  3. Mix in 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, American cheese, smoked gouda cheese, and uncooked pasta.
  4. Pour into prepared pan, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Uncover pan, stir, sprinkle reserved cheese on top, and bake an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. 
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve. The consistency sets up like a custard.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Bald Eagle Cheese Ball Bites

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

If you've been following my blog for a while, you know I love themed food, especially for holidays. A few years ago, I made a large bald eagle cheese ball for the Fourth of July. Yes, it's a little goofy-looking, but it's still one of my favorite things I've made. 

I decided to run with the bald eagle theme again this year, but this time I made mini cheese ball bites! I love that they're bite-sized.

I recently discovered that my food processor grates cheese, and it has made my life so much easier. Since I already had my food processor out, I decided to add the cream cheese and the ranch seasoning to it as well, and it made this recipe so incredibly easy. But if you don't have a food processor, you can, of course, mix everything by hand. I used Challenge cream cheese for this recipe because the taste and texture is far superior to anything else I've found on the market. That's because it's made with real milk, cream, and other natural ingredients.

I used a microplane to grate the mozzarella for the feathers because it creates smaller pieces.

You can make the cheese ball mixture and grate the cheese ahead of time, but I do not recommend putting it onto the cracker until right before you plan to serve them because crackers will get soft in the refrigerator,

Bald Eagle Cheese Ball Bites
Yield: Makes about 28 servings

  • 8 ounces Challenge cream cheese, softened
  • 6 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 (1-ounce) packet ranch dressing mix
  • About 28 round crackers
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 ounces mozzarella cheese, finely shredded
  • About 28 cashews
  • About 56 peppercorns
  1. Combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese and ranch dressing mix. I find it’s easiest to do this in a food processor.
  2. Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop, scoop cheese ball mixture onto round cracker.
  3. Press pecan pieces in single layer around base of cheese ball.
  4. Press mozzarella onto top of cheese ball.
  5. Insert one cashew halfway into center of cheese ball so it resembles a beak.
  6. Insert one peppercorn on either side of cashew so they resemble eyes.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Blueberry lavender galette

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible! 

There are few things more enjoyable than fresh-baked pie with ripe summer produce. But pies can be fickle and time-consuming. Fortunately, we live in a world where galettes exist.

A galette is pie’s more easygoing cousin. No pie plate. No crimping. No fuss. If it looks imperfect, then you did it correctly. It is supposed to be rustic. And that’s why it’s the perfect base for summer fruit.

You can make pie dough for a galette, or you can use store-bought pie dough, puff pastry, phyllo dough… it’s kind of like a “choose your own adventure” book.

Some important tips to remember when making a galette…
If you’re making your own pie crust, you need to make a mealy pie crust. This means the butter pieces in the dough are the size of peas. Mealy pie dough is best for fruit pies because it is good at repelling moisture from liquid fillings.

To prevent a soggy bottom, I recommend adding a little cornstarch to your fruit filling; macerating the fruit and then draining the juices; and creating a barrier between the dough and the filling. The barrier can be anything your heart desires—almond paste, fruit preserves, cookie crumbs, etc. I use goat cheese as the barrier in this recipe.

Another important tip: roll the galette dough out to 1/8-inch thick. If it’s too thick, the crust will be gummy and chewy, not flaky.

It’s important to use good quality butter in your recipe because it makes a tremendous difference in your final product. I use Challenge European Style Butter when I make pie dough. It’s churned slower and longer, in the tradition of fine European butters, to produce a more flavorful butter with less moisture and higher butterfat.

Blueberry lavender galette

Yield: About 6 servings

For the dough
  • 113 grams (8 tablespoons or 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 150 grams (1 1/4) cups all-purpose flour
  • 13 grams (1 Tablespoon) granulated sugar
  • 1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) kosher salt
  • 60 grams (1/4 cup ice water)
For the filling
  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 16 grams (2 Tablespoons) cornstarch
  • Zest from 1 lemon (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 6 grams (about 1 Tablespoon) dried lavender, ground (with mortar and pestle or spice grinder)
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
  • 1.5 grams (1/4 teaspoon) kosher salt 
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
  • Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water)
  • Optional: Turbinado sugar
For the dough
  1. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in freezer for at least 20 minutes or until very cold.
  2. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
  3. Cut butter into flour mixture with pastry blender or food processor until butter is pea-sized.
  4. Make well in flour mixture and add water.
  5. Mix to create shaggy mixture then knead to form dough. If dough is too dry, add up to 2 Tablespoons additional ice water.
  6. Form dough into flat disc and wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
  7. Once dough is chilled, preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Roll dough out on floured surface to 1/8-inch thick. Transfer pie dough to baking sheet.
For the filling
  1. Mix together blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, lavender, vanilla extract, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Spread goat cheese over galette, leaving 3-inch border.
  3. Drain any excess juices released by blueberries and spread mixture evenly over goat cheese.
  4. Fold the edge of the pie dough up and over blueberry filling, pleating every 3 inches.
  5. Brush galette crust with egg wash and sprinkle turbinado sugar on top.
  6. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Surprise, a baby!


You may have noticed I’ve been absent on my blog lately, but it’s been for good reason. I gave birth to my first child, Penelope, a few weeks ago. 

The weeks leading up to and after her birth have been truly chaotic. We bought a new house, sold our old house, had a baby, officially closed on the new house while we were still in the hospital, moved, and officially closed on our old house. Of course, we didn’t plan on making all of these stressful life changes at the same time. But a house in our neighborhood that we already loved went on the market just a few weeks before my due date, and we couldn’t pass it up. 

So after a crazy season of life, I am giving myself the luxury of taking this time to focus on my newborn. I plan to slowly roll out more recipes in the coming weeks, and I’ll resume my segments on FOX59 in July. But right now, my main focus is being a new mom. 

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