Q & A

I can never seem to get all parts of my meal  finished at the same time. What are some tips to help budget cooking times so that some dishes aren’t waiting on others?

Always start your meat first since it almost always takes the longest to finish.  Most vegetables can be prepared and cooked within 20 to 30 minutes.  Let me give you an example:  If you are baking a meatloaf we know that it will take about an hour and 15 to 30 minutes for the meatloaf get done.  So, your meatloaf will need to be in the oven about 30 to 45 minutes before starting to prepare anything else.  About 30 to 45 minutes into the baking of your meatloaf you would start preparing to cook your vegetables.  Now, if you are serving cornbread or rolls with your meal than naturally you would need to bake these last.  It’s okay for your meat and vegetables to “rest” while the cornbread or rolls are baking, just be sure to keep them warm.

What is the best/easiest way to thaw chicken?

The best way to thaw chicken is in the refrigerator.  Overnight should be okay for single chicken breast or thighs.  It may take a couple of days to thaw a whole chicken.  However, if you are in a hurry you can thaw the chicken in a pan of lukewarm water.  I do not recommend microwave thawing as most microwaves will cook portions of the chicken around the edges.

What is the best way to cook bacon?

I think the best way to cook bacon is the old-fashioned southern way …… FRY IT!  Just remember to fry it over medium heat turning several times to ensure even frying.  How long you fry the bacon depends on how you like it.  If you like it crispy, fry it until it’s crispy.  If you don’t like it so crispy, then just fry it until you get it just right.

How do you make white gravy?

Well, there is the wonderful flour on the shelf at almost any grocery store.  It is called Kentucky Kernel Seasoned Flour, aka, cheatin’ flour.  Go to the store and buy you a box and look for the recipe on the back, it can be our little secret!

How do you cook fresh vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, or brussel sprouts without making them mushy?

There are a couple of ways to prepare these vegetables, but the main thing to remember is to not over cook.  If you have a steamer then you can steam the veggies until they are “just tender.”  Or, you can boil them in water, in which case you would again boil them until “just tender.”  Most of the time any of these veggies can be steamed or boiled in about 15 minutes.

How do you keep pasta from becoming sticky after draining the water?

Do not  over cook the pasta and serve it immediately.  Pasta should be served al dente.  NEVER add any kind of butter or oil to your pasta, while cooking or after cooking, as this will prevent the sauces from adhering to the pasta.

Why is it sometimes important to sift flour?

When you sift flour you are incorporating air into the flour which creates a lighter product in weight, meaning 16oz of flour will weigh 15oz after sifting.  So, it’s very important to remember that sifting effects measurements of your flour and that could make a big difference in the final outcome of your cakes, breads, cookies, or whatever you may be baking that calls for flour. It’s also important to pay close attention to how the recipe is written. If your recipe calls for ” x cups of sifted flour” then you want to sift before measuring! But if the recipe states ” x cups of flour, sifted” then you measure before sifting!  Whew, are you totally confused now!  Basically, if you sift your flour you will have a lighter, fluffier, less dense cake, cookie, bread, cobbler, etc.

How do I know what type of flour I should use in a recipe?

Most recipes will tell you which type of flour you should use.  If you are making cakes, breads, pie crust, etc from scratch vs. store bought then you should use the corresponding flour.  Cake flour for cakes, bread flour for bread, pastry flour for pie crust, etc.  If you still have questions please check out the All About Flour section.


7 responses

  1. I recently came upon a web site that I feel certain you ladies and your readers will enjoy and find extremely beneficial. http://www.vinegartips.com. At this site there are literately a 1001 ways use vinegar. One tip that I loved, was concerning sticky pasta. I had remembered a question about sticky pasta in your Q&A section. I hope its okay with you ladies that I post this suggestion. Because try as I may I sometimes I overcook my pasta. Here goes, Make pasta less sticky and reduce some of its starch by adding just a dash of white distilled vinegar to the water as it cooks. There were so many beneficial cooking tips that I choose to print them as opposed to jotting them down. I love using white vinegar in washing machine in the rinse cycle. My clothes are baby soft, with less wrinkles (with no vinegar smell-I promise). I hope you like the site.
    Happy Cooking,


  2. Happy Holiday Cooking SGC,
    I hope you don’t mind but I came across a great tip about sticky pasta. If you would like to post it; here goes. Make pasta less sticky and reduce some of its starch. Add just a dash of white distilled vinegar to the water as it cooks. Here is the url: http://www.vinegartips.com. You can see the 1001 ways to use vinegar. I personally have been using white vinegar in my rinse cycle as a fabric softener and wrinkle reducer. I was so skeptical but tried it and WOW! I am ecstatic. I hope you ladies check it out.
    Happy Cooking,


    1. Hey Dorris,
      Thanks for the tip! We did know that you could use a dab of vinegar while cooking your pasta to keep it from being tacky. However, we have found that it leaves a “funky” taste on our pasta and we can be real picky about our pasta! LOL
      But thanks again for “tipping” us off, we enjoy hearing from our viewers!
      God Bless,


  3. Hello Southern Gal!!!
    I have finally mastered the art of delicious pinto beans, but I am lacking in the hoecake department. Help please????
    Happy Cooking,
    dorris maynard


    1. Thanks Dorris.
      We have posted our hoecake recipe. Hope you enjoy it!


  4. Good day Southern Gals,
    I hope you are cooking up a storm and having a great time doing it. A long time ago, I only knew about self-rising flour. Now that I have been cooking and baking to the tenth degree. I have found many recipes that call for all-purpose flour. I do understand that with all-purpose flour you need to add salt and baking soda and self-rising you don’t have to add salt/baking soda. For example when I make toll-house chocolate chip cookies I use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour and they seem okay. But how do I know which flour that I should absolutely use and not vary from recipe instructions. Thanks for your help!
    Happy Cooking,
    Dorris Maynard


    1. Wow Dorris, you really made us scratch our heads on this one, but we got to digging and hopefully came up with a satisfactory answer for you. As a matter of fact we felt the question was so important that we added it as page. So, for the answer to your question please refer to the All About Flour page!
      Thanks and keep’em coming!


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