Kitchen Confidence 101

“Kitchen Confidence 101”

By Sandra Reames,

Carefree Catering,

Branson, MO



What are we REALLY BUYING?


We have so much money at least most of us do to live on, so we are looking for the best buy or somewhere close.  We have learned over the years not to expect perfection, but no matter what we want a fair deal.


What brought this up the other day I went to the store and found some skinless boneless chicken breasts on sale for $1.99 a pound, Boy what a Deal!!!


Looked like their were 10 breast in a package, just what I needed.

I got home and the next day opened the package and their was 8.  OK then I can butcher the two larger ones and make 10 one pounders.  The only problem that I ran into was there wasn’t the  big breast.

This is what cause me to pull out the scale and start weighing.


I have a certified scale that will weigh a few drops of water if you want it to.


First I put the raw chicken on with just a piece of paper to cover the scale, HUM 9 pounds even.


I looked at the label and yes it said just over 10 pounds 4 oz.


So I put all of the wrapping including a soggy drip pad that is placed under raw cut chicken on the scales.

Well I found the other 1 pound 4oz.

What this told me on the label is what the chicken is weighed not by it’s self, but after it has been wrapped.  So the packaging cost $2.49+

equivalent of 1 pound and 4 oz.

That in my book is called Christmas gift wrap.


On I went dissecting the packing.  I understood the thin film and the Styrofoam plate that it was packaged in about 4 oz.

Next I weighed a separate large pad that lay-ed under the chicken breast which was full of water and slop.  Guess what that weighed you got it one pound= $1.99 just for that.  I thought about frying this pad but I was sure that no one would want to eat it.  But for approx. $2.00 shouldn’t you be able to eat it.


Now you may think that $2.00 isn’t much, but this chicken could have been $4.00 a pound then what would that upset you.  Then I took $2.49 cents worth of paper and mess and through it in the garbage.


I needed 10 pounds for dinner instead I had 9, I invited 10, maybe someone should show, because there is no time left to get more.  I was making Chicken Cordon Blu.


How many times have you or me thrown Dollars in the garbage for wrapping.


How many times have you bought a $2.00 tool or other items, packed in a hanging heavy plastic package that when you got it home you had to have someone help you get the package open.

We are paying to much for packaging.  The heavy packaging is to keep someone from stealing from the store and manufacture. To do a pretty display and be easy to handle well for them.

To me it is a real pain.

I think that they may be taking from us in the mean time to protect them.


I understand that the stores have to stay in business, but so do we. (Family busines)


There was an old joke about the butchers of America, is that they put would put there thumb on the scale to make your meats weigh more!  I am no longer laughing.


I know that many meats are injected with water, soaked in water,  it is called flavoring, but it adds a lot of weight.  You can look on hams and some will say up to 25% broth.


Look on the side of your tuna can is says vegetable broth added.  Why would you add vegetable broth to a seafood product?


Now I want to weigh everything!  It is amazing how you want to know the truth or do we? (can we handle it)


I had a new box of cereal by Kashi.  The weight on the front is very openly stated in both oz and grams.


The total unopened box weighed 15.4 oz it said 13.01 in other words it was giving a net weight.  Net weight of food.



Total weight of box 15.4 oz


The inner paper weighs about 1/2 oz.

The box 1.8oz

IF you subtract

You will get 13.1oz

Exactly what was stated on the front of the box.



Now if we can get packaged meat to weigh right, (net weight)we will be ahead.

Apparently not all are required to do so.

Below is the Federal Government’s link to explain all that extra water in your meats.


“It’s sort of like listening to some one running for Government Office if you don’t believe me, read on.”


This is a link to the Agricultural Dept on Water in Foods.


There is no better way to drowned your sorrows expect into eating some really good fried chicken.  So if you have an inkling to do so.  Here is some tips!

Fried Chicken

The two main keys to making perfect fried chicken are the temperature of the oil and the actual step of frying.

Choose oils with a high smoke point: vegetable shortening, lard, and peanut oil are all good choices.

  • To get truly golden-brown and crispy chicken, use a cast iron skillet. You can’t beat cast iron for even heat distribution and reliable frying.
  • The fat should be about one inch deep in the skillet, coming about halfway up the food.
  • Get the fat good and hot before adding the chicken: about 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • Using tongs, carefully lower chicken pieces into the oil skin-side down. Start with the edge of the piece close to you, and lay it in the oil, working away from yourself to avoid spatters.
  • Fry in batches: overcrowding the pan will lower the temperature of the oil, causing more oil to be absorbed and result in soggy, greasy chicken.
  • When the chicken pieces are a deep golden brown, remove them to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet to catch any drips. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the chicken to make sure it is fully cooked before moving on to the next batch. The USDA recommends cooking chicken to a minimum of 165 degrees F.



Listen to Sandra and Scott MC Caulley on the radio every Tuesday Morning on KRZK FM  106.3 9:06.  We hope that you will listen and call in to help others and to share your experiences, good and bad!

Sandra has been a professional cook and caterer for 15 years.

Scott is a radio professional for over 23 years.

Both in the Branson, MO area.

The articles and show are to help you find confidence in the kitchen where you can provided good tasting and  “better for you” meals to your family and friends even if you are an accomplished cook or a beginner, we all share those moments when we need help!  We both show how we need to laugh at our selves.


Any comments or information can be e-mailed to

Sandra at or
Sandra’s  Phone 417-335-5655


To listen to the show on line go to