Monday, November 24, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie. Chicken and Dumplings

This cold weather calls for some comfort food!

Chicken Pot Pie(Original recipe in black, my changes in Red)
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed(I used a mix of leftover roasted chicken and some canned chicken)
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup sliced celery(left this out, added potatoes instead)
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 unbaked pie crusts(I used deep dish premade pie crust)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.(I used chicken broth instead of water)
In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside. ( I read some reviews that said the pie was dry with the amount of gravy made from the original recipe. To make sure I didnt have this problem, I doubled the gravy and I also added garlic powder, sage, salt, pepper, and some paprika. If you have poultry seasoning, that would work well. )
Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape. (I mixed the gravy and the chicken/veggies before pouring into the deep dish pie crusts. I think this really helped)
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings(Original recipe in black, my changes in Red)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves(I put them in frozen)
2 tablespoons butter
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup(I use one can of cream of mushroom and one can cream of chicken)
1 onion, finely diced
1 can of mixed veggies
Poultry Seasonings(Garlic Salt, Pepper, sage, paprika,celery salt)
2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces(I used one can-see note at bottom))

Place the chicken, butter, soup, and onion( and Potatoes) in a slow cooker, and fill with enough water to cover. (I love me some chicken broth, so that is what I used instead of water)
Cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High. About 30 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker. ( I add my biscuits about an hour before serving. I also take the chicken out and shredded it and this is when I add the can of mixed veggies)
Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

You have to tweak this recipe to suit your taste. We like our chicken and dumplings thick and stew like. Some people like it more on the soup side. If you like it more like soup, play with the amount of water/chicken broth.
If you want leftovers, dont use all your biscuit dough. The dumplings do not keep well. I just save some dough(dont use the whole can) and make fresh dumplings when we eat the leftovers. You dont have to use premade dough either. This would also work with fresh dough, I just like the premade dough as a time saver.

Non crockpot version
My beloved crockpot is no longer with us so last night I made this recipe on the stove top.
Cook onion in butter. Add soups, chicken(still used frozen), potatoes,water/broth(about 3 cups), and seasonings and let it simmer for 1.5 hours.
After that time, shred the chicken and throw in the mixed veggies. Let it cook for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, bring to a boil and throw in the biscuit dough. Turn it down to a simmer and cook it for 20 minutes.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekly Menu

Cheesesteak sandwiches and Onion straws
Onion Straws(recipe courtesy of the Pioneer Woman Cooks)

1 large onion
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 scant tablespoon salt
Lots of black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Canola Oil

Slice onion very thin. Place in a baking dish and cover with buttermilk for at least one hour.
Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
Heat oil to 375 degrees.
Grab a handful of onions, throw into the flour mixture, tab to shake off excess, and PLUNGE into hot oil. Fry for a few minutes and remove as soon as golden brown.
Repeat until onions are gone.
Eat before your family sees them.
Repeat with another onion, because they’ll be really mad they didn’t get any.

Porcupine meatballs and rice:
1 egg
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed tomato soup
1/4 cup instant rice(you can also use leftover rice)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Lightly beat egg with a fork, then add a heaping tablespoon of the soup and mix lightly. Mix in rice, onion, parsley, onion salt and pepper. Stir in the ground beef and mix well with hands. From mixture into 1 1/2 inch round meatballs.
Coat a large skillet over medium heat with cooking spray. Cook meatballs and brown on all sides.
Combine remaining soup with Worcestershire (you can increase or decrease Worcestershire to your liking), stir until smooth, then spoon over meatballs. Cover with lid and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Fried Chicken and Mac n Cheese:
Fried Chicken recipe from Alton Brown
1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups low fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Flour, for dredging
Vegetable shortening, for frying

Place chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan. Once shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees F. Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees F.

Drain chicken in a colander. Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

Place chicken skin side down into the pan. Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side. More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. (Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes.)

Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan. Don't drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags. If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it?s a gas oven.

Southwestern egg rolls:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half(I use canned chicken for these)
2 tablespoons minced green onion
2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons diced jalapeno peppers
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
5 (6 inch) flour tortillas
1 quart oil for deep frying(I bake mine, dont need the extra fat)

Rub 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over chicken breast. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook chicken approximately 5 minutes per side, until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in green onion and red pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until tender.
Dice chicken and mix into the pan with onion and red pepper. Mix in corn, black beans, spinach, jalapeno peppers, parsley, cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until well blended and tender. Remove from heat and stir in Monterey Jack cheese so that it melts.
Wrap tortillas with a clean, lightly moist cloth. Microwave on high approximately 1 minute, or until hot and pliable.
Spoon even amounts of the mixture into each tortilla. Fold ends of tortillas, then roll tightly around mixture. Secure with toothpicks. Arrange in a medium dish, cover with plastic, and place in the freezer. Freeze at least 4 hours.
In a large, deep skillet, heat oil for deep frying to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Deep fry frozen, stuffed tortillas 10 minutes each, or until dark golden brown. Drain on paper towels before serving.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Omnivore's 100

My Omnivore's 100
A British foodie site has come up with a list of what it calls The Omnivore's 100 -- a hundred foods that everyone should try at least once in their life. I've posted the list with the foods from it that I've tried in boldface. How do you fare? I have to say that a few of my favorite items are on this list. I love black pudding, oxtail, and dirty water dogs aka hot dog from a street vendor are a MUST whenever I go back to NY.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Biscotti and cupcakes

Yesterday I channeled my inner June Cleaver and I baked my little heart out. Granted I didnt do it while wearing a poofy skirt and pearls, but I think any 1950s homemaker would be proud of me.
Betty Ann(Mother In Law) brought us some fresh apples on Sunday so I needed to do something with them. Yes, I did have some as God intended but I also thought that I could make a yummy dessert with them. Now, I hate apple pie. Yep, I do. I know, I am just a commie but I cant stand the mushy apples. If you gave me the choice between a slice of the world's best apple pie and a fresh apple, I would go with the apple. Ya know what is funny, I actually make a decent apple pie. Anyway I was looking for something different so I thought that apple cupcakes would be a good way to go. I turned to my friend Martha(you may know her as Martha Stewart) and decided to use her apple cupcake recipe.

Apple Cupcakes

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups coarsely shredded apples, such as Macintosh (about 1 3/4 pounds)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line two standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. -Now, in my great wisdom, I had packed away my kitcheaide mixer. DUMB MOVE, so I ended up using a hand mixer. If you use a hand mixer, the butter and sugar will mix and end up sand like rather than a creamy mix. I just used the hand mixer for 5 minutes and then creamed them together with a spoon for 1-2 minutes.
Mix in eggs and vanilla.Reduce speed to low; mix in apples.
Add flour mixture; mix, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until just combined.
Fill lined cups halfway with batter; bake until tops are springy to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from tins; let cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, frost cupcakes.

Now my dear friend Martha recommends cream cheese frosting and I like that pairing but hubby hates it. I asked him what he wanted on top of these cupcakes and his reply was "cinnamon frosting". Okayyyyyyyyyyy never heard of it but he threw down the culinary gauntlet so I needed to answer. A quick Google search yielded a great recipe. I frosted half the cupcakes with the traditional cream cheese and the other half with a cinnamon-honey buttercream.

Cinnamon-Honey buttercream frosting
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
*Frosting recipe from the Serious Eats blog

I also made biscotti yesterday. Biscotti is easy plus I wanted to do a trial run of some recipes. I've signed up with
Operation Baking Gals to help bake goodies for a solder overseas. I decided that biscotti would be a great idea so I wanted to tweak my recipes before I go ahead and bake dozens upon dozens.

Chocolate Chip Biscotti*
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Combine butter, sugar and eggs, mixing well.
Beat in vanilla.
Combine dry ingredients.
Add to egg mixture.
Add chocolate chips.
Batter will be very stiff and sticky.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
With floured hands, divide the dough in 2 loaves about 12 inches long (like French bread).
Place loaves on 10 x 14 inch sheet, leaving at least 3 inches between.
Flatten each loaf slightly, evenly. DONT FLATTEN TOO MUCH! This is important.
Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, or firm to the touch.
Cool slightly; lower oven to 375 degrees.
While still warm, slice loaves in diagonal slices, about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick.
Arrange on ungreased sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until firm.
Do not brown, you dont want the chips to burn.

Once mine were cooled, I coated one side in chocolate...oh yeah, I went there!

Pictures are forth coming. It took me 3 hours to write this short blog entry, the two babies are just so demanding, ya know.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Meal Planning!

Do you write out your weekly menus? Well I do. I like to be organized plus it saves time and money. I use to do it by days but now I just come up with a list of meals and the ingredients needs. I am flexible with the days. I just started planning two weeks in advance. Obviously, there is some flexibility and the menu gets put off for a day. Last night we ended up at eatnpark after a quick run to the grove city outlets at 7pm(dont ask, long story) but I had made the chicken anyway so we will have it tonight. Here is what I have planned for the next two weeks-
Chicken fingers, texas toast, fries and gravy
Korean BBQ beef with rice-it is pre-marinated from trader joes, quick and yummy.
Beef Stew
Chicken and bacon calzones
chicken spaghetti
BBQ chicken with corn
tomato cheesy chicken with pasta-Chicken, diced tomatoes, mozzerella cheese, and some basil. So easy and so darn yummy.
Baked Chicken Breasts with Parmesan Garlic Crust
Chinese BBQ pork with noodles
French onion soup
ham steak with skillet potatoes

We will obviously eat out a few times or have leftovers but it is nice to have all the ingredients on hand. I even have frozen bread dough for the french onion soup.
I made a zebra cake the other day and it was good, but needs tweaking. I also plan on making chocolate chip biscotti and apple cupcakes. We have fresh apples from a local orchard and I dont want to go to waste.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cat Poem

Oh poor kitty of the basement

You don’t seem comfortable here

Are you used to a larger futon bed?

I was unaware they had futon beds in the woods, but

I am sorry our humble abode isn’t to your liking. I wish our futon bed was bigger. I know a 10lb cat needs lots of space.

Oh you don’t like the water in the water dish? I am sorry you find the need to sit in my kitchen sink and lick the faucet. I am sure the rainwater and mud in the woods are far superior to the water in your water dish. I apologize once again.

I am so happy that you found my bedroom and it is music to my ears to hear you crying for food at 5am.

I am sure you miss living on bugs and that the meow mix is mere garbage. You have such a sophisticated palette afterall.

Oh kitty of the basement, I am so sorry you seem to hate it here. I know I deserved your punishment of digging through our clean and folded laundry and leaving a coating of white fur. It was such a just punishment for our shortcomings.