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Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Many Mini Chicken Casseroles

August 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Normally, I hate the word casserole. I make one exception.

My favorite food as a child was mom’s chicken casserole – mostly for the stove top topping, but the mushrooms are pretty good too!

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts (cooked. boiled or grilled is fine)
1 box of Stove Top chicken stuffing, prepared as directed
broccoli (frozen works fine)
1/2 cup mayo
1 cup cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mushrooms (canned work well)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. Shred the chicken and place in the bottom of casserole dish (or in my case, 7 mini casserole dishes). Mix together remaining ingredients (minus the stove top). Add half the soup mixture on top of chicken. Add broccoli and cover with remaining mixture. Top with stove top. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until the stove top browns and the mixture is bubbly.

Enjoy! Yum. Talk about comfort food!

Birthday/Anniverary Dinner – Strawberry Basil Lentil Salad and Filet Mignon

June 1, 2011 1 comment

First off, thank you readers! My little blog has surpassed 10,000 views this week! Wow!

Yesterday I finally cooked a real meal again. I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I did something other than boil pasta or throw some meat and veggies on the Foreman grill.

For Charles’ birthday, I promised him a home cooked dinner (AND I’d do the dishes. That was almost more exciting to him than the dinner!).

I had actually planned to make this last Thursday, but at the last minute he decided we should go out. A couple weeks ago Lauren posted this recipe to her blog and Charles saw it and thought it looked good. I was surprised. Given that he hates lima beans and quinoa, I wasn’t sure how he’d feel about lentils.

And I was right. He told me I undercooked them. I told them they were supposed to be a sort of meaty texture! I think he would have cooked the hell out of them if I let him!

I followed Lauren’s recipe to a T, except for the tuna. My grocery store doesn’t carry fresh fish, and I didn’t want to risk it with something frozen. So I went for a nice juicy steak to grill instead. Yum!

I can’t serve Charles a plate that doesn’t have something green on it. I meant to sautee some spinach and use it as a bed for the salad, but I forgot to get spinach. It would have been great though. Thankfully, I had grilled eggplant from TJs in the freezer to save the day. And a fresh loaf of challah, it doesn’t get any better.

Charles and I both thought the best part was the balsamic reduction. I think I could eat a shoe if it was coated in that.

The strawberries and basil make a perfect summery salad. And we both felt good for eating something so healthy!

Cousin Kathy’s Irish Soda Bread

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I had really hoped to bake this last night to have photos to provide for you, but unfortunately I wasn’t feeling like it. Hopefully I will get to have some this weekend when I go home to see Mom and I can add a photo of it then. She makes it better anyway. But I can assure you, it’s delicious!

I’m fairly sure this recipe came from Cousin Kathy (whose quiche I featured last year). If it wasn’t Kathy, it was someone in her family for sure! Since I don’t have a photo of the bread, I’ll share one of Cousin Kathy (dancing with her brother Danny).

This bread is best if it’s made in a large cast iron skillet. Something about the skillet gives the bread an amazing crust.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 tsps baking powder (note – it’s POWDER, not soda, even though it’s called “soda” bread. yeah. this confuses me)
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 cup raisins (pour boiling water over them and soak until plump)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter or oleo

Sift dry ingredients. Add the rest and blend with a fork. The dough will be moist.

Grease and flour a skillet (or cake or loaf pans if you must).

Flour your hands and loosen the batter from the sides of the bowel. It will be stiff. Pour it into your skillet or two small loaf pans. Brush the top with milk.

Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes (less time if you use smaller pans).

I can already taste the caraway seeds!

Traditionally, this bread is served with apples and cheddar. However, I prefer plain Kerrygold butter. Yum!

The world’s biggest Cadbury Creme Egg

March 10, 2011 9 comments

A couple years ago when my dad was sick, my sister and I decided to FINALLY create something from Pimp that Snack for him.  His favorite Easter treat had always been Cadbury eggs. Perfect, right?

First of all, while they call their egg the “Creme de la Creme,” I’ll go with “world’s biggest” for ours. Our mold was significantly bigger.

The ingredients are simple enough (for what seems like a complex treat):

1.5 kg of Cadburys Milk Chocolate
3lbs of granulated sugar
2 x 140 g bottles of liquid glucose (or corn syrup)
vanilla extract
red food colouring
yellow food colouring

Being that we’re not in Great Britain, milk chocolate was hard to find. I looked EVERYWHERE for dairy milk and couldn’t find it. My brother in law told us to just use hershey’s chips…BLASPHEMY!  Then it would be a hershey’s creme egg. Not a Cadbury one.

I finally found a World Market that had several cases of Flake bars. Close enough, right?

Well, the taste was right…but whatever it is that makes them “flake” also keeps them from melting. So while breaking $50 worth of flake into tiny peices and mixing in milk while melthing…my sister and I got rather sick of Flake.

You’d also think it would be easy to find an egg mold the week of Easter. You would also be wrong. We finally found ONE available in a candy store.

We spent hours stirring, melting, brushing, etc. It’s not as easy as it seems! (and we’d made candy in the past)

Next up, was the filling. Let me preface this by saying this was the first time my cousin’s boyfriend (now fiance) was meeting the family. He met us over a pot of boiling white goo. A pot of goo so gooey, we girls were too weak to handle the necessary stirring!

Thankfully, he was able to handle it while two or three of us held the pot down.

Once he got it stirred and out of the pot (and licked all our utensils!), we made our “yolk” with food coloring, and set about filling the chocolate shells.

(Note to self: I think I need to return to that haircut!)

It was a sticky job and involved some finger licking at the end, but someone had to do it!

Then, we attempted the magic. We put the molds in the refrigerator, the freezer, anything to help them “set.”

Damn Flake. It doesn’t set.

We ended up serving Dad two open-face halves of a Cadbury egg, but it was still the most amazing thing ever!

We all grabbed spoons and had at it, until we couldn’t have anything more. I also remember figuring out the Weight Watcher points the thing included. Trust me. You don’t want to know.

Chicken Pot Pie, and I don’t care!

February 23, 2011 2 comments

I promised Lara I would post this blog early, so she could make these yummy pies for dinner tonight!

For weeks now, I’ve been meaning to make a chicken pot pie recipe I saw on Emily’s blog. Charles planned to come over to dinner last night, so I asked if that was something he’d like. He said sure. I found out later, he figured I was buying them pre-made at Trader Joe’s or something.

But yay for fresh semi-homemade pies!

The ingredients are easy enough and 90% of them I have on hand most of the time:

  • Chicken (I use frozen tenderloins from Trader Joe’s)
  • Pie crust (I love the frozen kind from Pilsbury. Ever since Martha suggested them as a shortcut, I’ve been hooked! They’re the closes to Mom’s that I’ve found in a pre-made crust. And I HATE making crust).
  • Cream of Chicken soup (I followed Emily’s recommendation and went 98% fat free instead of low sodium. I don’t add any salt to the dish, so it works out great).
  • Mixed Frozen Veggies. It took me a while to find a mix that didn’t contain lima beans. I remembered Charles doesn’t like them (he never had Giggie’s!). And he even commented while eating his pie, “Where did you find mixed veggies without lima beans?” Score one for me!
  • Herbs. You can spice as you like. I used about a Tablespoon of rosemary and a Tablespoon of thyme. I’d use less rosemary next time.

To make it even easier, I grilled my chicken on the Foreman grill. I feel like I can do other things while meat grills on there. If it was in a pan, I’d feel the need to watch it so that it doesn’t stick. And the grill requires no oil!

While it was grilling, I put my veggies in a big mixing bowl and microwaved them for about 4 minutes (just to get the frost off – stirring halfway through). When they were done, I cut up the chicken, threw it into the bowl, and added the can of soup.

After mixing well, I scooped about 1 cup into each of my mini-casseroles and ramekins which already had a bottom crust in them.

Remember how I don’t like to make crust? I don’t really like working with it. I went more for flavor than look on this dish. Working a large crust into a small, deep bowl isn’t fun.

I did top and bottom crusts, but considering the crust is the most indulgent thing in the recipe, you might choose to do just one or the other. Top only would be easiest, but my father wouldn’t allow me to do it. There wasn’t much he hated more than turning a pot pie out of it’s pan and having gravy spread all over his plate because there was no bottom crust!

When the pies were constructed, I gave a quick egg white wash to the tops and baked them at 350 for about 40 minutes (just until the crusts started to brown. I like them a little doughy).

Would Charles eat them again…Yes!!

A Weekend of Cooking!

January 24, 2011 3 comments

By my standards, this weekend was incredibly productive (well, Saturday was at least). I did about 5 loads of laundry, got rid of three bags and a giant rubbermaid container of stuff in my basement (either put away, put in piles to go home, or put in the trash, yay!) and managed to cook a delicious meal. (Some day I’ll get that basement completely unpacked…someday.)

So back to the meal. It was probably 5 or 6 years ago that LK first introduced me to the idea of putting veggies in a burger. Turkey burgers were all the rage, and, lets face it, they’re pretty dry and tasteless.

Add in some zuchinni and BAM! A whole new burger.

Since I’m attempting to use up anything in my freezer that I can’t remember the purchase date of, I’ve been looking for ways to use chicken. I have a bag of frozen tenderloins and I got so sick of eating chicken breasts that I had to figure out more inventive ways of cooking them than just grilling or baking.

Enter, the zuchinni dill chicken burger. The zuchinni and dill give a sort of “Greek” flavor to the burger, while the veggies keep the meat nice and moist (unlike plain chicken or turkey burgers). Plus, with all the added bulk with the veggies, two (normal sized, not huge) servings of chicken end up making four burgers. And they’re pretty big burgers! (That’s a “sandwich plate” pictured above. Not a huge dinner plate. I hardly ever use big plates because they make my food look so tiny!)

I took the chicken out to defrost in the morning in the fridge. By 5 p.m., they were still slightly frozen in the middle, but that made for an easier job of grinding using my KitchenAid meat grinder attachment.

An hour or two before I made dinner, I shredded the zuchinni (two medium ones). It helps if you put them in a colander and let them drain for a while. I think overnight would be best, but after an hour I pressed them between paper towels to dry them the rest of the way (wet veggies = burgers that fall apart. So don’t skip this!).

I mixed them with the two servings of ground chicken, added 1.5 Tbsp dill; 1 Tbsp minced garlic (the jarred kind); 1 Tbsp dried onion flakes; and one beaten egg.

Cook on a HOT grill (and make sure it’s clean. There were little bits left behind from the first two that caused the second two to stick unevenly).

I served mine on Trader Joe’s sandwich thins, topped with Trader Joe’s Yogurt Cilantro Chive dip (homemade tzatziki is also great). In fact, the entire meal was bought at Trader Joe’s (with super yummy honey wheat pretzels on the side!).

Patterson’s Potato Candy

December 17, 2010 2 comments

For the last 4 or 5 years, a group of friends and I have gotten together each December to do a cookie exchange. More exciting than the cookies themselves, I think, are seeing what everyone thinks of as “holiday cookies” and getting to share new ideas.

Each year I try to think back to what my mom made when I was a kid. The first year I made her Sugar Gem cookies and they were a hit (even the president of my university raved over the ones I brought to work!). Then I made my favorite as a kid – Cinnamon Jumbles. The super soft, buttermilk based cookies almost taste like a combination of snickerdoodle and mini pancakes. Last year I made raspberry thumbprints. Yum!

Mashing taters!

This year I called mom for her potato candy recipe. Sure it’s not a cookie, but it’s round a delicious so I figure it’ll count!

The first sign I have that something is going to be amazing is when I call and ask Mom for the recipe and she says she can’t give it to me. Because there isn’t one!

I can remember my grandmother and great-aunt having these candies on hand during Christmas. Then my sister picked up the habit.

The name is rather misleading. Yes, there’s potato in there, but it’s really just a binder to hold together a LOT of powdered sugar. And what’s better than a lot of sugar? A lot of peanut butter.

I always thought this would be harder to make, but it’s super easy!

Boil a small potato (about 3 inches in diameter) until soft, like soft enough to make mashed potatoes.

Final dough consistancy.

Mash the potato. I used a ricer because mom didn’t tell me how to do it. It worked super well (she usually uses a hand mixer, she told me later).

Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

 

Mix on medium while slowly adding a 1 lb box of powdered sugar. The dough will slowly turn whiter as you add the sugar and it should completely mix and start to pull away from the edges of the bowl and form a ball (sort of like bread dough). Based on the size of the potato, you may need a little more or less than 1 lb of sugar.

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

When the dough is mixed, spread a fine layer of powdered sugar on your counter and rolling pin, and roll it out super thin. The thinner the better (and the more candy it’ll make). Once it’s pie-crust thin, spread generously with peanut butter and roll the dough.

Wrap in wax paper and chill for 4-6 hours at least. Then remove from the fridge, and slice into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices.  You’ll want them thin because it’s super rich and sugary, sort of like a non-chocolaty fudge.

Rolled, Chilled and Cut!

Be sure to keep it in a somewhat cool place and in an airtight container. It’ll get hard and crack if it dries out.