Showing posts with label poultry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poultry. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dutch Oven Apricot Chicken

I made those snickerdoodle bars again, that same evening, at a campout for a dutch oven dessert cookoff. And because of all the extra heat in the fire pit where the ovens were, and because I didn't check on the cookie bars as early as I should have, I burned the bottom to a crisp. That having been only the second time I've ever cooked with a dutch oven, I wasn't too embarrassed or devastated or anything, I just scraped the bottom off and served the bars anyway.

I thought I was over it, and okay with it. But when I decided I wanted to plan a dutch oven meal to cook and eat this week, I kind of froze. Recipes I had looked at before and wanted to try suddenly looked too complicated, too easy for me to mess up. I was scared to try again. It took some facebook encouragement from my aunt and a couple friends to get me feeling okay again. I found a very simple recipe to try and wrote it on the menu calendar for today.

Then it rained all morning, and I thought I'd have to put it off until tomorrow. Luckily, by early evening the rain had stopped and the cement in the backyard had dried enough that I was able to go ahead and light up the coals.

I'm so glad I was able to get over my nervousness and give the dutch oven another try. This apricot chicken (again, from Dutch Oven Madness) was very easy to prepare and cook, and turned out very good. For one thing, it's just beautiful. And of course, the flavor is yummy - tangy, with bits of fruit from the jam and onion from the soup mix. I would not be opposed to making this again sometime.

Dutch Oven Apricot Chicken
12" dutch oven
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup apricot jam (I used apricot pineapple jam that my aunt made, super yummy)
1 cup catalina or french salad dressing (I used french, because the store I went to didn't have catalina in the generic brand)
2 tbsp. sugar
1 pkg. onion soup mix

Place chicken in your dutch oven. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Easy peasy! I will say that my chicken didn't take the full hour to cook, it was done at about 45-50 minutes. Check for doneness before the full time has passed.

I served this over reconstituted potato shreds, the kind that comes in a food storage can. I was considering doing rice, but we've had chicken and rice a lot in the last few days, and wanted something different. Just in case anyone was wondering what that weird-looking stuff under the chicken is. :)

I used the Dinwiddie ring method for achieving the correct heat, coal counting works too if that's what you prefer. I had to add a few coals about halfway through as they got smaller. I thought that would be hard to figure out, but I just started more coals than I needed, kept the ones I didn't use right away all together so they would stay hot, and just tucked them in where needed. For longer cooking times, like several hours, I might start a new batch of coals partway through to replenish coals as they go out.

Mmm, look at that chicken swimming in all that tangy sweet sauce!

Linking to:
Think Tank Thursday
Link Party Palooza 
Strut Your Stuff Saturday

Monday, July 7, 2014

Creamed Chicken

I have spent a great portion of the day reading through my blog, sort of a trip down memory lane. It's been fun to reminisce, and to see how my blog has progressed and gone through its many phases and stages. For a while, I was posting so frequently that I felt guilty if I went a whole week without posting. Wow, that is not how I do it lately! Anymore, I only post once or twice a month, if that. I really want to get back into the habit of posting more frequently. So here I am, posting our simple, inexpensive, yet delicious meal that we enjoyed tonight.

I enjoy using chicken leg quarters. They're one of the cheapest sources of meat, at under a dollar a pound. We use them as is, or separated to have the thighs for one meal and the drumsticks for another. My favorite way to use them in recipes is to start by stewing them in water until they are tender. Just cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium or medium-high, and simmer until completely done. The longer they cook, the more tender they get. Remove the chicken from the broth, reserving the broth of course. Once the chicken has cooled down, you can pull all the chicken from the bones and use the chicken in whatever recipe you want.

I recently learned a great tip for taking chicken dishes from good to amazing. Adding thyme and a small amount of turmeric gives an incredible flavor, as well as a pretty color, to everything from chicken soup to chicken pie. Tonight I used this seasoning trick in our creamed chicken, with great results. We served the chicken over pasta, but it was so good I was eating the chicken gravy by itself by the end of the meal!

Creamed Chicken
2 chicken thighs, boiled in water until tender, then removed from bones and shredded (see above)
Broth from boiling the chicken
1 cup frozen peas, run under hot water until thawed
1 cup frozen sliced carrots, microwaved with a little water until thawed and softened
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/4 cup flour
1 or 2 dashes turmeric
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
8 oz. macaroni noodles, cooked and drained

Melt margarine in large saucepan. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk in 2 1/2 cups chicken broth. Cook and stir over medium heat until smooth and thickened. Stir in turmeric, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Add peas, carrots, and chicken. Serve over noodles. This would also be good over rice, mashed potatoes, or like I said, all by itself!

Linking to tatertots & jello

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Kitchen My World - Saudi Arabia

I know that the last time I did a dish for My Kitchen My World I did chicken and rice, but I couldn't resist doing it again this month. It's interesting how so many different countries can do a similar dish, but do it so differently!

Saudi Arabian chicken and rice, called Kabsa, was different from other versions of chicken and rice I've done, thanks to the exotic blend of spices, and the delicious topping of fried nuts and raisins. The whole family very much enjoyed this culinary trip to Saudi Arabia.

Kabsa (Saudi Chicken and Rice)
(adapted from Saji's)
2 chicken breasts
6 cups water
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp butter, divided
1 1/2 cup chopped ripe tomato
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups long grain rice
salt to taste
1 tsp ground cardamom (at $10 a bottle, this is too expensive for me - I substituted an additional 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp allspice, and 1/2 tsp ginger)
1 tsp ground coriander
10 cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup raisins soaked in 1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup pine nuts

In a large pot place chicken, water, onion, bay leaves, cinnamon, and 1 tsp salt and let cook covered on low heat for about 1 1/2 hour.

In another large pot add olive oil and 1 tbsp butter, then add chopped onions and chopped tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. Next add rice and seasonings. Mix and then add 4 cups of chicken broth from the cooked chicken. Stir and then add 3 tbsp butter. Let come to a boil and then turn down to low heat, cover and let cook for 45 minutes.

In a small pan, add 2 tbsp butter and stir in nuts and raisins, let cook until all are evenly brown, set aside for garnish. In the mean time, pull apart cooked chicken and remove any bones.

After 45 minutes, fluff rice with a fork and let sit another 10 minutes.

Pour out the rice into a large serving dish, place pieces of chicken on top and then put the nut and raisin mixture on top of that. Serve.

Linking to:
My Kitchen My World
Think Tank Thursday (Joyful Homemaking)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Kitchen My World - Belize

Belize was the MKMW country for March. I know that I'm posting in April, but since we made and ate this meal yesterday, technically it still counts for March.

Belize is a small country in Central America, between Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean Sea. The food is similar to both Mexican and Jamaican/Anglo-Caribbean cuisine.

One of the basic staples of Belizean cuisine is stewed chicken served with beans and rice. The recipe I found for the chicken does not use recado (a Mayan spice blend), and the beans and rice use coconut milk. This was a delicious meal. My favorite part was the sauce made from the pan drippings. The onions just melted into the chicken drippings, and it all came together to make a very flavorful gravy that I really enjoyed.

Belizean Stewed Chicken
(from Belize News Post)
4 lbs of chicken cut into pieces, drumsticks and thighs seem to work best, bone in (I used two leg quarters)
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons oil, or enough to just cover the bottom of the pot
1 small yellow or Spanish onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour, mixed with 2 tablespoons water (I used extra water, it was too thick at first)

Mix salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic (garlic powder can be substituted) creating a rub. Season chicken with salt, pepper, thyme and garlic mixture.

Heat two tablespoons (or enough to fully cover the bottom of the pan) of oil in large dutch oven or stewing pot over moderately high heat.

Place the chicken in the pan starting skin down. Brown chicken, turning pieces once, about 5 minutes per side.

As chicken browns, add onions, cover pan and simmer on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes so chicken will stew. Recipes vary on the amount of time, many call for 1-2 hours of stewing. Make sure your chicken is fully cooked before enjoying! (Mine stewed for about half an hour before the chicken was done).

After the chicken has finished cooking add a few teaspoons of water to skillet and the flour to thicken the gravy.

Belizean Beans and Rice
(adapted from Belize News Post)
1 large can beans (I used a combination of several types, including black, navy, and pinto)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup coconut milk
2 lbs. rice (I only used 1 1/2 cups, whatever that ends up weighing)

Season beans with black pepper, thyme, and salt. Add coconut milk and 3 cups water. Stir and taste. Let boil.

Add rice to seasoned beans. Stir, then cover. Cook until water is absorbed or rice is tender. If necessary, add more water gradually until rice is tender.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Indonesian Peanut Chicken

Every once in a while Jeff and I grab a cookbook, leaf through it, and choose a couple recipes that we've never done before. Ethnic dishes are particular favorites of ours; we love being able to enjoy flavors from around the world in the comfort (and frugality) of our own home. We also think it's great to be able to introduce various flavor profiles to the kids.

Blah blah, fancy talk, what I really mean is: this week we were bored with the same old meal rut we've been in and wanted to try something less boring. :)

This is a fun recipe, a little sweet, a little spicy, a little exotic. The three-year-old didn't care for it, but the older kids liked it well enough. As for Jeff and I, we found it delicious.

Indonesian Peanut Chicken
(from Betty Crocker)
3- to 3 1/2-pound cut-up broiler-fryer chicken (we used chicken leg quarters)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup chili sauce
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 cup water
1/4 cup salted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet or 4-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook chicken in oil about 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides. Cover and cook over low heat about 20 minutes or until juice is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut. Remove chicken from skillet with tongs.

Drain all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet; heat over medium heat. Cook onion in drippings, stirring occasionally, until tender; reduce heat. Stir in peanut butter, chili sauce and red pepper. Gradually stir in water, stirring constantly, until peanut butter is melted.

Add chicken. Spoon sauce over chicken. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered about 5 minutes, spooning sauce frequently over chicken, until sauce is slightly thickened. Serve sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with peanuts and bell pepper. 

Linking to:
Think Tank Thursday at Joyful Homemaking 
Weekend Wrap-Up at tatertots&jello 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Turkey Chili

A while back, Jeff bought three huge turkeys, because they were super cheap. Thank goodness we have a large freezer downstairs! Anyway, several days ago we cooked one of the turkeys, and of course we boiled up the carcass into some fantastic turkey broth. This dish was a great way to use some of the broth and leftover turkey. It also takes advantage of the fact that fresh cilantro is really inexpensive this time of year. This chili has a delicious flavor and, being a bit lighter than traditional chili, is a great meal for a spring evening.

I may or may not have eaten three bowls in one sitting.

Turkey Chili
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp oil
3 cups turkey broth
2 cans beans, drained, or equivalent beans cooked from dry (I used black beans and soy beans)
1 can corn, drained
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cups chopped turkey

Cook onion, green pepper, and garlic in oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes.

If you like your chili spicy, you can add some canned chilies, or some hot sauce.

Linked to:
Weekend Wrap-Up Party at tatertots & jello
Think Tank Thursday at Joyful Homemaking

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu Braid

I love Chicken Cordon Bleu. Absolutely love it. I do not, however, love pounding and rolling chicken. It's messy and not very fun. So a few weeks ago I tried this shortcut Chicken Cordon Bleu, which involves slicing the breast in half lengthwise instead of pounding it, and layering the ingredients instead of rolling them in the chicken. It turned out great!

Here is another fun variation on this classic dish. All the components of Chicken Cordon Bleu are wrapped up in bread dough and baked into an easy and delicious loaf.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Braid
2 chicken breasts, sliced or cubed
1-2 tsp. minced garlic
Deli ham
Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup parmesan
1 loaf bread dough

Preheat oven to 375. Saute chicken with garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Combine cream soup, mustard, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, and parmesan. Set aside.

Roll out bread dough into large rectangle. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut 1-inch wide strips in towards the center, starting on the long sides. There should be a solid strip about 3 inches wide down the center, with the cut strips forming a fringe down each side.

Spread soup mixture down the center strip (use a lot or a little, depending on how saucy you want your loaf. You might not use all the sauce). Top with the chicken, ham, and cheese. Fold the side strips over filling, alternating strips from each side and pressing them into the dough on the opposite side, forming a braid. Pinch or twist to seal.

Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes. Let cool a bit, then slice and enjoy!

Linked to Tatertots and Jello Weekend Wrap-Up Party

Friday, July 17, 2009

Easy Curry - Freezer Meal

This is the second freezer meal I've chosen to work on (the first being the burritos for which I made those refried beans). I really love curry. I grew up on the boxed curry, where you cook the meat and vegetables, then add water and those squares of curry paste. It's so yummy, but those boxes are so expensive! I do think that the boxed curry will always be my favorite, but this recipe is a very delicious and inexpensive substitute. It came from the More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre. I love using this book for yummy, inexpensive, practical recipes.

I doubled the recipe and it made enough for three freezer meals for my family. I cooked it up after dinner last night, so I wasn't heating up the apartment by simmering the food during the day. I try to avoid doing anything that will heat up the apartment in the middle of the day - it's already too hot!

Easy Curry
1/4-1/2 lb. chicken or other meat (raw or cooked), finely cut
2-2 1/2 cups water
2 medium carrots
3 stalks celery
1 green pepper
1/2 medium onion
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. curry powder (this makes a medium spiciness - for spicy use more, for mild use less)
1 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup milk
2 tbsp. cornstarch

Brown meat in small amount of fat. Add water. Chop and add vegetables. Add salt, pepper, and curry powder. Blend tomato sauce, milk, and cornstarch, and add.

Simmer 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender and sauce is thick and glossy. Stir frequently. Serve over rice, noodles, or biscuits.

Sorry for the bad pic, the lighting in my kitchen is terrible! But here you can see all the delicious veggies and the thick, glossy sauce.

Freezer Meal: Once curry is finished cooking, let cool and separate into meal-sized portions, into freezer containers, ziploc-style freezer bags, or canning jars. Freeze. To use, thaw completely in refrigerator, and heat in a saucepan over medium heat until heated through.

If you put it in freezer bags, flatten it out to freeze. You can stack the frozen bags easily so it takes up less freezer space, and it thaws faster.

I was going to wait and do the curry another night, but we had chicken last night for dinner and there were several drumsticks left. Opportunity knocked, and I used the leftover chicken to make the curry after we had dinner. I had planned on boiling some separately for this recipe, but why do all that work when there was already cooked chicken available! ;-)

Later today I'll be making a nice big batch of chili, and possibly tortillas for the burritos. Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Turkey Divan

This is such a delicious dish! Tender broccoli, big chunks of turkey, creamy and tangy sauce, yum! We had some broccoli that needed to be used, and yesterday Jeff brought a bag of cooked turkey down from the freezer to thaw. It seemed like a good idea to combine them, and I found this delicious recipe to do just that. It's one I've been wanting to try for a while, but hadn't gotten around to it. The recipe comes from a small Taste of Home recipe booklet I've had for a long time, and have tried several recipes from. It was originally for Chicken Divan, but since when do I follow a recipe word for word? ;-)

Turkey Divan
2 pkgs (10 oz each) frozen broccoli or 1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, washed, cut in spears, and lightly steamed (I boiled them, not wanting to bother getting out the steamer)
1 1/2 cups cooked turkey, cut into bite-size pieces (or of course you could use chicken)
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted (I made a batch of white sauce instead)
1/2 cup mayonnainse
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. chicken broth
1/4 cup Parmesan (I omitted this as we are out at the moment, but it would be good with it)

Arrange broccoli spears on bottom of 1 1/2 qt. buttered casserole; sprinkle turkey or chicken pieces over broccoli. Combine sauce ingredients; spoon over top of broccoli/turkey. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30 minutes.

This was so delicious served over rice.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My Kitchen My World - Mexico

After a long absence from MKMW, I was eager to jump back on the wagon and participate this month. My Kitchen My World has changed around a little bit since the last time I participated. Now there are two countries each month, and recipes are posted on the second and fourth Saturday. The first country for May is Mexico, in honor of Cinco de Mayo - I knew I could do this one, because I love Mexican foods!

I have this great cookbook, the Better Homes and Gardens Mexican Cookbook, published 1977. It was my source for all the recipes in this post.

All I had to do was flip through the book and pick a few delicious-looking recipes. We have a plato mayor (main dish), sopa (soup), and postre (dessert).

Since I'm pregnant, we didn't do this whole menu all at once - we spread out the dishes over several days. If I were to try eating all this in one sitting, I would end up with a very upset tummy that would plague me for hours! Not to mention trying to plan and cook it all at once is just more than I could manage, even with Jeff doing a majority of the work. Doing each dish separately ended up being a great idea because we could enjoy and savor each individual recipe on its own, instead of having one big marathon meal where no one individual dish stood out. Also, it was like we got to celebrate Cinco de Mayo all week long! It worked out great!

The entree for our Mexican menu was an absolutely fabulous dish called Pollo Aguascalientes, or Chicken Aguascalientes-Style. Aguascalientes ("hot waters") is a region of Mexico located northwest of Mexico City. It is so named because of the abundance of hot springs in the area. Based on this dish, I would say that they have a pretty good handle on making good food - this was absolutely fantastic! I loved loved loved! the combination of flavors in this chicken and we will definitely be making this again and again.

Pollo Aguascalientes
2 1/2- to 3-pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut up (instead of buying a whole chicken, we used what we had available - two thighs and three drumsticks)
2 tbsp. cooking oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (I skipped the peeling and seeding and it worked fine)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. cornstarch

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In 12-inch skillet brown chicken in cooking oil about 15 minutes. Add onion and garlic, cook 5 minutes more. Add tomatoes, lemon juice, sugar, salt, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, and 1/2 cup water. Cover; simmer 30-35 minutes or till chicken is tender and cooked through.

Remove chicken to platter; keep warm. Measure pan juices; add water to make 2 cups. Return to skillet. Combine cornstarch and 2 tbsp. cold water; add to skillet. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.

Spoon some sauce over chicken; pass remainder. Traditionally served with shredded lettuce, jalapeno peppers, fried potatoes (slice a potato or two, and fry in butter), and chorizo (we skipped the chorizo). Makes 4 servings.

This chicken dish, though supremely delicious, was a lot of work, so next time I really want to try cooking it in the slow cooker. I think the recipe will convert to slow cooker really easily. Just add the ingredients into the cooker all at once, then cook until the chicken is done. When we do it that way, I'll post how it goes.

The soup we chose to make was a deliciously simple Sopa Ranchera, or Ranch-Style Soup. With basic ingredients and easy instructions, the soup was quick and easy to make, and very delicious. This is another one that I wouldn't hesitate to make again.

Sopa Ranchera
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp. cooking oil
4 cups chicken broth (we used turkey broth from a turkey we roasted up a while ago)
1/4 cup long grain rice
1/4 cup tomato puree
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 cup frozen peas

In saucepan cook onion in hot oil till tender but not brown. Stir in chicken broth, rice, tomato puree, salt, and pepper. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir in frozen peas; simmer, covered, 5 minutes longer. Makes 4 servings.

Dessert was absolutely delicious. I decided to make the same thing that we did for Cinco de Mayo last year - Leche Quemada, or Caramel Milk Pudding. It's basically sweetened condensed milk that's baked until it's browned and set - super rich and super delicious, it ends up similar to caramel. Last time I baked this in individual ramekins, but this time I poured it all in one pan, and we served it with fresh fruit and whipped topping.

My bowl, nice and pretty

Leche Quemada con Frutas
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 mango, sliced
1 banana, sliced
1 apple, sliced
Frozen whipped topping, thawed (or I guess you could do real whipped cream if you wanted)

Pour milk into an 8-inch square baking dish; cover with foil. Place in shallow pan; pour boiling water around it to a depth of 3/4 inch. Bake in 425-degree oven for 1 hour. Serve warm or cold over sliced fruit, top with whipped topping. Serves 4 to 5. We did one serving over mango and banana, then wanted more so did another serving over apple. It tasted like caramel apple! But we only took pictures of the mango/banana bowls.

Jeff's bowl, lots more whipped topping!

There will be a round-up of all the other Mexican menus at My Kitchen My World. I'm excited to see what everyone else made! Buen provecho!

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm on a Layered Salad Kick

Lately I've been enjoying salads. Not just plain lettuce-and-tomatoes salads, but funner salads that are layered together in a bowl (how I wish I had a clear glass trifle bowl, these salads would be so much prettier) with the sauce spread on top and all the ingredients fresh and crisp. Delicious!

I didn't take pictures of this, but it was so tasty I thought I'd post it anyway so I remember for future reference. Today's lunch salad was sort of a taco salad, but using leftover turkey meat. We bought and roasted a turkey this week because it was on sale for really cheap. We're keeping a tally of how many meals we get out of the entire bird, and are already up to three, with plenty of meat and broth left. We definitely know how to stretch our meat around here!

Anyway, back to the salad. First I prepared a simple guacamole (avocados were on sale for 50 cents each this week) by smashing up two avocados with some lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, and salsa. This is my favorite way to make guacamole, and it turns out delicious every time! Then I set that aside to work on the rest of the salad. I layered these ingredients in this order:

Torn leaf lettuce
Chopped tomato
Chopped turkey
Sour cream
Shredded cheese
Crushed tortilla chips

It was extremely simple (very important during early pregnancy) and very delicious. Next time I make a salad like this I'll try to remember to snap a picture. Just take my word that this was a pretty salad with lots of bright colors and wonderful flavors!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Stuffed Sandwich

This recipe is a cousin to the baked sandwich I posted about a while ago. It's a similar concept, but while the baked sandwich is filling wrapped in bread dough and baked, the stuffed sandwich is filling placed in a loaf of already-baked bread. It's simple and yummy!

Stuffed Sandwich
1 loaf unsliced bread (can use any type, we like homemade French bread)
Filling options:
-Cooked turkey mixed with frozen peas, shredded mozzarella, and enough white sauce to hold together (shown above)
-Browned ground beef mixed with shredded cheddar, cooked spinach or broccoli, and enough spaghetti sauce to hold together
-Cooked chicken mixed with drained pineapple chunks, shredded cheese, and enough barbecue sauce to hold together
-Etc. (Get creative!)

Slice the loaf of bread in half horizontally, so that you have a top half and a bottom half. Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the insides of the bread, leaving about 1/2 to 1 inch of crust all around. Set aside the insides to use for bread crumbs or bread pudding.

Combine filling ingredients and season as desired. Press filling into both halves of the bread. Put halves back together to form loaf again. Wrap loaf in foil and heat in 375-degree oven for about half an hour, till heated through. Slice and enjoy!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Baked Sandwich

I saw Christy's post on Southern Plate about how her family makes Baked Sandwiches, and it really got my mouth drooling! Jeff and I have been making loaves like this for quite a while, and in fact I'm surprised I haven't posted about these yet. We've gone through a variety of names for this dish - it started as "Supper in a Bread Loaf" and then was shortened to "Supper Loaf." Later we learned that it is sometimes called "Stromboli" and we called it that for a while. Then today Christy called it "Baked Sandwich" and I really like that name. So that's what I'm calling it now.

A baked sandwich is basically a loaf of bread dough rolled up around filling and baked. There are a variety of fillings that you can use - the only limit is your own imagination!

The fillings that Jeff and I have done most often are: cheeseburger style (ground beef, cheddar, and some optional broccoli or spinach), pizza style (pepperoni or sausage, tomato sauce, and mozzarella), and "aloha" style (barbecue sauce, chicken or turkey, pineapple, and cheese). That's the style we chose to do tonight.

To make a baked sandwich:

First you need bread dough. Christy uses a loaf (16 oz) of frozen bread dough, thawed. It's easy and convenient if you have room for it in your budget. Jeff and I usually make our own bread dough in the bread machine - we just put in ingredients for a one-pound loaf and run it on the dough setting. Tonight I used my easy pizza crust recipe, substituting pineapple juice (drained from the can of pineapples I used in the filling) for part of the water. It worked well; however, I prefer the flavor and texture of using regular bread dough.

Whatever bread dough you choose to use, roll it out into a big rectangle, just like you would for cinnamon rolls. Make sure it's not longer than the baking sheet you plan to bake it on.

Spread/sprinkle your filling down the middle of the dough, along the length. For the sandwich tonight, this step included smearing barbecue sauce down the middle, then sprinkling it with turkey chunks, pineapple tidbits, and cheddar cheese. Then fold the sides over onto the filling and pinch closed. See Christy's post for pictures of this step - I was negligent and didn't take any. You could also do this a bit more fancy and make a braid, like Marisa does. Or you can spread the toppings over the whole rectangle and roll it up jelly-roll style.

After rolling it up, transfer onto greased baking sheet, placing seam-side down (unless you braided it, then don't put the seam down). You can let the loaf rise for a while like Christy does, or you can choose not to. Jeff and I usually don't. Brush the loaf with egg if desired, and cut some slashes into the top to allow steam to escape (this keeps your loaf from bursting open while baking and letting all the filling leak out all over).

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until nicely browned and cooked through. Slice and serve!

Sorry that this post isn't very organized or specific. It's just that this dish can be made in so many different ways, and I didn't want to only post the way I did it tonight. We've made this so many times, with a large variety of fillings, and it has turned out delicious each time. Give it a try, you'll be glad you did!

Special bonus: the barbecue sauce I used in tonight's Baked Sandwich!

Barbecue Sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup finely chopped onion (or 1 tbsp. dried minced onion)
1/4 cup vinegar
1 to 2 tbsp. sugar (I've had equal success with both white and brown sugar)
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. celery seed
Several dashes bottled hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt

In saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes. This makes a tangy, robust barbecue sauce with a great flavor!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Chicken Strata

This chicken strata is not a photogenic food. It's one of those casseroles that just look funny. Add the fact that it's evening and all the natural light is gone so I had to take my pictures under the yellow light of the energy-efficient bulbs in the kitchen. But it tastes wonderful, and it was fun to make.

This recipe came from the More-with-Less Cookbook, which is rapidly becoming my go-to book for inexpensive and tasty recipes.

Chicken Strata
8 slices day-old bread
2 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey (good use of leftovers)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper (optional)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I omitted this; I didn't want the extra calories. It turned out wonderful without it)
3/4 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
2 slightly beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (can use powdered)
1 can cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken soup (or substitute one batch of white sauce made with chicken broth)

Lots of ingredients, but it's not as scary as it looks.

Set aside two slices of bread (homemade is best - I used the bread machine). Cut the remaining six slices into 1-inch cubes. Place half in the bottom of an 8x8-inch baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the chicken, onion, green pepper, celery, mayonnaise (or don't add the mayo, I think it's better without it), salt and pepper. Spoon over bread cubes. Sprinkle remaining bread cubes over chicken mixture.

In a small bowl, combine eggs and milk. Pour over bread cubes and chicken mixture in pan. Cover and chill 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325. Spoon cream soup on top of casserole. Spread butter on remaining two slices of bread and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Sprinkle buttered cubes on top of soup. Bake at 325 for 50 minutes or until set.

This came out tasting similar to stuffing. The topping was crispy like croutons, and the bottom had the texture of bread pudding or a breakfast casserole - just like you'd expect from a casserole made of bread cubes soaked in egg and milk, go figure. Anyway, it was easy to put together and it tasted great.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Kitchen My World - Azerbaijan

I was a bit flummoxed when I saw that this week's My Kitchen My World country would be Azerbaijan. I had no idea what I was going to make - I didn't even know where Azerbaijan was, let alone what kind of food they ate there! But I got right to work looking for ideas when I came across this wonderful blog - Farida's Azerbaijani Cookbook. I fell in love with the first recipe I saw, it looked simple to make and very delicious. From there I found a bread to go with it and a dessert as well. I cooked this all up on Tuesday, and spent the rest of the week impatiently anticipating when I could post it!

So I present our Azeri menu for this week: Toyug Chighirtmasi (Chicken with Eggs), Tendir Choreyi (Tandir or Tandoori Bread), and Tenbel Pakhlava (Easy Baklava).

Toyug Chighirtmasi (Chicken with Eggs)
3 spoons vegetable oil
2 spoons butter (or margarine)
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 pounds boneless or bone-in chicken parts, cut into about 10 serving pieces (I used boneless skinless chicken breast - we rarely buy this, but do on occasion for a special treat)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon, or more, to taste, ground black pepper
4 medium ripe tomatoes, finely chopped, with their juices
3 eggs, lightly beaten ( the bread and dessert each use an egg yolk for brushing, so I used the two egg whites in place of one of the eggs here)
chopped cilantro (coriander) or parsley, to garnish (I forgot to garnish mine...)

In a medium frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until it is light brown. Transfer the onion to a bowl and put aside.

Add the remaining oil and the butter to the same frying pan and heat over medium heat (Note: butter alone tends to brown when you melt it. Adding some fluid oil to the pan along with butter will prevent that). Add the chicken pieces and fry for about 20 minutes, or until they are brown, turning them once to cook on both sides.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the cooked onions and chopped tomatoes with juices to the pan. Cover and turning only occasionally, simmer over medium heat for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.

Pour the beaten eggs over the chicken, slightly tilting the pan to distribute the eggs evenly. Cover the pan and let cook for about 5-7 minutes (do not stir!) or until the eggs are set. Serve immediatley, garnished with fresh chopped cilantro or parsley. Chicken with Eggs is delicious with bread or rice.

And speaking of bread, here's the bread that I made to go with the Chicken and Eggs.

Tendir Choreyi (Tandir or Tandoori Bread)
1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour, plus extra for kneading
1 egg yolk, for brushing
1 teaspoon poppy or sesame seeds

In a small bowl, mix yeast with water until the yeast is dissolved.

Sift flour into a large bowl. Add salt and mix well. Gradually add the yeast-water mixture and stir in using your hand until a rough ball forms (This is such a fun step!).

Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Press any loose dough pieces into the ball and knead the dough, punching it down with your fists, folding it over and turning. Knead for about 8-10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball and put it back into the large bowl. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or a plastic wrap. Leave the dough to rise in a warm spot for about 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in bulk. The dough should look puffy and be soft when poked with a finger (This is one of the only doughs I've made that really did rise well. I'm not very good at kneading so my dough doesn't always rise very prettily - but this one did!).

Punch down the dough, then transfer it onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a ball, and with your hands flatten slightly and stretch it lengthwise. Using a rolling pin, start rolling the dough beginning at one end until you obtain a long flat bread about 1/2 inch thick, 14 inches long and 8 inches wide.

Carefully transfer the bread onto a non-stick baking sheet, fixing the shape as necessary. Leave the dough to rest on the sheet for another 15 minutes before baking.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Using a knife, make shallow crosshatching slashes on the bread, 4 from right to left and 4 the opposite way, each at a slight angle. Brush the bread evenly with the egg yolk and sprinkle with seeds.

Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake the bread for 20-25 minutes, or until it is golden on top and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom (At this point, I realized that maybe my bread was rising too well; it turned out much fluffier as a finished product than Farida's, but it was still delicious).

While the main dish and the bread were delicious, the star of the meal was the dessert - Baklava!

Tenbel Pakhlava (Easy Baklava)
3 cups flour
8 oz (2 sticks) butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
1 cup sour cream mixed with 1 teaspoon baking soda
2 egg yolks
2 cups sugar
2 egg whites
2 1/2 cups (10 oz) walnuts, finely chopped (they should be somewhat crunchy in the pie, so do not grind finely - I chopped mine by hand, I was so proud of myself!)
To Brush:
1 egg yolk

Prepare the dough. In a large bowl, combine flour and butter. Using a fork, or a knife (or pastry blender, if available), cut in the butter until the mixture forms large crumbs the size of large peas.

Add sour cream/baking soda mixture and egg yolks and continue tossing until the dough comes together in a mass. It should be gentle to touch.

Divide the dough into 3 equal parts, forming each one into disks. Wrap each disk in a plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.

In the meantime, prepare the filling. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and egg whites. Using a balloon whisk or electric mixer, whip vigorously until well blended. Add chopped walnuts and mix well with a spoon.

Lightly grease the baking pan with oil or butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Using a rolling pin, press firmly to roll the dough from the center in all directions until you obtain a rectangular (or round, if you are going to use a round baking pan) about 8 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick, or just the size to fit your pan (Farida mentions that this dough is very easy to work with and rolled out quickly - I have to agree, it was very nice).

Carefully transfer the round into the pan, pressing it against the bottom and the sides. Baklava releases juices when baking, so slightly stretching the dough to the sides and sealing them tightly will keep the juices inside. If there is any tear in the dough, repair by pressing a small piece of dough over it. Spread half the filling over the layer.

Roll the second disk in the same way and place it in the pan on top of the walnut filling. Spread the remaining filling over the second layer.

Roll the third dough disk and place it on top of the walnut filling. Brush this layer with egg yolk. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, carefully cut the baklava in cross-hatching diagonals to make diamond shapes, cutting through the filling all the way to the bottom. Place a whole or half a walnut in the middle of each baklava piece.

Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes or until golden on top. Times may vary, so take extra care not to overbake - baklavas will harden and will not be that juicy if baked for too long. Remove the pan from the oven. When cool enough to handle, remove the baklava diamonds from the pan and serve. Store in a covered container - the baklava gets even more moist and delectable when it has been stored for a while.

The baklava before storing overnight - delicious!

Traditional baklava is made with many layers of very thin dough, phyllo dough. This baklava is much easier, and is literally translated to mean "Lazy Baklava." It isn't quite as flaky as traditional baklava, but it was so delicious nonetheless! Again, store covered at least overnight to get it really moist and syrupy - and heavenly!

The baklava after storing overnight - absolutely incredible! See how much more moist it is? Sticky, syrupy ... perfect.

Farida gives step by step photos for these recipes on her blog - they were very helpful in making sure I did things properly. I'm so glad I found her blog. This was my first experience with Azerbaijani cuisine, but I'm sure it won't be the last! Nush Olsun!

To see what the other MKMW-ers made this week, check out our blogroll.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Our Big Ol' Family Dinner

My house is in shambles - we need to have everything in boxes and ready to load into the truck on Wednesday morning, so I've been really busy. So this isn't going to be the big, wonderful post that I had hoped for and planned on doing. Oh well, the food was good!

Our meal was very much like a regular Thanksgiving dinner, with turkey, ham, potatoes, gravy, fruit salad, and lots of other stuff. My contributions were a roll of cranberry butter, a jar of spiced cranberry sauce, some freezer crescent rolls (they thawed and rose beautifully, you just have to remember to keep them covered while they thaw and while they rise), and a simple chocolate cream pie.

The delicious turkey (sorry for the bad picture, Dad was still carving the ham and wouldn't let me get too close, lest I try to sneak a piece).

My beautiful, gem-like cranberry sauce.

The crescent rolls.

My yummy chocolate pie.

I also have posted a recipe for wheat salad, a delicious salad made with whole wheat berries. I plan on using that idea in a number of other salads, once we've settled in. I think you could use cooked whole wheat berries in place of noodles in a pasta salad with fantastic results! I really couldn't get enough of this salad.

Our dessert was a trio of pies provided by my sisters and I. We're kinda funny, we all decided to start slicing the pies all at the same time, providing these fun pictures.

You may notice that my sister who brought the pecan pie (left) is getting nowhere with her pie - it was kind of hard and she was having a hard time getting the knife to slice through, hence the funny faces! She was finally able to slice her pie with a big pizza slicer. :-) All three pies turned out absolutely delicious.

Anyway, sorry this isn't the big, wonderful post I promised, but I have to get back to packing and cleaning. Don't expect much in the way of posts for the next while, we're packing the computer tomorrow. I'll miss blogging and I will get back to posting regularly as soon as I can! Yesterday was my birthday and I'll post about my cake when I'm able to.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Oven Smoked Turkey - Our Family Tradition

I don't have a picture to go with this one. Because a huge turkey isn't normally in our everyday budget, we won't be cooking this until Thanksgiving. Just picture in your mind a roast turkey.

Besides, with this recipe, what it looks like doesn't matter - everyone knows what a turkey looks like. What's important is that this is the most tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth delicious turkey I've ever eaten, with a wonderfully smoky flavor that stirs up memories for me of the Thanksgivings of my childhood. This is the turkey we've had almost every year since I was young. Give it a try this year and see what you think!

Oven Smoked Turkey
1 10-12 pound turkey, thawed (we usually use larger, even 15 to 20 pounds works, depending on your bucket and your oven)
8 tbsp. liquid smoke (look for it in the grocery store next to the barbecue sauce)
1/4 cup rock salt
1 cup tender quick salt (this helps to make this tender turkey even more tender. But if you can't find it, it's okay to omit it. My mom hasn't been able to find any for years)
1 gallon hot water

Put salts and liquid smoke in the bottom of a large plastic bucket (3 gallon) that has a lid. Then pour gallon of hot water in to dissolve. Put the turkey in and place a bowl right side up on top of the turkey. When you put the lid on tight, the bowl pushes the turkey under the brine. Put the bucket with the turkey and brine outside so it will stay cold, and let it soak for 15 hours. Drain and bake at 200 degrees for 15 hours (start it cooking the night before Thanksgiving - this step ensures a very tender texture). Carve and serve.

Sample schedule, to clarify: If you want to eat at about 1:00 on Thanksgiving, start the turkey soaking at 7:00 the morning before. Put it in the oven at 10:00 that night before you go to bed. It will be done at 1:00, and you can eat!

Yes, this turkey takes a very very long time. And yes, it is very much worth it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Kitchen My World - Morocco

Judy of Judy's Gross Eats has chosen Morocco for this week's tour for My Kitchen My World. In Morocco, the main meal is eaten at midday, and is comprised of several courses - hot and cold salads, then stews called tagines, followed by a main course of lamb or chicken, then heaping plates of couscous with meats and vegetables. Lastly, meals are finished with sweet mint tea, which is like a dessert in itself. Bread is served at every meal, and is used, along with the fingers, as an eating utensil.

Being on a budget, as we are, I chose not to do a full Moroccan meal! Instead, I found a delicious tagine recipe that was hearty enough to fill us even without all the additional courses. I forgot about using bread with the meal until the meal was over, or I would have included a special Moroccan bread. As it is, here is the tagine upon which we feasted!

Moroccan Tagine
1 tablespoon olive oil (I used vegetable oil)
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into chunks
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (I used bottled)
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped (I substituted 2 yams)
1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (I cooked mine from dried *see note*)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (14 ounce) can vegetable broth (I used water and bouillon)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander (don't have any - substituted curry powder)
1 dash cayenne pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the chicken, onion, and garlic about 15 minutes, until browned.

Mix the squash, garbanzo beans, carrot, tomatoes with juice, broth, sugar, and lemon juice into the skillet. Season with salt, coriander, and cayenne pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, and continue cooking 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Serve over couscous.

1 1/4 cups water
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup couscous

Combine water, butter, and salt in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in couscous, reduce heat, cover, and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until all water is dissolved. Fluff and serve.

*Note* I often cook up one pound of dried beans at a time. Once they are cooked, I separate them into 2-cup servings and freeze them in freezer bags. One pound makes 3 or 4 bags. Once thawed, they are as convenient to use as canned, but are cheaper and less mushy, and you have the satisfaction of knowing you cooked them yourself!

The Moroccan tea that usually follows a meal is a special green tea that is laced with sugar and spearmint after being steeped. We don't drink real tea in our family, but the occasional cup of herbal tea is okay
. So we just bought some packets of mint tea from WinCo (9 cents per packet!) and served it with plenty of sugar! :-)

I am really enjoying this My Kitchen My World experience. I love to experiment with new recipes and new cuisines. I am finding that I love the exotic flavors and ingredient combinations that are eaten in other parts of the world. I have been adding cinnamon and other spices to my food a lot more often, now that I know how delicious it is! If you've gotten into a cooking rut, and want to break out, just look up recipes from other countries, and have a ball trying them! I think you'll enjoy it - I know I do!

Check out what the other members of My Kitchen My World made this week.