Monday, October 19, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

As the fall season rushes by too quickly and winter looms in the close future... I begin to turn more to the comfort that food brings. Theres nothing like a good, hot bowl of soup.
Or how about a good ol' chicken pot pie?
2 cups water
14 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts,
cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cubed (about 1 cup)
2 ribs celery, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup butter
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup frozen peas

For the crust you've got a few options.... you could buy some frozen puff pastry or pie crust or you could make your own basic pie crust. Or, you could try this simple pie crust recipe! I thought it was the perfect texture and taste to top off this tasty pot pie!!!

For the crust:

  • 1 stick butter, cut into pea-size pieces
  • 1 (8-ounce) container cream cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cold water
Egg Wash: 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons of water

To make the crust:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the butter, cream cheese, flour and salt. Pulse to combine. Pulse, pulse, pulse until the ingredients start to come together and resembles Parmesan. Add the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water. Pulse a couple of more times until the ingredients start to form a ball. If the mixture is exceedingly wet, add some more flour. Or conversely, if the mix is dry, dry, dry, add in a few more drops of water.

When the mixture has come together into a ball, turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead it a couple of times to help it come together. Dust it with flour, form it into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use. This can be done a day ahead.

Cook's Note: When ready to use the dough, remove it from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before rolling, to allow it to warm up and soften.

To make the filling:

In 4-quart saucepan combine water, chicken, carrots, celery and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken bouillon, pepper and butter. Dissolve cornstarch and flour into whipping cream and stir into chicken mixture. Simmer 3 minutes stirring frequently until thickened. Add peas and set aside.

Making the Pie:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using this crust recipe, I made my pie with only a top crust. If you use a different, basic crust recipe, you could do a top and bottom crust if you want. (It might even work to do a bottom crust with this recipe as well, I just didn't want a bottom crust.)

You can use little ramekins or casserole dishes if you want to make individual pot pies. I used a 8x8 glass baking dish and that was about the perfect size for the amount of filling.

Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll the dough into the shape of the casserole dish or large enough to cut circles to cover the individual casserole dishes. (For my 8x8 dish, I think I used just over half of the dough.) Whichever dishes are being used the dough needs to have generous overhang of dough on the edges of the dish. Pour the filling into the dish/dishes. Brush the outside edges of the dish with a little of the egg wash to help "glue" the dough to sides of the dish. Fold the edges of the dough under and press it onto the edges of the dish. Brush the top of the dough with the remaining egg wash. Cut a couple of vents in the top of the dough to allow the steam to escape.

Bake in the preheated oven until the dough is golden brown and the inside is hot and bubbly, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so then serve!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chicken Mole Poblano

I know that this seems like a strange combination of ingredients....but, don't be scared!

3 tbs. olive oil

1 1/2 pounds chicken, cut into large chunks

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 hot dried red chili, such as chipotle, OR 2 milder dried chilies, such as ancho, reconstituted (soaked in hot water) and then finely chopped

1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

1 tbsp chopped almonds

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground cloves

3 tomatoes, chopped (I've also used canned tomatoes before)

2 tbsp raisins

1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth

1 tbsp. peanut butter

1 oz bittersweet chocolate with a high cocoa content
1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (You probably want to wait on this until you see how much heat the dried peppers give off.... you can add this near the end if it needs more heat).

1) Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides. Remove the chicken pieces and set aside.

2) Add the onion, garlic, and chilies and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the sesame seeds, almonds, and spices and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. A
dd the tomatoes, raisins, stock, peanut butter, and chocolate and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let simmer for 5 minutes.

3)Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and process until smooth (you may need to do this in batches).

4)Return the mixture to the skillet, add the chicken, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for one hour, or until chicken is very tender, adding more liquid if necessary.

5) Garnish with sesame seeds and a little grated chocolate. Serve with Spicy Rice, beans and tortillas.

Apple Butter

Thanks to Betty Crocker, we were able to use up some of our apples with this simple recipe!

No idea what this stuff is???? Well, here's what Betty Crocker has to say:

"Even though this thick mixture has no butter, its name comes from the fact that it spreads like butter. Spread your favorite bagel with cream cheese and spicy apple butter. Use it instead of butter on hot toast, English muffins, or freshly baked biscuits or scones. Or spoon it on top of a stack of hot pancakes or waffles, and sprinkle with toasted pecans."

This recipe will make 4 cups of apple butter. I halved it when I made it because it's just me and Steve and it only lasts 3 weeks in the fridge, but make the whole thing if you think you'll go through it... or give some to a friend! Or... I wonder if it would freeze well.....

12 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, ,cored, and cut into fourths
1 1/2 cups packed dark or light brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1) Mix all ingredients in crock pot/slow cooker.
2)Cover and cook on low heat 8 to 10 hours or until apples are very tender
3)Mash apples with potato masher or large fork.
4)Cook uncovered on low heat for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is very thick. Cool about 2 hours.
5)Spoon apple butter into container. Cover and store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sweet and Sour Chicken



1/3 cup ketchup
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar (I actually use seasoned rice vinegar)
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons mustard (It calls for just regular yellow mustard, but this last time I used Chinese hot mustard because thats all I had, and it turned out great)
1-2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon garlic, minced



2 large whole boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups cornstarch
2 eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon oil

SEVERAL HOURS BEFORE COOKING TIME (I've actually done this step only within an hour of cooking, and it turned out fine...but probably better to let it sit longer I guess.) CUT AND SALT THE CHICKEN (a little less than a tsp of salt). PUT THE CHICKEN IN A BOWL, ADD 2 TABLESPOONS CORNSTARCH AND MASSAGE INTO MEAT. COVER AND SET IN REFRIGERATOR.

........cook some rice.....

I like to saute up some onions and peppers to eat with this. Or you can just add green onions. Or no veggies at all if you don't like that sort of thing.


When you're ready to cook, mix the eggs, water, and oil. Put the chicken chunks in the mixture then transfer the nuggets to the 2 cups of cornstarch. Let them sit in the cornstarch while you heat oil for frying. Oil should be 375-380 degrees-- should see a little smoke before putting the nuggets in to fry. DISCLAIMER: Be careful! A friend of mine ended up with fire in their pan when making this... don't let the oil get TOO hot! You don't want it majorly smoking!   (I don't usually deep deep fry... just because I don't want to use up all my oil... so I usually just put in maybe an inch of oil, so they still get fried, I just have to flip them over to get the other side. It works just fine for me. But, if you have a deep fryer, go for it!) Add nuggets to the oil. Might have to do them in batches so you don't overcrowd the oil and make the temperature drop. Fry until the outside is crispy and the inside is cooked. Remove and let drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

When you're ready to heat the sauce, first mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of water in a small dish and set aside. Put the sauce into a pan on the stove to heat. Add the cornstarch mixture within the first minute and stir it well to incorporate. As the sauce heats it will thicken! Once it is to your desired thickness, it is ready to serve.

You can dump all the chicken nuggets in and coat them with the sauce if you are going to be eating it all right away. I usually make extra for left overs, so we just mix up our own portions as we take them, that way the chicken won't get all soggy before I eat it the next day.

Mmmm. mmmmmm...... ENJOY!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cream Cheese Apple Crisp

This, my friends.... is delicious......
It's almost like an apple cheese cake with streusel topping..... mmmmmmmmmm......

1 1/2 Cups quick cooking oatmeal
1 1/3 Cups flour
1 Cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 Cup butter, chilled & cut up

6 Cups peeled, chopped Granny Smith Apples
1/3 Cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese softened
1/2 Cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp milk

Heat oven to 350. In large bowl stir together oatmeal, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Press half the mixture in the bottom of 13x9 inch glass baking dish; reserve remaining mixture for topping.

In large bowl toss together all apple ingredients until apples are coated. Spread over crust.

In large bowl beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, flour & milk; beat until combined. Spread over apple mixture; sprinkle with reserved oatmeal mixture.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown & apples are tender. Cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spicy Ranch Dressing

Blend the following ingredients in a blender 
or food processor:
1 1/3 cups sour cream 
3/4 cup mayonaise 
1/2 bunch of cilantro 
1 package ranch dressing mix 
Salsa verde (you can buy little 7 oz cans of this. the recipe 
only called for 4  Tablespoons, but we added more. I think 
we ended up using about 3/4 of the can.  Pretty much 
just add it to taste.... I think I added the whole 
can once......) 
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1/2 to 1 lime
1/8 tsp Tabasco sauce OR add slices of fresh jalapeno 
until you reach the desired heat

Barbeque Chicken Salad

Last time I was out in Utah I went to California Pizza Kitchen for the first time. My sister in law suggested I try the barbeque chicken salad and she raved about how good it is.  And boy was it good! Since then I found a recipe online and have made it nearly every week for the past month.  Steve and I love it! 

This is the recipe I went off of, but I honestly don't measure anything. I just add as much of each thing as I like! 

-1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
-1/2 head romaine lettuce leaves -- chopped
-12 large fresh basil leaves cut into thin strips
-1 pound jicama -- cut into thin strips or small cubes
-2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
-1 cup canned black beans -- rinsed and drained
-1 cup sweet white corn kernels
(I like fresh corn off the cob... just stick the corn cob in the microwave for a minute so it is slightly cooked, then cut the kernels off the cob.  Or I guess you could use canned corn or frozen corn.....)
-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
-2 pounds ripe fresh tomatoes -- diced
-1/2 cup good quality bottled sweet and spicy barbecue sauce
(or whatever kind of barbeque sauce you like)
-1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
(green onions)
-Avocados, chopped (these aren't actually in the recipe, but at the restaurant we had the option of adding avocado and we did. I love avocado.) 

For the chicken, I go the super easy/quick route and just chop up some chicken breasts, then cook them in a skillet. Then I toss it all in barbeque sauce.  Or, you can add oil and garlic to the pan that you cook the chicken in.  However you cook it, in the end you just need chicken coated in barbeque sauce!

The dressing is some garden herb ranch dressing. I didn't actually make that, I ended up just mixing fat free sour cream with a packet of Hidden Valley ranch mix.  That way the dressing is fat free and I feel like I can eat TONS of the salad! You could also just use regular bottled ranch if that's what you have on hand.  Or one time I ended up using this spicy ranch that I had made for a previous meal, because I already had that in the fridge  (I will post that recipe as well... stay tuned). 

The recipe also calls for fried tortilla strips. I never felt like going through the effort of making those, so I never did. But, a friend of mine said she made a more healthy alternative by salting and baking wonton wrappers. 

Okay, now here's how you put the salad together: 

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the lettuces, basil, jicama, Monterey Jack cheese, beans, corn, cilantro, and ranch dressing. Transfer the salads to chilled serving plates. Surround each salad with diced tomatoes (and tortilla strips if you are using them). Top each salad with chunks of Grilled Garlic BBQ Chicken and drizzle the chicken with the barbecue sauce. Garnish with the scallion. 

Or, if you don't want to be fancy, just mix everything together except the chicken, then top with the chicken and barbeque sauce. 

Sooooo good... you know you want some......

Monday, April 27, 2009

Focaccia Breadsticks

I made these breadsticks for the first time last week. We were having Cajun Chicken Alfredo and I wanted to try something besides just regular breadsticks. These turned out well and I thought they were very tasty! I actually got the recipe out of my Betty Crocker cookbook. They suggest serving them with a bit of olive oil and shredded Parmesan for dipping. I did try that and it was good. But, of course if you've got your homemade alfredo sauce.... might as well let them take a dip in that!

_ 2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
_2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 tbsp dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
_ 1 tablespoon sugar
_ 1 teaspoon salt
_ 1 package regular or quick active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
_ 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
_ 1 cup warm water
_ grated Parmesan cheese

1. Mix 1 cup of the flour, the rosemary, sugar, salt and yeast in large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons oil and the warm water. Beat with electric mixer (or stand mixer... I use my kitchen aid) on medium speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour until dough is soft and leaves sides of bowl.

2. Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead 5 to 8 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy(I just let my kitchen aid do the kneading for me with the kneading hook....). Place dough in large bowl greased with shortening, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place about 30 minutes or until almost double. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.

3. Grease 2 cookie sheets with shortening or oil.

4. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces (who cares if they aren't perfectly equal...). Roll and shape each piece into 9 to 12-inch rope, sprinkling with flour if dough is too sticky. Place 1/2 inch apart on cookie sheets.

5. Lightly brush the top of each bread stick with olive oil.Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

6. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

7. Cover breadsticks loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise in warm place about 20 minutes or until almost double.

8. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Homemade Coconut Ice Cream

A simple, easy, but tasty alternative to your normal vanilla.

2 cups heavy or whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup half-and-half

1 can (15 ounces) coconut cream or coconut milk (sometimes I can't find coconut cream at the grocery store... but coconut milk is usually there in the asian section of your grocery store)

Pour the cream into a mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the half-and-half and coconut milk and whisk to blend.
Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's instructions.

Top ice cream with toasted coconut and fresh diced mango.


Lettuce Wraps (like at PF Changs....mmmmmm)

(Disclaimer: I didn't take this picture, nor do I know if it is an actual picture of PF Changs Lettuce Wraps.... but, I took no pictures, therefore this will have to do)

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce (you should be able to get this in the Asian section at your grocery store)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine for cooking
(if you don't have it, substitue with chicken broth or some other cooking wine. Or, if you really want, just leave it out)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
(Sometimes it will say "oyster flavored sauce." Same thing. Also should be found in the Asian section of your grocery store)
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
(Asian section of your grocery store)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons cooking rice wine (if you don't have access to this, you can use any type of cooking wine.... or you can just leave it out)
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced very small
5 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil
1 teaspoon minced or grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 cup green onions, minced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms
, minced
(you can really use any type of mushrooms if you don't have access to shiitakes.)
1 (8 ounce) can bamboo shoots, minced
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, minced
1 (6 ounce) package chinese cellophane noodles, cooked to pkg. directions
(I have yet to actually do the cellophane noodles yet... I always forget....I think they are perfectly good without)
Iceburg lettuce leaves, washed and taken off the head but left whole

soy sauce
rice vinegar
hoisin sauce
chinese hot mustard (Asian section of grocery store)
chili paste or chili garlic paste (ditto)

1) Mix all ingredients for "cooking sauce" and set aside.
2) In medium bowl, combine marinade ingredients and mix well. Add chicken and stir to coat thoroughly. Stir in 1 t. oil and let sit for 15 minutes.

3) Heat wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 T. oil, then add chicken and stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes. Set aside.

4) Add 2 T. oil to the pan. Add ginger, garlic, and onion and stir-fry for a minute or so. Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts and stir-fry an additional 2 minutes. Return chicken to the pan. Add mixed cooking sauce to the pan. Cook until thickened and hot.
5) Break cooked cellophane noodles into small pieces and cover bottom of serving dish with them. Then pour chicken mixture on top of noodles. Serve along side lettuce leaves for everyone to take what they want, and then spoon into lettuce leaf and roll (like a burrito) individually themselves.

6) If you want to do dipping sauce, place all the dipping sauce ingredients out on the table. Give each person a small dish or plate and allow everyone to mix their own sauce to their own liking! The sauce can either be drizzled onto the contents of your lettuce wrap, or you can dip your lettuce wrap into it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Still Alive!

I know... it has been since NOVEMBER since I last posted a recipe!!!
Did I die?
Did I temporarily lose my passion for food???
...Unfortunately... Yes.
Due to the sickness brought on by the early months of pregnancy, I had no desire to cook or even EAT for that matter.... Depressing, I know. Especially coming from someone who LOVES food as much as I do!
But, good news.... my appetite is returning and my taste buds are ready for more!
So, watch for new recipes to come soon....
Just to give you an idea of what to look forward to.....:
~Lettuce Wraps (like from PF Chang's)
~Chicken Mole Poblano
~Homemade Marshmallows
~...and more!
Stay tuned!