Sunday, February 22, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
First, I am going to complain about buying chicken at BJ's Wholesale Club, where I usually shop. They used to carry frozen chicken, 10lbs in a big bag, loose, already cleaned up, easy to get out. When I went last week, they have replaced it with a bag of this:
The bag is only half the size and each breast is individually wrapped! I was disgusted with the waste of plastic here. Since I was out of chicken, I did buy it this once, but I won't again.
I took all 4 kids to the grocery store to get a couple things- I forgot how much I dislike that process. I dislike the grocery store in general (as I said I prefer BJ's) but with the kids- I think I said "no" probably 100 times. can I have, can I have.....
For this recipe I needed to buy jalapenos- which I had never purchased before. There was a bin with at least 6 choices, each with their own "hotness" level. I chose these, which were the most mild as I didn't want to worry about burning my eyes out or scarring the children...
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (canola oil)
2 medium white onions, diced (one very large)
2 garlic cloves, minced (four- we like garlic)
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped (one can diced & seasoned tomatoes)
1 quart chicken stock (2 quarts using Minor's Chicken Base)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
I also added some cayenne pepper & cumin
8 corn tortillas, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (2 breasts)
2 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced (only one)
1 cup shredded Jack cheese, optional (low fat cheddar)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (parsley)
1 lime, cut in wedges, for serving
Place a stockpot over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, jalapenos, and tomatoes; cook, stirring for 15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked down and pulpy. Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1-inch of canola oil in a skillet over medium-high flame. When the oil begins to smoke, add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until they are crisp on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined platter and sprinkle with salt while they are still hot. I found I had to begin removing them before they were done as the last ones would end up burnt.
Ladle the hot soup into 4 soup bowls and put a pile of shredded chicken on top of each. Top with the diced avocado and fried tortilla strips (and cheese if using). Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.
I found this recipe on foodnetwork.com here.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Tuesday for breakfast we had stuffed french toast, YUM!!!
French toast- 4 eggs (all ours, since the RI reds & the aracaunas have started laying, we are getting at least 5 - one day 10! eggs a day- this might have something to do with the light we put into the coop too)
one cup milk
cinnamon sugar mix
bread- i have been using Wonder kids- white bread made from whole grain & with added calcium- can't beat that
mix all ingredients except bread. the cinnamon sugar floats on the top and then only gets to one side of the bread, so I put that side down in the pan and sprinkle the other side with more cinnamon sugar. We have a griddle in our kitchen that would cook all the french toast at once HOW NICE, but we have yet to install the exhaust hood (no we didn't just move, its been years, ahem, new projects have arose like the garage- grrrr) and its a bit too cold to have the door open, so I am stuck to the frying pan.
For the sauce, I warmed up cream cheese in the microwave with my strawberry sauce (some of the strawberry jelly i made that didn't set and therefore turned into strawberry sauce), and stirred until smooth. Well, I gave up before it was actually smooth and had to convince the kids it would taste good even though it looked unpleasantly lumpy.
Very, very good. Megan said it tasted like cheesecake, and what is better than that???
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
1. we got my grandfather safely moved form his own house to a senior appt.
2. my kids are home on vacation this week.
3. we had friends over last night for poker- very fun
4. I found some old cookbooks of my grandmothers and have come up with a great idea- a monthly (maybe, or 2 times a month??) round up of family recipes. I'm still mulling it around in my head.
5. I think I am finally feeling better today!!!
Anyone have any interest in joining with me in a family history cooking round-up?
Or how about a cooking with kids round up- another one of my resolutions. I really need to start cooking with them instead of always for them.
I was just going to post 5 things- but a couple more just popped into my head:
6. Rock Band for the Wii- fun for me & the kids
7. Lego's- has kept my son very entertained for the last couple days
8. my husband- for Valentines Day he gave me many thoughtful things, as well as all the kids, and then my parents, aunt and grandfather too!
9. hubby again because he went down to help with move even when I couldn't go
10. I have 3 of my 4 grandparents still with us. love them!!!!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Chicken Pot Pie
1 whole chicken, 3 pounds
1 gallon cool water
2 carrots, cut in 2-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, cut in 2-inch pieces
1 onion, halved
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
2 turnips, halved
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 bay leaf
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 carrots, cut in 1/2-inch circles
1 bag frozen or fresh pearl onions, see note
1 box frozen or fresh peas, see note
Leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 egg mixed with 3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
Put the chicken in a large stockpot and cover with 1 gallon of cool water. Add the vegetables and herbs and bring the pot up to a boil over medium-high heat. Skim well; then simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, skimming frequently as the oil rises to the surface. What we're doing here is not only cooking the chicken but also creating the base sauce for the pot pie. Remove the chicken to a platter to cool. Continue to cook down the chicken broth for another 15 minutes to condense the flavor; you should have about 8 cups when you're finished. Using a colander, strain the chicken broth into another pot and discard the solids. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat and discard the skin and bones.
Wipe out the stockpot and put it back on the stove top over medium heat. Melt the butter and then whisk in the flour to form a paste. This is a roux, which will act as a thickener. Now, gradually pour in 8 cups of the chicken broth, whisking the entire time to prevent lumps. Whisk and simmer for 10 minutes to cook out the starchy taste of the flour and thicken the broth; it should look like cream of chicken soup. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the shredded chicken, carrots, pearl onions, peas, and parsley. Stir to combine and turn off the heat.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lay the thawed puff pastry sheets on a lightly floured, cool surface. Invert individual crocks on the pastry sheet and, using a sharp knife, cut circles around the outside of the bowls, slightly larger than the bowl itself. Fill the crocks 3/4 of the way with the chicken mixture, making sure each serving has a nice amount of chicken, vegetables, and broth. Carefully cap each crock with a pastry circle, pressing the dough around the rim to form a seal. Lightly beat the egg with 3 tablespoons of water to make an egg wash and brush some on the pastry. Sprinkle the pastry with the Parmigiano. Set the crocks on a cookie sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, until puffed and golden.
Notes: If using fresh pearl onions, blanch for 2 minutes in salted boiling water; then pinch the skins off -- if using frozen, run under cool water for 2 minutes to thaw.
If using fresh peas, blanch for 2 minutes in salted boiling water--if using frozen, run under cool water for 2 minutes to thaw.
So, like I said, I cooked the chicken as directed- only my chicken was frozen and probably 7 lbs, not 3. I put it into a huge pot, covered it with water and added about double the veggies & herbs. When it was done, I shredded the chicken, skimmed the broth the best I could then put them both into the fridge. When we got home, I made the roux, also doubling, then added the broth. And I think this is where I messed up- I cooked it for 10 minutes, and it was relatively thick, but I think I should have cooked it longer- because look at that the finished product was-
Now, I don't know if they were in individual ramekins, would the soupness (like how I make up my own words?!?) have been an issue. But they weren't. I had made 2 large pans and just thru the sheets of puffed pastry on top- I told you I was in a hurry. "F" for presentation today.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Here is the pantry shelf- jams & jellies, relish, couple kinds of pickles, dried cherry tomatoes are in the front. Some strawberry sauce and vinegars are in there too.
Monday, February 9, 2009
1. skiing with my family on Saturday night was great- and more importantly no one got hurt.
2. yesterday morning was spent relaxing with my husband & his brother and sister in law, just joking around and talking.
3. I spent an hour walking this morning with my friend at the track.
4. I finally figured out the hyperlink thing- thanks to my hubby!
5. it was warm enough to walk this morning & that I can see the grass & flower beds again.
I did not enter the chowder cook off this weekend because we decided at the last minute to go skiing for my husband's birthday. It was great & I'm glad we went. But, now I have stuff in my fridge for two gallons of chowder and my family didn't like it that much! Thanks to Deb for your encouragement, maybe next year.
And I didn't contribute to Tyler Florence Friday's again this week- but I did make another cake! I better get back to the healthy cooking and away from these cakes because today started Shape up RI and the competition of increasing exercise & dropping pounds which is not going to happen cooking like this! We celebrated Friday night, because ice cream cake does not travel well, with a home made ice cream cake, dad's favorite! I used the Better Crocker cake right out of the box and a new Breyer's flavor with peanut butter ice cream, peanut butter cups and ribbons of peanut butter mixed in- can you guess what his flavor is?
I got some help with the best part form my little man.
I used a cake pan my friend had gotten for me years back as a thank you for watching her house. I have only used it a couple times- but I have visions of a nice summer cake filled with whipped cream & berries- yum.....