Chicken & Dumplings

 

The other night I made chicken and dumplings from scratch. The creamy sauce was so delicious. My daughter ate a bit and told me how she really liked Grandma Pat’s version of Chicken & Dumplings. My son said he preferred the homemade broth in the recipe I had made that night. My children know I appreciate honesty about my meals so I can keep improving my cooking skills and make things everyone enjoys. I asked Pat for the recipe and I’ve decided I am going to somehow intertwine the two recipes. But first, I am going to share both recipes with you while I experiment.

First recipe found on tasteofhome.com and modified by me:

Step 1/Prepare the Chicken and Broth

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, cut up
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 TBS canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 garlic gloves, mined
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a shallow bowl, mix 1/2 cup flour, salt and pepper. Add chicken pieces one at a time and coat, shake off excess. In a stockpot, heat oil and brown the chicken in batches. Remove and set aside. Add onion, carrots and celery to same pan, cook for 6-8 minutes. Add garlic, cook for 1 minute. Stir in 1/4 cup flour and blend. Gradually add stock, stirring constantly and stir in wine, sugar, and bay leaves. Return chicken to broth, bring to a boil, set to simmer and cook covered 20-25 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear.

Step 2/Make the Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup 2% milk
  • 1 TBS butter, melted

Directions:

In a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk milk and butter. Combines mixtures until moistened, do not overmix. Drop by TBS onto parchment paper, set aside (this allows the baking powder to produce gas bubbles and helps them with a light consistency).

Step 3/Back to the Chicken

Directions:

Remove the chicken from the stockpot and let cool slightly. Discard bay leaves and skim fat from broth. Remove skin and bones from chicken while shredding the meat. Return the meat to broth and cook, uncovered until it reaches a simmer. Drop the dumplings on top of the broth and chicken, reduce temp to low and cook, covered for 15-18 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the dumplings to see if they are done, it should come out clean. Carefully remove dumplings then stir in cream, parsley and thyme while seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Return dumplings to the pot and serve.

Second recipe from Pat titled Crockpot Chicken Stew

Ingredients:

  • 2 skinless chicken breast
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 red potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 3/4 cup fresh green beans
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 10 3/4 oz cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 oz dry ranch dressing mixture
  • Fresh parsley, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pre-made biscuits, refrigerated

Directions:

Melt butter in sauté pan, add vegetable and stir to coat. Place vegetables in crock pot. Dice chicken, season with salt and pepper and add to crock pot. In a pot over the stovetop, mix chicken soup, milk, sour cream, and ranch mixture, until heat and blended then pour into crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Make biscuits before serving. Serve dish over biscuits and sprinkle with parsley.

 

Bananas Foster

It makes complete sense that Bananas Fosters is the dessert we made at the cooking class I attended in New Orleans. After all, it was invented at Brennan’s in New Orleans. Born from the once booming banana trade in New Orleans, this dish was invented by Ella Brennan in 1950. Her brother, then owner of the famous Brennan’s on Bourbon Street, Owen Brennan, asked Ella to invent a dessert that would honor the New Orleans Crime Commission Chairman, Richard Foster. Inspired by the Baked Alaska, Ella caramelized bananas with brown sugar, butter and liquor, set it aflame and served it over ice-cream. It was instantly a hit and is still served to this day at Brennan’s in New Orleans. if you get a chance to visit NOLA, pay this place a visit and try this delicious dessert. In the meantime, here is the recipe so you can make it on your own.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 oz. banana liqueur
  • 4 oz. dark rum
  • ground cinnamon
  • ice cream

Directions:

Melt butter and add brown sugar to form a creamy paste. Let this mixture caramelize over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes.

Stir in the banana liqueur, bananas and rum. Heat and ignite. Agitate to keep flame burning and add a few pinches of cinnamon to the flame.

Let flame go out and serve over ice cream.

 

 

 

 

Grillades with Cheese Grits and a Poached Egg

 

 

My favorite part of my recent trip to New Orleans was my cooking lesson at the New Orleans School of Cooking. This was the main dish we made. We used veal but the recipe calls for round steak and I have used chicken upon returning home. The recipe is served on cheese grits and topped with a poached egg; both recipes follow. I don’t usually eat veal and probably will not use it for this recipe moving forward but it was delicious. Use the protein of your choice. Vegetarians could use tofu and vegetable stock. Over the years I have learned that any recipe can be manipulated to your own desire, it will change the flavors but it can still be amazing.

Grillades

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb round steak
  • 1 TBS Joe’s Stuff seasoning (or your own seasoning, see note*)
  • 1/2 cup flour + 2 TBS
  • 2 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 celery, chopped
  • 1 TBS sliced garlic
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 TBS sliced green onion
  • hot sauce to taste (optional)
  • additional Joe’s Stuff to taste

Directions:

Pound out round steak to about 1/4 inch thick. Julienne the beef into 1/2 inch thick strips. Combine flour with Joe’s Stuff and dust the pieces of meat in the flour, shake off excess flour. Heat the oil and brown the pieces of meat on each side; remove and set aside. Lower heat and add onion, bell peppers and celery until translucent. Stirring constantly, add the remaining 2 TBS flour and cook on medium heat until flour starts to brown. Add garlic, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, tomato and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add meat. Cook 30-45 minutes until beef is tender. Add hot sauce and seasoning to taste.

Serve over warm grits and garnish with a poached egg and green onions.

Poached Eggs

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • 1 TBS white vinegar
  • 4 large eggs

Directions:

Bring water and vinegar to a boil. Crack eggs gently into a large spoon or ladle and bring the boiling water to a swirl. Lower egg into simmering liquid. You may need to ladle the egg out to test that the whites are down and the yolks are not over cooked.

Tips:

  1. Poach 2 eggs at a time to not overcrowd pot.
  2. Use very fresh eggs at room temperature
  3. Pour a small amount of whites out prior to lowering into pot.

Cheese Grits

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup stone ground grits
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
  • 1 TBS cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Bring water, milk and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk grits into the pot. Reduce to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. Before serving, add Romano cheese and cream cheese. Stir until melted.

*Link to buy Joe’s Stuff seasoning:

http://store.nosoc.com/joes-stuff-4-5-oz/

You can make your own with salt, dehydrated garlic, paprika and dehydrated onion. I am sure they put some type of secret ingredient in there that I can’t give you.

 

Roasted Sweet Potato Tasso Bisque

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I love Cajun and Creole food. I went to New Orleans for the second time and this time I had the opportunity to take my first cooking class. I took a hands-on class at the New Orleans School of Cooking and it was amazing. I really enjoyed learning about the cuisine of NOLA and meeting my 9 new friends. Chef Matt was an amazing teacher with a great personality. My favorite dish that we made was the bisque; so spicy, creamy and delicious. We used an immersion blender to puree. If you don’t have one of those you could use a food processor or blender in its place.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 TBS garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup tasso (if your grocer doesn’t carry this you can use bacon or prosciutto in its place)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 TBS Joe’s Stuff seasoning (I have the link to order down below, but you can use a combination of salt, garlic salt, paprika and onion powder in its place)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and cook sweet potato for 45 minutes or until tender, remove from oven and let cool (poke holes in the potato prior to cooking and beware that it will leak all over your oven, so place it on a pan).

In a heavy bottom pot, heat butter and brown tasso on all sides at medium-high. Remove half from pot and set aside for garnish.

Reduce heat to medium and add onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic; saute until soft. De-glaze with stock, scraping the bits of the bottom of the pot. Add Joe’s stuff or your own seasonings and allow to simmer.

After sweet potato has cooled, split it in half and scoop flesh out with a spoon. Add potato to simmering liquid. Using the immersion blender, puree the contents of the pot until smooth.

Add heavy cream and return to pot to simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste. Garnish with tasso and green onions.

Here is where you can purchase the special creole seasoning:

http://store.nosoc.com/joes-stuff-4-5-oz/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetarian Chili

 

 

It’s comfort food weather. My daughter and I have had this recipe a couple times when we were feeling like a “no meat” kind of night. I found this recipe on the website http://www.cookieandkate.com. Its delicious and you can add shredded cheese and sour cream or eat it with crackers, whatever you prefer.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TBS chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoke paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with their juices (20 ozs)
  • 2 cans black beans (15 ozs each) rinsed and drained
  • 1 can pinto beans (15 oz) rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar or lime juice (your choice)
  • chopped cilantro

Directions:

In a large pot heat the olive oil, add onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook until vegetables are tender (7-10 minutes).

Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and oregano. Cook until fragrant (1 minute).

Add tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, vegetable broth and bay leaf. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

For delicious texture transfer 1 1/2 cups of chili (get some liquid) to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, transfer blended chili back into pot.

Add cilantro and vinegar to taste, add remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Serve with garnish of your choice.

 

 

 

Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Herbs

 

 

 

I recently read that the test of a good cook is if she/he could roast a chicken. I have tried multiple recipes and had many failures. However, this is the one recipe that produced a tender and juicy roasted chicken every time. I originally started with Julia Child’s recipe and improvised to make it easier. This is my take on a roasted chicken.

Ingredients:

  • One 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Butter
  • Fresh herbs (dried as an alternative)
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock or broth

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 425
  • Wash the chicken rapidly inside and out with hot water and pat thoroughly dry. Salt and pepper the cavity and place vegetables and fresh herbs inside the cavity; whatever you have in the pantry work (carrots, celery, onion, and lemon). Massage the chicken all over with 1 tablespoon of the butter
  • Choose a flameproof roasting pan that is about 1 inch larger than the chicken. Salt the chicken all over and set it breast up on a rack in the pan. (Thoroughly wash all surfaces and utensils that have been in contact with the raw chicken)
  • Roast the chicken in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, as follows: At 15 minutes Brush the chicken with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Scatter the onion and carrot all around the pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°. At 45 minutes Brush the lemon juice over the chicken. If necessary, add 1/2 cup of water to the vegetables to prevent burning. At 60 minutes Baste with the pan juices. Test to see if done: The drumsticks should move easily in their sockets; their flesh should feel somewhat soft. If not, continue roasting, basting and testing every 7 to 8 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°
  • Spear the chicken through the shoulders; lift to drain; if the last of the juices run clear yellow, the chicken is done. Let rest on a carving board for 15 minutes; discard the string
  • Spoon all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the juices in the pan. Add the stock and boil until lightly syrupy, 5 minutes. Strain and serve with chicken.
  • Alternatively; you can boil the giblets in water with salt, pepper and bay leaves and make a gravy out of the drippings

Chase and Sophia’s Baked Mac n’ Cheese

 

IMG_7345 (1)

My son and his girlfriend are an adorable couple. She has quickly become a part of our family and I love her like she is one of my own. The positive effects she has had on my son are innumerable and it has been a delight to see the conscientious and considerate young man he has become while in a couple. One of the positive effects has been their love of cooking. My daughter and I came home tired and hungry from a day of traveling home from Canada a few weeks back and we opened the fridge and found this delicious baked mac n’ cheese inside; comfort food was just what we needed. They found this recipe on the website http://www.momontimeout.com and made a couple alterations.

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz elbow macaroni, cooked
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded (they used cheddar in place of Gruyere)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
  • 4 TBS butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large 3-4 quart baking dish. Combine shredded cheese in a large bowl and set aside.

Cook the pasta 1 minute to al dente. Drain and place in a large bowl. Drizzle pasta with olive oil. Set aside to cool.

Melt butter in a deep saucepan, dutch oven or stock pot. Whisk in flour and continue  whisking for 1 minute until bubbly and golden. Gradually whisk in milk and heavy cream until smooth. Whisk until bubbles form on the surface and then an additional 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Add 2 cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth and thick. Add 2 more cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth and thick.

Stir in cooled pasta and fully coat with cheese sauce. Pour half of the pasta into baking dish, top with remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese and then add the remaining pasta on top.

In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese, melted butter and paprika. Sprinkle this mixture over the top and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.