Saturday, April 19, 2008

This Is A Keeper

Now what should I name it? Here is what happened. The boys wanted to make pizza. Now pizza is one of my favorite foods, but I was not in the mood, plus I had some mushrooms and puff pastry I needed to use. I made the pizza dough for the boys. While it was resting, I made something special for the rest of us-
Salt/Pepper/garlic and then Saute the following:
Sliced baby portabellas, fresh spinach, onions
Mix ricotta and mozzerella
Line pan with one sheet puff pastry. Cook at 400 for 10 min.
On the pastry, layer cheese, veggies, chopped chicken, and sliced tomatoes.
Cover with 2nd sheet pastry and cook 20 min. or until golden.
Serve with marinara

This was absolutely wonnderful. It cooked along side the pizzas, and everyone was happy!! There are no measurements because I threw together what I had.

Any suggestions for a name?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Is this really taco salad?

The kids were gone, and I had a little leftover browned ground chuck that I needed to do something with. When DH emailed and requested his Mom's "taco salad", I figured, "Why not?" The kids will barely eat it and it meant that I would not have a kitchen to clean tonight.

The recipe is simple - mix browned ground beef, kidney beans, and enough Catalina dressing to make it saucy. To assemble the salad, mix lettuce, shredded cheddar and Fritos corn chips. Add a few spoons of the beef mixture, mix, and top with sour cream. I will say this - it is really good - especially if you let it sit a little before you eat it.
I was looking around today and saw the Taco Salad post at What's Cooking, and I wondered how what I threw together tonight was ever considered taco salad? Fritos, the beef and cheddar, the lettuce - what? I make a "real" taco salad - lots of veggies, grilled meat, avacodos, etc. tortilla strips - something the rest of the world would recognize.
I began to look around to see where this recipe came from - especially after the whole Cindy McCain story about stealing recipes from food network. I find the recipe on all kind of sites - recipe sites, a cajun site, and a military family site. Maybe that is where it came from. His dad was an officer. Maybe it came from an old officer's wives cookbook. I still can't find the original recipe. Does anybody out there know?
By the way - the salad is great every once in a while - just not taco salad!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

2 for 1 - Chicken Pot Pie / Chicken & Dumplins

First of all, this meal started out as a pot pie. The "baby boy" came in - he does not like pot pie. When he walked in from school and smelled the chickens boiling, he said, "Oh boy, we're having dumplings!" We weren't,but I know that in a pinch, a pie crust can result in a dumpling!

Keep in mind that I generally cook at least 8-10 servings, but this can easily be halved.

Pot Pie:
2 or 3 small chickens
2 onions
several stalks celery
2 large potatoes
2 cups mixed vegetables
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
3-5 cups chicken stock (more if needed for the right consistency)
Pie Crust (I make my own, but the refrigerated ones work OK too)
Salt and Pepper

In a stock pot, cover chickens with water - add salt to taste (I use a couple of tablespoons for a large pot). Add onions and celery and bring to a boil. Simmer until chicken falls off the bone. Set aside to cool.
In the meantime, peel and dice potatoes. Boil in salted water until they can barely be pierced with a fork. Drain.

Make pie crust, or roll out refrigerated crust. Line the bottom of a casserole with crust. Let crust overlap the sides of the casserole dish.

Take chickens from cooled stock. Pull chicken from bones. Strain fat from top of stock.

Make a roux of 2 tbsp butter and 3 -4 tbsp of flour. Cook until lightly browned, whisking constantly. Add milk. Continue to whisk constantly while adding chicken broth until sauce is a medium consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In casserole dish, layer chicken, vegetables, and potatoes, repeat. Cover with white sauce. Top with pie crust.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350. Remove foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.


Now for the "second thought" dumplings. Roll the remaining crust out thin and cut in to small pieces. Be sure to leave plenty of flour on dumplings so that it will thicken the stock. Bring remaining stock to a boil. Add dumplings one at a time. Boil for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add some of the pulled chicken. There you go - 2 dishes so everyone is happy!!
If I had this to do over, I would make more pie crust so that there would be more than 2 servings, and use my crust recipe with oil instead of butter because it would make a sturdier dumpling.

A nice twist on a roasted corn salad

Sunday was a birthday party day andaround here, that means everyone shows up and brings a dish. After running around finishing the cake, I decided I needed to bring one more thing, so I made a roasted corn salad. I have had 2 people call for the recipe, so I decided I bettter post before I forget it!

2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2-3 red bell peppers, sliced
1/3-1/2 cup green onions, sliced (I use the white and green parts)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp tuscan italian (I use Newman's Own) salad dressing
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Heat a nonstick skillet to medim high. Place kernels in pan stirring occasionally until kernels begin to roast (they may even pop a little). When kernels have a nice "sprinkling" of brown color, remove from heat. Let cool slightly.

Place kernels in bowl and add remaining ingredients. Let marinate for about 30 minutes before serving. REALLY SIMPLE, but REALLY GOOD!!