Chicken and Herb Dumplings

Are you tired of trying to think of what to make for dinner every day? I know I am.  I get Food Network Magazine in the mail.  I enjoy skimming through it and getting different ideas for dinner and desserts. I have been finding recipes that sound delicious and end up being simple enough to make. Here is one recipe we enjoyed this week. If you prefer, you could go to Food Network for this recipe too and for more ideas!  With this recipe you can pick up that roasted chicken on your way home from work and get this on your table in 1 hour or less.

Chicken and Herb Dumplings

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Ingredients

7 Tablespoons cold butter
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped (If you like, you could replace with a potato)
1 bay leaf (If you don’t have, no biggie)
Kosher salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup cold buttermilk
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus more for topping
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus more for topping
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, skin removed

Directions

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  1.  Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven or wide pot over medium high heat.  Add the carrots, celery, parsnip (or potato), bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons flour; stir until toasted, about 1 minute. Gradually pour in the chicken broth, stirring.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened and the vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour with the baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.  Cut the remaining 4 tablespoons butter into small cubes and rub in the flour mixture with your fingers until pea size pieces form. Stir in the buttermilk and chopped herbs with a fork until combined.  Divide the dough into 12 1 1/2-inch balls. (I used the food processor to mix the dumplings.)
  4. Stir the chicken into the pot. Arrange the dough balls on top. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the dumplings are firm to the touch and cooked through, 12-15 minutes. IMG_1479Top with more dill and chives.

Simple and Delicious!!

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Rachel saw this recipe on Food Network and asked me to make it for our Sunday dinner. I enjoy doing new recipes so I was happy to do it.  This is a little time consuming but I have lots of time on Sundays so here it is:

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
(Courtesy of Ina Garden)

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Ingredients

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (If  you don’t like a touch of heat, do not use. I like heat, Rachel not so much)
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leave, packed (I would use fresh basil for this recipe. I used a 2 ounce package)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (you could use 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 quart chicken stock or water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread the tomatoes, flat side down, in 1 layer on baking sheet. (I used parchment paper, you don’t have to.) Roast for 45 minutes.IMG_1353
  2. In a large stockpot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions and saute until golden brown (8-10 minutes), add garlic and mix until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  3. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme and chicken stock.  Stir together.
  4. Add the oven roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet.
  5. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.
  6. The recipe from Ina suggests using a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade.  I don’t have a food mill so I used my immersion blender.  If you don’t have either of these items you can take a potato masher and mash up the tomatoes.  They will be kind of chunky but that is perfectly fine too!

That’s it.  Serve hot or cold.  How about a Grilled Cheese Sandwich? Top with some grated parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!!

Baked Ziti – Simple and Delicious

Here is how simple Baked Ziti is to whip up!

Baked Ziti

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Ingredients

1# ground beef or 1# italian sausage or 1# ground pork (Whatever meat works for you.  Or, if you don’t want meat, don’t use it.  Personally, no meat is my thing.)
2 Tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil is fine)
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 small red onion or shallot, diced (A white onion is just fine.  I like to use red onion or shallots)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup shredded parmesan or romano or pecorino romano or whatever hard italian cheese you like
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella
1# Ziti (or any pasta you care to use.  I like to use medium shells too.)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Medium high heat fry ground beef in medium to large skillet.  When meat is browned, remove from pot and set aside on paper towel lined plate.
3.  Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel to pick up the excess grease from the meat. Add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to skillet.  Add diced onions or shallots, saute medium heat until softened, 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds-1 minute.
4.  Add crushed and diced tomatoes, brown sugar, parmesan, salt, basil, oregano, thyme. (If using fresh basil add after the first simmer.) Mix together and add meat last.
5. Simmer for 20 minutes.  If using, at this point add the fresh basil and simmer for another 10-20 more minutes. (You don’t have to cook sauce on the stove all day long.  30-60 minutes is perfect!)
6.  While the sauce is simmering, boil a large pot of water for the pasta.  Don’t forget to add 1 Tablespoon salt to the water. (I use the amount of water recommended on the box of pasta.)
7.  When pasta is done (don’t overcook!), drain and place pasta back in pot.
8.  Spray casserole dish with vegetable spray.  (I use a 9×13 casserole dish)
9. Add your delicious meat sauce to the pasta pot.  Stir in to your liking.  I usually use most of the sauce and have some left over. Be generous. (I will have 1-2 cups of sauce I did not use.) Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
10.  Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes.  Until top is golden brown.  Check every 15 minutes. Depends on your stove how long it will take to brown.

Enjoy this simple and delicious meal!

Chicken Burritos – Simple and Delicious

This is a recipe we have made in our family for many years.  The first time I posted this recipe was in 2013.  I have updated this recipe as the years have flown by.  In 2019 I make the rice the night before, buy a store bought roasted chicken that day and use a can of refried beans.  Now, that is simple and still very delicious!!

California Chicken Burritos

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2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can black beans, drained (in a rush, use canned refried beans. Omit adding the water though)
1/2 cup water
1 cup chunky salsa, drained and juices reserve (1/4 cup of the juice)
1 small chipotle chile, minced (from 1 can of chipotles adobo)
1 teaspoon adobo sauce
1 teaspoon cumin (I LOVE cumin.  I may add just a bit more!)
2 garlic cloves, minced
kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
2-3 cups cooked white rice (I tend to use up to 3 cups.  I have to admit I eyeball this one)
2 cups shredded rotisserie-cooked chicken
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (Depends on how much you like cheese. I like 1 cup.)
6 – (10 inch) flour tortillas

Directions:

1.  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees.
2.  Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add drained black beans, water, 1/4 cup salsa juice, chopped chipotle chile and adobo sauce. Cook until liquid has evaporated and beans are soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Using potato masher or fork, mash beans lightly. Season with salt and pepper.(as noted in ingredients; you can use a can of refried beans. Don’t add the water. Add all the other ingredients and cook until warmed through.)
3. In a medium bowl add the rice, salsa, chicken, and shredded cheddar. Mix together.
4.  Spread refried beans down center of each tortilla, leaving 2-inch border at ends. Mound rice mixture (about 1/2 cup) on beans and fold tortillas to form burritos.
5.  Transfer to parchment or foil lined baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Enjoy!!

Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast pizza is great for a crowd or a hungry few.  You can prepare the dough, meats and shred your cheese the night before.  Wake up and throw it together the next day.  For this pizza I use my stainless steel skillet.  You can do any combination of meats/veggies you want.  We generally do sausage, bacon and Canadian bacon for the meat combo. Simple and DELISH!

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Breakfast Pizza

Ingredients

4 pieces of bacon, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
4 pieces of Canadian bacon, cut in quarters (I use ham too, cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
3-4 ounces ground breakfast sausage (or 4 breakfast sausage links)
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 small green or red bell pepper, sliced thin (I like green bell pepper)
4 eggs
1-2 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon butter, softened to brush over pizza dough
Mozzarella, Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese (1-2 cups depending on size of pizza. I tend to use cheddar with a light topping of mozzarella.)

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
2. Fry bacon until done to your liking. Remove from non stick skillet and place on paper towel.
3.  Wipe out skillet and fry sausage until done. Remove from non stick skillet and place on paper towel.
4.  In small bowl whisk eggs with 2 Tablespoons milk. Set aside.
5.  Spread pizza dough in greased stainless steel skillet (you could use a cast iron skillet or a 9×13 metal (not glass) pan too. It has to have some edging so the egg doesn’t drip off the top. I’ve done that, it makes a mess!)
6.  Brush dough all over with softened or melted butter.
7.  Top pizza dough with sausage, onion, pepper, bacon and Canadian bacon. Pour egg mixture over the meat and add cheese of your choice.
8.  Bake 30-40 minutes or until bottom crust is golden brown. (I check every 10 minutes) Be sure to check the bottom of pizza and see that it is lightly browned. (Since we have to use a skillet for baking, the bottom may not brown as much as you would like. Kent likes the way it comes out as lightly browned.  I like the bottom a bit more crisp.  I take my piece (or two) and put it on a flat pizza pan and place back in the oven for 5 more minutes. That way I get my crispy bottom crust.)

That is it.  You will really enjoy this pizza.  Simple and delicious!

Creamy Coleslaw

I was out and about today and wanted to grab some coleslaw.  I went to 3 different stores. The creamy deli coleslaws were way too creamy.  I thought I would grab a bag of coleslaw and buy a coleslaw dressing.  Then I remembered how the produce coleslaw dressings are flavorless.  Well, that’s my opinion at least!  I figured I would still buy the bag of coleslaw but make my own dressing.  It ended up turning out really good.  Thought I would share.

Creamy Coleslaw

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Ingredients
For the Coleslaw Salad

4 cups of sliced cabbage (I used 4 cups of the bagged sliced cabbage. Made my life easy!)
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

For the dressing
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery salt (or you could add 1/4 cup thinly sliced celery to the salad or 1/2 teaspoon celery seed to the dressing)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

  1.  Place sliced cabbage, carrots and green bell pepper (and sliced celery if you decided to add) in large bowl.
  2. In medium bowl combine the mayo, lemon juice, sugar, celery salt, salt and pepper. Mix until incorporated.
  3. Add dressing to coleslaw ingredients.  Mix well.
  4. Eat alone or serve with Caribbean Jerk Sliders!

Simple and Delicious!  Enjoy!!

 

 

Caribbean Jerk Sliders – Spicy!

I enjoy Caribbean Jerk Marinade with chicken breasts.  I saw this recipe in the September Food Network Magazine and thought it sounded tempting.  We had these simple and delicious sliders tonight.  They had a nice kick of heat.  That is never a problem for this household!

Caribbean Jerk Sliders
(compliments of Food Network Magazine)

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Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds Ground Beef (I used 85/15)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Cooking Spray
8 slices cheddar cheese (I used a small slice from a brick of cheese. I could have used more. I will next time. There will definitely be a next time.)
8 brioche slider buns (you can use any slider bun)
Melted butter (I used soft butter)
Jerk Ketchup (See below. Don’t put away your spices.  Make the Jerk Ketchup before you grill/fry the sliders.)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, allspice, cayenne, red pepper flakes, garlic and onion powder, oregano, brown sugar, thyme, salt and pepper. Gently mix until combined.
  2. Form the meat into twelve 2 ounce patties. (If you don’t have a scale that would be about 2 Tablespoons worth of ground beef)
  3. Preheat a grill pan over medium high heat. (If you don’t have a grill pan use a skillet. Cast iron skillet would work great.)  (Oh and you can spray the grill pan after preheating.  I forgot that step and it worked just fine.)
  4.  Grill the sliders until the internal temperature reads 150 degrees. I grilled 3 minutes each side and that was plenty. Place a slice of cheese on each patty once you flip them. The cheese will melt as you are grilling.
  5. Remove the patties to a plate and cover loosely with foil to rest.
  6. While the patties rest, brush the buns with melted butter and grill until lightly toasted, 1-2 minutes. (I did not use the grill.  I used a non stick frying pan that I preheated.  The grill was pretty greasy! I also buttered inside of each roll with softened butter)
  7. Assemble the sliders by putting a tablespoon size dollop of the ketchup on the top and bottom buns. (I did a little over a teaspoon on each bun. That was plenty! I am not a very good rule follower, am I??)
  8. Chow down. Simple and Delicious!!

Jerk Ketchup

Ingredients

1 cup ketchup
Juice of 1 lime (oops, I missed that! Was delish anyways!)
1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In a nonreactive medium bowl combine all the above until incorporated. Use immediately or transfer the ketchup to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Let me know what you think. Enjoy!!

Faux Chick-Fil-A Sandwich

Since so much is going on in our world with Chick-fil-A and Popeye’s I thought I would bring this post to the front.  This is from 2013! Here goes;

When I asked the kids what they would like me to make over the weekend Eric requested a Chick Fil A sandwich.  We do not live in an area where there are Chick Fil A restaurants. Since I live in quite the LGBTQ family I am not sure I would frequent a Chick Fil A restaurant.  However, I found this recipe here.  I found it simple and delicious.  Give it a try!!

Chick Fil A Sandwich

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Ingredients

1 # boneless, skinless chicken breast (sliced in half and pounded to 1/2 inch)
1/4 cup pickle juice (I used Vlasic Oval Dill Pickles for the juice and used the pickles for the sandwich)
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Peanut or Vegetable Oil
Hamburger rolls (you will need to toast them)

Directions

1.  Wrap the chicken loosely between plastic wrap and pound gently with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until about ½ inch thick all around.
2.  Cut chicken into two pieces as evenly as possible
3.  Marinate in the pickle juice for 30 minutes to one hour.
4.  Beat the egg with milk in the bowl.
5.  Combine the flour, sugar, and spices in another bowl.
6.  Dip the chicken pieces each into the egg on both sides, then coat in flour on both sides.
7.  Heat oil in dutch oven, should be up to 1/2 inch.
8.  Fry 2 minutes on one side.  Then flip over and cover with lid and fry for 2 minutes.  I used a LeCreuset pan. blog 005  If you have a heavy pan with a heavy lid that should work.  Chick Fil A uses a pressure cooker for their sandwiches.  I found that this was the closest I could get to a pressure cooker.
9.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
10.  Butter the hamburger roll and toast on grill or frying pan.
11.  Place chicken on roll with 2 slices of dill pickles.
12.  Chow down.  YUM!!

It seems like a lot but it is not.  Give it a try and enjoy!!

Macaroni and Cheese

I have been making this recipe forever.    You can use any combo of cheese you like.  For years I only used Cheddar.  The issue with Cheddar is it can be greasy.  If you use Cheddar in combination with Gruyere or Gouda we have noticed the greasiness is not there.  There are plenty of times I only use Gruyere. That is our favorite cheese to use.  Eric and Kent enjoys the topping.  Me, not so much. Here is another simple and delicious meal.

Macaroni and Cheese

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Ingredients

1# elbow pasta (I use large elbow.  You can use whatever you want.)
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (taste it!)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 3/4 cup milk
2 cups Gruyere (or Gouda – NOT smoked) cheese, shredded
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Topping (Sometimes I do the topping but not always)

1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons butter

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2.  Make elbow pasta per directions on box
3.  While pasta is cooking, melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Add diced onion and sauté until translucent. Stir in flour, salt and pepper.  Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted.  Once cheese is mixed through turn off heat.
4.  If you are going to do the topping – melt 2 Tablespoons butter in saute pan.  Add bread crumbs and stir until toasted
5.  Drain pasta. Gently stir pasta into cheese sauce. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole. Top with bread crumbs. Bake uncovered 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.

You will love it.  Very easy to make, even during the week.  Give it a try!!