3/16/2017

Chicken Pot Pie or Pi or 3.14159265359 to infinity



3/14/2017
Pi day.

Pi day is a tradition in our house.  We celebrate with pie.  Any kind of pie.

Yes, we know we are geeks.

We don't judge.

This year I made chicken pot pie/pi.  It turned out really good.  This recipe is for a 13x9 pan.  If you want to make it in a pie tin, the filling and the crust will make two.  You're welcome.




Chicken Pot Pi

Crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups cold butter (3 sticks), chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten
5 Tablespoons cold water
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon dried thyme OR 2 teaspoons fresh thyme

Filling:
2-3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken OR about 2 pounds chicken tenders or thighs, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
1.5 cups sliced mushrooms
1.5 cups green beans
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth or bouillon
1/4 cup white wine, optional...kind of
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon dried thyme OR 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3-4 grinds of black pepper

Crust:
Combine the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles small peas.

Gradually add the egg, then the cold water, vinegar and thyme. Mix on low speed until it's just combined.  Remove the dough from the processor and shape into a ball (two if you are making two pies.)  Place the dough in a large plastic bag and slightly flatten.  Seal the dough and place in the fridge.

All of this may be done a day or two before making the pie.

Making the pie:

If the dough was made the day before, take it out of the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a large skillet or Ditch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, celery, and mushrooms.  Sauté the veggies for a couple of minutes, until they become translucent.  Add the chicken and the green beans, and sauté until the chicken is no longer pink.
Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, and stir to combine.  Cook for a couple of minutes, gently stirring.

Pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly.  Stir in the wine.  Continue cooking until the mixture begins to thicken.

Pour in the cream, and stir.  Season with the thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook the mixture over low heat, allowing it to thicken gradually, about 4 minutes.  Taste to make sure it has enough salt, and adjust to your taste.

Pour the mixture into a 13x9 baking dish or 2 deep pie pans.

Roll out the pastry so that it's 1 inch larger than the pan. Place the crust on top of the chicken mixture and cut small slits in the top.  Press the crust gently into the sides of the dish to seal.

Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly, about 40 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving.


1/17/2017

Cuban Sliders






I made these tasty little nuggets the other day to go with soup.

My family loved them!!

They would be great to take to a pot luck or as appetizers, too.


Cuban Sliders

24 dinner rolls or Hawaiian rolls
1 pound of sliced ham (deli meat)
1 pound of sliced swiss cheese
Dill pickles, sliced
1/4 cup minced onion
2 sticks butter, melted
1/4 cup dijon mustard


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Cut the rolls in half, removing the top and placing the bottom of the rolls in the baking pan.  I put them all in and sliced using the rim of the baking sheet as my guide.  Easy peasy.

Layer the meat, cheese and pickles.  Place the top of the rolls back on top of the rolls.

Whisk together the butter and the dijon mustard.  Add the onions and stir.

With a spoon, pour and schmear the mustard spread on top of the rolls.


Cover the sliders with foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Switch the oven to broil and broil until the rolls are a toasted brown.

Eat them up.

PS - we loved the cold leftovers as much as the hot sliders.

1/14/2017

Beef Stew

Beef stew - you gotta love it.

This is a great and hearty stew, heavy on the beef, with a meaty, rich, brown flavor.  Do you taste in colors?  I do.

Hopefully, I will get the portions right.  I didn't actually measure.  I just want to remember what I did, because this batch turned out so, so good.



Beef Stew

4 pounds of stew meat, cubed (I just got a package from Costco)
3/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon seasoned salt
oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 bottle of Guinness (or dark stout of choice)
4 carrots, sliced
2 leeks, washed and sliced
2-3 potatoes, chopped (optional because many serve the stew over mashed potatoes)
2-3 cups water
2-3 Tablespoons of beef stock concentrate (like Better than Bouillon)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Put the flour and seasoned salt in a large ziplock bag and shake it up.  Put the meat in the flour mixture and shake, rattle and roll until all the meat is covered.

In a large dutch oven, heat the oil.  Brown the beef in batches until it is all browned, removing each batch before adding the next.  Continue until all the beef is browned, adding more oil if needed.  Set beef aside.

In the same dutch oven, add the onions and carrots and leeks.  Cook until the onions are translucent.

To the onion mixture, gently pour the stout into the pot, stirring to get up all the lovely brown bits on the bottom.  Cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes.

Add the beef back to the pot.
Add the water and beef stock concentrate.  Taste it to see if you think it need anything.  Adjust it to your taste - it is your stew after all.

Stir until the stew thickens, adding water as needed.
Put the lid on the dutch oven and cook in the oven for 1.5 - 2 hours.

Enjoy the aroma wafting through your abode.

Remove from the oven.  Remove the lid, stir, and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Enjoy with crusty bread or over mashed potatoes.


12/08/2016

Sweet Potato Pie

I grew up in the South.

I have lived in Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Louisiana.  Sometimes I just need good Southern cooking.  Right now, however, I live in Connecticut.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE CT.  I want to live here the rest of my life.  However, there are not many southern food restaurants.

New Englanders don't know what they're missing.

I acquired a couple of massive sweet potatoes.  Huge!  The two together weighed 43 ounces.  That's almost 3 pounds for just two sweet potatoes.

What to do with all that yammy goodness?

Sweet potato pie, that's what!

This is what I did.



Sweet Potato Pie

Pie crust (I used pillsbury - don't judge)
1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla (use the real stuff)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
/14 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


First thing, prepare the crust.  Put it in your pie pan, crimp the edges, do whatever you need to do, just don't bake it.

Cut the sweet potatoes in quarters.  cover them with water, then bring to a boil on the stovetop.  Boil for 20-30 minutes, or until they are super soft.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Drain the potatoes and run under cold water.  When you can handle them, slip off the skins and place the potato in a mixing bowl.

Using a mixer, beat the potatoes until they are smooth.  Trust me, you don't want lumps.

Add everything else to the potatoes and mix it up until it's smooth.  It is not going to be as thin as pumpkin pie.  It also won't puff up as much while cooking.

Spread the potato mixture into the prepared crust.

Bake for 55-60 minutes or until the center of the pie is only slightly jiggly.  A toothpick inserted into the center should come out mostly clean.

Cool the pie for at least 1 hour before serving.

It's really good with whipped cream or cinnamon ice cream.  I also think it tastes better the next day.  This pie freezes well, too.

I have made it in ramekins without crust, which one of my kiddos really liked.
Enjoy!

4/27/2016

Matzoh Toffee

My dish says matzah, but I say matzoh.  Which is correct?

It is Passover.  Nope, not Jewish.  I wish I were that cool.

I try to show respect and to observe many holy days - that's where the word holiday comes from.

I love Passover - the ceremony, the stories, the prayers, the food.  All of it.  We (my family) have celebrated part of Passover for years.

Anyhow, this is one of our favorite Passover treats.  You can't eat just one!



Matzoh Toffee

4-6 matzohs - plain (garlic or onion would not be good here)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter - I like salted, but do what you want
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 (12 ounce) bag of chocolate chips (get the good ones - life is short.  I like Guittard.  You could also chop up your own chocolate instead of chips. I also like dark chocolate, but get what you like as it's going in your mouth.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a half sheet pan (18x13) with aluminum foil, wrapping foil around to the outside.  Cover the bottom of the sheet with baking parchment - on top of the foil.  This is very important because this stuff is sticky!

Line the bottom of the cookie sheet with the matzohs, breaking extra pieces to fit any spaces.

In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter and the brown sugar.
Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil.  Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and pour over the matzoh, covering completely.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, checking frequently to make sure the mixture is not burning.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with the chocolate chips.
Let stand for 5 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate over the matzoh.
Chill, still in the pan, in the freezer until set.
Break into pieces.

4/20/2016

Banana Pudding

If you have read any of my blog posts, you will know that I was raised in the South.  Different places in the South, but still the South.  Having lived in the South during my formative years, I am very picky passionate about certain things.  I don't like dishes left in the sink at night - I lived in Texas and Louisiana where the cockroaches could carry off a 6 pound roast.  I love - but am very particular about - biscuits, soup beans, collard greens and banana pudding.

PoppaH and 2 of my kiddos don't like bananas.  I know.  It is wrong. So, so wrong.  But, what can I do?  Because of this, I have made this pudding without bananas.  It was still good.

I made the first batch in 1/2 pint mason jars, pretty cool if you want it pre-proportioned.  That batch was actually too sweet.  Of course, I had to try it again, adjusting the sugar.  The second batch was just right.

It was all for you.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.



Banana Pudding

Pudding:
1/4 cup cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, separated (you'll need to whites for the meringue)
4 cups milk, whole if you have it
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons butter
1 box vanilla wafers (you probably won't use them all)
4-5 bananas

Meringue:
4 egg whites (reserved from above)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 Tablespoons (about 1/3 cup) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Combine the corn starch, sugar and salt in a heavy sauce pan.
Lightly beat the egg yolks and combine with milk in a large bowl or measuring cup.
Whisk the egg mixture into the dry ingredients in the saucepan.  Cook, over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the ingredients are thickened and smooth.  
Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.
Let cool slightly while you make the meringue.

Whip the egg whites with an electric mixer set at high spoof.
When the egg whites are foamy, add cream of tartar.
Keep whipping (whip - nae nae)
While whipping, gradually add sugar.
Keep whipping until stiff peaks have formed.  Whip in vanilla.

To assemble the pudding:
Place vanilla wafers on the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish.
Slice bananas and place on top of wafers.
Pour pudding over bananas.
Spread meringue over pudding, making peaks with your spreader.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the meringue is lightly browned.

If you are using jars, start with the wafers and layer as above twice - you know, like a parfait.  
Top with meringue.  

Place jars in a baking dish and bake as above.



4/01/2016

Vegetarian Enchiladas

Yes, vegetarian enchiladas.  Don't roll your eyes at me!  I made these last week and my family and a friend loved them.  They are not the typical all bean or all cheese variety.  They do have some beans, but I used butternut squash in them and - oh my - they were good.  I suppose they could even be vegan, I'm not sure they even needed the cheese and you could always use vegan cheese.
I used Trader Joe's half corn-half wheat tortillas.  You can use any kind you want, but, please, don't use those extra soft white things that are in the grocery store now.  What are they thinking?  They are nasty.  If you bake them, they will make your tortillas a gelatinous mess.

Trust me.

I don't know how they do it.

Use corn or half and half (corn/wheat).

But you don't want GMO corn.

You really don't.

Whole Foods or Trader Joe's is your best bet.

I'll get off my soap box now.

By the way, we got 4 new chicks.  I am weak.  They were at our local Agway just waiting for me to take them home.  They are 3 weeks old now.  They grow up so fast.  They are almost at the stage where they will be rolling their eyes and asking for the car keys.

They will have to wait in line.




Vegetarian Enchiladas

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon olive oil (again, not a typo)
1 4.5 ounce can of chopped chilies, don't drain
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric (I used fresh, it's lovely if you can find it)
2 cups rice, cooked
1 cup salsa
4 ounces (about 1 cup) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 cups enchilada sauce (I just used a large can)
16-24 small tortillas, corn or corn/wheat
More shredded cheese, if you want
sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the squash with the olive oil and seasoned salt.
Spread the squash mixture in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Roast 25 minutes, flipping the squash once, until it is firm/tender.  Set the squash aside and turn oven down to 350 degrees.


 Meanwhile, add the 1 teaspoon olive oil to a large frying pan or a large sauce pan.  Heat the oil and add the bell pepper, and garlic.  Sauté for a few minutes then add the beans, chili powder, cumin, turmeric and salsa.  Sauté for a few minutes, until the spices "bloom" and make your kitchen smell like all that is good in the world.

Add the rice, salsa, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce and the squash.
Remove from heat.
Okay, I didn't have any black beans, so I used kidney.  It still worked.

In a large glass baking dish (I used a 9x13 and a 9x9), spread 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce.

Lay out tortillas, add 2 large spoonfuls of the squash mixture to the center of each tortilla.  Sprinkle with a layer of cheese, then roll up.  Place seam side down in the baking dish, lining them up like very tasty little soldiers.  

I made 16 because I ran out of tortillas.  However, I had a bunch of filling left.  It was lovely later in taco salad and nachos.

Spread the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese.  Bake these tasty tubes of happiness for 25-35 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 3-5 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, if you want.