Sunday, December 21, 2014

Chicken Scaloppine

2 large, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" strips
1 pkg. McCormick Gourmet Garlic & White Wine Chicken Scaloppine
1/4 cup flour
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 can sliced mushrooms, undrained
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup orzo pasta

In a gallon plastic bag mix flour and 2 Tbsp. of the McCormick Gourmet mix.  Place chicken strips in bag and shake coating chicken completely.  Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over med. high heat.  Add the chicken to the pan in batches allowing each to cook about 3 minutes on each side or until brown but don't allow the chicken pieces to touch while cooking.  Remove from pan and add next batch until all chicken is browned.  Into the pan stir in mushrooms with liquid, remaining seasoning mix, chicken broth and orzo.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat to simmer.  Place chicken over orzo.  Cover and cook 10 minutes or until the orzo is done and the liquid has been absorbed.  Serves 6

Martha:  I found this package of McCormick Gourmet Garlic & White Wine Chicken Scaloppine on sale and decided to give it a try.  Sure glad I did.  This is one of the best chicken dishes I've had in a long time.  The flavors are perfectly blended and absorb into the chicken and orzo giving both a wonderful taste.  The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of water or chicken stock and 1/2 cup of white wine.  I increased the broth and eliminated the wine.  My food testers that were given this to try have all raved about how good this turned out.  And it's so simple to make.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Complete Chicken Dinner

1 pkg (10 oz.) frozen broccoli, chopped
4 med. potatoes
2 large chicken breasts, cooked
1 cup mayonnaise
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/4 cup Panko

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook broccoli until tender.  Drain well and place in the bottom of a 3 qt. baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  Peel and slice potatoes.  Cook until tender, drain, place on top of broccoli.  Break chicken up into bite size pieces and place on top of potatoes.  In a large bowl combine both soups and mayonnaise.  Pour over chicken.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese has melted.  Sprinkle with Panko and cook an additional 5 minutes or until Panko starts to lightly brown.  Serves 4-6 depending upon how hungry you are.

Martha:  I have a neighbor who had a stroke so I decided to make a dish for she and her sister to eat on for a couple of days.  I found this recipe in an old cookbook and made just a couple of changes.  The original didn't call for the potatoes which I added to really make this a complete meal.  It called for curry powder and lemon juice which I left out and it called for 2 cans of cream of chicken.  I made the change to use 1 chicken and 1 mushroom.  My chicken I actually sprinkled with salt, pepper and crushed rosemary and let it refrigerate overnight baking it in the oven the next day.  This added another flavor that fit very well.  That combined with the mayonnaise mixed with the soups add yet another touch to the flavor.    The dish came out simply delicious!  It's simple to make and is perfect to take to a shut-in, take to a pot luck or serve at your own home.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Grilled Chicken Soup

3-4 med. potatoes, cut into cubes
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1 cup charcoal grilled chicken, chopped
corn starch
salt & pepper

In a large pot boil celery and onion in 2 cups of water until tender.  Add potatoes and enough water to cover (about 2 -3 more cups).  Cook until tender.  Add chicken, salt & pepper to taste.  Mix 1 Tbsp. corn starch with 1/4 cup of water.  Add to soup and bring to a boil to thicken.  Serves 6-8.

Martha:  I had cooked chicken breasts on a charcoal smoker the day before making this soup and had some left over.  When I tried to come up with a ideas to use this chicken I thought about soup.  Since celery takes longer to soften than potatoes, that is why I cooked it first, which worked perfectly.  The smoked flavor from the charcoal made this soup some of the best I've ever had.  Yes, you can make this with baked, boiled, and gas grilled but the smoky flavor is the best.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Orzo Chicken

1 cup uncooked orzo
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup shredded cheese
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded

Panko & another 1/4 cup of shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook orzo according to package and drain.  Combine all ingredients (except panko and extra 1/4 cup of cheese) in a large bowl, and spoon into a 2-quart casserole dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Top with 1/4 cup of cheese and enough Panko to cover dish.  Bake another 5 minutes or until Panko has browned slightly and cheese has melted.

Martha:  I found a recipe for broccoli and rice that sounded good but it called for instant rice.  I spotted the box of Orzo and thought why not.  I did cook the orzo and cut down the amount of broccoli called for in the recipe, which was 2 frozen packages.  And of course I added the chicken.  I baked 3 large boneless, skinless, chicken breasts using enough to make a cup and also used the drippings as my broth.  If you don't have a full 1/4 cup of drippings, add a little water.  The balance of the chicken I ground and have made a 'Chicken Cheese Ball' that I'll post later.  This dish really turned out great!  It's simple to make and very tasty.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

2 lbs. chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
½ lb Ham chopped into thin chunks Very Thinly Sliced Black Forest Ham, Rough Chopped
6-8 slices Sliced Swiss Cheese

4 Tablespoons Butter
4 Tablespoons Flour
3 cups Heavy Cream
4 oz Seasoned Parmesan Cheese (jar type)
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp.  Paprika

Panko Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a 9- x 13-inch baking dish.  Put shredded chicken on the bottom of the baking dish. Top with chopped ham. Lay the Swiss cheese on top of the ham.

Melt butter in a sauce pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to form a lump-free roux. When roux begins to heat and slight bubble, slowly pour in heavy cream and whisk until smooth.
Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in garlic. Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard, salt & pepper, and paprika. Stirring constantly bring sauce just back to a low boil and turn off heat. Pour sauce evenly over the casserole.

Top with enough Panko to evenly cover the dish.  Bake casserole uncovered for 25 - 30 minutes until hot and topping has turned a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve hot over egg noodles.

Martha:  I watched a Chef on a local TV show make Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole.  I waited for her to give the recipe measurements but instead she said to go to her site.  Well I did but there had been nothing published on her site since 2012 so I went searching with only a partial list of her ingredients to go by.  I found several recipes but none that were like hers so I had to do a lot of guessing and this is what I came up with.  I doubt that I got 'her' recipe correct but I did come up with a pretty good dish.  I do believe she used shredded Parmesan cheese but I also know how easily it will lump when melting so I decided to use the jar type which worked great.  I also used the seasoned type to give it added flavor.  She served her dish over noodles but my sauce was thick enough that I decided to serve mine without noodles.  I will be making this dish again!

Food Tester Carol:  Moist strips of chicken breast baked in a cream and cheese sauce with diced ham and a hearty covering of Parmesan are a delight.  This is a delicious main dish and served as the evening meal, lifts everyone’s spirits!  I like this better than the traditional chicken breast stuffed with ham and cheese, which can be a bit heavy.  The casserole variation with pieces of chicken breast covered in the sauce is, to me, a more pleasing meal.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Broccoli Chicken Cheese Soup

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked & cut into bite size pieces
1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
2 med. onions, chopped
5 Tbsp. butter or margarine
7 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Place broccoli in pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Let boil about 2 minutes or until tender crunchy.  Drain and set aside.  In a large sauce pan melt 3 Tbsp. of butter.  Add onions and simmer about 5 minutes.  Add 3 cups broth and oregano;  simmer 20 to 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.  In another sauce pan melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter.  Stir in flour and cook until bubbly.  Stir in mustard and pepper.  Add to onion mixture and whisk until smooth.  Add remaining 4 cups of broth.  Heat to simmer, stirring frequently.  Add milk and cheese, stirring until cheese is melted.  Stir in broccoli and chicken.  Serves 8

Martha:  The original recipe came from a cookbook dating in the 90's.  I did, of course, make changes to fit my own taste.  The 1st change was the addition of the chicken.   That wasn't in the recipe.  The original recipe called for the onion mixture to be processed in a blender until smooth.  I omitted that.  I've made this change in other soup recipes and like having the bits of onion.  This soup turned out perfect.  I can't wait to make it again this winter.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Chicken Paprika - from old cookbook

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked (about 1 1/2 lb.), cut into chunks
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter

1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, beaten
4 tsp. paprika
1 can (4 oz.) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp. poppy seed
2 Tbsp. butter
8 oz. egg noodles

Melt 1/2 stick butter in skillet.  Add onion and cook until tender.  Blend in flour and salt.  Remove form heat.  Gradually add milk, stirring constantly.  Stir 1/4 cup of sauce into egg yolks.  Stir into remaining sauce and return to heat.  Cook over med. heat until mixture thickens stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to low and stir in paprika.  Add mushrooms and chicken.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Stir in sour cream and heat just until sauce is hot.  Cook noodles according to package.  Drain and add 2 Tbsp. butter and poppy seeds.  Serve chicken and sauce over noodles.  Serves 6

Martha:  This recipe came form an old Swif Food Guide cookbook.  I have no idea as to how old this book is but I would guess around the 60-70s.  I've never eaten this dish before now and found it really delicious, especially the sauce.  When I took some to one of my food testers she was so excited.  Apparently she hasn't had this dish in years.  For future making of this dish I will eliminate the poppy seeds.  They didn't seem to add anything to the flavor and I found myself having to brush my teeth twice to get them out.  I also want to try serving this over rice, especially wild rice and maybe even a rice mixture.  This is a dish that is not only easy to make but I think everyone that tastes it will love it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chicken Fricassee - 1970 Sunbeam Cookbook

3 1/2 to 4 lb. stewing chicken, cut up (I used 2 lbs. chicken breasts)
3 Tbsp. fat
2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 1/2 cups diluted canned condensed cream of chicken soup
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 can (4 oz.) sliced mushrooms

Dip cut up chicken in flour.  Heat oil in electric frying pan (or large skillet)  Add fat.  Brown chicken, turning as necessary and remove browned pieces.  When all is browned, spoon off fat.  Place chicken in frying pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.  Add soup slowly, together with remaining ingredients.  When liquid is boiling, turn heat, cover and simmer 3-4 hours or until pieces are tender.  Add more seasoning if necessary.

Martha:  This recipe was in one of my older cookbooks and was created to use with an electric frying pan.  I did it just a little different by using a frying pan with fitting lid.  The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups diluted canned soup but didn't say how much it was to be diluted.  I used the full can of soup and 1 can of water.  My chicken pieces were bite size so they cooked up quicker than the 3-4 hours and the extra liquid allowed me to add a boiling bag of brown rice to take up some of the liquid as well as add to the dish.  This is a delicious recipe to make with your electric frying pan or as I did using the skillet.  Either way, you can't go wrong.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Chicken Enchiladas - 1967 cookbook

3 cloves of garlic, minced fine
4 Tbsp. cooking oil
3 Tbsp. flour
1 No. 2 1/2 can chili sauce (I used 1 12 oz. jar and added 1 pkg. Taco seasoning )
1 (scant) sauce can water (I used 2 cups)
pinch of oregano
salt to taste
1 3 lb. chicken, boiled and cut up (I used 3 med. size boneless skinless chicken breasts baked)
3 large onions, sliced thin (I used 1/2 cup of frozen chopped onions - Picsweet)
1 dozen corn tortillas (I used 6 large flour tortillas)
1 lb. shredded cheddar cheese (I used 2 cups of Mexican blend)
1 can black olives (I didn't use the olives)

Saute garlic in 2 Tbsp. oil;  stir in flour.  Add chili sauce, water, oregano and salt.  Stir until smooth;  bring to boil and simmer 30 minutes.  Add chicken to half of sauce.  Cook onions in remaining oil until soft; add 3 Tbsp. of sauce to color.  On one tortilla at a time, place some of the chicken mixture, onions, some shredded cheese and 2 or 3 olives.  Fold over the upper half of the tortillas; pour over remaining sauce and top with the remaining cheese and one olive for each enchilada.  Bake in 350 degree oven until cheese melts.  Serve hot.

Martha:  OK, this recipe is form 1967.  I liked the concept but updated it a bit.  You can see the differences in the ingredients I used.  When I mixed the chili sauce with the flour mixture there just wasn't enough taste for me so that is when I decided to add the Taco seasoning.  Using the baked chicken breasts was quick and easy as were the frozen chopped onions.  I did mix the flour mixture, chili, taco seasoning, water, oregano, chicken, salt and onions all together in my pot and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.  The 6 large flour tortillas fit perfectly in a 9 x 13 x 2 baking dish that was sprayed with non-stick.  For assembly I put just a little of the sauce on the bottom of the dish.  Placed a tortilla on a plate, using a slotted spoon I put a good amount of the chicken and sauce down the center of the tortilla.  Covered that with cheese, rolled it over and placed it seam side down in my dish.  After all had been filled and placed in the pan I poured the balance of the sauce over the top and covered that with the remaining cheese.  This dish came out great and so easy to make!

Comment from Food Tester Carol:  These tender pieces of chicken wrapped in a soft tortilla and baked in a spicy tomato sauce remind me of the way we made sauce way-back-when - with a little sweetness to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.  Put this dish on your table and it will disappear.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Parmesan Swiss Chicken

Oil for frying – about 1/2 – 3/4 cup
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts – about 4-5 oz each
3/4 cup Seasoned Parmesan cheese, the jar type
1/4 tsp garlic 
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices bacon- cooked, crumbled
1 egg beaten
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small shallow bowl, mix egg and water.  In another shallow bowl, mix cheese, pepper, salt and garlic.  Heat oil over medium high heat using a frying pan suitable for oven use.  Dip each piece of chicken first in egg mixture then in cheese mixture.  Fry in hot oil until crust is golden brown.  Prepare a baking pan by covering with foil and placing wire rack on top.  Place chicken on rack and bake about 20 minutes or until juices run clear.  Strain the grease from the frying pan leaving browned Parmesan that came from cooking chicken.  Add broccoli and toss to coat. Cook in oven until broccoli is done but still has a slight crunch.   Remove chicken and broccoli from oven.  Place chicken in an 8 x 8 x 2 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  Sprinkle Broccoli around chicken.  Place 1 piece of cheese on each piece of chicken.  Top each with 1/4 of the bacon.  Return to oven and allow cheese to melt, about 5 minutes.  Serves 4.

Martha:  I think I found the original recipe on Fridgg.  Wherever it was it caught my eye and I decided to give it a try.  I did my usual and made a couple of changes.  First, the Parmesan was plain, I used seasoned.  It called for Asiago cheese which I changed to Swiss.  And the broccoli was my idea completely.  When I saw the bits of cheese that had come off while frying my chicken I just couldn't let it go to waste.  I knew I liked cheese on my broccoli so it became the perfect blend.  I also did my final cooking a little different from the original recipe.  I put my chicken into another dish (in my case individual dishes but give you instructions for using the 8 x 8). The original called for broiling the cheese on the chicken while still on the rack, I didn't broil but just let it stay in the oven for the last 5 minutes.  This dish came out with so much flavor.  If you like chicken and Swiss, you must give this one a try.  It's a pretty dish too!

Comment from Food Tester Carol:  First of all, this is a very attractice dish.  Chicken crusted in herbed parmesan crumbs with Swiss cheese melted on top reminds me a little of a schnitzel, which I love.  The broccoli is also dredged in these tasty crumb mix before roasting.  Altogether delicious!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Chili Sauce Grilled Chicken

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup chili sauce
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. honey
4 chicken tenderloins or 2 boneless, skinless chicken
    breasts butterflied

Place chicken in a shallow dish with cover.  Mix all other ingredients together.  Pour over chicken and toss to coat both sides.  Refrigerate covered 8-10 hrs.  When ready to use, grill chicken.  Serves 2

Martha:  I found a recipe for a Japanese Soy Chicken that I actually misread.  One of the ingredients was for Asian chile oil and I read it as chili sauce.  Yes I was in a hurry.  No problem.  The chili sauce gave it a delicious taste that I will use again.  I also cut down the amount of chicken.  The original recipe called for 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts which I felt was too much for the amount of marinade so I cut it in half and also increased the marinade time to make sure the flavor really soaked up in the chicken.  This mixture turned out so good that I want to give it a try with pork.  Almost forgot, this can be cooked on an indoor grill too.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dijon Grilled Chicken

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. minced garlic
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Slice the chicken down the center (butterfly).  Mix all other ingredients together.  Place the chicken on the grill and spoon the sauce over each breast.  Grill 4-6 minutes, turn and spoon sauce over the cooked side.  Grill another 4-6 minutes or until chicken is done.  Serves 4

Martha:  The sauce for this was found in a 2000 grilling cookbook.  I doubled the ingredients because to me there just wasn't enough to go on both sides, plus I split the chicken breasts making them thinner but also giving them a larger surface.  And the next time I make this I plan on making even more so it can be spread on thicker.  The sauce is delicious and could be used on grilled chicken as well as baked.  I really loved it.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Chicken with Squash Dressing

4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup Picsweet Seasoned Onions & Peppers
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Cornbread Stuffing Mix
3-4 med. yellow squash
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Cheddar Cheese Soup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place chicken in a 9 x 13 x 2 baking dish.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and seasoned onions and peppers.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until chicken is done.  Peel and slice squash.  Place in a saucepan and add enough water to cover.  Boil until done.  Drain squash.  Remove cooked chicken from baking dish.  In a large bowl combine squash,  stuffing mix and cheddar cheese soup.  Pour liquid and cooked onions and peppers form baking dish into squash mixture and stir to blend.  Spread squash/dressing mix evenly in the chicken baking dish.  Top with chicken and return to oven.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until squash/dressing mixture is hot.

Martha:  A neighbor brought me some fresh squash and to be honest I only eat squash one way and that is mixed with stuffing and cheese.  I had found a recipe for an Italian chicken dish which was supposed to have spaghetti sauce poured over the chicken, onions and peppers.  I eliminated the sauce and decided to create a Chicken with Squash Dressing dish instead.  This is a simple dish to make and the chicken goes perfectly with the squash dressing.  I loved it and all I had to do was add a salad and I have an easy, delicious meal.

Food Tester Carol:  Squash casseroles are such a great mainstay of our menus.  We loved this blend of squash, chicken and cheddar flavors with the herbed bread stuffing.  The stuffing makes it taste like Thanksgiving or like a Sunday dinner all in one dish.  You said it was easy and we are going to make this one soon.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Buttermilk Ranch Chicken Skewers

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast or tenders
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 oz Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Cut chicken into one-inch cubes.
Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl for marinade.
Place the chicken in the bowl and coat well in the marinade.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Thread chicken onto skewers (if using bamboo, soak in water for 30 minutes first.)
Preheat grill, and bring to medium-high temperature.
Oil or spray the grate to prevent sticking.
Grill skewers for 10-15 minutes or until no longer pink, flipping halfway.
Serve immediately.
Serves 4-6

Martha:  This recipe came from Chef Thomas Grossmann.    I did do my usual and make a change or two.  Actually I made the chicken using his recipe and made my changes afterwards.  I put my chicken in a baking dish, sprinkled it with Panko and cheese, put it in the oven to melt the cheese and brown the Panko.  After that I added it to my salad.  YUM!  The taste of the chicken is wonderful.  The melted cheese added great flavor to my salad and the toasted Panko added even another taste.  But that wasn't all I did.  I took the leftover chicken along with the Panko and cheese, placed it in a processor and ground it up for chicken salad to which I added - don't tell Arby's - 2 packages of their horseradish sauce and a little mayo to cream it up.  OMGoodness!  This was great too.  So, make this up and create 3 meals out of one simple chicken recipe.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Rosemary Chicken with Potatoes

(Make this mixture twice)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. rosemary, crushed
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
4-5 med. potatoes, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In 1 large bowl mix oil, paprika, rosemary, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a large bowl.  Add chicken.  Toss to coat well and set aside.  In another large bowl mix 2nd batch of oil, paprika, rosemary, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Add potatoes and toss.  Arrange potatoes in single layer on a foil lined 9 x 13 x 2 baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake 15 minutes.  Place chicken in another baking dish and place in the oven.  Bake 25-30 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender and chicken is done.  Turn occasionally through cooking.

Martha:  I found this recipe in a McCormick handout.  I ended up making just a couple changes.  The original used bone-in chicken thighs and red potatoes.  I used chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces.  I also used regular baking potatoes instead of the red.  The original had the chicken and potatoes tossed in the same bowl as well as cooked in the same bowl.  I separated them not only in tossing with the mixture but also in cooking.  Doing this required me to make up 2 mixtures and it was worth it.  I did combine the 2 when serving.  The potatoes came out with such a wonderful taste, as did the chicken.  I served this with slaw and farro.

Food Tester Carol:  Succulent chicken and crispy roasted potato wedges, both rubbed in an enticing combination of spices that bring zest to the palate - that's what this dish is.  Can't wait to see what these spices are.  Farro is a nice mild partner and the coleslaw was a fresh and lightly acidic taste just the way my family likes it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

1/2 cup brown & wild rice blend, uncooked
1 leek, chopped small
1 carrot, chopped small
1 celery stalk, chopped small
6 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
1 can Campbell's turkey gravy
salt & pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Cook rice according to package directions.  In a large sauce pan melt butter.  Add leek, carrots and celery.  Saute until tender.  Add water and bouillon cubes, chicken, gravy, rice, salt and pepper.  Cook 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend.  Mix cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water.  Stir into soup.  Cook on medium heat another 5 minutes allowing cornstarch to thicken.

Martha:  One of the restaurants I enjoy going to serves chicken and rice soup once a week.  I've always loved the slight thickness of the soup so decided to ask what they used.  I was told cornstarch.  That, along with the H. T. Trader brand of brown and wild rice blend that I love so dearly, prompted me to work up this recipe.  The rice has wheat and rye berries which give you a slight chew that is really good.  The turkey gravy was a thought to add more flavor, which it did.  And the cornstarch measurements above gave this the perfect thickness for my taste.  You can add less or more for your own taste or you can leave it out completely.  And for the chicken, you can use pre-cooked frozen, fresh cooked and even canned.  Whichever you happen to have on hand.  I used pre-cooked frozen.  This dish has so many flavors and textures that it's simply delicious with our without crackers.

Food Tester Carol:  The chicken noodle and chicken rice soup I grew up with turns out to have been a weak, watered down broth based soup, nothing like the whole hearted flavor in this soup.  The generous chicken pieces are intensified by the addition of the turkey gravy that deepens the flavor and creates a pleasing balance with the nutty flavors of the blended rice and grains, a heartier rendition of the previous neutral white rice or limp noodles that I always thought were added just to "stretch" the soup.  This chicken and blended rice soup is the "real deal!"

Monday, May 19, 2014

Chicken Bean Soup

1/2 lb. bag of dried soup beans
1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded
2 chicken bouillons
salt & pepper to taste
Cumin to taste

Soak beans over night.  Cover the beans with water.  Add the bouillon cubes, salt, pepper and cook until beans are done.  Add more water as needed.  Add chicken, onion, cabbage and carrots.  The amount depends on your own taste.  Add about 1/4 tsp. of cumin.  Cook until veggies are done.  Taste.  Add more salt, pepper, and cumin as needed.

Martha:  This soup is so easy to make and it is truly made by Thinking With Your Taste Buds.  I put 1 medium onion, sliced and used a good bit of cabbage cut up into bite size pieces.  I'm not a cooked carrot fan so I only used 1 med. size cut up small.  As for the cumin - I ended up adding about 1/2 tsp. This was added during the last 10 minutes of cooking and by tasting the broth several times until I had it just right.  This is not only a tasty dish but a pretty healthy one too.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Chicken Meatball Custard

2 cups shredded cheese (your choice)
2 Tbsp. flour
1 1/4 cups milk
3 eggs, beaten
1 pkg (12 oz.) Chicken Meatballs (I used Aidells Italian with Mozzarella)
1 9" pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toss 1 1/2 cups of the cheese with the flour.  Combine milk and eggs.  Combine with cheese.  Pour into pie shell.  Bake 35-40 minutes.  Slice meatballs in half.  Arrange on top of the pie.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.  Bake another 20 minutes.

Martha:  I found a recipe in Kraft's 1971 paperback book titled The Complete Cheese Cookbook.  This recipe called for pepperoni, black olives and zucchini.  I decided to make the change to chicken meatballs and it turned out great!  The meatballs I used are Aidells which are fully cooked, already have the Italian seasonings in them as well as mozzarella cheese.  I thought this would come out like a quiche but instead it comes out like a custard so that's why I'm calling it Meatball Custard.  I also used colby cheese instead of the Swiss the original recipe called for because I felt its taste would suite the meatballs better.  This dish can be made using just about any kind of topping.  Steak, ground beef seasoned with cumin, cooked chopped chicken.  Just Think With Your Taste Buds and come up with your own combination.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Three Cheese Chicken Bake

1 - 8 oz. pkg. wide egg noodles, cooked
3 cups chicken, cooked and diced (I used 2 boneless skinless breasts)
1 1/2 cups Mid-American Farms Cottage Cheese
2 cups Mid-American Farms American Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup milk
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. onion, minced (I used dehydrated)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup1/2 cup potato chips, crushed (I used 1 cup crushed chip type onion rings)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl mix together chicken, cottage cheese, shredded cheese, butter, onion, soups and milk.  Put noodles in the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  Top with chicken mix.  Top with crushed potato chips and Parmesan cheese.  Bake 45 minutes.

Martha:  This is another oldie but goodie that I found in a booklet put out by Mid-American Farms.  I have no idea what the date of this booklet might be but I do know that it's full of delicious recipes like this one.  Now everyone knows me by now and know that I have to make changes in just about everything I cook.  This was no exception.  First, I've not been able to find Mid-American Farms so I had to use another brand.  I decided to eliminate the Parmesan and American cheeses and instead use 2 1/2 cups of Colby cheese which gives it a nice texture - stringy.  And finally, while picking up a bag of chips I spotted a bag of Onion Rings and decided to use that instead of the chips.  I have no doubt that this dish is delicious whether you use my recipe or theirs.  This was a great hit with my food testers too.

Lillian:  This is how we used to make things, very tasty and filling and, yet, it was from items that we had in the pantry or refrigerator.  I loved it when the canned soups came out and made it much easier than cooking and stirring the sauces that we made back then.  As always, great recipe, Martha.

Food Tester Carol:  One taste was enough to captivate us and take us back to our favorite foods of years past!  We couldn't stop eating it as though we were the Very Hungry Caterpillar!  Small pieces of chicken rest atop egg noodles in a creamy sauce made with soup, cottage cheese, cheese and a touch of onion.  You might say it's tangy but I think it's better than tangy, like going several steps beyond tangy.  The onion spreads its flavor throughout the sauce.  The crunch topping with a final hint of onion leads a playful feel to the recipe.  This is the kind of meal that lingers in your memory and that your family will request over and over.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hot Chicken Casserole

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. dehydrated onions
1 large Portobello mushroom top, chopped
1/2 tube butter-flavored crackers (crushed)
1 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crushed potato chips
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl combine chicken, soup, celery, mayonnaise, onions, mushroom, crackers and cheese.  Pour into a 2 qt. baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.  Sprinkle with crushed chips and almonds.  Bake another 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Martha:  I make a version of this using imitation crab for a dear friend of mine.  You can see the ingredient changes by going to Martha's Recipe Cabinet.  I  The crushed crackers added to the mix thickens as well as adds another flavor.  Once this dish is served, I will have to admit that it doesn't look as appealing as I would like due to the color of gray coming from the mushrooms, but the flavor makes up for its lack of looks.   This dish is great to eat as a casserole or to serve as an appetizer with crackers.  It doesn't come out quite as thick as it's crab version so if you're making it to serve as an appetizer, add another cup of cheese.

Food Tester Carol:  The important feature in this recipe, which incidentally is one of our favorites, is the way the mushrooms bring an earthiness to the chicken but do no change its lightness.  Both of these main ingredients are solid enough in their own right to retain their essential character and together they make this casserole, with its light, cheesy sauce and supporting ingredients, a classic dish.  This could be one of my (and your) ten most dependable, delicious guest meals!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Chicken Mushroom Fettuccine

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 lb. fettuccine
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chopped scallions
3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste
French fried onions, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 2 qt. baking dish with nonstick spray.  Cook fettuccine in a large pot of boiling water until al dente, 7 to 9 minutes, or according to package directions.  Drain.  In a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat heat oil.   Add chicken and cook until lightly browned, abut 5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.  To the skillet add mushrooms and scallions.  Cool until most of the juices have evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Stir in flour and cook, stirring until the flour is no longer visible, about 30 seconds.  Whisk in the milk and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer stirring frequently until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Remove the sauce form the heat and stir in the fettuccine, chicken, Parmesan, salt and pepper.  Pour mixture into baking dish.  Sprinkle to evenly with the 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.  Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.  Evenly add the French fried onions.

Martha:  I had been to the grocery store and found a package of 2 very large Portobella mushroom tops marked down to $1.50.  I couldn't pass it up but knew they needed to be used quickly so I started looking for a really good recipe that would include them.  I found a version of the recipe above in a Weight Watchers cookbook and it sounded really good.  I made a few changes.  The original called for dried porcini mushrooms as well as fresh.  I eliminated the dried.  It called for sherry which I omitted.  There was to be water left from soaking the dried mushrooms to be used, I simply increased the broth to take the place of the mushroom water and sherry.  I also increased the cheese to 1/2 inside the dish and added the cheddar to the outside.  Plus I added the French fried onions.  This dish came out simply delicious.

Food Tester Carol:  Portobello mushroom pieces mixed with chicken, scallion and cream sauce are a dreamy classic dish to serve a casual family on the run or guests who want to eat slowly and talk about their day.  Either way, it's perfect for serving and absolutely delicious.  What is it about Portobello mushrooms, chicken and pasta?  The Portobello is an equal partner and if you see them firm and fresh in your market, you can count on them to move a meal to the next level.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ginger and Scallion Marinade Chicken

1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1 tsp. ginger, minced
4 tsp. olive oil
1 pkg. no sodium chicken bouillon mixed with 1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 large chicken breasts or 4 small, with bone

Place chicken in a large dish with a lid or in a large plastic bag that seals.  In a bowl mix all other ingredients.  Pour over chicken.  Refrigerate 6 to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Use a baking dish that is large enough to hold the chicken without them touching.  Coat with non-stick spray.  Place chicken bone side up.  Bake until almost done.  (Time will depend upon the size of your chicken).  Turn chicken over (bone side down) and bake another 10 minutes allowing the meaty side to brown slightly.

Martha:  This marinade is so good.  I actually started out with the chicken broth and started adding the other ingredients tasting as I went along.  I stopped when I had the perfect taste.  This is really good and I think I'll try it on pork.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Freekeh Broccoli Chicken Cheese Torte

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Freekeh (or rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup broccoli tops, chopped finely
2 tsp. dried basil
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
salt & pepper to taste
Panko bread crumbs

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil.  Add onions and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onions begin to brown.  Add Freekeh and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the Freekeh is tender and all of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in basil, thyme and broccoli.  Set aside, uncovered to cool slightly.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine milk, eggs, cheeses, and chicken breasts.  Stir in Freekeh mixture.  Spray an 8 1/2" springform pan with nonstick spray.  Spoon mixture in pan.  Bake 50 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with Panko.  Return to oven and cook another 5 minutes or until Panko has browned slightly.  To serve, cut into wedges.  Serves 6-8.

Martha:  This dish can be made with rice but I decided to give it a try using Freekeh.  That turned out to be a great ingredient change.  The original recipe called for more onions, which I cut down to 1/2 cup instead of 1.  It called for less cheese, which I increased up to 1/2 cup of each.  It also used 1/4 cup of parsley which I changed to the broccoli.  Plus I added the chicken.  This dish, served with a salad and roll make the perfect dish for any dinner.  

Food Tester Carol:  This was a delight to eat and made a perfect dinner with the addition of some sugar snap peas.  In addition to the freekah grain, it's like a quiche with egg, cheese, chicken and little bits of broccoli - in other words, a meal in itself  It bakes so that it is easily sliced into wedges.  There is a pleasing tanginess about the combination of ingredients, accentuated by the sprinkle of cheese on top.  This is easy to digest and very satisfying.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Freekeh Chicken

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Freekeh (or long grain & wild rice mix)
1 med. onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 stalk celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp. dry basil (or 2 Tbsp. fresh snipped)
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare Freekeh (or rice) according to package directions.  In a large skillet melt butter.  Add onion and celery and cook until tender.  Stir in soup, sour cream, broth and basil.  Stir in cooked Freekeh (or rice) and chicken.  Transfer to a 2 qt. baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake uncovered about 35 minutes or until heated through.  Serves 4.

Martha:  I'm sure some of you are asking what the heck is Freekeh.  Well it is a process that actually means "to rub" in Arabic.  Freekeh was created by accident nearly 2,000 years ago when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their cop of young green wheat was set on fire.  These crafty villagers rubbed off the chaff, cooked what was left and "Freekeh was created.  Freekeh can be used in soups, pilafs, salads and just about anything that calls for rice plus.  It's loaded with fiber, more than double quinoa and three times more than brown rice.   It has very little fat and is supposed to be good for weight loss.  I actually saw this on a TV doctor show and decided to give it a try for its benefits hoping it would taste good.  And it does so I'll be using this in place of a lot of my rice dishes.  Only problem I've found so far is finding it.  I had to go to one of the health food stores but as it grows in popularity, I'm sure it will start showing up in the grocery.  This stuff is great!

Food Tester Carol:  This mix of moist chicken chunks, especially prepared green wheat grains, and topped with melted cheese was delicious.  I will use this grain in other dishes.  It was filling but not heavy, very light.  I had lots of energy after dinner (when I often feel very lazy) and continued to work on my projects!  I can only conclude this is a tasty meal to boost energy.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Chicken Parmesan

2 cups spaghetti sauce
4 fully cooked breaded chicken cutlets
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 lb. spaghetti
1 cube Land O Lake Sauté Express garlic & herb

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread 1 cup of the sauce in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Place the chicken cutlets over the sauce. Top each cutlet with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Spoon 1/4 cup of the remaining sauce down the center of each cutlet. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Bake at for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese melts and the sauce is hot and bubbling.  While baking cook spaghetti by package directions.  When done, drain.  While still hot add Sauté Express, stirring to melt.  Serve cutlets over spaghetti.  Serves 4

Martha:  This dish is so good.  The Land O Lake Saute Express was a big hit for me when I added it to the spaghetti.  It is strong in the garlic flavor so you can cut it down to maybe ½ a cube.  But my food lovers didn’t appear to have a problem with the added garlic, they wanted seconds.  You can also let it soften and spread it over bread you’re toasting to go with your dish.  For changes in this dish, you can actually use breaded beef instead of the chicken.  This is a really quick and easy dish to make that even the kids will love.

Tips:  to keep pasta warm, return the hot drained pasta to the hot cooking pan and cover it.  To avoid overcooking the pasta and to prevent sticking, hold the hot pasta no longer than 10 minutes and stir it once or twice.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Orange Chicken & Onion Soup Mix Chicken

Orange Chicken

1 chicken, cut in pieces
1/2 pkg. dry onion soup mix
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh, sliced mushrooms
1 can (6 oz.) frozen orange juice, thawed
1/2 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place chicken pieces in a 9 x 13 x 2 baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray.  Mix the orange juice concentrate, onion soup and wine together. Blend in mushrooms.  Pour mixture over chicken, evenly.  Cover and bake 45 minutes.  Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes.

Onion Soup Mix Chicken

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split into 6
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
1 can (4 oz.) sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup chicken broth
6 slices Swiss cheese
Brussels Sprouts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place chicken pieces in a 9 x 13 x 2 baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray.  Place chicken in dish and bake 20 minutes, uncovered.  In a bowl combine soup, mushrooms and broth.  Pour evenly over chicken.  Add Brussels Sprouts to dish.  Bake another 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and place a slice of cheese over each piece of chicken.  Return to oven for 2-3 minutes or until cheese melts.  Serve over rice.

Lillian:  This is a really flavorful dish and so easy to make.  Most, if not all, ingredients are on hand in your pantry or freezer.  I have never made this in a crock pot, but don't see why it couldn't be done.  The biggest problem that I have is finding the 6 oz. frozen orange juice.  All I see are 12 oz. so I just use half of that and use the remainder for another use.

Martha:  This is my way of Thinking With My Taste Buds.  I'm not a big fan of orange and chicken so I eliminated it and since I seldom keep wine in the house I decided to just go with the chicken broth.  I also used canned mushrooms and since I'm not a dark meat fan I decided to use the chicken breasts.  The Swiss cheese and Brussels Sprouts were ideas I had halfway.  Other than the rice, this became a 1 dish meal and so good. 

Lillian:  Martha's version.  Wow!  You really did Think With Your Taste Buds!  I always have both white and red wine here for cooking.  I also buy boneless chicken breasts most often.  This does well in this recipe.  I've never added cheese or a vegetable to this, but it could only add to the taste.

Food Tester Carol:  I think one of the most delicious pairings of any foods is Swiss cheese and chicken.  This recipe is not fussy and you assemble it easily - the baked chicken topped with a slice of Swiss cheese and garnished with mushrooms.  It looks elegant; it feels like a lot of work but it's really a 1-2-3 recipe with a great delicious reward.

Tip:  Want to check your egg for freshness?  Pit it (in its shell) in a large bowl of room-temperature water.  As the egg ages, it loses moisture, and the air sac inside the large end of the egg shell enlarges.  The swelling of the air sac increases the egg's buoyancy.  So, the older the egg, the higher it floats. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Alice Springs Chicken Ranch Salad

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced to 1/2" thickness
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Seasoning salt
6 bacon slices, cooked
Ranch Dressing
1 can (4 oz.) mushrooms, drained
1 cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sprinkle chicken with seasoning salt.  In a large skillet heat oil.  Brown chicken on both sides.  Place in an 9 x 12 x 2" baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray.  Drizzle heavy with ranch dressing.   Break up bacon slices over chicken.  Add mushrooms evenly over bacon.  Cover with cheese.  Bake 20-25 minutes.  Serve over lettuce with Ranch Dressing.

Martha:  Sis, the 1st time I had this was when we did our book signing near your home in Florida.  Remember, we all went to Outback for dinner.  Your daughter Leslie suggested the Alice Springs Chicken which I loved.  Someone send me a copy of the recipe but I've never tried it.  Then, a friend and I went to Outback for lunch and I tried it again reminding myself how good it is.  Well, while eating I dipped a little in my Ranch Dressing instead of the Honey Mustard.  So good.  I actually went to bed that night trying to come up with an idea for changing it to the Ranch Dressing and finding a different way to serve.  Then it hit me... a salad.  Perfect and so good.

Lillian:  I love Ranch dressing and use it so often for more than on a salad.  I don't care for mustard much and I know that the original recipe calls for it.  However, I do like a bit of honey mustard in some things.  Chicken, in particular, lends itself well to honey mustard, as does pork.  This "twist" to the regular Alice Springs recipe will be a hit at any dinner table.  Good going, Martha!

Food Tester Carol:  I don't know if Alice Springs Chicken hails from Australia or whether it is just a figment of Outback's imaginative menu, but whatever the case, it is a delicious way to "dress" a chicken.  The sautéed chicken, still juicy and tender, is layered with mushrooms, crumbled bacon and grated cheese and heated just enough to melt the cheese.  It is usually accompanied by honey-Dijon dressing but in this version, it is also emphatically delicious with Ranch dressing!  Martha has used the Alice Springs Chicken recipe as a topper for a salad of crisp greens, tomato wedges and added the Ranch dressing to the salad.  My taste buds aren't accustomed to eating these flavors together and I found myself wanting more, more, more.

Martha:  I had some of the chicken with the cheese, bacon and mushroom topping left over.  I decided to see how this would be as a sandwich.  OH MY!  Heat and put it between 2 pieces of toast with just a little mayo and you have a great leftover sandwich.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Chicken Cheese Ravioli

4   ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 1/2  cups milk
1  cup grated Parmesan cheese
2  cups cooked chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1  cup frozen broccoli, thawed & drained (chopped or florets)
1  box (7 oz.) Parmesan cheese filled Ravioli, cooked according to package directions

Heat the cream cheese and milk in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Reduce the heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes.  Add the chicken, broccoli and ravioli to the skillet and toss to coat.  Heat through. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve immediately.
Martha:  I found a recipe for Chicken Parmesan that used canned chicken and egg noodles.  I use canned chicken only when I have to so since I had plenty of chicken in the freezer I cooked up a couple breast halves and used that instead.  I had egg noodles but when I spotted a box of ravioli with parmesan cheese I decided to make the change.  The original also called for English peas which I substituted with broccoli.  I didn't cook my broccoli because I like the crunch and taste.  You could use fresh broccoli with this and make it even better but at the time I only had frozen.  This dish turned out wonderful!  The combination of the different flavors was balanced perfectly.  You can, of course, make your own changes or go back to the original recipe using the noodles and peas.    
Food Tester Carol:  Whenever I have eaten Alfredo sauce dishes in the past, I feel discomfort from their richness and heaviness later.  Martha’s Alfredo recipe is lighter than usual.  It is made with milk and cream cheese instead of the traditional heavy cream.  The cheese ravioli rounds out the dish and provides a tangy counterpoint to the cream cheese in the Alfredo sauce.  The broccoli in this dish is not pre-cooked so it  maintains some crunch as it warms in the sauce.  Be prepared for the excitement of following the varying subtlety of flavor.  Eat this dish slowly so that you can appreciate its depth of flavor. 

Lillian:  Wonderful!  I love Alfredo Sauce but limit myself to once or twice a year of indulging because of the richness and high fat content.  This is marvelous and, since I only use the 1/3 fat cream cheese, it is even healthier.  Martha, you have created a real winner.!

Tips:  All olive oils are not the same.  This versatile oil, made form pressed olives, is sold by grade from “pure” (a blend of lower and higher-quality oils) to “extra virgin” (the richest in aroma and flavor).  Color also indicates a flavor difference.  Green to greenish gold olive oil tastes slightly sharp.  Golden olive oil has a more delicate flavor.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hidden Valley Ranch Chicken

2 1/2 cups pineapple juice
2 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (Original)
4 chicken breast halves (about 1 lb.)
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water

Whisk juice and dressing mix.  Marinate chicken in 1/2 of the juice mixture for 2 to 2 1/2 hrs. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake chicken 45-50 minutes or until done.
In a saucepan combine cornstarch and water with remaining juice.  Heat to thicken stirring constantly.  Brush chicken with sauce.

Lillian:  Pineapple is a wonderful juice in which to marinate chicken.  Ranch dressing is my favorite dressing and this combination is great!  This is another dish that is so easy to make and will garner appreciation from all who eat it.

Martha:  Sis, when I made this dish I knew I would love it.  I did do something different that gave me even more of the 2 flavors I love so much - pineapple and ranch dressing.  I decided to turn it into a salad.  I broke up my lettuce, cut up a piece of the chicken and placed it over the lettuce, added some pineapple chunks and drizzled it with just a small amount of ranch dressing.  It doesn't take much dressing because you get so much flavor from the actual chicken.  Which I have to say is delicious as it is.  It would be great served with a side salad and maybe some rice drizzled with a little of the drippings from the chicken.  

Tip:  When removing the skin from your chicken, hold the skin with a paper towel.  This gives a better grip allowing the skin to be removed with ease.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Twice Cooked Chicken

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup self rising flour
2/3 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
salt, pepper & seasonings to taste
Oil for deep-frying

Cut chicken breasts into 1/2" thick strips.  Place chicken in a medium size pot.  Cover with water and boil about 10-15 minutes or until completely cooked.  Stir a few times to cook all pieces.  Drain.  Place on paper towels to cool and dry.  In a medium size bowl mix egg, milk and melted butter.  Stir in half of the flour.  Add more as needed until mixture the thickness of gravy.  Mix in salt, pepper & seasonings to taste.  Heat oil to 380 degrees.  Dip cooled, dry chicken into batter and drop into hot oil.  Don't allow pieces to touch.  Turn as the sides brown.  Each chicken breast will yield about 6 pieces depending upon their size.

Martha:  I found a version of this recipe in an old cookbook.  It called for a whole chicken cut up, boiling the chicken with parsley, celery and onion.  I made the change to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts which I sliced into strips.  I added my salt and pepper to the batter and also added some no salt seasoning mix that had garlic, onion, etc.  The frying time is quick which keeps the chicken from picking up that much of the oil.  The seasoning added to the batter flavored the chicken with each bite.  Now for a trick I came up with (I'm sure someone else has already done this).  I speared my chicken pieces with a skewer and used it to hold the chicken as I dipped it into the batter and then into the hot oil.  I used a fork to lightly push it off the skewer.  This also allowed me to hold the chicken in the hot oil for a few seconds so it could start browning and not stick to the bottom of the pan.  This with some honey mustard and you have good food!

Tips:  Many recipes call for chicken broth, beef broth, or vegetable broth.  If you’re fresh out of canned broth, you can use bouillon granules or cubes as an easy substitute.  Just remember that 1 can of canned broth is equivalent to 1 tsp. of granulated or 1 cube dissolved in 1 cup of water.