Friday, February 28, 2014

Dijon Chicken

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup self rising flour
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/3 cup evaporated milk or half & half
1 bouillon cube, crushed
1/4 cup hot water
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

In a large frying pan over med. heat melt butter.  In a shallow bowl mix flour and pepper together.  Using the flat side of a meat mallet, lightly pound chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap until about 1/4" thick.  Dip each piece in flour and coat well.  Place in melted butter.  Fry on med heat for about 6 minutes on each side or until juice runs clear.  Remove from pan and set aside.  In the same pan add onions.  Saute until tender, about 2-3 minutes depending on their size.  Mix crushed bouillon in hot water to dissolve.  Pour cream, bouillon and mustard in with the onions.  Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and slightly thickened.  Return chicken to pan.  Serve chicken over rice with sauce drizzled over.

Martha:  This dish is delicious.  It came from a recipe called Chicken Dijonnaise but of course I made my own changes.  I changed the flour to self-rising because that happened to be what I had on hand.  I used chopped onions instead of green onions, again for the same reason.  As well as changing from whipping cream to evaporated milk.  And I did use bouillon instead of wine.  But my Dijon mustard did have a red wine as an ingredient.  With these changes I made this dish a little cheaper to make but still came out with a totally delicious dish.

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, February 27, 2014

Chicken Eugenie

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
4 slices ham sliced about ¼” thick
2 Tbsp. butter
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 tsp. minced, dried onions
1 cup evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  “Butterfly” chicken breasts.  Cut the rest of the way through creating 2 pieces from each.  In a large frying pan melt butter over med. high heat.  Salt and pepper chicken to taste.  Brown chicken on both sides.  Cover frying pan with lid and let cook until chicken is done, about 20 minutes depending upon the thickness.  Spray a 9 x 12 x 2 baking dish with non-stick spray.  Place the 4 pieces of ham in the dish.  Top each piece of ham with chicken.  In a large bowl mix soup, celery, onions and evaporated milk until well blended.  Pour over chicken.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until bubbly in the center.  Serves 4.

Martha:  I found a version of this recipe in a 1960’s cookbook.  It had no front cover but the back cover said Pilot International Building Macon, Georgia and copyright MCMLXVI (1966).  The recipes themselves are even older.  This dish called for “top milk” which if I remember correctly is the actual cream that forms on fresh milk after the cow has been milked.  I, of course had no “top milk” so I used evaporated milk.  Guess you could also use half and half or heavy cream.  I also changed the cooking just a bit.  The original called for whole chicken breasts which I changed to boneless, skinless and sliced it into 2 pieces.  It had the chicken just browned and not cooked completely in the frying pan.  It’s cooking was done in the oven.  I like my chicken to be cooked before adding the other ingredients so I cooked mine thoroughly in the pan.  As for the ham, I used a large slice and cut it into 4 even pieces.  Go easy on the salt you might add to the chicken.  The ham gives out a good bit so salt lightly.  As for this dish, it was delicious.  I served it over brown and wild rice with a salad and roll making this a complete and delicious dish.  The name of the dish is exactly the way it was listed in the book.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chicken Mac & Cheese

2 cups cooked chicken cut into bite size piece
1/2 pound pasta noodles of your choice, cooked and drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded cheese (set 1/2 cup aside)
1/2 cup Panko

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9 x 13 x 2 baking dish with non-stick spray.  In a large bowl combine chicken, noodles, both soups and 1 1/2 cups cheese.  Pour into pan.  Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese evenly over top.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until cheese melts and is bubbly.  Sprinkle with Panko and return to oven for 5 minutes.  Watch so the Panko doesn't burn.  Serves 6

Martha:  I can't say enough about this dish.  The original recipe called for bacon which omitted.  It called for 2 cans of cream of chicken, I made the change of 1 chicken and 1 mushroom.  It used Monterrey jack cheese but I decided to use cheddar which gave it a wonderful taste and I also added the Panko bread crumbs as an added texture.  This dish turned out so good that I've had 2 of my food testers, that don't cook, ask if they brought me the ingredients, would I please make it up for them. 

Lillian:  Oh, what a treat this is!  The slight crunch of the Panko is just the right touch, Martha.  We love mushrooms, like you, and I will also be omitting the bacon.  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Chicken & Squash Casserole

4 med. sized yellow squash
1 med. size onion

Peel and slice squash.  Place in a boiler.  Slice onion and add to squash.  Add enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat to a simmer.  Cook until squash and onions are tender.  Drain and pour into a large bowl.

1 cup chopped, cooked chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg (14 oz.) stuffing mix
1 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth

Add all to the bowl with the squash and onions.  Mix well

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray.  Evenly spread mixture in pan.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until bubbly in center. 

Martha:  This is a great dish to trick the kids into eating their squash.  It's also a good dish to get me to eat my squash, since I'm not a fan.  This I could eat until someone rolled me away from the table.  It's moist, there is a slight taste of cheese, onion, chicken, and yes squash.  Combine all of those flavors with the stuffing mix and oh so good!  Add a salad and you have a great meal. 

Lillian:  I do love squash, raw or cooked.   This dish is one more to enjoy when the squash are in season and plentiful.  Squash has such a mild taste and the other ingredients here just boost the flavor.   A real treat here!

Tip:  Want to make quick work of cutting up your chicken?  Buy a pair of pruning shears for your kitchen.  They are perfect for cutting up chicken, especially whole birds.  The soft handles are comfortable and the shears are strong enough to slice through the toughest joints with ease.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chicken Marsala

4 chicken cutlets
flour, salt & pepper
4 Tbsp. butter

Dredge the cutlets in seasoned flour.  In a frying pan melt butter and saute the chicken until cooked and brown.  Remove from heat to a heated platter and keep warm.

To the frying pan saute
1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup dry Marsala wine
1/2 cup beef broth

Cook over high heat a 2-3 minutes.  Pour over chicken

Lillian:  This recipe was given to me by my late sister, Lois, who was such an outstanding cook.  I don't know where she found the recipe but I'm certainly glad that she shared it with me.  She made this one day when another sister came for dinner and it was a real hit!  This is so good served over noodles or rice, or served on the side with mashed or baked potatoes.  It lends itself to anything.

Martha:  Sis, as you can see from the picture I used bone-in chicken breasts to make this dish.  Why?  They were on sale so I stocked my freezer up and had plenty on hand.  Anyway, I dredged my chicken in the flour and then placed them on a rack with a pan under it to catch the drippings.  After that I followed the recipe.  For my mushrooms I used Shaiitake which next to Portabella are my favorite.  This dish was wonderful!  My Food Testers all wanted more.

Tip:  I like to add apples to not just my chicken salads but to others as well.  At times my apple turned brown before I was able to serve my guests.  No more.  After doing some research I found that the Golden Delicious variety doesn't oxidize and turn brown the way the other varieties do and its sweetness and texture are perfect for a great salad.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Open Face Baked Chicken Sandwich

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
15 green olives, sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
4 slices bread
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8 x 8 x 2 baking dish with non-stick spray.  Press the 4 slices of bread into the bottom.  Mix chicken, mayonnaise, olives and boiled eggs.  Spoon over bread.  Mix soup and sour cream.  Smoothly spoon over chicken mix.  Bank 20-25 minutes or until bubbly hot.   Sprinkle with Paprika.  Serves 4.

Martha:  I got this idea from an old cookbook and of course made some changes.  The original called for 12 slices of bread and a 9 x 12 x 2 baking sheet.  I cut the bread down to 4 slices.  It had chopped onions and ripe olives.  I left out the onions, thought it would over power the taste.  I also changed to green olives.  The original called for cream of chicken soup which I changed to cream of mushroom and also omitted the pimientos that were to be sprinkled on top and used paprika instead.  And lastly, I didn't add the 2nd layer of bread over the chicken mixture.   I had no idea how this would come out.  If the bread would be soggy or it would have enough flavor to make it tasty.  Well, the bread was perfect... not soggy, not too firm.  The flavors came mainly from the olives and sour cream.  Add all the other ingredients and this dish is simply wonderful!  For the chicken I used 2 chicken breasts that I baked and the bread was a Honey Wheat. 

Lillian:  Open faced sandwiches have been around for decades and are made with so many different meats and spreads, but this one is so different, easy and will fit into a lunch or dinner menu.  Add a salad and your work is all finished since the eggs may be boiled and the chicken mix may all be made ahead of time.  Only assembly and baking must be just before meal time.  Great dish!

Food Tester Carol:  This layered dish is anchored by a layer of bread on the bottom, then covered with tender cubes of chicken, a hint of green olives and slices of boiled eggs.  Top with a sauce of cream of mushroom soup and sour cream sprinkled with paprika and you have a gentle, friendly dish with an attractive presentation.  It just whispers to you.  It will take you back to some time in your childhood when you tasted something perfectly smooth and satisfying!

This dish is so good!  I took 2 bites and then took it to Frances and said "you have to try this!"  She ate the whole thing except for one bite and then she said, "save this for me for later!".  This is a very happy dish. 

Martha:  Frances is Carol's 95 year old Mom.  If you can please her with a dish, it must be good.

Tip:  Most recipes that require your chicken to be battered suggest you dry your chicken first.  This can be easily done by placing pieces on a layer of paper towels, cover them with another layer of paper towels and then add more chicken pieces, etc.  This allows the chicken to dry until ready for battering. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chicken Hashbrown Casserole

1 box (4.2 oz.) hashbrowns
8 oz. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped, cooked chicken breasts
1/2 cup French fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare hashbrowns according to package.  Drain excess water.  Add hashbrowns, evenly to a 2 qt. casserole dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  In a large bowl combine sour cream, soup, butter, onions, 1 cup of the cheese, and chicken.  Spread over hashbrowns.  Top with remaining cup of cheese.  Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly in the center.  Sprinkle with lightly crushed French fried onions.  Bake another 5 minutes or until onions start to lightly brown.  Serves 6.

Martha:  I found a recipe for a hashbrown casserole that sounded really good but as always, I decided to make a few changes.  I used the dried hashbrowns that all you do is add hot water and let them sit for about 5 minutes, the original recipe had called for 2 lbs. of frozen hashbrowns.  That seemed a bit much to me so I cut that down by using the dried.  The original recipe called for a full stick of butter which I cut down to 1/2.  It didn't call for the chicken nor the French fried onions but I thought they would be a good addition and they were.  Plus the original called for all of the cheese to be sprinkled on top and I divided it up putting half inside and the other half on top.  This is a really delicious dish.  My food testers wanted more!

Lillian:  The hash brown potatoes are such a boon to the person who has to serve a meal quickly or the those who just want an easy meal after a tiring day.   This is a winner with that added chicken for a bit more protein in the diet.

Tip:  Chicken shrinkage - for each 3 oz. serving of cooked poultry, buy an extra ounce to allow for shrinkage and an extra 2 ounces to allow for bone.  Also, the lower the heat the chicken is cooked, the less it shrinks.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Chicken Alfredo Roll-ups

9 lasagna noodles
1 jar (15 oz.) Alfredo sauce
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1/4 cup garlic butter, melted
Italian seasoning
3 cups shredded Mozzarella, divided (2 cups & 1 cup)

Cook noodles according to package. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking.  Lay out on the counter enough foil to allow you to place each noodle individually to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread about 2 Tbsp. Alfredo sauce over each noodle.  Spread chicken evenly over sauce.  Sprinkle chicken with 2 cups of cheese.  Drizzle with melted garlic butter.  Spray a 9 x 13 x 2 baking dish with non-stick spray.  Carefully roll up each noodle and place in baking dish seam-side down.  After all are in the pan pour the remaining Alfredo sauce evenly over the noodles.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and Italian seasoning to taste.  Bake about 30 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted.

Martha:  This dish is delicious!  The recipe originally called for homemade garlic Alfredo sauce but I've found that most of the pre-packaged are really good and really save time.  I did change the recipe some.  I used Mushroom Alfredo sauce (which I loved).  The original recipe called for an 8 x 8 pan which I found too small so I used the 9 x 13.  I changed the oregano, which was sprinkled inside the rolls to the Italian seasoning on the outside, I used melted garlic butter instead of the garlic salt and I used Italian blend cheese instead of the Mozzarella.  My Food Testers loved it!

Lillian:  I love Alfredo and this is a real treat.  So easy and I will be making this amount and freezing serving size packages for later use.  I think that basil, instead of the Italian seasonings, will also be a taste pleaser. 

Food Tester Carol:  This is a white lasagna with lots of flavor.  The Alfredo white sauce with Italian seasoning and mushrooms draws out the best savor of chunks of chicken breast.  The thin lasagna noodles reminded us of grandmother’s dumplin’s, a legendary comfort food in our family.  This white chicken lasagna now shares this highly prized “comfort food” title in our home. 

Tip:  Casseroles really taste best when made in advance. Time will allow the flavors to blossom.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Taco Chicken

2 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a shallow bowl mix taco mix and oregano.  Divide olive oil over the 2 chicken breasts and rub to coat.  Pat half of the taco seasoning mix evenly on chicken.  Line a baking dish with foil.  Place a wire rack over or in the baking dish.  Place chicken on rack.  Bake 35-40 min.  Mix barbecue sauce and cumin.  Brush over both sides of chicken.  Bake another 5-10 minutes. 

Martha:  I found this recipe online and, of course, made my changes.  The original recipe called for the chicken to be grilled outside.  As you can see I used the oven.  It also called for chili sauce to be added to the barbecue sauce which I omitted.  I also used the bone/skin in chicken instead of the boneless/skinless the original recipe called for.  I think the bone actual gives the meat a better flavor.  This is good cold too made into a sandwich or a wrap.

Lillian:  I am not a big fan of BBQ , but this is different.  Cumin is another of my favorite seasonings and it gives this a really satisfying taste.

Tip:  To freeze an unbaked or fully baked casserole: begin by lining a casserole with heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving enough of an overhang on all sides to cover and seal the food later. Assemble the casserole, laying it in the lined pan and either freeze the ingredients until solid or bake and cool to room temperature then freeze (it's not necessary to seal it up for this short freezing time). Once the casserole is frozen, use the excess foil overhang and seal airtight. Double wrap the foil wrapped casserole in freezer proof plastic bags, label, date it, then freeze until ready to use. (Meanwhile, you can use the casserole dish for other purposes.) To thaw, remove the wrapping and place the frozen food back into the dish in which it was assembled or baked. Defrost and reheat or bake as recipe instructs.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chicken Salad

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
water to cover chicken
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
½ tsp. rubbed sage
1 whole medium onion
1 rib celery, cut into two or three pieces
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 lb. red seedless grapes, halved
1 cup pecans, broken into large pieces
1 (20oz.) can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 cup sliced celery
½ cup mayonnaise, or more to moisten the salad or you may want to use a bit of the pineapple juice to moisten it a bit more.

Boil the chicken in the water, onion, celery, and seasonings until the chicken is completely cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Save broth for a later use by either refrigerating it or freezing it. Cool chicken and cut into bite-size pieces. Mix with remaining ingredients and refrigerate.
Serve on lettuce leaves  Serves 4-6, depending upon size of serving.

Lillian: I have been making this salad for many years and I never use a recipe or true measurements so I had to really think about how much I used of each ingredient. You can use more of anything here and even add things such as miniature marshmallows, diced apple, or use a mixture of green and red grapes. I never discard the broth that is left from cooking chicken as it is so handy for casseroles or gravy for a later meal. I just freeze mine in glass jars or plastic containers with tight fitting covers.

Martha:  Another dish that I was unsure about.  Again I love chicken salad and have had it with grapes and nuts but never the pineapple and never seasoned with the poultry seasoning, sage and onions.  But again, I gave it a try and am glad I did.  My food testers fell in love with it and all wanted more.  This is a great dish for a light lunch/dinner and perfect to take to a potluck outing.  I'll be making this one quite often.  

Food Tester Carol:  This chicken salad is composed of generous chunks of chicken breast accompanied by grapes, pecans, pineapple and other fruit—all held together by a little mayonnaise.  The delightful mixing of mayonnaise and pineapple results a completely new flavor in the sauce—light, tangy and satisfying.    This salad makes me think of the kind of lilting melodies musicians play to celebrate spring. 

Tip:  Unsure about the capacity of your baking pan? Measure water and pour it in the pan to check.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hawaiin Chicken

4 chicken breast halves
Salt & pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup orange juice concentrate
2/3 cup coconut
2/3 cup bread crumbs ( I prefer Planko)
1 tsp. curry
1/4 cup butter, melted

Salt & pepper chicken pieces.
In a bowl mix egg and orange juice.
In another bowl mix coconut, bread crumbs, and curry

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Dip chicken in egg and orange juice.  Then dip into breadcrumb and coconut mix.  Place in a baking dish sprayed with non-stick.  Dish needs to be large enough that the pieces don't touch.  Bake 30-40 minutes or until chicken is done and juices run clear.

Lillian: This one was one from my sister, Lois. She loved to try making foods in a different way. I don't know where she found this recipe, but she gave it to me to enter into a book that she had previously written recipes in and sent to me.

Martha:  Sis, when I made this dish I had my doubts.  I like coconut shrimp but wasn't quite sure I would like coconut on my chicken and even more unsure about the orange juice.  But...I made it anyway.  It was wonderful!  I wasn't sure if I should use unsweetened coconut or sweetened and when I got ready to put everything together I found that I had sweetened coconut only.  I'm not sure which you use but you can bet I'll always use the sweetened.  The sweetness added a unique and delicious taste.  As for the orange juice, I didn't really taste it that much but I believe that may be what made it so juicy and tender.  This dish is tops for me!

Tip:  When you don't have the specific casserole baking dish called for in a recipe, it's best to think big. Opt to use a pan of equal or slightly greater volume. However, if you substitute a pan that is shallower than the one specified, reduce the baking time by 25 percent, if the pan is deeper increase the baking time by 25 percent.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Chicken Pie

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked & cubed
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl mix chicken, eggs, both soups and broth.  Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  In a bowl cream butter and sour cream.  Mix in flour.  Drop by tablespoons full evenly over chicken mix.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until bread topping is done and lightly browned.

Martha:  This is one of the best tasting chicken dishes!  Especially the bread topping.  The butter and sour cream give it a buttery rich taste.  The soups give you a creamy sauce that when added to the chicken and boiled eggs take the flavors even further.  The original recipe came from a 1990 cookbook.  I increased the number of boiled eggs, I added the mushroom soup, decreased the amount of broth and increased the flour to 1 1/2 cups.  I actually made this dish by the original recipe but it came out with a sauce that was too thin for me.  Making these changes gave me the perfect combination.

Lillian: Just like good old Chicken Pot Pie of yesteryear. Ummmmm, good! This dish will be welcomed by anyone who tastes it. To ease up on time, if that is a problem, just cook your chicken the day before and cut it up, refrigerate it and finish it up for dinner.

Tip:  Want to make that casserole au gratin?  Simply sprinkle the assembled dish with grated cheese and bread crumbs moistened with a little melted butter and dried herbs, if desired, and continue to bake until the cheese has melted and the casserole is bubbling.  If you desire a crisp, browned topping, don't cover the casserole as it bakes.