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Archive for the ‘Poultry’ Category

Veggie Lasagna

Ok. So this is not the easiest, a little labor intensive.  But, oh so worth it!

Hon says “how can it be lasagna without meat?”.  I say, “Just give it a try, it’ll be good!”.  And it was!   Don’t forget the mozzarella or Provolone cheese for the top!

Just kidding! Not really, that is what the plate looked like when he was done!  Here is before we ate:

First, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Then…

  • 1/2 c chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 c chopped onion
  • 1/2 c chopped carrot
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 c chopped bell pepper (I used sweet red)
  • 14 oz can diced tomato, drained

Mix this stuff together, saute` in 1 TB extra virgin olive oil and set aside.

  • 1 c low fat ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c fresh basil pesto
  • 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix together and set aside.

  • 9 lasagna  noodles, par boiled about 6-7 minutes, drained

Reserve.

  • 2 TB butter
  • 2-3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 TB flour
  • 2 c flour
  • Salt and pepper

Melt butter over medium low heat, add garlic and cook about a minute.  Whisk in the flour.  Whisk in the milk until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).  Add 1/4 tsp salt and pepper to taste.

Spray baking dish (9×6 is what I used).  Spread 1/4 c sauce in the bottom of the pan.  Layer as follows:

  1. Noodles
  2. Ricotta/pesto mix
  3. Shredded mozzarella (1/4-1/2 per layer)
  4. Veggie mix
  5. Repeat 1 through 4 three times

Layer the top with mozzarella or Provolone.   Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until the cheese on top is lightly browned.   I was going to add eggplant to the veggie mix but, maybe next time!  This would be perfect with some shredded cooked chicken or perhaps, some shrimp!  Yum!

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I love  curry!  This stems back to grad school from one of my study groups.  We were getting together for a year end exam cram session.  Our Indian friend offered to cook chicken curry.  That, honestly, was the first time I ever ate authentic curry!  The thing about curry is that everyone makes it differently.  I have read many, many, many curry recipes and have kind of tailored mine to what I have on hand on the day I am making it.  Tonight, we have the following, including one of my favorite vegetables – eggplant:

  • 3 to 4 chicken thighs, skinless (I leave the bone in as I think it adds flavor)
  • 1-2 TB olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup eggplant, peeled and diced (I actually froze some from my garden so I had some on hand)
  • 1 cup sweet, frozen peas – thawed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TB fresh grated ginger (tip – buy the ginger fresh and keep it in your freezer, grate what you need and return to the freezer)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, fat free
  • 2-3 TB  Curry Powder (I used Penzey’s Hot Curry Powder). However, I would suggest using what you like – some like it hot and some like it sweeter.  Curry is a very individual thing.  There is definitely something for everyone!

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and 1 tsp of the curry powder.

Heat oil in heavy, deep pan (I used a 4 inch deep coated cast iron).

Brown seasoned chicken thighs in oil.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add onion and eggplant to pan and saute’ until onions are translucent.

Add minced garlic and grated ginger.  Simmer about a minute.

Add chicken stock & water.  Nestle the browned chicken thighs into the liquid. Add the remaining curry powder.  Simmer covered for about a half hour to an hour, turning thighs occasionally.

Remove cover.  Continue simmering for a bit longer until the chicken is tender.

Okay…  at this point, I got a call from a neighbor about his dog, Zelda (she is a wonderful dog – oh! by the way, did I mention, I love dogs!).  Fortunately, it appeared that she might just have an ear infection.  I cleaned Zelda’s ears and recommended he seek the services of our local veterinarian in the morning.

The beauty of this recipe is you can shut the burner off (cover the pot) for an hour (mind the 2 hour rule to avoid our not-so-much-friend, Mr. Sal Manilla).  So! If you took a break, reheat the pot then…

Add coconut milk and heat through.  Add thawed peas.

Stir in Greek yogurt and serve over cooked jasmine rice.  Yum!  I added an extra dollop of yogurt on top for fun!

Now I don’t know if peas really belong but I really like them in curry.  I know eggplant definitely belongs!  The rich, buttery goodness…  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.  I see raisins and diced apple in curry quite often.  I like adding apples but I am not so fond of the raisins (just a personal preference). I think fresh chopped cilantro is delicious (I did not have any on hand, again!).  I think that curried dishes are very flexible and can definitely be made to an individual’s taste.

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So it is Valentine’s Day and really, I have never been much into it.  It reminds me of the Valentine’s Day Massacre.  Bloody, death, ick!   Besides, my wedding anniversary is just before February 14 so we don’t put much effort into the actual Valentine thing.  No need to duplicate  efforts in so short of time.  So tonight, something simple and easy, but, delicious!

Gotta love chicken thighs – they have so much flavor!

  • 4 bone in chicken thighs, skinless
  • your favorite chicken seasoning (I used a Greek style with oregano, lemon and garlic)
  • 1 bread crumbs with 1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese tossed in

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the bread crumb mixture in a bowl. Prepare a baking pan by spraying with cooking spray.

Season the chicken thighs with your favorite seasoning.  I like to add a little fresh ground black pepper, just for kicks!

Quickly spray the chicken with a little baking spray, just to make the bread crumb mixture stick.  Dip the top sides of the chicken thighs in the bread crumbs.  Place on baking pan with top side up.  I like to sprinkle a little more bread crumbs on top. Then spray with olive oil.

Bake in pre-heated oven about 35-40  minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the crust is crispy and lightly browned.  Alternately, if you have boneless skinless chicken thighs, it only takes about 20 minutes.  Granted, the bones do add some cooking time but, I believe that the bones add flavor!

Let the chicken rest 5-10 minutes before serving.  I just served it up with a pasta and veggie salad!  Hope all the lovers out there are enjoying the eve (and their food!). We are just about to eat because we are hungry!

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There are some things at the grocery store, that in my opinion, are fabulous deals!  Frozen spinach is one (do you know how much spinach fits into one of those little frozen boxes?).  The other is the rotisserie chickens that almost all grocers carry these days.  They often go on sale for around $5.00, which when you think about it, you get a whole chicken, seasoned, cooked and hot.  If you buy a whole raw chicken, it is usually about that price but then you have to season and cook the chicken.  The savings in time is incredible!  Also, in my house, we usually get at least two meals (often three meals) from one of those rotisserie chicken – the initial chicken dinner, then either chicken salad, chicken quesadillas or something like that, then the inevitable chicken soup!

I just happened to pick a rotisserie chicken up while shopping on Saturday.  So here we are on “soup day”.  It is still cold, windy and snowy so a comforting steamy bowl of soup is just the thing to warm you up!

  • 1 carcass from a rotisserie chicken (or if you roasted your own chicken, that is fine too!)
  • 8 c water
  • 1 bay leaf

In a stock pot, place the chicken carcass and cover with 6 to 8 cups of water.  Add bay lea.  Cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.

Strain over a bowl, reserving the broth and the carcass.  Be sure to remove the bay leaf from the broth.  Let the chicken carcass cool until you can handle it then pick all the meat off and add it to the reserved broth.

  • 2 TB olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 c chopped celery
  • 1 c chopped onion, preferably yellow or white
  • 1 c chopped carrot
  • 1 c peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 2 TB fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 small zucchini, diced (I did not have any but if I did, it would be in the pot!)

Heat oil in stock pot over medium low heat.  Add the carrots, onion and celery. Saute` until onion is translucent and carrots are almost tender.  Add garlic and cook about a minute longer.

Add reserved chicken stock (and picked chicken from carcass).  Add thyme and pepper.  Simmer until carrots and celery are tender.

Add salt to taste.  Then add peas (and/or zucchini) and simmer for 5 additional minutes.  Stir in parsley.  At this point, the soup is ready to eat.  Or you can add noodles (simmer until noodles are tender) or dumplings (see below), whatever your heart desires.  LOL ~ the peas float!

And then… I made dumplings, because they are so comforting and because we love them in this home!  I got this dumpling recipe from Joy of Cooking, 1997 edition.  It is a  wonderful basic dumpling recipe ~ fluffy, buttery and oh, so delicious!  I did cut the recipe in half here.  I have experimented in the past with whole wheat flour, adding cheeses and/or fresh chopped herbs. Below are the original ingredients because it is the best starting point.  By cutting it in half, the recipe yields about 9-10 dumplings which is plenty for this pot of soup.

  • 1 c flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp plus a pinch salt
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 1/2 TB butter

Mix dry ingredients together.  Heat butter and milk to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Add to dry ingredients and stir well with a fork.  Drop by spoonfuls into simmering soup.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.   Serve immediately.

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So, it will be 19 degrees below zero (Farenheit) tonight!  Brrrrr!!!  One really needs something to warm up with.

This is my version of Cheese and Hot Pepper Chicken from Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisana Kitchen.  My parents had that cook book when I was in high school and then was when I discovered this recipe.  The first time I made this, I followed Chef Paul’s recipe to the tee. The result was fabulous!  Spicy, cheesy and creamy!  But you could just hear your arteries clogging!  Yikes!

On a side note, I actually purchased this cookbook many years later so I actually “owned” this recipe.  I just couldn’t talk my parents into giving me their copy of the cookbook.  Silly, I know, but I had to have it!  The seasoning mix was a must!  On the other hand, there are a lot of really yummy recipes in the cookbook, so my purchase was not in vain.

So, I wanted to lighten the dish up a bit, as well as cut the cooking time.  The original recipe was really high in fat, and took quite a while to make.  The one thing I did not change is Chef Paul’s seasoning. I absolutely love it and I think it is perfection!  I have used it with wild game (pheasant or quail), but tonight I have chicken – just 5 pieces (odd, I know, but that was what was in the package I took out of the freezer).

Chef Paul’s Seasoning Mix:

  • 2 TB salt (I used Kosher)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix well.  This is enough for 16 pieces of chicken.  I am only making 4-5 tonight so any extra, I will store in a tightly sealed glass jar until next time.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c flour seasoned with 2 tsp of the above seasoning mix
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 4-6 pieces of chicken (your choice), bone in, skin and excess fat removed (I used chicken thighs because I like them!)
  • 1 c diced sweet bell pepper (I used a combination of red, yellow and orange, but green is wonderful also)
  • 1/2 c diced green chiles (unfortunately, I ran out so I used 1 tsp of hot green chile powder)
  • 1 c diced onion
  • 2 jalapenos, minced (remove the seeds if you don’t want it too  spicy)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 1 c shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 3/4 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 c light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • Cooked Jasmine rice for serving

Season the chicken pieces with about 2 TB Chef’s Paul’s seasoning mix.  Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour.

Heat heavy pot over med low heat. Add olive oil.  Brown chicken pieces on both sides.  You are not cooking the chicken through, just browning it.  Be careful not to burn the “crunchies” in the skillet that fall off the chicken.  Remove chicken from pot and set aside.

In same pot (there should be very little oil left after browning the chicken), add the onions, bell peppers and jalapenos.  Saute` until the onions are translucent, just starting to brown.  Add the minced garlic and cook about a minute more.

Add bay leaf, 1/2 tsp salt.  Add 1 TB of the reserved seasoned flour and stir, cook a couple minutes so the raw flour taste will be eliminated.

If you are using green chiles, this is the time to add them.  Unfortunately, I have not been to New Mexico lately and my supply has dwindled.  I did substitute hot green chile powder (from New Mexico), but I stirred it in when I added the garlic.

Add 1 c chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pot to get the “crunchies”.  Add the remaining chicken stock.  Add chicken to the pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes (stir occasionally and flip chicken over periodically), until the chicken is tender.  Remove the bay leaf.

Stir in the half and half and light sour cream.  Stir in the cheeses until melted.

Serve over cooked rice – I am using Jasmine, but brown rice or basmati works as well.

Now I know you are probably thinking that this doesn’t sound very light and that may be true.  But, compared to Chef Paul’s original recipe, it has a ton less fat and calories!  I tried using plain yogurt instead of light sour cream and you really do not get the same result.  There are some things that one just can’t skimp on.  In my opinion, that is the cheese.  The only light cheese I care for is mozzerella and that does not go so well in this recipe.   The pepper jack and sharp cheddar are perfect!

As an added bonus, when the chicken is gone and you still have some of the sauce left, it is wonderful over steamed veggies like broccoli, asparagus or cauliflower.  Throw in a little left over rice or pasta with that and you have a meal!  Aren’t leftovers wonderful?

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As initially indicated, I do like to harvest my own food. However, this was mostly handled by the hubby.  Here is my version of creamed pheasant (harvested by my husband!).  If you do not have access to pheasant, you can substitute any poultry.

1 pheasant, cut into serving pieces, skin removed

1/4 c olive oil

1 c seasoned flour (add salt and pepper)

3 TB red onion, diced

1 c chicken stock

1 c half and half cream (or evaporated skim milk for a lighter dish – I find that evaporated milk is an excellent substitute for cream!)

1 glass dry white wine (4 oz)

1 oz sherry

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Season pheasant pieces with salt and pepper. Dredge in seasoned flour.
  • Heat oil in a heavy skillet (I use cast iron) and brown pheasant pieces on both sides.
  • Place pieces in a baking dish and sprinkle with diced red onion. Pour chicken stock over. Cover and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

  • Add cream (or evaporated milk), wine, sherry.  Continue baking for another hour or so, uncovered, until the pheasant is tender and the sauce thickens.
  • Serve over brown rice, homemade egg noodles or mashed potatoes.  A simple salad is nice.  I actually made a quick side.  I saute’d diced red bell pepper, diced onion and chopped broccoli and added to cooked brown rice.  Sorry, no recipe for that but it is easy enough!  I also had baked some bialies (kind of like a bagel but more tender and no hole) so it made a nice compliment to sop up the sauce.


I know this is somewhat time consuming.  However, cooking is normally a stress reliever for me.  Sometimes I just wake up on my day off (yes, I work), grab a pile of cookbooks and read.   Not that I normally use recipes or measure ingredients (this blog is helping me with the measuring issue), but I read until I decide what I need to cook that day.  If it is a cold, snowy day, then I often have a time consuming recipe.  It heats the home and smells great!  Not to mention, I’m hungry!  Lets eat!

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