New Favorite

Buttternut Squash and Chicken Chowder

Butternut Squash and Chicken Chowder is a wonderful comfort food, especially paired with a nice biscuit or crusty bread.  Squash is plentiful, the weather is cool, and soups are my favorite fall and winter comfort foods.

It’s great fun to experiment with new recipes.  Growing up the standard soups and stews were Chile, vegetable soup, potato soup, bean soup, oyster stew at Christmas (still not a favorite), and an occasional ham and split pea soup.  Now the sky is the limit, trying new combinations and flavors!

Buttternut Squash and Chicken Chowder

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely minced
½ pound carrots peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small bite sized pieces
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Few grinds black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (or both), all fat removed and cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups onion, diced
1 cup celery diced (I substituted 1 chopped green pepper and 1/2 teaspoon celery seed)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
2 14.5-ounce cans chicken stock
1 pound all purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 14.5-ounce can kernel corn with liquid
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Few shakes of Tabasco sauce
2 cups half and half cream

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Toss one tablespoon of the oil in a small bowl with the sage and carrots and pour out onto a small sheet pan. Roast for ten minutes.
  • Add squash and another tablespoon of oil along with salt and pepper to the small bowl and pour out onto the carrots and flip with a spatula to mix.
  • Roast for ten more minutes.
  • Remove from oven and set aside.
  • While vegetables are roasting, in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil with the butter over medium high heat.
  • Once the fat is hot, add about a third the chicken and cook about five minutes to brown and cook through. Remove to a bowl and cook the another third then finally the last third, adding to the bowl after each batch. Set aside. The chicken should be fully cooked through at this step.
  • Turn the heat to medium and add the onions and celery. Cook, stirring often until the onions are translucent, about five to ten minutes. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.
  • Add flour and cook for two more minutes, stirring often.
  • Add stock and stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Bring to a boil and add potatoes along with roasted vegetables and all pan drippings. Cook for 5-10 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  • Add corn with juice along with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces.
  • Add cooked chicken with any liquid that collected in the bowl, stir and add all of the half and half cream.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning and bring just to serving temperature.
Book Club · New Favorite

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

Our book club met at my home for our March review oDo Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien. I must admit I did not care for the book and did not finish it. Others had the same difficulty, finding it complex and hard to follow, especially in the beginning. However, for those that finished the book, they thoroughly enjoyed it finding the Chinese Cultural Revolution to be similar to world experiences today.

Our potluck cuisine was Asian and my Asian recipe file is devoid of recipes.  I found this wonderful Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken recipe online and will definitely make it again and again.  Very flavorful and wonderful with rice and stir fry vegetables.

SLOW COOKER CASHEW CHICKEN

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup cashews

  • Combine cornstarch and pepper in resealable food storage bag. Add chicken and shake to coat with cornstarch.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken about 2 minutes on each side. Place chicken in slow cooker. (Frankly, next time I make it I will skip this step)
  • Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sweet chili sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and cashews in small bowl; pour over chicken. (Optional: If you like the cashews to be softer, you can add them during the cooking process.  If you like more crunch, add them right before serving.)
  • Cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Service over rice. Optional: Garnish with chopped scallions.
  • Makes 4-6 servings.

Recipe slightly adapated from therecipecritic.com

Garden · New Favorite

Chicken Pozole with Tomatillos

Tomatillos are plentiful this year so I’m always up for trying a new recipe. I love my standard Posole recipe with pork, but liked this idea with chicken and tomatillos. Tomatillos have almost a citrus-like taste to them so it pairs well with chicken and pozole.

The soup was great fresh and I’ve frozen a large batch for a cold winter’s night!

CHICKEN POSOLE WITH TOMATILLOS

1 pound tomatillos
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups chopped onion
1 pounds chicken, skinned (I used 2 cups of cooked, chopped chicken vs. raw)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and quartered
1 (30-ounce) can white hominy, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
8 lime wedges (optional)
Gluten Free · New Favorite

Crock Pot Chicken Cream Cheese Chile

Crock pot meals are the best…easy with so many options.  I love the Salsa chicken recipe that daughter, Megan, shared with me a while ago.  This recipe sounded very similar but with the addition of cream cheese.  YUM!

I used almost 2 pounds of chicken strips vs. the 2 chicken breasts called for.  It was delicious but in the future I would use about 1 pound of chicken for this recipe. Great over rice, in a burrito, over a baked potato…or invent your own combination!

CROCK POT CHICKEN CREAM CHEESE CHILE

2 chicken breasts, still frozen
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can corn kernels, do not drain
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can mild green chiles
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
1 T cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese

  • Put the chicken in the crock pot.
  • Top with the tomatoes, corn, the drained and rinsed beans, ranch dressing, cumin, onion and chile powders.
  • Stir to combine, then top with the cream cheese.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring one or twice to blend in the cheese.
  • Shred the chicken into large pieces and serve over rice. Can also serve in tortillas or taco shells.
Family Favorites · Holidays

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Cold winter days and soup are the perfect pair.  I have such fond memories of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup from Panera and also from the little luncheonette at my work. With temperatures near and below zero this week, I was craving this savory gem especially after all of the sweets from the holidays.  It didn’t disappoint!

CHICKEN AND WILD RICE SOUP

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup diced, cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons dry white wine (or dry sherry)
minced parsley or chives

  • Melt butter in 6 quart kettle and sauté onion until tender. Blend in flour, gradually add broth and continue stirring.
  • Cook, until mixture thickens slightly. Stir in rice, chicken and salt. Simmer about 5 minutes.
  • Blend in half and half and wine. Heat to serving temperature. Garnish with minced parsley or chives.
Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

West African Peanut Stew

Peanut Stew is featured today thanks to this great recipe prepared by fellow Grandma-in-law (grandson Evan’s other Grandma), Chris, for our potluck last week as mentioned in Tuesday’s post.

She adapted the recipe per her notes below and it was absolutely delicious!  The original recipe serves six and is easily adaptable to vegan, omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth.  I will add this recipe to my favorites.

WEST AFRICAN PEANUT STEW

“A hearty stew that’s super-easy to make and great for peanut butter lovers. Can be made vegetarian or with chicken. In a pinch, feel free to use vegetable or corn oil for peanut oil, powdered ginger for fresh, water for stock, etc. Kale works well in place of collard greens.”

2 tablespoons peanut oil (I used coconut oil)
one half onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger (I prefer to slice them thick so you can fish it out)
a pinch of sugar to caramelize onion
1 pound chicken, cut into chunks (optional)
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper, or to taste (which for me was none)
I added about a tsp of cinnamon
salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 small sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
1 (16 ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1/4 pound collard greens, roughly chopped
1 cup chunky peanut butter

  • Heat the peanut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; cook and stir the onion, garlic, and ginger in the hot oil until softened, about 5 minutes.  (I used Costco rotisserie shredded chicken, so I didn’t add it until the last step, since it was already cooked)
  • Add the chicken; cook and stir until completely browned. Season with the crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Pour the chicken stock over the mixture. Stir the sweet potatoes into the liquid and bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover the pot partially with a lid, and cook at a simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Stir the tomatoes, collard greens, and peanut butter into the soup. Partially cover the pot again and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, another 20 minutes. (Mine simmered for about 30 minutes longer than that. I used a potato masher and crushed up the sweet potatoes and tomatoes a little after the recipe’s 20 minute simmer, so it would be thicker rather than chunky.)

I had extra collard greens and one review suggested to sauté them as garnish along with chopped peanuts.

The original recipe was found on Epicurious.

 

Family Favorites · New Favorite

Chicken Enchilritos

Enchilrito…what the heck is that? It’s my interpretation of a chicken enchilada made with flour tortillas instead of corn. The recipe I chose for this dish called it an Enchilada but used flour instead of corn tortillas.  I made, I liked, but would use corn tortillas next time for a truer version of Enchiladas.

The recipe is quite good and hearty.  Serve with a green salad, and if you can, a great Margarita!

CHICKEN ENCHILRITOS

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 to 4 cups of shredded, cooked chicken
2 (19 oz.) cans of Enchilada Sauce
10 count package of flour (or corn) tortillas (8-10″ in diameter)
3.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella (or Monterey Jack) cheese
1 can drained black beans
1 (4.5 oz.) can chopped green chiles

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Great a 9×13″ casserole dish.
  • In a heated skillet add a small amount of cooking oil and saute onion until soft. Add chicken, one can of Enchilada sauce, 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, black beans and chiles. Stir and heat slightly.
  • Place 2-4 spoonfuls of filling in the center of each tortilla.
  • Roll each tortilla up and place in the casserole dish with the open side down.
  • Pour the second can of Enchilada sauce over the tortillas.
  • Top with remaining cheese and garnish with parsley flakes.

  • Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped green onions and serve with sour cream and salsa.

Note:  The recipe indicates that these can be frozen, leaving off the topping of Enchilada sauce and cheese until it is time to bake.

Recipe adapted from Cooking with Libby

Home · New Favorite

Chicken YUM YUM lives up to its name!

Great friend and neighbor, Maribeth, shared this recipe with me several months ago. She had shared with me that Chicken Yum Yum was a family favorite and I was excited to try it. For some reason, I envisioned a Chinese dish but this is true Americana comfort food. I have made it with cooked chicken breasts (a little drier) or with a whole roasted chicken.  The roasted (or rotissiere chicken from the store) wins, hands down.

This would be a great recipe to assemble the night before (sans the stuffing), adding the stuffing and butter immediately before baking.

I paired the Chicken Yum Yum with roasted broccoli and it was…YUM YUM!

CHICKEN YUM YUM

1 cooked chicken
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 box stove top stuffing
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine/butter

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut chicken into bite sized pieces.  Place evenly in a 9×13″ greased pan.
  • Mix together sour cream and cream of chicken soup and pour over chicken.
  • Sprinkle box of stuffing over soup/sour cream layer.
  • Drizzle chicken broth over stuffing layer.
  • Melt 1 stick margarine or butter and drizzle over the top.
  • Bake for 60 minutes.
New Traditions

Baked Risotto with Bacon and Kale…comfort food

Baked Risotto with Bacon and Kale (and many other yummy ingredients) is a comfort dish to love. My gal pal, Jan, told me about this dish and I had to try it.  It also helped that I had many of the ingredients on the ready.

I rarely make Risotto because I don’t enjoy standing over the stove, constantly stirring and adding liquid to the Arborio rice. This recipe eliminates that hassle. There is some prep work chopping, roasting, grating, etc. but I did that early in the day which made the final preparation a breeze.

Add this is the list…comfort food!

RISOTTO WITH BACON AND KALE

4 slices bacon, chopped coarsely
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups low-salt chicken broth (plus 1/2 cup+ to add later in preparation)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
3 medium curly kale leaves, stemmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 roasted carrot
1 roasted parsnip
1 roasted shallot
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and chop the carrot, parsnip and shallot. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Roast for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
  • In a large, heavy saucepan or braising pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.
  • Add the chopped onions, salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes.  Add 3 cups broth and the lemon juice. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Cover with a tight lid and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  (Note: my dish was done at 20 minutes so watch closely.)
  • Remove the pan from the oven and return it to the stove, over medium-low heat. Remove the lid and stir in the chicken, kale, roasted vegetables and 1/2 cup chicken broth.  Stir until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes, adding extra broth, as needed, until the Risotto is creamy.  Stir in the cooked bacon and cheese.  Ladle into bowls and serve.

Recipe slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis Risotto with Bacon and Kale

 

Family · Family Favorites

Chicken Divine…a family fav!

Chicken Divine is a recipe I discovered in the ’90s.  I wish I could recall where the recipe originated but it had the elements that my young children liked: chicken, rice, broccoli and, of course, CHEESE!  I made, they liked, repeat.

To this day, it is still a favorite and the aroma of the baking chicken with rosemary is wonderful. I sincerely hope your family enjoys as much as ours does!

CHICKEN DIVINE

3 whole chicken breasts
rosemary to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 sliced onion
1 pound fresh or frozen broccoli
3/4 cup raw rice, cooked

CHEESE SAUCE:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup grated, sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sprinkle chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper. Bake chicken at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool. Skin, bone and slice.
  • Prepare the rice.
  • Cook broccoli in water with salt and onion. Drain.
  • Layer chicken, then broccoli, then rice in buttered casserole.
  • Prepare the cheese sauce:   Melt butter, add flour and stir until smooth. Cook 2 minutes. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Add cheeses and seasonings. (I have often made 1 1/2 recipes of the sauce to put on top to make it even more moist.)
  • Pour cheese sauce over entire dish. Add more grated Parmesan on top if desired.
  • Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbly.