Archive for the Category ◊ Poultry ◊

08 Oct 2011 Quesadilla Pie

Looking for something new for lunch? I have the perfect thing!  This lunch has to be baked, so it’s a great fall-winter recipe.  I found it at Simply Recipes awhile back .  Finding this recipe was a paradigm shift in lunches around here.

For me now it’s not so much a recipe, but a method.  I did make some changes to the recipe though,  mainly around baking time.  I don’t know why they cook their pie so long, the pie would be cracker crispy if baked for as long as they specify. Still, it would be good to go to the site, there are some good layering photos posted.

The only two ingredients needed for this pie are cheese and flour tortillas.  Everything else is up to you, what you like, and what you have on hand! (see the ingredient suggestion list).  Do you see the paradigm shift potential here?  It’s kind of like learning to make an omelet, or a sandwich, and realizing there are no limits to what you can do, every omelet could be different, every sandwich could be different, just every Quesadilla Pie can be different.

Yes. every time I make Quesadilla pie, it’s different, and every time I make it, it’s good. Sometimes it has three layers, other times five layers. Some times it’s all veggie-most of the time actually, and sometimes it’s a carnivore’s delight. The pie I have pictured here has a layer of spinach and cheese, a layer of fresh tomatoes (juiced, seeded, and chopped) and cheese, a layer of fresh spinach (no need to precook) and cheese, a layer of sauteed onions and zucchini and cheese, and a layer of corn and cheese. That’s five layers, and six tortillas.

Quesadilla Pie

  • 4 or 5 or 6 plate sized flour tortillas (9-10 inches diameter), depending on how many layers you want your pie to have!
  • A bit of butter (not optional)
  • Approx. 1/2 pound grated cheese-one kind, or a mixture based on what you have on hand, (Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, and Mozzarella are really good.  I usually blend a variety of cheeses-whatever I have in the refrigerator, and always add some Mozzarella (I like it’s “stringy” qualities!).  A bit of cheddar is OK when mixed in with other cheeses, but I find a lot cheddar results in an oily, soggy dish.  A pre-packaged, pre-shredded “Mexican Blend”  could be used, too.)
  • Choice of filling ingredients: (Each layer should have cheese plus one, maybe two, filling    ingredients. Don’t make each layer the same!)
  • fresh  spinach leaves; tomatoes, juiced, seeded and chopped (otherwise they make the tortilla soggy); sliced olives; sautéed/cooked zucchini; any leftover cooked veggie, diced (I’ve added broccoli, asparagus, sweet potato…); chopped and sautéed/cooked onions (yellow or red onions); chopped green onions; cooked mushrooms (if not sautéed first, they make the tortilla soggy); leftover cooked and cubed or shredded chicken, beef/steak, pork, sausage, bacon; cooked or canned green chiles; canned or cooked beans (black beans, pinto beans, pinquitos); fresh or frozen corn
  • Cumin and/or chili powder for extra heat, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter the bottom and sides of a pie plate or quiche dish, (pie plate or quiche dish should be approximately the same size as your tortillas). Do not skip the butter.
  3. Place one tortilla on the bottom of the pie dish. Sprinkle some shredded cheese over the tortilla. Use a generous portion of cheese. Add your chosen filling ingredient to this layer. If you want, sprinkle some cumin or chili powder on top for a spicier pie (probably  not necessary if you are using Pepper Jack and/or chilies).
  4. Repeat: tortilla, generous sprinkling of cheese, a chosen filling ingredient, and a sprinkle of optional cumin or chili powder. Make three or four layers, all stacked on top of each other.
  5. Butter the top of the final tortilla and place on top of your “pie”, buttered side up.
  6. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
  7. Place in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove foil and increase the heat to 375°F. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the top tortilla is lightly browned and cheese is bubbly.
  9. Remove from oven. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Cut into slices.  This pie is finger food (once it cools off a bit!).  It’s actually a bit difficult to eat with just a fork.
  11. Serves 2, 3, or 4 persons–depending on appetites and possible side dishes. We just eat, as-is, for lunch.
  12. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and/or avocado, if desired.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  I hope  you and this recipe for Quesadilla Pie enjoy many happy years together!


04 Oct 2011 Chicken Pot Pie

It rained here yesterday!  Happy, happy October, my very favorite month of the whole year.  I was so excited with the cooler weather and the rain that  I put on slippers and a sweatshirt to celebrate.   Then I decided to teach my son how to make Chicken Pot Pie.  He has his own apartment now, and needs to know how to make things like this.  I went shopping for ingredients, started to prep them…and no man-child.  He ended up staying late at work, and I had to make the pie by myself.  He was home when it came out of the oven though (how does he doe that?!).  He walked in, kissed me and said, “I love it when you make stuff like this.” he then proceeded to eat half the pie.  Then he called his friend to say there was Chicken Pot Pie at his house, and to come over and have some!  I’d say the pie was a hit.

This is my son.  He’s a good sport about learning how to cook and wearing an apron his mom made for him!

This is a pretty simple Chicken Pot Pie.  Absolute comfort food!  No spices other than salt and pepper, so the true taste  of sauteed chicken and fresh veggies shine through…and are then snuggled up in a smooth gravy and encased in pastry.  Yummmm!

The hardest part of this pie comes after removing it from the oven.  You have to wait!  You have to wait for the gravy to set up a bit, or it will run all over your pastry.  If you can’t wait, it’s  not really a bad thing!  The loose first slice will still taste delicious and by the time you are ready for your second slice, the filling will have set a bit.

Believe me, after making your own Chicken Pot Pie, you will never buy one from the frozen foods  section again.  You might never order one from a restaurant either…

Chicken Pot Pie

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken (breast or thighs, or a combination)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 can condensed chicken broth (or 1 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth)
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup petite frozen peas
  • 2 9″ Pillsbury pie crusts (1 box) OR 1 homemade double crust pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter along with the olive oil (you can use all oil, if you want) in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. When the butter has melted and the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and saute over medium heat for a few minutes.
  4. Stir in the diced carrot and celery and saute for approx. 5 more minutes, still over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. While the veggies are sauteing, dice the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Stir the diced and seasoned chicken into the veggie mixture and saute for three more minutes, still stirring occasionally.
  7. Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and veggie mixture, stir constantly over medium heat for 3 minutes (the flour might try to stick to the bottom of the pan, try to release it by stirring vigorously. If necessary add another tablespoon or so of butter or oil. Do not burn the flour!).
  8. While the chicken/veggie/flour mixture  is sauteing, combine the chicken broth and half-and-half or milk and microwave for three minutes.  When the microwave beeps, remove the pan from the heat and remove the liquid from the microwave.
  9. Now you are going to make the gravy.  Turn the heat off the pan.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the hot broth-milk mixture.  Stir until mixture is smooth.  Add another 1/2 cup of broth-milk mixture. Stir until smooth.  Repeat two more times using 1/2 cup broth-milk mixture each time.
  10. Return chicken-veggie-gravy mixture to heat.  Stir in frozen (of fresh) corn and peas. Simmer for gently over medium heat to defrost the frozen veggies.
  11. Turn off heat and let filling sit while you unroll the pasty and place one sheet in the bottom of a pie pan.
  12. Pour the filling over the pastry in the bottom of the pie pan, and cover with the second roll of pasty.  Cut 3-5 vent holes in top of top pastry (with scissors or a knife).  Crimp the edges of the pastry so the filling is fully encased.
  13. If you want a nice, shiny crust, brush pastry lightly with egg wash (egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water).  This is optional (but nice if you want to show off!) You won’t need all of the egg wash. (Scramble the leftover egg for the baby, or the dog!)
  14. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes.
  15. Remove pie from oven and let sit…for as long as you can.  The longer the pie sits, the thicker the gravy will get.  Letting the pie sit for 30 minutes to an hour, is about right. (Don’t worry, the filling will remain hot.)
  16. Serve, and enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Hope you enjoyed the visit.  See you again, soon, I hope!

 

02 Aug 2011 Fried Chicken

Frying chicken wasn’t just another hedonistic pursuit you know.  I had a good reason.  A very good reason.  My friends and I have started an M&M group.  LOL!  I crack myself up. A Movie & Meal group. We are going to go to movies together and after the movie dine on food inspired by the movie.  We SO know how to have a good time!  BUT…, our first movie pick is “The Help”.  Now how could we have a “The Help” movie meal without fried chicken?   I HAD to start frying chicken.  Had to.

I didn’t expect to end up making the best fried chicken on the planet though.  Truth be told, I haven’t eaten much fried chicken in my  life.  I’ve had the occasional KFC, once or twice a decade, perhaps.  Never been to Popeye’s.  Had a few pieces from Safeway’s deli when my son was in middle school. There are no southern cooks in my family, so I have had no home fried chicken. Until now.  So perhaps I am not the most qualified person to declare this chicken “the best fried chicken on the planet”, but it is certainly the best fried chicken on MY planet.

This recipe came from Epicurious in 1998 and it’s called “Deviled Fried Chicken”. The chicken needs to marinate a day or two before frying, so plan ahead. I reduced the chili powder quite a bit, and it still has a bit of a bite.  The original recipe called for 4 teaspoons cayenne pepper.  YIKES.  The first batch I fried up was hunks of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  The next time I had a hankering for some bones,  so I fried up a mess of drumsticks.  Drumsticks were harder.  They had to be finished off in the oven.  For “The Help” party, I am going back to big juicy hunks of chicken breast.

I have to tell you the rest of our menu for “The Help” dinner!  It’s going to be goooood!  Cucumber Sandwiches and Deviled Eggs for appetizers, Crab Bisque for the soup. Fried Chicken and a Pineapple Ham for the main dishes.  Southern Biscuits (we tested several recipes), Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Collard Greens or Green Beans, and a Jell-O salad (a MUST have!) for side dishes.  Caramel Cake (we tested several recipes) and Chocolate Cream Pie (with no off-putting ingredients) for dessert.  Lots of Sweet Tea, too. I’ll wear my “pearls”, of course.  One of my friends is getting out her cinch waist dress.  Another has her gloves ready.  I hope there are a few hats, too!

Fried Chicken

2 cups buttermilk (the non-fat stuff won’t work)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons garlic powder (divided use)
5 teaspoons salt (divided use)
2 teaspoons dry mustard (divided use)
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (divided use)
2 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper (divided use)
4 or 5 chicken breasts, cut into 8-10 pieces, skinned or about a dozen drumsticks, or one frying chicken cut into 8 pieces.
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

5 cups (or more) oil, for frying (recipe suggested peanut oil, but vegetable oil and canola oil will work, too)

In 1-gallon resealable plastic bag, mix buttermilk, Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1 teaspoon cayenne and 1 teaspoon black pepper.

Add chicken pieces. Seal bag, eliminating air. Turn bag to coat chicken evenly. Refrigerate at least 1 day and up to 2 days, turning plastic bag occasionally.

A bit more than one hour before you want to start to fry chicken…whisk flour, baking powder, garlic powder, remaining 1 tablespoon onion powder, 4 teaspoons salt, 3 teaspoons dry mustard, 1 teaspoon1 cayenne and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass dish. With marinade still clinging to chicken pieces (do not shake off excess), add chicken to flour mixture; turn to coat thickly.

Let chicken stand in flour mixture for 1 hour, turning chicken occasionally to recoat with flour mixture.  (The chicken will look ugly at this point,. The flour mixture should cling thickly to the chicken.)

Pour oil to depth of 1 1/4 inches into deep 10- to 11-inch-diameter pot. Attach deep-fry thermometer. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 350°F.

Add 4 pieces of chicken to oil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and fry 5 minutes, adjusting heat to maintain oil temperature between 280°F and 300°F (oil should bubble constantly around chicken).

Turn chicken over. Fry 7 more minutes. Turn chicken over again. Fry until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes longer. (I think I had my oil too hot, because my chicken was getting too dark, so when the chicken was the right color, I put it on a wire rack over a cookie sheet and baked in preheated 250 degree oven for approx. 20 minutes to thoroughly cook the drumsticks.  I had no problem with the boneless chicken breasts.)

Reheat oil to 350°F. Repeat frying with remaining 4 pieces of chicken.

Serve chicken warm or at room temperature (within 2 hours), or chill up to 1 day and serve cold.

Reheating has been a bit of an issue. My son has reheated pieces in the microwave, but this does not result in the coating getting re-crispy.  I have reheated pieces in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, and the coating gets almost recrisped.  Two day old fried chicken reheated in the oven is STILL better than Safeway’s fresh from the deli counter!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  It’s always a pleasure.  Maybe you will have your own Southern dinner after finishing “The Help”, either the book version or the movie version, or maybe you will just fry chicken for the hedonistic thrill of it!  Either way, I hope you try this recipe.  It’s a keeper!

19 Jul 2011 Corn Dogs

I am sooooo bad.  I KNOW I shouldn’t cook like this.  I know it. I know it. I know it.  But I did.  And my little experiment turned out wonderfully well.  Who knew homemade corn dogs were so easy to make?   I guess there is no need to go to the fair now, or to make that once every other year stop at the Hot Dog On A Stick outlet in the mall.

I made mini corn dogs, so that counts for something, right?  I cut each bun length hot dog into 3 pieces, speared each piece with a good quality toothpick, rolled it around in the cornbread batter, and then placed it in the <gasp> hot fat to <gasp, gasp> deep fry.

Bad girl, BAD girl.

Delicious outcome though.

We–my son, my daughter, my grandson, and my houseguest–ate them standing at the stove, putting the mustard and ketchup on the paper towel I was draining the corn dogs on.Dip, bite, mmmm, dip, bite, mmmmm, dip, bite, mmmmmm…

Tes At Home led me astray. Her Tastespotting picture showed up in my RSS feed right at lunch time. I followed her directions exactly.  The only thing I have added in is a suggested temperature for the hot oil (I know, I know, it’s a sin that I know such things), and I did increase the salt a bit <gasp>, and I rewrote the directions just a bit, just to make them sound more like me…, BUT! The recipe is ALL Tes At Home 🙂

Mini Corn Dog

  • 6-8 hot dogs, your choice…all beef, turkey, Kosher, vegan, super premium, ultra bargain discount, regular length or bun length, it doesn’t matter…, whatever you prefer or have on hand
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1 cup flour
  • additional flour for coating the hot dogs (2-3 tablespoons)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • Oil for deep frying
  1. Cook the hot dogs in boiling water for few minutes.  (I know they are already precooked, but do it anyway so they can get all that plumping business out of the way.) Remove cooked hot dogs from the water, drain,  and set aside.
  2. Combine corn meal, flour, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
  3. In another bowl, whisk egg and sugar until sugar is dissolved,  then stir in milk.
  4. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir well.  Let the batter rest in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Heat oil in the deep fryer over the medium heat.
  6. If desired, cut hot dogs into halves or thirds. Spear each piece with a good quality toothpick.
  7. Roll  hot dog pieces in flour and then dip into the corn bread batter, coating well.  (The cornbread batter coats surprisingly well.  No worries here!)
  8. When the oil reaches 365 degrees, place the cornbread covered, toothpick skewered, hot dog into the hot oil. (I have a small pan for deep frying, so I could only cook two mini dogs at a time.)
  9. Deep fry until golden brown. Serve hot, with ketchup and mustard for dipping, of course.

Note: I had enough batter for six bun sized hot dogs cut into thirds, 18 mini hot dogs–and I put the batter on pretty thickly (the corn bread batter is my favorite part).

Aren’t you glad you stopped by my kitchen today?  Just what you needed to know…, how to coat a hot dog in a corn bread batter and deep fry it!  Deeeeeelicious!!!  Serve with a green salad and a glass of orange juice.  My daughter sees no reason why these can’t be frozen and then reheated in the oven as needed.  I don’t either.  Costco sells them twenty four to a box just that way!

Now for all my Facebook, “Polly, Julie and Julia” friends.  YES,  to make matters WORSE I then cut some Reese’s Peanut Butter cups in half , wrapped each half in that roll out crescent roll stuff, baked at 375 for 10 minutes, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and ate.  Ummm, no.  That refrigerated crescent roll stuff is bad news.  The rolls tasted and smelled like chemicals. That being said, of the eight I made guess how many are left?  ZERO.

Now, aren’t you glad to know you can make killer corn dogs at home any time you want?!  I’ll try to post something a little more sane tomorrow….

10 Jan 2011 Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets

I know a thing or two about chicken nuggets as I have been making them for two decades with a recipe very similar to the one Sara Moulton contributed to The 150 Best American Recipes.  Sara calls her version  “Garlicky Baked Chicken”, but I think she uses thighs or chicken-on-the-bone.  I don’t.  I use the same coating as she does, but I make chicken nuggets from boneless chicken tenders. To die for.

Make a bag-full of chicken nuggets to keep in the freezer. Double the recipe! You will be so glad you did. If you have kids at home, this recipe will probably become a staple.  Check out my recipe for Oven Baked Fries, too.  Put the two recipes together and you’ll be able to bake up some better-than-McDonalds Home Baked Happy Meals on a regular basis!

Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets

6 T. butter
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I use the minced-in-a-jar kind)
2 cups Panko* (Japanese breadcrumb, found in the Asian section of the grocery store-regular or Italian Herb)
1 t. kosher salt
½ t. black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not that stuff in the green shaker tube)
3 lbs. chicken tenders (for chicken nuggets cut each chicken tender into two pieces)

Melt the butter and the garlic in a shallow bowl. Mix the Panko*, grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in another shallow bowl. Set out a cooling rack. One at a time, dip the chicken pieces into the garlic/butter, and then into the Panko/parmesan mix. Once the chicken is well coated with crumbs place on rack to dry for a bit. (Use one hand for dipping in the butter and placing in the breadcrumbs, use the other hand for dipping in the breadcrumbs and putting on the rack. If you don’t use this alternate hand method, you’ll get big clumps of gunk on the fingers of both hands). When chicken has dried a bit, transfer to a plate or tray and place in freezer until firm. Once chicken is firm remove from plate and place in Ziploc bag and return to freezer.

To bake:

You need a hot oven to get a nice brown color to the nuggets. I cook at anywhere between 375º and 425º (preferring 425º). Take desired quantity of frozen nuggets from freezer and place on cookie sheetwhich has been sprayed lightly with a cooking spray or lined with parchment paper (to prevent nuggets from sticking to pan). Place in hot oven for 6-8 minutes. Turn over and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes. DONE! Serve as is, or with any desired dipping sauce. My son likes ketchup.  My daughter likes honey mustard.  On of my daughter’s friends swears by ranch dressing.
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  See you tomorrow!

*Panko is my current favorite to use for chicken nuggets but in the past I have also used a wide variety of homemade and boxed breadcrumbs (both the plain and the Italian kinds)—and one time I even used crushed Wheaties! Everything seems to work with this recipe. One of the notes in The 150 Best American Recipes suggests adding some chopped pecans to the breadcrumbs. Now I’ve never done this, but nut-lovers might want to consider it!

17 Nov 2010 Wild Rice Turkey Soup

I know you are all busy making your Thanksgiving grocery list, and checking it twice; be SURE you have the ingredients for this soup on the list.  You have to make this with your turkey carcass, have to, have to, have to!  This is the best turkey soup I have ever tasted.  I made no changes to the recipe I found in “The 150 Best American Recipes” cookbook.

Mmmmm… Homey, rustic, northwoods-y…, which, with a little imagination, might just transport you to a log cabin in the snow, fire blazing, a quilt over your feet, and a good book on your knee.  The soup has wild rice, mushrooms and turmeric, yes, turmeric, which compliment the strong flavor of turkey to make a soup that, according to “The 150 Best American Recipes” is “neither exotic nor bland”.  It’s my favorite after-Thanksgiving treat.  I can’t imagine making any other turkey soup.  It’s just the thing for an-after-Thanksgiving restoration, before the Christmas craziness commences.

BTW, I like this soup so much I can’t just make it once a year.  When it’s not Thanksgiving, I start with a whole chicken which I boil or roast.  I remove 4 cups of the meat from the chicken, and then proceed as below.

Wild Rice and Turkey Soup

For stock

1 turkey carcass (remove 4 cups of meat from the carcass-set aside for the soup)
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped

Put turkey carcass in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, remove any foam from the top. Add the celery, carrot, and onion (peels and all). Simmer for at least 90 minutes (I cooked mine for about 3 hours). Strain broth into a large (4-5 qt) bowl. Discard carcass and all veggies (You will need 3½ – 4½ quarts of stock for this soup). If at all possible, refrigerate stock overnight and then remove all the hardened fat from the top of the broth. The next day continue with the directions below…

For soup

1½ cups wild rice, rinsed (the book specifies “hand harvested” but I couldn’t find that written on the package I bought from Trader Joe’s)
½ cup long grain white rice
4 T. butter
2 cups sliced celery
2 cups sliced carrots
1 diced onion
½ cup sliced green onion
2 T. chopped fresh dill
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
3 cups sliced mushrooms (8 oz. pkg sliced)
4 cups diced cooked turkey
salt and pepper to taste

Bring 3 ½ quarts of stock to a boil. Stir in rinsed wild rice and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet; add celery, carrots, onion, and green onions and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in dill, bay leaves and turmeric. Turn off heat, and set aside. Add white rice and sauteed veggies to the stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir sliced mushrooms and diced turkey into hot soup. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are cooked. Add more broth if the soup gets too thick for your taste (I added the extra 4 cups). Season to taste with salt (I used 2 tsp. Kosher salt) and pepper. This makes a lot of soup. The recipe says the soup freezes well for several months. If you do reheat the soup, it will have thickened and you will need to add more broth or water when reheating.

You’re going to love this, I just know it!  Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.