One Pan Chicken Dinner

I don’t think the title is original. I have seen and read many postings for one pan dinners lately. This is my version. I have taken inspiration from various postings, too many to list, so if one of them is you, thank you! The primary inspiration is here.

I have a bunch of lemons leftover from the latest lemon meringue pie birthday. Hubby and I just went grocery shopping and he picked out some small red potatoes. I wanted to do something a little different than the lemon chicken recipes I usually make. So I add paprika. My Anheuser Busch cookbook has a nice crockpot Paprika Chicken recipe but I’m roasting this in the oven.

  • 4 small/medium sized chicken breasts
  • 8 medium sized red potatoes
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • scant 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic (from a jar)
  • dried thyme, a few shakes from a shaker jar
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste at serving

I mixed the juice, oil, and spices in a large bowl while Hubby chopped the vegetables. He cut the carrots into “pennies” which I thought would be too small but turned out perfectly. The other veggies were cut into one inch chunks. Put these into the bowl with the juice and mix to coat.

Oil the roasting pan and distribute the vegetables in it. Reserve the juice. Now put the chicken breasts in the juice to coat them. It will not be a thick coating as the juice mixture is very thin. Nestle the chicken in among the vegetables. Sprinkle with thyme and distribute the lemon slices on top. Hubby suggested pouring the juice on top of this before baking, so I did.

Here is the before baking/roasting picture and then the served dish.

I bake this at 350 degrees F for one hour. The chicken is done. I remove the chicken and Hubby helps pour the juice onto the chicken. I cover this to keep warm while I raise the oven temperature to 450 F and roast the vegetables for another 15-20 minutes.

This was a nice dinner. It had good flavor and not just lemon. The chicken was moist and not overcooked. I think using the juice in the first baking kept the chicken from drying out.

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Orange Salad

We had a food function at work to say goodbye to a colleague. Someone brought a salad made of oranges, fennel, and green onions. Someone said it was a Sicilian Orange Salad. Whatever it was, it was tasty. And simple to make. In my version to try it out I used a can of mandarin oranges instead of fresh oranges. I made a citrus salad a few years ago and it did not keep well. Let’s see about this one.

Salads, like soup, do not require exact quantities. It is often about what is on hand and what the preferred taste is.

  • 1 15-ounce can mandarin orange, drained, and rinsed if in a syrup
  • 1/2 large fennel bulb, chopped
  • green onions, chopped into one inch pieces
  • splash of orange juice
  • hefty sprinkling of dried oregano
  • olive oil

The tops of my green onions were somewhat wilt-y so I have a bit more of the white part than I had planned. Because I used canned oranges instead of fresh, I splashed in a bit of OJ and I think I poured on a bit too much olive oil.

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I added a bit of the fennel fronds for interest. I liked it. Haven’t served it to Hubby yet. I’ve been able to take it in my lunch for several days.

 

French Onion, White Bean Soup/Stew

Every once in a while I get to reading books on food for health. I am looking for that magic dietary change that will cure what ails me. And I don’t want to give up too much. I enjoy food. I enjoy baking. I enjoy my glass of wine and a cocktail or two at times. I enjoy bread and cakes and pies and cookies. Like I said I’m looking for magic! I got my hands on an anti-inflammatory diet crock-pot cookbook. There are some really good sounding recipes in here. I’ve already made the Spanish Rice and am now trying a soup recipe. I am calling it a stew so Hubby will like it, and adding some meat.

This is my variation of the White Bean & French Onion Soup from The Anti-Inflammatory Diet Slow Cooker Cookbook by Madeline Given (the italicized ingredients are my own addition or changes).

  • 4 onions, thinly sliced (I used 4 instead of 2 large onions because my onions were on the smallish side.)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans of white beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (Hooray for me, I made my own with carrot peels, onion peels, celery and a bay leaf. Just boil that up all together for about an hour and then strain.)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup diced cooked ham
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped

Put the sliced onions, olive oil and salt in the crock-pot and cook on High for 3 hours.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients but not the spinach and cook on Low for another 3 hours. Add the spinach and cook an additional hour.

This makes the kitchen smell good as it cooks. For “stew-like” bowls ladle the soup with a slotted spoon into your bowls. I served this with a toasted baguette. Hubby liked it.

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Lemon Meringue Pie

I have posted on making a lemon meringue pie before Birthday pie: lemon meringue. This is a different recipe. I baked this pie for the same purpose as this year our favorite Airman is home with us for her birthday. And again she requested a lemon meringue pie. This year’s pie is from PCV Emily, now RPCV. I make her pie crust as my go-to crust and you will find that one here. The apple cider vinegar and egg pie crust is fabulous. Each batch makes three nine inch crusts. I made two batches. I use my food processor for easy mixing.

When Emily sent my son the recipe for the pie crust she also sent recipes for some pie fillings, one of which was Lemon Meringue. I went with that this year. It calls for 6 eggs. The ingredients were not as clear as I had hoped. But I figured them out and the pie was a big hit. And turned out better this year than two years ago.

For the Lemon Curd:

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice and zest of those lemons (how many lemons is this? I used 4 and had to add a bit of bottled lemon juice to make 1/2 cup. The lemons were small and I got tired of juicing them!)
  • 3 whole eggs (save the whites for the meringue): this is understandable
  • 3 egg yolks (this makes it confusing: is this from the above eggs? or is it a total of 6 egg yolks?)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 Tab butter cut into pieces (this is one stick=1/2 cup)

I decided to use 4 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs, saving the 4 egg whites for the meringue. Mix all the ingredients into a heavy saucepan. Stir constantly over low heat so nothing sticks to the bottom and the eggs don’t scramble. Do this until one boil bubble comes to the top. This will take awhile. You could strain this through a sieve to remove seeds and zest but I like zest and there were no seeds in my lemon juice.

Now make the meringue. This turned out really well. I was very pleased.

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (whirl the sugar in a food processor to make it superfine)

In a bone dry and very clean bowl beat egg whites and tartar with a mixer until very foamy. Slowly add in sugar as you continue mixing. Mix until stiff peaks have formed.

Now here’s where I wasn’t prepared. The pie crust needed to be pre-baked. This would have easily been done while I was preparing the filling, but I didn’t think to do this. So I now have stiffly whipped meringue in my mixer bowl and fully cooked and hot lemon curd in my saucepan. And I had used a pyrex 8-inch pie dish and still have no pie beans for pre-baking! And I had deliberately placed the pie crust in the dish in the freezer to prevent shrinkage, but had it out at room temperature while I was preparing the curd and meringue, and now I have to pre-bake. I end up with a little shrinkage and a bit of soggy bottom at the end. Life goes on.

Spread the curd into the pre-baked (mine was half-baked) pie crust. Pile the meringue on top. I had lots of meringue. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until meringue is lightly browned.

Happy Birthday Val!

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This was cut while slightly warm. The curd firmed up the when completely cooled.

 

 

Cake from a Box!

 

I found a box mix at one of those big warehouse type stores that sell odd items, discontinued stuff, and leftovers. The ingredients are your basic recipe ingredients: sugar, flour, cocoa, corn starch, canola oil, baking powder, and salt. I had to buy this; actually I bought two boxes. I’m thinking that I could make my own cake mixes by mixing up the dry ingredients and listing what wet ones to add. For this box mix one adds 1 1/2 cups milk, 1 stick butter, and three eggs. I’m not sure how they got the canola oil in the mix.

I love German Chocolate Cake. Either myself or a family member makes or buys one for my birthday. It is not my birthday, no where close. I have previously made a German Chocolate Cake just for fun, also not for my birthday. That post is Cake Envy

This was super easy to make. I baked it in my 8-inch round cake pans. I then made the frosting from the side of the box for the classic Coconut Pecan Frosting.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canned evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Cook all this except the coconut and pecans in a sauce pan. Bring to boiling and then cook over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in the coconut and pecans. Cool completely before frosting the cake.

What could be simpler? Well, it usually helps to read the recipe several times. I put in an entire can of evaporated milk so that was 1 1/2 cups. I cooked this longer than the 5 minutes because it was not getting thick. I admit I also had to pick out a few small pieces of scrambled egg! After cooking and stirring in the coconut and pecans it seemed more pudding like than frosting. I contemplated making it into a German chocolate trifle. But I persevered and stuck it in the fridge to firm up. And voila! It worked!

popovers that did not pop

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I baked popovers to go with leftover soup. I used my favorite popover recipe which is in a cookbook entitled The Cookie and Biscuit Bible. I must be catching up on my Bible reading as I recently checked out some other food and cooking “Bible” books from my local library. Anyway this popover recipe is simple and has always turned out well. It is my favorite but it is also the only popover recipe I have ever used.

  • 2 Tab. butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups four
  • pinch of salt
  • a few sprigs of fresh herbs

I confess that I did not have milk in the house, nor fresh herbs. Well, there is a thriving bunch of parsley but I wasn’t keen on using that in popovers. So how do you make popovers without milk? I used 3/4 cup half-and-half with 1/4 cup water. For the herbs I decided to use 1/2 tsp dried fine herbs and 1/2 tsp dried tarragon.

Heat oven to 425 degrees F and spray/grease a twelve cup muffin pan.

Beat the eggs in a stand mixer until blended and then beat in the milk, then the melted butter. Sift the flour and salt and gradually beat this into the egg mixture. Stir in the herbs. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Do not open the oven until done. These should have popped over the tops of the muffin cups and then slowly deflate when removed from the pan.

So what happened? Not sure but the heavier milk may have been an issue. I also may have beaten it too long and hard. I had read somewhere that the batter should be beaten for three minutes to be sure there is plenty air incorporated. Well, I started the beating with the eggs and kept the mixer going to the very end. This may have been 6-8 minutes since I did not have mise en place and everything ready to add in the proper order.

But all was not lost. These came out like an egg-y muffin and sopped up the soup broth just fine. Now what to do with the four that we didn’t eat?

 

Apple Crisp

Fall is in the air! I know this because I have gotten out a bunch of cookbooks and have gone to the library and checked out a few as well. I think about baking; I bake; I think about baking some more.

Apples: we bought some nice locally sourced Gala apples as these are one of our favorites for eating. It is a portable fruit. Hubby goes off to work with an apple, a piece of cheese, and granola bars, none of which is homemade. We then bought five pounds of more apples, also locally sourced, with the express purpose of making apple pies, muffins, tarts, etc.

So this week’s apple recipe is an Apple Crisp. This is from King Arthur Flour’s 200th Anniversary Cookbook. They had posted one on line but I think that may be different. Not sure. Anyway this is a good one. I did add my own flair to it, though.

  • 4 cups chopped apples, peeled (KAF said this was about 8 apples, so I peeled, cored, and chopped exactly 8 apples.)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon gingerbread spice mix (my addition: original recipe called for 3/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp allspice)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (I melted mine)
  • 2 Tab. chopped candied ginger (my addition)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (my addition)

Put chopped apples in lightly greased (or sprayed) 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle on the cranberries and the candied ginger. Blend the dry ingredient and add the butter. Melted butter (somewhat cooled) mixes in nicely. Stir until all ingredients are not dry. Put this on top of the apples. I patted it down like a crust. Bake 35 minutes at 375 degrees F.

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This came out well. Hubby said it had a “grown up taste”, not sure what that means. The topping was crispy and contrasted with the apples very well. In future I would reduce the brown sugar to 3/4 cup sugar as I think the topping doesn’t need that much sweetness. We did not have ice cream in the house and that would add a nice finish to this Crisp.