Chicken and Biscuits

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This is not my usual chicken pot pie. This was inspired by Colleen of Leen Cuisine. Should we call this chicken cobbler because of the biscuit topping? Maybe, maybe not.

I had thawed two chicken breasts and needed to cook them. However, I had not thawed the disk of pie dough nor did I think I had my frozen mixed vegetables which is my “go to” veggie filler for dinner dishes. When I got home after work I found that I did not have frozen mixed vegetables. I did, however, find the frozen peas that I had bought for our Thanksgiving feast but did not use.

Do you know there are women/cooks who do not use frozen vegetables? I am super impressed that they cook real vegetables for dinner every night. I don’t expect to live up to that standard.

  • 1 tablespoon butter and about that in olive oil, too
  • 1 can grand type biscuits
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into “pennies”
  • 1/2 large onion, diced small
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic from jar
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • heaping tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start by putting a little oil or butter in the skillet to saute the garlic, onion, and carrots. Cook these for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you like additional spices, you would add them here. If, not just sprinkle on a little salt and pepper. Remove these vegetables to the baking dish or pie pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add a little more oil to skillet and cook the chicken until no longer pink, maybe 5-6 minutes. Add a little of the broth to the pan and the vegetables, this time add the peas. Stir the cornstarch into the rest of the broth add to the skillet, and heat on high for a few minutes. Move this concoction from the skillet into the baking dish. Stir the cheese into this.

Remove the biscuits from their tube. And arrange artfully on top of the baking dish. Since all the ingredients are cooked it is just a matter of cooking the biscuits. Since the bottom of the biscuits are in the “stew” they will take a bit longer to cook than the directions on the tube.

I baked this for 20 minutes and then covered loosely with foil to keep warm in the oven while waiting for Hubby to come home. This dinner came together in less than an hour.

I served this with jarred pickled beets from an orchard in the Adirondacks. They did not disappoint! And the cucumber salad is similar to the salad Son made for Sister and me  when we visited him in Armenia. Thinly sliced cucumber and carrots, tomatoes, and green onions in a vinaigrette.

I had intended to make a green salad but the lettuce had gone rusty and was promptly added to the compost bucket. I like having a compost bucket. The service picks it up every other week. When I have to throw away food I know that it is being put to good use. With that, and our town recycling nearly everything in sight, our trash bin is getting emptier and emptier. Just my little part for the environment…I hope everyone can do a little something.

 

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Chicken Cutlets with Herbes de Provence & Apple Compote

This is another recipe from Eating Well Magazine Winter 2003. I had all these ingredients and it is supposedly a meal made in 30 minutes. Well, it took me 40 minutes, and an additional 8-10 for the sides.

  • 2 apples, peeled and slice thin
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided (These are what the recipe calls for. My amounts were approximations because I do not take the time to measure out oil for adding to skillets for sauteing and the like.)
  • 3 teaspoons butter, divided (see above note)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste (see note above for salt and pepper as well)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast; I had thawed four for this recipe and have no idea how much they actually weighed. Be sure to thaw the chicken!)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel

First make the apple compote: Take two apples, peel them, and slice thin. Put in a bowl and mix with the  lemon juice and cinnamon. I cooked this in a little oil and butter in my cast iron skillet. That took about 5 minutes to cook. Set aside and keep the compote warm. Add 5-7 minutes for peeling the apple and squeezing and zesting the lemon. And another 2 minutes for cleaning the skillet and finding a bowl to hold the compote.

Mix 1 teaspoon of herbs with the salt and pepper. This does not look like enough seasoning but it is. Place chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound with mallet until 1/2-inch thick. This went rather smoothly. I got to use the meat mallet Hubby had found that is all of one piece. It just won’t do to be pounding meat and have the head of the mallet go flying across the kitchen! Anyway, sprinkle both sides of the flattened chicken with the seasoning mixture.

Heat the remaining butter and oil in the skillet. Heat over high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until no longer pink 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to platter and repeat with the other half of the chicken. Here is when I begin to get the idea that perhaps this recipe was made for 6 chicken breasts…did say it served six. Too bad, for Hubby and me I have the four. When chicken is done, remove to platter to keep warm.

Add broth, lemon zest, and remaining herbs de Provence to the skillet. Cook stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Bring to boil and cook for about 3 minutes until slightly reduced. I kept cooking a few more minutes because it did not look reduced to me. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve with the apple compote.

 

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IMG_0714The magazine suggested serving this with orzo and green beans. I served it with leftover sweet potato mash and cooked mixed vegetables from frozen. If one were to make the orzo and beans this meal would take longer. The entire time I was focused on the cooking the chicken and compote. Next time around, I won’t have to keep referring to the recipe and that may shave 5 minutes or so from the prep and cook time.

This is a tasty chicken dish. I will make this again. I may leave out the apple compote and make a savory lemon sauce/gravy to pour over, or maybe an orange sauce! I think orange would complement the Herbs de Provence very nicely.

 

 

 

 

Spinach, Sausages, and Potatoes

I have collected various cooking/food magazines over the years. While looking for my cookie recipes I found some Eating Well magazines from 2002 and 2003. I have a memory of the time reading these and thinking the recipes were too exotic or different. But when glancing through them now I find the recipes intriguing and simple enough. They are different from the usual Midwestern fare of my upbringing, but now in my cooking that is a good thing. Back then I read the articles for the health and wellness; now I will try out some of the recipes.

This recipe was touted as a warm salad along with other recipes for adding greens to one’s diet. It describes a variety of winter greens and how to cook them. This one was named Warm Salad of Greens, Italian Sausage & Potatoes. And it’s not like I had all these ingredients sitting around my kitchen. But as many of you do, I read the recipe for the idea and the way the ingredients are combined and cooked and put together. And as I was reading this one I thought about frozen spinach (always in my freezer), the venison sausage from my son-in-law’s first buck, and the white potatoes in the pantry. Voila, a recipe is born!

The original recipe calls for kale. I have never cooked kale, nor eaten it to my knowledge. I have heard, who knows where, that it is bitter and tough if not cooked right. Here’s what I used:

  • 4 links of venison sausage, most likely a pound or more
  • 3 medium sized potatoes, washed and diced
  • 1 or 2 cups frozen spinach (I just poured from the bag)
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic from a jar
  • pinch of salt
  • fresh ground pepper

First put the potatoes in a pot of water and bring to boil. While waiting for this, remove skins from sausages. First actually I boiled the sausages for 10 minutes in a pot of water like my son-in-law instructed. So I am removing the skins from these cooked sausages.

Put the fennel seeds in a skillet and cook with the sausages. I had to improvise here because my sausages were already cooked. I added an additional tablespoon of oil to this skillet and sauteed the sausage with the fennel seeds. The seeds did indeed stick to the sausages as reported in the original recipe. When done, I cut the sausages into 1/2 inch thick slices.

When the potato pot comes to a boil, add the spinach and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and add to the skillet with the sausages. Whisk the oil, vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over the sausage-potato mixture and toss to blend. Dinner is served.

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The beauty of this recipe is that it also make a fabulous base for soup for the leftovers. Venison has a rich taste so a little goes a long way. To make soup I sauteed a diced onion and 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables in a tablespoon of oil in the dutch oven. After about 5 minutes I added a can of diced tomatoes and two tablespoons of pesto. The pesto was in place of sauteing garlic with the onion. I had one last square of homemade pesto in my freezer. Now add 3 cups of broth. I used chicken or turkey broth that also was homemade in my freezer. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add the leftover sausage-potato mixture and a can of cannellini beans, drained. Simmer until heated through.

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This is a nice rich soup/stew. We had some for supper, and I have leftovers to bring to work for my lunches.

 

 

 

 

 

Cook’s Cookies: Gingered Sugar

I have forsaken Sister’s tried and true sugar cookie recipe for the magazine’s. Cook’s Illustrated Holiday 2007 boasts The Best Sugar Cookies. Well, I thought I would see about that. They had a gingered option and because I love all things ginger, I made that version. I always have fresh ginger root in my freezer.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (someday I am going to make everything with whole wheat pastry flour but not today)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (I always use unsalted butter; I suppose if you use salted butter you could leave out the salt, but I am not certain of that.)
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for rolling dough
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

And for the gingered version:

  • in food processor, process 1 teaspoon (I used 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and minced) with the 1/2 cup sugar for rolling the dough for about 10-20 seconds. place this in a shallow bowl
  • add 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger to the sugar along with the eggs and vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk dry ingredients together in medium bowl, set aside. In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter, 1 cup sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy about 3 minutes. Add egg, vanilla, and crystallized ginger and beet about 30 seconds until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined; scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

Form dough into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in the ginger sugar. The sugar was moist probably because my ginger was from the freezer. This actually helped it stick to the dough nicely. Place 2 inches apart on lined baking pans. Now butter a bottom of a drinking glass and dip in the gingered sugar and flatten each cookie to 3/4 inch thick.

Bake 15 minutes. Edges will be lightly browned. These spread some in the baking. My second pan kind of spread together but not too much. That doesn’t affect the taste.

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These have a nice sugary crunch on the outside and are slightly chewy on the inside. The ginger is very subtle. I like them and so does Hubby. And we tend to think of sugar cookies as rather bland, but not these.