Blog Archives

Chicken Stew

Tired of boring beef stew? Me too! This chicken stew was great even without the prerequisite dumplings…

  • Chicken Stew
    Ingredients
    5 cups (1.25 L) chicken stock
    4 lb (1.8 kg) skinned chicken thighs
    7 small carrots, peeled (WHY?) and cut in half diagonally
    4 potatoes, peeled and cubed I used yams peeled and cubed
    2 cups (500 mL) peeled pearl onions or 1 chopped white onion
  • 1 red pepper diced
    3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
    3 chopped celery stalks
    2 cups (500 mL) button mushrooms or 1 small can
    1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
    1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
    1/2 cup (125 mL) peas, frozen or 1 small can
  • 1 platano chopped coarsely
    1/4 cup (60 mL) whipping cream I omitted this and used the chopped platano to thicken it. Can you tell I am into platanos?

Preparation
In a large Dutch oven, bring chicken stock to boil. Add chicken; cover and simmer over medium-low heat until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 30 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to plate; let cool. Remove meat from bones; cut into bite-size chunks.Better still start with boneless thighs and save some time.

Add carrots, pepper, celery and potatoes to stock; cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add (pearl) onions; simmer, covered, just until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to plate. If necessary, add more chicken stock to make 5 cups (1.25 L). OR just add more water…

In same pan, melt butter over medium-high heat; cook celery, onion and mushrooms, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Truthfully I just threw them into the pot with the stock and veggies. Add flour, thyme, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat back of spoon. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan. Add carrot mixture, peas and cream* (if using), or the chopped platano stirring to combine.

If you are ambitious make up a batch of dumplings. They really are not necessary…This makes great leftovers!

Reg’s Lasagna

Just realized that one of my favourite go-to recipes has never appeared here! When you get tired of that turkey, my American friends, you might give this dish a try. I’m leaving the kitchen for  a few days but wanted to share this with you before I put all the dishes away…LOL…Buen Provecho as always!!

Reg’s Lasagna (easily feeds 8 people)
1 cup diced white onions
1 cup celery chopped
1 cup carrots sliced
1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef and pork mixed (you could use ground chicken or turkey instead)
1 or 2 garlic cloves minced
14 oz. can cubed tomatoes
5 ½ oz. can tomato puree
1 19 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
½ cup red wine (optional)
2 TBSP. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. each of basil and oregano
12 lasagna noodles oven ready
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 package fresh spinach stems removed and chopped
1 small package of fresh mushrooms sliced
1 large bag shredded manchego or mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated parmesan (don’t use the Kraft powdery stuff!)
In a little olive oil, brown the carrots, celery and onions until tender and slightly browning. Add in the pork and beef mixture and cook until browned and almost no pink visible. Drain off the fat if there is an excess. Add tomatoes, tomato puree, ½ of the tomato sauce, sugar and seasonings. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add in the sliced mushrooms and continue to simmer until they appear softened.

While this has been cooking, mix the ricotta cheese with the chopped spinach in a bowl. Set aside.

In a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish pour a little of the remaining tomato sauce and spread over the bottom. Place four noodles in the bottom of the dish. Add ½ of the meat sauce to cover the noodles. Add 1/3 of the grated manchego or mozzarella cheese.

Cover this with four more lasagna noodles. Add the layer of ricotta and spinach. Add four additional lasagna noodles. Cover with the other half of the meat sauce and 1/3 of the cheese.

Add four more lasagna noodles ( if you have no sauce left, heat the remaining half jar of spaghetti sauce and pour over the top noodle layer. Cover with the remainder of the cheese. Over top of this add the Parmesan cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Cover with foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Test the noodles with a sharp knife to make sure they are softened. Remove from the oven and let sit before cutting into desired portion sizes.

I make this a few hours before company comes and let it cool before refrigerating. 45 minutes before serving remove from refrigerator to let the dish warm to room temp. Return to 350 degree oven for about 15 to 25 minutes.

Scalloped Potatoes with Pork Chops

The only recipe I ever knew placed the pork chops on top and they always were too well cooked! This method probably originated when there were all the concerns about pork not being well cooked. Fortunately, I came across three different recipes that changed this arrangement. These turned out very well and the liquid went all the way through to keep the chops moist.

Scalloped Pots with Pork Chops

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 14 oz. chicken broth
  • 6 pork chops not too thin
  • 6 cups thinly sliced potatoes (choose skins on or off)
  • 1/2 cup sliced onions or more
  • dash paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

PREPARATION

Set the oven to 350 degrees

Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter, adding salt and pepper, flour, Dijon mustard and thyme. Pour in the broth, cook and stir until it boils. Remove from heat and add the sour cream.

Brown chops in 1 Tablespoon of butter.

Grease cooking dish with butter.

Layer the chops in the bottom of the dish. Layer the potatoes and onions over the chops evenly.

Sprinkle with paprika. Cover and bake for 1 hour.

Uncover and continue to bake 1/2 hour more until starting to golden.

 

Soup Bowl Stew

Another classic dish from my cooking courses way back when. This is so easy, even  one of your kids could make it with supervision.

Soup Bowl Stew

35 meatballs bought at the store

15 oz. stewed tomatoes

1 cup small onions

1 can whole potatoes and the liquid

8 oz. any kind of vegetables (can be frozen)

1 tsp. chili powder

1 cup water

1 beef bouillon cube

Combine all ingredients on the stovetop. Heat to boil. Simmer 10 minutes. Serve.

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

The History of Butter Chicken

http://butterchicken.ca/the-history-of-butter-chicken/

Butter chicken (or murgh makhani) is part of Indian cuisine, popular in countries all over the world. The origins of butter chicken can be traced back to New Delhi. Butter chicken is regarded to have been first introduced by a restaurant called Moti Mahal, located in Daryaganj . Butter chicken is usually served with naan, roti, parathas or steamed rice.

It is thought that butter chicken was hastily prepared by a Delhi eatery chef post dinner time for a harried VIP customer who wanted “some” chicken dish. A chef named Simon Mahli Chahal first prepared this when he only had half of a Tandoori chicken which he tossed with liberal amounts of butter, tomato, and garam masalas to improvise for an delicious delicacy he was supposed to make for the ruler of Mareelun. He forgot to buy enough ingredients so he ended up with this dish.

Though various versions exists for the recipe, typically dressed chicken (with or without bones) is marinated overnight in a yogurt and spice mixture usually including garam masala, ginger, garlic paste, lemon or lime, pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili. The chicken is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, but can also be grilled, roasted or pan fried. The sauce, is made by heating and mixing butter, tomato puree, and various spices, often including cumin, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, fenugreek and fresh cream. Cashew paste can also be added, and will make the gravy thicker. Of all the spices added to the dish it is dried fenugreek leaves (Urdu/Hindi: Qasuri Methi) that makes the greatest contribution to the characteristic flavour of the dish. Once the sauce is prepared, the prepared chicken is chopped and cooked until the gravy and chicken have blended. The dish may be garnished with white butter, fresh cream, sliced green chillies and Qasuri Methi.

While I love butter chicken, sometimes I want to do something simpler. Here is the Canadian Living recipe using a slow cooker!

This can easily be left to simmer away in a slow cooker for eight hours prior to adding the chicken. It yields a large quantity of sauce that freezes well if you’re feeding a smaller group.
Ingredients
• 2 onions, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
• 2 tbsp (30 mL) grated fresh ginger
• 2 tbsp (30 mL) packed brown sugar
• 2 tsp (10 mL) chili powder
• 3/4 tsp (4 mL) ground coriander
• 3/4 tsp (4 mL) ground turmeric
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
• 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes
• 1 cup (250 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth
• 1/4 cup (60 mL) almond butter or cashew butter
• 3 lb (1.4 kg) boneless skinless chicken thighs, quartered
• 1 cup (250 mL) sour cream
• 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
Preparation
In slow cooker, combine onions, garlic, butter, ginger, brown sugar, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, salt, pepper and tomatoes. Whisk broth with almond butter; pour into slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 5 to 8 hours. (Actually, it was ready in about 4 hours…must be our altitude)

With immersion blender, puree sauce until smooth. (I choose not to puree sauces as I like the chunkiness of the ingredients!) Add chicken; cook, covered, on high until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, 30 to 40 minutes.

Stir in sour cream. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.

Seafood Lasagna

For a very special dinner, we like to prepare this seafood lasagna in a white sauce. Yes, it is very rich, but there is never any leftover!!! Use whatever seafood you favour, but I like shrimp, scallops, lobster or crab in any combination. Think New Year’s Eve!!! The recipe can easily be halved…

If seafood isn’t your thing, substitute chicken! Add some slivered almonds to the Parmesan cheese sprinkling….

Seafood Lasagna (Cooks.Com)

8 Tablespoons butter

8 Tablespoons all purpose flour

1 cup cream

1 cup milk

1 cup chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

pinch of nutmeg

1 package “no-boil” lasagna

10 ounces of spinach (you could use frozen if thawed and drained)

16 ounces of ricotta cheese

8 ounces of mozzarella cheese (I preferred Manchego from Spain)

8 ounces of Provolone cheese

1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms

2 sliced onions

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1 tomato, cut and peeled

1 1/2 pounds of seafood

parsley and rosemary to taste

Sauce:

Melt butter and add flour. Take it off the burner, add cream, milk and broth. Put back on burner. Stir constantly.

When everything is mixed, take it off the heat. Add salt and pepper and nutmeg.

Lasagna:

Saute onions and mushrooms in butter and a little oil. Add tomato, parsley and rosemary. Add all of the seafood.

Preparation:

In a greased lasagna pan pour some sauce, place a row of lasagna, followed by 1/2 of the seafood, some mozzarella or Manchego, ricotta (mixed with the spinach), and Provolone. Press it down before adding a second layer. Follow same order as first layer, ending with another layer of lasagna noodles and sauce to cover the noodles. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes. Cover with foil if it is browning to rapidly!!!

It will be rich, so do not give your guests large portions to start with. Serve with a nice fresh salad.

Jamie Oliver’s Perfect Potato Gratin

After much consideration, I bought a good mandoline while in Canada! Of course, this was going to be my first recipe using it, and it worked out great! I managed not to slice my fingers and both the potatoes and onions were oh so evenly sliced. I made a few changes to Jamie’s recipe, like dropping the chestnuts and substituting onions. In case you are wondering, these are not scalloped potatoes with mushroom soup like our mothers made, but it is equally tasty…

Jamie Oliver’s Perfect Potato Gratin (adapted)

Serves 4 hungry men!

Ingredients

  • 1 small knob butter
  • 200 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 300 ml double cream (I used a 335 ml tin of Carnation Evaporated milk)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2.5 kg potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (8)
  • 1 handful fresh thyme (I used dried thyme).
  • 1 small handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • olive oil
  • 6 rashers higher-welfare streaky bacon, chopped
  • 1 handful vac-packed chestnuts, peeled and crumbled (optional)
  • 1 sliced white onion

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Butter the inside of an ovenproof dish, around 30cm x 30cm, and at least 6cm deep.

Pour the milk and cream into a wide pan with the bay leaves and garlic. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

Add the potatoes to the cream mixture and most of the thyme leaves and stir well. Spoon one-half into the gratin dish and shake to even everything out. Add the sliced white onions. Follow with other half of potatoes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan then cover with an oiled piece of foil. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a little olive oil until crispy and golden or use Ready Crisp precooked bacon.  Add the remaining thyme and stir in the chestnuts. (I skipped the chestnuts and used more onions). When your gratin is ready, remove the foil and spoon the bacon and chestnut/onion mixture over the top. Pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes until gorgeous and crispy on top.

Roasted Carrot Soup

The following recipe was a real hit a recent dinner party. As always, my changes to the original recipe are in red….

Roasted Carrot Soup

 

Serves four, yields about 1 quart

  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Herbs de Provence
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into medium dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 large rib of celery, cut into medium dice (about 1.2 cup)
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger (from about 1/2-inch piece, peeled)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
  • Chopped fresh chives or chervil for garnish
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Nutmeg
  • Sour cream

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Put the carrots in a medium baking dish, or any dish that will hold the carrots on a single layer without touching, and drizzle them with the olive oil. Sprinkle a little bit of Herbs de Provence over them. Toss them to coat well and roast, stirring once halfway through roasting, until they are tender, blistered and lightly browned in a few places, about 1 hour.melt the butter in a medium heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it’s translucent and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the celery and ginger and cook until the celery softens a bit and the onions start to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the roasted carrots, chicken broth, salt, pepper and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Drop in the cinnamon stick. Cook at a tender lively simmer until the carrots are very tender, about 45 minute. Turn off the heat and let the liquid cool somewhat or completely. Remove the cinnamon stick!!!

Puree most of the soup in a blender in batches, filling the blender no more than one-third full, vent the lid and hold a towel while you turn it on. Keep about ¾ cup of the vegetables aside to be added when serving if you like some chunks in your soup.  If serving immediately, return the soup to the pot and reheat, along with the unpureed veggies. Garnish with the chives or chervil if you’d like and/or a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle some fresh ground nutmeg to add some extra zip.

Otherwise refrigerate for up to 5 days. Reheat gently and taste for salt before serving.

Slow Cooker Caribbean Black Bean Chili

This is a recipe from my friend, John. He was nice enough to send me home with a big bowl of it the other night. It is awesome!! Beware that it can be addictive….. thanks so much John for being so considerate, as always. I’ll have to make this for Larry when he gets back from the cold North, fer sure….

SLOW COOKER CARIBBEAN BLACK BEAN CHILI

Black Beans (or any natural about 1/2 a bag) sorted and soaked overnight, drain water.

Place in slow cooker, cover with water. Liquid should be about to top after veggies are added.

Add a bay leaf, 2 chicken bouillion cubes, a can of chopped tomatoes.

Saute vegetables before adding to the cooker – Onions, a colorful pepper variety, carrots, jalapeno, celery. (As much as you like and your crockpot can hold. )

Add fresh garlic 3-4 cloves.

Add spices when veggies are a bit cooked. (Recipe calls for Jamaican Jerk seasoning). Use your favorites!

Add juice one lime, then toss all in the pot and cook on high 6 hours or til beans are done.

Taste later and adjust seasoning as you like. Spice it up if you want it spicier….

 

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili with Quinoa

This recipe came to me via my friend’s blog “Learning Nutrition with Me“. The link is at the bottom of the page you are viewing.

Since you know we eat a lot of quinoa, and we had the beans and sweet potatoes, I decided to give it a try. It was great!!

As always, my changes are in red!

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Chili with Smoked Chipotle (via LNWM)

Prep time:  10 mins  Cook time:  30 mins Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced small
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Chipotle Tabasco sauce ( I just used regular Tabasco since I did not have the chipotle version)
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) low-sodium tomato sauce
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (this made it really thick, so adjust downwards)
  • 2 can black beans (15.5 oz), drained (I left the juice in there)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock, plus more to thin if desired
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into small cubes

Chipotle Creme:

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked Chipotle Tabasco sauce, plus more if desired
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in  a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and salt; saute for 5 minutes or until onions become translucent.
  2. Add the entire can of tomato sauce to the pot. Next add the black beans, vegetarian broth, all spices, and quinoa. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium, add diced sweet potatoes. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  3. Make the smoked chipotle yogurt  – combine tabasco sauce, honey, and dijon mustard in a medium bowl.
  4. Spoon chili into bowls and add yogurt sauce on top. Enjoy!