Monthly Archives: January 2015

Chicken & Dumplings

I totally intended on trying another recipe in my slow cooker this last week but every night seemed to have something going on so I didn’t have time to prep and I am really not interested in making and cleaning a mess so early in the am. So instead I made chicken & dumplings on the stove top. It is definitely a warm comfort meal and pretty easy to make.  The batter for the dumplings is pretty simple and they cook themselves to perfection sitting on the top of the yummy broth. Homemade if you have it on hand.

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By using one pot to brown the chicken and made the stew it can’t help but being delicious, there is SO much flavor sticking to the bottom of the pot.

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I do use a lot of chicken broth both homemade, which I refer to as liquid gold, and pre-boxed which is great when I forget to take mine out of the freezer.

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I am not a fan of mushy peas so I only use frozen ones and by throwing those in last works out really well.

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The dumpling dough is really easy to make; it will be slightly thicker than pancake mix.

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The size of your dumplings depends on the size of the dollop you place on top of the stew. Be mindful they will expand.

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If you can hold off, it tastes a lot better if you can let it sit and let all the flavors meld.

Season chicken liberally with salt, pepper and adobo; add oil to a heavy duty pot, such as a Dutch oven. Cook chicken letting each side get nice and brown and remove to a plate until cool enough to shred.  Add celery, carrots and onions to hot pot, if too dry add more oil. Saute until onions are soft but not browned. Add flour and cook another minute; add chicken broth and simmer until veggies are cooked through. At the last minute add peas. Whisk all dumpling ingredients and add by spoonful. Cover and let the dumplings steam for about 15-20 minutes. Let meld and enjoy!!!

Stew

1-2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast cut into chunks

Kosher Salt

Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Adobo seasoning

Olive Oil

2 ribs celery diced

3 carrots diced

1-2 onions diced

3 tbs flour

Chicken Broth

Handful of peas

Dumplings

Whisk all ingredients

¾ Cup Flour

1 ¾ tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Salt

½ Cup Milk

Braised Short Ribs

I’m going to start with you have GOT to try these!!! If you do have any leftover they taste amazing re-heated. Now that we have that out of the way, they do take a planes trains and automobile kind of route to get where they need to go but the end result will be worth it and I hope it doesn’t deter you from attempting this recipe.

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The weather has been super cold here in the North East; my guys have been working outside on a couple of roofs and there is nothing like a hot shower and a warm comforting meal to warm your bones. The last couple of weeks I have put my slow cooker to work, plus my new cookbook is very inspiring plus I do like prepping two meals at one time and then taking a night off to relax.

For this particular recipe the microwave helped in making the dish a little less fatty, short ribs are notoriously greasy and we all want to have the most flavors but not all the extra grease in our dishes. I still had to let the sauce separate before I turned the juice into gravy. You do have a couple of options to keep the juice as such or make a roux and turn it into nice thick gravy which is the route I chose.

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Firstly separate the bones from the ribs, slice as close to the bone as possible. Take the bones and put them in a microwave safe dish, microwave for about 10 minutes, they should be nicely browned and a lot of fat left in the dish.  Transfer the bones to the slow cooker.

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Now to brown the ribs in a hot skillet by drying them, then salt and pepper and adding them to the skillet with a little oil. Brown about 7 minutes a side and add to the slow cooker. In the same skillet add onions, carrot, celery, tomato paste, and thyme to the fat in the skillet. Cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute. Slowly whisk in the wine and vinegar, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced to 1 cup, about 6 minutes then add to the slow cooker. Stir in the broth and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 9 to 11 hours or on high for 5 to 7.

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Transfer ribs to a platter and tent loosely with foil. Either let the braising liquid settle and skim off the fat or use a fat separator; whichever you prefer. Strain the liquid discarding the solids and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley or sprinkle over the top just before serving. Spoon about a cup over the ribs and serve with the remaining sauce.

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Serve over your favorite mashed potatoes.

5 lbs. bone-in short ribs – meat and bones separated

Salt and Pepper

2 Tbs olive oil

2 onions chopped medium

1 carrot peeled and chopped medium

1 celery rib chopped medium

2 Tbs tomato paste

1 tsp dried thyme

3 Tbs flour

2 cups dry red wine

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

2 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

2 Tbs minced fresh parsley

Chicken White Wine, Tarragon and Cream – slow cooker

My mother-in-law mentioned the other day that she was looking for some crock-pot recipes, I noticed a slow cooker magazine at my local grocery store and I figured I would check it out and then give it to her. While looking at it I started marking pages; I can’t tell you how many times I see a recipe that looks awesome and make a note to try it later and never find it again. After marking like 7 pages I quickly came to the conclusion; I am going to have to buy her her own copy.

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Like most I don’t always have a ton of time in the morning so I planned on prepping both my dinner for the night and the crock-pot for the next day. If I have several dishes in mind I will always cut enough onions, peppers, garlic and potatoes and carrots or whatever I am going to use in multiple dishes all at the same time and just set aside per dish.  You already have the cutting board and knife out just keep going; you’ll be happy you did.

Though sometimes it doesn’t always work out quite like you planned; both dishes I was making asked for some dry white wine. I opened a bottle made the first dish, poured myself a glass, my husband walking by decided he wanted a glass, by the time I got around to making the meal for the slow cooker, yup I was out of wine and had to open another bottle. It was worth it, the chicken from the crock-pot was amazing. We didn’t save the leftover carrots and mushrooms but we did have a couple of chicken breast (they were large ones) they were so flavorful and moist, so much so my husband sent me a text on his lunch telling me how amazing his sandwich was. He just asked me what I was blogging about and told me to tell you that the chicken has a great flavor and he really likes it. He is so helpful wink wink.

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Chicken with White Wine, Tarragon and Cream (slow cooker revolution)

Serves 6 – cook on low 4-6 hours

4-6 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts, trimmed salt and peppered

¼ cup olive oil

16 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved if small or quartered if large

2 onions minced

½ tsp dried minced thyme

4-6 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup flour

¾ cup dry white wine – I used chardonnay

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 pound carrots peeled, halved length wise and sliced about ½ inch thick

2 tbs soy sauce

2 bay leaves

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup minced fresh tarragon – (note) I used less because I am not a fan of black licorice but I would use it again in this dish

  • Pat chicken dry, season with salt and pepper. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken skin side down, do not crowd the pan. Repeat with remaining chicken. Set aside and let cool. Remove and discard the skin.
  • Add remaining oil, mushrooms, onions, thyme and some salt to the pan. Cover and cook till softened, about 10 minutes. Uncover continue to cook until the mushrooms are dry and browned about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stir in flour and cook for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the wine, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Transfer to slow cooker.
  • Stir in broth, carrots, soy sauce and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Place browned chicken along with the juices into the slow cooker.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4-6 hours on low. Any longer and you risk drying out the chicken
  • Transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving platter and tent loosely with foil. Let braising liquid settle for about 5 minutes; remove any excess fat from the surface. Discard bay leaves. Stir in cream and tarragon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserving 1-2 cups of sauce to serve with chicken pour the remaining over the chicken and veggies.

Prime Rib and Friends – New Years’ Eve

New Years Eve plans I tend to leave what we do up to my husband since it is his birthday. Sometimes we go out to dinner; sometimes we stay in and if we do stay in I always try to make something special for dinner. This year we stayed in but had an impromptu dinner party. I say impromptu only because it was planned late in the afternoon on the 30th and came together quite nicely and very quickly. Just a few text messages between friends and voila we had an amazing meal planned.

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Before we started talking I wanted to make homemade pasta. So initially I was going to make it Italian night have a nice salad, some crusty bread, homemade ravioli and fettuccine I was going to make a couple of types of sauces to go with the pasta. By the time it was all said and done, Italian night ended up being come and cook what you want at my house and we will make it work.

Me multitasking - rolling pasta and drinking wine.

Me multitasking – rolling pasta and drinking wine – Life is Good!

We had Stuffed Mushrooms, Smashed Potatoes, and Four Cheese Ravioli with a Ragu Bolognese Sauce, Shrimp Cocktail, Tossed Salad, Crusty Bread and Prime Rib. It may have not been a conventional meal but everything went really well together. And all was delicious.

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Our friends’ family tradition was to cook a Prime Rib in rock salt (yup I said rock salt) for either Christmas or New Years’ luckily for us this year; they shared it with us. I had never heard, tasted or seen this method of cooking.  I have encrusted my share of meats in salt but never rock salt. It was quite interesting, incredibly simple and quite delicious.

Rock Salted Prime Rib

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Prime Rib

Tied

Olive oil

Thyme or your favorite herb(s)

Rock Salt

Roast at 500’ for 12 minutes per pound – or meat thermometer read 130’

Rub olive oil all over the roast, sprinkle with herbs, surround with rock salt and cook

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Ragu Bolognese

5 Tbs Olive Oil

3 Tbs Butter

1 carrot, finely diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 rib celery, finely diced

3-4 cloves garlic, smashed

1 pound ground veal

1 pound ground pork

½ tube tomato paste

1 can tomato sauce

1 cup of milk

1 cup dry white wine

Kosher salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

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In a 6-8 quart heavy bottom saucepan or dutch oven; heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.

Add the onion, celery and carrot, sweat until veggies are soft and translucent but not browned, add the garlic in the last few minutes.

Add veal, pork and pancetta stirring into the vegetables, stirring to keep from sticking together and the meat browns.  Remove some of the grease, to make it a little healthier. Add tomato paste, sauce, milk and wine. Simmer over medium low heat for 1 – 1 ½ hours.

Season with salt and pepper – toss some with your cooked pasta evenly to coat and enjoy!

Happy Healthy New Year!!!!

Happy Healthy New Year!!!!