Monthly Archives: May 2020

Chicken and Pasta bake

Late Friday afternoon my “co-worker” daughter from another company sent out an email to everyone in her company. She created a 30 day act of kindness calendar. Just a few ideas of how to show a little kindness in our area can go a long way! And it seems our country is in dire need of some kindness.
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Her only hesitation was sending it after closing time on Friday or wait till Monday morning. I told her send it, there are some who check their emails and it can’t hurt to sit there unopened until Monday either. Before she told me what she was working on I had planned to go grocery shopping for my in-laws who are 89 & 90 and finally arriving home from being quarantined in FL. My sister-in-law kept them safe for 6 months; now it is our turn.
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Browning all the meat in the same pot separately for several dishes I was making – less dishes

A friend of mine has been spreading kindness for several weeks now making fried rice and selling it with all the proceeds being spread out to some local charities, first responders, families in need you name it and she has touched a lot of lives. My daughter and I picked up some of the rice and then headed to the grocery store. While in the store my daughter was approached by a co-worker who proudly said she had already started on the list and shared with her what she had done just that day. My daughter was so excited to tell me about this. It’s working!
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When we got home and put away their grocery’s and ours I started making food. I wanted them to have a few things they could just pop in the oven, or take out of the freezer and re-heat. How to keep them safe is to keep them home. Which isn’t going to be that easy but we will try.
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I actually find it pretty easy to cook for an army; as they say. I am pretty organized in my thought pattern; say if I am making several dishes and a couple of them need onions I will cut up enough for whatever I am making. Basically I rock at mise-en-place (put in place). Yesterday I made a large pot of chili, a couple of shepherd pies, some bolognese and a I wanted to make a chicken and pasta bake of some sort. I had such a busy afternoon I popped one of the chicken bakes in the oven for dinner which I will share with you here.
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Chicken and Pasta bake

Donna Clark
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
0 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 box pasta cook to package directions
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 packets Sazon seasonings
  • 1 container mascarpone cheese small container or replace with 1/2 brick cream cheese
  • Kosher Salt, Black Pepper and your choice seasoning

Instructions
 

  • Cook your pasta to the package instructions
  • Dice your chicken breast into bite size pieces, season your pieces with your favorite seasoning liberally. I chose kosher salt, black pepper and Crop Dust all purpose seasoning from my local butchers shop The Flying Butcher.
  • In a saute pan add the olive oil and when hot add the chicken, sprinkle on the 2 packets of sazon. If you want the pieces browned do no over crowd the pan and cook in batches. Set aside.
  • In the same saute pan add the butter and flour making a roux. cook the flour for about a minute. Whisk in all the milk and keep whisking until the sauce thickens. Lower the heat and add the mascarpone cheese stir till all combined. Remove from the heat and add the cheddar and half of the mozzarella cheese stir till melted.
  • In a large bowl add the cheese sauce and the cooked chicken to the pasta. Stir till combined. Depending if you are saving for later or having now. Add to your baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is browned and heated through.

https://www.theflyingbutcher.com/

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy and Be Kind

 

Fresh Corn Tomato Bacon Salad

Happy Memorial Day! Let’s use today to count our blessings and stand proud!

Tis the season to be gardening! Our raised beds are ready for planting, we actually bought a small rototiller and I have no idea why it took us so long. I think we have always thought since they are raised beds we couldn’t use one. We ordered one online; only because they didn’t have any in stock at the store but they delivered it to the house with no shipping charges so even better for us. I honestly don’t think my beds have ever looked so good.   IMG_2945
I hope you are all doing well and are still making good choices. We went out to dinner last night to one of out local hangouts. First time since early March and it was really nice being out, everyone was very respectful. The food was really good I especially liked someone else making me a cocktail. I don’t know what that’s all about but I didn’t even mind the plastic cup it was served in.
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We ate outside by the river; there was just the three of us. We had to make a reservation and were asked to wear a face mask if we needed to go into the restaurant. The wait staff all wore masks and seemed very happy to be back at work.  The restaurant decided to use paper and plastic products we assumed it was because they could use less staff, or maybe it was to keep everything fresh and sanitary? I am not really sure.

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Serves 4–6

Fresh Corn Tomato Bacon Salad

great tasting summer salad
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
0 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Salad
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 6 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 ears corn on the cob cut from ears
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, remove and set aside.
    turn heat down to medium-low and add onions to the bacon drippings in the skillet Cook, stirring occasionally until softened - about 5 minutes.
    add the corn, turn the heat back up to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until the corn is tender and just starting to brown in spots 7-10 minutes.
    remove corn and onion mixture to a large mixing bowl and let cool for about 10 minutes.
    meanwhile crumble the bacon.
    add the bacon, sliced tomatoes, basil and vinegar to the corn and onion bowl. sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Toss everything together and taste. adjust seasoning if needed.
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using a little of the bacon grease

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Since I heard so many more people are getting into gardening I am interested to see how many people get truly hooked – we have had a vegetable garden every summer for over 30 years, while that sounds like we should be pros; every year somethings work and somethings don’t be we keep trying!  I wish you all good luck!

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I can’t wait for my basil

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cookie dough – chocolate chip and oatmeal

Things are starting to open up around here, though I am not in any hurry to get out there and see what’s going on. I am still a little nervous about getting covid though I am slightly thinking it is inevitable. There are too many opposing views for me to be totally on board with any of them. I am just taking it one day at a time. 
you have all the ingredients out – make it worth your effort make a couple of different kinds

There are things that I really miss which is time spent with my friends, family and going out to my favorite restaurants. Even though we do order dinner out at least once a week, my daughter and I also order lunch out on Fridays; it is not the same. I am excited for the weather to be nicer so we can be outside more and be able to have friends over – it’s so much easier to social distance outside.
I have been making this recipe so long, see that green recipe card, it has to be close to 30 years old

I have been making batches of cookie dough for the freezer. It is really nice to bake a fresh cookie or two when you want one. The last two batches were SO good that my daughter wanted me to blog about them. I know I have said this before but when I make something that good I always say I really think I could sell these or my other saying is people need to have this. I hope you will make one or both of these cookies and freeze them individually so you too can enjoy a fresh baked cookie or two.

I do tend to flatten them out a bit before freezing, I take them out while the oven is preheating so they are still frozen and it helps them take shape while in the oven. You can also help them by tapping the tray when you take them out or just lightly press on them when you take them out. 

Oatmeal about 50 cookies
bake at 350’f for 12 minutes – let sit on the tray for 2-3 minutes before placing on a cooling rack

Ingredients
2 cups unsalted butter room temperature (important)
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 cups oats

Directions
Cream together in a mixer the butter and sugars. Whip for a minute or two. Add the eggs and mix till combined. Add the vanilla. 
In a separate bowl whisk the flour, soda and cinnamon. Gradually add this to the butter mixture. 
Add the oats. If you are making the full batch, your bowl should be a little full so take your time adding so you don’t wear everything. Mix to combine and using an ice cream scoop or whatever you have on hand for the size cookie you want. place on a cookie sheet for the freezer or make some for eating now

Chocolate Chip about 40 cookies
Bake at 325’f for 12 minutes – let sit on the tray for 2-3 minutes before placing on a cooling rack

Ingredients
2 cups plus 4 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 sticks of butter room temperature (important)
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
In a separate bowl whisk the flour, soda and salt and set aside.
combine the butter and sugars and beat for a minute or two. Beat in the eggs, yolks and sugars until combined. 
Add the dry ingredients and beat on low just till combined. Add the chocolate chips and Mix to combine and using an ice cream scoop or whatever you have on hand for the size cookie you want. place on a cookie sheet for the freezer or make some for eating now.

After they are frozen individually package them up all together and place back into the freezer for when you want them. 

Take care and stay safe!

Chicken wings with a Thai sweet and spicy sauce and a side of Pineapple shrimp fried rice

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Happy Mother’s Day – not sure this one will be like any other. Not sure about your area in this crazy world but flower delivery is not considered an essential business, not that I ever got flower’s for mothers day delivered. One of my kids lives with me and the other is just up the road. But I sent a few over the years. Sorry Mom your going to get a call in a bit.
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I hope you are hanging in there and staying safe and healthy! I hear about so many people cooking at home a lot more or even learning how to cook. I actually haven’t gone above and beyond my “norm” in all fairness my “norm” is usually making something I haven’t made before or changing up something we have on hand.
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Wings Ingredients 

1/4 cup Thai sweet and spicy chili sauce
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger 
1 teaspoon lemongrass paste
20 chicken wings, split and tips tossed

Wings Directions

Make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk the sauces, sesame oil and ginger together.
preheat the oven to 375’F
Lightly brush or spray with the oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place wings on a sheet pan
bake for 10 minutes.brush the wings with the sauce; bake another 10 minutes.
Flip the wings and baste again with the sauce, bake for another 10 minutes. 
Turn one last time and baste with the last of the sauce and bake another minute or so until the cooked through.

Stir Fry Sauce – 1 cup chicken stock, 1 cup soy sauce, 1 cup oyster sauce, 2 teaspoon sugar combine and whisk till the sugar dissolves. the leftover can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container

This past week I needed a little more space in my freezer so I pulled out some chicken wings and had some leftover white rice that I had made for dinner a day or so ago so here is what I made that was not my “norm”
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Pineapple shrimp fried rice Ingredients

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small white onion diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp
1 egg
6 cups steamed jasmine rice – best if it is a day old
2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons stir fry sauce
1/4 cup drained canned crushed pineapple
1/4 cup toasted cashews
2 green onions, cut on an angle
salt and pepper 

Pineapple shrimp fried rice Directions
make sure to have everything prepped – it goes quickly

heat am empty wok over high heat until it begins to smoke, swirl in the oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onion and garlic and stir-fry until they are softened and translucent. add the shrimp and cook until slightly opaque, 10-20 seconds. 

Add the egg and mix with the onion and garlic. once the egg is soft scrambled, add the rice, sugar and stir fry sauce. working the rice around the wok so the sauce distributes evenly and breaking up the egg. 

stir-fry until there is no more moisture in the rice and it is lightly toasted, not fully brown you don’t want it to stick to the wok. 

remove from the heat and add the pineapple, cashews and green onion. taste for seasoning add salt and pepper if needed. 
Serve warm

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Roasted Garlic Lemon Chicken

I know I know I know another roasted chicken recipe from me. This is my go-to comfort food all day long! I do however have a little something different for you. Yesterday I made my first cooking video for my blog. You will see what I mean by my first. It’s pretty rough but I have thought about doing one for years and seeing so many people putting themselves out there by singing, cooking, crafting etc. on FB live I thought I would try this first. I was too nervous to go live just yet. We’ll see how this goes and if I can muster up the courage to go live I will. Baby steps!

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It tasted as yummy as it looks!


I have posted this recipe before; it was about 3 years ago so I hope you will indulge me and give it a try if you haven’t already. The one I made yesterday made the most excellent gravy, so much so my daughter said she could actually bathe in it. There was a little left over after dinner so when I was putting everything away I added the gravy to my slow cooker along with chicken bones plus a couple of carrots, celery and an onion all very roughly chopped and set it on low and this morning had almost 3 quarts of liquid gold.

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A friend of mine finally took me up on making his own chicken broth and has already made it twice in the last couple of weeks. Just saying!

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A couple of things I wish I would have clarified on my videos. Oh yeah I had to have the in two because I stopped filming and then changed the angle of the phone – rookie move. I can learn so it can only get better from here, right?

So I have been trying to load these since 9am-ish. Our internet has been terrible all week and was totally out this morning. They are supposed to come out sometime tomorrow before 6pm. Not even a window anymore just sometime before 6. The rest of the time was trying to get the videos to load onto my computer then and into wordpress.  There has to be a better way!!!! this was painful so I hope you at least get a chuckle from it.

 

I ended up marinating it for 2.5 hours. You will notice that I told you a time I was going to put it in the oven but never mentioned what time it was. I also wanted to share with you that this type of roaster is also great made out on the grill.
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Here is my adaptation of Ina’s Tuscan Lemon Chicken

1 5lb chicken, spatchcocked – you can do this, I promise! (see below)
Kosher Salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
⅓ cup Olive Oil
2 lemons zested
1 lemon squeezed
3 cloves garlic minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves minced

Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper. Combine the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic and rosemary in a small bowl. Place the chicken in a dish just large enough where it can lay flat. Pour the marinade all over the bird getting it all over both sides.
Let it sit on the counter while you preheat your oven to 425’F. If you want to a couple of hours, put in in the fridge and take it out about 15 minutes before you are ready to put it in the oven.

I cooked mine in my cast iron pan for about an hour. Please make sure to cook the the bird till the internal temperature is around 165’F note that it will continue to cook a little while it is resting covered with aluminum foil for 5-10 minutes.

Spatchcock directions – with either kitchen shears or a knife. Remove the back bone of the bird. Cut down one side and then the other and then push down on the bird to flatten it. That’s it – once you do this you can brag to all of your friends. I did to my co-workers, they had never heard the actual word before. If you don’t want bragging rights, your butcher will do this for you.

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