Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Crock Pot Chicken with Stuffing

I saw a similar recipe online and of course I had to mess with it. Here's my version of Crock Pot Chicken with Stuffing (and whatever else).

First, I thawed out two 1-lb. packages of boneless chicken tenders. I cooked one package of chicken to create some broth for my chicken & stuffing recipe (because I was out, and I don't recommend ever being without chicken broth). I made shredded chicken taquito filling with the half I'd cooked for a separate meal (I'll blog about that later). I placed the other half of the chicken into the crock pot, covering the bottom of the crock. I poured the chicken broth I'd created (about a cup and a half, maybe two cups--I don't measure much, and y'all already know that) over the chicken. I sprinkled all that with celery salt, black pepper, Adobo, and onion powder. In a bowl, I combined most of a large can of cream of chicken soup and a good-sized dollop of sour cream and whisked that together real good. I poured (okay, more like dumped) that into the crock and tried to spread it around a little, but it started mixing with the broth so I left it be. On top of all that, I poured a box of dry seasoned chicken stuffing mix and spread it out evenly so all the herbs weren't all clumped in one spot. I sprinkled the whole mess with sea salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. I cooked it on high for an hour, then low for about two hours, then had to turn it down to "keep warm" for the next two hours so it didn't burn. Clearly my crock pot cooks too hot, but it's the only one I've got for now so I'm dealing with it.

Here's the recipe at a glance:

1 lb. boneless chicken breasts or tenders
2 cups chicken broth
1 large or 2 small cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1-2 box(es) dry chicken seasoned stuffing mix

Your favorite seasonings. Here's mine:
Sea salt Black pepper Garlic powder Onion powder Celery salt
Adobo I confess if I'd had some cranberry sauce I might've plopped a few spoonfuls of it over the very top before serving just for funsies. Another fun thing you can do is toss a favorite veggie over this, like I did with whole green beans. I let them warm through with the other stuff for about half an hour before serving. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Crumby Epiphany

I discovered Chef in Training on Facebook a few months back and have shared many of her recipes via social media, but I have to say tonight my regard for her jumped way up the ladder.

See, what had happened was I had just shared her recipe for Baked Crispy Ranch Chicken (I just went ahead and shared it before I clicked over because I already knew it was gonna be good) when I popped over to take a closer look at the recipe. Most of the ingredients I probably could have come close to guessing, but it was actually something she threw in as a side-note that caught my eye and gave me an "apostrophe" of monumental proportions.

What was this revelation, you ask? Bread crumbs. Now, I know bread crumbs in and of themselves are no great bit of news, but she mentioned that she likes making and using her own by throwing white bread into a blender. Well, let's just say my inner creative chef went into orbit.

See, I am a saver. I just plain can't stand wasting food. I am also a big fan of making things myself rather than buying them already made. So it should be easy to see why I wanted to reach right through the monitor and hug her neck. My little Ninja chopper is one of my favorite kitchen thingies ever, and when I read the line about throwing bread into a blender, I immediately thought of 1. my beloved Ninja, and 2. all the bread I reluctantly throw away because I can't stand to eat a sandwich on bread that's more than three hours old. So my inner saver and my inner chef and my inner foodie all converged and threw a party.

My reason for posting about it here (other than to shout out to my new friend who has no clue I'm on the planet) is to share the thoughts that raced through my mind right after I had the vision of saving bread AND making my own bread crumbs. I mean, I haven't been this delighted since I had the crazy notion of making homemade croutons out of a giant loaf of sun-dried tomato bread my friend gave me that I was afraid might go bad. It's like a whole new world opened up. It's really fun when new worlds open up.

Anyway, my thought: Flavored bread crumbs.

  • Italian: Toss Italian seasonings and garlic powder right into the chopper with the bread. This would be amazing sprinkled over a salad. Just saying.
  • Basil: Toss some dried basil in and blend it with the bread crumbs, and you'll have something perfect for sprinkling over a steaming mug of tomato soup and no need for crackers.
  • Ranch: Toss dry ranch seasoning into the chopper with the bread. Ooh! This would make a fine breading for chicken wings!
  • Cereal: Toss a favorite dry cereal (like the corn flakes the above-mentioned chicken recipe calls for) and blend it right in with the bread crumbs.
  • Nuts: Nuts! Just blend 'em right in! I feel like I'm flying. And seeds! All the seeds.
  • Spicy: Toss some favorite spices or spice rubs (like Caribeque's Calypso) in and blend in with the bread crumbs.
  • Variety: Varying the breads opens up even more possibilities. I'm getting more excited even as I type this and new ideas are forming. Pumpernickel, rye, ohmyword King's Hawaiian! Not that there's usually any of that left over to pulverize, but still. 
Talk about making cooking time way simpler and tastier in a flash! And wow, the space for creativity. This is almost too much to process. I'm probably going to need some coffee.

Anyway, I'd like to thank Nikki over at Chef in Training and encourage you to check out both her website and her Facebook page. The recipes she shares are sure to make your inner chef very happy.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Reese's Oreo Peanut Butter Pie

Photo Credit: Luke Easterling

This is a family favorite for birthdays. It has effectually replaced birthday "cakes" here at Easterhouse, so I guess it's about time I shared the recipe. 

Oh, and yes, this is enough to feed a small army, which I have when everyone is here, so feel free to cut the recipe to fit the size of your brigade. I tripled it to make three huge pies because they are so good it just makes sense to make three and stick the extra in the freezer for when we get a hankerin'.

Here's what you'll need:

6 c. powdered sugar
(3) 8 oz. blocks of cream cheese
3 c. peanut butter
3 c. milk
(3) 16 oz. containers Cool Whip
Chocolate or regular graham cracker crumbs OR crushed Oreo cookies (see instructions below)
36 frozen Reese's peanut butter cups (at least)

·      Whip powdered sugar and cream cheese until creamy.
·      Add peanut butter, milk, mixing well.
·      Add Cool Whip, blending well.
·      Chop frozen Reese’s into little pieces. Stir half into pie filling.
·      Pour filling evenly into pans.
·      Sprinkle remainder of chopped Reese’s over pies.

Important Notes
·      Pie is best served frozen, or at least semi-frozen.
·      Yield: approx. 60 total servings.
·      This triple recipe will also fill a lasagna pan.
·      I like to use three disposable pans with lids so I can keep the extra ones tucked away in the freezer.
·      To make crust for 3 cake pans (9x11) or 1 lasagna pan:
1 box graham crackers, crushed fine
2 sticks butter, very soft or melted
1 cup sugar
Stir sugar and crumbs together to blend, then mix in butter until evenly distributed. Press into bottom of pan(s).
(If using Oreos, crush approx. 50 cookies in their entirety and add the butter but NOT the sugar. Divide evenly among three pans.)
(Also, use a food chopper on both the frozen Reese’s and the cracker/cookie crumbs—it will make life much easier.)