Dreamy's Delights

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Chicken Chili

I can not believe I haven’t already posted this recipe! This is one that I make several times a year. Maybe that’s why I didn’t post it, I just took it for granted that I’d put it up lol.

This recipe comes from my bestie Susan B. who lives in Kansas. She got it from HER friend, also named Susan. Then she and I put our heads together and tweaked it a bit. We both agree that OUR version is the best. I hope y’all enjoy it as much as we do!

Recipe

4 cups onion, chopped
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup garlic, minced
2 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 large yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1″ long pieces
18 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (Penzeys Chili 9000, see note below)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cans plum tomato, whole (28 oz cans)
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
4 chicken breasts, cooked (or a small rotisserie chicken, deboned)

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onions and cook over medium heat until translucent and tender, 10-15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute, just long enough to release the aroma. Add the mushrooms and cook just long enough to start to release the liquid. Add the asparagus, bell peppers and spices. Cook for one minute. (This is one of my favorite parts.) Smoosh each plum tomato in your hand as you add it to the pot. You want some bigger pieces and some smaller pieces. Add all the liquid. Stir in the chicken and basil, let simmer for 30 minutes until veggies are just tender. I like mine still with a bit of crunch but this part is personal preference. Serve with cheese, sour cream, and chips, as desired.

For those of you who don’t like asparagus and/or mushrooms, leave them out. The original recipe didn’t call for them at all. We just added them because they’re favorites 😀 Tonight’s batch didn’t have the asparagus because I didn’t buy any lol.

Note: The name of Penzeys chili seasoning, Chili 9000, might scare some of you. The number has NOTHING to do with the heat level. It is more in reference to the number of ingredients (there are over 20) and it is very mild. I love this chili blend. It’s got a really nice depth of flavor and is perfect with the sweetness of the veggies and blandness of the chicken.

 

chickenchili

 

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Ground Meat Hash

There’s a market near our house called Sprouts. One day while wandering around I noticed that they had wild game ground meats in the freezer section. I picked up a pound of wild boar, a pound of Elk and a pound of Kangaroo. Yes, I bought ground Kangaroo… I haven’t eaten it yet so I can’t give any feedback 😉

The other day I used the Elk as the protein in some stuffed mushrooms which came out quite good. Tonight I used to ground boar to make a hash type dish. It came out really good.

Recipe

1 lb ground wild boar (or other game meat)

2 large yukon gold potatoes, 1/2 inch dice

1 small onion, diced

1-2 medium carrots, 1/4 inch dice

1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

1/2 tsp Penzeys Mural of Flavor

salt to taste

Pull the ground meat apart into small chunks and place in a large skillet. This makes it easier to break up into small pieces as it cooks. Add the vegetables and seasonings. Cook over medium heat until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.

It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s tasty. 🙂

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Creamy Pork and Cabbage Soup with Tortellini

It’s been chilly and we’re expecting a windy, rainy storm in the next couple of days. I had to visit the grocery store to pick up something for dinner. The only thing I knew walking in was that I wanted pork. After Thanksgiving and smoking a turkey and a beef roast, I wanted something different. I was originally thinking of pork steaks or something along those lines. However, as I wandered through the store I came up with a totally different idea. I wanted a creamy, hearty soup. As such, this is what I came up with…

Recipe

4 lbs lean pork,cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 lb bacon, diced

4 TB butter

2 leeks, thinly sliced

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 head of celery, diced

3/4 small head of cabbage, diced

20 oz tortellini (I used 3 cheese stuffed)

1 qt beef stock

1 qt half and half

1/3 cup white whine

dried thyme

poultry seasoning

salt and white pepper to taste

Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add the bacon and render out the fat. Add the pork and brown. Remove the pork and bacon from the pot. Melt butter and add the leeks to the pot. Saute until tender and fragrant and the garlic and saute for one more minute.

Add the white wine to the pot and deglaze. Return the pork to the pot, add the stock, celery and seasonings. I didn’t really measure how much I put in but I’d guess at least a teaspoon of dried thyme and poultry seasoning. Taste it and adjust it as desired.

Bring the pot to a boil and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Add the half and half and the cabbage. I added a 1 inch by 2 inch piece of parmesan cheese rind. This addition added a tremendous amount of flavor but I let it boil a bit too much so it wound up looking a bit curdled. The flavor is outstanding but it’s not pretty lol.

After the cabbage is tender, add the tortellini and cook for another ten minutes or so until the pasta is tender and cooked through.

This is a very filling and hearty soup. I’m not really sure I would call it soup because it wasn’t very soupy lol. I don’t make very good “soup” because it’s always too thick. However, it only took me about an hour start to finish to make and it was REALLY tasty. Jene even went back for seconds and I’ve been nibbling from the pot after eating my first bowl full.

One more note: I’m writing this after having a wee bit to drink so if something doesn’t make sense, please post a message letting me know lol. 😀

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Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Edited October 6, 2014: I realized that something was missing… In an effort to kick up the flavor a bit I added a tablespoon or so of dried mustard powder. Definitely getting closer.. I think it needs some parmesan cheese next time.

The store had some really nice red bell peppers on sale so I bought a bunch. Then I had to figure out what to do with them. After mulling it over, I decided on stuffed peppers.

Recipe

6 large red bell peppers

1.5 lbs ground beef

1 cup finely minced fresh mushrooms

1 cup finely diced celery

1 cup finely diced onion

2 TB bacon fat or butter

2 TB fresh basil, minced and divided

1 cup diced tomatoes w/juice (I used canned)

1/2 cup ketchup

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish.

Melt the bacon fat in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms, onions, celery and one TB of basil. Cook until the veggies are tender.

Put the ground beef in a bowl, add the veggies once they are cooked. Add the rest of the basil, the tomatoes, ketchup, and salt/pepper to taste. Mix everything thoroughly.

Cut the top of the peppers off and remove the cores. If the bottoms are uneven, cut off just enough that the peppers will sit evenly in a baking dish. Rinse the peppers.

Stuff the peppers mounding up the filling just a bit at the top. Place in baking dish. Bake about 45-60 minutes.

 

StuffedBellPeppers

 

 

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Clam Chowder with Cabbage & Dill

I’ve been wanting some clam chowder for awhile. The weather was finally cool enough the last few days to make it nice to have soup. This started with the idea of a low-carb chowder. Instead of using potatoes, you use cauliflower and a stick blender to make it thick and smooth. Well, it didn’t quite work that way but I liked what I wound up with even better.

The genesis of the recipe goes something like this… Hmm, I’m out of bacon but I have pre-cooked bacon in the fridge. I’ll sautee my onions in butter and bacon fat and then add the pre-cooked bacon with the celery. Add some chicken stock, whoops, that’s a bit much. Realize I didn’t have enough cauliflower but toss it in anyway. After smoothing it out with the stick blender, add the clams and cream, realize that there’s a LOT of broth and a buncha clams. Think about what else would go well in it… Realize that you have a fresh head of organic cabbage in the fridge and think it’s perfect. Throw in a whole bunch of fresh dill to finish it off.

So, that’s how I would up with this recipe. – Makes 6-7 quarts

2 TB butter

2 TB bacon fat and 1/2 cup pre-cooked bacon pieces (or chop up about six slices of bacon)

1 large onion finely chopped

6 ribs celery chopped

4 quarts of chicken stock

20 oz frozen cauliflower

2 cans minced clams

2 cans chopped clams

2 cans whole clams

1 jar clam juice

1 cup heavy cream (you can use less stock and more cream if you want)

1 head green cabbage

5-6 TB chopped, fresh dill

1/2 – 1 tsp white pepper

Garlic seasoning to taste (I use Vik’s Garlic Fix from the Spice & Tea Exchange)

Destructions… I mean instructions:

If you have fresh bacon, toss in into your pot and let the fat render out and the bacon gets crispy-ish. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the celery, chicken stock, cauliflower and garlic seasoning. Bring to a boil and cook until the cauliflower is very soft. Run the stick blender in the pot until the cauliflower is mostly smooth with a few chunks remaining. It will smooth out the bacon and celery too but the flavor is there. Add the clams, cream, cabbage and dill. Return to a boil and cook 5-10 minutes or just until the cabbage is tender. Add the white pepper and taste for seasoning.

I have to say, this was so good that Jene and I both had seconds. The combination of the different size clam pieces really made for a nice texture. Normally, I would have used a lot more cream to make a chowder but I got carried away with the stock. It was in the fridge and very thickly gelled so it kind of glopped into the pot lol. Since it was only an 8 qt stockpot I had to cut back on the cream. If you make this you’re welcome to change the ratio of stock to cream. The cabbage was an especially nice addition. It added a clean flavor without being heavy.

I’ll be really interested to hear what you think. 🙂

 

 

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Kris’s Braised Brisket

I was going to smoke this brisket but decided I wanted to do something where I could fix it and forget it. After reading several recipes for braised brisket, this is what I came up with. I don’t have any pictures because I forgot to take them lol. I actually made this a week ago. Really good stuff. It’s on the list of things to make again.

Recipe

1 4-6lb first cut brisket
3 TB olive oil
3 large onions, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs mixed mushrooms (i used white button cut in half and portobello cut into slices)
2 cups red wine
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 to 2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coarse grain mustard
2-4 cups beef or chicken stock
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place a roasting pan on the stove over two burners. Add oil and heat until the oil starts to shimmer. Place the brisket in the pan, fat side down and cook 3-5 minutes on each side, until brown spots start to form. Remove from pan and set aside on a large platter.

Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently until translucent. (Add a bit more oil if necessary) Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until liquid starts to release.

Add the red wine and let reduce by half. Add the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, mustard and 2 cups of stock. Stir well. Add the brisket back into the pan. Cover tightly with foil and cook for two hours.

At the two hour mark, turn the brisket. Then cook for another 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours or until the meat is tender and starting to fall apart. Add more liquid as needed to make a gravy. Serve over mashed potatoes or rice.

When I pulled the brisket out of the oven I added about two cups more beef stock because while the onions, carrots and mushrooms weren’t dry, they weren’t gravyish either. The two cups of stock added just enough liquid to make them perfect for a sauce/gravy.

I served this over garlic mashed potatoes which were awesome.

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Kris’s Chicken Cacciatore

This is a recipe I made up completely on my own last night. I had a whole buncha boneless, skinless chicken thighs and a hankering for something tomatoey. So here’s what I did. There aren’t any pictures because I was too busy cooking to take them. This also makes a HUGE amount so feel free to scale it down.

12 LARGE boneless skinless chicken thighs

3 TB olive oil

1 large sweet onion, chopped

8-10 marinated sweet cherry peppers, seeded and chopped

1 cup diced celery

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 28 oz canned diced tomatoes

12 smoked green olives

2 TB capers

1 cup red wine

fresh thyme, basil and oregano (dried is fine if you don’t have fresh)

salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot. I used my 7 1/4 qt Le Crueset pot. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and brown on each side in the oil. Remove from pot and set aside on a plate. Once the chicken pieces are all browned, pour in the red wine to deglaze the pot. Then add the onions, peppers, celery and garlic. Cook until the onions start to become translucent. Meanwhile, run the olives and capers through a mini food processor for a coarse chop. Or if you want, you can toss them in whole, I just prefer the smaller pieces. Stir in the olives, capers, canned tomatoes and the herbs. I don’t have measurements on the herbs because I just added them until it tasted right. Once you have all the ingredients stirred together, put the chicken thighs back into the pot. Carefully stir them down into the sauce. Cover and simmer over medium-low for 45-60 minutes. When it’s done the chicken meat should shred fairly easily. Serve it over mashed potatoes, rice or pasta. It came out excellent and I served it over the garlic mashed potatoes I posted about. If you skip the taters/rice/pasta this is also an excellent low carb dish. If you want a bit of extra flavor, grate some parmesan cheese on top.

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Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder with Tomato sauce

Welcome to 2014! Now that it’s the start of a new year, it’s time to get back on the “eating less crap” bandwagon again. Jene and I have both been very guilty of eating a lot of junk food and sweets since Thanksgiving. Carbs carbs and more carbs! With this in mind I decided I’d better get back to cooking.

I had a rather large piece of pork shoulder in the freezer that I pulled out to thaw. It was too big to fit all of it into the slow cooker so I cut it in half and made soup with one half and put the other half in the slow cooker.

I did my usual seasoning of salt, pepper, garlic and onion. Then as I was laying in bed with Mew on my stomach, I got the idea to make up some sauce and put it in with the pork. Apparently Mew’s purring was very inspirational, the dirty look I got when I moved her was less so 😉

Tomato Sauce (rough measurements)

2 14.5 ounce cans of tomato sauce

1/3 cup honey and/or molasses

1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup worchestershire sauce

1 TB dried ground mustard

1 TB mixture of cumin and coriander (2 parts coriander to 1 part cumin. this is something I had on hand that I had ground myself. if using preground spices, use 2 teaspoons instead)

salt and pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients to a pot and stir over medium low heat for a few minutes to let the honey and/or molasses melt and everything is well blended. Pour over the pork in the slow cooker.

Cook on low heat 6-8 hours or until the pork falls apart.

After removing the pork, pour the sauce into a sauce pan and simmer over low heat to reduce and thicken up.

Really easy and really tasty. 😀

 

 

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Missing in Action

As I’m sure everyone has noticed, I’ve been missing for awhile now. The Multiple Sclerosis has relapsed and I’ve been doing very little cooking for the last few months. Even Thanksgiving was much smaller this year and I didn’t try any new recipes. When the MS is active I’m extremely fatigued and in a lot of pain. The point of this post isn’t to whine, just to let y’all know why I haven’t been posting.

On a positive note, I’m making lasagna today and will be posting that recipe later today or tomorrow. I’m using some of the tomato sauce I put up last year and one of my favorite types of mushrooms, chanterelles. I actually found them at Costco for $10/lb which is a fabulous price. They run $24/lb at the mushroom growers stall at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. When I go to the store in a little bit I’m going to pick up some crimini and oyster mushrooms to go with the chanterelles.

Chanterelle mushrooms are a nice meaty mushroom that holds up beautifully in a hearty sauce. They also don’t get mushy during the long baking needed for a lasagna. And they’re completely gorgeous.

chanterellemushroom

As you can see, they’re just pretty to look at as well as tasty to eat. I pulled this information from Wikipedia because I thought it really highlights how I feel about these mushrooms.

“Chanterelles as a group are generally described as being rich in flavor, with a distinctive taste and aroma difficult to characterize. Some species have a fruity odor, others a more woody, earthy fragrance, and still others can even be considered spicy. The golden chanterelle is perhaps the most sought-after and flavorful chanterelle, and many chefs consider it on the same short list of gourmet fungi as truffles and morels. It therefore tends to command a high price in both restaurants and specialty stores.[12]

There are many ways to cook chanterelles. Most of the flavorful compounds in chanterelles are fat-soluble, making them good mushrooms to sauté in butter, oil or cream. They also contain smaller amounts of water- and alcohol-soluble flavorings, which lend the mushrooms well to recipes involving wine or other cooking alcohols. Many popular methods of cooking chanterelles include them in sautés, soufflés, cream sauces, and soups. They are not typically eaten raw, as their rich and complex flavor is best released when cooked.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chanterelle

So hopefully my next post will be my lasagna recipe and include a lovely picture. 🙂

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Bacon Wrapped, Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I got the following recipe off Facebook. It makes one serving. So I’m posting the original and then what I really did with it. 🙂

Bacon Wrapped, Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

1 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon green onion, Chopped
2 pieces bacon, Partially Cooked

Directions:

Pound out Chicken breast so it is about 1/4″ thick.

Mix together cream cheese and green onions and spread cheese mixture over 1 side of chicken breast.

Roll CHicken breast up to conseal cream cheese.

Wrap partially cooked bacon around chicken breast and secure with toothpick.

Place on baking sheet and back for about 30 minutes at 375.

Broil for about 5 minute to crisp bacon.

 

Recipe

4 large, boneless, skinless chicken breasts

8 TB of chive and green onion cream cheese

12 pieces of bacon, partially cooked

a sprinkle of toasted, dried garlic

Preheat oven to 375F.

Here’s where I really started to deviate from the recipe. Rather than mixing cream cheese and green onions, I just bought it that way.

Next was butterflying open the chicken breasts. Pounding a whole chicken breast to 1/4 inch thick is possible but takes an annoyingly long time. So I butterflied the chicken then finished pounding it to the correct thickness.

bacon-cream cheese chicken

Spread 2 TB of cream cheese over half of the chicken. Roll the chicken up with the filling in the middle. Then wrap chicken around with 3 pieces of bacon. I skipped using any toothpicks and it worked out just fine.

bacon-cream cheese chicken3

Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes. Check the internal temp to make sure it’s cooked through. I didn’t even have to put mine under the broiler, the bacon was plenty crisp when the chicken was done.

bacon-cream cheese chicken2

Jene said it was really good and it’s something he’d be happy to eat again. 🙂

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