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 πŸ˜€ 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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Midnight WTF Rub

Edited: It’s a good thing I decided to tweak this recipe. It turns out I had left out one of the major ingredients, the sugar!! I originally was going to have 1/2 cup of sugar to 1/3 cup of salt. After playing with it some more, it appears the best ration is 2:1 so it’s 1 cup of sugar to 1/2 cup of salt.

I actually made up the recipe for this rub back in January. We were getting ready to prep some ribs for smoking the next day and I wanted a different rub for them. The name comes from the fact that it was about midnight when I decided to invent a new recipe. Our friend Dave was visiting and when I asked for his input, he said he’d like some sweeter spices such as cinnamon and cloves. The WTF part comes from me shrugging and saying “WTF. Why not?” And funnily enough, this is my new favorite rub. πŸ˜€

Recipe

1 cup turbinado sugar, or brown sugar
1/2 cup coarse salt
1/4 cup oriental mustard
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon cloves, freshly ground
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

 

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Store in airtight container.

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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 πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ™‚

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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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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 πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜€

 

 

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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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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Triple Cheese Chicken Parmesan – Gluten Free

Jene and I have been eating mostly ground beef dishes this week so I decided to cook chicken for a change. Plus, we’re trying to get all the solid food out of the house. We just spent $430 on a new juicer (Omega VRT400HD) and are going on a juice fast when it gets here next week. So… anyway, back to talking about chicken.

I asked Jene if he was willing to have chicken and dumplings. He said No. Ok… So then I thought of chicken parmesan. I preserved lots of seasoned tomato sauce last year and this was a perfect excuse to use some up. I grabbed a quart and started it reducing in a saucepan. I wanted a nice THICK sauce for this, thus the reduction. I mixed together some home-made ricotta that I had left from making mozzarella earlier this week, some shredded parmesan cheese and shredded mozzarella. That’s where the title of the recipe comes from πŸ˜‰

I wanted to add a note here after a comment made by a friend of mine. I know that chicken parm should be made with thin cutlets of white meat. I deliberately did it with the thighs. Honestly, I’ll eat white meat but I don’t much like it lol. Make it with whichever cut of meat makes you happiest!

Finally, I breaded and fried my chicken (boneless, skinless thighs) and finished it off in the oven because they were really BIG thighs and I couldn’t fry them to doneness without burning the breading. As usual, I didn’t actually measure anything so it’s a rough guess πŸ™‚

Recipe

3.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

4 ounces Penzeys Brady Street seasoning (or other Italian seasoning, Brady Street is made with parmesan cheese, it’s worth getting some)-this is also gluten free

quinoa flour (I used some for a plain dredge and some mixed with the Brady Street for the second dredge, maybe 2-3 cups total) – as an additional note, you can use regular all purpose flour, I just like the flavor of the quinoa

2 eggs

1/2 – 3/4 pint of heavy cream

1 quart thick, italian seasoned tomato sauce

3/4- 1 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

If your chicken thighs are large (there were only 8 in my 3.5lb package), preheat the oven to 350F. Get out a broiler pan and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. You can skip this step if the thighs are small.

Put the tomato sauce in a saucepan to heat up. If you want it thicker, start it early and let it reduce a bit.

Whisk together the eggs and cream in a shallow dish. Place some quinoa flour by itself on a paper plate. Place more quinoa flour one another paper plate and mix in the Brady Street Seasoning.

In a large skillet, melt 1 TB of butter with 1-2 TB of olive oil.

This part is messy… Take a thigh, dip it in the egg/cream mixture, dip it in the PLAIN flour, making sure it’s got a light coating of flour. Dip it in the egg/cream mixture again. Now dip it in the SEASONED flour mix. Shake off the extra and put it in the skillet to fry. Fix as many pieces in at a time as you can without crowding. In my case, in a 12 inch skillet, I was able to cook 3 thighs at a time. Because they were so thick I knew I would have to finish them in the oven to make sure they were cooked through. I used a broiler pan to make sure no liquid accumulated underneath making the bottom of the breading soggy.

friedchickenparmesan

As you can see, the breading came out beautifully. The dipping in liquid, flour, liquid, flour, helps to make a better bond so the breading doesn’t come off so easily. Using heavy cream and eggs for the liquid created an almost custard like mixture that turned into a gorgeous brown crust. I finished these off in the oven at 350F for 15-20. Basically until my thermometer gave me an internal temp of 180.

While stuff was cooking (since it was done in batches) I mixed together the cheeses. I gave those oh so precise measurements because i really had no idea how much I used. I know that I had roughly 1 cup of ricotta but it might have been more or less. It was in a bowl in the fridge and I just used the same bowl to mix it all together. Here’s what it looked like when I was done.

cheesemixtriplecheesechickenparmesan

As you can see, the ricotta adds some creaminess to it but not too much.

So, the final assembly. When the chicken is all done, spoon some tomato sauce on top of the chicken thigh. Put some of the cheese mixture on top of that. The cheese it not going to melt on it’s own so put the plate under the broiler in the oven for a couple of minutes. Just until the cheese is melty and starting to bubble a tiny bit. You can see where the cheese has started to turn golden around the edges.

finishedtriplecheesechickenparmesan

I apologize for the bad lighting in the photo. I forgot to turn the flash on and I was hungry! The verdict from Jene was that it was good and I could make it again. Myself, I was really happy with it. This is definitely going on the make again list. Maybe next time both the ricotta AND the mozzarella will be home made. πŸ˜€

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Oven Baked Pot Roast

Jene and have I have been eating a lot of chicken and pork lately. I had a craving for some beef. So in addition to the 5 lbs of hamburger, I also got a couple of nice London Broil steaks. I got a rough idea from another source but then turned it into something completely different. Now, you’ll notice that the title of the post says “pot roast.” That’s because we decided that london broil is really much too lean for this sort of long cooking period. The flavor was there but the meat was really dry. So this would be perfect with a tough fatty cut like chuck roast.

Recipe

3-4 lbs of Chuck Roast

1 28oz can of San Marzano (or stewed) tomatoes – I used San Marzano because I could

6 cloves garlic minced

1 large onion chopped

several fresh sprigs lemon thyme (you can use normal thyme)

4-5 large fresh basil leaves torn into pieces

4 large celery stalks chopped

4 large carrots chopped

1 – 1.5 lbs crimini mushrooms quartered

Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the london broil in the bottom of the pan, season with a bit of salt and pepper. I laid the springs of thyme directly on the meat. Pour the tomatoes over the steak. The San Marzano tomatoes were whole in the can so I broke them up with my hands a bit. I sprinkled in the torn basil, minced garlic, chopped onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms. Total cooking time is about 2.5-3Β  hours (possibly longer, you want the meat fork tender).

Post eating note: Don’t bother with the basil until the very end. The flavor is too delicate for this long of a bake. Sprinkle it over the dish about 15 minutes before you pull it out of the oven.

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Pork Chili

It’s cold. Some parts of the country actually have snow this time of year (poor buggers). Here in the Bay area it’s mostly just kind of chilly. It’s still good weather for making a nice thick hearty chili.

Recipe

This makes about 6 quarts so use a big enough pot.

5-6 lbs boneless pork butt/shoulder cubed into 2″ pieces

1 head celery, chopped (yes, it’s a lot)

3 cans diced tomatoes

2 onions chopped

chili seasoning of choice

salt

I like to use my crock pot for this. I’ve got a nice big one, about 6 quarts I think. I spray the inside with non-stick cooking spray and just toss everything in. For the BEST flavor, brown the cubes of pork over medium high heat in a skillet on a the stove before putting them in the crock pot. I didn’t do that today because I wasn’t feeling good. Thus the chili was a little bland. Once you have all the pork in the crock pot (browned or not) add the canned tomatoes, salt and chili seasoning. I used about 4 TB of Penzeys Chili 9000 which is probably my favorite. I also kicked it up with a bit of extra cumin. I let the pork, tomatoes and seasoning cook on high for about three hours and then added the celery and onions. It cooked in the crock pot for another hour until we had to leave for the party. My crock pot was too full so I moved everything to a large stock pot. Then it simmered on the stove at Darren’s house for another hour or two. So probably, a cooking time of about six hours. I could have started it last night and kept it on low.

Garnish with sour cream, green onions and shredded cheese. Pretty tasty. πŸ™‚

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Braised Turkey

I made this at Thanksgiving and didn’t post the recipe! *GASP* Fortunately I had some thighs and legs in the freezer so I decided to make this today. The ingredient list looks a little intimidating but it’s actually really easy to make. This recipe comes from the 2011 Thanksgiving issue of Cooks Illustrated. It is one of my favorite ways to make turkey (besides smoking) and the braising liquid makes fabulous gravy.

Recipe

Published November 1, 2011. From Cook’s Illustrated.

Serves 10 to 12

Instead of drumsticks and thighs, you may use 2 whole leg quarters, 1Β½ to 2 pounds each. The recipe will also work with turkey breast alone; in step 1, reduce the salt and sugar to Β½ cup each and the water to 4 quarts. If you are braising kosher or self-basting turkey parts, skip the brining step and instead season the turkey parts with 1Β½ teaspoons of salt.

Ingredients

  • Turkey
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 (5- to 7-pound) whole bone-in turkey breast, trimmed
  • 4 pounds turkey drumsticks and thighs, trimmed
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine

Gravy

1. FOR THE TURKEY: Dissolve 1 cup salt and sugar in 2 gallons cold water in large container. Submerge turkey pieces in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours.
2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Toss onions, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, porcini, and 2 tablespoons butter in large roasting pan; arrange in even layer. Brush turkey pieces with remaining 2 tablespoons butter and season with pepper. Place turkey pieces, skin side up, over vegetables, leaving at least ΒΌ inch between pieces. Roast until skin is lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove pan from oven and reduce temperature to 325 degrees. Pour broth and wine around turkey pieces (it should come about three-quarters of way up legs and thighs). Place 12 by 16-inch piece of parchment paper over turkey pieces. Cover roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil. Return covered roasting pan to oven and cook until breasts register 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 1ΒΎ to 2ΒΌ hours. Transfer turkey to carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.
4. FOR THE GRAVY: Strain vegetables and liquid from roasting pan through fine-mesh strainer set in large bowl. Press solids with back of spatula to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard vegetables. Transfer liquid to fat separator; allow to settle, 5 minutes. Reserve 3 tablespoons fat and measure out 3 cups braising liquid (reserve any remaining broth for another use).
5. Heat reserved fat in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until flour is dark golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Whisk in 3 cups braising liquid and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until gravy is thick and reduced to 2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove gravy from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Carve turkey and serve, passing gravy separately.

Now, before you worry about how huge the ingredient list is, most of them are ingredients most people already have in the kitchen. The dried porcini mushrooms are something I consider to be optional. They lend a tremendous amount of flavor but if you don’t have them or can’t find them at your store, don’t worry about it. As far as the fresh herbs are concerned, the thyme really is necessary. Fortunately, it’s easy to find at the store. If you don’t want to use wine, just use extra chicken stock or water. So that’s it, follow the recipe and enjoy! πŸ˜€

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