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Tue, 12 Mar 2013

Baked Tomato Rice with Sausage

This rice always turns out awesome. Very filling as a side-dish (or meal in itself) and resilient to modification and experimentation.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large, oven-proof pot that has a cover…

Heat oil, cook onion and red pepper until onion is translucent (~5min).

Add garlic, thyme, cook for one minute more (do not burn garlic).

Add rice and cook for ~2 minutes until well coated and rice begins to turn translucent (do not burn rice).

Add chicken stock, tomatoes, bay leaf and boil ~5 minutes.

You will want the liquid to reduce somewhat, but the rice should still “float”, until it is almost a “soupy” texture.

Stir in basil, cheddar cheese, chives / scallions, sausage pieces.

Cover mixture, transfer pot to 350 oven for ~25 minutes.

Rice will finish cooking in oven, do not check it, but be sure to set a timer.

When rice is done, remove (carefully) from oven and fluff lightly.

Sprinkle with parmesan, return to oven uncovered just long enough to melt parmesan.

Remove from oven and serve directly from the pot.

23:18 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Wed, 16 Jan 2013

Chicken Stock / Tortilla / Chicken Noodle Soup

Another thing I keep bragging about is home-made chicken stock with leftover bones of rotisserie chicken.

Buy and “separate” a fully cooked rotisserie chicken for ~$5-8. Make a meal out of the “bulk” of the meat, pull all the meat you can off the bones and reserve what you don’t eat to put in a salad, make chicken enchiladas, etc. Now that you’ve eaten a good healthy meal using the chicken, if you’d like to use the rest of it continue onwards…

Pull off all the skin / bones / wings and throw it back in the plastic container the chicken came in and keep it in your freezer.

Look in the fridge for all your floppy, shriveled vegetables, ends-of-onions, tops of carrots, etc. Any type of (NON-MOLDY) vegetable junk you’d normally compost, throw those in the freezer too with the chicken bones (I use the same container).

Next weekend you’re going to be in the house all day, here’s how you make chicken stock / chicken tortilla / chicken noodle soup:

In a large pot, throw everything into it such that you cover with 1-2 inches of water.

Bring to boil.

Reduce to simmer for ~3-4 hours (until liquid reduces by 30-50%).

Here’s the tricky part… strain boiled chicken-juices into a separate container (very large bowl, other large pot), usually using regular colander / strainer.

Strain back into original pot usually through a finer filter (ie: fine mesh strainer).

You now have chicken stock. If you’re not using it right away, freeze into ice-cube trays for use later. To make soup, continue boldly onwards…

So now you’ve got a big ‘ol pot of chicken stock. It should smell pretty delicious. To make chicken soup you’ll need:

Into the stock, add tomato, sauces, bay leaves, etc. and bring to boil, reduce to simmer.

While bringing to boil, chop “good” vegetables. If fresh, add early so they can soften. If frozen add a bit later as usually they’re kindof pre-cooked. If canned add very late so they don’t turn mushy.

For vegetables, thicker / harder ones should go in first (ie: carrots), softer ones (ie: celery / corn) should go in last as they cook and soften quicker.

Overall you’re boiling / simmering vegetables for ~30 minutes in total (carrots longer / earlier, corn shorter / later).

Add a little bit of pepper and salt slowly while simmering to your preferred taste, maybe simmering 3-4 minutes between tastings and stirring.

To make chicken noodle soup, at the very end, ~5-10 minutes before the vegetables are softened (according to cooking time on noodle package), add the egg-noodles. (optional). The egg noodles will actually suck up a lot of the liquid overnight, so make sure the soup is extra ~watery~ if you’re going to use the noodles.

To make chicken tortilla soup, add in a cup of rice fairly early with the vegetables and simmer until it softens.

Or, just serve as is, and add tortilla chips, fresh onion, dollop of cream, shredded cheese, more chicken, whatever floats your boat.

The more you make this, the better you’ll get an understanding of what flavors you like and the process you go through. It can be very simple, and might never turn out the same way twice. I use it as an excuse to get rid of and use up almost any type of old vegetables (in the stock part) and finish off any good vegetables you might have (for the soup part). You’ll usually end up with junky vegetables left over, which make great fodder to throw in the freezer for the next time you make stock. It’s an infinite, extremely tasty cycle.

23:03 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Tue, 01 Jan 2013

“Red Wine” Beef Stew

I’ve been making a variation of this stew quite a few times and it has always turned out excellent. It makes a great base for Beef Pot Pie or just in bowls by itself. You’ll have to refer to the original link for the original instructions, I’ll reproduce here my variation on it since I’ve been bragging about it to friends and family.

Use large (~6 quart) stock pot.

Mix flour, salt, and pepper (to taste).

Flour beef and brown in butter / oil over medium heat.

Try to have only one layer of meat on the bottom of the pan at a time, it has taken me two batches where you have to flour and add oil each time.

You will see the flour begin to “toast” at the bottom of the pan so it begins to form a roux… but avoid burning it!

Remove beef and reserve.

Add more butter / oil, veggies (carrots first), and the remaining flour from the meat.

The veggie measurements are more “ratios” than exact measures, depending on how hearty you like your stew.

Stir to coat vegetables in flour and oil, cook until flour begins to disappear.

Slowly add a small amount of chicken broth, scraping the toasted flour from the bottom of the pan to integrate it with the broth.

Continue slowly adding broth, scraping clean the bottom of the pan.

Add wine (optional), tomatoes, rosemary.

If not adding wine, be sure to add more liquid… wine, broth, beer, tomatoes, whatever.

To flavor the broth to be “beef-appropriate”, add the “Salsa Maggie” / soy sauce, worchestershire / A-1, and molasses.

Bring to boil, skim any “foam”.

Add reserved beef, bring to boil.

Simmer ~45m, stirring occasionally.

Add cubed potatoes, cover, simmer 45m more, stirring, occasionally.

To make “Pot Pie”

Arrange croissant dough at the bottom / sides of the loaf pan.

Bake 350F ~5-10 minutes to firm dough.

Scoop in hot stew on top of partially baked dough.

Cover with more dough.

Return to oven at 350F until top is golden brown.

If using a casserole (or in any case) you can omit the bottom layer of bread / dough and just cover the top and bake until golden brown.

14:50 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Mon, 26 Nov 2012

Garlic Skillet Green Beans

A (formalized) recipe from my friend Crissy, I’ll definitely have to try it-

I made these super simple green beans for a Thanksgiving side, and they would be an easy side dish any weeknight. Wanted to share the recipe I found:

Use a large skillet that has a lid.

In large skillet toast garlic, cayenne, and butter.

Add green beans, season with salt and a pinch of sugar.

Cook 2 minutes “dry”.

Add 1/4 cup hot water and cook/steam covered ~6 minutes.

Unover and boil away water.

Season with salt and pepper.

Toss with chopped pecans.

11:16 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Tue, 31 Jul 2012

Pan-Roasted New Potatoes

Cut potatoes and fit in one layer of a large frying pan.

Pour broth over potatoes, bring to boil.

Cover and cook over medium heat ~20 minutes until broth is almost gone.

While there is still some liquid left, add butter + spices and continuously mix / stir / shake until potatoes are coated and liquid is reduced.

The potatoes should be soft but not mushy with a golden brown crust.

Sprinkle (reserved) fresh spices and serve.

I don’t think I used new potatoes (just cubed the ones I had in the fridge), and I think I had too much liquid in mine at first. No worries, just poured off some of the excess broth and kept some liquid in there.

The potatoes come out pretty flavorful in the sense that you can really taste the broth. It’s almost like the Rice-a-Roni pastas in that sense. Maybe because I had “too much” liquid and they absorbed a lot. Probably will take another time or two in order to perfect the “golden crust” but this first attempt seems to be a very worthy of perfecting this recipe.

Be careful of the dried herbs and sticky carbs sticking to the pan as the liquid dries out. I dropped the potatoes onto a plate and heated up water in the same pan immediately in order to not be stuck with an impossible to clean mess.

21:43 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Fri, 20 Jul 2012

Canned Chicken Pot Pie

I realize I haven’t been blogging lately… a combination of being busy at work, at home, and social-networking overload has caused me to “break-rank” and not post at least once a month.

Boil chicken for 20 minutes and cube. Layer cubed chicken, veggies, onion. Combine soup and spread over ingredients.

Mix flour, milk, and mayo (lumps are OK) and pour over top.

Bake 40-60 minutes until browned on top.

…believe it or not, this actually makes a decent-tasting, although likely very unhealthy pot pie.

22:58 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Mon, 15 Aug 2011

Howard’s Tea Cakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder together.

Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Dough should be soft.

Roll dough out onto a floured surface until approximately 1/4-inch thick.

Cut dough into desired shapes and bake on a slightly greased sheet for 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes 6 to 8 dozen.

16:41 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Sat, 30 Jul 2011

Cheddar Biscuits

Crude form of bookmarking because these look prety good.

Mix until sticky.

Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes.

After baking, brush with:

(make while biscuits are baking)

23:08 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Mon, 01 Nov 2010

One Pot - Turkey Soup with Mushrooms and Sage

Actually this recipe is a bit of a lie, it requires a pot and a frying pan if you don’t prep the mushrooms in the soup pot.

Chop onion, celery, and sage leaves. Sautee with butter in soup pot (standard medium mac and cheese pot will be a little tight but should work) until onions turn transparent.

Stir in the flour (approximately a third at a time) and continue cooking for ~2 minutes (should begin to turn brown and stick a bit to the bottom of the pan).

Add ~1 cup of the stock (a little at a time), scraping the flour from the bottom of the pan and combining with the floured vegetables. Add remainder of the stock and mix completely.

Stir in rice and season to your taste, bringing just to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for ~30 minutes until rice is just tender, stir occasionally.

Meanwhile melt cook mushrooms with butter in a separate skillet for ~8 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add mushrooms to the soup. Add turkey to the soup and stir in cream. Simmer ~10 minutes more until combined and heated through. Taste and season as necessary.

Serve in warm bowls and garnish with grated parmesan cheese.

I’ve made this soup twice in a row, never to the real recipe. Since sage is tough to find I substituted standard dry/rubbed sage and chopped up some parsley for the leafy parts. I also used chicken instead of turkey but with the holidays coming up, this would be a great way to use up turkey leftovers.

Since I don’t like mushrooms I at first tried substituting a finely sliced, quartered, and seasoned potato slices. The first time I actually used 4 cups stock instead of 5 cups and let the soup boil a bit too long, boiling off some of the liquid. Bad news. It really does better with more liquid and could probably even stand another cup of stock so don’t be shy with it.

That’s also the reason it says 1 to 3 tbsp butter. I’ve been using extra celery and onion and 2 tbsp of butter instead of half the butter with one stick of celery and half the butter with the onions.

Second time I ditched the potatoes (they were a bit ~off~ when mixed with the rice) and also omitted the cream. Making it less creamy chicken soup and more like a traditional chicken soup. But with the flour and the cooking time / style it plumps up nicely and stands really well on its own.

If you want to stick to the true “one-pot” style, definitely cook the mushrooms ahead of time and reserve in a measuring cup or something. If you don’t have a turkey, we grabbed a rotisserie chicken and were able to make a few meals out of it and I’m excited to save the bones to make my own stock next.

As it is, I think I will permanently drop the cream and mushrooms, making it a basic “Chicken and Rice” soup.

22:27 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Mon, 28 Jun 2010

Halibut or Haddock in Tomato Sauce

From the annals of history, specifically the Cookbook of the Lutheran Nursing Home of Brockton, Massachusets. A recipe by one Phyllis Peterson.

Blend flour and butter. Stir in tomato sauce. Add cheese when thickened.

Arrange slices of fish in a baking dish. Pour on sauce.

Bake at 350 until tender, about 350 degrees.

Serves 6.

I had to take some liberties… it’s not clear but I think you’re supposed to heat the tomato sauce (as if you’d boiled + pureed, etc) since it talks about thickening. I went ahead and literally blended the flour + butter (made into a paste) but perhaps you’re supposed to sauté or brown and then add the tomato sauce.

21:53 CST | category / entries / recipes
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