Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chicken Potato Chowder

Autumn is here and it is the season for soup! This chowder is made from a base that I use for several other soups. Sometimes I also start with Swanson's chicken broth. I like to use Wondra flour as a thickening agent because it makes such a smooth paste.
This soups smells wonderful while it is cooking and it tastes even better.

Chicken Potato Chowder

Broth Base:
6-8 cups water
4-6 chicken breasts
1 tsp salt
1 tsp basil
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp pepper

strained broth base
1/4 cup Wondra flour or cornstarch
1/4 cup water
cooked and shredded chicken
8-10 small cooked new potatoes, chopped with skins on
1 - 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 - 1/2 tsp salt (you may want to increase this to your taste -it needs a lot of salt)
1- 1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 -3/4 cup half and half

1. In a medium saucepan, stew chicken in water with spices until tender. This will take about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook potatoes in a larger saucepan until done.
3. Remove the chicken once it is cooked onto a platter to cool slightly. Strain the broth into the pot of potatoes. Bring to a boil.
4. Add additional spices and corn. Combine Wondra flour and water with a wire whisk to form a paste. Add to the boiling broth. Add more if necessary to achieve the desired thickness.
5. Add half and half.

Stew chicken with spices for about 30 minutes:

Remove to cool:

Strain chicken broth into the pot of potatoes once they are tender:

This is why I like to strain the broth:

In a separate bowl, combine the flour and water with a wire whisk. Then stir it into the boiling soup and allow to thicken.

Add half and half for flavor and creaminess:

Mmmm... a nice comforting bowl of soup on a lovely autumn evening. It's hard to improve on that scenario.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Spicy Shredded Pork

This is a really great recipe that I found on the Pioneer Woman's blog. The meat is very tender and tasty. I did not have the recipe with me when I bought the ingredients, and I bought a Boston Butt instead of a pork shoulder, but it was still wonderful. The recipe suggests rolling the shredded pork in tortillas, which is what I did, but you could serve it as is.

Spicy Shredded Pork

4 - 7 lb pork shoulder
1 onion
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 -2 tbsp salt
1 -2 tbsp olive oil
2 -3 tbsp white wine vinegar ( I used apple cider vinegar)
flour tortillas
optional accompaniments: sour cream, grated cheese, salsa, guacamole

Rinse the pork shoulder and pat dry. Place pork in a roasting pan. Combine all marinade ingredients in a processor and blend until smooth. Pour over pork shoulder and rub it in thoroughly. Add about a cup of water. Cover tightly with foil and roast pork at 300 for several hours. I think mine took 3 - 4 hours.

Shred with two forks. Pour the juices over the meat. Serve with warm tortillas, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, or whatever you like.

Combine marinade ingredients:

Pour over meat:

Rub the marinade into the pork until it is well coated:

Add 1 cup water:

Cover with foil and bake at 300 for several hours:

It will be very tender...

...and moist... and tasty:

Place on flour tortillas with desired accompaniments:

Fold in the ends, then roll them up.

I served it with fresh corn on the cob:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Clear the Cupboard Cookies

This is a Southern Living recipe. It is a deliciously soft and crunchy cookie. It called for optional pecans, but I used almonds instead. It contains an interesting array of ingredients, so many that you really do feel like you have cleared your cupboard. But what yummy results!

Clear the Cupboard Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup coconut
1 cup Rice Krispies
1 cup uncooked regular regular oats
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecans or almonds, toasted

1. Beat shortening at medium speed until fluffy. Add sugars and eggs, beating until blended.
2. Combine flour and next four ingredients. Gradually add to sugar mixture, beating until blended. Stir in coconut, cereal, oatmeal, vanilla, and nuts. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased or parchment covered cookie sheets.
3. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield: about 4 dozen

Beat shortening until fluffy:

Combine remaining ingredients:

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased or parchment covered cookie sheet:

Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on wire racks.

So go and clear your cupboards and bake some exceptional cookies!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Braised and Barbequed Chicken

I saw this recipe on fellow blogger Barbara's blog and thought it looked delicious. Barbara uses chicken thighs, but suggested bone-in chicken breasts for those who prefer white meat. There were no bone-in chicken breasts at the grocery store, so I opted for boneless skinless and it was still moist and delicious. I highly recommend this recipe. It has a nice tangy Asian flavor.

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Braised and Barbequed Chicken

2 tbsp oil
8 - 12 chicken thighs (or 4 breasts)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp minced ginger (I used fresh)
3 tbsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4-8 servings cooked rice
1/4 cup chopped green onions (optional)

Heat oil in a large skillet.
Braise chicken for 6 minutes, turning once.
Combine fruit juice in a large bowl.
Stir together cornstarch and 1 tbsp juice; reserve.
Stir soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, vinegar, ketchup, garlic, and red pepper into juice.
Pour over chicken.
Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 35 minutes, turning after 20 minutes.
Uncover chicken and stir in cornstarch mox.
Cook 5 minutes, stirring until sauce thickens. Spoon rice onto plate. Top with chicken and sauce. Sprinkle with onions, if desired.

Braise chicken for 6 minutes...

...turning once:

Combine fruit juice in a large bowl. Stir soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, vinegar, ketchup, garlic, and red pepper into juice:

Pour over chicken. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 35 minutes, turning after 20 minutes:

Uncover chicken and stir in cornstarch mix:

Serve over rice:

I hope all of you who try this recipe enjoy it as much as we did. Thank you Barbara!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Shrimp Guacamole Wraps

This recipe combines some unusual ingredients and is delicious. You could use a ready-made guacamole to save time if you wanted to.

Shrimp Guacamole Wraps

1 lb raw, peeled shrimp
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp Cavendar's seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup cooked corn
1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
chopped lettuce
flour tortillas

Whisk together avocado, cilantro, salt, and pepper until smooth.
(You could also add jalapeno, onion, tomatoes, and/or lime juice).

Melt butter in a skillet, add garlic, and saute shrimp until done, about 5 minutes. Add seasonings while cooking.

Have your filling ingredients ready:

Warm the tortillas in an ungreased skillet on medium heat for about 15 seconds on each side:

Slather on the guacamole:

Then the lettuce and shrimp:

Then the black beans and corn. I also added a little extra guacamole:

Roll up the tortilla. I didn't fold in each end because I decided to wrap it in parchment paper.
This makes it easier to eat, and is also great if you are taking them somewhere:

Roll as shown:

Then slice in half through the parchment.

Very easy and very nutritious.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Time to Celebrate

I have done several posts about an upcoming baby shower that we were going to have at work. It was for Allison, one of our nurses. Allison is a wonderful person, so we wanted the shower to be really special. This was the main table. Another one of our nurses, Theresa, an expert shopper, found this really cute hat box that we placed in the center of the table. She filled it with several gifts. I used a white matelasse bedspread for the tablecloth. I really like layering on tables, so I bought a blanket that Allison was registered for on top. The instructions for the washcloth lollipops, rice krispie rattles, and basket baby carriage, are already posted under shower ideas in my category tags.

Pictured here is Jennifer (J-Lo), and Allison, the guest of honor:

Everyone came and went as they could, and as their pagers would permit. Here are some of her guests:

Everyone brought food and it was yummy:

She got lots of nice gifts:

Congratulations Allison! We are looking forward to meeting little Davis!