Monday, April 12, 2010

Chicken Andouille Gumbo

When I decided to do a recipe a week, I really thought it would be easy. But I started a new full-time job in February, and my weekly chicken recipe plans got derailed. Heck, my weekly *cook a meal* plans got derailed. But our pizza consumption has thrived.

That said, I'm going to do my best to (a) do more home-cooked meals, (b) do more roasted chicken meals and (c) post recipes when I do.

This gumbo recipe is a family classic. Every one loves it. Seriously. It is good stuff. I normally make this for Christmas Eve, using the leftover (frozen) Thanksgiving turkey. But this week, I adapted the recipe to (a) prepare a serving for less than 50 people and (b) use a chicken. On the plus side: I cooked, it was awesome. On the minus side, I took no photos. But on the semi-plus side, I've made this recipe en masse many times and photos were taken, so I'll have a few to throw in.

So here we go. Gumbo. This gumbo starts where all good gumbos start. With a roux.
To make your roux, melt one stick of butter and incrementally stir in one cup of flour, stirring over a medium-low heat four eleventy billion hours. When your arm throbs, you're halfway done. Seriously. That is how a roux is made. Equal measure butter and flour, stirred until it's caramel colored.

Gumbo ingredients:
Roux (1 stick butter, 1 cup flour)
2 onions, diced
1 lb frozen okra
1 glove of garlic, diced
1 bunch of celery, chopped
1 roasted chicken, deboned
1 pound of andouille sausage, sliced
1 lb can of tomato sauce
1 can of Rotel tomatoes
3 lb can of chicken broth
1 teaspoon each: paprika, thyme, oregano and cayenne (go light on the cayenne, you can add hot sauce later)
at the table: gumbo file, to taste

Once your roux is carmel colored and the consistency of putty, add your onions, garlic and celery. Cook until soft. If you're doing this in a pan, transfer to your stock pot. If you want to save on washing a pan, make the roux in a stock pot.

When your veggies are soft, add the frozen okra and cook until not frozen any longer. Add your chicken and sausage, tomatoes (both) and broth. Add seasoning.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least two hours. I make mine in the morning and simmer all day.

Did I mention that I usually make enough for a party of 50 people? Yeah, this recipe is not for 50 people. It's for one pot. A large pot. You'll have enough for dinner, and then some for the freezer. Probably not this much for the freezer though.

A tip for freezing gumbos and soups. Pour the cooled soup into a gallon sized ziplock bag. Suck the air out with a straw and seal. Then put it into a second ziplock bag to prevent freezer burn. Lay the bags flat on a cookie sheet and slide into the freezer. When the soup is frozen, you can remove the cookie sheet.

But back to the gumbo. Serve over rice. Add gumbo file and hot sauce to taste at the table.

Cook up a pot and let me know how it goes!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chicken Fajita Soup.... the hurry up, it's time for dinner edition!

Well, I'm back. The month of February has been a complete wash for this family and that's all we're going to say about that.

This is a chicken fajita soup recipe that is short on fresh ingredients, but tastes great anyway. Its one of those recipes that is predominantly thrown together with things you might have in your pantry already, and once you get everything in the pot, it's ready to eat in 20 minutes.

I didn't get pictures of the cooking process because I was in a cooking stupor, trying to throw dinner together after working all day and hearing about the death of Corey Haim. One of the Coreys! Tragic. I recently made a joke referring to someone as looking like "one of the Coreys from the eighties," and none of the (10 year younger than me) people in the room got it.

But on to the soup...

Ingredients (not everything, obviously, was photographed)...

1 roasted chicken, deboned
1 white onion, diced
1 bunch of green onions, diced
1 packet of fajita seasoning

Lots of cans of stuff...
1 giant can of chicken broth and regular-sized cans of Rotel tomatoes (1), sliced black olives (1), cheddar cheese soup (2), cream of chicken soup (2)

Optional garnish items: shredded colby jack, sour cream, avocado, crushed tortilla chips.

Brown the onion and green onion in your stock pot. I sprayed the pot with a tiny bit of olive oil, which would be optional. When browned, add the shredded chicken and the packet of fajita seasoning. Mix and brown for a couple of minutes.

Add in all of the canned ingredients and stir (or whisk) until the creamy soups are blended in. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.

That's it. The soup is done. Seriously.

In the bowl, garnish with a sprinkling of shredded colby jack, a dollop of sour cream, a few chunks of avocado and crushed corn chips.

Fast. Easy. Tasty. Did I mention fast?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chicken Cabbage Salad with Peanut Sauce... sans gallbladder!

Guess what makes you not feel like cooking? Or eating? Getting your gallbladder yanked out! With complications! So while I recuperate, my girl Diet Buddy Daily is going to hook us all up with this delicious recipe for...

Chicken Cabbage Salad with Peanut Sauce

As you may know, Shana is recovering from not one, but two gallbladder surgeries and I thought she might need a hand keeping up her recipe blog. So, here is one of my favorite rotisserie chicken recipes.


1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

2 teaspoons sesame oil

¼ cup bottled Thai peanut sauce

½ head napa cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

4 scallions

1 whole rotisserie chicken (completely cooled)

2 teaspoons black sesame seeds

Pepper to taste

(Optional: If you like dressing sweeter, add Splenda to taste – I do!)

Step One:

Mix the first 4 ingredients and set aside. (Optional – I like my dressing sweeter, so I’ve added 2 packets of Splenda ).

Step Two: Chop your cabbage and carrots (or buy the shredded kind) and place them in a bowl.

Step Three: Shred your rotisserie chicken and place on top of the cabbage and carrots.

Step Four: Toss the salad with the dressing, divide onto 6 plates.

Step Five: Thinly slice your scallions and divide evenly on plated chicken and cabbage mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, add pepper to taste, and serve.


DietBuddyDaily – I could eat this ALL DAY! Light and yummy.

DBD’s Hubby – “Needs more lettuce” Duh, it has no lettuce…

DBD’s Son – Didn’t even offer it to him. Veggies would kill him, I’m sure.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Classic Chicken Casserole

Life got in my way (stupid life!) and has pushed me back to a week and a half since my last recipe post. On the plus side, if I didn't feel motivated to get this recipe posted, I probably would have fed my family take out every night this week. So thanks, Internet, for your undue pressure.

This week I bring you a classic chicken casserole. I've been making this since the nineties. Good stuff, people. Good stuff.

About two tablespoons of olive oil, about 1/4 cup of wine (red or white, doesn't matter), 1 cup diced onion, 1 lb sliced mushrooms, 1 cup of celery diced, 1 box of Long Grain & Wild Rice (like Rice-a-Roni type stuff), deboned store-bought roasted chicken, 2 cups steamed broccoli, *one cup of diced apple*, 1 can Cream of Chicken and 1 can Cream of Celery soups, 8 oz tub of sour cream, a bag of shredded sharp cheddar, salt and pepper to taste.

NOTE *someone ate my eff'ing apple, so I left it out.* Back in the day, I would use water chestnuts in this recipe. But I know that Carlie would not touch it with a 10-foot-fork if I used water chestnuts, so I was going to give the apple a try. If you make this, throw in the diced apple and let me know if it is fabulous.

This recipe requires some serious multitasking. If you do the steps in order, you'll be looking at 25 minutes of prep time plus 30 minutes of baking time.

Step One: Cook your Long Grain and Wild Rice according to the directions. This should take about 25 minutes to cook, which gives you enough time to have everything else ready to go.

While the rice is cooking...

Step Two: Steam your broccoli and sautee your mushrooms in olive oil and a splash of wine. I used merlot because it's what I was drinking. Mmmmmmm, Merlot.

When the mushrooms are cooked, add in your onion and celery. Cook until tender. Don't forget that the broccoli is steaming. Turn it off when the broccoli is tender, NOT MUSHY. Remember, the broccoli is going to continue cooking in the oven, so don't over cook it.

Preheat oven to 350.

Step Three: Combine in a bowl your deboned chicken, two cans of soup, tub of sour cream, half of your bag of shredded cheddar and *diced apple* if you happen to still have an apple that someone didn't find hidden in the crisper and eat.

Stir. Then stir some more. Then give it another stir.

Then add your sauteed mushrooms/onions/celery and your steamed broccoli. Add black pepper to taste (I do not add salt because when you are using canned soup, you're getting enough sodium IMHO. Decide on the plate if you need more salt.) Commence again with the stirring. Stir stir stir. It should be mixing better now that you've added the hot ingredients to the straight-from-the-can soup.

Finally, add your cooked Wild Rice. With all the stirring, your broccoli should have kind of fallen apart by now. In a good way.

Dump it into a casserole dish. Top with the other half bag of cheddar.

Heat uncovered for about 30 minutes. That's it!

When you remove it from the oven, let it stand for a few minutes. Then dig in.

How easy was that?

Shana - I loved it. It's simple and, plus, LOST IS ON TONIGHT, so I love everything.
Tim - Excellent. (But it should be noted, he poured hot sauce on his after half a bowl.)
Carlie - I don't eat broccoli. But that smells good. (She ate a salami sandwich. L O S E R)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Don't You Forget About... Chicken Corn Chowder

This? Was delicious. If I do say so myself. Which I just did. And easy, too. So win-win. My only regret is that I didn't make a double batch, because I think it would freeze really well.


One deboned roasted chicken, half-pound of bacon, one cup each onion and celery, three cups of chicken broth, two cans of creamed corn, one bag of frozen corn, two cups of diced potato and one cup of evaporated milk. Ingredients that I added after taking the obligatory ingredient photo: two HEAPING TEASPOONS of Zatarain's, two HEAPING TEASPOONS of cooking sherry, black pepper and parsley flakes to taste.

The definition of a HEAPING TEASPOON is: I couldn't find my tablespoon, so I used a teaspoon, but overflowed it. This is a very scientific operation I have going here. I know. You're welcome.

I deboned my roasted chicken while it was warm, and then kept it in the fridge until I was ready to make the chowder the next day. I used the entire chicken EXCEPT FOR the wings (which I had for lunch the day I was deboning it) and one breast (as seen set aside in the photo below) which I saved for chicken sandwiches tomorrow.

After deboning the chicken, I did cut the larger pieces into chunks.

In your stock pot (or dutch oven or soup pot), start to simmer three cups of chicken broth with your chunked chicken, two cans of creamed corn, one bag of frozen corn and two cups of potatoes. Meanwhile, cook your bacon until crispy. Remove and pat dry to degrease it.

Take your one cup each of onion and celery and cook it in the bacon grease.

... Because everything is better when cooked in bacon grease. It's a fact.

Cook for exactly the length of time it takes to find "Alive and Kicking" by Simple Minds on your iPod, play it, and get your groove on. On the last "ba ba da da da, ba ba da da da, ba ba da oh, ba ba da oh" part, the onion and celery will be done. Kitchen timer, who?

When the onion and celery is tender (see timing method above), remove from the bacon grease with a slotted spoon. Don't dump your veggies with grease into the chowder pot. A little bacon grease goes a long way. Take your cooked bacon and crumble it into the pot as well.

Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender about 15-20 minutes, or the length of time it takes to go to Google and find out whatever happened to Jim Kerr, from Simple Minds (goodbye Crissie Hynde, hello Patsy Kensit!), and to friend him on Facebook (oh yes, I did). When your potatoes are tender, crank your heat back up from a simmer to about medium, and stir in one cup of evaporated milk, two overflowing teaspoons of cooking sherry and two heaping teaspoons of Zatarain's. Stir it all in, and then reduce back to a simmer.

Add black pepper and parsley flakes to taste. I used 20 twists of the pepper mill, which covered the top of the pot, and then about an equal amount of parsley. Stir it in.

And voila, you're done. I served my chowder with butter croissants. Tim and I had this for lunch and we're having it again for dinner. I also sent two servings home with a friend to get opinions from her and her hubby. I'll let you know what they say. Assuming they love it. Otherwise, I'll pretend like they never got back to me.

Tim - Delicious. I'm giving it a 9.5.
Carlie - This is the most boring house ever and I hate everyone. Okay, the I hate everyone part she only said with her eyes. But the *most boring house ever* part was verbal. And she did not eat lunch. Because it was, like, too boring, I guess.
Shana - This was really delicious. This recipe will be a *keeper* and next time I will try a double batch for freezing.

Hey, make some chowder and send me a picture!

UPDATE: I offered Carlie a bowl of chowder (again) for a late lunch.
Shana: Hello, preteen years, we've missed you.

UPDATE 2: Simple Minds? Most under-appreciated band of my youth.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas with Sassy Sauce

Who doesn't love *homemade* enchiladas? Wherein *homemade* = I even made the damn sauce, oh yes, I did. Heh.

I'll be honest. The sauce was easy to make. And it was tasty. BUT - the meal overall would probably have been equally as good and definitely as well-received by my family if I had used a can of enchilada sauce. I'm sorry, we just do not have very refined pallets over here.

That said, this is basically a combination of two recipes, one for the sauce and one for the filling. This filling is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT in every way and, honestly, you're going to want to use it for enchiladas, nachos, burritos, tacos... I am even thinking I could stuff this into manicotti. This filling? Divine. If I do say so myself.

So without further ado, I present to you: Chicken Enchies with Sassy Sauce

The ingredients:

For the Sauce: 1/4 cup veggie oil, 2 tablespoons of flour, 1/8-1/4 cup California chili powder, 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, one cup of chicken broth, 1 teaspoon each of cumin and garlic. Salt to taste.

For the enchies: Two cups of diced roasted chicken, one box of frozen spinach that has been thawed and drained, a 4 ounce can of diced green chilies, one small onion (chopped), one bunch of green onions (chopped), one can of Rotel tomatoes, two tablespoons of veggie or olive oil, one bag of shredded cheese (I used the Mex Blend) and corn tortillas. Did you hear me? I said CORN, people, not flour.

Flour tortillas are MUCH easier to work with, but they turn your enchiladas into gooey burritos. Use the corn. Trust me. USE THE CORN.

I used half of a medium onion. Keep in mind, I am cooking for an 11-year-old who does not eat anything onion-ish, onion-like or onion-related. You could use an entire medium onion, diced, if you are not cooking for Carlie.

To make the sauce, you are basically making a roux base. But with oil instead of butter. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Use a skillet NOT A POT. Stir in the flour and chili powder incrementally, stirring constantly, until you have a paste. Stir stir stir stir stir stir stir.

When it is thick and pasty, gradually stir in the tomato sauce and cup of chicken broth. Add in the cumin and garlic powder. Stir stir stir until smooth. If you end up with too thick of a sauce, add a little water. Add salt to taste.

Keep your sauce on low heat while you prepare your filling, stirring occasionally.

Now for the filling. In another skillet or pan, heat two tablespoons of oil and brown the chopped onion and green onion. Cook until soft and then add in the diced chilies (drained) and the Rotel tomatoes (partially drained, but allow in a little bit of the liquid). Continue to cook. Add in two cups of shredded chicken and two cups of spinach. MAKE SURE YOU DRAIN THE BEJESSUS OUT OF YOUR SPINACH. I was literally wringing mine with my hands. After the box of frozen spinach was thawed and drained, I did not measure it, but I had about one handful of spinach.

Add the chicken and spinach to the onion and tomato combination, and stir in about 1/4 cup of your Sassy Sauce. Continue to cook until the spinach is warmed throughly. Since the onions and green onions were already cooked until soft, you are basically just getting everything warmed through to the same temperature now, because everything is already cooked (and therein lies the magic of the store-bought roasted chicken).

Your filling should be kind of dry-ish, not very liquidy, and should look like this:
And now we put it all together...

Use about 1/4 cup of your Sassy Sauce to coat your casserole dish. It's just a nice coating to keep the tortillas from sticking to the dish. It doesn't have to be pretty.

Coat your corn tortillas in Sassy Sauce before rolling. I made my sauce in a skillet, so to coat the tortillas I just dipped each one into the skillet, dipping each side, and then laid it in the casserole dish. This step was kind of messy. Be not afraid of Sassy Sauce on your hands. It will wash off. Just do it. The dipping in the warmed sauce makes the corn tortillas more pliable and less likely to crack when you roll up the enchies. I did have a little bit of cracking along the edges of a few of mine, but not the ridiculous falling apart and breaking in half that I have had in the past, before I knew about the dip-in-warm-sauce trick. You're welcome.

Put a generous scoop of filling on the tortilla and then top with cheese. One of the mistakes I tend to make here is to put TOO MUCH filling and cheese, creating a big, fat, unrollable mess of deliciousness. So keep in mind that you will be rolling this into an enchilada when you put your filling on.
So at this point, I got distracted by a phone call, and while I continued to cook, I did not continue to photograph. Oops. But after topping the tortilla with filling and cheese, roll it up and place it seam-side down in the casserole dish. And repeat with your next tortilla. Until you have a pan full of deliciousness.

Top the rolled enchies with your remaining Sassy Sauce and remaining cheese. I did this. And then I stuck it in the oven. And after a few minutes I remembered that I wanted a picture, so I pulled it out of the oven and took this picture, which is why my cheese is already a little bit melty.


At this point, I got distracted by another phone call. I know. So there are no photos of the finished enchiladas being served on a plate with black beans and a salad. Also, I did not make any black beans or a salad. We were late for Carlie's dance class. So we ate enchiladas, just enchiladas, no side dishes. I know, I am the most awesome food blogger ever, right?

ISSUES WITH THIS RECIPE: I ended up with about double the amount of filling and half the amount of sauce, on a filling to sauce ratio. I used up all of the sauce, but had a bucket of filling leftover. So the next night, we had chicken nachos. And again? YUM.

Carlie - "These enchiladas have too much vegetables." That said, she went back for seconds and did not *pick* anything out, either time. The next night, when we had nachos, "This is much better on nachos, without all the vegetables." It was the same filling, with the same amount of "vegetables" in it. Also noteworthy, she did not comment on the spinach or the onion, which speaks volumes about how good this chicken filling was. Because if she caught a hint of spinach or onion, she would have been out of here.

Tim - "Excellent, 8.7 on a scale of 1-10. But not better than mine." For the record, Tim made enchiladas once, in 1997, with sauce from a can. I can't remember if they were good or not, because? 1997. Whatever, Tim.

Shana - I am in love with this filling, and will definitely use it again. And next time, I'll double the sauce recipe. If I had had more sauce, I could have made two pans of enchies and had one to put in the freezer.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Savory Chicken Biscuits

Welcome to my first repurposed chicken recipe! My plan is to create a recipe using a store-bought roasted or rotisserie chicken in its entirety, not just the leftovers. But because I ended up with two chickens in two days, I had a lot of leftovers. So this dish was prepared with leftovers consisting of three legs, three thighs and a large portion of one breast.

The other part of my plan is to prepare a tasty meal for my family, but tonight I needed to prepare a movie watching snack for a movie night with girlfriends. We *finally* watched The Hangover and, OMG, hilarious. Plus? Bradley Cooper? Come to momma.

But I digress...

I present to you: The Savory Chicken Biscuit. A finger food that would work as an entree for a light supper with a salad, or a heavy appetizer. This recipe produced eight biscuits. If you are preparing this as a family meal for four or more, I'd say double it.

The ingredients: leftover chicken, celery, cream cheese, lemon juice, sunflower kernels, thyme, basil, salt, sun dried tomatoes, one roll of crescent rolls.

Debone and dice your chicken. I combined white and dark meat. This is a one-cup measuring cup, filled past the one-cup line. So maybe a cup and a half of chicken? I'm trying to be good about measuring as I go along, but bear with me. I don't usually measure in the kitchen.

Four ounces of cream cheese = 1/2 the eight ounce container. In case you were wondering.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese with two teaspoons of lemon juice, two teaspoons of sunflower kernels, two teaspoons of finely chopped sun dried tomatoes, one teaspoon of thyme and one teaspoon of basil. Add salt -- which I didn't measure, but using my salt grinder it was about 10 twists. Blend with a spatula until smooth.

When it is smooth and thoroughly blended, add in your chicken and one cup of diced celery. The filling, with celery and chicken added, should be about the consistency of chicken salad.

Unroll your crescent dough into the eight precut triangles that it comes in.

This is what happens to the crescent roll dough if you leave it out on the counter while you dice chicken and celery (and possibly leave the kitchen for 10-15 minutes to rotate laundry and check in on Facebook). NOT A GOOD IDEA. It was too soft and smushy. Good thing I wasn't going for crescent shapes.

Place one scoop of filling on each triangle of dough. I used an ice cream scoop and it was the perfect size.

Fold up the three corners of the dough over the top of the filling, and then pinch the seams closed with your fingers to form a ball.

At this point, I realized I had spilled a little bit of thyme on my cutting board, and it was sticking to the dough, which made it look like I had dropped my chicken balls on the floor. So to give it that "I meant to do that" look, I sprinkled the completed balls with a little bit of Dean & Deluca Fine Herbs mix. If you don't have an herb mix, make your own; a little bit of thyme, basil, tarragon and chervil should do the trick.

The formed balls, sprinkled with herbs, ready to go into the oven. Bake @ 375 degrees for 12 minutes, or until browned and firm, not doughy.

And, voila, the finished product. They were actually quite lovely.

I served these to two girlfriends, with a bottle of Prosecco, an assortment of cheeses, warm brie with marmalade, grapes and baguette. It was thoroughly delightful. I'll definitely be making these again, though I may add a little more seasoning to the filling in the future, to make it more savory and less chicken salady.

Lisa - The combination of the chicken, the breadiness in the biscuit and the crunchy celery reminds me of chicken with stuffing.
Sue - These are really good.
Shana - A little nosh, a little wine, good friends and Bradley Cooper... who could ask for anything more?

BONUS RECIPE: warm brie with marmalade. Plug in your Little Dipper Crock Pot. If you don't have a Little Dipper Crock Pot? Go get one. Right now. You won't regret it. Put in a wheel of brie. Dump on top of the brie about a quarter of a jar of pepper jelly and about a quarter of a jar of your favorite marmalade. Heat until gooey, then spread on sliced baguettes. TRY THIS. Seriously. You'll thank me.

PS: If you try any of my recipes, please send me a picture or email and let me know how it turned out! ShanaOB at msn dot com.