Month: February 2015

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Old Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie

This is the ultimate comfort food in my opinion.  Just oozing with delicious juices, melt in your mouth pastry, and a whole lot of goodness in the ingredients.  I usually make chicken pot pie after roasting an entire bird.  With all that leftover meat and broth, it’s a whole other meal in itself.  But this time, I had some chicken breasts in the freezer waiting to be used, so I cooked the chicken when making the gravy.  Winter is still wintering away, but there has to be a light at the end of that long, dreary tunnel.  In the meantime, let’s just enjoy more comforting foods like the above, and remember that spring is around the corner.  This recipe was given to me by a dear friend and ex-neighbor, Susan Dixon.  When I first tried it at her house, I just had to replicate it.  I’ve since adapted it and put my own mark on it :).  This is hubby’s favorite dish, so when he knows there’s chicken pot pie on the table, I gain extra brownie points :)

Ingredients (6 to 8 servings)

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 large shallots minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken  broth ( I usually make my own)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups baby carrots halved lengthwise
  • 3 cups chicken breast meat
  • 1 (10oz) package mushrooms quartered
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup pearl onions
  • 1 bay leaf

Method

  1. Melt butter in large deep skillet over medium low heat.  Add shallots, celery and carrots – cook for four minutes.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Stir in flour, sage, thyme, bay leaf, mushrooms, Herbes de Provence.
  4. Increase heat, add chicken, broth and milk.
  5. Bring to a boil, stirring to break up any lumps of flour.
  6. Add peas, pearl onions and frozen corn.
  7. Pour into a baking dish or casserole.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 deg.  Cover with pastry.  Brush with egg.
  9. For the pastry, I used 2 cups flour, a teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup oil and 1/4 cup 2% milk.   Form ball, and roll between 2 pieces of wax paper, turning it in a circular direction each time to form a circle.
  10. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes or until top is golden brown and filling is hot and bubbly.

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There you have it.  A rustic, flavorful, hearty chicken pot pie.  I’ll guarantee you’ll go back for more :).

I’m off to party at Fiesta Friday #57.  Thanks Angie for hosting these great soirees; just so much fun visiting and taking in all the talent out there.

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Easy Apple Crumble Cookies and giving thanks to fellow bloggers!

Making apple pie from scratch can be pretty time consuming, although it is my all time favorite American dessert.  When apples are in season in the Fall, I always enjoy making pies.  Peeling and coring the apples, making the pie crust, baking it for about an hour, gets this gal a tad impatient.  I get restless and eager, waiting to sample the  goodness and wholesomeness as soon as the oven bell dings.  Apple crumble or apple and pear crisp are also cold weather fruit desserts that I enjoy immensely.  Now, Sridevi@coconutcraze came up with a great substitute that she created with similar ingredients, only they are cookies and you wouldn’t feel so bad eating about 2 of them.  The best part?   It takes about half the time to put together.   It was downright yummy, it had all the makings of an apple pie, but in a bite-sized portion! Take a look around Sridevi’s blog site and enjoy some of her delicious recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 big apple chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • a generous grating of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt

Method

  1. In a pan lightly dry roast oats. (I find that this improves its taste.)
  2. Grease a large baking tray and set aside.
  3. Cook chopped apple, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg powder in a heavy bottom pan until apple turns soft.
  4. Remove the pan and add brown sugar and stir to dissolve it.
  5. Mix oats, all purpose flour and salt in a bowl and add warm apple mixture.
  6. Stir until everything holds together.
  7. Take one of the measuring cups (1/4 0r 1/3 ) and grease it.
  8. Put a small ball of the mixture and pat it inside the cup to form a disk . Then turn it upside down, tap and drop cookie dough on prepared baking tray.
  9. Bake at 350° F for 20-25 minutes until sides and bottom starts to brown.
  10. Remove cookies with a spatula and cool them on a wire rack.
  11. Store it in an air tight container or eat them warm.
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Assembling the cookies on a tray. Look at the pieces of apple, oats, brown sugar.

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You could actually smell the nutmeg!

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I liked the idea of forming these in a 1/3 cup measuring form. Once you whack it on the baking tray, it pops right out :)

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Fresh out of the oven scenting the kitchen with the aromas of cinnamon, apple and nutmeg.

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A stack of apple crumble cookies!

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Ahhh a cuppa and a couple of cookies!

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Will definitely be making these scrumptious cookies again.

This recipe yields 8 large cookies (1/3 cup size). It is crunchy, soft and crumbly all in one.  Thank you Sridevi for posting this recipe on your blog.  This week I’ve indulged in yet another blogger’s recipe that I’m happy to report.  However, the pictures weren’t that grand. Thanks to Julie@Hostess@Heart and Sridevi, I’ve been in baking heaven :).  Julie inspired me to set some goals when blogging, and I do believe I might have conquered the yeast beast.  I’m anxious to expand.   Here’s a picture of the English Muffin Bread that I baked and that Julie recommended.  Click on her link to reach her recipe.

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Kashmiri Lamb Kofta

I’m just a tad late arriving at Angie’s Fiesta Friday # 56 gathering, but I’d say better late than never eh?  It’s been a whirlwind, a hustle and bustle of family affairs, trips and never ending action in this household these past few weeks.  But blogging has become an integral part of my life these days, so I do try to post at least once or sometimes twice a week despite other commitments.  My family do support all my blogging efforts, so that’s definitely an added bonus.  One of my daughters Carol, bought this beautiful bowl and platter from Pottery Barn for Mommy’s blogging.  It was just extra special when I saw her get off the Greyhound bus from NYC to DE carrying two large and cumbersome boxes that looked bigger than her.  I love the colors and the pattern, don’t you?  Without further ado, let me present today’s post for the lamb kofta.  The koftas can be molded into round or oval shapes.  We are indeed fortunate to have two wonderful and special bloggers co-hosting our party this week.  Do visit their blogs and check out all the great recipes they offer.  Judi@cookingwithauntjuju.com and Tina@mademoisellegourmande.com.  Thanks ladies :)

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons full cream milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cashews
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water

Method

Combine spices in small  bowl

IMG_2810Combine the ground lamb, garlic, ginger, 1 tablespoon of the yogurt and half of the spice mixture in large bowl.  Using floured hands, roll tablespoons of the ground lamb mixture into koftas.

IMG_2813Heat ghee in a large pan; cook onion stirring, until browned lightly.  Add remaining spice mixture, cook stirring, until fragrant.  Gradually add the remaining yogurt, milk powder, ground cashews, sugar and water.  Bring to boil, then simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally or until mixture thickens slightly.

IMG_2819Add koftas; cover, simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove lid, simmer for 10 minutes or until koftas are cooked through and sauce is thickened.  Serve Kashmiri lamb koftas topped with extra yogurt if desired.  An aromatic and flavorful basmati rice pilaf accompanied this heart-warming dish.  The ground cashews and milk powder made this dish creamy and velvety.

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Picture-Perfect Florida!

When our Canadian snowbird cousins invited us for a getaway to sunny Florida, I did not hesitate to check on flights and calendar dates to make sure we could make this happen.  What can be better than trying to beat the winter blues in mid-February?  When I saw a picture of the villa, I was sold, there was no stopping me, I needed warmth on my skin, I longed to bathe in the sunshine, sit by that beautiful pool and sip on tropical drinks :).

(more…)

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Pork Chops with Sweet and Sour Glaze

This pork chop dinner takes less than 30 minutes before dinner is on the table!  Eat your heart out Rachel Ray! :).  We just got back from a wonderful getaway to Florida, recharging our batteries and feeling energized again.  Isn’t it just glorious when you can slip away in the dead of winter?  It was just marvelous soaking in an endless amount of Vitamin D, relaxing poolside, enjoying the flora and fauna with palm trees and hibiscus dotting the landscape.  Watch out for pictures and stories on the travel section of my blog soon.  In the meantime back to this simple pork chop dinner.  I was inundated with bills, laundry, phone calls etc on my return, so this just fit the bill for tonight’s meal.

Ingredients   – Serves 4

  • 4 pork chops, bone-in, 1/2 inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

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Sweet and Sour Glaze

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes – optional, but definitely worth it
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Season pork chops with salt and pepper to taste
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add pork chops and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes
  4. Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through about 7 minutes or less.  Cooking time will vary based on the thickness.
  5. To make the sweet and sour glaze, combine balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan over medium heat; season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Pour over pork chops and serve immediately.

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I paired this meal with Garlic smashed potatoes sprinkled with grated parmesan.  It was a perfect accompaniment to the pork chops without stealing the spotlight.  IMG_2788

IMG_2796The potatoes are beautifully soft and mushy inside, and crisp and golden brown on the outside.

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Here you have it, dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.  You can sop up the delicious and aromatic glaze with the smashed potatoes, just a quick, flavorful and easy dinner when you’re too rushed to fix a meal on a weekday.

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Pardon the absence of anything heart-shaped my blogger friends, I’m in between trips, but please know that I appreciate and look forward to all your posts, your friendship and your warmth.  Happy V-Day and weekend.  This chocoflan dessert should be just tickety-boo for this special occasion.  You can find my recipe here.

I am heading off to Angie@The NoviceGardener for Fiesta Friday #55.  Today her co-hosts are the amazing duo Sue@birgerbird and Suzanne@apuginthekitchen.    Click on these amazing links to see their blogs.

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Spaghetti Squash Sausage Lasagne Boats

This is an old post that I never quite finished, it just sat there in my drafts folder for months on end.  I decided to tweak it a bit, add some not so nice photos from an old camera and give this dish the attention it deserves.  It was quite a hit in our home as the family love the old fashioned spaghetti and meatballs, but this was a much healthier version and it went down a treat!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium spaghetti squash (4 cups cooked)
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

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Preheat oven to 400 deg F.  Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and membrane.  Season lightly with salt and black pepper, bake about 1 hour, or longer if needed on a baking sheet, cut side down.  If you prefer to microwave (like I did above), place in a microwave safe dish and cover.  Microwave 8-9 minutes until soft.

For the sauce

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 oz. Italian chicken sausage
  • 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil

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In a large deep saute pan, heat oil and add onions and garlic; saute on medium-low for about 3-4 minutes until soft.  Add the sausage and cook, breaking up into smaller pieces until browned and cooked through.  When cooked, add the crushed tomatoes and adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Add the bay leaf and cover, reducing heat to low.  Simmer 20-30 minutes, then add in fresh basil at the end.

When spaghetti squash is cooked, let it cool for about 10 minutes.  If it was microwaved, now preheat the oven to 400 deg F.  When the spaghetti squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to remove flesh, which will come out in spaghetti looking strands, reserving the shells.  Drain the squash on a paper towel to soak up any excess liquid, then toss with half of the sauce.  Place the spaghetti squash back into the shells and place on a baking sheet.

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In a small bowl combine the ricotta cheese, 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese and basil.  Top each with remaining sauce, 1 tbsp ricotta mixture and 2 tbsp mozzarella cheese.  Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until everything is hot and the cheese is melted.

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I adapted this receipe from Skinnytaste.com.

Tucking this under my arm and heading over to Angie @ The Novice Gardener for our #54 Fiesta Friday gathering.  This week, two special co-hosts, Sonal @SimplyVegetarian777 and Josette @TheBrookCook will be in charge.  Take it over ladies, I know you’ll do an awesome job, our thanks for welcoming us all and showcasing our offerings.