The culinary ramblings of a picky eater.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cranberry Glazed Chicken

As promised, a recipe using my Cranberry Relish.

This turned out a lot better than I expected. I wasn't really sure what to expect, I guess, having never tried this kind of thing before, but...I was impressed. My husband was pretty happy too, so...yay for that. Haha. If you already have the cranberry relish made, this is a really easy meal. I served it with seasoned rice and green bean casserole. So let's begin.

-approximately 1 cup cranberry relish
-boneless skinless chicken breasts (enough to feed everyone)

-1/2 cup uncooked instant rice per person
-1 cup chicken broth per cup of rice
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-1 teaspoon complimentary seasoning (I used a spice blend)

Green bean casserole:
-2 cans French cut green beans
-1 can cream of chicken soup (I despise mushrooms, so I never use cream of mushroom soup, which is the typical ingredient)
-1/2 cup milk
-1 can French fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place chicken breasts on the baking sheet and "glaze" with the cranberry relish. Basically, just pour enough on it to cover the chicken well. Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven just long enough to re-glaze the chicken with the cranberry relish. Put the chicken back in the oven and continue cooking until cooked through, another 15-20 minutes or so.

While the chicken is cooking, mix together the soup and milk. Add the green beans and half the can of onions. Stir to evenly incorporate everything. Dump it all into a baking dish and top with the remaining onions. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

In a medium sized sauce pan, boil the chicken broth over high heat. Add the spices. Stir in the uncooked rice and remove from heat and cover. Let stand off the heat for about 5 minutes, until rice has absorbed the liquid.

Serve everything hot and yummy together. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cranberry Relish

Ok,'s about to be Thanksgiving, so I've been seeing cranberry stuff everywhere. It made me crave it. Seriously. The jellied kind, mind you. I know, some of you are going to claim blasphemy, but meh. It is what it is. Haha. Anyway...I was at a restaurant the other day, and they were selling cranberry relish. They had samples. And it was amazing. I then decided I must make some and figure out a way to use it, because, was amazing. Haha. So here is the recipe I made. I'm just going to go ahead and say that the pictures aren't the best, but you can get the general idea. I will be posting a few recipes over the next few days about how I used it. Enjoy!

-4 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen), rough chopped if desired (you can leave them whole if you want)
-1 cup water
-1/2 cup orange juice
-3/4 cup sugar (I don't really know how much I used...I just added it until it tasted good, and I think it was about 3/4 cup)

In a large sauce pan, combine all the ingredients. Heat over high heat until it boils, stirring occasionally. Once it boils, reduce heat to medium and let the mixture cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will allow the berries to "pop" and become tender, and will start to thicken the "sauce" as some of the liquid is cooked off.

Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for another 10 minutes or more, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the consistency you like. It will never turn into a jelly-like substance because there is no gelatin, but it can get decently thick. And it is yummy. Once it's cooked to your desired consistency, you can use it immediately or put it in the fridge to cool. I used it as a glaze on chicken (recipe to come soon) and used it immediately, but if you're using it for a cool application, I would put it in the fridge first. Hope you like it!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Taco Pasta

I wanted to make pasta, but I didn't really want any of my typical staples. I decided to come up with something new. Yes, I did. My lovely husband is a fan of Mexican food, so I decided that since Chicken Enchilada pasta was successful, Taco Pasta might be too. And the experiment began.

This is super simple, and doesn't take very long at all. This would be a great weeknight dinner for a busy mom. Just throwing that out there. :) Away we go.

-1 lb ground beef
-1 can red enchilada sauce
-1/3 cup sour cream
-1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
-1/2 box penne pasta (1/2 lb)

In a large pot, boil water. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a skillet over medium high heat. Cook the beef until no longer pink. Drain, then return to the skillet. Add the enchilada sauce and stir to coat meat well. Add the sour cream and stir to combine. Make sure the sour cream "melts" into the sauce. Once that's all well-incorporated, add the cheese and stir into the sauce, letting it melt.
Reduce heat to medium as you continue to let the cheese melt into the sauce, stirring frequently. Once the sauce is all melted and hot and yummy, mix with the pasta to coat well. Serve hot and garnish with a little shredded cheese and sour cream. Yummy!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

White Bean Chicken Chili

So I told you to be prepared to see a lot of soups and stews, right? I thought so. It gets cold, and I like to make soup. It's just how it is. Hehe.

This is my own little take on white bean chicken chili. I think it turned out pretty well. It's pretty simple, too, and doesn't take too terrible long to make. This recipe makes a pretty good amount, too, so it should feed a bunch of people. It fed my hubby and I with plenty leftover for a whole other meal for both of us, plus some. I would say it could feed 6 adults pretty easily, especially if you serve some cornbread or tortilla chips with it. Yum. Enjoy!

-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
-3 cups chicken broth
-2 cups water
-1 pound tomatillos (the little green tomato looking things), roughly chopped
-2 cans Navy beans (white beans), with liquids
-1 can whole kernel corn, drained
-2 Tablespoons garlic powder
-1 Tablespoon onion powder
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1 teaspoon chili powder

In a large pot over high heat, heat the chicken broth and water until boiling. Add the chopped tomatillos and reduce heat to medium. Cook the tomatillos until tender. Strain the tomatillos out and pulse in a food processor until almost pureed. Return to the pot. Add the shredded chicken and stir. Add the corn and beans and stir to combine. Add the spices and stir until well incorporated. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the chili simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded and everything is hot and yummy. Ladle into bowls and serve with cornbread or tortilla chips, if desired. You know this looks amazing... Yummy!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chicken Veggie Chowder

So the other day when I made this, it had been a little while since I'd been to the grocery store (read: I had very little food in the house and what I did have was a random assortment that didn't seem to go together). I looked in my freezer to see what I had to work with. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all. Well, I had some frozen chicken breasts, some hash browns, some frozen soup veggies (green beans, corn, carrots, peas), and I had some sour cream and heavy cream in the fridge. I also had some chicken bouillon in my spice cabinet. So...I decided to make a creamy soup with all that stuff. Haha. I told you, necessity is the mother of invention.

This actually turned out really well. My hubby and I both really enjoyed it. And I had leftovers and actually ate them. :) That means it was good enough to eat twice. Haha. So, here we go.

-2 chicken breasts, cubed
-4 cups chicken broth
-2 cups heavy cream
-1/4 cup sour cream
-2 cups frozen soup veggies
-4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes (the shredded kind, not the chunky kind)
-2 Tablespoons flour
-Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, heat the chicken broth over high heat until it is boiling. Add the chicken and let it cook for a few minutes. Add the frozen veggies and hash browns, they look like this: and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so. Reduce the heat to medium. In a separate bowl, mix together the cream and flour. Add slowly to the soup, stirring continuously. Continue stirring frequently as you let the soup cook for another 5 minutes of so. The flour and potato starch will help to thicken the soup. Add the sour cream and stir it until it is well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium low and let the soup simmer for another 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently. You don't want the soup to boil once the cream is added because it will foam up and explode out of the pot. Once everything is hot and cooked through and the soup has thickened a bit, it's ready! Enjoy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Swedish Meatballs

I just want to say that I made this because my dear husband requested it. I have never made, nor even eaten, Swedish meatballs before. After researching online for a recipe, I came to this conclusion: There are a million ways to make Swedish meatballs, and I have no idea which ones are "authentic." So...I just made up my own. Haha. I do not claim in any way, shape, or form, that these are authentic. If you're Swedish, and have an awesome recipe, I would love to hear it. But until then, I am satisfied with this one. :)

I was actually quite impressed with how these came out. My husband was happy, which made me happy, and all is right in the world. Haha. But seriously, I think this is a pretty simple meal that came together pretty quickly, so I hope you enjoy it.

-1 lb ground beef
-1/2 cup breadcrumbs
-1 egg
-1/4 cup parmesan or mozzarella cheese, if desired
-Egg noodles (I used just over half a bag, but you can make as much as you need)
-1/4 cup butter
-2 Tablespoons flour
-2 cups cream
-1/2 cup sour cream

In a mixing bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, and cheese. I typically do this with my hands. It's just easier, even thought it is kind of gross, I admit. Haha. Anyway, once it's all mixed together, pinch of small chunks and roll them into meatballs, approximately 1.5 inches in diameter. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the meatballs and cook until no longer pink in center, turning over occasionally for even cooking. Remove the meatballs to a plate, leaving the brown bits in the skillet.

Reduce heat to medium low. Add the butter and let it melt. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk it together so it makes a roux. Let the roux cook for a couple minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cream and whisk together so it's well incorporated. Continue to let this sauce cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. It should start to thicken up a bit. The brown bits should be mixed into the sauce, giving it a little more flavor and all that good stuff. Add the sour cream and stir until it is well combined.

While the meatballs and sauce are cooking, boil a pot of water. Add the egg noodles and cook according to package directions until tender. Drain and set aside.

When the noodles are ready, add the meatballs back to the skillet and coat them with the sauce. Spoon some of the noodles on a plate, then spoon on some of the sauce with a few meatballs. Eat it all together. So.yummy. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Frito Pie

I have a confession to make. When I was in junior high, they had a "snack bar" where they sold the good stuff for lunch. Frito Pie was one of those items. When I actually got to buy my lunch at school, it was a treat. I know, I'm that cool. But anyway, I would alternate between french fries and a chocolate malt (which was an amazing combo. I would use the fries to eat the malt. Don't knock it till you've tried it) and frito pie with a coke. I loved buying lunch days. My mother would probably be appalled to read that. Sorry, Mom.

If you have never heard of Frito Pie, I pity you. It's really nothing that special. And it's probably not really that good for you. But it's fun to eat, and I think it's tasty. It's basically just a pile of fritos topped with chili and shredded cheese. And it's amazing. I decided to make a frito pie the other day just because I felt like it. I haven't had one in, well, probably years, so...yeah. I hope you enjoy it too. :)

-Ground beef (I used a half pound cause it was just for me, and there were leftovers)
-ketchup (I used enough to make the "sauce" for the chili, probably 3/4 cup for the 1/2 lb of meat)
-1 cup beef broth
-chili spices to taste (I used 1 teaspoon cumin, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon onion powder)
-shredded cheese to sprinkle on top (mine was cheddar, but use your fave)

In a large pot over medium high heat, brown the beef until cooked through. Drain the meat of grease and return to pot. Add the ketchup and beef broth and stir to combine well. Add the spices, and stir to incorporate. Let the chili simmer over medium heat for several minutes, letting the flavors marry and the sauce thicken slightly. Stir occasionally to keep the bottom layer from taking too much heat. In a bowl, pour in some fritos, probably 1/2 cup if measured. Spoon on some of the chili (don't drown the chips, but add enough so you don't have dry chips left over). Sprinkle on as much cheese as you'd like. You can eat this with your fingers if you don't mind getting a little messy. Otherwise, grab a fork. Shovel in mouth and enjoy. :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cream Cheese Chicken Soup

It's starting to get chilly here. At least for a week at a time before it gets warm again. So with the cooler air comes my desire to make soup. Hot soup + a cold evening = a happy girl. It just makes me feel all warm and cuddly inside. Be prepared to see lots of soups/stews over the next few months while cold weather continues. :)

Anyway...enough rambling. This soup is incredible. I got it from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, no big surprise there. Her recipe is great...I just tweaked it a bit to make it fit my persnickety tendencies. So, without further ado...the soup.

-chicken breasts (I think I used 2 or 3), diced
-2 tablespoons butter
-3 cups chicken broth
-4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced small (or a cup or so of baby carrots, chopped)
-4 potatoes, chopped into about 1/2 inch pieces
-1 cup milk
-4 tablespoons flour
-1 8oz block of cream cheese (it helps for it to be room temp)

In a large pot, heat the butter over medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces. Cook about half way, then add the chicken broth. The chicken will keep cooking as the rest of the coup comes together. Add in the chopped carrots and potatoes. Add more broth to cover the veggies if needed. Let the liquid come to a boil, then reduce the heat so it's just simmering. Let it keep simmering until the veggies are tender, about ten minutes or so. Mix the flour with the milk, and slowly pour it into the soup. Mix well. Next, add the cream cheese in small chunks and stir the soup until it is all melted in. It might take a few minutes, so just keep stirring it occasionally until it's all smooth and yummy. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chicken Salad

I would just like to say I am embarrassed by the amount of time that has elapsed between posts. I sincerely apologize to my numerous fans. haha. But has been entirely too long since I shared the Picnic with you.

I made this chicken salad for a get-together, and then I had to make it again for myself. I didn't get enough at the party. Hehe. But I'm a fan of a sweeter, more fruity chicken salad than a savory one. So if you like savory chicken salads, this ain't for you. But you're welcome to try it anyway. :) If you're picky about your chicken salad...this one is probably a good one for you. I don't like celery. I refuse to add it to my chicken salad, even if it is a typical ingredient. I refuse. Celery haters of the world rejoice! No celery in this chicken salad. I hope you all enjoy this amazingness. Let's begin.

-Chicken breasts (depending on how much salad you want to make...I used one for just lil' ole me)
-mayonnaise (I eyeball it, just enough to moisten the salad)
-grapes, halved or quartered depending on size (I would say 1/2 cup for each cup of chicken
-eggs, hard-boiled (also depending on how much salad you are making-I used one egg per chicken breast)
-salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, add in a rough chopped chicken breast. Pulse to shred the chicken, but don't let it get past the point of shreds to the pasty stage. Dump into a large mixing bowl. Rough chop the shelled hard-boiled egg. I usually remove the yolk because I'm not a fan. Place the egg in the food processor and pulse until the pieces are small but not pulverized.
Add to the chicken in the mixing bowl. Add the grapes. Stir until ingredients are mixed together. Add mayo a little at a time until the salad is moistened but not dripping. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine well. Spread on bread to make a sandwich, or serve with crackers. Yummy. Enjoy!