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Spicy Chipolte Chili Soup with White Beans and Chicken

21 Dec

Drastically adapted from Organic Gardening.

2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 to 1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder (the more powder, the spicier the chili!)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cans (19 ounces each) cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Push the onions to one side of the pan, add the chicken, and sprinkle with the chipotle chile powder, cumin, and salt to taste. Cook, stirring, until most of the chicken is opaque on the outside, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of the beans and 2 cups of the stock. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the remaining beans and remaining 1 cup stock. Process to a smooth puree. Stir the bean puree into the soup. Gradually add the half-and-half, stirring as you add it, so it doesn’t curdle. Dip one cup of the soup out and into a bowl, add the sour cream and stir until blended. Gradually add sour cream mixture into the soup (again, this is so it doesn’t curdle). Stir in the cheddar cheese, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste.

It is important not to let the soup boil again after the dairy products have been added, so it doesn’t curdle.

Serve with additional shredded cheese and sour cream, which cuts down the heat if you find it’s too spicy. If you want a thicker consistency, dissolve 3 TBSP of corn starch with 1/2 cup of half-and-half, and stir into the soup before adding the sour cream.

Serve with potato rolls! They’re awesome.

I suppose you could lower the considerable fat content by using fat-free half-and-half, sour cream, and cheese, but where’s the fun in that?

Outstanding Chicken Noodle Soup

21 Dec

Adapted from Tyler Florence.

My husband, who is NOTORIOUSLY picky, absolutely raved about this Chicken Noodle Soup. He said it was the best he’d ever tasted, and actually VOLUNTARILY ate it three nights in a row. That’s a record for our household!

The recipe really shines when made with homemade chicken stock, for which I have a great recipe.

2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and chopped
3 fresh thyme sprigs, de-stemmed (leaves only)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
8 cups chicken stock
8-10 ounces dried wide egg noodles (depending on how noodly you like your soup)
2 – 2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (depending on how chickeny you like your soup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 TBSP Worcestershire
1 tsp Tabasco

Place a heavy soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and herbs. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another five minutes – I find the noodles are cooked perfectly at this point. Stir in the parsley, the Tabasco and the Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper (taste it first!). Turn off heat but leave pot on the burner, covered, for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to gather. Serve with crackers or crusty bread.

Now, I made this recipe above and added 1/2 of a 16oz bag of egg noodles, plus another handful. This made the soup VERY noodly. When the soup cooled it looked like the broth really disappeared. However, it’s in there, and we found that we liked the more-noodle-less-broth consistency. Your mileage may vary!

Best Chicken Stock

21 Dec

Adapted from Annie’s Eats.

2 TBSP olive oil
3 carrots, washed and unpeeled, cut into chunks
3 ribs of celery, washed and cut into chunks (include the leafy hearts too, if you’ve got ‘em)
2 sweet onions, peeled and cut into chunks
1 chicken carcass plus scraps (I use anything and everything left over from making a roasted chicken – bones, skin, meat and all)
Water to cover
1 TBSP fresh cracked pepper
1 TBSP kosher salt
4 sprigs of rosemary
4 sprigs of thyme

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven (like this one). Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown, about 5-10 minutes. Add the chicken carcass to the pot. Add enough water to nearly fill the pot. Stir in the peppercorns, salt and herbs. Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a very low simmer, COVER, and let simmer 4-5 hours. Resist the temptation to add salt, though a couple of blurts of Tabasco or Worcestershire never hurt anyone.

Pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl to remove the solids. Cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, remove the layer of fat that formed on the surface. Use immediately or freeze. I pour mine into muffin tins, freeze, then pop them out and store them in baggies. Each “stock muffin” equals about a half-cup of stock.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

4 Jan

This is a hot chicken dip recipe, modified from the one that I got from my sister-in-law Karen. It’s AWESOME with celery sticks, tortilla chips, or triangles of flatbread.

- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (I like to get a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)
- 1/2 to 1 cup Frank’s buffalo wing sauce or other hot sauce of choice (depending on how spicy you want it)
- 1/2 to 1 cup ranch salad dressing (depending on how “wet” you want it)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 block cream cheese (8 oz)

- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the cream cheese until smooth (about 2 minutes). Mix in remaining ingredients (except shredded cheddar) and spread evenly into a casserole dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Top with shredded cheese, and bake 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve hot.

Sonoran Chicken (Crock Pot)

20 Apr

- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can sweet corn, drained
- 1.5 – 2 cups salsa of choice
- 1 jalapeno, sliced (optional – can also use nacho style jalapenos in a jar)
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp worcestershire
- your favorite spicy seasonings, to taste (red tabasco, green tabasco, Cholula, mexican spiced salt, etc.)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 8-oz pkg cream cheese -or- 2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, cheddar/jack, mexican blend, etc.)
- garnish – tortilla chips, sour cream, etc.

Place chicken breast halves in the crock pot. In a large bowl, mix together beans, corn, salsa, jalapeno, garlic, worcestershire, spices, salt and pepper. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for six hours. In the last 20 minutes of cooking, add cubed cream cheese or shredded cheese to the crock pot, continue to cook until melted.

Serve with warm flour tortillas, or accompanied with spanish rice or skillet fried potatoes.

Pan Fried Pork Chops or Chicken Breasts, with gravy

26 Feb

Meat:
- 4 large pork chops (boneless or bone-in) or chicken breasts (boneless)
- 1/2 to 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup flour or bread crumbs, or a combination of both**
- meat tenderizer
- salt and pepper
- chicken or pork shake-on seasoning

Gravy:
- 2 cups chicken or pork broth, or 1 cup water or milk and 1 cup broth (boullion cubes can be used here to make the broth)
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/4 cup milk or water
- Drippings, “crunchies” (the browned bits of coating that my family fights over) and pan juices from cooking the meat

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, rinse the pork chops or chicken breasts and pat dry. Sprinkle tenderizer, salt, pepper, and seasonings on meat. Poke with a fork to incorporate spices into the meat. Place each piece of meat into the flour and press down to adhere, turn and repeat on each side twice to thoroughly coat.

Place chops or breasts two at a time in the heated oil (to check to see if oil is hot enough, wet fingers under faucet and carefully drip one or two drops of water into the oil – if it hisses and spatters, the oil is hot enough). Cook without turning for five minutes on one side. Carefully turn over and cook for five minutes on the other side. The coating will now be firmly adhered so if additional browning and cooking is required, it is now safe to turn the meat over as needed (tongs are easiest, I find). Cook until thoroughly browned and juices (when a slit is cut into the thickest part of the meat) run clear.

Set meat aside and cover to keep warm.

To make the gravy – skim out all but four tablespoons of oil from the skillet. Leave all the browned bits. Carefully pour the broth or broth/water/milk combination into the pan. Whisk to combine juices and browned bits. Heat to boiling. Combine the corn starch and water or milk in a small bowl until smooth. Gradually pour corn starch mixture into broth mixture while whisking continuously. Add enough of the corn starch mixture to thicken the gravy as preferred (it may not require all of it).

Serve the chicken or pork and gravy with rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes.

**For a gluten free recipe, use rice flour or crushed Corn Flakes (which work really well).

Baked Enchiladas

25 Feb

- 3 cups cooked beef roast (use leftovers!) (-or- cooked chicken -or- cooked pork -or- a combination of any/all three -or- sauteed peppers, onions, spinach, or other vegetables for vegetarian enchiladas)
- 3/4 cup salsa of choice (we use a mild red)
- 1 sm. can (one to three oz) diced mild green chilis
- 1 32-oz can mild green enchilada sauce
- 1 16-oz can refried beans
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 cups cooked rice (we use instant rice)
- 6 large (burrito size, or 12 inch or larger) flour tortillas**
- Additional salsa
- Shredded cheese of choice (we use a cheddar/jack combo)
- Garnish recommendations: Sliced jalapenos, Sour cream, sliced black olives, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×15 casserole dish with non-stick spray.

Shred the beef roast into a skillet. Add 3/4 cup salsa, green chilis, and 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce. Stir to combine and heat over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, combine refried beans and water in a bowl and stir to combine until smooth. Prepare rice.

Line six flour tortillas on the counter, assembly-line fashion. Place 1/4 cup (or two heaping spoonfuls) of refried bean mixture onto each tortilla and spread down the center, stopping about 2-inches from the edges. Place 1/4 cup of beef mixture on top of refried beans. Place 1/4 cup rice on top of beef. Sprinkle each with two tbsp of salsa and 1/4 cup shredded cheese (or to taste). Keep in mind to stay away from the edges of the tortilla throughout!

To roll the enchiladas, fold one side over the ingredients. Fold top and bottom over the inside, then roll lengthwise to create a closed-ended wrap. Place side-by-side in casserole dish.

enchilada1 enchilada2

enchilada3 enchilada4

enchilada5

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and pour remainder of enchilada sauce over all. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with shredded cheese. Return to oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove and serve with sour cream, jalapenos, additional salsa, additional cheese, black olives, shredded lettuce, or whatever garnish you desire.

enchilada6 enchilada7

You will likely have leftover refried beans, rice, and roast mixture. Combine all in a large bowl and heat for an excellent dip served with tortilla chips, or for fast lunchtime burritos. Very versitile leftovers!

**For gluten free recipe, substitute flour tortillas with corn and roll taquito-style.

Chili Chicken

13 Feb

Four medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or eight b/s thighs)
1 can chili with beans
1 can diced or stewed tomatoes
1 cup (or more!) shredded cheese
Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper

Place chicken in an ungreased baking dish. Top with tomatoes. Season to taste with italian seasonings, salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Remove from oven and carefully drain off the majority of the liquid using a spoon or ladel (this is what I do, anyway, it doesn’t hurt anything to leave the liquid in). Spoon chili over each chicken breast and return to the oven for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven, top with cheese, and return to oven for five more minutes.

Recommended served with rice.

Jambalaya (Crock Pot)

25 Jan

12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups green peppers, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 ounce) can whole tomatoes
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 can (15 oz) beef broth
1 tablespoon parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb shelled raw shrimp
3 cups cooked rice

jambalaya

- Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.
- Put all ingredients (EXCEPT shrimp and rice) in crockpot.
- Cover; cook on low for 8 hours.
- Add shrimp the last 20 minutes of cooking.
- Stir in rice before serving.

I used two cans of chicken breast as we didn’t have any packaged chicken, and it turned out really well. I stirred a tablespoon of sour cream into my serving.

Makes about six generous servings.

Chicken, Black Bean, and Potato Skillet

25 Jan

- 3 chicken breasts, cut into one-inch pieces
- 4 tbsp olive or canola oil, separated
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire
- 1 tbsp chicken seasoning (they usually sell a chicken seasoning mix in the spice area of the store)
- 4 large red potatoes, cut into one-inch pieces (don’t remove skin)
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 can sweet yellow corn, drained
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1.5 cups salsa of choice (we use mild)
- 2 tsp. green tabasco sauce
- 2 tsp mexican seasoning (found in the same place the chicken seasoning is)
- salt and pepper to taste

Optional toppings:
Shredded cheese
Sour cream

  1. Boil potatoes with the skin on, in a large pot filled with well-salted water. Cook until done but still slightly firm. Drain.
  2. While potatoes are boiling, heat oil in a large skillet. Add chicken, garlic powder, worcestershire, and chicken seasoning. Sautee until chicken is cooked through and lightly browned. Remove from skillet.
  3. Place cooked potatoes in skillet with 2 tbsp. oil and chopped onion, and cook until both are lightly browned. Then add to skillet the chicken, corn, beans, and salsa. Sprinkle with green tabasco and mexican seasoning. Stir to combine ingredients, and cook on low heat until everything is heated.
  4. Top with sour cream or shredded cheese, if you so choose. Calvin just coats everything with ranch dressing.