Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cranberry Chicken Fricassee

As always, I was looking for a recipe that maybe the Picky One would eat...

I ended up taking an old Mr. Food recipe and changing it up. It started off as Simple Turkey One Pot. And ended up as Cranberry Chicken Fricassee. I changed a bunch of things, took some out and added some others.

For one, I didn't have a turkey breast...so chicken was going to have to do.

I don't really like stuffing...so instead, I put in Yukon gold potatoes.

I wanted a sauce for this stew, so I used a can of whole cranberry sauce instead of some Craisins.

And nobody but me will eat 'shrooms on a regular basis...so I just left those out.

And then I added a bunch of herbs/spices that he didn't think of.

Where did I get the name for my new recipe?

When I was a kid, one of my Mom's friend's was a horrible cook. (Everyone knew it but her. And I know that my sis and mom know who I'm talking about.) But the one thing she could cook well was chicken fricassee. I have never had it before...nor since. When I scooped the leftovers into a container, it dawned on me that it looked like her old standby that I once loved. So it will now be called fricassee!

Here is my new recipe that my Picky One gave a thumbs up to...

Cranberry Chicken Fricassee

2 skinless boneless chicken breast
2 leg quarters, separated at joints (next time I will probably remove some of the skin)
10 Yukon gold potatoes, approx 1/2 slices (I sliced the long way, 'cuz it meant I'd be doing less work)
1/2 bag of baby carrots (next time, I'll use a whole bag, they were tasty!)
1 small cooking onion, chopped
1-15 oz can whole cranberry sauce
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried basil
dusting of garlic powder (I'm not sure how much of either one of these I used, a generous sprinkle)
dusting of powdered ginger

Spray the crock pot before you do anything. (I forgot, I hope it's not too hard to clean! It's too heavy for me so that's Hubby's job.)
Season with salt and pepper.
Place the sliced potatoes in layers on top of the chicken. Salt and pepper each layer.
Sprinkle liberally with garlic powder. Sprinkle basil and thyme over the top too.
Add onion, carrots and cranberry sauce. 
Sprinkle ginger over the cranberry sauce.
Put your lid on and turn on the pot. 4-5 hrs on high or 7-8 hrs on low. (I'm just guessing here the thermostat on my 7 quart crock pot is screwy!)

I just asked Smarty Pants what he thought of the meal. He said that "it probably needs more juice/sauce." We had enough but there probably won't be enough for the leftovers. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I'm not sure if I want to add chicken broth to it, but it'll either be that or next time I can add another can of cranberry sauce (either whole or jellied). If anyone makes it and finds the perfect solution...let me know!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumped up Shepard's Pie

I needed a casserole type dish that we would all eat and that Smarty Pants could/would heat up for himself since us parents did not plan on being home when he was supposed to be eating dinner. Neither one of us were planning on being home until drive time, then heading back to the meet if it was still going on.

Picky One had his first high school gymnastics meet and we both wanted to watch, starting at 5pm. Smarty Pants had his math class starting at 6pm (at the local university). He should be eating by 5:30. Since hubby and I didn't plan on being home, I had to make something easy and quick...and hopefully tasty.

I had told hubby that i would make a shepards pie. He told me that I had better make a salad 'cuz he doesn't really care for it.

Hey when we went to an Irish pub recently with Picky One and he said he liked it...I had to give it a try. Right?

I searched Pinterest and came out with 5 different recipes that each had their own special ingredients. I don't think I really need to give credit to each of the 5...do I? I took the special ingredients from all of them and combined them and totally changed them around to make my totally different and easier/quicker version of the Shepard's pie (some call it Cottage pie)...I will put an * by each of the special ingredients. All of the ingredients are in italics. I hope this isn't too confusing the way I did this.

Prepare a 13" x 9" pan with cooking spray. Set aside. I am not positive what temperature or for how long to cook this. we all just took bowl fulls and nuked (microwaved) it for ourselves. The average of all of the other recipes gives me 375 for 20 mins or until light light browned or bubbly.

Sautee in large fry pan with following other ingredients:

1-1/2 lbs ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce *
2 tsp dried thyme *

Drain off excess fat/liquid.

Mix together (in separate bowl):

1 bottle of beer *
1/2 cup water
2 packets of brown gravy mix 

Add to meat mixture with:

2 Tbs tomato paste*
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon*
1 tsp dried thyme*
1 tsp dried parsley*

Stir well to combine. Simmer down until you have a nice thick sauce.

You now have the bottom layer precooked. Pour into prepared pan.  Now, take a 

16 oz bag of frozen vegetables of your choice (I used mixed veggies: corn, peas, green beans and carrots) defrost if you will be putting it directly into the oven when complete. Don't bother if it's waiting until later. Place as the second layer on top of the meat. I think that keeping it frozen help to keep the veggies green. Boil :

3 cups of water

Take off heat. Mix in :

2 packets of mashed potato flakes (I used one butter, one roasted garlic) 
1 cup milk
1 tsp shallots (optional)
1/2 cup shredded colby jack cheese 

You have now finished your final layer. Spread it on top of the vegetables. Gently! It's a tough layer to spread. Mine was really thick. I'm guessing it was because of the cheese.

You're done!

Either dish it up and nuke it like we did. Or put in the 375 degree oven for 20-25 mins.


Let me tell you...My kids loved it! I loved it! 

And wait for it...

My hubby who said he doesn't like it...Loved it too! He actually had seconds and no salad!

Yay! We have another regular to add to our menus!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Belated Pintember: Gluten-free Pumpkin Corn Bread

I've been a little delinquent on my Pintember posts lately but this morning I just made my gluten free version of the the pumpkin cornbread I made last week. I had saved the other half of the can for some other recipe, not sure what. I had to make it gluten free and spice improved. The first one was "missing something" as I had heard from both one son and my hubby.

I have decided that I really do not love gluten free breads. I would rather skip it and have a cracker instead. There are plenty of good gluten free crackers around. But when I had tasted the regular version of this recipe, I knew I had a good thing to convert. It was already gritty, thanks to the cornmeal.  What difference would it make if I put gritty gluten free flour in it. NONE!

Here is the new improved and gluten free pumpkin cornbread recipe...

1/2 cup sorgum flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 Tbs baking powder
1 Tbs cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger (I'm not a fan of ginger, but it's great with pumpkin!)
few scrapes of fresh nutmeg (I do not like nutmeg but my MIL introduced me to the fresh stuff and it makes quite a diff!)
1 cup corn meal
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2- 15oz can of solid pack pumpkin (approx 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup light olive oil
1/4 cup applesauce, sweetened (it needed a little more sweetener and moistener)

Preheat oven to 400. Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. Mix all of the wet (remaining) ingredients into a small mixing bowl until well combined. Pour wet into dry and mix until just combined. Prep 8 x 8 baking pan with oil spray. Pour and spread batter into pan. it will be thick. Bake for 22-28 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy with butter or without. I ate mine without!

Brought some over for my gluten free taste tester who lives across the street. She said it was a keeper recipe. 


I almost forgot...Here is the inspiration pin...