Chicken Salad Sandwich

Quick Post: This is really good – so good that I ate it twice this week. I had leftover roast chicken, and what better way to use it than for chicken salad? This is a combination of a few different recipes that inspired me. I love the crisp bite of the celery, the sweetness of the apple, the toasty walnuts…all of these ingredients work together to make one of my favorite sandwiches. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Salad Sandwich –

  • 1/2 – 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or chopped fine
  • 1 celery rib, small dice
  • 1 small apple, small dice (I used a Granny Smith)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 2-3 TBSP mayonnaise
  • 2-3 TBSP plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp of curry powder
  • cayenne, paprika, pepper, salt – to taste

Directions –

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, serve immediately or place in the fridge until ready to serve. Serve in a wrap, on a sandwich or over a bed of lettuce.

Weeknight Italian Wedding Soup

Quick Post: This recipe couldn’t be easier! For those cold nights it’s perfectly warming and comforting. We had another blast of cold weather the past few days which was surprising since it’s recently been in the high 70s regularly. I always love taking advantage of a cool night by making it a good excuse for some comfort food and carbs in the form of these lovely breadsticks. I didn’t change a thing about these recipes and we were all happy about how they turned out. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Italian Wedding Soup – adapted from Bev Cooks

  •  3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 (12 oz) package Al Fresco tomato and basil chicken meatballs
  •  1 small onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch crushed red
  •  1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 10 oz baby spinach
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a small skillet and brown the chicken sausages on all sides, until heated through, 5 minutes total. Remove from heat.

In a deep pot, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil over medium-high. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Add the crushed pepper along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until the veggies start to soften, 6 minutes.

Add the wine and stock. Bring to a light boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 6 minutes.

Add the chicken sausages and spinach. Simmer for about 5 more minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Almost Famous Breadsticks – adapted from Food Network

  • 1 package yeast
  • 4 1/4 cups AP flour,plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter,softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fine salt

For the Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter,melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of dried oregano
Directions –

Make the dough: Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle in the yeast and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, butter, sugar, fine salt and 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water; mix with the paddle attachment until a slightly sticky dough forms, 5 minutes.

Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth and soft, 3 minutes. Roll into a 2-foot-long log; cut into 16 1 1/2-inch-long pieces. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 7-inch-long breadstick; arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make the topping: Brush the breadsticks with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt with the garlic powder and oregano. Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with the flavored salt.

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Oh, this is too good! While searching for a recipe to use up leftover roasted chicken, I came across this. I had to buy the cheese but I had everything else on hand which is always good:) While reading through a few of the comments, I noticed that several people wrote that this recipe makes “a ton” but they successfully halved it. Well, that sounded like a good idea to me because I didn’t have enough chicken to make three cups anyway. The recipe also doesn’t seem so decadent when you halve the amounts of cheese and butter;) Everyone enjoyed this, but M still prefers this one over all others I’ve made. Honestly, I’m looking forward to eating leftovers;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from Food Network

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank’s)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 pound yellow sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (I used Gorgonzola)

Directions –

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.

Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.



Cheeseburger Soup

 

I seem to have run out of inspiration lately because for the past two days I haven’t been able to choose a recipe that appeals to me. Every once in a while I run into this problem; but it doesn’t last too long, thankfully. What usually helps is trying to think of recipes I haven’t used in a long time – like this one. This is a surprisingly light, flavorful soup and perfect for chilly nights. Whenever I make it I use at least a pound of very lean ground beef and double the rest of the ingredients. If you have Frank’s Red Hot, I suggest you splash some in the soup. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Cheeseburger Soup ingredients – adapted from Dine & Dish

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 c chopped onion
  • 3/4 c shredded carrots
  • 3/4 c diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 5 Tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 cans chicken broth
  • 4 cups peeled, diced potatoes (I used unpeeled red potatoes)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups (8oz) Velveeta, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Directions –

In a 6-quart saucepan, brown beef; drain and set aside beef. In the same saucepan, sate onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 2 Tablespoons butter until vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes). Add broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, in a small pan, melt remaining 3 Tablespoons of butter. Add flour; cook and stir for 3 minutes or until bubbly. Whisk into soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add Velveeta, milk, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream. Makes 8 servings.

Super Bowl Appetizers

Quick Post: I don’t care much for football, but I do like making appetizers! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Guacamole Ingredients – adapted from Alton Brown

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Directions –

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

Restaurant Style Salsa ingredients – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
  • 2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies) *I drain these*
  • ¼ cups Chopped Onion
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
  • ¼ teaspoons Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • ½ cups Cilantro (more To Taste!)
  • ½ whole Lime Juice

Directions –

Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like—I do about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.

I know this looks gross, but I assure you – if you love blue cheese you’ll love the taste of this!
Buffalo Chicken Dip ingredients –

  • 1 skin-on, bone-in chicken breast, roasted and shredded
  • 1 – 8 oz package of cream cheese at room temp
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 cup Monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 blue cheese dressing
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot

Directions –

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients in a 8×8 inch baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Serve with celery sticks.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Poor M is sick with the flu, but thankfully the fever and headaches haven’t made him nauseated. I asked what he’d like for dinner and of course, he requested chicken noodle soup. “Great” I thought…I always want to go the extra mile (as much as possible) when he requests something, and I really didn’t feel like making stock from scratch…it takes too long. This method I used seemed like a good substitute for it. I took a little help from the store with some stock in a box and doctored it up a bit to cook the chicken, which enriched the flavor and richness. This took more effort than I originally wanted to put into it (the rainy, cloudy weather makes me lazy) but it was so worth it because the whole family enjoyed eating it and the leftovers will taste even better. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Noodle Soup ingredients – a Mom Makes original recipe

  • 1 – 4 pound whole chicken, rinsed well
  • 1 carton of chicken stock
  • 1 carton of vegetable stock
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 5-7 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/2 TBSP of whole peppercorns
  • 4 – 6 cups water

Soup ingredients –

  • 3 cups egg noodles
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 – 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 10 – 12 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups of shredded chicken
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried parsley flakes (optional)

Directions for Stock –

1. In a 8 quart stock pot or larger, place all ingredients and cook for one hour. Be sure to skim fat and scum off the top while cooking. Once the chicken is cooked, carefully remove it from the stock pot and place on a foil lined half sheet pan to cool – at least 40 minutes.

2. Strain the stock through a fine sieve and discard all vegetables and herbs. Skim the remaining fat off the top of the stock.

3. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle shred into uniform pieces.

Directions for Soup –

1. Heat a saute pan to medium and add butter and olive oil. Once the butter melts, add all your diced veggies to the pan. Saute for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, place a soup pot with the 10 – 12 cups of chicken stock to simmer and add the cooked vegetables and shredded chicken to the soup pot. Bring to boil, season to taste and add the egg noodles and peas. Cook until the egg noodles are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Taste again, season if needed – enjoy the soup with a crusty loaf of bread…yum!

Ham and Potato Soup

Wow – was it cold today or what?? Seriously icy cold winds that would not let up made it unbearably chilly today. I don’t normally cook dinner on Mondays because M is at school, but today was perfect soup weather. This is one of my family’s favorite soups – it’s creamy but not too heavy. I always double or triple the amounts given at Allrecipes.com because it’s that good! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Ham and Potato Soup – adapted from Allrecipes.com

* = my modifications

  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes (*2 pounds)
  • 1/3 cup diced celery (*5 stalks)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion (*one whole small onion)
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham (*a little over 1 pound)
  • 3 1/4 cups water (*4 cups chicken broth)
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules (*I omitted this)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste (*I omitted this)
  • 1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter (*11 tbsp)
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour (*11 tbsp)
  • 2 cups milk (*three cups)

Directions –

1. Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.

2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.


Brioche and Sausage Dressing

Wow – this was more work than I anticipated…brioche takes time, especially the recipe I ended up using. If there is anything I have learned this year it’s plan ahead. I thought I did a pretty good job until I realized the brioche I needed could take up to 4 days to make if I chose. This is baking in the oven now, and it smells divine! I’m hoping that it is worth all the extra effort I put into it.

Update: Wow – was this ever tasty! Be sure to use a good quality butter when making this bread, because it is such an important component and flavor in this. The dressing was so flavorful and moist, and I am happy to report that it was completely worth the head ache and effort to make. I will not forget the lesson I learned this Thanksgiving about planning. Next time this is on the menu, I will be sure to bake it off or just start it a week before it’s needed. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

briochea

*Basic Brioche – The Bread Bible

Dough Starter –

  • 2 TBSP room temperature water
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg

*Make the starter one to two days ahead. In a mixing bowl, add ingredients and mix until very smooth. Cover with plastic wrap.

Flour Mixture –

  • 5.5 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 TBSP room temperature butter

1. Combine first four ingredients and pour on top of the starter, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

2. Using a standing mixer, add eggs and mix on low speed for about a minute until evenly moistened. Raise speed to medium and beat for two minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with an oiled rubber scraper, then continue beating for five minutes longer or until the dough is smooth and shiny but very soft and sticky. It wont pull away from the bowl completely.

3. Add the butter one TBSP at a time until all incorporated. The dough will be soft and sticky. Lightly oil top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

4. Chill – refrigerate for one hour, then gently deflate with rubber spatula, then return it to the refrigerator for another hour.

5. Deflate/Chill – turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Press or roll into a rectangle, flour as needed. Give the dough a business letter turn, brushing off excess flour. Rotate 90 degrees so the closed side faces left. Make a second business turn and round the corners. Dust it lightly on all sides with flour. Wrap loosely but securely with plastic wrap and place in a large ziploc bag. Refrigerate of at least six hours and up to two days.

6.  Shape/Rise – remove from fridge and gently press down to deflate. Roll/press into a 7 1/2″ by 5″ wide rectangle. Roll down from top in three turns, being sure to brush off the excess flour. Place seam side down in a prepared 8×4 inch loaf pan pressing down firmly. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough reaches the top of the pan – about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack on the lowest position of the oven and place a baking stone or a baking sheet on the rack.

8. Glaze/Slash/Bake – glaze the top of the loaf with a mixture of one egg yolk and a splash of cream or milk. Slash the top of the loaf 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep lengthwise down the loaf, making sure to leave 1″ at each end. Set on hot stone and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees.

9. Cool – un-mold loaf to cool on a wire rack at least two hours before cutting.

dressing

*Sausage Brioche Dressing – adapted from Food Network

  • 1 brioche loaf, cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound pork breakfast sausage
  • 4 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cross cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions –

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread the brioche on a baking sheet and put it in the oven until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside in a large bowl.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the sausage and break it into pieces with a spoon. Cook until browned, then transfer it to the bowl with the brioche. Add the celery to the sausage drippings and cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Put the sausage into the brioche bowl. Stir in the stock and sage and mix until the brioche absorbs most of the liquid. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

dressing2

Transfer the dressing to a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes. Cover with foil and bake until golden brown on top, another 20 to 25 minutes.