Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Grandma Zimmy's Pot Pie

We celebrated this Christmas at my Grandparents house on Little Bass Lake.

Before our meal we gathered at the family table. My Grandpa prayed a blessing over the food and thanked God for gifts he has given us. Outside, the snow fell silently, dancing gracefully through the air before it came to rest creating a blanket of pureness all around us. The new snow shimmered across the ice, changing the landscape with each flake that landed. It was like watching an artist complete a masterpiece. God is the greatest artist I will ever know. He gave us the perfect image of new beginnings for our celebration of Jesus's birth.

My Grandma and I took it all in for a moment before we indulged in some home cooking. She made a chicken pot pie for dinner that was simply delicious. It's just a basic pot pie, yet, the flavors were blended in a way that danced on your tongue. So a huge thank you goes out to Grandma Zimmy for this little gem of a recipe.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Note: Do not add any salt to this recipe.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2 medium chicken breasts
1 can chicken broth (low sodium)
1/2 can water
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
1 cup celery sliced into chunks
4 oz. cream cheese (light is fine)
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 heaping TBS flour
2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls

Boil the chicken breasts in the chicken broth and water until very tender. Remove the chicken and when cool cut into medium bite sized chunks.

Into the hot liquid add the frozen peas and carrots and the celery. Boil until the carrots are done.

Then add the cream cheese and stir until smooth, then add the cream of chicken soup and mix all well. Sprinkle in flour. Stir to combine. Stir in chicken. Keep hot, but not boiling.

Open 1 can of crescent rolls and lay flat, pressing perforated edges together to seal. Put this as a bottom crust into a 9" circular casserole dish, and cut off excess around the rim.

Pour hot filling into bottom crust and repeat with another can of crescent rolls for a top crust. Excess dough can be rolled up crescent style and baked.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned just right. Remove and let rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Curing hot dish phobia

Jon is a hot dish hater.

Or so he says.

Really, he only dislikes Minnesota Goulash hot dish. It's generally made with elbow macaroni, ground beef, canned tomatoes, corn, and sometimes topped with cheddar cheese. When he hears hot dish that is the image that comes to mind.

I made tater tot hot dish tonight for dinner. He came into the kitchen and said, "Mmm, it smells really good!" I had to laugh when he squealed "OH tater tots, YUM!"

He asked for the leftovers for his lunch....This seems to be the case more often than not when I make hot dishes.

I have two versions I make, a basic down-home version and a more company friendly version. I will list both. My hot dish hater loves them both. Enjoy!

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Classic Tater Tot Hot dish
Serves 4

1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup milk
3/4 lb ground beef
1/4 cup diced onion
1/3 cup cheddar cheese
1 small can corn, drained
tater tots
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Brown beef and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Add corn to beef.

Spray a casserole dish. Pour in beef mixture.

Stir together soup and milk. Pour over beef. Top with cheese.

Arrange tater tots over all.

Bake, uncovered, about 35 minutes or until tots are golden brown.

Let set 5-10 minutes before serving.

Company Tater Tot Hot dish
Serves 4

1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 small onion, diced
garlic salt and pepper to taste
1 small can corn, drained
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup skim milk
1 1/2 oz shredded sharp provolone cheese
3/4 oz grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Tater Tots

Preheat oven to 400.

Brown beef, onion, and Worcestershire sauce together. Season with garlic salt and pepper to taste. Add corn. Spread into a prepared casserole dish.

Combine flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the same skillet the beef was browned in over medium-high heat. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add provolone and Parmesan, stirring until cheese melts.

Pour over beef and corn mixture.

Arrange tater tots over the top.

Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes until tater tots are golden brown.

Let set for 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Baking

I don't do a lot of holiday baking, there are enough bakers out there that lovingly drop goodies off at my door. But, every once in a while I like to whip out some cookies or brownie bars.

I grabbed some Andes Mint Chunks the other night when I was doing some late night shopping with my friend Kate. I had no idea what I was going to be doing with them, but they sounded good at the time.

I did a test batch of brownie bars today using some mint/dark chocolate chips in place of the Andes Chunks, I can't wait to share these bars with family on Christmas!

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend! Cheers!

Mint Chocolate Brownie Bars

2 cups flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
10 oz mint chocolate chips or Andes chocolate chunks

Cream together sugar and butter.

Add eggs and vanilla.

Sift together salt, soda, cocoa powder, and flour. Fold into wet ingredients.

Add chips. Stir until just combined.

Spread into a prepared jelly roll pan ( 15 x 10 x 1 ½)

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes- until a toothpick comes out clean.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Did you say cheese and chicken!?

I made one of my old favorites for my hubby the other night. My mom's cheesy chicken roll ups. They are quick and easy, and oh so delicious!

My husband isn't a fan of mushrooms so I left them out of the filling until after I filled his chicken. He suggested I swap out mushrooms for crumbled bacon, perhaps next time around we will give it a try.

Hope you are all staying toasty warm in your homes this cold time of year. This recipe uses the oven and, bonus! The aroma is simply splendid. If there are any leftovers, they are even better the next day as the flavors blend and mingle overnight.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Cheesy Chicken Roll Ups
Serves 4

16 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast (aprox 2 large breast pieces)*
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 oz cooked, chopped mushrooms or drained mushroom pieces
1 TBS pimentos
1 TBS fresh or 1 tsp dried chives
2 TBS dried bread crumbs**
olive oil or melted butter
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray with cooking spray.

Cut chicken into 4 thin breasts by butterfling the breast lengthwise then fully seperating the halves.

Place one chicken breast between two pieces of plastic. Pound to an even 1/8 inch thickness using a meat mallet or a sturdy skillet. Repeat with remaining three breasts. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl combine all remaining ingredients except bread crumbs and olive oil.

Spread 1/4 of the mixture on each chicken breast, leaving a small edge all around. Roll up chicken and secure with toothpicks. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet.

Spritz each roll up with olive oil or brush lightly with melted butter. Sprinkle with 1/2 TBS bread crumbs.

Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes before pulling out the toothpicks.

* You can use four, flash frozen individual breasts instead. They are usually about 4 ounces. You can then omit the butterfly and seperate step, continue directly to pounding meat thin.
** Bread crumb topping is optional. If making gf, omit crumbs or use gf bread crumbs.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I hear ornaments...

Charlie thinks I have brought some nature in just for him.

In the middle of the night I hear the jingle of ornaments.

We play a "fun" little game this time of year. The game play goes something like this: He plays with the ornaments and bites the tree, I come stumbling out of my bedroom in the middle of the night. He meows and squints at me because he knows what's coming next.

I am going to pull out the big guns. The melter of all naughty kitties!

My squirt bottle.

I aim haphazardly in the dark, he runs away as I pull the trigger repeatedly. And, about 20 minutes later he tries again. We do this twice nightly for a good week before he learns not to eat the tree.

The Christmas tree is up and decorated. The nativity scene it set out on top of my dad's old Philco record player and radio. The garland is hung, bulbs hang from ribbon through the house, and the twinkle lights add a touch of color to the white walls in the hallway. It's beautiful. And finally, December 4th, the snow began to fall. Yep, it is starting to slowly feel like Christmas around these parts.

Here's to you and your holiday adventures, friend! Cheers!