Chicken Zoodle Soup

A couple of days ago, I roasted a whole chicken. Yesterday I decided to make Chicken Zoodle Soup. I took the chicken carcass, meat & bones, placed them in a pot with water and chicken bouillon. I let this cook for a couple of hours then took the meat off of the bones. To complete the soup, I chopped a red onion, & thinly sliced 2 carrots & 2 stalks of celery. I placed the veggies in the pot with the chicken, added salt and pepper and let the soup cook until the carrots were fork tender. With my spiralizer, I took 2 zucchini and made them into zoodles. Added the zoodles to my soup and let cook about 15 minutes so the zucchini was tender. This was very delicious and great for a cool fall day.

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Gumbo Day

 

Recently I have been in the mood for Louisiana style food. I made Jambalaya last week and made gumbo last night to celebrate Gumbo Day. It turned out great. This is probably the second time that the gumbo turned out perfect. The secret ingredient for gumbo is file which is Sassafras. Like any spice, file looses some flavor after it is opened. That being said. I have found that using more of the spice when it is older will give it the flavor you want.

 

To make my gumbo, I first boiled chicken thighs for about 40 minutes. Once the chicken is done, I took it out to cool and poured the broth into a bowl so I could start the “Holy Trinity”. That’s a term for onions, bell peppers, and celery in Louisiana cooking. Pour some oil in the bottom of the pan and add your vegetables. Cook them until they are just starting to soften. 

I started the roux with a half inch of oil in the bottom of a cast iron skillet and put in a tablespoon of Guar Gum for each 4 tablespoons of almond flour until the roux is thick. At this point, I added salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and file. I know most people don’t add flavoring to their roux, but I find that it enhances the flavor of the gumbo. You will need to watch your roux while it’s cooking to make sure it doesn’t burn. It will begin getting brown on the bottom so when you stir it the roux gets darker. For a chicken and sausage gumbo, I like a darker roux. If I was doing a shrimp gumbo, I would make it a little lighter in color.

Now that all the components are ready, we pour the broth back into the pan with the vegetables and bring it to a boil. Once it starts to boil, start spooning in the roux until you get the consistency you like. I like my gumbo thick but not as thick as a gravy. Once you get the broth thickened to your preference, add in shredded chicken and sliced sausage. Season with salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and File to taste. Voila! Delicious, rich and creamy gumbo.

Armoire to Bar

I was not successful yesterday.  In the morning we went to look at a camper shell for our truck.  We were not able to bring it home because the jacks did not work, it was on a frame and the gentleman was not there to show us his plan to get it on the truck. That killed the morning.  I wanted to do some mending  but that did not happen because my son and daughter-in-law came over to talk about buying the place when we got back home. We had a nice afternoon and they stayed for fried chicken & cauliflower for dinner. By the time they left it was 6 pm and I had no desire to do anything constructive.

This afternoon we are supposed to go back to pick up the camper shell if the repairs have been completed. In a way I hope it’s not done. But I know we need to get it to the house so Mac can start working on it for the animals to travel.

 

 

Since I found a picture of the armoire that Mac built back in 1997 or 1998, I thought I would show you how I converted it into a bar. The armoire was originally stained golden oak and used as a coat closet.

 

 

 

First I painted the exterior gray and used a sponge and hunter green paint to finish the outside.  

Inside I painted the walls a light green with black shelves and trim.  

We had a bar sign which we installed as well as 2 wine glass hangers.

We decided that mirrors would add extra brightness.

Mac found an old mirror and used it to cover the opening that used to be a drawer.

This is where we keep extra alcohol.

Finally Mac installed a rope light so the lower shelves weren’t so dark.  This turned out great and we can display our many glasses and alcohols.

Happy Memorial Day

First off – Happy Memorial Day. Take this time to remember those that have given so much so we can have the freedom we enjoy.

Today is also Coc Au Vin Day. This is basically French for cook in wine. This classic recipe slow cooks chicken in red wine. Even though I made this in the slow cooker and it was edible, I probably won’t do it again. It was not that tasty and there was actually more onions than anything else. Below is the recipe from Ina Garten that I tried if you want to cook a classic French meal.

2 tablespoons good olive oil
4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
3 to 4-pound chicken pieces
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
½ large yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
2 cups good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
3 tsp. thyme
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced

Cook bacon over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the crock pot/slow cooker and continue to brown until all the chicken is done.

 

 

Add the carrots, onions, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned.

 

 

Add the bacon, carrots, onions, garlic and any juices that collected in the pan, Cognac, wine, chicken stock, and thyme into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

 

 

If you would like a thick sauce, in a medium saute pan, mash butter and the flour together over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Add to the stew. Add the frozen onions and mushrooms. Let stew cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

Jamaican Chicken and Swiss Chard

We have a lot of Swiss chard in our garden. When I saw this recipe in Shape magazine, I cooked it up.  The heat from the jalapeno was just enough to give the chicken a little kick. Very tasty.

2 ½ lbs. Bone-in chicken pieces
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 scallions, roughly chopped
½ jalapeno, seeded
2 tsp. Ground allspice
3 garlic cloves, peeled
6 Tbsp. Water
1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. Fresh thyme
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 red potatoes
2 large carrots
1 bunch Swiss chard, cut into 1” strips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prep a cookie sheet with foil or parchment and place chicken in the center of the pan. Season with salt & pepper.

In a blender, process the scallions, jalapeno, pepper, allspice, garlic, water, 1 tablespoon thyme, and ¼ teaspoon salt into a smooth paste, adding some olive oil or additional water if needed.

Coat chicken with the marinade, placing some between the meat and skin if possible, and set pan aside. Cut potatoes into 1 1/2” cubes and carrots into 1 1/2” pieces and place around the chicken. Drizzle vegetables with 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons thyme and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Top pan with thyme sprigs.

Transfer pan to the oven. Toss chard with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. After 35 minutes, add chard to the baking sheet on top of the carrots and potatoes. Continue cooking until chicken skin and chard are crisp and the other vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes more.

 

Chicken Nuggets and Creamy Dill Dipping Sauce

Last night I made chicken nuggets for dinner.  I decided to make a dill dipping sauce to go with the nuggets.

Chicken Nuggets
½ c. almond flour
2 tsp. Onion powder
1 tsp. Garlic powder
½ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Black pepper
1 lb. Boneless skinless chicken
½ c. milk
1 c. chicharrones, crushed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, onion and garlic powders, salt & pepper. Cut chicken into 2” pieces then toss with flour mixture. Pour milk into a shallow bowl. Dip chicken pieces in milk. Pour chicharrones onto a large plate. Roll chicken in crumbs.

Arrange chicken on baking sheet; spritz with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

Creamy Dill
½ c. yogurt
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Chopped fresh dill or ¾ tsp. Dried
¼ tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Black pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients. Chill until serving time.

Picnic Day

Today being Picnic Day, I think of sharing a simple meal in a wonderful location. A picnic can be in a park, at the beach or even on your patio. Fried chicken and potato salad (see recipe below) may be what I would make if I were to plan a picnic. It would also be great to have a little something extra like some cut fruit or in this case some garlicky pickled veggies. Here are just a couple of pictures of our picnic.

For a simple and tasty potato salad try this recipe: Dill Pickle Potato Salad

3 med. Potatoes
3 Tbsp. Diced green onion
1 small stick celery
3 Tbsp. Dill pickles
¼ c. mayonnaise
½ tsp. Mustard
2 ¼ oz. Can diced black olives

Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces (peeling is optional). Cook the potatoes until barely soft. Place under cold water to cool.

While potatoes are cooking, chop the green onions, celery, and pickles and place in a bowl.

Mix mayonnaise and mustard in a large bowl. Add cooled potatoes and the vegetables, mix well. Gently stir in the olives.

California Strawberry Day

Strawberries are in season so I will be sharing a recipe from Fine Cooking for Spinach Salad with Chicken, Strawberries and Blue Cheese.

2 Tbsp. + 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt & Freshly ground black peppe
½ c. sliced almonds
¼ c. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. Honey
1 med. Shallot
6 oz. Loosely packed baby spinach leaves
8 oz. Strawberries, stemmed & quartered
3 oz crumbles blue cheese

 

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12” skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Pat the chicken dry and season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, turning once, until just cooked through, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest, loosely covered with foil, for 5 minutes.

While the chicken cooks, toast the almonds in a dry 10” skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until evenly brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

 

 

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil with the vinegar, honey, shallot, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. In large bowl, combine spinach, strawberries, blue cheese and almonds and toss with enough of the dressing to coat.

 

 

Arrange the salad on a platter or plates. Slice the chicken and arrange on the salad. Drizzle with some of the remaining vinaigrette and serve.

Continue reading “California Strawberry Day”

Chicken Ratatouille

Since today is National Poultry day I will be sharing a Chicken Ratatouille recipe from Great American Recipes.

4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1/4 c. oil
32 oz. diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Italian herbs
1 med. onion, chopped
1 med. green pepper, chopped
2 small zucchini, cut into cubes
1 small eggplant, cut into cubes
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
Salt & Pepper

 

 

In a large pot, heat the oil. Cook the chicken over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the tomato sauce, garlic, herbs, onion and green pepper; let cook approximately 20 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

Then add zucchini and eggplant; let cook until almost tender.  Finally add mushrooms and salt & pepper to taste. Simmer until vegetables are fork tender.