Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Creole Chicken Potpie with Biscuit Crust

I love making potpies, and I love serving them for dinner because everyone loves them. It makes my husband happy, and it make my little boys happy. One of the challenges of making potpies can be getting a chance to make the crust ahead of time, so it can sit in the refrigerator long enough to make handling easier. Well! I had a stroke of genius the other day. I thought, "maybe I can just make a batch of biscuit dough and throw that on top." I did it, and I think I may prefer a biscuit topping over the standard pie crust. Crazy? Crazy good!

By the way, I usually make a stock with a fattier peice of chicken when I make potpies, but right now I have a freezer full of chicken breast tenders, so I'm making my pie fillings a bit differently. Although, this way also has fewer steps and makes the potpies easier and quicker.

Pie filling
1 lb of chicken breast tenders
3/4 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup canned sweet peas
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 to 1 1/2 cups chardonnay
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken shock
1 heaping tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
garlic powder

Biscuit crust
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup milk

In a large frying pan heat olive oil on high heat. Meanwhile, season chicken well with salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, paprika, cayenne, and garlic powder. Once oil is hot, sear chicken breasts on all side until cooked through. Remove chicken from pan and add a splash of wine to deglaze, then add chopped carrots.

While carrots are cooking, make biscuit dough. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Using the tines of a fork, cut shortening into flour until consistency of coarse meal. Add milk; stir with fork until mixture leaves sides of the bowl and forms a soft, moist dough. On a floured surface, toss lightly until no longer sticky. Roll out dough to fit the dimensions of the baking dish you will bake the potpie in.

Once the carrots are almost cooked, add butter and the onions. Add wine as needed to give plenty of liquid for the vegetables to cook in. When the onions become soft, add the mushrooms and garlic; continue adding wine as needed. Once the mushrooms are fully cooked, add flour and stir continuously to form a roux. Then, stir in chicken stock, cooking on medium heat and allowing the sauce to thicken. Once thickened, stir in heavy cream, add additional cayenne and salt to preferred taste. Return chicken to pan and stir in peas and chopped cilantro.

Pour contents of the pan into a large baking dish; top with biscuit dough. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until the crust is golden and puffy like a biscuit. Enjoy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Milk Chocolate Chip Blondies with Vanilla Icing

It's not a cookie. It's not a brownie. It's not a cake. It's something delightfully reminiscent of all of the above. Even my husband, who is "not that into sweets," couldn't resist the chewy delightfulness of these blondies.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13x9 inch pan.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, and butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs; blend well. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips; spread in bottom of greased pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk

In a medium bowl, mix butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and enough milk for desired consistency. Spread over bars.

You can spread the icing over cooled bars, but I prefer spreading it on warm bars because it melts over the blondies nicely.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vanilla Cream Eclairs with Chocolate Icing

This is quite the sweet treat! My boys enjoyed all the phases of their creation, especially licking the cream bowl and icing beaters. I suggest making the vanilla cream first, just don't eat it all before you get the eclairs baked!

Vanilla Cream
1 1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 large egg yolks

In a medium saucepan, bring milk to a simmer.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl combine sugar, flour, cornstarch, and egg yolks; beat on high until thick and pale yellow.
Slowly add about 1/3 of the milk to the egg mixture, blending the entire time. Do this slowly so as not to scramble the eggs. Scrape the egg mixture into the the saucepan with the remaining milk and whisk continuously over low to medium heat until the thickens and begins to bubble, stir in vanilla extract; then, using a clean spatula, scrape into a clean bowl. Cover the custard with wax or parchment paper; then, cool in the refrigerator.

1 cup of water
1/2 cup of butter (one stick)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease cookie sheet.
Bring water, salt, and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Lower heat and add flour all at once, stir constantly until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Remove from heat and beat in each egg one at a time, making sure each egg is well blended before adding the next.

Place pastry dough into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip. Pipe dough onto prepared cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. I piped between 2 and 3 inches per eclair. Dough can be gently smoothed with moistened finger tips.

Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Leave in the oven an additional 10 minutes with the oven turned off. Remove, cool, and pipe pastry cream into eclairs.

Chocolate Icing
(note: these are approximations)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1 to 2 cups confectioner sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium mixing bowl, add cocoa to butter, vanilla, and about 1/2 cup powdered sugar; beat on medium. Continue to beat in milk and confectioner sugar until you reach the desired consistency.

Slather icing on cream filled eclairs. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Be Delicious: Easy Egg Nog on Foodista

Be Delicious: Easy Egg Nog on Foodista

Easy Egg Nog on Foodista

Easy Egg Nog on Foodista

Chicken and Bowtie Pasta

Last night I made this simple but delicious pasta dish. I like making this sort of dinner because it doesn't require a recipe. If you have a protein (especially something as versatile as chicken), a pasta, and a few pantry extras, you can easily create something like this simple dish.

Here's what I had:

approximately 1lb chicken breast tenders
1/2 package of bowtie pasta
1/2 large white onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 olive oil
1/5 to 3/4 cup white wine, chardonnay
1/2 cup sweet peas
1 tablespoon flour
1 to 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tablespoon basil pesto
1/4 cup sliced sundried tomatoes

Heat olive oil in a large fry pan on medium-high heat. Meanwhile, coat breast tenders in garlic powder, salt, and Italian herbs. Once oil is hot, sear chicken. While chicken cooks, chop onion and garlic. Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove to a plate; deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine. Then, saute chopped onions until nearly tender; add garlic and a bit more wine. Once the onions and garlic are tender, add a tablespoon of flour to make a paste; then, add the rest of the wine and chicken stock. Allow the sauce to cook down to desired thickness. Meanwhile, boil salted water and cook pasta. Add sundried tomatoes to the sauce while it continues to cook. Once the pasta is cooked, stir basil pesto into the sauce, add cubed cooked chicken, pasta, and the sweet peas. Salt to taste, and serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Eggnog for Breakfast

Holiday travels have kept me from blogging about my eggnog breakfast craze, but, now that I'm home, here are some simple breakfast recipes that incorporate eggnog! I was inspired to put eggnog in my pancakes and muffins one night when I fell in love with eggnog after knocking back a few with bourbon.

The first recipe is really easy: I just put eggnog in my coffee. No cream or sugar necessary! I filled my mug about halfway up with coffee and half way up with eggnog.

The next recipe is eggnog pancakes. Delightful! The about of eggnog I suggest give the pancakes just a hint of eggnog, which really compliments the traditional taste of pancakes. If you want a stronger eggnog flavor, you could add 1/4 cup more eggnog.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup eggnog
2 tablespoons melted butter

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and eggnog; add to the dry ingredients, stirring until smooth. Stir in melted butter. Using a hot greased skillet, pour a 1/4 cup of batter at a time per pancake. Once the edges are a little dry, flip and cook other side until it is browned. Enjoy!

My final recipe is quick and easy eggnog muffins. They're mini because that's the way I like my muffins!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup eggnog
1/3 cup oil
1 egg


Heat oven to 400 degrees and grease muffin tins. In a medium bowl combine your dry ingredients; mix well. In a small bowl, blend eggnog, oil, and egg; add to flour mixture all at once. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Evenly divide batter between greased muffin cups at bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Enjoy!