Monday, July 13, 2020

Nana's Chicken Casserole
{Convenience foods from the pantry}

I was going through some recipes I had saved years back and came across one called Nana's Chicken Casserole.  It was from a former co-worker who contributed the recipe for a cookbook my former employer put together.

Normally I like to make my own sauces but I have to say, during this lockdown I have relied on canned goods more than before.  This is also posted for my friend Katherine who is in need of recipes using few ingredients.  I hope this helps, Katherine!


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This is so simple and I'll share a few photos of it being tossed together.  Photo below is a casserole dish with chicken breasts, covered by a mixture of soup, topped with swiss cheese slices and then stuffing laden over that lot.


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 Here it is ready to go in oven. No, it doesn't look appealing but honestly it's good.

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We have substituted boneless chicken thighs and it works well.  Depends on the chicken parts you like best.  We have also swapped out the soup.  It calls for cream of chicken but I have used cream of mushroom or celery.  Again, it depends on your taste.

This particular night we ate this casserole using candles as our electricty went out.  Fortunately the casserole was finished cooking.  Doug opened our last bottle of Rose and it was a smooth combo of flavors.

This is what blew in on us. My weather app fluctuates between Havana and Midway.  Yes, 102 degrees and 14 mph winds.  Branches fell, the electricty went out and we enjoyed our meal and wine all the same.


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This will be one of our last wine meals as the cooler is getting empty and we aren't going shopping. Probably good to give my brain a rest for a bit.

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Nana's Chicken Casserole

1 box Stovetop Stuffing of your choice
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/8 cup white wine or water
6 slices Swiss cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x13 pan.  
Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions.

Place chicken breasts in the dish.  Mix soup and water together then spread this mixture over the chicken breats evenly.  Pour the rest in the dish around the pieces.

Place a slice of cheese over each chicken breast. Salt and pepper each piece.
Spread the stuffing mixture over each piece and place any remainder in between the chicken and the pan.
Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.  Check the chicken after 30 minutes for doneness.  You can cover it with foil at this point if it's getting too brown.

Like I said, this is easy and you only need a couple of pantry items along with the chicken to make a good casserole.  I'd love to hear from anyone who has quick pantry type recipe so I can stock up on items.

That's it for today!

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

July edition of In My Kitchen

Half the year gone - snap. Same old, same old here as Florida's Covid cases are higher than ever.  That's what happens when our elected officials don't shut the state down and ask people to stay home.  That's what happens people don't use common sense, regardless of what rules are or are not put in place.   Doug and I stay home and plan for future trips if that day ever comes.

Rant over.

So... let's see what everyone has to share for Sherry's In My Kitchen event this month.  Here is a look in ours.

Here are some new items in the kitchen recently.  My son sent me a cool knife set for my birthday last month. It reminded me of Game of Thrones the way the knives fan out.  

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There are all types of knives, a neat pizza cutting knife as well as a grater.  
Thanks, Tristan!

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We tried a new cheese from Trader Joe's store. Alas, it was terribly unpleasant. It smelled like feet and tasted like...anchovies, I think it was that particular fishy taste. We tossed it. Probably should have returned it.  


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I made monkey bread last month as a cheeky tie-in with the movie Kong: Skull Island.  It's so easy to break off pieces to nibble so half had to be frozen for the future. It is addicting. Aja's head is barely visible in the left corner of the photo.  This bread isn't huge, nor is she that tiny.


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Popovers - yet more carbs created in our kitchen.  Recipe is HERE.

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I recently became acquainted with Lee Bailey's cookbook The Way I Cook. 
(thank you BFR)  Temperatures and humidity are ramping up here so a cool salad seemed the best choice for a refreshing side dish. (Recipe below)


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Speaking of trying new things we finally tried the Beyond Burger.  I saw this on Mae's site and after reading good reviews, we thought we'd give it a whirl.  It was very good.

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As promised, here is the simple recipe for a cool side salad.  This could go well with just about anything.  Love it.

Avocado, Tomato and Red Onion Salad

3 TB. Lemon juice 
6 TB olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper 
1 TB minced cilantro 
1 cup medium red onion, chopped 
2 cups peeled,  seeded, coarsely chopped fresh tomatoes 
1 large avocado,  peeled and coarsely chopped 
1 tsp minced jalapeno,  or to taste 

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil,  salt, pepper and cilantro.  Set aside.   Combine onions, tomatoes and avocado and toss with vinaigrette.

 I did not use the jalapenos. It may be liquidy so use a slotted spoon to serve. 

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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Fettucine with Summer Vegetables
{but wait! There is also Summer Vegetable and Steak Soup!}

The theme at I Heart Cooking Club this week is Farmers Market/Local Produce.  Julia Child is the featured chef but you could choose any of the 19 chefs from the past.  Today I wanted to share a light pasta recipe using loads of fresh veggies from Jacques Pepin's book Essential Pepin.


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 You'll notice the tiny cottage cheese biscuits in the background. I made another batch of  these and they went well with this dish.


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This could be a light lunch or dinner and with only two of us at home now, it made two lunches and enough leftover to create a soup. This is a vegetarian dish but you could adjust to vegan by omitting the butter and Parmesan.

It's not labor intensive, you should know if I made it it wasn't hard.  I'm not the laziest person around but I am a contender.  Probably all this business of staying home all the time.

Fettuccine with Summer Vegetables
Essential Pepin

1/4 cup olive oil
1 TB unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
6 scallions, trimmed cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small yellow squash, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 ears of corn, husked and kernels cut off
2 plum tomatoes, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tsp. salt
5 garlic cloves
fresh basil
2 TB tarragon
fettuccine
freshly ground Parmesan cheese

Combine the olive oil, butter and water in large skillet; bring to a boil.  Add scallions, squash and mushrooms, simmer a while.  Now add corn, tomatoes and salt. 

You are supposed to crush the garlic and I just sliced it, added it into the mix.

Cook the fettuccine while the veg mixture is melding.  Add herbs and seasonings to taste.  The recipe calls for the veggies to be placed into the center of the dinner plates but instead, we heaped the pasta into a shallow bowl and added the amount of veggies we wanted. 
Top with Parmesan and enjoy.

NOTE: the orginal recipe calls for zucchini but we like the yellow crookneck squash better, so we substituted some ingredients.

As this new version of blogspot doesn't like me and won't allow me to add labels/tags I  will note here this is vegetarian.

Remember I mentioned soup earlier in this post?  Well, all I did was saute onions and once soft, added the leftover vegetables.   Snip the remaining fettuccine noodles into smaller pieces and toss in a pot.  We had a few strips of steak we couldn't finish one evening a few weeks ago and those had been in the freezer, awaiting a casserole or soup concoction. 

I added a tiny bit of broth, a few other orphan veggies and more salt and pepper.  That's it.  Use up all the leftovers in any way you can.  No waste :-)

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Saturday, June 27, 2020

Popovers - make it a carby Saturday :-)

For some reason I have been haunting the kitchen cabinets and pantry area for ingredients to create baked goods or a casserole or well....anything.  Usually I pass time by reading in the heat of the afternoons but suddenly I am seized with a desire for sweets.

That's just great.  Not as much exercise and more high calorie foods. Here is the latest simple thing I have made with the mixer. Popovers.

They are light and airy, perfect with a dollop of good quality strawberry jam while they are warm.

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Using only 5 ingredients you couldn't ask for a simpler recipe with a big reward.  I do not have a popover pan but I improvised by using a large muffin pan.  This recipe makes 8 popovers and since my large muffin pan only accomodates 6, I found a custard cup.  Only one though so I had to toss the remaining batter.


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Popovers 
(from my KitchenAid recipe booklet)

                                                                  2 eggs
                                                              1 cup milk
                                         1 TB. butter or margarine, melted
                                                     1 cup all-purpose flour
                                                           1/4 teaspoon salt   

Place all ingredients in the mixer bowl. Attach wire whisk to mixer. Turn to speed 4 and beat for 15 seconds.  Stop and scrape bowl. Turn to speed 4 and beat another 15 seconds.

Fill 8 heavily greased and floured custard cups half full with batter. Place cups on cookie sheet.  Place cookie sheet in cold oven and heat oven to 450 F.

Bake for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350 F and bake 20 to 25 minutes longer.
Remove from oven and serve immediately. 

Note: I have looked over other popover recipes which direct you to preheat the oven rather than place the batter in a cold oven.  This method of placing in a cold oven worked very well but I'm sure I will try other variations in the future.

If you'd like a larger quantity just double the recipe.  They are best hot and fresh so I'd  just make them as we want to enjoy the popovers.




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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Kong: Skull Island for Food 'n Flix
{Black Bean Gnocchi Soup & Monkey Bread}

The movie host at Food 'n Flix this month is Camilla writing at her site Culinarary Adventures. There isn't a a set movie rather any movie filmed or set in Hawaii. That opens up many choices.

My first thought was the movie Pearl Harbor with Kate Beckinsale or Midway, a newly released movie which we own. Browsing at the library and also using Camilla's suggestions (see her site) I chose Kong: Skull Island.  Yeah, don't ask me why I thought that was a good idea.  Food references or scenes were basically non existent.   But it was partially fimed in Hawaii.  

The one food scene I noticed was a soldier eating a can of C-rations. It was either beans or beef stew.  Oh right, there was a scene with a hotdog and a beer later on.

Activate creativity-mode for a representative dish!


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I knew I didn't want beef stew so a black bean gnocchi soup was created.  I don't have a recipe but I'll tell you what I did.   I sauted an onion and several garlic cloves in olive oil.  Once the onions were soft I added a can of black beans and chopped tomatoes. Mix this up well then add broth, salt, ground pepper, roasted garlic powder and basil.  I used roughly 4 cups of broth as I like it soupy.  Now add gnocchi and simmer.  

Here is a cheeky little nod to the star of the movie - monkey bread.  There was a scene with the helicopters flying deep into the jungle and suddenly a very irriated Kong arises and glares at the copters.  A soldier asked, "Is that a big monkey?!"  So....monkey bread.

It was more than we needed for a household of two - wish my son and his parmour were near us so we could share.


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It went a treat with coffee.  Mmmmmm...... cinnamon and sugar and hot bread.

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 Camilla's announcement post is HERE. Join in if you can, it's fun to see what the participants come up.  Camilla lists numerous films to choose from. 

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Monday, June 22, 2020

Nigella's Maple Chicken and Ribs for I Heart Cooking Club


I have made this Nigella Lawson recipe many times in the past so I wasn't planning on posting it but....cleaning up my recent photos I saw I'd snapped this meal from last week. I thought, what the heck.

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A disposable pan helps inmmensely with clean up as the maple caramelizes on the pan.  It's great on the meats but the pan is a bugger to clean.

I know, it's not green/environmentally friendly but in this case I had to say - sorry environment! Normally I am the Poster Girl for recycling.

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Side salad with the last of the tomatoes from our garden.  We were very sorry to see those go. Lots of Parmesan cheese and crushed croutons.

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Easy meal, I can recommend it for the carnivores or those who occasionally insert a meat meal in their menus.  Coming up I have a vegetarian meal to share as I particpated with Food 'n Flix this month, the food inspiration was all veggie.

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Ok, to the prep and ingredients.   Easy as it gets tossing this one together. Everything marinates in a bag overnight for two nights. 


If you can get baby back ribs those are amazing. This recipe works with St Louis style ribs…any rib cut but we find the baby back are super good.

Ingredients

1 cup apple cider or juice
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cinnamon stick
6 unpeeled garlic cloves
½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
8 pork spareribs
6 chicken thighs with skin and bone


After the marinating time, toss all ingredients into a roasting pan at 400 F for an hour to an hour and half.
Serve on a platter. That’s it! 

Sharing with I Heart Cooking Club



Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Boursin Potato Soup

A pot of simmering soup. What a thing of beauty.

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Soup is a comfort when it's rainy and I like making soup. This recipe I shamelessly stole from my friend Deb at Kahakai Kitchen. Her recipe may be found HERE.  I had planned to make this and post it when we were having daily downpours.  Now it's sunny.  Either way, I like soup.  This saves you from reading a rain rant and we can right to this easy and delicious bowl of goodness.


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I modified the recipe as I didn't have leeks or celery.  What I did was add additonal green onion and carrots to make up the bulk. Topped it all with pepper and chopped scallions.

Boursin Potato Soup

5 potatoes, peels and chunked
2 medium carrots sliced thinly
7 scallions and half and onion, sliced thinly
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
bay leaf powder, ground up
salt and pepper to taste
roughly 4 cups chicken broth
1 5-oz. package of herb Boursin cheese

Heat the olive oil in your soup pot.  Saute the onions, carrots and garlic for about 4 minutes.  Make sure they are soft.  Now add the potatoes and broth.  Use vegetable broth if you'd like to make it vegetarian.

Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes making sure the potatoes have cooked.  Deb pulled some out to blend in a food processor but I opted for the lazy way and used my immersion blender.  I didn't blend it completely smooth but allowed a few chunks of potato to remain.

At this point add the Boursin cheese into the pot and whisk to blend.  It thickens up a bit but you can add more broth if you like it soupier.  It's a rich and delicious soup and  I know we will make it again.

Much thaks to Deb for posting her recipe.  Now I will share it with her at Souper Sunday and also with Marg for Weekend Cooking event.  See links below.




Sunday, June 14, 2020

Cottage Cheese Biscuits from Lee Bailey's The Way I Cook


Before I talk about what I planned to share I woud like to ask a few questions of fellow Blogspot users.  Is anyone else having trouble adding labels to their posts?  I keep getting an error message and indeed, it isn't saving my labels.  There are a few other features (such as centering the verbiage) that seems ot have disappeared as an option. Ugh...why did they change everything?!

On to the biscuits now.

I would like to thank Beth Fish Reads for introducing me to cookbooks by Lee Bailey. Some of his books are filled with gorgeous color photos and would be at home as an interesting coffee table book. This particular cookbook, The Way I Cook is my favorite so  far.

My first recipe is the amazingly easy Cottage Cheese Biscuits.  In under 40 minutes they were assembled and baked.  Half were eaten immediately. You can bet I will be making these again as soon as I have more cottage cheese in the house.


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They look like cookies and reminded me in appearance of a sweet coconut cookie.

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Light and moist, a breeze to make and only five ingredients.  Make these, trust me, you will love them.  The only problem I see now is they could become an addiction.  Too easy to pop a few in your mouth and next thing you know, you've demolished the batch.

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Cottage Cheese Biscuits

2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking poweder
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups small curd cottage cheese

Preheat oven to 450 F.  Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl.  Cut butter in with a pastry blender or two knives until it is the size of small peas.  Stir in cottage cheese all at once.

Drop by generous tablespoons onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Note: I did not have a pastry blender and used a knife to cut the butter.  It worked but I am off to purchase this inexpensive pastry cutter within the next few days.  It would be so much easier to get the butter in smaller pieces before my hot hands melt the butter.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

In My Kitchen and Garden for June
{Weekend Cooking and Souper Sunday}

Holy cow it's midway through 2020 already. I had been told when you retire the time and days fly by.  It's very true.  Often I can't remember what day it is and my calendar has many written reminders on it now.

Here is my offering for the In My Kitchen event hosted at Sherry's Pickings.
The meal below was enjoyed in late May as it was my pick for my birthday celebration.  It was celebrated early as I'm taking some meds which react badly with alcohol. Silver lining is I'll be done the end of this week. :-)

Well.....this bottle of St Emillion was saved for the event and since I couldn't enjoy it in June, we just revised and celebrated early.  No big deal as it was a fabulous meal and I had the best company.

The salad is a basic type but the star was the tomatoes as we grew them.  Honestly, I wish we were more successful in the garden because there is nothing like a home grown tomato.  The taste is so fresh and there is the satisfaction of having grown it yourself.


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Lovely bottle of St Emillion that went a treat with grilled filets.

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Homemade baguette with grilled asparagus and baked sweet potato.

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One of my favorite desserts - cheesecake!

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Here are the tomatoes, it was a kick getting them from the garden. I am pleased with the most mundane things sometimes.

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The peppers are close to getting picked and the beans are flourishing.  We've never grown black beans before and they are so pretty with the long stalks and purple and white blossoms.

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Last but not least I want to share this big fat cookbook called Essential Pepin.  It comes with a DVD to view him preparing some of his dishes.  This was a score from Thrift Books coming in under $12.  I would like to start exploring some of the recipes in this gem and have delicious posts upcoming.  Wish me luck.

I recently made a Penne au Gratin from this book but that's it so far.

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Monday, June 01, 2020

Space Movies

Saturday we were glued to our tablets watching the SpaceX Dragon launch from Port Canaveral. Then we tuned in Sunday to see the docking with the International Space Station. What a cool historic moment.  This was definitely one of the times I wish we had TV feed because to see that on a 75 inch screen would have been amazing.  One day it would be great if we could actually go see a launch.

For now, we will settle on news videos and movies.  Doug and I both like most space themed movies and we own a few.  I  wondered  if any like minded folks had suggestions.  For starters I'm asking my bookish friend Katherine from I Wish I Lived in a Library as we share that interest.

Here are some of our picks.  We like the true stories depicted on screen from The Dish and Hidden Figures.


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First Man was very good and I thought Ryan Gosling did an excellent job portraying Neil Armstrong. The Apollo 11 movie included actual footage from the launch and moon landing.  Apollo 13 is one we haven't watched in a while but probably will this month.

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Then we have some movies with visually stunning effects and entertaining as well.

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We also have the Firefly series and The Martian....love the Martian!

I can think of others with space themes we've watched such as Space Cowboys, The Right Stuff, Ad Astra (wasn't crazy about that one) and Gravity.

Please leave us suggestions if I haven't mentioned a movie you like or could recommend.  Have you seen any of the above?


Saturday, May 30, 2020

Chicken Gnocchi soup

Happy Saturday to all.  I am finally getting it together to write about the Chicken Gnocchi soup I made before the camping trip.  It's very good and the plan was to post last week but....life got in the way.

This is knockoff recipe from an Olive Garden soup but with modifications to reduce the calorie count. Honestly, we haven't eaten at an Olive Garden restaurant in over 10 years but I did remember liking the rich and creamy Chicken Gnocchi soup.


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 This wasn't arduous to prepare but if I'd taken the slow cooker option , well now you are really talking hands off time. The slow cooker option gives you more reading time during the cooking phase. No worries, it was completely worth it.

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Chicken Gnocchi Soup

2 carrots, sliced thinly
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped thinly
3 cloves garlic, sliced
7 ounces fresh spinach
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast (I used leftover grilled chicken)
Oregano, rosemary and basil to your taste
Almost 4 cups chicken broth
14 ounce can evaporated milk
3 TB cornstarch
packaged gnocchi

Chop all veggies except spinach and saute.
  The spinach is added at the end of the cooking time.
Add all other ingredients except cornstarch after vegetables are tender. 
 Once blended thicken it with cornstarch.  
Add the spinach last, just before you serve a bowl.

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Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday event. Check out her Mexican Steet Corn and Potato Chowder

Nana's Chicken Casserole <br> {Convenience foods from the pantry}</br>

I was going through some recipes I had saved years back and came across one called Nana's Chicken Casserole.  It was from a former co-wo...