Saturday, October 28, 2006

Chinese Chicken Salad


4 split chicken breasts, roasted as instructed here
1 pound asparagus, ends removed, cut into thirds diagonally
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded
4 whole scallions, slice diagonally
2 Tbsp. White sesame seeds, toasted*
3 pkg. Top Ramen noodles (don’t use broth – cook as directed)


¾ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup high-quality apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
1 Tbsp. Honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. Fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 Tbsp. White sesame seeds, toasted*
½ cup smooth, unsweetened peanut butter
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. Freshly ground pepper

*To toast, place sesame seeds in a dry sauté pan and, over medium heat, swirl until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Roast chicken as instructed in separate recipe. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred the chicken into large bite-size pieces.

While chicken is roasting, blanch asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water, 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Immediately drain the asparagus and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop any further cooking. Drain again and set aside.

Cut the peppers into strips about the size of the asparagus pieces. Combine with shredded chicken and asparagus in a large bowl.

Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing (again, this can be done while chicken is roasting). Toss the chicken and vegetables with some of the dressing. Add the scallions and 2 Tbsp. Sesame seeds.

Prepare Top Ramen noodles per package instructions, but leave out seasoning packet. Drain and rinse. Toss with some of the dressing.

Serve chicken/vegetable mixture over cooked Top Ramen noodles.

Garnish with cashew pieces, if desired.

Add additional dressing as desired.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings.


The original recipe doesn't include the Top Ramen noodles.
I only use the tops and middle pieces of the asparagus.
I use 1/2 tsp. ground ginger instead of fresh

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Taco Soup

1 can pinto beans
1 can navy beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans (drain and rinse)
1 can corn (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel tomatoes & chilies (Rotel is brand name)
1 envelope of dry taco seasoning mix
1 envelope dry Ranch dressing mix
1 lb. ground beef

Brown ground beef. Drain fat.

Put beef and all other ingredients in crock pot. Remember, only drain and rinse the black beans.

Cook on low for as long as you need.

Serve with grated cheese, diced onions, sour cream and crackers or Fritos.


I made this in a big pot instead of a crockpot. Simmered on lowest heat (with the lid on) for about an hour and it was delicious.

This is a very hearty soup, almost like chili. It's not at all spicy (I use the mild taco seasoning mix), so you might prefer to add some seasonings (red pepper or chili powder) or hot sauce.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Chicken Florentine Lasagne

6 lasagne noodles, uncooked
1-10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 cups chopped cooked chicken (see recipe)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1-8 oz. carton sour cream
1-8 oz. pkg. fresh mushrooms
1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 Tbsp. butter or margarine, divided
1 cup chopped pecans

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Slice mushrooms; saute in 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine; set aside.

Drain spinach well, pressing between layers of paper towels until all moisture is removed.

Combine spinach, chicken, and next 10 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well to mix.

Arrange 3 noodles in a lightly greased 9x13 glass baking dish. Spread half of chicken mixture over noodles. Repeat procedure with remaining noodles and chicken. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and Butter-Pecan topping.

Cover and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Butter-Pecan Topping

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat; add 1 cup chopped pecans, and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool completely.


I only use half a package of spinach and add an additional cup of Cheddar cheese.

I'm not sure where this recipe originated (possibly Southern Living). I got it from Miss Linda, a wonderful friend and excellent cook. It's been modified a little bit, but for the most part, it's her delicious recipe.

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12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in pieces, plus more for pan
8 ounces best-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, such as Valrhona, roughly chopped
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease 9x13 inch baking pan with butter, set aside.

In the top of a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate until smooth; stir occasionally. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, granulated and brown sugars, and vanilla, and beat well with a wire wisk.

In a separate bowl, combine the sifted flour and salt.

Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and, using a wooden spoon, stir until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture, and beat until thoroughly combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the brownie comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Do not overbake.

Let stand on a rack in the pan until cool. Cut into 3-inch squares and serve. Store in an airtight container, at room temperature, up to 2 days.

This recipe yields brownies that are moist and fudgy. If you prefer a lighter, cakier brownie, add an additional egg to the batter.

Yield: Approx. one dozen 3-inch squares


I was surprised the brownies didn't stick to the pan. I almost dusted the pan with flour, but decided to see if the butter was sufficient. It was.

I didn't add the additional egg and everyone thought they were delicious just as they were.

I used Baker's semisweet chocolate squares and didn't bother to chop them. I also didn't cut the butter in pieces.

Delicious with vanilla ice cream!

Recipe from Martha Stewart's Favorite Comfort Food cookbook

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chicken Tetrazzini

1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
4-6 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 cup white wine (I've always used white zinfandel for this recipe)

1/2 of one 16 oz. package of angel hair pasta
3 chicken breast halves

Bread crumbs (regular or Italian)


4 Tbsp. butter or margarine

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
3 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth

Follow recipe for Roast Chicken Breasts. Dice chicken into bite-size pieces.

Saute sliced mushrooms and green onions in 2 Tbsp. butter until tender. Add wine and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce by mixing all sauce ingredients in large pot over low heat, careful not to scald the milk. (I usually whisk the flour and chicken broth together in a glass measuring cup before adding it to the milk and butter.) Continue to stir the sauce for a few minutes. It should begin to thicken somewhat.

When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and place in casserole dish sprayed with PAM. Add the mushroom/onion/wine mixture to the cooked pasta. Toss in diced chicken. Pour sauce over the entire dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes.

I used to make this in a 9x13 glass casserole dish, but switched to a deep dish casserole so the sauce wouldn't dry out so quickly. I prefer my tetrazzini a little on the creamy side. You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to bake. You may need to extend the baking time to insure the tetrazzini is completely heated. I usually roast the chicken ahead of time (either one day or that morning) to save some time.

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Roast Chicken Breasts

3-4 chicken breast halves (with bones and skin)
Olive oil
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse chicken; pat dry with paper towels.

Place chicken breasts, skin side up, on foil-lined cookie sheet.

Drizzle small amount of olive oil on each piece of chicken; rub to thoroughly coat.

Sprinkle chicken with kosher salt.

Roast for 30-45 minutes until thoroughly cooked (time depends on thickness and size of chicken.

Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing meat from bone. Yes, you should discard the skin, too.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Oven-barbecued Ribs

1 side pork babyback ribs (3-4 lbs.)
1/2 cup water
Kansas City Masterpiece BBQ Sauce (or any favorite BBQ sauce)

Arrange ribs in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan (I just use a glass 9x13 casserole dish sprayed with PAM).

Pour in 1/2 cup water.
Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Remove ribs from oven, setting aside while you prep the pan/dish.

Discard water and pan drippings; wipe pan with paper towel and line with foil.

Place ribs on top of foil and coat with BBQ sauce.

Return ribs to oven and continue roasting, uncovered, for another 30-45 minutes (occasionally brushing with additional BBQ sauce).

Remove from oven and cut into serving-size pieces.

Update: I made these last night and wound up having to cook them longer than usual. 2 hours baking in the oven (with some water in the dish), covered with foil. Then another hour with the BBQ sauce, covered with foil. They were incredible! Much better than when I've taken the foil off and cooked for a shorter period of time. The meat fell off the bones and was deliciously tender.

Delicious with coleslaw, cornbread or homemade Mac & Cheese.

Recipe adapted from Sunset Easy Basics for Good Cooking cookbook

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Chicken & Dumplings

3-4 chicken breast halves (with bones and skin)
1 onion, peeled and quartered
celery tops
salt & pepper to taste
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 cans cream of chicken soup (not the healthy, low-fat brand!)
1 and 2/3 cups Bisquick (not the reduced fat brand)
2/3 cup 2% milk

In a large Dutch oven, add water to cover chicken, onion and celery. Add salt and pepper and bring to boil. Continue to cook chicken over moderate heat, uncovered, until cooked.
Pour entire contents of pot through a colander, into another large pot.
Allow chicken to cool; remove skin and bones and discard along with the onion and celery.
Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.
Boil carrots and potatoes in broth until tender.
Mix the cream of chicken soup with some of the broth in a separate bowl.
Add soup mixture back to the pot and add the chicken to the soup.

In a separate bowl, mix the Bisquick and milk until soft dough forms.
Bring soup to boil.
Drop dumpling batter by the spoonful into the soup.

Reduce heat and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Place cover on pot and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.


I like to let the chicken/onions/celery simmer for at least an hour, if not longer.

I never measure how much water to use. If the final pot of soup looks too thick and rich with the 2 cans of cream of chicken, simply add a little more water until it's to the consistency you prefer. Some people like this as a thick stew and others may prefer it to have a thinner broth.

Defrosted petite peas are a nice addition. I try to occasionally sneak them in!

I got this recipe from my cousin, Karen Kirschenbauer. I had never had Chicken & Dumplings and not only was it delicious, but quite easy to prepare. It's best served with warm, crusty bread (dripping with real butter).

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Chicken in Tarragon Sauce

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 Tbs. chopped shallot (optional)
1 pkg. mushrooms, sliced
1 diced tomato
1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon (or 1 tsp. dry)
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh lemon juice, to taste (optional)
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish (optional)

Trim any excess fat from chicken. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. One at a time, place a chicken breast half between plastic wrap. Pound with a mallet, flattening to an even thickness of about ½ inch.

In a large sauté pan or fry pan over medium-high heat, melt butter with olive oil. When hot, add chicken, season with salt and pepper and sauté gently, turning once, until chicken is golden and opaque throughout and juices run clear when meat is pierced with a knife, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a warmed plate and keep warm in warm oven.

Saute mushrooms and shallot in pan over medium-low heat. Add tomato and continue cooking, 1-2 minutes. Add tarragon and cream, increase heat to medium and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits from pan bottom and blending well. Cook, stirring, until bubbling and thickened slightly, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Return chicken to pan and turn each breast several times in sauce until well coated and hot. Transfer to a warmed serving plate or individual plates and spoon remaining sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Note: Tarragon can be substituted with rosemary or other herb, if you wish. Serve chicken with angel hair pasta or rice.

Serves: 4

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Macaroni & Cheese

2 + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or margarine), plus about 1 tablespoon for casserole dish
4 slices good-quality white bread, crusts removed, torn into ¼-to-½-inch pieces
2¾ cups milk
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons salt
2¼ cups (about 9 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 cup (about 4 ounces) grated Gruyere
2 cups dry elbow macaroni

Fill a large pot with water. Bring to boil. Add macaroni – don’t cover with a lid; cook 1-2 minutes less than manufacturer’s directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.

While pasta is cooking, grate both cheeses. Set aside.

Using 1 tablespoon of butter, grease 1½-quart casserole dish and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in microwave . Cut crusts off bread slices and discard. Tear bread into bite-size pieces. Pour some of the melted butter into a large bowl. Toss bread pieces in melted butter, adding the rest of the melted butter as you work. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat the milk. Be careful not to scald the milk. It should not boil!

In a separate high-sided pan/skillet, melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Using a flat-bottom whisk, cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Slowly pour the hot milk into the pan with the butter and flour. Continue whisking until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick (2-3 minutes).

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the salt, cheddar cheese, and Gruyere cheese. Dump cooled macaroni into the pot you cooked it in. Pour in the cheese sauce and stir to coat all the noodles.

Pour the noodle-cheese mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Scatter breadcrumbs over the top.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

When you’re ready to cook the dish, remove from frig about while the oven preheats to 375 degrees. Bake, UNCOVERED, until browned on top, about 30-45 minutes.

Serves 6-8

Notes: I prefer to use 2% milk for this recipe. I also use Oroweat's Country White bread for the breadcrumbs. Excellent with ribs or spiral-baked ham.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Favorite Comfort Food: Classic Favorites and Great New Recipes

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