Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chicken and Dumplings

Despite what it may look like, I do cook regular food type meals not just TWD delicacies! Though these pictures were taken the first time I made this, I have made it several times since then. It has become one of our favorites.

I remember chicken and dumplings being one of my mom's favorites so it was something we ate often in my house growing up. I know you don't think of a stew being something you want to make in the summer but this one comes together very quickly and using fresh summer vegetables makes it appealing 12 months of the year. I find it to be a great comfort food when I want to relax.

I have to give props to Rachael Ray because we really love this variation. I do want to make my own chicken stock but that I will save for a winter day! I've learned to double this so we have leftovers too.

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders (Remember to COOK them first)
1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1 russet potato, peeled and diced (skin can be on or off, we've done both)
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced or thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped (I use my microplane to get all the flavor and none of the texture)
1 rib celery, diced
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, 1/3 palm full
2 tablespoons flour, a handful
1 quart chicken broth or stock, canned or paper container, preferred brand Kitchen Basics
1 small box biscuit mix(preferred brand Jiffy Mix) (I use Bisquick)
1/2 cup warm water
Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup frozen green peas

Dice tenders into bite size pieces and set aside. Wash hands.

Place a large pot on stove over medium high heat. Add oil, butter, vegetables and bay leaf and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season mixture with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Add flour to the pan and cook 2 minutes. Stir broth or stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Add chicken to the broth and stir.

Place biscuit mix in a bowl. Combine with 1/2 cup warm water and parsley. Drop tablespoonfuls of prepared mix into the pot, spacing dumplings evenly. Cover pot tightly and reduce heat to medium low. Steam dumplings 8 to 10 minutes. Remove cover and stir chicken and dumplings to thicken sauce a bit. Stir peas into the pan, remove chicken and dumplings from heat and serve in shallow bowls.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TWD: Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte

Chocolate and Ice Cream...2 words I am very familiar with. Who wouldn't be excited about making a dessert that included both?!

I was really proud of myself this week...I made it early (because we were going out of town and I knew I would be too tired when I returned) and I only made 1/4 of the recipe (therefore, eating very little!)

The hardest part about this recipe is the time requirement. You have to freeze each layer before adding the next one. My variations lead me to use chocolate chip ice cream since it was already in the freezer. I still wanted the flavor of a liquor and the raspberries that Dorie uses. So, in one layer of ice cream, I mixed in amaretto and the other layer I mixed in a raspberry syrup. I just eye balled both amounts and later wished I had use more of both because the chocolate was very rich. I have found that Dorie loves bittersweet chocolate and I prefer semi sweet so I always adjust accordingly. This week I think I would have preferred Dorie's palate.

I made mine in a ramekin and since it doesn't have a removable bottom I lined it with parchment paper. I loved the way it looked when I pulled it out. A very eye catching dessert!

I did enjoy this recipe but I plan to play with it some more in the future. To quote my husband, "I enjoyed it. A little rich but tasty and decadent!"

This week's recipe was selected for us by Amy of Food, Family and Fun. You can see other torte variations by checking out the TWD blog roll!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TWD: Granola Grabbers

This week's edition of Tuesdays with Dorie is a good one! I am a big fan of cookies and oatmeal raisin are one of my favorites. My husband's favorite cereal is granola and he loves coconut so these were a big hit.

I made only a couple of slight changes. I used flax seed instead of wheat germ. I'm not really familiar with either so I didn't noticed any difference. Dorie suggests using granola without fruit because it is often too dry and therefore leaves the cookies dried out. My raisins seemed to be a bit dry on their own so I hydrated them in some warm water before adding them in. It worked great.

Thanks to Michelle of Bad Girl Baking for a great selection!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

TWD: Not this week

I'm afraid I had to miss yet another week of baking. We just returned from vacation and tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday) I leave again for a business trip to eastern Massachusetts. I fully intended to jump in the kitchen in between trips to whip up this week's recipe, Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream chosen by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity.

However, I didn't expected to be nearly so exhausted from our trip. Then, we woke up this morning to find our very own "ratatouille" (or mouse-ouille). I have an awesome husband who is taking charge but until he is gone I refuse to step foot in my kitchen.

In the mean time, I have tucked my blueberries into the freezer to be used in the future for this recipe. Please visit Tuesdays with Dorie to see everyone's ice cream.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

TWD: Black and White Banana Loaf

This week's recipe was chosen by Ashlee of A Year in the Kitchen. She chosen Dorie's take on banana bread. I personally love banana bread. I usually buy a couple extra bananas beyond what we can eat so I have a couple to throw in the freezer.

I decided not to make a loaf for a couple reason. I've only used my king size muffin pan once since I bought it and thought this would be a great opportunity to use it again. Some of my fellow bakers had some trouble with the batter being too runny and the loaf cooking for up to 2 hours and I just wasn't interested in having my oven on for 2 hours! I figured the cooking time would be less with a smaller surface area.

The batter came together pretty easily for me. I did leave out fresh lemon zest as I didn't have any. When I got to my flour I found my pantry to be lacking a new bag and was left with only what was in the canister. I was short only a couple tablespoons and since I had already started mixing things I didn't want to run to the store. Since many had runny batters, the last thing I want to do was skimp on the flour. So, I added a couple tablespoons of oatmeal. It worked perfect and I didn't even notice it in the muffins. I am also not a fan of rum so I substituted with amaretto and could even taste it in the end. My batter wasn't really runny, maybe a little thinner than a typical banana bread but not drastically different.

I wasn't sure how much of a swirl pattern I could get with my muffin pan so I decided to do layers. There was supposed to be 3, white, chocolate and white on top. As you can see I only ended up with 2. I'm really not sure why the chocolate layer over took my top white layer. But, they came out great and tasted fabulous!

If you really have your heart set on seeing a black and white loaf, please visit Tuesdays With Dorie. This probably won't really be my go to recipe for banana bread but I'm sure I will make it again!

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I didn't post last week's recipe until Friday. If you missed it please scroll down and see my summer fruit galette and pictures of my new kitchen!