Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Creamy Chicken with Pot Pie Toppers

Chicken Pot Pie. YUM. This is a great way to transfer the meal into a make ahead dish. I did make a few changes. First major change was the celery. And I do this for every dish the calls for celery. I don't care for the texture of cooked celery but it does add a nice flavor. So instead of chopping the celery up, I leave it whole and toss it in. Then fish it out before serving. You get the depth of flavor celery gives your meals but not the mush grey stuff.  In the recipe it calls for mushrooms, but no one around these parts really cares for them, so I just omitted them and the steps. It also say to bake the puff pastry ahead of time also but this is such an easy step that I decided to wait and do it the night of instead of risking the baked puffed pastry crumbling in the mean time. The result was wonderful. I think I will even add more veggies next time.


3 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast

3 onions

2 fresh bay leaves

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced or quartered

4 baby potatoes, diced

2 parsnips, peeled and diced 1/2-inch thick

2 small ribs celery, chopped

A few sprigs fresh sage leaves, very thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Splash white wine

1 rounded tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, defrosted

1 egg


Place the chicken breasts in a pot with 1 quartered onion and 1 bay leaf. Fill the pan with just enough water to come to the top of the chicken breasts. Bring the mixture to a low boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and poach the chicken 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and dice or shred with forks. Reserve the poaching liquid.

In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, a couple of turns of the pan over medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and lightly brown. When the mushrooms are just tender, add 2 chopped medium onions, potatoes, parsnips, celery, sage, salt, pepper and remaining bay leaf. Cover the pot and sweat the vegetables 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf. Melt the butter in the pot, add the flour and stir to make a light roux. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine and add one to 2 cups of reserved poaching liquid. Whisk in the mustard and 2 cups chicken stock. Stir in the cream. Thicken to a light gravy consistency. Adjust the salt and pepper and add in the chicken.

Reduce the heat to low and bake off the pastry tops.

For make-ahead meal: Bake off the pastry tops; cool the filling and store. Reheat the filling, covered, over medium heat to a bubble, and then reduce the heat to a simmer.

To prepare the pastry tops: Cut the pastry into shapes which reflect the shape and size of the dishes or bowls you wish to serve the soup in. Beat the egg with a splash of water and arrange the cut pastry on a nonstick baking sheet or on parchment-lined sheet pan. Brush the dough with the egg wash and bake to golden at 425 degrees F, 12 minutes.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Baked Taco Bowls

We love tacos in our house. They are a great throw together meal. Especially when you have some leftover roast in the fridge. I made these shredded beef taco bowls with the leftover roast from the Braised Beef recipe (HERE) and some inspiration from pintrest. Instead of frying the taco shells, like we had always done in the past, I saw an article on pintrest on how to BAKE the taco shells. The results were delicious. With fried taco shells, they tend to start getting mushy unless you fry them so hard that they are pretty much crumbling when you start to build your taco. With these, they stay crisp and fresh and with the bowl shape, they are all ready for loading.

To make the bowls, preheat your oven to 350. Spray corn tortillas with non stick spray. Lay in an upside down cupcake pan so the shape resembles a bowl. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the shell is crisp and holds it shape.

Then load up with your favorite taco fixings. A quick scrumptious meal.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes

One of my favorite cake flavors is lemon. The frosting in this recipe is a creamy and light and just perfect with the lemon altered white cake mix. Super easy and fantastic results.


1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package JELL-O Lemon Flavor Instant Pudding
1 cup water 4 egg whites
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (16 ounce) package powdered sugar
1 (8 ounce) package PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
yellow food coloring (optional)


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat cake mix, pudding mix, water, egg whites and oil in large bowl with mixer on low speed until moistened. (Batter will be thick.) Beat on medium speed 2 min. Spoon batter evenly into 24 paper-lined 2-1/2-inch muffin cups.

Bake 21 to 24 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min.; remove to wire racks. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, beat sugar, cream cheese, butter and juice with mixer on low speed until well blended. Add a few drops of food coloring until you reach desired color. Frost cupcakes.