Coq Au Vin (My version)

You all know that Coq au vin is just a fancy French way of saying “Chicken Stew”, right? ¬†IDK… many of my friends don’t know that so forgive me when I seem like I need to be “Captain Obvious” ūüėČ

I’ve mentioned before that my Mom’s family is French. ¬†NOT the sophisticated eloquent French that you might be picturing… more like the poor kind. ¬†I’m proud of that though because along with being poor comes the need to be inventive. ¬†We’re ALL inventive when it comes to food. ¬†My grandmother had 10 children and that’s a LOT of mouths to feed when you only have 1 chicken! ¬†Grandma used to go out to her yard and choose a chicken, chop it’s head off and take the feathers off. ¬†Yummy huh? ¬†Thank GOD I never had to SEE it, much less do it. ¬†I’d probably never eat meat if I had to witness something like that. ¬†Coq au vin is one of those recipes that you can make your own and it’s inexpensive. ¬†It just takes a little bit of time.

Here’s my way… which, BTW, has been SO simplified but SO tasty! ¬†This is what we had tonight. ¬†I have to be in the right mood to want to go through a little trouble and tonight, while it’s cold and rainy, I’m in the right mood!

Coq Au Vin (Michelle’s Way)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 to 3 lbs chicken pieces (breasts, thighs or drumsticks) OR a whole chicken, skinned and cut up (I used 3.5 lbs chicken breasts, boneless)

2 TBSP cooking oil

salt and pepper

2 large vidalia or sweet onions, cut into 8 pieces each

1 1/4 cups Burgundy

4 medium, thinly sliced carrots

1 lb sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)

1/4 cup chicken broth (or water)

1 TBSP dried parsley

1 TBSP fresh chopped parsley

1 tsp dried marjoram

2 tsp dried crushed thyme

1 bay leaf

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb smoked bacon, chopped and cooked crisp, bacon grease reserved

5 TBSP flour

2 TBSP butter

16 oz cooked Penne pasta for serving

Directions:

Cook bacon until crisp. ¬†It’s easier if you chop the bacon while it’s still a little frozen. ¬†Set aside.

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, brown chicken pieces on all sides in hot oil, about 15 minutes.  Drain fat.  Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.  Add onions, mushrooms, bacon, carrots, Burgundy, chicken broth, dried parsley, marjoram, thyme, bay leaf, and garlic.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer and cover.  Cook for around 50 minutes or until chicken is fork tender.

Take chicken and vegetables out of pot and set aside.  Discard bay leaf.

Heat reserved bacon grease and the 2 TBSP butter until hot.  Add flour and stir.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Once roux (bacon grease and flour) is made, add mixture to the juices from chicken.  Cook and stir until thick and bubbly.  Once thickened, cook for 1 minute more.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Garnish with fresh parsley.

Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables and serve over pasta.

*This recipe makes very generous servings for 6 people. ¬†The bacon makes this even more tasty than the other recipes I’ve tried. ¬†Enjoy!

Eden Isle Chicken

In the midst of Skyping with my new Scottish friend Shaun and his sweet wife Dawn, baking cookies for the girls bake sale for charity and getting ready for Easter…. dinner still had to be made. ¬†Here’s another easy chicken recipe and OMG, so tasty! ¬†Anything with bacon, chicken, cream cheese and sour cream HAS to be good, right?

Eden Isle Chicken

Ingredients:

6 chicken breasts, fat trimmed

1 lb package of smoked bacon

1 jar of dried beef

1 1/2 ups sour cream

3 oz cream cheese

2 cans cream of chicken soup

black pepper

2 tsp dried thyme

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. ¬†Wash and dry the chicken breasts. ¬†Sprinkle top and bottom of each breast with pepper (NO salt). ¬†Wrap each breast in bacon. ¬†Place the dried beef in the bottom of a greased 9×13 baking dish. ¬†Arrange the bacon wrapped chicken on top of dried beef. ¬†Meanwhile, mix sour cream, softened cream cheese, soup, black pepper and thyme. ¬†Pour mixture evenly over chicken. ¬†Cover dish tightly with foil. ¬†Bake for 2 hours. ¬†Now warm oven to 400 degrees. ¬†Uncover dish and bake until slightly browned on top (approximately 10 minutes). ¬†Serve with rice.

*Some people serve over a bed of mashed potatoes or pasta.

Paula Deen’s Old Fashioned Creamed Chicken

During my stay in Columbia, waiting for my Dad to recover from surgery, the step mom and I were able to get away and have dinner at Cracker Barrel. ¬†I’m not a HUGE fan of their food but I DO love to shop in their little country store! ¬†lol ¬†I know, by now, I’ve GOT to be boring you with all my bragging about the large collection of cookbooks I’ve acquired through the years, but they make me happy so I purchased just “1 more”. ¬†You’ve also heard me mention, on more than one occasion, my adoration of the great Southern Lady, Paula Deen. ¬†It’s strange that I’ve never owned one of HER cookbooks. ¬†I fixed that though, this weekend! ¬†I purchased,¬†Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible¬†published by¬†Simon and Schuster. ¬†This reads like a book with all her stories. ¬†The recipes are easy to follow and I love hearing about her Southern life! ¬†I HIGHLY recommend purchasing this book, if you’re in to that sort of thing ūüėČ

Product Details

So yesterday, Sunday, was my first day back home and, once again, I didn’t feel like cooking but necessity called. I had 3 chicken breasts in the freezer and not much else. ¬†I also had a friend and her 20 year old son spending the day with us. ¬†Bryar, the 20 year old, doesn’t like a lot of “different” food and he won’t even try many people’s cooking. ¬†I guess I should feel blessed because MY cooking is something he’ll at least TRY. ¬†lol ¬†This recipe was a complete hit with everybody, even Bryar. ¬†He told me that I didn’t make NEARLY enough! ¬†I was thrilled to be able to stretch 3 chicken breasts enough to feed 5 of us! ¬†The great Paula Deen came through for me once more ūüôā ¬†God, I love that lady! ¬†lol

Here’s what I made:

Old Fashioned Creamed Chicken over Rice

Ingredients:

1 TBSP butter

1 TBSP all purpose flour

1/2 cup chicken broth (I used the broth from boiling the chicken breasts)

1/2 cup half and half (I used heavy cream because that’s what I had on hand)

1 TBSP dry sherry (I used white zinfindel because that’s all I had)

2 cups chopped or shredded chicken breasts (I used all 3 breasts – about 6 cups)

1/2 tsp dried thyme (i used more)

salt and pepper to taste

1 to 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley or green scallions for garnish (optional)

*Recipe as written will serve 4 people. ¬†It’s intended for use with leftover chicken but I had to triple the recipe and STILL didn’t have enough to serve 5 of us. ¬†I served this over rice. ¬†It was so good they couldn’t stop eating! ¬†lol

Directions:

  1. in a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until bubbling, about 1 minute.  Whisk in the broth, half and half and sherry.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring until nice and thick, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the chicken, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste, and warm through.  Serve over rice, noodles or potatoes, garnished with parsley or scallions.

*Paula suggests this recipe is good served in frozen, baked pastry shells or homemade biscuits or cornbread.

Oven-Fried Buttermilk Chicken

I made the most amazing dinner last night ūüôā ¬†I’m an awesome cook but sometimes my heart’s not in it. ¬†Last night it must have been! ¬†I had piano lessons (bucket list thing) but I wanted to make sure dinner was put together and in the oven so that all Julia (teenage munchkin) really had to do was take it out and eat. ¬†Surprise… ¬†it all came together!

(photo credit:  Thenourishinghome.com)

Oven-Fried Buttermilk Chicken

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

3 tsp Creole Seasoning (You can use any kind of season salt)

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

1 pkg (10) chicken drumskicks

1.5 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter

Directions:

Dip chicken in buttermilk.  Dredge chicken into mixed dry ingredients.

Drizzle melted butter onto a rimmed baking sheet.  Place chicken in pan and bake at 400F for 30 minutes.  With tongs, carefully turn chicken and bake for another 30 minutes.

Easy and delicious!  I served these with my cheesy potatoes.

Rosemary Chicken, a one dish wonder!

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a collection of cookbooks that come in handy on my “uninspired” days. ¬†The cook book I pulled out today is,¬†“A Skillet Full”,¬†of Traditional Southern LODGE Cast Iron Recipes and Memories. ¬†I LOVE using this book, in part because I bought it on one of my many trips to The Great Smoky Mountains¬†at an old mill and restaurant called, simply, “The Old Mill”¬†in Pigeon Forge Tennessee (you know, the home of Dolly Parton, right?). ¬†I’ve told everyone that if I was ever going to move from my home, it would be to the Smoky Mountains. ¬†Being there takes me to a place that FEELS like home to me. ¬†I can picture an old grandma, sitting in her rocking chair, snapping green beans, fresh from her garden and I just want to BE that grandma. ¬†Back to the cook book…. these recipes just work. ¬†They’re designed to use with cast iron cookware.

Here’s the one I’ll be using today. ¬†The flavor is TO DIE FOR, with the smoky bacon, the onions and wine sauce. ¬†You’ll thank me for this later ūüėČ ¬†I love that it’s easy and all done in one pan!

Chicken Rosemary

Ingredients

6 slices raw bacon

3 pounds chicken pieces (*I’ve always used boneless, skinless breasts)

4-6 potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 cup sliced green peppers

1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)

2 cups sliced onions (I use 1 large sweet onion, sliced in rings)

1/2 tsp dried crushed rosemary (I use 1 tsp)

1 bay leaf

Salt and Pepper to taste  (I ALWAYS season the chicken itself before placing in the pan)

1 large tomato, sliced ¬†(I’m using a can of diced tomatoes, drained)

1 cup white wine

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Layer ingredients in Dutch oven in the order given.  Cover.  Bake 1 1/2 hours until done (chicken will be fork tender).  Spoon wine sauce over all before serving.

(pictured: cast iron Dutch oven)

The one I use is from Ben’s great Grandma and it’s over 100 years old!

**My notes: ¬†I have used a regular 9×13 glass casserole dish and covered with foil when I’ve doubled the recipe (because it won’t fit in my cast iron Dutch oven if doubled). ¬†It works great too, you just have to cook a little longer. ¬†BUT, I always prefer cast iron because the evenness of the cooking.

Great Grandma’s Chicken and Dumplings, a French, country recipe

My mother’s family were 100% French (Canadian French) when they came to settle in the tiny little country town of Old Mines Missouri. Nobody spoke English even up until their death, when my mother was young. ¬†The thing she remembers most about her grandmother, my great grandmother, is that she was a very “cold” woman and that she didn’t show affection. ¬†I’d have to guess it was because she had SO many children and they had to work VERY hard just to survive. ¬†She didn’t have TIME to show affection. ¬†Every Sunday, my grandpa would load up all 10 of his children and they’d visit his parents in Old Mines, for Sunday dinner after church.

My great grandmother would spend the day cooking the most delicious meals. ¬†They weren’t elaborate, or sophisticated, but they were the most delicious dishes my mom remembers tasting. ¬†In particular, there was the bouillon. ¬†Bouillon had to be served before every meal no matter how hot it was outside. ¬†It’s a French thing. ¬†Most of the time, they’d eat outside because there wasn’t enough room for everyone inside the tiny house. ¬†The kitchen that my great grandmother cooked in was not like any kitchen that I’ve ever had to prepare a meal in. ¬†Food was prepared usually over an open fire. ¬†It was too tiny for anyone to offer help, but they still tried to help. ¬†She didn’t have much patience with anyone getting in her way, from what I understand. ¬†The other thing I find interesting about their family “get togethers” is that the children were made to eat last. ¬†Here’s how it went: ¬†The men ate first, then the women and THEN the little children ate what was left. ¬†WTH???? ¬†Totally not acceptable to me because I’ve ALWAYS made sure that the kids get enough to eat FIRST, before anyone else gets to eat. ¬†However, Mom tells me that it really made sense for the old timers to do things this way because they were a “farming” people. ¬†It was important to feed the men first so that they can get back out into the field and work. ¬†The other reason that the men needed to eat first is that it was necessary that the men have the most food because they needed the food to fuel their hard physical labor. ¬†Ok… ¬†I’m struggling with the part of my constitution, the STRONG woman part, that says this way of thinking isn’t right! ¬†Then there’s the logical part of my brain that tells me “Ok Michelle, you weren’t raised on a farm and don’t know what it was like to work as physically hard as the men did back then”. ¬†Here’s my OTHER logical thought: ¬†On a Sunday, after church, the men WEREN’T working on the farm! ¬†Why couldn’t the rules change for ¬†a Sunday? ¬†I mean the women’s work was NEVER done but the men got to relax AND eat more food leaving whatever was left behind for the women and the children. ¬†Good thing my big mouth didn’t live back then (1940’s and 1950’s)! ¬†lol ¬†This actually wasn’t the point of my story…. ¬†it never ceases to amaze me how easily I get off subject ūüėČ ¬†I was originally just going to post my great grandmother’s recipe for Chicken and dumplings! ¬†lol

Now that I’ve come off my “rant”, I want to share with you my great grandmother’s recipe for chicken and dumplings. ¬†I actually think it’s SO cool that my family still has her recipes and that they were translated to English for future generations!

Ingredients for chicken:

1 whole roasting chicken (1 used an 8 lb chicken today but any size will do)

3 stalks celery with their tops

3 carrots, washed but not peeled

2 med onions, peeled but whole

3 TBSP salt

3 TBSP pepper

2 tsp dried oregano

2 TBSP garlic powder

2 TBSP dried thyme

Directions for chicken

Place chicken in a very large dutch oven and cover with water.  Place all seasonings and vegetables in dutch oven and bring to boil.  Cover and simmer on low until chicken starts coming apart.  Once chicken is done, let cool so you can start taking the chicken off the bones.  Remove vegetables from stock pot and discard.  Skim fat from broth and replace chicken back into the pan.  Heat broth back up with chicken.

At this point you will want to thicken the soup by:

  • Heat the desired amount of chicken stock in an appropriately sized saucepan until it reaches a simmering boil.

  • Measure 1/4 cup of cold water and pour it into a bowl. Add two tablespoons of flour.

  • Mix the flour and cold water until it dissolves completely into a smooth, even paste.

  • Add the flour mixture a little at a time until the stock reaches the desired consistency.

    This is a little complicated if you’re not a seasoned cook but if I can do it so can you! ¬†lol

    I also add a stick of butter to the broth because my family (who, btw, believe it or not DON’T have weight issues… lol) tells me the broth needs to be rich and all French recipes call for butter. ¬†I’m TOTALLY ok with that!

    Grandma Boyer’s Rolled Dumplings

    Ingredients

    3 cups of flour

    2 eggs beaten

    3/4 cup chicken broth

    2/3 cups lard (yeah, I use shortening)

    1 tsp salt

    Directions

    Beat eggs, add COOLED broth to beaten eggs.  Mix flour, salt and lard together until crumbles form (I use a pastry blender for this).  Add egg mixture and mix well.  Roll thin onto floured board.  Drop dumplings into boiling, thickened broth.

    Note: ¬†For an 8 lb chicken, I will double or even triple the dumpling recipe. ¬†It just depends on how many people I’m feeding. ¬†PLUS, I like leftovers especially if I’m going through the trouble of making dumplings! ¬†lol

    Hope you all enjoy! ¬†We’re having this tonight and LAWDY does my house EVER smell delicious right now! ¬†lol

On the Superbowl Menu?

As I’m being constantly reminded…. Super Bowl is only a few days away! ¬†What will you be making? ¬†Here’s one of my ideas. ¬†I’ve made this time and time again and it’s ALWAYS so freaking delicious. ¬†Here’s the catch: ¬†Make more than one batch because TRUST me, you’ll go through them. ¬†I usually make 3 batches and they’re STILL all gone. ¬†Oh and use tortilla SCOOPS. ¬†It makes stuffing a whole lot easier. ¬†So with no further ado, I bring you ……. (oh and as always, my notes are notated with a * and parenthesis)

Roast Chicken-Chipotle Nachos with Cilantro-Avocado Crema

Roast Chicken-Chipotle Nachos with Cilantro-Avocado Crema Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon¬†olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†cumin seeds (*I just used 2 tsp cumin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†dried oregano
  • 1¬†to 2 canned chipotle chilies, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons¬†tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon¬†white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups¬†bite-size shreds skinned cooked chicken (*I used a store bought rotisserie chicken because it’s SO much easier)
  • 24¬†corn tortilla chips (2 3/4 in. wide)¬†(**I use scoops)
  • 1 1/2 cups¬†shredded jack cheese (6 oz.) *(I have always used cheddar and it’s SO tasty)
  • Cilantro-Avocado Crema (recipe follows)
  • 24¬†fresh cilantro leaves

Preparation

  1. 1. In a 2 1/2- to 3-quart pan over medium-high heat, frequently stir onion in olive oil until onion begins to brown, 4 to 7 minutes. Add cumin seeds and oregano; stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chilies, tomato paste, vinegar, and 1/2 cup water; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring often, to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and stir until hot.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, arrange tortilla chips in a single layer in a 12- by 17-inch pan. Sprinkle equal portions of cheese on each chip and spoon about 1 tablespoon chicken mixture on top.
  3. 3. Bake in a 450¬į regular or convection oven until cheese begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. With a spatula, carefully transfer tortilla chips to a platter. Top each with 1 teaspoon Cilantro-Avocado Crema and garnish with a cilantro leaf. Serve warm.
  4. Cilantro-Avocado Crema. In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup finely diced firm-ripe avocado, 2 tablespoons sour cream, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, 2 teaspoons lime juice, and 2 teaspoons milk. Add salt to taste. Makes about 1/2 cup.