Saturday, February 04, 2012

Chicken Stew and Frozen Carrots

Eating: The annual Sunday night bookclub potluck is tonight (yes, I know it is Saturday - the Super Bowl is apparently tomorrow.  For the past few years, we have avoided the conflict of Super Bowl Sunday by having a Saturday night potluck.  This is now one of our favorite meetings.  Good food, some nice wine, and ongoing laughter mixed with our usual book discussion.)  As host, I am providing dessert and have decided to make cream puffs, both regular and chocolate, and fill them with ice cream and top with hot fudge.  I'll post those recipes next time. 

New dinner recipe for y'all (and for those of you keeping score at home, this is the second new one in January).  I made this one on Monday.  It is a crockpot recipe, so don't try it at the last minute (ask me why we didn't have it on Sunday...).  This recipe came from a Coburn Delivers flyer and has been modified slightly.  Yummy and another one of those "love-it-on-a-cold-snowy-day" recipes, this stew is hearty and filling.  No nutrition info was provided but I am sure it is very good for you - with the heavy whipping cream, what wouldn't be great about that??

Chicken Stew
1 to 1.5# chicken breast, cut into 1-2" pieces
1 t olive oil
28 oz Pot Roast Mix (or 1 large onion, 5 medium potatoes, 2 carrots and 2 stalks celery, all chopped into large chunks)
1 t poultry seasoning
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 C chicken broth
1 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
2/3 C flour
1/2 C frozen peas
1/4 C parsley, chopped

Saute chicken pieces in olive oil for 3-4 minutes until chicken browns just on the outside.  Place chicken in bottom of crockpot.  Add vegetables (except peas), poultry seasoning, salt and chicken broth.  Combine flour and whipping cream and whisk together.  Add to crockpot.  Stir all ingredients together to combine.  Cover and cook on Low for 8-10 hours or on High for 5 hours.  5 minutes before serving, stir in peas and fresh parsley.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with bread or biscuits and a salad.

Reading: I finished Winnie-the-Pooh on Monday, my third book in January.  I am almost finished with The Latehomecomer (it will be done by this afternoon - I have to be prepared to discuss at bookclub tonight!).  I read 3 pages of False Mermaid and remembered I had to finish The Latehomecomer first.  What is up next for Sunday bookclub?  Ann will tell us tonight.  I always love Ann's selections so am eagerly anticipating the announcement.  I think the third book for February will be another childhood favorite or classic - stay tuned.

Weeding: Dreaming of spring and planting season.  I got a subscription to Garden Gate magazine for Christmas and my first issue has been paged through several times already.  I love magazines that never are out of date, ones you can keep and return to time and again for inspiration and ideas.

Speaking of gardens, I had read in some MN gardening book last fall that you can "store" carrots in the garden over the winter, pulling them as needed.  I thought this sounded like a great idea, since the carrots stay good only so long in the refrigerator.  And then I went out one day to harvest a couple.  The book didn't tell me what to do when the ground is frozen solid... Off to the store for carrots.  And on another sad note, we are almost out of our home-grown potatoes. 

Creating: I don't know why, but I haven't been knitting or scrapbooking or anything like that.  I've been practicing my bass but other than that, not much "creating" going on.  Plenty of ideas (thanks, Pintrest!), just not inspired to create right now.  Maybe I should start small and finish a couple baby gifts before the babies are old enough to vote...

Off to make cream puffs and hot fudge sauce.  Keep reading, and how about a pot of stew for your family today?

Until we eat again,

Monday, January 30, 2012

Recipes for a Pampered Chef party

Eating: The other day, I hosted a Pampered Chef party, the first one in 4 years.  I had a terrific turnout with a really fun bunch of friends.  Since it was around lunchtime and the recipe demonstrated was a salad, I decided to supplement with some additional food.  I like to feed people, what can I say?  I think I inherited it from my grandma.  Many people asked for recipes so here they are.

Thai Chicken Salad - This was the recipe demonstrated.  I somehow did not get a copy of the recipe so this is what I remember it being - one of the party attendees who received the recipe can correct where I am wrong.  Also, the consultant said something about serving the chicken part with rice for a meal - not sure if that is just the chicken or with some of the veggies or what.  I really liked this salad and am happy to have enough of everything that I can make it again!
Chop 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts into about 1" cubes.  Cook in skillet with a little olive oil until no longer pink. 
Pour 3/4 C. creamy poppyseed dressing into a small bowl or measuring cup.  Grate 1" of fresh gingerroot (can leave the skin on) - squeeze the juice from the ginger into the dressing.  Add 3 cloves of garlic, pressed.  Stir.  Pour just enough of dressing mix onto chicken in pan (about 1/4 C) and toss to coat. 
Chop one small bunch of fresh basil and about 1/4 C. peanuts together (in the Manual Foodprocessor, if you have one).  Stir that in with chicken.
In a large bowl, combine a 6-8oz bag baby spinach, one 8-10oz bag of brocolli slaw, 1/2 red pepper diced, and 1/2 medium cucumber sliced and halved.  Add in the chicken mixture.  Pour on remaining dressing mix and toss all together. 

Chicken Rice Soup - I won't post my chicken soup recipe again - you can read it here.  This time I added some cooked brown rice, frozen peas, and sliced zucchini.  I made the stock and cooked the chicken the night before, then put all the ingredients in the crock pot and heated it for lunch.  It was not my best soup effort ever - stock was weak and soup overall kind of bland.  Sorry, for those who ate it - I can do better.  I also apologize for the coffee - I had trouble with the new grinder and ended up with brown slightly coffee-flavored water.

Taffy Apple Pizza - This recipe goes back to the days when I was selling Pampered Chef, around 2002/2003.  I made this recipe at all my first shows.  Easy and yummy, it is "old school Pampered Chef".  It helps to let the cookie dough and the cream cheese soften at room temperature.
Spread the contents of one tube (18oz) of sugar cookie dough onto pizza stone with a rolling pin until you have a 14" circle.  Bake at 350 for 16-18 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Cool 10 minutes.  Carefully loosen cookie from stone using a serrated bread knife.  Cool completely.
Combine one 8oz package cream cheese, 1/2 C packed brown sugar, 1/4 C creamy peanut butter and 1/4 tsp vanilla.  Mix well.  Spread mixture evenly over the cookie.
Peel, core and slice 2 medium apples (the recipe says "Granny Smith" apples but that is mainly because they work the best with the Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer.  Any good crisp apples will work - I used Gala.)  Arrange apples evenly over cream cheese mixture.
Heat 1/4 C caramel ice cream topping in microwave on High for 30-45 seconds, or until warm.  Drizzle over apples.  Top with 1/2 C peanuts, chopped.  Cut into wedges with pizza cutter and serve.

Reading: I am nearly done with the book for Sunday bookclub (which will meet Saturday this week for our annual potluck), The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang.  It is the memoir of a Hmong woman and her family who comes to Minnesota from Laos (by way of Thailand) in the mid 80s as refugees.  She tells the story of her family's escape from Laos, about life in the refugee camp where she was born and lived the first 6 years of her life ("camp" makes it sound like a better place than it was), how they came to Minnesota with virtually nothing but a debt to pay for their flights to the US.  She ties in a lot of cultural information along with the story of the family's struggle to adapt, to learn the language, to find work and raise their children.  I really am enjoying this book.

I am also almost done with Winnie the Pooh - just one more chapter/story.  I have to finish it by the end of the night tomorrow to meet my 2012 prediction of reading 3 books per month.  Wouldn't want to miss that predicition in the first month.  That would be like a new year's resolution then!

Well, off to read.  I'll have a new recipe for you next time, and promise it is easy, tasty, and gives you another option for what to do with chicken. 

Until we eat again,
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