Monday, October 15, 2012

Bacon Chicken and Dumplings

Bacon + Chicken + Dumplings = yum! Well, it should anyway. This recipe is okish. There are other soups I like better (just plain Chicken and Dumplings are pretty tasty) so I don't know that this will make it in to the rotation. The bacon doesn't come out a strongly as I would hope, and the potatoes make the soup grainy instead of creamy.

3 slices bacon
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast
halves - diced
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn,
drained and rinsed
3 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups biscuit mix
1 cup milk
1.Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside; reserve bacon drippings in skillet.
2.Add potatoes, onion and chicken to bacon drippings and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in chicken broth; season with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir in corn, and simmer all together for 15 minutes.
3.Pour in half-and-half and bring to a boil; add crumbled bacon. In a medium bowl, combine biscuit mix with milk and mix well (dough should be thick). Drop tablespoon sizes of dough into boiling mixture; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes uncovered, then another 10 minutes covered. (Note: Do not stir while simmering, or dumplings will break apart). Serve hot.

While this was not quite what I was expecting, I think I would make it again. Instead of adding the bacon to the soup, I would just sprinkle it on top (in significant quantities of course! ;P) Otherwise, follow as directed.

B and I have been finding things to watch together, and it's always a challenge when we finish something to find our next show. 
Wins: Buffy, Angel, Psych, Monk, Gilmore Girls, House (in the early years), Burn Notice, Lois and Clark, Big Bang Theory, and the current watchs: Kyle XY, and Once Upon a Time. 
Not so much winners: X-files, Charmed, Sliders, Star Trek (any of them). 
Any suggestions for upcoming shows? I'm thinking maybe Supernatural, or finally finishing Smallville. 

Chicken and Wild Rice Slow Cooker Dinner

I'm sure you have not at all noticed the trend of crockpot meals. ;) I have started to really like wild rice, and am trying to incorporate it more frequently into the regular rotation.

cooking spray
3 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream
of chicken soup
2 1/4 cups water
1 cup milk
4 cups long grain and wild rice mix
1 (16 ounce) package baby carrots
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1.Spray the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray.
2.Stir together cream of chicken soup, water, milk, long grain and wild rice mix (including seasoning packets, if any), and baby carrots in the slow cooker.
3.Place chicken breasts on top of the mixture.
4.Cover and cook on High until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender, about 5 hours; or cook on Low setting for 7 to 8 hours.

This one, however much I really WANTED to like it, was just ok. The rice got a bit mushy after so long in the crockpot, so decreasing the time may helped. It calls for wild rice mix, so I used the Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice mix. The taste of seasonings seemed to overpower the dish - next time I may try to substitute 1-2 cups of rice mix for just plain wild rice. I also didn't add carrots - not really a big fan of cooked carrots, though adding them may have helped with the over-seasoning taste. I froze part of this for a later meal, and am curious to see how it'll be after being frozen. 

One of my favorite things kitchen-wise the past couple of months has been freezing leftovers! It's kind of trial and error to see what freezes well and what would be better just to make in smaller portions. So far, everything I've frozen has thawed and reheated well. So many recipes are for 6-8, which can be a bit much for 2 people. Instead of scaling them down to fit our needs, I'm making the standard recipe, leaving enough for leftovers the next day, and freezing the rest. We are acquiring a small chest freezer in the next couple of weeks, and I'm excited to have a little bit of extra room to store these extra goodies! It is helping to curb those "I don't want to cook, so we go out to eat" impulses. (Though sometimes I STILL want to go out to eat!) We are in the midst of a sabbatical from eating out, and so far we've done pretty well. Now to just keep it up! :D Plus this way we're not eating leftovers of the same thing for a week! 

Peking Pork Chops

I love the name of these. I mean really, they are Peking Pork chops!! What are they peeking at, I wonder? And they taste pretty good too. And I'm telling you, I can never lose my crockpot. Or it break. Or die. I love starting dinner before I leave for work, and then voila! Hot meal that I don't have to deal with when coming home from a long day. Definite WIN situation.

6 thick cut pork chops (1 inch)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1.Trim excess fat from pork chops and place in slow cooker. Mix brown sugar, ginger, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, salt and pepper in small bowl and pour over meat. Cover, turn to low and cook 4 to 6 hours, or until tender. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

No changes, other than of COURSE you add more garlic! Served with some steamed veggies and au gratin potatoes. 

Creamy Chicken on Linguine

This looked good, and as I love anything Alfredo-y, I gave it a shot. Truthfully, it's a chicken alfredo. And not my favorite one. Flavor-wise it's ok, just very heavy. Worth a try, but I doubt it'll make it into the regular meal rotation.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 (16 ounce) package linguini pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 cube chicken bouillon, crumbled
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
4 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2
inch pieces
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1.In a large saute pan, heat oil, butter and garlic over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until juices run clear. Remove chicken from pan let cool and slice diagonally into long strips. Reserve oil in pan.
2.Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain.
3.Reheat oil in pan, add onion and saute, stirring often, until onion is soft but still white. Add bullion cube and water; bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for approximately 10 minutes. Stir in cream, milk, green onions and Parmesan cheese.
4.Place pasta in a bowl, layer chicken slices in a decorative pattern over pasta, pour sauce over top of chicken and around pasta. Garnish with parsley or any herbs you desire. Serve immediately.

recipe image

Mexican White Cheese Sauce/Dip

This was for a Mexican themed Dr. Who night. I loooove the Mexican restaurant's white cheese dip, and this one was pretty similar.

1 pound white American cheese, cubed
1/2 cup milk, or as needed
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chilies
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
cayenne pepper to taste
1.Place cheese, milk, and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook until cheese has melted, stirring frequently. Stir in green chilies, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper to taste. Add more milk if dip is too thick. Heat through and serve immediately.

 I, in my infinite wisdom, decided that it needed some salt. It does NOT in fact need salt of any sort. :D Other than that, it was very good! I used white American cheese, as well as some shredded Queso Velveeta cheese. I made it in an electric fondue pot, which was nice because I could just add all the ingredients and leave it on low to melt together. I only added 1 can of green chilies...they are not my favorite taste in the world, so I tend to go pretty light in any recipe that calls for them. Would definitely make this one again, minus any salty additions.

Manicotti Stuffed Shells

A fun way to branch out from your typical spaghetti. Hubby LOVES spaghetti and could eat it for at least 5 meals a week, so I'm always on the lookout for alternatives that still incorporate similar ingredients, plus manicotti sounded good. A bit of work to stuff the shells, but well pretty worth it. Not necessarily one of my all time favorites, but a nice change from regular spaghetti.

1 pint part-skim ricotta cheese
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 teaspoon dried parsley
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
5 1/2 ounces manicotti pasta
1.Cook manicotti in boiling water until done. Drain, and rinse with cold water.
2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3.In a large bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, and 1/2 cup Parmesan, eggs, parsley, and salt and pepper. Mix well.
4.Pour 1/2 cup sauce into an 11x17 inch baking dish. Fill each manicotti shell with 3 tablespoons cheese mixture, and arrange over sauce . Pour remaining sauce over top, and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
5.Bake 45 minutes, or until bubbly.

recipe image

Follow as directed, other than using Jumbo Pasta Shells instead of Manicotti shells - I think they are easier to stuff. I did add some ground Italian sausage to the cheese mixture for half of them, which was a yummy addition. Both varieties were good, but I do love meat. ;) 
I ended up having quite a bit of cheese stuffing leftover, so I combined it with some lasagna noodles and spaghetti sauce, making a tasty lasagna to freeze for later consumption. 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Roast/Coleslaw

Alright, we're starting a blog blitz - it's been too long, and I promise you, I HAVE been cooking! :) I'm trying to branch out beyond mostly chicken - sometimes it works out better than others. This one will soon become a favorite - I froze about half of it for later, and I'm excited to eat it again!

1 (3 1/2) pound pork butt roast
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Heinz® Tomato Ketchup
1 cup Heinz® Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup fancy molasses
1/3 cup Heinz® Mustard
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Soft rolls
1.Remove all string from the roast and trim away excess fat. Place the chili powder in a bowl; blend in the oil, chili, pepper, cumin, coriander, paprika, allspice, salt and garlic to make a paste. Rub all over the pork, working the spice mixture into the meat well. Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Transfer the roast to a slow cooker.
2.Blend the ketchup with the vinegar, molasses and mustard. Pour mixture over the roast and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until very tender.
3.Transfer the roast to a large bowl; discard any visible fat. Use two forks to separate the meat into long strands. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the cooking juices and strain into a saucepan. Whisk in the cornstarch and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until thickened and bubbling. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker; stir to combine with remaining cooking juices. Serve the meat on soft rolls; drizzle with thickened sauce mixture to taste.

This recipe I followed as directed, served topped with coleslaw (homemade! Recipe below) on Onion buns. I wasn't sure about the sauce as I was making it, but it was an AMAZING BBQ type sauce that really melded all the flavors together. The only change I would make would be to thicken more of the sauce and add it back in to the meat. The juices tended to soak in to the bun pretty quickly.


1 (16 ounce) bag coleslaw mix
2 tablespoons diced onion
2/3 cup creamy salad dressing (such as
Miracle Whip™)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
1.Combine the coleslaw mix and onion in a large bowl.
2.Whisk together the salad dressing, vegetable oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl; blend thoroughly. Pour dressing mixture over coleslaw mix and toss to coat. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

recipe image

I agree with a couple of the reviews that say the sugar is a bit much...I would decrease it a bit. And honestly I didn't measure the Miracle Whip, just added until it looked right. Didn't add poppy seeds...I don't keep them on hand usually, but I think it would be yummy!