Monday, September 30, 2013

chicken pot pie soup and homemade biscuits

Full disclosure: the biscuits were not the biggest success. They were flat and crispy and had no fluff to them. I need biscuit help--a good recipe and someone to literally walk me through it.

Baking is not my strong point and I will be the first to admit it. I hate measuring and the science of it all--you have seen my recipes? They are not what you would call exact.

Now that we have that out the way....the chicken pot pie soup, which I think was a success. Even though the bay area refuses to recognize that the calendar turned to fall, it is fall and my absolute favorite season. This meant comfort food all weekend, starting with a meatloaf and mashed potatoes Saturday--with a little spin on the potatoes (added goat cheese--yum!)

Sunday was a crock pot chicken pot pie soup that was warm and cozy, not to mention totally filling. I can see it as a go-to recipe on chilly fall days, and the total prep/work (not including biscuit time) was 25 minutes. I love delicious, craveable food that is EASY.

chicken pot pie soup
3 chicken breasts
1 bag of frozen mixed veggies--the one I got had carrots, peas, string beans, corn
5 springs of thyme, de-stemmed
1 tablespoon of parsley, minced with a small amount set aside for garnish
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 garlic gloves, minced
1 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of flour
6 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup water
salt, pepper and crushed red pepper for seasoning

  • pre-heat a pan with 2 tablespoons of the butter
  • season chicken with salt, pepper and red pepper, place in pre-heated pan and season other side
  • cook chicken to get a color on both sides (about 4 minutes per side) and remove from heat
  • melt remaining butter in saucepan with 1/8 cup of flour, whisk together to make a roux, add salt and pepper for seasoning
  • pour in 3/4 cup of heavy cream and whisk to make a cream sauce
  • turn crock pot to low, add frozen veggies, cream sauce, chicken, water, herbs, onion, garlic, additional salt and pepper for seasoning and remaining flour
  • let cook on low for 3-4 hours, add remaining cream and water if the liquid is needed. add a few more tablespoons of flour if the soup is too thin
  • let cook on high for another hour
  • remove chicken and shred with two forks, add back in and mix
  • serve over biscuits (and send me a great recipe if you have it!) or add to a pie crust.

Friday, September 20, 2013

happy birthday to me!!

Anyone who has known me for longer than ten minutes knows how much I love to celebrate my birthday. I usually make it a month long affair, but as I have gotten older I have lessened it to a week. Maturity, ya know?

Well today is actual day and I am off from work (of course) and will be celebrating by gallivanting around Disneyland (my first time-eek!) with Mike. He planned the entire trip and I am so excited to see the princesses (yes I am still a 5 year old little girl at heart), ride all the rides and get all hopped up on sugar.

 Feel free to enjoy a celebratory cupcake or cocktail in my honor ;)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

pizza night!

Pizza crust is really one of the most perfect blank canvas' for cooking. Grab a whole wheat crust and collaborate on toppings and you have an easy and delicious dinner.

Mike and I love cooking together and taking our favorites and combining them: goat cheese (for me) and bacon and italian sausage (for him) with some brussels sprouts and a salad on the side to get those veggies in!

goat cheese, bacon, brussels sprouts and sausage pizza
8 oz package of goat cheese, softened
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup brussels sprouts, diced
4 pieces of bacon, diced
3 sausages (any kind you like, we used spicy italian)
1 whole wheat pizza crust
a few shakes of worcheshire sauce
1 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper for seasoning

  • preheat oven to 350, heat a pan and place sausages with worcheshire sauce, let cook for a few minutes
  • add bacon, brussels sprouts, butter, salt & pepper
  • saute all until fully cooked (about 5-7 minutes)
  • while that cooks in the oven flour the counter and your rolling pin and begin rolling out your dough. (be liberal with the flour so nothing sticks)
  • I usually use a rectangle cookie sheet, so I roll the dough accordingly. you can use a pizza stone but I have never had much success with them.
  • once the dough is rolled out, lightly oil your pan and place the dough in, making a crust by shaping the sides against the pan. if you have excess dough just cut it off the sides. be careful not to stretch it as the dough will rip. 
  • pre-cook the dough in the oven until its slightly browned (about 10 minutes depending on thickness)
  • take about half of the goat cheese and spread on the crust, place back in the oven to fully melt for another 4 minutes
  • slice sausage, add to crust with bacon, brussels sprouts and drizzle some of the pan juices on top
  • sprinkle with mozzarella and top with remaining goat cheese
  • bake until the cheese is melted (about 5-7 minutes)

Happy pizza night!

Monday, September 16, 2013

eggplant stacks

It has been a while. To my seven readers, including Mike, who eats all of the food posted on these pages, I am truly sorry.

I will give you the busy excuse, but I have been cooking, so I promise there will be lots of catching up to do. And I need to finish up my not-so-brief departure series on decorating my yet-to-exist apartment. Just a little preview for ya there.

One of the things I have been busy with was a visit from my parents. They were here a few weeks back and it was such a fun trip-I fed them well as expected (hit up some tacolicious & caffe baonecci in North Beach to name a few), took them to see the SF Giants, visited family in eastern CA and drank a lot of wine (duh.)

So this post, while delayed, is somewhat timely to come back with after their visit.

My parents have always been amazing cooks, but it never really occurred to me just how lucky I was to enjoy some of their great food until I had friends start to beg me to make it for them.

My parents make these eggplant "stacks"--sort of a simpler, deconstructed eggplant parm. Sometimes they use sauce, sometimes fresh tomatoes, but always breaded and fried eggplant & mozzarella.

Everyone who tries my parents' eggplant raves about it, which always mystified me. It's definitely not even top 20 of what I grew up eating and loving. And its so simple.

So I had to share, because I am spoiled. This is craveworthy recipe and I forget that sometimes...

eggplant stacks
1-2 medium sized eggplants, peeled and sliced into rounds
3 tomatoes, sliced, or tomato sauce (you can use mine here)
1/2 lb of mozzarella, freshly grated
a handful of fresh parsley or basil
1/4 cup olive oil (for frying)
a few tablespoons of olive oil for final dish
2 eggs, beaten with a splash of milk
2 cups of breadcrumbs, seasoned
1 cup of AP flour--seasoned with s&p
salt and pepper for seasoning

preheat oven to 350
  • prep all ingredients first--peel and slice eggplant, slice tomatoes, grate cheese, etc
  • preheat pan with some of the oil on low-medium heat
  • begin an assembly line: a dish with the flour, the egg/milk in a bowl and then finally a dish with the breadcrumbs
  • start by coating eggplant in flour, then egg (fully submerged) then breadcrumbs-I like to press the breadcrumbs on with a fork so they really stick
  • place the fully coated eggplant stack in the preheated pan, and begin the process again with a new slice-the eggplant will absorb a lot of oil, so make sure add more as your cook
  • let the eggplant brown on each side, then drain on a paper towel
  • once all the slices are coated and fried, coat the bottom of an oven safe pan with olive oil (if using tomatoes instead of sauce) or coat with sauce
  • begin laying down the largest eggplant slices, then layer tomato or sauce, cheese, salt and pepper and basil or parsley
  • repeat until about 3-4 eggplant high, using smallest eggplant slices for the top 
  • top with remaining mozzarella and drizzle with olive oil
  • place in preheated oven until the cheese is bubbly (about 10-15 minutes)
I hope you love this family recipe!