Dijon Chicken Salad Spread

I had never eaten a chicken salad that was heavy on Dijon mustard until I ate it in a restaurant for lunch one day.  It was a shock since I had been expecting the standard fat laden chicken salad you usually find.  I had asked about fruits or nuts in the salad, as I am a puritan in that arena.

The salad was different and interesting, not in a bad way though.  I found myself thinking about this chicken salad sandwich a few days later.  I had some boneless chicken breasts in the freezer and thought I might give it a try.

It has taken a few tries to get the Dijon mustard to mayonnaise ratio right for the way I like it.  Because Dijon can be overpowering, even when you like Dijon, there needs to be a bit of mayonnaise to cut through the mustard and finish moistening the spread.

Dijon Chicken Salad Spread is a tasty way to eat chicken salad that has a lower fat and calorie count than my basic chicken salad recipe that has mayonnaise and sour cream.

Continue reading “Dijon Chicken Salad Spread”

Turkey Rice Soup

I know, most everyone has a turkey soup recipe that uses their leftover holiday turkey.  This recipe is for those folks who do not have one and for those who would like to try a new version.  This one also works with ground turkey if you happen to be one of the folks that was not luck enough to have a spare turkey carcass hanging out.

For me, the key to a good turkey rice soup is the choice is herbs used in the broth.  My preferred herbs are rosemary, thyme, and marjoram.  I use them in equal parts, but have learned over the years that a base started with a turkey carcass needs more herbs than a base started with ground turkey.

Your base will be different too based on which way your start your soup.  If you decide to go with a turkey carcass, you will need less soup base or bouillon, the roasted turkey skin and bones will provide quite a bit of flavor.  In addition, I add my leftover turkey gravy.

First off, we all know that gravy is kind of weird heated back up.  Secondly, I hate to lose my pan drippings or the broth that I cooked my goblets in.  I always cook my giblets in some chicken broth and use this to moisten my dressing while I am waiting on the turkey to give up some drippings.

Continue reading “Turkey Rice Soup”

Asian Inspired Noodles

Asian inspired noodles are simply my take on Pancit and Japchae. Yes, I know they are from different countries. Yes I know this recipe is nowhere near authentic. Yes I know they are separate dishes, but I can hardly tell the difference. Since I cannot determine which one this is more like, I just call them Asian Inspired Noodles. Makes my life easier, and everyone knows I am all about simple.

Like my other Asian inspired dishes, this is another way I like to get extra veggies into our diets.  I know, salads are good for that, but if you know me, you already know salad generally miss my plate somehow.

I also have a non-authentic recipe for Lo Mein that I will feature at a later date. When you see that one, you will think it is just combination of chow mein and Asian noodles.

I prefer this recipe with cellophane noodles or glass noodles. But my store doesn’t always have them available. There are several Asian markets in my area, but they are clean across town and I do not want to fight the traffic between here and there only to learn they are like all the other stores in town – out of stock or don’t carry them.

Continue reading “Asian Inspired Noodles”

Witch’s Stew

Witch’s Stew is just a Halloween party variation of Frog Eye Soup.

Frog Eye Soup is just a variation of chicken and pasta that had been started as a soup recipe and turned into more of a pasta dish.  But the name has stuck in our family for about 20 years.

Frog Eye Soup got its name from the pasta shape that I had on hand for a Frog Eye Salad.  For those of you who have never heard of Frog Eye Salad, it is kind of a sweet dish in which ambrosia and pasta salad got mixed up in the same bowl.  It was very popular in the 60’s and 70’s.

I’ll try to make some in time for the spring holidays.  Right now, my house is in full fall and winter holiday prep.  For the blog anyway, you won’t find any carved pumpkins, graveyard scenes, or Christmas trees in the house just yet.  But give it another month and you might.

Continue reading “Witch’s Stew”

Sautéed General’s Chicken

General’s  chicken is a Chinese favorite, but we don’t always want heavy deep-fried food when we want Asian flavors for dinner. I also do NOT enjoy the task of cleaning up after deep-frying. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do it, some things like fried mushrooms, fried chicken, and egg rolls are worth a mess.

We don’t call this General Tso’s chicken at my house. Number 1, we are not exactly sure how to say it and number 2 we can.

This chicken dish is kind of sweet and savory with a bit if heat at the end.  You can increase the heat in this dish by allowing the dried peppers to spend more time simmering in the sauce.  But be careful with the heat level you are looking for, I let this simmer for too long once and thought I had eaten lava.

Continue reading “Sautéed General’s Chicken”

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce

My Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce recipe doesn’t have a whole lot of family history. However, I love BBQ and this is one of my default sauces that I make for just about every party and gathering we host where we have something BBQ. My wife and I have experimented with this recipe for the last few years and its one we have settled on.

Even though we love this recipe and we consider it our standard, it’s something we still like to experiment with every now and then.This recipe is easily tweak-able and super friendly to experiment with. Want it less sweet? Back off the sugar. Want it more tart? add more vinegar. Want more heat? Add more cayenne. I tend to tweak this recipe based on what I’m cooking it with. For grilled foods like chicken and pork chops, I tend like to leave this recipe a little on the sweeter side. I like to use more vinegar when cooking fattier cuts of meat like brisket and pork shoulder. I think the vinegar helps balance and cut through the fat a bit better.

Continue reading “Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce”

Chicken and Dumplings

My grandmother was famous for her chicken and dumplings, at least I always believed she was. Then I grew up and realized that everyone’s grandma, mom, aunt, sister, and/or cousin had one.

Unfortunately, there was no recipe for these. My grandmother would just toss things into a bowl and whip them up. These are not the soft fluffy biscuit type dumplings. I have heard them called chicken and sliders and also chicken and noodles when made by others.

Pre-internet days before I knew “everyone” had a version and I could simply search for a recipe, I spent years trying to make them like my grandma. My mom’s best friend’s mother  spent an afternoon with me once and showed me how she made hers. They were just like my grandma’s! You would think I would have written down quantities, but nope. I was certain I could manage. The first time I made them her way, they were moon rocks. They were a little flavorless too and the broth base needed help.

Continue reading “Chicken and Dumplings”

Chicken Chow Mein/Chop Suey

This recipe for chow mein is simple enough to make during the week. Some folks call this chop suey.  I make this dish at least once a month. I love it with jasmine rice, but white rice works too. I like everything about jasmine rice. The smell while it is cooking reminds me of popcorn. The taste is a little nuttier to me than white rice.

I generally have both kinds of rice in the pantry, but to me jasmine just pairs better with Asian cuisine. Unless of course, it’s Cheater Fried Rice, then it’s whatever kind of rice the manufacturer sticks in the bag.

Chow Mein is fairly versatile too. You can substitute or add just about any vegetable or protein. This is just a base recipe and I would encourage you to add your own spin to this. Any recipe of mine is usually just a good starting point. They tend to be a representation of how I like whatever recipe I have featured. Like a famous chef once said, “There are no food police.” It’s your kitchen, it’s your choice.

Continue reading “Chicken Chow Mein/Chop Suey”

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup is probably my favorite food.  Chicken and dumplings run a close second.  My mom told me once that when I was barely old enough to hold a spoon she left me home alone with my dad and told him to feed me a can of chicken noodle soup for dinner.  He opened the can, plopped a spoon in it and gave it to me.  I guess that moment is when my love affair with chicken noodle soup started.

I can still eat it from a can (water added now and heated – not actually out of the can), at a restaurant, but homemade is preferred with chicken pieces, swimming in a golden broth, surrounded by carrots slices and noodles.  When I make it, I usually start it in the late morning so I eat some for a late lunch, again for dinner, then put some in the refrigerator for lunch for a few days, and some in the freezer for later.  Later is usually a day or two after my refrigerator stash has been consumed.

Continue reading “Chicken Noodle Soup”

Chicken Marsala

Disclaimer: I do not claim that this recipe is authentic, or tastes like anything you get in a restaurant. This is simply the way I make it at my house and the way we like it at my house.

This version of Chicken Marsala is a great way to change up the monotony of chicken in my house. I cook a ton of chicken. Well, maybe not a ton since that would be 2,000 pounds. Chicken with rice, chicken on salad, chicken in soup, chicken parm, grilled chicken wings, baked chicken wings…..

On second thought, maybe I have cooked at least one ton of chicken in 30 years, that’s a little more than 1 pound a week. But I digress, I’m not the mathematician in the family (that would be Ron, math and science are his thing).

I like to cook this recipe because it is fairly simple and is something I can start and simmer until it’s time to eat. The slower the simmer, the longer it can sit. It’s easily served with angel hair mixed with a little olive oil and garlic, orzo and asparagus, or even wild rice.

Continue reading “Chicken Marsala”