Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oven Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes

Today was all about comfort from beginning to end.

I slept in, read a good book, drank coffee, and stayed in my pyjamas.

The PB and TH were both out which also gave me the opportunity to put on my play list and clean.

I sang along to Jack and Diane, Heavy Metal, and Margaritaville - to name a few favourite cleaning songs - while I lemon oiled all the antiques, dusted every nook and cranny, shampooed my carpets, washed the floors and scrubbed my tub.

Strangely enough, I find comfort in cleaning.

Working full time doesn't afford me the time I'd like to spend on my home - so when I get a window of opportunity like today, I jump on it.

Tomorrow the yard!

Meanwhile, one of my favourite "comfort meals" is oven fried chicken breasts and mashed potatoes.

This recipe takes the idea of shake and bake to a whole new level...

And trust me on the mayonaisse.

It makes for moist, tender, flavourful chicken every time.

Enjoy...

Oven Fried Chicken Breasts



* 3-5 bone in chicken breasts
* 2 cups dried bread crumbs (Panko are great)
* 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
* 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika
* 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
* 1 cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, thyme, cayenne, paprika, and olive oil. (The oil in the crumb coating will mimic a "fried" texture out of the oven.)

Mix the worcestershire sauce and mayo together and coat the chicken with the mayonnaise mix. Place chicken en pieces in bowl with bread crumb mixture and coat until well coated. Place chicken in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish, and bake for 45 - 60 minutes minutes until juices run clear.

This chicken is also exceptionally good cold.

I often make it in the summer to take on picnics.

But for today, it was all about the comfort...

So tell me. what kind of music do you get your clean on with?

Enquiring minds are feeling nosey...

And then have a simply spectacular day...

Skillet Chicken Vesuvio

I got the following recipe from Cook's Country magazine and have to tell you, I was impressed.

It's a streamlined version of Chicken Vesuvio which is originally a dish that came from Chicago.



Bone in chicken and potatoes smothered in a garlicy wine sauce and garnished with peas, the original dish requires more effort than I have the time or patience for.

Which is where the updated recipe comes in.

The PB, TH, and I all really liked this one...

Skillet Chicken Vesuvio

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, scrubbed and halved
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tsp lemon juice

1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat one tbsp oil in large non stick skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until golden, about three minutes per side. Transfer to plate.

2. Add remaining oil to pan and heat until shimmering. Cook potatoes, cut side down, until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Stirl in garlic, rosemary, oegano, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and broth scraping any browned bits off the bottom of pan and bring to boil Return browned chicken to skillet on top of potatoes . Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Using slotted spoon, tranfer chicken and potatoes to serving platter. tent with foil.

3. Increase heat to medium high and cook, uncovered, until sauce is reduced to one cup, five minutes. Stirl in peas and cook until heated through, about one minute.

Turn off heat, whisk in butter and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and potatoes.

Serve.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Apple Sausage Stuffing for Your Turkey

The first thing I always prepare for Thanksgiving dinner is my stuffing - which, I have to tell you, is incredibly good.

Not that I like to brag ;)

Several independent non-family tasters have verified this to be true.

The thing is, I've put my heart and soul into creating the most delicious stuffing ever and my recipe is the result of years of note taking, tasting, and experimenting.

Visit the printable recipe here: Apple Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients
  • 2 cups cubed whole wheat bread
  • 4 cups cubed white bread
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 packages turkey or maple sausage ( I like the maple sausage best)
  • 2 granny smith apples peeled and diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted almonds 
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/8 cup apple juice
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder or to taste ( taste the stuffing as you season it and adjust according to what you like)
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste, 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup melted butter - if putting the stuffing in the turkey
***

 If baking the stuffing separately...
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
Directions
  1. Toast the nuts in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat stirring often until golden and set aside.
  2. Remove the sausage meat from casings and saute over medium high heat until brown.
  3. Set aside, reserve 3 tbsp or so of the drippings in the pan, discard the rest.
  4. Saute the onion and celery in drippings. When just starting to soften, add the apple and dried cranberries. Saute together until starting to turn golden and then add the apple juice and de-glaze the pan. 
  5. Put the cubed bread into two large bowls (I use two so I can season properly)
  6. Season to taste with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and garlic powder.
  7. Distribute the sausage mixture and toasted nuts evenly between the two bowls. Mix well. This can be done ahead the day before to this point. I seal it all up in a large tupperware bowl and then leave until the next day. The flavours will meld together into a state of profound fabulosity.
  8. When ready to stuff, melt your butter and add it to the dressing, then stuff your bird.
  9. If you prefer to cook the dressing on the side, which is what I usually do, add about a cup and a half of low sodium chicken stock along with the melted butter to the dressing. Mix it up, put in a greased casserole dish and bake covered at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove the cover for the last fifteen minutes of baking for a nice crispy crust.
I know, it's a lot of butter. But didn't you get the memo? There are no calories with turkey dinner!



***

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

Facebook Twitter YouTube

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Salmon with Apples, Potatoes, and Kale

How many other foodies are like me? You need to try new recipes and new foods on an ongoing basis because your palettes have become accustomed to a little zing?

A little zip.

And a whole lotta magic!

But finding the magic can get a little challenging when you're learning to eat well on fewer calories.

I, the original Molly Mcbutter and long time aficionado of the Julia Child philosophy on cooking, have been learning how to skip the fat but not the flavour and today's recipe is a good way to do just that while using a lesser utilized green - kale, and omega rich salmon.

The recipe is an adaptation of one I found for Alaskan Salmon and Lacinato Kale with Apple-Bacon Vinaigrette and I have to tell you, even without some of the fancier ingredients from the original dish, the flavour combinations were wonderful and very clean.

All three of us loved it and I will definitley be making this again.

Salmon with Apples, Potatoes, and Kale

For printable recipe, click HERE



Ingredients:
  • 2 bunches kale, stalks removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped green onion
  • 1-1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • Pinch dried red pepper flakes
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 potatoes cut into french fry like slices boiled until just al dente
  • 4 skinless Salmon fillets (I like to use Captain Highliner)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 bacon strips, finely diced (I use my favourite turkey bacon to keep the fat down)
  • 2 small Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp apple juice
Directions:
Sauté kale, green onion, garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil. Transfer to serving plate; toss with cooked potatoes, cover and keep warm.

Season salmon with salt and pepper. Sear salmon in sauté pan, about 3 to 4 minutes per side; transfer to plate and keep warm.

Cook bacon over medium-low heat in the same pan until crisp. If using regular bacon, drin excess fat from the pan. Add apple, apple juice, and vinegar; cook for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle vinaigrette over salmon, kale and potatoes.


Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

Facebook Twitter YouTube

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire Pudding Batter
2 c. flour
2 c. milk
6 eggs1 tsp salt

Mix with whisk. It's ok to leave a few lumps. If you're not going to use right away, keep at room temperature. I like the results better if the batter has sat for awhile.

















Preheat oven to 450...
Put about 1/2 tsp. oil in muffin cups. Heat pans in 450 F oven until very hot. Fill muffin cups about half full of batter and bake approx. 25 mins

Pull the yorkshire from the oven when they look crispy. Do not open the oven door to check, this will result in flat ugly looking yorkshire. Always use the oven window.

Recipe makes 12.















***

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shepherd's Pie

The following is a tried and true "pantry meal" using Campbell's soup for the gravy. It's one of those meals I grew up with and have tweaked over the years to become my most requested dish at family gatherings!

I hope you enjoy...

Shepherd's Pie

Warm and delicious, a one dish meal sure to hit the spot on a cool evening





















Preparation Time:  40 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 8

For printable recipe click HERE

For the filling
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • One onion chopped
  • Two stalks diced celery
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • Two large carrots , diced
  • One cup frozen peas
  • One can niblets corn
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp thyme, or herbes de provence
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the topping
  • 12-15 medium sized russet potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 fresh grated parmesan
Directions
  1. Saute onion, celery, mushrooms and ground beef over medium high heat in a pan sprayed with PAM or lightly oiled with extra virgin olive oil. If the meat begins to stick, deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of low sodium chicken broth.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the carrots and peas in a pot of boiling water.
  3. When the ground beef is just about cooked add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  4. Deglaze the pan getting all the flavour off the bottom, add the peas, carrots, corn, soup, and ketchup.
  5. Stir well to incorporate. Set aside.
  6. Mash potatoes adding all ingredients in the topping. Fold in the cheese at the end.
  7. Spray a casserole dish with Pam or coat lightly with extra virgin olive oil
  8. Cover with a layer of the ground beef mix, a layer of the potatoes, and another layer of the ground beef mix ( you will be building this pie lasagna style.
Top with the final layer of potatoes and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake in a 375 oven for 40-45 minutes. Put a sheet underneath to get any drippings.



***

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

Facebook Twitter YouTube

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner!

The following blog is a "Planner" I have put together after years of trial and error.

I can honestly say I follow these directions, step by step, each and every time I cook a turkey dinner and they have never led me astray. The recipes are guaranteed to provide your friends and family with an absolutely delicious Thanksgiving dinner. At the same time, because much of the meal is made ahead, the cook will be able to enjoy the day instead of being stuck in a messy kitchen.

I hope this planner is helpful to you.

Please let me know what you think.

xoxo

Happy Thanksgiving!

***

If you're just stopping by and want my printable planner and recipes without the whole blog (though the blog is highly entertaining ;) Click here for the PRINTABLE PLANNER.

Roasted turkey, roasted brussel sprouts, sweet potato casserole, lemon dill carrots, fluffy mashed potatoes, stuffing, fresh baked buns, and gravy make this the ULTIMATE holiday feast.

Thanksgiving dinner this year couldn't have turned out better. My planning and timing resulted in delicious food and a relaxed cook. So much so that I was enjoying a cocktail when the first of my guests arrived.

With all of the prep done ahead of time - including setting the table, getting cranberry sauce into bowls, laying out serving spoons etc. all I had to do yesterday was follow my schedule.

The following is a play by play report on the day's activities.

These links will take you to everything I made ahead:

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes (can be made two days in advance, cover tightly and refrigerate

















Lemon Dill Carrots (can be made a day in advance, cover tightly and refrigerate)

Zippy Glazed Carrots (a side I came up with this year because I wanted more flavour from my carrots - can be made a day in advance, cover tightly and refrigerate)

















Sweet Potato Casserole (can be made two days in advance, cover tightly and refrigerate)

Apple Turnip Mash
(Some years I choose to make this side instead of sweet potatoes. I actually prefer it but my son is a die hard sweet potato casserole fan - can be made two days in advance, cover tightly and refrigerate)

















There are two choices for your stuffing and both are excellent. For a quick version using Stove Top mix try: My family's top secret recipe for stuffing (can be made two days in advance, cover tightly and refrigerate)

Or for something a little more time intensive but definitely worth the effort: Sausage and Apple Stuffing (can also be made two days in advance)


















Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake (can be made a day or two ahead, cover tightly and refrigerate)


















***
Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about old fashioned memories. I like to use my vintage corning ware casserole dishes both to store and serve.


Make aheads give the cook time to enjoy friends and family!
    The next day, you will begin by stuffing your turkey.

    Below is a cooking chart to let you know how long you will be roasting.

    8 to 12 pounds -- 2 3/4 to 3 hours
    12 to 14 pounds -- 3 to 3 3/4 hours
    14 to 18 pounds -- 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
    18 to 20 pounds -- 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
    20 to 24 pounds -- 4 1/2 to 5 hours

    Stuffed Hours
    8 to 12 pounds -- 3-3 1/2 hours
    12 to 14 pounds -- 3 1/2 - 4 hours
    14 to 18 pounds -- 4-4 1/2 hours
    18 to 20 pounds --4 1/2 - 4 3/4 hours
    20 to 24 pounds --4 3/4 - 5 1/4

    If in doubt, use use a meat thermometer (available at most grocery stores and kitchen shops) to determine the correct degree of doneness. Turkey is done when meat in the thigh reaches 180°F or (meat in the breast in finished at 170°F).

    Setting the Table

    Because I'm an anal retentive neurotic, the setting of my holiday table in advance has become a bit of an obsession.

    No matter, though.

    Because any good host will tell you that once the table is set, you have created the mood, and mood, after all, sets the tone for all else to come.



    Pictured above is my 2010 table setting.

    I offset the brilliant colours in my Italian pottery Thanksgiving plates with a rustic black table cloth.



    And added a little whimsy with my favourite salt and pepper shakers from the 60's: Owls with googly eyes.



    As an experienced host, I know that the most seemless of dinner parties are always that way because of careful planning...

    The PLAN


    10:00 am - Begin the dinner rolls cover the dough, set aside in a warm place for the first rising. Your dough will sit on your warm stove top and simply do it's thing all day. You will let this dough rise three times - which just means it grows about twice it's normal size - kind of like me after eating this dinner. You will simply put your fist into the middle of the dough to take the air out and then let it rise again.

    11:00 am - Prep the turkey

    Rinse the turkey and then dry it really good inside and out.

    Salt the cavity and then stuff with the dressing you made the day before.

    Rub the outside skin with softened butter and then sprinkle all over with kosher salt, garlic powder, and fresh cracked black pepper. Be generous - turkey tastes great with these seasonings.

    Put breast side up onto a roasting rack in your roaster and cover with lid or tin foil.

    12:00 pm - Turkey goes into oven at 325 (baste every hour) My times are based on a 15 to 17 pound turkey, adjust yours accordingly and start earlier for a bigger bird. The idea is to have things timed so your turkey comes out of the oven at 4:00 pm.

    Baste your turkey every hour. If there are a lot of pan juices, remove them as you go and set aside for your gravy.

    3:00 pm - Prep Brussel Sprouts (follow this link to the recipe) set aside until ready to roast.

    3:30 pm - Remove Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes and the other sides from fridge and set on counter.

    3:30 pm - Remove turkey from oven. Using your baster, remove all excess pan juices and set aside to use for gravy. Remove cover from turkey and return it to the oven to really brown up for the last half hour of roasting.

    3:50 pm - form the dough you made for the rolls in the morning into buns. It will have risen three times by now. Cover and set aside to rise again.

    4:00 pm - Turkey comes out of oven. Put on platter, cover with tin foil, leave to rest. (Don't worry, it won't get cold).

















    4:05 - Put pan drippings into a fat seperator. if you have one - it's an easy way to remove excess fat from your gravy.

    Leave about 1/4 cup in the bottom of your roaster pan.

    4:10 - Add 4 tbsp flour to the pan drippings to make a roux. Add all the pan juices, one tbsp cranberry sauce, and three packages of Clubhouse roast turkey gravy mix that has been shaken up with three cups of water. Trust me on this, it makes a great gravy. While that heats up, scrape all the good brown stuff off the sides and bottom of the pan. Get every last bit of flavour off that sucker!

    Whisk, whisk whisk! Bring to a boil and thicken with more flour if needed.

    When it's a nice consistency, transfer to a sauce pan and keep on low until ready to eat.

    4:20 - Preheat oven to 350, Wash your roasting pan and put it away. No more mess, no more mashing, no hot steamy kitchen, gravy's done.

    4:30 - Put potatoes into a 350 oven.

    4:35 - Have another cocktail, relax, put out some appetizers - we always have fresh prawns with cocktail sauce. and some nice brie with crackers and grapes - enjoy your guests.

    4:50 - Put turnip mash, and sweet potato casserole into the oven alongside the potatoes give potatoes a stir while adding a little warm whole milk or cream at their halfway point. This will give them a nice creamy consistency)

    5:25 - Remove veggies from oven (making sure they're heated all the way through), cover with foil and a t-towel, leave to rest on the warm stove top (don't worry, these won't get cold either)

    5:30 - Increase oven heat to 400. Put brussel sprouts in to roast.

    5:35 - Carve the turkey

    5:55 - Put your buns in the oven (I always wanted to say that) They just go in alongside the brussel sprouts. Both buns and brussels will take another 15 minutes.

    6:05 - Heat the carrots in the microwave on high for app five minutes.

    6:10 - Pull your buns and brussels out of the oven, uncover everything else, stick a ladle in the gravy, and serve. (We usually just do it buffet style as that seems easiest)

    6:15 - Toast the cook and Happy Thanksgiving

    (Maven's Thanksgiving plate 2008)





















    And don't forget dessert!!

    Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake


















    "Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy -- because we will always want to have something else or something more."





    ***

    Author:

    Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

    Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

    Facebook Twitter YouTube

    Sunday, October 4, 2009

    Salmon in Lemon Ginger Sauce with Quinoa

    Last week one of the women I work with brought a salad for lunch made with quinoa - a cous cous like grain that is apparently incredibly healthy for you.

    Being that I'm currently on the health bandwagon, I was immediately interested and have since found out that this super food is good for a variety of things like heart disease and hyper tension.

    As a natural protein it's also a great way to sneak protein into the diet throughout the day.

    Not just that, it's super easy to prepare and very tasty.

    So when I hit the grocery store this weekend, it was at the top of my list, next to the soy milk and leafy greens.

    Tonight for dinner I made the following recipe and have to say, it was just delicious.

    Not to mention quick and easy to prepare.

    The only alteration I made was to use broccoli and snap peas because I forgot to buy swiss chard and TH ate the last of the spinach.

    I know! There's a blog in that for sure :-)

    Until then, though, I hope you'll try this wonderfully healthful and delicious recipe.

    Salmon in Lemon Ginger Sauce with Quinoa
    Click here for Printable RECIPE



    • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
    • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
    • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
    • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon finely-grated lemon zest
    • 1 8-ounce salmon fillet, about 1-inch thick
    • 2 cups chopped, fresh Swiss chard, rinsed well
    • Cooking spray
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Combine quinoa and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and set pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.

    Fluff with a fork. Season to taste.

    Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together broth, cornstarch, ginger, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Set aside.

    Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. Season both sides of salmon with salt and pepper and place in pan, skin side up. Cook two minutes.

    Flip and cook two more minutes. Add broth mixture and simmer 30 seconds. Arrange Swiss chard around salmon, cover pan, and cook one minute, until greens are wilted and salmon is cooked through. Serve half of the salmon and Swiss chard with half of the quinoa on the side.

    Nutrition Score per serving:
    306 calories, .62 g calcium, 27.5 carbs (36%), 10 g fat (26%), 3 g fiber, 29 g protein
    (38%), 28 mg sodium


    Author:

    Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

    Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

    Facebook Twitter YouTube