Friday, July 8, 2011

Chicken Stew with Biscuits

This turned out delicious. It reminds me of a really quality chicken pot pie. Do you see those huge chunks of chicken breast in there? YUM! My kids really enjoyed this one! It is a Barefoot Contessa recipe with some minor changes to make it easier and tiny bit less fattening.

Chicken Stew with Biscuits

Printable Recipe
3 whole chicken breasts, bone in, skin on

Enough water to cover the chicken breasts

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning (dried herbs)

5 cups chicken stock, low sodium

2 chicken bouillon cubes (I prefer organic to cut down on some of the not so healthy stuff)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)

3/4 cup flour

1 10-12 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables (2 cups)

1 10-ounce package frozen corn (2 cups)

1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions -OR- frozen diced potatoes (optional)

1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning (dried herbs)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup half-and-half

For the biscuits:

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

3/4 cup half-and-half -OR- whole milk

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2) ***This can been done day before or morning of to save some time. Poach the chicken: Place the chicken breasts in a pot with lid and cover with water. Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning and bay leaves. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over medium-low heat. Set pot aside for 25 minutes and do not remove lid. Remove chicken to cutting board or plate and allow chicken to cool enough to handle. Then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

3) In a large glass measuring cup, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock in microwave.

4) In a large pot or Dutch oven (To save on dishes later I use same pot as chicken and just rinse it out), melt the butter and sauté the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent.

5) Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

6) Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick.

7) Add 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the half-and-half. Add the cubed chicken, mixed vegetables, corn, onions or potatoes, and Italian Seasoning. Mix well. Place the stew in a 10 x 13 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for 15 minutes.

8) While stew is in oven, make the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the diced cold butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add the half-and-half and combine on low speed. Optional-Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out on a sheet of wax/parchment paper and cover dough with another sheet of wax/parchment paper. Roll out with a rolling pin, to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out twelve circles with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter or use the the rim of a glass or jar like me.
9) Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Brush them with egg wash, and return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are light brown and the stew is bubbly. Allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

Note from Barefoot Contessa: To make in advance, refrigerate the chicken stew and biscuits separately. Bake the stew for 25 minutes, and then place the biscuits on top, and bake for another 30 minutes, until done.

*** I am sure this dish can be completed using ready to bake country style biscuits in a time pinch but I prefer to make my own so I can control what goes in them and make sure we are eating the most natural ingredients possible.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Quick & Tasty Mediterranean Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Here is a quick and tasty bow tie pasta salad that I threw together one night when we were running short on time. This goes really well with the Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper Turkey Burgers.

Mediterranean Bow Tie Pasta Salad

12 oz box bow tie pasta, cooked according to package, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 - 2 cups Newman's Own Lighten Up Balsamic Vinaigrette
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup sun dried julienne cut tomatoes herbs packed in oil, drained
optional: olives

1) Combine drained, rinsed pasta with vinaigrette.
2) Fold in feta and sun dried tomatoes.
3) Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Better if left overnight for flavors to combine.

California Sun Dried Tomatoes with herbs packed in oil are my favorite sundried tomatoes. I used these in salads, burgers, pasta, and chicken dishes. I love them mashed on a plate mixed with some oil from the jar, coarse sea salt, and fresh ground pepper to use as a sourdough bread dipping sauce.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Creamy Shells and Cheese

This has become one of my kids favorites. I got the original recipe from a newspaper article but I cannot remember which one. It has been in my recipe binder for quite some time.

Creamy Shells and Cheese
Printable Recipe

8 oz shell pasta, cooked according to package, drained and rinsed
12 oz can evaporated milk
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup grated colby-jack or parmesan cheese
8 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1) Microwave evaporated milk and chicken broth until steamy (not boiling).
2) In large pot (I use the same pot from the pasta), over low heat melt butter. Whisk in flour and then steamy milk mixture. Cook until thickens about 3-4 minutes.
3) Whisk in Dijon mustard, grated colby-jack or parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
4) Remove from heat and whisk in cheddar cheese until melted and smooth. Fold in cooked shell pasta.

***TIP: Sometimes we make this a meal by stirring in poached or grilled sliced chicken breasts and steamed broccoli.
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