Friday, February 20, 2015

Chicken and Rice Skillet Casserole

It's that weird cold time of year where most people are stuck trying to put out an easy and healthy dinner on the table in a limited amount of time.  Considering how cold and ugly it is outside, no one really feels like cooking and no one wants to spend a lot of time stuck in the kitchen after work.
This is an easy recipe you can make ahead of time or even the day ahead for your family's dinner time. Chicken and Rice seem to be a perfect combination for any type of casserole.  Then by adding the use of the skillet and some delicious veggies and cheese, you have a crispy and easy dinner for anyone.
This will unfortunately be my last post for awhile.  Next week is my last week until maternity leave.  I'll definitely miss bringing everyone make own take on recipes for the next few months.  I will hopefully be back in June with a whole new slew of recipes and delicious ideas to show everyone. Please feel free to continue to send me your requests for recipes and any feedback you may have to ahoff@timesherald.com.


 

Chicken and Rice Skillet Casserole


40 minutes of Prep/Stove time
35 minutes in the oven
8 Servings

·       1.5 lbs of raw Chicken (I used chicken thighs, you can certainly use white meat)
·       1 Large White Onion (chopped)
·       2 Cups of Broccoli (chopped)
·       3 Cups of Vegetable Broth
·       1 Cup Uncooked Rice
·       1.5 Cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (divided)
·       1 Cup Frozen Peas
·       2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
·       1 tsp. Salt
·       1 tsp. Pepper
·       1/2 Sour Cream
·       4 Tsp. Olive Oil (divided)

Add 2 Tsp. Olive Oil to a large oven safe skillet and heat up under medium heat. Add Chopped onion and saute until thoroughly translucent.


Chop of chicken into bite sized portion, make sure to discard bones but feel free to add chicken skin and fat into the dish.  It adds great flavor.  Add chopped chicken and additional 2 Tsp. of Olive Oil to skillet and brown with onions for 5 minutes or so.



Then add rice and minced garlic to skillet, stir and saute together for 1-2 minutes.  Add Broth to mixture and bring up to a simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring every few minutes.


When rice started to come together add broccoli and simmer for 1-2 more minutes.



After that add sour cream, salt, pepper, peas, and about half the cheese to the dish and stir together.  Top the casserole with other half of cheese, sprinkling it evenly throughout the top of the dish.



Either set aside to cool and refrigerate until you're ready to bake it or preheat oven to 350 degrees.



Bake Dish for 30-35 minutes.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Chocolate Lava Cake

It's the day before Valentine's Day, which is a holiday that has a lot of different meanings to many different people. Maybe you have a romantic evening planned out with your significant other, maybe instead you're joining a group of friends, or at home with your family.  Either way there seems to be one universal way to celebrate Valentine's Day, and that's to eat CHOCOLATE.
Chocolate may be one of the greatest inventions of man.  Right up there with the wheel and sliced bread. This time of year, there's a great deal of emphasis for people to buy chocolates or eat dinner and have a chocolate dessert. Whatever your fancy may be, this is an awesome recipe to have tucked in your back pocket. A Chocolate Lava Cake that can easily be made in the Slow Cooker. This is an easy recipe to make for a dinner party, or if you're at home this Valentine's Day with your significant other and 3 kids.  It's delicious, easy, and requires very little attention. I did make the brownie mix from scratch (mostly because it was cheaper), but you can certainly buy a box of pre-made brownie mix if you prefer or to save time.
Just a reminder, this is one of my last blog posts before maternity leave starts. I'll try my best to keep online and post a few while on maternity leave, but I can't promise anything. However feel free to keep submitting recipe requests and emailing me at ahoff@timesherald.com with questions or thoughts.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake

10 minutes to prep
3-3.5 hours on High in Slow Cooker
10 servings
·       Non Stick Cooking Spray to cover bottom and sides of Slow Cooker

Homemade Brownie Mix
·       1 Cup Granulated Sugar
·       2/3 Cup Flour
·       1/3 Cup Dark Chocolate Cocoa (I used Hershey's)
·       1/2 tsp. Salt
·       1/2 tsp baking powder
·       1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
·       3 Eggs
·       2/3 Cup Water


Topping
·       2 Cups Milk
·       1 Instant Pudding Packet (I used Jello brand, feel free to use whatever brand you like)
·       2 Cups Chocolate Chips




Optional
·       Whipped Cream or Vanilla Ice Cream

Set up Slow Cooker and spray down bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl mix up homemade Brownie mix, beat together for 2-3 minutes until thoroughly combined.



Pour into slow cooker carefully, it'll easily splash down the sides.



In a separate bowl, mix together the milk and pudding packet. Allow to set for 2-3 minutes until it's soft set.





Add pudding mixture on top of brownie mixture in Slow Cooker. DO NOT MIX TOGETHER once they're both in the slow cooker.



Evenly spread chocolate chips on top of both mixtures.



Cook on High for 3-3.5 hours. It may look a bit goopy but it will taste amazing when done.  You can also top each serving with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Coq au Vin

So it's now February, which means there's only a couple of blog posts left (including this one) until my maternity leave.  Yes... yes.. I'm expecting. No, we didn't find out the gender, but yes we're both (my husband and I) are very excited. So while I'm desperately trying to push out a few more blog entries before my due date, unfortunately there are only a couple left.  I'll be on maternity leave for about 3 months. I'm not sure how often I'll be able to post during my leave, but will return to regular blog posts in June.
Onto the blog entry, it's comfort food season and who doesn't love a slow cooked meal with tons and tons of flavor.  I love Coq Au Vin and it's a great beginning of the week recipe that can be broken up into lunches or meals as the week progresses.  Coq Au Vin is a French recipe that involves slow cooked chicken with mushrooms, red wine, and bacon. This is also a very forgiving recipe, you can kind of leave it alone and allow it to cook.

Coq au Vin

30 minutes to prep
2-3 hours at 325 degrees to cook
8 servings

·       4 Chicken Leg Quarters
·       2 lbs Carrots, peeled and chopped
·       8 oz Mushrooms sliced
·       16 oz Red Wine, (I prefer Cabernet)
·       4 cloves Garlic, minced
·       1 Cup Chicken Broth
·       4 oz or 5-6 slices of Bacon
·       2 Shallots, diced
·       2 Tsp. Olive Oil
·       2-3 large stalks of celery chopped
·       1 Tsp. Thyme
·       2 Bay Leaves or 1 Tsp. chopped Bay Leaves
·       1/4 cup Flour
·       1 Tsp. Salt
·       1 tsp. Pepper
·       2-3 large stalks of celery chopped
·       Egg noodles (I used one large box)

Begin by preheating oven to 325 degrees and pulling out a saute pan. Begin to saute bacon in the pan until crispy.



While bacon is browning, grab a large baking pan and line the bottom with carrots and celery. Then add chicken on top of carrots and celery.  You can also brown chicken before adding to the pan. I choose not to. Add salt and pepper evenly on top of chicken.

When bacon is finished spread on top of the chicken in baking pan. Then add 1 Tsp. of Olive Oil in with bacon fat in the saute pan and caramelize the diced shallots.



Add mushrooms evenly on top of chicken in the pan.



When the shallots look just about browned, add minced garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add thyme, bay leaves, red wine and chicken broth and simmer for 5-10 minutes until it starts to come together.  You'll see it'll just start to thicken.  Turn off heat and pour sauce on top of chicken evenly. 



Bake in oven for 2 hours or so.  Occasionally pull out every hour or so to baste.  Then pull out of oven and ladle out 2-3 cups of broth.  Add flour to broth and mix well.  Add back to pan and stir around.  Put back in oven for 30 minutes to an hour.

Prepare egg noodles according to instructions.



Pull out chicken, allow to rest for 5 minutes and then add on top of egg noodles for a warm hearty dinner.