Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Recipe: Chicken Puffs

Recipe: Chicken Puffs

This recipe is just synonymous with comfort food. It tastes great, fits in your hand great, freezes great, reheats great... it's just ... great. And it only calls for 4 ingredients. Which is great. Can you tell my bias? :)

While the original recipe from a friend called for crescent-dough in a tube, there are some much healthier (and tastier) options out there. My favorite recipe to use is from HeavenlyHomemakers.com. It's a perfect crescent dough alternative. In fact, children in France learn to make this dough themselves because it's so easy.

Plus, you can use the extra dough to make pop-tarts for dessert. How is THAT not awesome??



Chicken Puffs
(leftovers make GREAT lunches)

1 batch of whole wheat dough (Or crescent dough in a tube)
2 c cooked chicken
1 8oz pkg of cream cheese
2 tsp of your favorite seasoning, like Mrs. Dash, Italian Seasoning, etc. (optional)

In a small bowl, mash the chicken, cream cheese, and seasonings together.

Ready to mash.
Scoop the filling into the dough. Sometimes I use a muffin scoop, just to help me gauge consistency. It will make 8-12 puffs, depending on the size of your puff balls.
You don't have to roll the dough, just squish it with your hand.
Bake at 350*F for 20-25 minutes. Let cool. They will be HOT! Serve with gravy or enjoy it plain. Freeze and reheat for a fast dinner and delicious lunch.

COOK FROM FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Place filled (but uncooked) chicken puffs on a lined cookie sheet.

2. Place puffs in freezer until frozen solid. I usually wait a day.

3. Remove puffs off of tray and place into ziplock bags. I like to put as much as we need for a meal in 1 bag.

4. On Dinner Day, remove bag/appropriate number of puffs from freezer.

5. Place on a baking sheet and stick in oven. I like to stick it in the oven as it preheats. OR you can just put it in a 350*F warm oven. 

6. Bake 350*F for 18-25 minutes, or until warmed through. Enjoy!

Recipe: Chicken, Thyme, and Rice Casserole

I came across this recipe in blogger Kitchen Stewardship's "Better Than A Box" ebook. Oh my goodness. Full credit belongs to KitchenStewardship.com! It was not only an INSTANT family hit, it is super easy to make for a crowd! While the original recipe calls for using green beans, we preferred the more colorful look of Trader Joe's organic vegetable medley (corn, carrots, peas, and green beans). And at $1.69 for a 1-lb bag, it's a great budget blessing!

Don't skimp on the butter. The flavor really comes from the caramelized onions and butter! I assembled this dish the day before and then pulled it out to bake and serve for company. Absolutely delicious.



Chicken, Thyme, and Rice Casserole
(makes one 9x13 pan)

1 stick of butter (~1/2 c)
2 onions, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried thyme (original recipe calls for 3/4 tsp)

3-4 c cooked rice
1 bag frozen vegetable medley (or 1 lb of your favorite frozen veggie)
2 c cooked chicken

1c shredded cheddar cheese, optional (any kind will work, really)

Instructions:
Melt the butter and caramelize the onions, ~10 minutes.

Add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper -- sautéing until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

In a 9x13 pan, combine the rice, frozen veggies, and cooked chicken. Add in the onion/butter mix, tossing well. If you are feeling frisky, sprinkle with additional thyme on top.

Bake 350*F for 20 minutes, until heated through. Sprinkle cheese and bake 5 minutes longer (total of 25 minutes). Cooking straight from the fridge? Add an additional 10 minutes of cooking time (total 35 minutes).

While the cheese is optional, it makes a delicious addition.

Be sure to check out Better than A Box and all of KitchenStewardship's ebooks. I'm not an affiliate and receive no money for this recommendation. I simply know a good cookbook when I see it! Her recipe for caramelized onion dip rivals the grocery store dip for Super Bowl Sunday. Just sayin'.

(recipe shared with permission)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Recipe: Chicken Divan

This delicious recipe was passed along by my dear friend at Woodhaven Homestead. It's a deliciously creamy dish that has a hint of dijon and onion. I tweaked the recipe a bit and included my own secret ingredient for a white sauce -- beans! Yes, that's right. No one will ever know!! Serve over rice or pasta for a delightful one-pot meal.

Did I mention this freezes GREAT? Simply make a double-batch and freeze for later! To save space, I make a double batch of sauce and freeze JUST the sauce in a gallon bag -- this way I don't have to put a 9x13 pan in my freezer. When it's time to cook, I'll thaw the sauce and then make the dish.


(served over rice)

Chicken Divan 
(makes one 9x13 pan)

1 pkg frozen broccoli (other vegetables *can* be used, but broccoli is so yummy!)
2 c cooked chicken
3/4 of a stick of butter (~1/3 c.)
1/2 c flour
3 c milk
1/2 c cream
1 c grated parmesan
1-1/2 TB dijon mustard
2 TB dried minced onion
1/2 tsp worcester sauce
1 can white navy beans
salt + pepper, to taste

Combine broccoli and chicken in a 9x13 pan. No need to grease. Set aside.

Ready to bake!
In a sauce pot, melt the butter and stir in flour gradually. Once thickened, add milk.

Once smooth, add remaining ingredients and heat until cheese is melted.

Using an immersion stick blender, separate blender, or food processor, puree until creamy and beans are undetectable.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and broccoli.

Bake 350*F for 45 minutes

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

... And A Chicken In Every Pot.


Had I been alive when Herbert Hoover allegedly made his promise to “put a car in every garage and a chicken in every pot,” I’m pretty sure I would have cried tears of agony. Until this past year I was … wait for it … chicken about cooking a whole chicken.

Why? It’s not like I have to pluck off the feathers and break the necks! 

Simply put, we really only ate boneless skinless chicken breast growing up. All the awesome recipes I inherited from my mom were boneless skinless. All my Freezer Cooking meals used boneless skinless. 

I've talked all about how I got over my fear of chicken and why it's better to buy a whole chicken -- debunking 6 common myths about whole chickens.

So how did I get over my chicken-phobia?

After experimenting, I settled on my favorite mess-free way to cook a whole chicken (straight from the freezer and into a slow cooker), while making delicious broth at the same time. Then I freeze or pressure-can the cooked chicken meat in 2 cup increments so it is ready for quick meals. Likewise, I freeze or can the broth.

So what do I do with the leftover meat?? Based on my discussions about menu planning, these are the recipes currently gracing my kitchen. I find great success pairing cooked chicken with some sort of grain (like rice or pasta) and a few vegetables to make a one-dish meal. 

My goal is to get recipe links up and running soon. :-)

My Recipes

There's also a great blog post here with over 100+ different recipes to make with cooked chicken!


So go buy a whole chicken and happy cooking!