Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Corn Casserole for Thanksgiving

 I can't believe that Thanksgiving is only 2 days away! But I'm busy like many of you, cooking and cleaning for the big day. Thought I'd share an easy and delicious Corn Casserole recipe with you, just in case you are looking for one more side for the big meal. I got this recipe years ago from a friend, but I have adapted it somewhat. This dish is very good and is easy to double if needed. If you still need some more ideas for side dishes, click here. If you need a dessert, click here.
I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be thankful for the blessings you've been given and enjoy your family and friends. Now here's the recipe.
Corn Casserole
From Lynda's Recipe Box
1 can cream-style corn
1 can whole kernal corn, drained - or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn that is thawed
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 of a large bell pepper, diced -(sometimes I add both green and red pepper so it will look festive.)
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 pound, (4 ounces), shredded cheddar cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and sautee the bell pepper until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the flour until combined and stir about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a bowl add the creamed corn, the drained corn, cheddar cheese and eggs. Stir in the saaauted bell pepper mixture. Seqason with salt and pepper. Pour into a greased 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole dish. Bake 50-60 minutes until firm and golden. My dish in the photo was a bit larger, so it baked quicker. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mediterranean Braised Green Beans

Mediterranean Green Beans braised in the oven with onion, garlic in a rich tomato sauce. Pure deliciousness on a fork!
I have eaten green beans and tomatoes before, but have not made them myself. According to Cook's Illustrated, where this recipe comes from, green beans cooked this way can take awhile to get tender, because tomatoes will slow down the cooking time because of their acidity. I have learned something new! I also learned that baking soda added to this dish causes an alkaline environment where the fibers of the beans will soften and become tender. That is your science lesson for today folks. And yes, the beans are delicious, very tender but they still hold their shape since they were slow braised in the oven. I did have quite a bit of sauce in the beans, so next time I may cook more beans than called for. These green beans are pretty enough for any ones table, (and they smell fantastic while cooking too).  I'm not sure yet if I'm adding to my Thanksgiving table, but my husband gave them two thumbs up. Our kids look forward to my Green Beans Almondine every Thanksgiving, so we'll see. However, this dish is very company worthy, if you would like to try them.
Mediterranean Braised Green Beans
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated - serves 4-6
(I cut down the amount of olive oil from 5T. to 2T. And I totally forgot about stirring in chopped parsley before serving.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-3 pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 14.5 ounce can small dice tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
red wine vinegar to taste

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 275 degrees F.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch oven 0ver medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3-5 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Add water, baking soda, and green beans and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in tomato paste, tomatoes and their juice, salt, and pepper.
5. Cover the pot and place in the preheated oven. Cook until sauce is slightly thickened and green beans can be cut with the side of a fork, 40-50 minutes.
6. Add a splash of red wine vinegar, to taste, if desired. It does brighten the flavors some. Enjoy hot or at room temperature.
What's your favorite way to cook green beans?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

 It's hard to beat Chicken Pot Pie, but it can be rather time consuming to make depending on your method. My son told me about this Chicken Pot Pie Soup last year, and at first I thought it sounded rather pointless. After all you may just as well make pot pie I reasoned. But I gave the soup a try and it is delicious and rather fun to serve with broken pieces of pie crust tucked into the bowls of soup. Yes, it tastes just like Chicken Pot Pie, but just in a different form. The thick, flavorful broth is full of vegetables, tender chicken and is real old fashioned comfort food. Give it a try this winter; it's a great soup to make during the holidays too. In fact, this soup will taste wonderful using some of your left-over Turkey from thanksgiving dinner.
Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Adapted from Aaron McCargo, Food Network - 6-8 servings approximately
I cut out some of the fat from the original recipe, used cornstarch instead of flour, half and half instead of cream and changed spices.

4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 quarts (6 cups), chicken stock or broth
1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken- I use chicken breasts that have been baked, or simmered in water until tender
2 tablespoons oil or butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced-about 1 cup
2 stalks celery, diced
4 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in a little water to make a slurry
1 1/2 pounds frozen vegetables- I used fresh vegetables this time
3/4 cup half and half
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon, or sage, or herb of your choice- thyme is also good
1 store-bought pie crust, baked

1. Cook the chicken, or use a rotisserie chicken, or left over baked chicken. Bake 1 pie crust, according to package directions.
2. In a dutch oven, cook the onion and celery in the oil until just softened. Pour in the chicken broth or stock and bring to a simmer.
3. Add the frozen vegetables, and the diced potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes.
4. Mix the cornstarch with a little water to make a slurry. Pour half into the soup, stirring constantly. Add the rest if desired, to get the thickeness you want.
5. Stir in the half and half and the chicken. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add herbs to taste.
6. Serve in bowls garnished with pieces of pie crust. Enjoy!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

 Who doesn't love a great tasting meal from the Crock Pot? Theses delicious Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches will hit the spot anytime of year, but they were especially good during a very busy couple of days. I babysit with my 2 adorable granddaughters, ages 3 years, and the other is 4 months. Let me tell you, this grandma gets tired sometimes, so a tasty slow cooker meal is a real blessing. I usually make my own barbecue sauce for this, but was too tired to care last week, so I used our favorite bottled sauce and added a sauteed onion to the pot too. The sauteed onion really adds extra flavor to the meat.
 The result was a very flavorful and easy meal. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts this time, but boneless thighs will work just as well. In years past I've even used a whole chicken in the slow cooker to make sandwiches, but there is a lot of waste with the bones and skin. However it does work, either way you want to do it. This isn't a fancy meal, but sometimes you just want something easy on hand for those hectic days.
Slow-Cooker Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
From Lynda's Recipe Box
This is so easy you don't really need a recipe, but here's what I do. Made 8 large sandwiches for us, but can be stretched to make more. If you want fewer sandwiches, cut the recipe in half, or freeze some of the meat for another meal.

3 pounds of boneless-skinless chicken breasts, or thighs
1 large onion
1- 18 ounce bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce, or use  your homemade sauce
salt and pepper

Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and lay them evenly in the crock pot.
Slice or dice the onion. In a skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil or butter and the onion. Saute the onion until it begins to brown around the edges. Then add the onion to the chicken in the pot. Pour the bottle of Barbecue sauce evenly over the chicken. Cook on low until the chicken breasts, or thighs, can be easily shredded with a fork, 31/2 - 41/2 hours, depending on how fast your crock pot cooks. When done, remove the chicken to a pan and shred the meat using 2 forks. Pour the sauce over the meat and serve. Or you can add the shredded chicken back to the crock pot if desired. Enjoy!