Winner Winner Chicken Dinners


Chicken Alla Caccitore picture taken with my phone

I made two very good chicken dinners at camp this year.

The first was

Chicken alla Caccitore

8 Chicken leg quarters
3/4 cup rough chopped onion
3/4 cup rough chopped carrots
1 package of sliced mushrooms
2 Tbls of minced garlic
1 pound of Bacon Ends and Pieces
2 cans of diced tomatoes
(wishes and fishes I wish I would have had a couple of red bell peppers to put in this I also wish I would have removed the skin from the chicken)

Render the bacon pieces and remove remove all but 2 Tablespoons of the bacon fat. Season chicken pieces and brown in the dutch oven. Remove chicken and add the veggies let veggies cook until the onions are starting to soften. Add meat back to the pan and add tomatoes. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes and then back off the heat to a simmer for 2 hours.  Par (cook half way) boil a hardy pasta (riggatoni, Penne, fusilli etc) remove the chicken to a plate, drain pasta and then add to the cooking liquid to finish cooking.  Serve with shaved  Romano cheese.

The Second was

Bacon-Ranch Chicken

3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 packets of Ranch Dressing mix
1 lb Bacon Bits and Pieces
1 lb Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 cup of water

Render the Bacon pieces and remove the bacon fat. Add half the chicken breasts sprinkle one packet of the ranch dressing and half the cheese; repeat with the remaining ingredients. Add water and let simmer for 1 1/2 hours stir and serve.

On a side note I have decided that I LOVE the Bacon pieces and ends for anything dutch oven and frankly most things where Bacon is in something and not the something. It has bigger pieces and odd shapes that just seem to work better. Plus it is cheaper. Skip it for breakfast though, yuck.

Simple Is Better

Somethings should just be simple, natural, and easy. Strawberry Shortcake is one of those things.

16 oz Fresh Strawberries washed and sliced
2 Tbls Honey
1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar (Trust Me)
Pound Cake (I used store made)
Fresh Whipped Cream

Mix the Strawberries, honey and vinegar; let sit while you get everything else done.
Slice the pound cake into good sized pieces, spoon the strawberries over the cake and top with the whipped cream.

Nothing Better…ok maybe a good pecan pie, but nothing else. 😉

Spinach Artichoke Dip Perfected

At least by my standards.

1 1/2 cup chopped Artichoke hearts
1 package of frozen chopped spinach thawed and water removed
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
16 oz shredded Mozzarella Cheese
8 oz shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese (Pepper Jack Cheese is an great substitution)
2-3 fine diced jalapenos
1 Tbls granulated garlic
1 cup Mayo
Lemon juice
Shaved Parmigiana

Mix everything except the lemon juice and Parmigiana.  Place in oven safe dish and bake at 350 until gooey and bubbly.  Add squirt of lemon juice and Parmigiana broil for 5 minutes or until the top is brown and crusty.  Serve with just about anything I prefer homemade croutons (pictured), but corn chips, toasted pita bread, toast, Ritz crackers you name it it is ggoooddd.

Makes about 5 of the dishes shown

Fall Into Spring Chicken Penne

I would say that this is made with two of my favorite ingredients, but I am starting to believe that my favorite just happens to be the ones I am using today.  Today’s favorites are from the opposite ends of the growing season hence fall into spring.

This like many of my recipes is a “what the crap am I going to do with the that ingredient”.  Generally, that ingredient will go bad if I don’t use it soon.  This time it was the asparagus.

1 lbs asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
3 chicken breasts cooked and sliced
3oz cream cheese
4oz chicken broth
1/2 medium onion diced
2 cloves garlic crushed and minced
3 tbls fresh chopped parsley

Par-boil and shock (put in boiling water for 2 minutes then move to ice water to stop cooking) the asparagus. Add tomatoes to a saute pan and cook 30 seconds, add onions and garlic using the oil from the tomatoes.   Boil pasta in lots of salted water, cook until almost al-dente (it should still be a tiny bit crunchy).  Add chicken broth and cream cheese bring to a boil and move pasta from pot to pan.  Add chicken and asparagus back to the pan and stir until the pasta has finished cooking. Add parsley and plate. This turned out great!

“Kaula” Pork

I’m still not sure if I should even call it Kaula Pork.  I didn’t even dig a pit 🙂 Anyway it was pretty good and super easy to make.

1 pork roast roughly 6lb I used a Boston Butt (yes, I know it is the shoulder I didn’t make up the names)
1/2 cup dried apricots chopped
1/4 cup dried pineapple chopped
1 med onion
4 crushed garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup brown sugar (if you like it sweeter)
liquid smoke (go easy on it a little goes a long way)

Remove excess fat from the outside of the roast. Rub liquid smoke on the outside of roast then salt and pepper liberally.  Place in the crockpot on high. Add remaining ingredients and add 1/2 cup of water.  Turn to high and cook for 2 hours lower heat to low for remaining 4 hours.  Serve with rice, soy sauce, and sirracca.

Neglect

I know I have neglected this blog. I hope, but doubt, that I will get my feet under me with all of the blogs I am running (4). When I do, I will start getting this one updated more often. Until then here is a quick recipe for Red Pepper and Chocolate Habanero Ketchup.

2 Red bell peppers Roast in a 425 degree oven until mostly black put in a plastic bag until cool. When cool remove as much skin as possible.
1 minced Chocolate Habanero Pepper (no it doesn’t taste like chocolate it is just brown)
1 medium onion
2 tlbs sugar
2 tbls red wine vinegar
4 cloves of garlic crushed
3 oz tomato paste.
1 1/2 tsp cumin
3 bay leaves
2 tbls sugar
3/4 water
Add everything in a pot bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 1 hour. Remove bay leaves and blend until smooth adding salt until it tastes right to you. Eat on a hamburger, pass out with joy!!

Yes I know that I can go to the store and buy ketchup, but it’s not going to have habaneros 😀

Cherry Chicken

This was REALLY good. No I mean REALLY REALLY good.

1 Whole chicken cut into pieces
Breading:
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tbls salt
1 tbls ground black pepper
1 tbls papkria
2 tps garlic powder
2 tps ground sage

3 Tbls butter
1 medium onion chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
6 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup apple-cherry juice
1 tbls red wine vinegar
1/4 cup cream
8 oz grated Mozzarella cheese

Place the flour and other breading ingredients in a plastic bag and mix. Put chicken in and shake to coat well. Heat 12 inch skillet over med-high add butter. Once butter stops foaming shake excess flour off chicken pieces and add to pan cook 5 minutes per side or until browned. Remove chicken and add onions and garlic cook until soft. Add juice, thyme, and vinegar and return chicken to pan. Cover and simmer one hour. At the end of the hour remove chicken and add cream Heat until sauce thickens enough that it will coat the back of a spoon.

Cook a wide pasta (we did fresh made fettuccine), drain to a platter add mozzarella cheese, pour sauce over top and put the chicken on.

Roasted Garlic

For what it is worth I loved Roasted Garlic long before it became en-vogue.  The Italians actually use this as a toast topping (called a crostini) I have to admit that I love it on a thin slice of a hard chewy bread with a drizzle of Balsamic vinegar.  The recipe is really easy and the payout is huge.  Try it sometime.

25mm f/5 1/800s

2 heads of garlic cut so the ends are exposed (for a large batch buy the pre-peel containers and put in a oven safe bowl)
1 tsp kosher salt
3 grinds of fresh pepper
3 tbls olive oil

Put in container (for heads I just use Aluminum foil to wrap it all up) and bake at 350 until brown about 45 minutes. Roasting gives the garlic a softer “sweeter” flavor it is exellent in soups and with chicken.

Loaded Baked Potato Pizza


86mm f/4.2 1/100s
I saw the idea on a Food Network challenge last week, but this is my take on the whole thought.
I was lazy, but it works.  I bought a pre-made pizza crust from Win-Co (a store which I love) 12in diameter and very thick.
For the sauce:
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/4 tbls garlic powder
2 tbls parsley
1 Tbls ground pepper (fresh ground of course)
Salt to taste (remember that the potatoes are not salted so the sauce should taste a little salty)
Mix it all and spread liberally 😀 on the crust.

For the toppings:
1/3 lb mozzarella cheese
1/3 lb cheddar cheese.  You can use a block but I like mine grated 🙂
1 lb bacon cut into bit sized pieces and cooked until almost crisp
1 bunch of a green onions chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup of par-cooked broccoli
2 cups of cubed potatoes

Put mozzarella cheese down and load up the toppings and then cover with the cheddar.
This is a low and slow recipe for pizza, 350 for about 35 minutes.

Game Night Dips

And I’m not talking about family.

This is later (more than a year) than I wanted to post but things just get away from me.

Satan’s cheese ball
This was named by a coworker. He said Satan must have designed it to addict the world.
1 box of cream cheese
1/2 stick of butter
2 cups grated sharpcheddar cheese
1 tbsp horseradish (not the creamed stuff the actual straight stuff don’t worry you won’t even recognize it)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped chives
2 cloves of garlic grated
Juice from 1 Lemon
1 tbls of your favorite hot sauce (Mo’ Hotter=Mo’ Better)
2/3 cup of Krab (yes crab with a ‘K’)

THE DIP (this was possibly the very first thing I learned to make)
Props to Ma Cobb for this one.
1 package of cream cheese
1 package of cottage cheese
One cup of Parmesan cheese (I learned with the Green can) I have tried it with the good stuff and it doesn’t make much of a difference.
1 cup of chopped olives
1/2 cup chopped Jalapeno peppers.

Nuke the whole mess stirring every once in a while. Heat until everything is hot and melted. Best with Corn Chips.

Green Chile dip
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Mayo (no not Miracle Whip)
2 cans of Hatch chopped green chilies (I like hot)
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 cloves garlic grated
juice and zest from 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes.
Mix it all up and let set overnight.

Real French Onion Dip
2 medium Onions diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Mayo (no not Miracle Whip, that is of the Devil)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

Over medium heat add onions, garlic, salt and pepper to a pan with a little oil in it. Cook together until brown and caramelized 15-20 minutes. Let cool and add to the Mayo/Sour Cream and mix with the parsley and Worcestershire sauce.

Con Queso
This is fairly common, I do a couple a things that make it a little different, better I think.
1 lb Velveeta (hey I’m a redneck at heart)
1 can of Hatch diced hot green chillies
1 can (10 oz each) RoTel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained
1 medium onion diced
3 cloves of garlic

Dice onion and put over med heat add salt and pepper cook until the onions look burned, (OK not black but a medium brown) this is a key step, mince garlic and add to the onions cook a little longer 2 or 3 minutes, you need to be stirring constantly at this point so that nothing actually burns. Add tomatoes and green chilies with the liquid. Cook off all of the liquid. It should be as dry as possible, also a very key step. Add the cheese and melt together. once again corn chips are your best friend.

And I have not tried this but how could it be bad.
The Pioneer Woman’s Holiday Bacon Appetizers