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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Chicken And Dumplings With Vegetables

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I love this dish! It’s so comforting and just gives you warm fuzzies inside! I have to be honest here, I didn’t make my own dumplings, for this dish. I took some help from my local grocery store. I found that they carry a great and quick alternative to making my own, and it’s a great time saver.

One ingredient that’s a staple in my frig is, chicken fat. Steve loves to grill chicken thighs and doesn’t use the skin. I render the skin down, and save the grease for recipes such as Matzo ball soup, and this dish. Chicken fat can add extra flavor to your dish. I’ll show you how I incorporate it.

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2018-03-03 17.44.34

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Directions For Poaching Chicken:
Equipment:4 quart sauce pot with glass lid
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time For Poaching Chicken: 30 minutes
Cook Time For Soup: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Note: While chicken is poaching, prep the vegetables.
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 2 tablespoons chicken fat (or 3 tablespoons of olive oil)
1 yellow diced yellow onion
3 diced carrots
3 ribs diced celery
2 cloves of minced garlic
3 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, poached and shredded
pinch of dried rosemary (crush up in your hand)
1-1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
1-10 1/2 ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 package of Mary B’s Open Kettle Dumplings (12 ounces, break strips in half- freeze unused dumplings)
1 package frozen peas – optional
6 cups of low sodium chicken broth (make sure there is enough broth to come over the half-way mark)
4 tablespoons of corn starch
4 tablespoons of water
1/4 cup of finely chopped, fresh flat leaf Italian parsley

While chicken is poaching, prep all the vegetables for the soup.

Directions:
To start, place 3- boneless-skinless chicken breasts ( in a single layer, 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, and a pinch of Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, into a large pot. Cover the chicken with either water or ( I’m using) unsalted chicken broth. If the 1 quart of broth does not cover the chicken completely, add water so that it will cover the chicken by at least an inch.

Bring the chicken to a boil of med-high heat. You’ll see some white scummy foam collecting on the surface as the liquid starts to boil.  Since I’m not using the poaching liquid for this recipe, there is no need to skim this off, it’s fine to leave it.

As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to med- low, cover the pot, and let the chicken simmer. Chicken will typically finish cooking between 25-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat and whether it has a bone.  The chicken breasts are done when they are opaque through the middle, and an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken reads- 165 F.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid, transfer the a cutting board, and begin shredding them using two forks, transfer to a bowl.

Packaged Frozen Dumplings:
Gently separate the dumplings right before adding them to the broth.

Directions For The Chicken And Dumplings:
In a small dice, dice the onions, carrots and celery.  Finely mince the garlic. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil and chicken fat over medium heat. Add in all the vegetables, poultry seasoning, bay leaves, and a pinch of dried rosemary. Season with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Saute until the onions until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add cream of chicken soup to the pot and stir. Next, add the chicken broth (making sure to add enough broth to where it comes up to over the half -way mark in the soup pot), and give another good stir. Turn the heat to med- high and wait until it returns to a boil. Once boiling, drop in the dumplings one by one. Let them boil in the soup, (45 minutes according to the package), stirring occasionally, until they are all tender. Next, carefully fish out the two bay leaves.

Return cooked shredded chicken to the pot and gently stir through.

To Thicken Broth: Optional
In a small bow combine 4 tablespoons of corn starch with 4 tablespoons of water.
Add to the boiling broth, a little at a time, stirring to reach desired consistency.

 

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Pasta, Peas, And Pancetta

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This is a quick easy week night meal, and a great one you can serve up to guests. Let me show you how fast this dish comes together. I’m using a Fusilli pasta for this dish.

This is what pancetta (Italian bacon) looks like. I’ts similar to American bacon in that it’s cured, it is just not smoked.You can get this at the deli counter in your local grocery store. For this dish, you do not want to get it sliced, you’re going to want one thick slice about 1/2 inch thick. The deli employees will just adjust the blade on the slicer to the thickness you’re requesting. You may even be able to find pancetta already diced and packaged.

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Prep Time: 3-5 minutes
Total Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 pound of fusilli
2-1/2 ounces pancetta, 1/4 inch dice
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, reserve 1/4 cup for serving
1 good size shallot, halved, and thinly sliced
1-10 ounce package frozen peas
Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup pasta cooking liquid
1 tablespoon of finely julienned fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon of finely chopped mint leaves

Directions:
Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite.  Drain reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Heat the olive oil in a medium  (10 inch) saute pan, add the pancetta and cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes. Stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the crispy pancetta over to a plate, lined with paper towel. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon dripping from saute pan.

Add the sliced shallots and minced garlic to the pan,  saute about 3 minutes until tender. Toss in the thawed frozen peas, to warm through, stirring everthing together. Remove from heat. Add the crispy pancetta back in with the vegetables and stir through.

Add the pancetta vegetable mixture, 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid, 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano, half the mint,and half the basil to the cooked pasta. Toss, adding more cooking liquid by the tablespoon if needed. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Transfer to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle remaining basil and mint on top. Serve, passing additional Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

 

 

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Spiced Pumpkin Crumb Cake

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This dessert is one of my family’s favorites. I do want to explain why I take help from my local grocery store when I’m making any type of cake. In the past, I’ve mentioned using box cake mixes. It saves time, most importantly, there are great box cake mixes out there. They’ve come a long way in their quality and variety. I mean, why would you break out the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and or cocoa powder, when all these ingredients are already measured and mixed for you!

I start with a basic box cake mix and build a flavor profile of the type of cake I’m looking to make. For example; If I’m making a chocolate cake, adding brewed coffee will enhance the chocolate flavor. I also like to add Ricotta cheese to cake batter. These ingredients, that I’ve mentioned. ultimately enhance or make for a more tender cake.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Total Time: 45-55 minutes (Baking time may vary depending on the type and size of the pan you use)
Equipment: parchment paper, 8 x 8-inch or 9 x 9-inch square pan
Yields: 9 slices

Ingredients:
For the crumb topping:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup + 2 tablespoons of cake flour
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup of chopped pecans (optional)
1 stick (8 tablespoons), melted unsalted butter

For the pumpkin spice cake:
1 box vanilla cake mix (16.5 OZ Duncan Hines French Vanilla)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4  cup granulated sugar
1 cup of canned pumpkin pie mix
1/2 cup Ricotta cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup water
pinch of Kosher salt
1 heaping teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
powdered sugar for garnish

Directions:
For the topping:
Using a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the sugars, cake flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Pour in the melted butter and stir with a spatula until thick crumbles form. Set aside while preparing the cake.

For the cake batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, then spray the parchment paper. Note: This will allow for easy removal.

In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add oil, vanilla extract, sugars, pumpkin pie mix puree, and ricotta cheese. Once the mixture is smooth, add 1 egg at a time until incorporated.

In a medium size bowl, add the box cake mix, pumpkin pie spice, and Kosher salt. Whisk these ingredients together. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Do not over mix! Note: If you are doing this by hand, you can use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading into an even layer. Cover with the crumb mixture. If needed, break up the larger crumbs into smaller ones.

Place into oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester, inserted into the center, comes out clean, and the center of the cake barely jiggles. Remove from oven and let cool in the loaf pans for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Top the cake with a dusting of powdered sugar.

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Vanilla, Cream Cheese Pound Cake With A Sweet Whipped Ricotta Cheese Topping

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This is a dessert that anyone can make from scratch without feeling intimidated by the process.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes ( mixing batter)
Cook Time 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes
Inactive Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time:  2 hours 15 minutes
Equipment: two-8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2- inch loaf pans
Electric mixer

Ingredients:
Non-stick baking spray
4 tablespoons of Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
3 cups of sifted cake flour (measured after sifted)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups of Ricotta cheese
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup powdered sugar
fresh mint for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325  degrees F. Spray two non-stick metal loaf pans with non- stick spray. Sprinkle the insides of the pans with the Turbinado sugar, tilting the pans to cover evenly.

Place the butter, cream cheese, and granulated sugar in the bow of and electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, until light and creamy. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure ingredients are well mixed. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl before adding the next egg. Mix in the vanilla extract and vanilla seeds.

Combine the cake flour and salt in a large bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, scraping down the bowl and the beater with a rubber spatula. Mix the batter with the spatula to be sure everything is well mixed.

Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans, smooth the tops, and bake in the  center rack of the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Cake is done when tooth pick or cake tester gadget, inserted into center of the cake come out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto a baking rack and cook for another 30 minutes

To serve, slice and add a dollop of the sweet Ricotta cream to the top and garnish with fresh mint.

 

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