Chicken A La King

Chicken A La King

When I think of classic Diner dishes I think of Meatloaf, Burgers, French Fries, Onion Rings and of course the oft ill thought of “Blue Plate Special” but there is another very simple recipe that has seen a bit of a resurgence lately and the one I am referring to is Chicken A L King.

The little bit of culinary history that I know about this dish is that it started as a way for restaurants to use up left over chicken and thus (did I really use the word THUS?) lower the wastage of food and to add more dollars to their bottom line. It doesn’t hurt that this dish is also easy to make and oh so good.

The other thing I like about this particular recipe is it is inexpensive to make. If you use generic ingredients, except for the chicken, then you can feed a family of four for around $20.00 and in today’s economy that’s not half bad. Oh and although this looks “prep heavy” it’s not really.

So here’s my take on a classic Diner dish……..

Ingredients:

         Two medium sized boneless skinless chicken breasts or six boneless skinless chicken thighs – diced

          One package extra broad egg noodles

         One package frozen peas and carrots

         2 Tins mushroom pieces

         1 ½ cups Chicken stock

         ¼ cup All Purpose flour

         3 Tablespoons butter

         1 Teaspoon granulated garlic or two chopped garlic cloves

         1 Teaspoon White pepper

         1 ½ Tablespoons Tarragon

         Pinch of salt

         3 Tablespoons Olive oil

         ¼ Cup heavy cream (35% whipping cream)

 

Method:

         Bring a large pot of water to a rolling simmer

         In a large mixing bowl place the chicken and the herbs and spices and mix well

         Add the oil to a large fry pan and add the chicken in batches removing with a slotted spoon when done

         Add the butter and when melted whisk in the flour and make a blonde roux

         Add in the Chicken stock and whisk until you get the consistency you like

         Add the frozen peas and carrots and the mushrooms and simmer for approximately four minutes

         Add the chicken and the heavy cream and bring to a boil

         Cover and turn the heat down to low

         Bring the pasta water to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions

         Drain the pasta, plate and top with the Chicken mixture

 

You can serve this dish with pasta, as I like to, or with rice and if you get really ambitious you can use fresh baked biscuits.

So there you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

Until next time…….

Bon Appetit

Grilled Pork Butt chops

bbq-pork-steaks-from-grillinfool-300x199

My dad worked for a company, for 42 years, that had a close affiliation with slaughter houses and more in particular with Hog Farmers so it’s no wonder I am completely gonzo for PORK. I love pork in its many splendored ways such as Pork Chops, Pork sausage, Pork tenderloin, Bacon and of course Pork Butt.

One of the cuts of pork I have recently embraced with a passion is Pork Butt Chops and one of the reasons I have jumped on this particular cut from the humble porcine creature (that’s a pig y’all) is because I get the great flavor that the butt provides without having to cook a huge amount of it all at once oh and, the store I get mine from sells two to a package for about $8.00 and the chops more resemble the side of a cow instead of pork chops. THEY ARE MASSIVE.

I have two different ways that I do these chops. The first is to hit them with a simple dry rub and then grill them. The other and this is only if I have time, is to marinate them for about an hour before grilling.

Here’s my Marinade method:

Ingredients:

      –    Two large Pork Butt chops

     –     Three minced garlic cloves

    –      1 Teaspoon salt

     –     1 ½ Teaspoons ground pepper

     –     1 ½ Teaspoons granulated onion

      –    ¼ cup Chopped Cilantro

      –    3 Tablespoons Olive oil

 

Method:

     –    Place the chops in a zip lock bag or any other type of sealable container

    –     In a separate mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix until a paste has formed

    –     Add the paste to the bag or container and mix well until the chops are evenly coated

     –    Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour

     –   Grill for approximately 20 minutes, turning over at the half way mark (about  10 minutes) or until the internal temperature hits 160 degrees

Serve this with whatever side you wish, I’d suggest some grilled corn on the cob (see sides) and roast potatoes.

So there you have it —– another “tasty but simple dish for the grilling season and beyond”.

Until next time

               Bon Appetit

Frittata

DSC00788

With the new job taking up 10 hours a day of my time I find I’m resorting, more and more, to my bag of tricks for “simple but tasty” recipes that are also inexpensive and filling so it’s small wonder that this one fills both of those requirements.

The great thing about a Frittata is that you can throw literally anything you wish into it and as long as you bake it for the correct amount of time it should wind up being a dynamite dish. The other wonderful thing about it is that it can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Here’s my version.

Ingredients:

–         Six eggs

–         1 Large green pepper – diced

–         1 Medium white onion – diced

–         3 to 4 Dun dried tomatoes – reconstituted

–         1 Teaspoon salt

–         1 Teaspoon fresh ground pepper

–         2 Minced garlic cloves

–         ½ Cup chopped spinach

–         3 Strips of bacon – rough chopped (if you really want to throw a twist into this then substitute Pancetta for the bacon)

–         Three to four slices of Medium cheddar cheese

Method:

–         Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees

–         While the oven is heating up re- constitute your Sun Dried Tomatoes – simply soak them in hot water for approximately twenty minutes and then rough chop

–         In a large non- reactive bowl mix ALL the ingredients together

–         Pour the Frittata mix into a 12 inch stick proof, oven proof skillet (make sure the skillet is deep enough to handle the mix without spilling over)

–         Pop the skillet into the oven for approximately 30 minutes and bake

–         Check after 30 minutes and if the Frittata does not appear to be done then leave a little while longer

I usually cut and serve mine straight from the skillet as it makes clean up that much easier. Also try this with some nice French bread and Garlic butter.

So there you have it another “tasty but simple” dish.

Until next time…….

Bon Appetite

Corned beef hash

Dreamstime photo

 

 

This is one of those dishes that people really only think of as a breakfast item but in fact is one that is extremely versatile as well as very inexpensive and can be served morning, noon or night.

If you are like me I have neither the time nor the space to pickle my own Brisket and wind up with scratch made Corned Beef so this is one of those rare moments when I will use— gasp—- pre packaged food.

Ingredients:

  •       2 -12 ounce Cans Corned Beef
  •          2 -18 Ounce cans of diced potatoes
  •          2- 8 ounce cans of mushrooms
  •          1 Medium white onion diced
  •          3 or 4 healthy dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  •          2 Garlic cloves minced
  •          3 to 4 tablespoons of Olive oil
  •          Pepper to taste
  •          4 Eggs

Method:

  •          Heat the oil in a large non- stick pan
  •          Add the potatoes and sauté over medium high heat until they are crispy and just about fork tender
  •          Add in the onions, mushrooms and garlic and continue to sauté until the onions start to become translucent – about 4 minutes
  •          Break up the Corned Beef and mix it very well with the rest of the ingredients
  •          Mix in the Worcestershire sauce and the pepper.
  •          While the Corned Beef mixture is cooking fry or poach your eggs.
  •          When the eggs are finished spoon some of the Corned Beef onto a plate, top with an egg and enjoy. If you feel ambitious you can also toast some bread to have with the meal. I should also point out that I don’t add Salt because           the Corned Beef is rather salty to begin with.

Now the reason I mentioned that this was an inexpensive dish to make is because when I used to make it the total cost was under $15.00  and it fed four of us.

So I hope the next time you want something “simple but tasty” that also is inexpensive you will give this one a try. Oh and my thanks to Dreamstime for the awesome photo.

Until next time……..

                              Bon Appetit

 

Grill pan

grillpan

When I originally went looking for a Grill Top to be used on my stove I went with a 10” Cast Iron because not only did it give me the grill marks I wanted on my meat or vegetables but it could also be put right into the oven to finish off whatever I was grilling.

After a few uses I decided it was not the right fit for me so I gave it to my son and it has enjoyed a happy home since that time. What I bought instead was a dual purpose Grill Pan where one side was a Grill and the other is a Flat Top and this combination is just perfect since not only can it be popped in the oven to finish off the grilling but when it’s not being used for grilling you can turn it over and use the Flat Top side to make eggs, pancakes, hash browns  and even sandwiches. Just remember to place it on two burners and turn the burners to the same heat level otherwise you will get uneven heat distribution.

My big caution is NEVER and I mean NEVER put it in the dishwasher or you can say bye bye to Mr. Grill Pan. Simply wash it with mild soap and water, dry and wipe some Olive Oil on it to help protect it.

If you happen to purchase one of these must have kitchen gadgets then I hope you find many “simple but tasty” dishes for it.

Bon Appetit

Stove top smoker

SMK Stovetop stacked_web-500x500

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a kitchen guy. Not the stand around in the kitchen with a beer in my hand yapping about sports or politics (although I have been known to do this) but more the stand around in the kitchen with a beer in my hand to develop a recipe and what do I need to pull it off.

When developing a recipe or simply planning dinner it’s not all about the ingredients—- okay,okay it’s 95% about the ingredients—- but it’s also about what kitchen gadget or utensil to use and I JUST LOVE MY KITCHEN GADGETS so what better way to kick start the Kitchen Gadgets category of my blog than my most recent purchase…. my Cameron Stove Top Smoker.

            This gadget is great for those times when you only wish to smoke a small amount of something or you simply don’t wish to fire up the big boy and I’ve found this was perfect for when I smoked some Jalapenos so I could make some Chipotle Mayo (see Sauces and Dips) and to put a light smoke on some pork chops before finishing them off in the oven but this great gadget can also be used without wood chips and the possabilities are restricted to your imagination.

Whatever you use it for I’m sure that just after one use you will be hooked and you will be looking for reasons to use it to create “simple but tasty” dishes.

                             BON APPETIT

Jamaican Jerk Pork

IMG_1959

What can you say about Jamaican Jerk Pork except that once you eat it everything will be “Irie man” especially if you chase it down with some ice cold Red Stripe beer.

For those of you who are not familiar with Jamaican Jerk it is a cooking method AND a seasoning that originated in Jamaica a couple hundred years ago and has survived the test of time and you know that if it has been around that long it has got to be good. It is also very versatile but the two usual meats to receive the “jerk” treatment are Chicken and Pork.

My favorite is Jerk Pork and so here is my take on a great classic Jamaican dish—- Jerk Pork.

Ingredients:

–              1/4 Allspice berries (roasted in a 350 degree oven for 7-10 minutes)

–              1 Teaspoon nutmeg

–              6 Green onions

–              1 Tablespoon cinnamon

–              1 to 1& 1/2 Scotch bonnet chili peppers (habaneros may be substituted)

–              1/4 cup dark Rum

–              2 Tablespoons salt

–              2 Tablespoons ground pepper

Preparation:

–              Grind the Allspice

–              Place all dry ingredients in a food processor/blender

–              Pulse dry ingredients until smooth

–              Add green onions and chilies and pulse for approximately 10 seconds

–              Add dark Rum and blend until a nice paste is formed.

–              Liberally rub the seasoning on a 4-6 pound Pork Butt

–              Cover and leave in fridge overnight

–              Cook at approximately 300 degrees until the internal temperature hits 160 degrees

I have found that the best cooking method for this dish is slow Indirect Charcoal BBQ’ing because the charcoal adds that extra bit of flavor to an already flavorful dish however if you don’t happen to have a charcoal BBQ then Propane or Natural gas will do just remember to only have one half of the BBQ lit.

I hope you enjoy this “tasty but simple” recipe and I look forward to your next visit.

Bon Appetit

Chipotle Mayo

chipotle_mayo

Mayonnaise has, for the longest time, enjoyed the reputation of being that plain condiment that you add to a dish to make it creamy—- like in Tuna or Chicken Salad sandwiches—- or used on a burger or dog and yes… I put Mayo on my hot dogs.

Well Mayo has enjoyed a face lift of sorts the past little while in that you can now find it in different flavors and one of the most popular flavors is Chipotle Mayo. Now Chipotle is not some uber exotic ingredient that requires trekking days into a disease ridden swamp to find in fact it’s really nothing more than a Smoked Jalapeno pepper and even though it’s not the uber exotic ingredient you might think it sure tastes like it.

Chipotle Mayo has two things in common that you will find in 99% of all Chipotle mayo recipes…. Garlic and Chipotles in Adobo sauce and it’s the Adobo sauce that gives Chipotle Mayo its distinctive reddish hue (see the attached photo) however being the wild man that I am I prefer to smoke my own Jalapenos and do without the adobo sauce. You don’t get the same color but the taste, which is the important part, is the same and it’s great with french fries or on a Curried Chicken burger (see grilled chicken for the Curried Chicken burger recipe).

Ingredients:

–          2 Smoked Jalapenos

–          4 Garlic cloves

–          1 Teaspoon Salt

–          1 Teaspoon pepper

–          ½ Cup Mayo

Method:

–          Stem and de-seed the Smoked Jalapenos

–          In a food processor add all the ingredients EXCEPT the Mayo

–          Pulse until a paste is formed

–          Blend the Chipotle mixture with the Mayo until well incorporated.

–          Refrigerate until needed

This is a “simple but tasty” dish to add to your repertoire and if you are not lucky enough to have a backyard smoker or stove top model then smoke the Jalapenos in your oven using a smoke pouch (soaked wood chips placed in a tin foil envelope with holes punched in it) at 250 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

Bon Appetit

Chicken Reuben

Waterloo-20130629-00018

Every once in a while I feel like doing something simple that is not too difficult but still tasty .

That something is the Sandwich and with a nod to the Sandwich King Jeff Mauro I like to “Make any meal into a sandwich, and any sandwich into a meal” and this particular sandwich does just that.

Ingredients:

–          1 Butterflied Chicken breast

–          2 Pieces of Swiss cheese

–          Russian salad dressing

–          Cole slaw

–          1 Butterflied chicken breast

–          Chicken dry rub (see Rubs and Marinades)

–          All purpose flour

–          2 Tablespoons Olive oil

Method:

–          Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan

–          Season the chicken with the dry rub and dust with the All purpose flour

–          Cook the chicken in the olive oil until done. Approximately 10 minutes

–          Toast the bread and spread some Russian dressing on the bottom piece

–          Lay the Swiss cheese on top of the Russian dressing

–          Add the chicken

–          Top with Coleslaw and the other piece of Rye bread

There you have the Chicken Reuben and in case you’re wondering why I use Coleslaw—- simple I can’t stand Sauerkraut and this sandwich is so versatile that it can be served with pretty much any side you wish.

If you decide to try this recipe I hope you find it as “simple but tasty” as I do.

Bon Appetit

Chicken fried steak

49717848.CIMG2632copy

It seems that whenever I mention this recipe to someone I get the whole “chicken fried WWWHHHAAATTT????” and to be honest when I first heard about this dish some 30 years ago when it was called “Steak and Bake” I had the same reaction. Well fast forward 30 years and it’s not a stranger anymore.

One of the reasons I really like this recipe is that it is using an inexpensive cut of meat that does not require and inordinate amount of time to cook AND when you add smashed potatoes , “milk” gravy and a vegetable you can feed a family of four  for under $20.00. That’s right you heard me — UNDER $20.00.

Here’s how:

Ingredients:

–          1 2 pound Round steak

–          1 Cup of flour

–          ½ cup milk

–          2 Tablespoon salt, pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion

–          3 Eggs (whisked)

–          1 Cup bread crumbs or cracker meal (I use Kellogg’s bread crumbs)

–          1 Cup of milk

–          ½ cup Butter

–          1/2 Cup plus 3 tablespoons Canola oil

–          Chicken stock

–          1 Medium onion, diced

Method:

–          Cut the steak into four serving sizes

–          Mix the spices with the flour and place on a flat surface

–          Dip the steak into the seasoned flour then the eggs and finally the bread crumbs

–          Repeat with all four pieces

–          Heat a half cup of Canola oil in a large non- stick pan

–          Fry the steak until golden brown

–          Remove from the oil and drain on some paper towel

–          In a separate sauté pan heat the remaining Canola oil and add the butter

–          Sauté the onions until just translucent, about three minutes

–          Sprinkle in half the seasoned flour and whisk until incorporated

–          Allow the flour to cook off for approx. 5 minutes

–          Slowly add the chicken stock until you get the consistency you want

–          Add the milk and let reduce until the gravy is as thick as you would like

Serve the steak with your sides, I suggest smashed potatoes and green beans and ladel on the gravy.

There you have it. Simple ,tasty and inexpensive.

Bon Appetit