Monday, October 26, 2009

Chicken Cups

And so it begins. The Girl is now in the third grade and is starting to get involved into different activities. I don't really know how it happened, but suddenly, I am shuttling from Girl Scouts to piano to gymnastics. On Mondays.

The other morning I forgot to get out hamburger to thaw for supper. I had 37 minutes to get kids fed and get back out the door. I had 14 bite size pieces of leftover Rubber Chicken and refrigerated biscuits. And this is what happened...

Spray a regular sized muffin pan and press a biscuit into each one. Flatten it down and a little bit up the sides.
Fill those up about half way with the leftover chicken
Add about a tablespoon of barbecue sauce. Or, if your children are vehemently opposed to barbecue sauce, you can use ketchup. I am thinking pizza sauce would be a good substitute as well. With some pepperoni...
Top with a half tablespoon of cheese. I used colby-jack, but you could use any kind you like.
Bake in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes.
As someone with small children, these were wonderful. Easy to handle, extremely yummy. While my kids aren't really picky eaters, they inhaled these. Versatile as all get out. Leftover roast beef with cheddar? Chicken and pizza sauce? Chicken with alfredo? The possibilities are endless here.

Although, I'm not sure Jeff would really go along with it. These aren't really what he would consider an actual meal, so I probably wouldn't try to pass them off to him as one. I'll just save them for a night when he isn't here.

I'm thinking these would be great to take to a potluck. Or picnic. Or as a side with soup.

Click here for Printable Recipe

Chicken Cups
1 Cup Chopped Chicken
1 pkg Refrigerated Biscuits
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese
1/4 Cup BBQ Sauce
Press biscuits into greased muffin tins. Fill each biscuit about half way with chicken pieces. Top each with about 1 teaspoon BBQ sauce and 1 teaspoon shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chicken and "Real" Noodle Soup

I have been blessed in my life to have known all of my grandparents and many of my great-grandparents. I still have both of my grandmothers (I love you Grandma and Nana) and have clear, distinct memories that come to mind when I think of them. The same is true for my great-grandparents. I can see Great Grandpa sitting in his chair by the window smoking his cigar. Great Grandma VanGundy makes me think of strawberry shortcake. I'm not sure why, but I can see the family at her birthday one year and that is what we had :) I can close my eyes and picture Great Grandma Heil in her living room with Aunt Mabel. I am sitting on the piano bench wanting so badly to pound on the keys.

I have a lot of good memories when I think of Great Grandma. But one of the most vivid is of her making noodles. She had a contraption that sat on the edge of the table that you put the dough in and rolled it flat. I loved watching that dough get flatter and flatter. Then she would change the roller and out would come noodles. Really good noodles.

When I went to make chicken noodle soup, I had no noodles. So in all my logical thinking, I though this would be a good time to try making home made noodles. I don't have a noodle roller, but I have a rolling pin. Close enough.

I found a recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook and really didn't like it. Ten ingredients seemed like way too many and the instructions included three paragraphs. Convinced there had to be an easier way, I Googled. The first recipe that came up was from Three ingredients, roll out the dough and cook. Why I thought this was the recipe I wanted, I can't tell you. But in the case of noodles, simpler turned out to be the way to go.

For this batch of soup, I heated up 3 cups of frozen broth from the Rubber Chicken along with a couple cups of water. Just to be on the safe side, I added a couple bouillon cubes.

For the noodles, you need 1 cup of flour.

And an egg. At this point, I realized that I didn't have any eggs, either. So, leaving my 8 year old in charge, I made a run to the grocery store to get eggs. At no point did it occur to me to just go buy noodles. I really need a nap.
Fill up half of the newly empty egg shell with milk and add this to your bowl. Maybe this is why this recipe intrigued me.
Mix this all together and turn out on to a well floured surface.
Knead it until it's all mixed together and roll out until it is paper thin.
If you have a pizza cutter, you can use this to cut your noodles. If you have an actual noodle maker handy, you can use that, too.
Don't worry about it being perfect. After all, you want everyone to know your noodles were homemade. The Boy was, of course, "helping" by having a war between grapes and carrots. The noodles were apparently considered neutral territory.
Again, perfection is overrated, so let The Boy cut up some noodles. Notice the fruits and vegetables are now at peace. Noodles have that effect on things.
By this time, your broth should be at a nice rolling boil. Time to add the noodles. "I do it, Mommy" is the theme in my house.
So let him. Even if he does it the hard way. Notice he is not in the same chair to pick up the noodles as he is to put them in the soup. Oh well.
He loves to help.
I added frozen vegetables, but you can chop up your own if you prefer. By this time, I was getting hungry. Take the leftover Rubber Chicken and tear it into bite size pieces.
Add that to the soup along with any spices you want to add. I added salt, fresh ground pepper and dill.Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. The noodles will start to come up to the top when they are cooked through.
This was good soup. I loved the noodles. So did everyone else. I will definitely make these again. They were so much easier than I would have ever guessed and I liked them better than the frozen noodles I usually use. I'm not sure this is a week night throw together in a hurry kind of thing. More of a winter Saturday afternoon or snow day dinner.

Do not be afraid to try the noodles!

Click here for Printable Recipe

Home made Noodles
1 Cup Flour
1 Egg
1 Eggshell full of Milk
Mix together all ingredients. Knead on floured surface until mixed well. Roll out dough until paper thin. Cut into strips. Add to boiling water and cook for 10 minutes or until noodles start to move to the top of the pot.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Crock Pot Pumpkin Pie Pudding

When we were little, my sister would take a piece of pie and eat the filling. Left on her plate was a poor, sad, unloved little crust. Of course, she also wouldn't eat the Hershey's kiss off the peanut butter cookie. She's so weird.

This recipe reminded me of her. Not that she gets to enjoy it. Poor thing. Down in Texas. No fall. No pie.

Take 2 cups of your pumpkin puree (or 1 can solid pack pumpkin, really, you need to try to making your own, I promise, you will not be disappointed)
Add 1 can of evaporated milk, 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup Bisquick.
This is where I got into trouble. I didn't have Bisquick. I never have Bisquick. It is just not something I ever think about buying. So, off to Google I went.

You can make a Bisquick substitute by combining 1 cup flour, 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon shortening. I had the shortening that is packaged just like a butter stick. Have you ever looked at these packages? It's a bit difficult to make out, but it warns you not to use shortening as a spread. Ew. Anyone else just full body shudder thinking about that?
Back to the ingredients. Mix these all together. This is more difficult than it sounds. I couldn't get the shortening to really mix very well. But, since I didn't have Bisquick, I forged ahead.
Add this into your pumpkin mixture.
Then beat 2 eggs
Add those to the pumpkin mixture along with 2 tablespoons melted butter, 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Here's something to ponder. The pumpkin pie spice comes with a sprinkle top. Who sprinkles pumpkin pie spice? Definitely not me!
Let The Boy whisk it all together.
At this point, I realized that this recipe made A LOT of mix. A lot. So I poured half of the mix into a greased crock pot to make the pudding. If you look closely, you can see my pretend Bisquick mixture did not incorporate very well. I was a bit skeptical about this, but it ended up melting in as it cooked.
The other half of the pumpkin mixture went into a frozen pie shell (sorry Sis).
Again with the pretend Bisquick...
That was baked at 350 for about 45 minutes. If you think about it, add foil around the edges of the pie crust to keep it from getting overly brown. I did not think of this in time, hence the overly brown edges. Mmmm...can it get any better than this??
Why yes. Yes, it can.
The Boy was really excited about the pie he made.
Notice in the background, there, is the crock pot with the rest of the pumpkin mixture. That is cooking on low for about 5 hours.

When you lift the lid, you will see this...
If you look closely, you will notice that the pretend Bisquick did indeed melt away. Whew.

Add some whipped cream...
This was delicious. I ended up eating most of the pudding since everyone else had pie earlier in the day. So for a single pie or pudding, the recipe needs to be cut in half. This is definitely a keeper. And perfect for those who just don't care for crust on their pies.

Click here for Printable Recipe

Crock Pot Pumpkin Pie Pudding
2 Cups Pumpkin Puree (or 1 can solid pack pumpkin)
1 Can Evaporated Milk
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Bisquick
2 Eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 teaspoons Vanilla
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to a greased crock pot. Cover and cook 5-6 hours on low.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Rubber Chicken

The Rubber Chicken comes from the Flylady's recipes. She describes herself as my "personal online coach to help you gain control of your house and home." I end up back at her site on a semi-annual basis and every time I think "hey, this could work." It hasn't yet, but maybe next time.

One of her big things is menu planning (which I do and can really say it reduces the amount of stress I have by 7.3%) and she has a pretty extensive collection of recipes on her site. One of them is the Rubber Chicken. The main reason I have never tried this is because I don't cook whole chickens.

Luckily, our local grocer does. I live a small rural town, but we have an AWESOME grocery store. We are truly blessed in that regard. They have an incredible deli that includes whole baked chickens that come in variety of spice flavors. During the school year, we have this for supper once a week.
It's that good.Once you have supper, tear off every last scrap of chicken off the bones. If DH is not home, we can not only have leftovers for another supper, but I can take my lunch the next day.
Once you have the bones picked clean, you probably are trying to decide whether or not the scraps can go in the garbage can. No, they cannot. We are not done with those yet!

Take the scraps and any juices in the bottom of the bag and dump them into a large stockpot. Do you know why these are called stockpots? It is because we are going to make chicken stock. Or broth. You know, for soup.
Cover that up with water. You can also add in some onion, salt, pepper, garlic, whatever you like to flavor with.
Cover and simmer that on low and get the kids in the tub. After about an hour or two, turn off the heat and let the pot cool. Now you can remove all the scraps and throw them out. I put them back in the bag the chicken came in.
By the time the pot has cooled down, it is probably bed time. This is perfect. Put the lid on the pot and stick it in the fridge. This will solidify any fat leftover and it will form a pretty disgusting looking layer on the top of the liquid.
Skim that off. There is no way you are going to get it all, so pour the broth through a strainer.
And you will be left with liquid gold.
Ziploc makes these three cup containers that are perfect to freeze broth. Pour it in and twist the cap on. It is also a good idea to label the container with the date you put it in the freezer. I usually forget to do this, especially if it is in the morning.
I use it up so fast it doesn't make much difference. You will also probably have one container that is not all the way full. That is fine because you can add to it next week when you get another chicken. Because now you are addicted.
To be continued...