Cheesy Chicken Bake

Screen Shot 2020-06-18 at 11.58.40 AMWe have been trying to cut back on the amount of bread and pasta we eat, so when I was looking for a way to use up rotisserie chicken that didn’t use those things I, of course, turned to Pinterest. I found this chicken bake and man was it good. I halved the recipe the first time to make sure we liked it, and it was so good, so flavorful that I didn’t even miss the pasta. Recipe and photo courtesy of afamilyfeast.com.

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup avocado mayonnaise
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 store bought rotisserie chicken, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups red onion, diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 375. In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp, reserving 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat and set aside. While the bacon is cooking, in a medium sauce pan, place cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, avocado mayonnaise, heavy cream, hot sauce, mustard, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. Crumble bacon and add to the cream mixture. Clean skillet and add two tablespoons of the bacon fat and saute onions over medium high heat for three minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of bacon fat and add the mushrooms and saute for five minutes. Add the garlic and spinach and toss to coat the spinach and cook until wilted, about two minutes. Add the cream mixture and cooked chicken and heat then pour into an 8X12 inch casserole dish. Sprinkle on the two cups of mozzarella cheese and bake for 20 minutes. Place under the broiler and brown, 1-2 minutes. Let sit ten minutes to set up. There will be a little liquid on the bottom which will eventually absorb into the mixture. We spooned a little over each portion. Serve with a salad or your favorite vegetables.

Chicken Enchilada Soup a la Chili’s

chilis-chicken-enchilada-soup-horizontal-1526596329Growing up my friends and I went to Chili’s at least once a week and I would either get Chicken Crispers or Chicken Enchilada Soup and salad.  We haven’t been able to go to Chili’s for a while so I got the on the good ole Interwebs to see what I could find. I found this copycat recipe at delish.com and with a few additions it was a dead ringer for my favorite soup. The recipe makes a ton, so be prepared to make it for a crowd or freeze half.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 cup masa harina
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce
  • 16 oz Velveeta, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups shredded chicken (I used rotisserie)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

     

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack, for garnish
  • tortilla strips, for garnish

In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add 5 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups chicken broth, masa harina and spices until smooth. Add to pot, whisking constantly until no lumps remain. Add enchilada sauce and Velveeta and cook, stirring often, until melted. Stir in chicken. Garnish with cheeses and tortilla strips before serving.

Cheese pizza (let’s call it like we see it)

IMG_20200410_175721This was first attempt making pizza completely from scratch. I was really pleased with how it turned out, and my kids raved about it so it had to make it here.

Tomato sauce:

  • 1 lb tomatoes, I used Campari
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • sprinkling of onion powder
  • 3 basil leaves, chopped or torn
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Pizza:

Preheat your oven to 400. For the tomato sauce, chop up the garlic and halve the tomatoes. Drizzle a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil and add your garlic, onion powder and tomatoes, halved side down. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until the skin starts peeling from your tomatoes. Add the basil and roast for another 7 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and put the contents of the pan into a blender and blend until smooth. (I used an immersion blender, so just use whatever you have in your kitchen.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Put in a jar and set aside.

Increase the temperature of your oven to 450. For the pizza dough, dust a cookie sheet with cornmeal and stretch or roll your dough out into a roughly circular shape. Spoon about a 1/4 of cup of tomato sauce onto the dough, then top with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan. At this point you can add whatever toppings you like on a pizza; I only had cheese on hand so that’s what I went with. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden and the cheese is melted and starting to brown.

How To: Homemade Pizza Dough

The-Best-Pizza-Dough-Recipe-5Another first for me during this quarantine is homemade pizza dough. I have really been making an effort to not shy away from using yeast so this was a logical next step. Again I used instant yeast so it came together really quickly. It also made enough dough for two pizzas so you can make two pizzas at once or save it for another day. Recipe and photo courtesy of houseofnasheats.com

  •  1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
  •  2 teaspoons sugar
  •  2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast or instant yeast
  •  3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose if that’s all you have)
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  2 teaspoons salt

Combine warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. If using active dry yeast, let it proof for 5 minutes until foamy. If using instant yeast, there is no need to wait for the yeast to proof. Add flour, olive oil, and salt and stir well with a wooden spoon or mix in a stand mixer with a dough hook until combined. Knead for 5 minutes using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment or 6-7 minutes by hand until smooth and elastic. The dough will be tacky and slightly sticky, but should still be manageable to work with. Drizzle a clean bowl with a little olive oil, then place the ball of dough in the bowl and turn it to coat in the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean cloth and let rise for at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 1/2 hours) until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 2 or 3 balls (or more if you want to make personal-size pizzas). Roll, pat, or stretch the dough out until it is roughly 1/4″ thick, then top with 1/4-1/2 cup of pizza sauce, freshly grated mozzarella cheese, and other toppings.

Chicken Pot Pie

1519154630-chicken-pot-pie-verticalThis pot pie was so hearty and delicious. I made it in a pie tin but I could also see using individual ramekins. I used my lard pie crust recipe and it really pushed it over the top.

  • 3 cups shredded chicken, I used rotisserie
  • 1/2 cup butter, plus more for baking dish
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas

     

  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Egg wash

Preheat the oven to 375. Prepare the crust following my lard pie crust recipe and chill while the filling is being prepared. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and carrots and cook until vegetables are beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, then stir in flour and cook until the flour mixture is golden and beginning to bubble. Gradually whisk in chicken broth. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in heavy cream, cubed chicken, peas, parsley and thyme. Season mixture with salt and pepper. To assemble the pie, on a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of dough into a large round about ¼” thick. Place in a shallow pie dish then add filling. Roll out second disc of dough into a large round about ¼” thick and place on top of filling. Trim and crimp edges, then use a paring knife to create slits on top. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Bake pie until crust is golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

How To: Savory Pie Crust

downloadWith Christmas guests coming I took the opportunity to make a few new recipes, including a chicken pot pie.  I figured a pie crust made out of lard would be the perfect complement and sure enough it was delicious. Even better was the fact that it didn’t require a ton of chilling.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup lard
  • 1/3 cup ice water

Whisk flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the lard with a knife or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, blending gently with a fork or pastry blender until all flour is moistened and dough almost cleans the sides of the bowl. Divide the dough in half and shape flattened rounds. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Crockpot Lil’ Smokies

little-smokies-4I’m adding this recipe to the site because even though it’s only 3 ingredients and super simple to make, I always forget if it’s barbeque or chili sauce. So it’s here it is. Make them for your next get together and your guests will love you.

  • 2 packages beef smokies, 13 oz each
  • 12 oz bottle chili sauce (found with the ketchup)
  • 12 oz grape jelly

Combine all ingredients in the crockpot and cook for 3 hours on high til warmed through and the sauce comes together, stirring occasionally.

Oven Baked Chicken Legs

chickenlegs-3Chicken legs are a really great, affordable way to add protein to a meal that everyone will love. This recipe could not be any simpler and with very little prep time is a great weekday option. Recipe and photo courtesy of cookiesandcups.com.

  • 4–5 pounds chicken legs (drumsticks)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400°F (I used my convection setting to cook these and it worked so well). Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, and coat with nonstick spray. Place all the drumsticks evenly onto the prepared pan being careful not to overcrowd the pan. If you need to, use multiple pans. Mix the salt, pepper, and garlic powder together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture onto all sides of the legs evenly. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165°F and the tendons have shrunken away from the ankle, indicating doneness. I flipped my chicken halfway through to get both sides browned and this is also a great time to drain the pan if there is too much liquid accumulating.

Insta-Pork!

instant-pot-pulled-pork-recipeteacher5Ever since I bought my Instant Pot last Christmas it has become my favorite kitchen appliance. This pulled pork recipe is so so good, and while you can add barbecue sauce to it, I didn’t need to add any. Recipe and photo courtesy of recipeteacher.com.

  • lb pork butt roast, boneless or bone-in
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce.

Trim the fat from pork roast and cut into 4 same size chunks. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together. Add pork roast chunks to rub mix and coat well. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to Instant Pot and set to saute. Once it indicates hot, add 2 pieces of the pork. Sear on each side for about 2 minutes each. Remove pork and set aside on a plate. Repeat with remaining pork pieces. Once pork is seared and removed from pot, press cancel and add 1/2 cup chicken broth. Use a wooden spoon and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Make sure to scrape up all the bits. Then add remaining chicken broth. Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. Place pork chunks directly into the liquid in the pot, spacing out as best possible. Secure lid and make sure vent is set to sealing. Pressure cook/manual on high pressure for 60 minutes.Then let pressure release naturally for 20 minutes or until pin drops. Remove pork to a large bowl and shred with 2 forks. Add your favorite BBQ sauce as desired. Or use the juice from the Instant Pot – it’s loaded with awesome flavor!

Instant Pot Beef Gyros

slow-cooker-gyros-with-beef-and-tzatziki-sauceEver since I gave myself an Instant Pot for Christmas I have been in love. Every single recipe I have made has turned out wonderfully and I haven’t even scratched the surface of what it could do. This next recipe is for one of my favorite sandwiches, the gyro. Traditionally lamb meat is used, but as that can get expensive quick, I used flank steak. I also made homemade Tzatziki sauce which I will include in a separate post. Recipe and photo courtesy of 365daysofcrockpot.com.

  • 1 1/2 lbs beef chuck roast or beef cross rib roast, sliced into thin quarter inch strips across the grain
  • 1 large onion, sliced very thinly
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup beef broth
  • Soft pita bread
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Feta
  • Tzatziki sauce

Add beef, onion, oil, garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper, lemon juice and broth to the Instant Pot. Cover and turn the valve to “sealing.” Press manual/pressure cook button and set the timer for 25 minutes (high pressure). Once the time is up let the pot sit undisturbed for 15 minutes. Then move the valve to venting. Open the pot and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Make the tzatziki sauce. Serve beef over pita folds with Tzatziki sauce, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and feta.