Friday, January 30, 2009

Mulligatawny Stew

Hello Hello! It feels like forever since I blogged! I have cooked during my absence I just haven't had the time or energy to post . . . which happens and I don't stress about it . . . Yes school has started again and I am up to my neck in this and that . . plus I am fulfilling a goal that I have had since I was a kid of writing a book . . . so yes life is busy . . . but I am sure everyone can relate.

When I told my husband what I was making tonight he asked me what it was . . . then he said "why don't you just call it chicken?" Dear sweet hubby of mine . . . it has a name and it is something good! I absolutely love Indian food! When I was serving an LDS Mission in Germany I was spoiled and got to eat the real stuff on many occasions . . . and I absolutely loved it! It was pretty spicy though . . . I try to add as much heat as we can handle without breaking out in a sweet and getting all read faced (which happened to me a couple of time in Deutschland!)All I can say is that it has coconut milk in it . . . which in my book equals a delight! I was browsing through a book store the other day, overwhelmed by the huge cookbook section and picked up an incredible Indian cookbook . . . sadly I honestly had no idea what many of the ingredients were and knew that I would have to drive quite a ways to find ingredients . . . but one day I will immerse myself more in Indian food . . . until then we will enjoy Mulligatawny! I give it 2 thumbs up!Mulligatawny Stew
Recipe by: Emily

1 1/4-1 1/2 lbs Chicken Breasts
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
2 Stalks of celery, chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, crushed and minced
1 medium Onion, chopped
2 1/2 tsp Fresh Ginger, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp Curry Powder
3 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
1 14 oz. can Coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
1 Tbsp Sugar or honey
Cayenne Pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat and saute the vegetables until softened. Add the chicken, season it with salt and pepper and cook it for a few minutes until lightly browned.
2. Add the curry powder, sugar, and a pinch of cayenne pepper and cook for about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the stock has reduced, about 10-15 minutes. (If you want it thick allow stock to reduce longer.)
3. Add the coconut milk and cilantro then simmer for 2-3 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve over rice! Enjoy!

(This is also awesome if you add potatoes to the stew, if you get carried away with the cayenne pepper, potatoes lessen the heat!)

Also if you use lite coconut milk it makes for a thinner soup, so reduce the chicken stock more before adding the milk if you want it thicker.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The History of Aprons

My mom sent this to me and I thought that it was fun! I loved rummaging through my moms apron drawer and finding just the right one to wear when helping in the kitchen! My very favorite was one that she had made that covered the front and back part of you and tied on the sides. It was made from a pork and beans print material and was awesome!

I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be along time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chicken, Lime and Black Bean Soup

My handsome hubby got a new job today so we had a little fiesta after I got home from school tonight and enjoyed a new favorite of mine . . . Chicken, Lime, and Black Bean Soup!
I LOVE lime and cilantro! I am a gal of the southwest and am gung-ho for southwest and Mexican cuisine like no other! Whenever we go out to eat my hubby knows that I will most likely want Mexican food or something spicy! He is always game for sushi . . . but not always so much for some of my favorite places to eat . . . so I try not to choose them too often . . . sometimes he is beyond sweet and picks one even though I know it is not his fav!!!
That's my guy in a nutshell . . . he is always amazing and puts me first . . . I try to do the same . . . such as load up soup so it isn't so "soupy." My honey isn't too wild for it if it has tons of liquid so I load it up good with chicken and veggies! I am so making this soup the next time that we have company! In fact we have new neighbors (hint, hint me!) so I need to get in gear and have them over!
I also wish that I had time to run some down to my Mutti who has another sinus infection (painful and annoying!!!) poor lady! I hope that my little sisters made her some soup!!! Or maybe my dad (gulp) ventured into the kitchen . . . I don't know if that would ease my mom any though!?! (Tuna Omelets anyone?)
Em's Chicken, Lime, and Black Bean Soup
Recipe by: Emily4 Chicken breasts
4 cups Chicken Broth
1 can Black Beans (I prefer using low sodium, draining is optional)1 cup Celery, chopped
1 Medium Onion, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4-1/3 cup Lime juice
1/4-1/3 cup fresh Cilantro
1 Tbsp Butter
Poultry Seasoning
Red Pepper Flakes
Diced avocado, sour cream, and tortilla strips to garnish. (Pico would be awesome too!)

1. Lay chicken breasts on a baking sheet and squeeze 1 or 2 fresh lime wedges over each piece, then season lightly with poultry seasoning, a pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Roast in a 375 degree oven for 18-25 minutes or until cooked through. Once chicken is cooked cut into bite size cubes.
2. Chop 1 cup of celery, about 2 stalks (I like to use the celery leaves to flavor the soup and add some color too) and 1 medium onion. Saute celery and onion in a large sauce pan with 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat until tender (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, then add the chicken broth.
3. Bring the soup to a simmer and then add cilantro, chicken, and lime juice. Simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, taste, add additional seasoning if desired and then add the black beans. Remove from heat and serve garnished with diced avocado, sour cream, chopped cilantro, and tortilla strips. Enjoy!

(Draining and/or rinsing canned beans creates clearer soup broth. To make a darker, thicker soup use low sodium beans and don't rinse them. I rinsed mine this time, but I also like to use them unrinsed in some soups!)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Green Chili and Cream Cheese stuffed Chicken

Well school is becoming a reality once again! Another semester begins for me on Monday and I am actually a little excited! It means that I am that much closer to being done! Plus I have some awesome professors this semester and am looking forward to almost all of my classes! We were able to have one last hurrah over new years by heading to East Zion and spending some time enjoying the snow! . . . and their was PLENTY of it! The balcony around the cabin had snow all the way up to the railings and when I hopped over the railing to jump on a snowmobile with my brother I had snow up to my armpits!!! I wish that I had taken more pictures!!! It was gorgeous!!! We had a blast! (Always do!) We saw lots of wildlife and it seemed like wild turkeys were every 2 inches!!! If you have never been to Zion National Park and the surrounding area it is beyond worth it!  LOVED IT! With the cold weather blowing over us again and the smell of snow, waiting to fall in the air I felt like pepping up our lunch today with something a little spicy! So I stuffed chicken breasts with two fave's . . . . cream cheese and chili's! It was awesome but next time I am going to pound out the chicken breasts and roll them up rather than slit and stuff them. I think I will also use either crushed corn flakes or crushed tortilla chips to roll them in next time . . . but they were still awesome!

Green Chili and Cream Cheese stuffed Chicken
Recipe by: Emily

4-5 boneless, skinless, Chicken Breasts
8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 or 2 cans green chilies, whole or diced
1 small onion
2 Tbsp Butter
1 1/2-2 cups bread crumbs or crushed tortilla chips

1. Dice onion and cook in a sauce pan over medium high heat until softened and lightly browned. Add onion to cream cheese mixture in a bowl and mix with a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. (if using diced chili's add to cream cheese)
2. Butterfly chicken breasts and spread with cream cheese mixture. Top with seeded and skinned chilis and roll up or fold chicken breasts in half. Roll chicken breast in melted butter and then bread crumbs OR roll in bread crumbs and then pour melted butter over the top.
3. Bake in a 375 degree preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Enjoy!