Chicken Alfredo

One of my favorite comfort foods is my variation on a classic: Chicken Alfredo. To make it just a tad healthier, and frankly even better I have added asparagus below. Basically this is composed of several parts: Cooked spaghetti (or any pasta obviously, the leftovers were awesome on fusilli), cooked diced chicken, lightly steamed vegetable (in this case asparagus) and a creamy alfredo-ish sauce. Which is what I will discuss here.

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What I used:

  • butter
  • rice flour (any flour works, I like rice flour’s consistency and GFness)
  • milk (or 1/2 and 1/2, but I used milk cause I needed to use it up)
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan cheese

First thing you do is make a roux, which is at the core of most sauces, and might at first blush sound intimidatingly French. A roux basically is just a paste of a fat (in this case butter, but in a gravy might be meat drippings) and flour (I almost always use rice flour for the above mentioned reasons. And so if Aimee my GF cousin pops by I can still feed her.)  Estimates are serious guestimates. Be warned.

What to do:

  • Add a couple of tablespoons of butter to a pan and melt.
  • Once melted add a similar number of tablespoons of the flour. Mix with a whisk into a paste. (The thicker the paste the more you will thin it out. I like making mine rather thick so that I can make it go further on less butter. Anyways, this will always be trial and error)
  • Once it is a thick slightly bubbling mass you keep whisking.
  • While you continue to whisk at medium heat (pick up edges and corners, and the bottom so nothing burns) slowly add your milk. (Maybe a cup at first)
  • Then whisk it in, it will quickly at first, then in subsequent rounds slowly thicken.
  • Continue to whisk and add liquid until it is the desired thickness. (Dip a spoon in coating the back, run your finger through the sauce, if the line stays clean it is perfect.)
  • Add seasonings to taste.
  • Add shredded parmesan, and melt it in.
  • Add diced chicken and steamed veg.
  • Stir together and serve over cooked pasta with a sprinkling of parma overtop.
  • Enjoy creamy delicious Italian-ish comfort food.

Guten Appetit!

 

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Spanish Rice

After David and I were married for a while I asked if there was anything I hadn’t made yet that he wanted me to make, and that is how I was introduced to my mother in law Irene’s Spanish Rice. The story on this is that my MIL got it from HER MIL, Ruby.  So a Morris family classic (also known as made from what was available and you could get your hands on in rural Peru in the 1950’s)

This is another super simple one, and you can make all the ingredients ahead, or it is also great as leftovers. Here it is cooking up:

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 What I use:

  • rice
  • ground beef
  • diced tomatoes
  • tomato sauce
  • chili powder
  • oregano

 

What I do:

  1. Start the rice either on the stove top or in a rice maker (about 2 cups dried)
  2. Brown the ground beef (1lb)
  3. Season with salt and pepper
  4. When both are cooked add the rice to the beef, add a can of petite diced tomatoes (I prefer the smaller size, but whatever) and a small can of tomato sauce, mix it up.
  5. Add  dried oregano (about 1T)
  6. Add chili pepper (about 1T, but then adjust for spiciness preference)
  7. Cook together on medium for 10-15 minutes then serve.

 

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Guten Appetit!

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Bangers ‘n Mash

After almost a month away from the blog, I have successfully wrapped up the term and am going to try to get back into the rhythm of several times a week. Also at the request of my good friend Megan, I will do my best to actually include amounts (though those of you who know my cooking style should remain skeptical of course.)

Starting off we have a great simple dinner of Bangers and Mash. We in Oregon are lucky to have the Mt. Angel Sausage Company and their most amazing Oktoberfest sausage. Anyway, since grilling a sausage up isn’t really worthy of a blog post, let me briefly tell you about my mashed potato recipe.

 

Bangers n Mash

 

What I use:

  • potatoes
  • sour cream
  • butter
  • cream cheese
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

 

What I do: (Just for you Megan I will give amounts)

  1. After boiling and draining the diced potatoes (3 medium potatoes)
  2. Add butter (1-2 tablespoons)
  3. Add cream cheese (1 tablespoon)
  4. Add 2 dashes of garlic powder
  5. Add sour cream (1-2 tablespoons)
  6. Mix until smooth, add salt and pepper to taste

Guten Appetit!

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Chicken Quesadilla Packet

Okay, after all of that roux making, we need to move on to something a little easier, more of a grab and go kind of idea: Chicken Quesadilla Packet. I confess, I love making quesadilla packets. (I will have to go look, but if I haven’t featured my provolone, turkey and spinach one, shame on me.)

Anyway this is my version of a super simple chicken quesadilla. I call them quesadilla packets due to how I fold them for easier eating. Here in the Morris household we have this bad habit of eating while doing other things, so hot dripping cheese oils are preferred inside of the lunch rather than on our hands.

Anyways, this one is super simple, basically I just take cooked chicken (to make even easier deli meat is always an option), shredded cheddar and some taco sauce, start getting it melted like this:

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Then fold over and cook the other side (so the seams stay), and then flip it back once  more to brown up the back. Viola, a Chicken Quesadilla Packet. Super popular at our house on Sundays, when we get home from church and want to eat RIGHT AWAY. Relatively healthy (I just use a wee dab of butter for the pan/ coloring), and deliciously inexpensive, as most homemade things are…

Guten Appetit!

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Frugal Friday- Packed Snacks

So I decided to start a new feature called Frugal Friday. But alas I was gone ALL day yesterday so that just didn’t happen, so here is the first Frugal Friday post, just a bit late…

We already know that packing lunch is far cheaper and healthier than eating out, but that during the week it is a major drag to fit that in. Anyway, after a fun dip and nibbles platter at Lindsay’s I came home and experimented in packing up “pre-packaged foods.” So I focused on three types: fruit, meat and cheese and veggie and hummus. Here they are. I packed up a bunch of containers for the week, and then just grabbed them as necessary to complete a lunch. It worked great and I will be doing them again. (Though David and I both decided we really don’t need to include Swiss in the cheeses!)

I am hoping to spend some time perfecting my hummus recipe in the next week, so keep your eyes out for that.

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Bon Appétit!

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Chicken Stock

stock
stäk/
noun

liquid made by cooking bones, meat, fish, or vegetables slowly in water, used as a basis for the preparation of soup, gravy, or sauces.

One of the staples most people already have a good recipe is chicken stock. This is definitely another great one to make and stick in the freezer, especially if you are trying to watch your sodium, homemade is always a great way to go over canned. Anyway below is a pic of my stock pot earlier this week. I picked up a deli chicken on close-out ($2.49!), and made sandwiches out of some of the meat, and then threw the whole rest of the chicken sans skin in the pot. Letting it simmer for 4-5 hours is definitely one of the keys to the really rich stock. I froze two quarts of it, and then used the third quart to make two quarts of gravy that I also froze. Not bad for a handful of dollars.

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What I used:

  • Deli roasted chicken
  • Celery sticks
  • Carrot sticks
  • Several smashed garlic cloves
  • Couple of shallots rough chopped
  • Bay leaves
  • Fresh sage
  • Fresh thyme
  • Heaps of Water
  • Time

Smoked Salmon Pasta

Pike Place Market
Web definitions
  1. Pike Place Market is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront in Seattle, Washington, United States. The Market opened August 17, 1907, and is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets in the United States. …

So last weekend we were up in Seattle visiting good friends and we started up a bit of a new tradition. We headed over to the Pike Place Market to pick up fresh ingredients for a meal. It was fun to wander around and being inspired for different meals. We went into this one planning it around smoked salmon. Anyway, we headed back to the flat and I whipped us up a what was presumably a good meal (the 1lb of pasta and .5lb salmon dish disappeared!)

 

Salmon Pasta

 

 

What I used:

  • Linguine
  • Basil
  • Beschamel sauce
  • Shallot and garlic
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Parmesan

 

What I did:

  1. Saute the diced shallot and garlic, remove from pan
  2. Make the beschamel
  3. Add sliced fresh basil, a couple squirts of lemon juice, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and the salmon broken up. Stir together.
  4. Add sauce into the pasta, add parmesan
  5. Serve with fresh basil.

 

Anyway, it turned out great, and was super simple to whip up. Could just as easily be made with chicken. Let me know how it goes if you try to replicate it Lindsay!

Bon Appetit!

 

Taco Soup

This a good one to do in the crock-pot while you’re away, or mix it up and cook it in the evening, for the next few day’s lunches. I really like the inclusion of the Ranch seasoning packet, I think I picked that up off of a Paula Deen recipe once. Anyhoot. Forgot to take a picture when I was cooking it, so here it is before I stuck it in the freezer. We love this one with cheddar melted in, a spoonful of sour cream and some crushed up tortilla chips.

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What I used:

  • Ground beef
  • Half an onion, diced
  • Diced garlic
  • Green pepper, diced
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Beef broth
  • Taco seasoning
  • Ranch dip packet
  • Frozen corn

 

What I did:

  1. Brown the beef, onion and garlic
  2. Add all the rest of the ingredients
  3. Simmer until done (flavors are all blended)

Pretty darn simple. Even simpler in the crock-pot! Step one, then mix it all up in the crock-pot and six hours on low you have a wonderful soup.

Freezer Filling

I have a freezer in my garage. I love this freezer. I love stocking this freezer. My freezer is old. I am not actually sure how old it is, but here it is.

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Sometimes I do a big stock-up cooking day, but more often I just do a few things here and there as I am already making them, and then just stock it up that way. I freeze them in the house, and then just pack a bunch out.

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Here is a load I took out earlier this week. It included one loaf of sandwich bread, three baguettes, three portions of ground beef, two butternut squash soup bases, and two portions of cannellini beans.

Things I like to keep in my freezer:

  • Baguette and sandwich breads
  • Extra meats (a turkey, bacon pieces, ground beef and chicken are pretty standard.)
  • Seafood (a type or two of fish, scallops, etc.)
  • Beans (cannellini, kidney, black, pinto, refried)
  • Chicken and beef stock
  • Soups: Chili, Taco Soup, Potato soup base, Butternut squash soup, cream of chicken soup.
  • Wonderful Oregon Fruit: (blueberries, raspberries, marionberries, strawberries, peaches, cherries etc.)

Asparagus and Egg Pasta

Yes, yes, we know my Pasta-addiction is extensive, oh well, a girl’s allowed her vice I suppose.

Though I do enjoy making my own pasta, I do enjoy angel hair dried pasta on occasion, and one of my favorite ways is with the delicious combination of egg and asparagus. When asparagus is in season, this is a very cheap dinner, and super fast.

No recipe is really necessary for this one, just make some pasta, steam some asparagus, poach an egg and sprinkle the whole lot with parmesan…LOVE IT!

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