Friday, September 26, 2008

Chicken Breasts with Tarragon and Cream

I am trying the recipe below tonight. Full report to follow!

This is a Chicken breast recipe is cooked with tarragon, chicken broth, a little white wine, and heavy cream.


  • 6 boneless chicken breast halves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream


Sprinkle chicken breast halves with salt and pepper; dredge with flour. Set aside remaining flour.

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Brown chicken on both sides, Remove chicken; keep warm. Add onion to skillet and sauté for 1 minute.

Add wine to skillet; increase heat to high and cook until liquid is almost evaporated, stirring to loosen browned bits on bottom of skillet.

Reduce heat to medium-low; add reserved flour, stirring to a thick paste. Add tarragon and chicken broth. Return chicken to skillet; cover and cook until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove chicken breasts to a hot platter. Add remaining butter and heavy cream to the skillet. Heat through; pour creamy tarragon sauce over chicken breasts.

Tarragon chicken recipe serves 6

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chicken Kiev

Tonight's dinner was Chicken Kiev. Well, technically, it was two chicken breasts I bought at Meijers on Sunday that were labeled as Chicken Kiev. They were not thet bad. All I had to do was stick the remote sensing temperature probe from our oven into one of the chicken breasts and put them into a pre-heated 375F oven and cook them until the internal temp reached 165F. To be honest, the meal was OK, but nothing great. The Chicken Cordon Bleu I purchased at the aforementioned Meijers a few weeks ago was much better. It is a bit of a challenge during the work week to be terribly creative with my meals, so anything that is simple Monday-Thursday night works for me. Now that I have purchased pre-made Chicken Kiev, I might be motivated to try to make them from scratch:

Chicken Kiev

  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspon white pepper, or black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten with 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
Blend the softened butter with parsley, chives, pepper, and salt. Divide into 4 portions and chill until firm. Flatten each chicken breast half to about 1/4-inch thickness by pounding each between wax paper or plastic wrap. Place a portion of the chilled butter mixture in the center of each flattened chicken breast half. Roll each to completely enclose the butter. Dust each roll in flour then dip in beaten egg and water. Roll in bread crumbs then place in lightly greased baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.
Chicken Kiev serves 4

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Dinner

Tonight, I am making a pot of chili. As the evenings are starting to cool down here, a hot bowl of chili sounded like a great idea for dinner. I found basics of this recipe a few years ago and I have modified it a little. One modification I made was to add a pound of pork sausage instead of three pounds of ground chuck.

Paul's Chili

2 large onions, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 carrots, sliced
3 lbs boneless beef chuck, ground coarse (cut back if adding sausage)
lb pork sausage (optional)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon crumbled dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried hot red pepper flakes
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot cook the onions in the olive oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are softened. Once the onions are softened, add the garlic and carrots, then cook and stir the mixture for 1 minute. Add the beef and cook it over moderate heat, stirring and breaking up any lumps, until the beef is no longer pink. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and the red pepper flakes, then cook and stir the mixture for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, beef broth, cider vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil. After the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for 50 to 60 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and cook for 15 more minutes.

Serves 6

Save the date!

Now that the kitchen is done, it is time to warm it up with a party. We thoguht a great date to have a kitchen warming party would be a few weeks after we move back into the kitchen, as we are still working out the chi and flow of things in our new space. Also, 1 November will be the one year anniversary of my first "retirement, so that seems like a perfect night to celebrate. Thus, on the evening of 1 November, we will be throwing a kitchen warming party! Details to follow.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lunch with friends

On Friday, I had lunch with two wonderful people. There just is NEVER enough time to cover all the bases, especially when the food is incredible.

Abi made us lunch and how she did it with an incredibly active two year old, Noah, well it's just nothing short of amazing.

She served perfectly warmed Chicken Squares. I asked for the recipe and she kindly shared. Oh, these are SO perfect.

Chicken Salad Squares

1 package of puff pastry dough or 1 tube of crescent rolls

2 cups cooked chicken
½ cup of diced celery
4 oz. of cream cheese [I use light or low-fat cream cheese]
2 tablespoons of melted butter
2 tablespoons of milk [I use skim milk]
1 teaspoon salt

Optional additions:
½ cup almonds
½ cup of dried cherries
½ cup of diced apple

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Blend filling ingredients and include any optional additions to the filling. Separate pastry dough into 4 inch squares (a tube of crescent rolls yields 4 squares). Place the squares on an ungreased baking sheet. Spoon approximately ½ cup of the filling onto the dough, and then pull the corners of the square up to one another so that the filling is encased by dough.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the dough is golden brown.

Follow up recipe - Pork Tenderloin

Last week, we decided to cook dinner in our new kitchen and invited our friend, Deb to join us. Since Deb has done so much to help us - recommended the Deb Memorial Pocket Door and all the painting, it was only right that she was our first guest. We had a pork tenderloin to cook, no time to marinate it so we put out an SOS to our friends and cooks extraordinaire - Lisa and Jen.

Both responded immediately with fantastico recipes. Since we wanted a recipe with few ingredients and no marinade, we choose a recipe from Lisa. Holy cow was it GOOD. And with the cost of food, pork is so affordable. We will most definitely make this again.

Mustard-Crusted Pork Roast

4-5 lb boneless pork loin roast
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 TBS dried rosemary
1/2 cup coarse grain mustard
8 cloves garlic - mashed or minced
3 TBS olive oil
3 TBS Balsamic Vinegar

Place pork in greased roasting pan. Rub w/salt, pepper, rosemary. Combine next 4 ingredients and spread evenly over pork. Bake at 375 uncovered for 1 to 1 1/4 hours (or until pork internal temperature registers 160 degrees

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday Night Dinner

Tonight was the first night in our new kitchen. I made a pork tenderloin dish, shared by Lisa of the "Marble and Mud" blog fame. The meal was nothing short of fantastic. Look for the recipe in the Cafe soon!

Friday, September 12, 2008

OK, the party is in its initial planning stages...

As Deirdre wrote earlier, our kitchen is almost done. The transformation has been nothing short of amazing, thanks to our friends at HWC Homeworks. When we were about a week or so into the project, Deirdre and I started to think about having a party to celebrate the new space. We thought that people have house-warming parties, so why shouldn't we have a kitchen warming party? Our home in EGR is filled with wonderful memories, but the new kitchen has not had enough time with us, yet. Thus, on the night of 1 November, we will have a Kitchen Warming Party. Details to follow.

Soups for the fall

Deirdre here....If you have been following our individual blogs, you know about the kitchen. It's almost done. The most beautiful combination of tile, wood, stainless steel and quartz as I have ever seen. And it beckons us to cook. Anything.

Much to our friend Lisa's chagrin, fall is here. It is cooling off and some of the tips of the leaves have started to turn. Lisa, I promise pictures. And with fall comes yummy cook-in-the-oven meals. I have been keeping a list from the magazine Real Simple, and just can't wait to cook. This looks amazing. And six other one-pot meals can be found here.

Mexican Chicken Soup
2 whole chickens (3 1/2 pounds each)
4 carrots, halved crosswise
1 large yellow onion, halved
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 avocados
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
3 limes, halved

Rinse the chickens and pat dry with paper towels.

Place the chickens, carrots, onion, and salt in a 12-quart pot. Add enough cold water (about 16 cups) to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 1 hour. Skim off any foam that appears. Transfer the chickens to plates; let cool. Remove and discard the carrots and onion. Add the rice to the broth and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, shred the chicken meat, discarding the skin and bones. Add the meat and pepper to the broth and heat for 3 minutes. Scoop the avocados into individual bowls and ladle the soup over the top. Sprinkle with the cilantro and squeeze on the limes.

Recommended: 12-quart pot

To Freeze: Omit the avocados, cilantro, and limes. Let the soup cool, then ladle into large resealable bags, filling each one halfway. Store for up to 3 months.

To Reheat: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or thaw partially in the microwave. Warm in a covered saucepan over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Scoop the avocado into bowls, ladle in the soup, and garnish with the cilantro. Serve with the lime wedges on the side.

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New world order

This weekend marked the first time that I cooked in the kitchen alone. Paul was visiting family and I had the time, ingredients and courage to cook. Alone.

I took a recipe out the recipe book that came with our Convection/Microwave. Chicken Enchiladas. It was okay but not good enough to post and recommend. I need to do some tweaking to get it to recommendable state. I will play with the recipe and post when it's worthy.

The very cool thing about the oven (as I frequently discuss with my friend Barb) is the fastbake feature. These enchiladas cooked in 23 minutes. Total. 19 to cook and 4 minutes with the little extra cheese on top. (Diary is GOOD for you) :) I could probably throttle back to 3 minutes with the toppings.

If you are looking for something new to cook, check Lisa's blog, another culinary diva who loves to cook, eat and drink. She IS someone you would want at a party. :)

We are relatively cooking blandly right now. We promise new and exciting adventures in cooking when the kitchen comes together.

Monday, September 1, 2008

New meal in the Convection Oven

Well, we are smoking...ha! Our first meal from the kitchen was terrific. We made a pork chop meal in a 2 quart Pyrex container. The pork chops were dirt cheap at Meijer, a place were we are doing a lot more shopping. Along with some chili sauce, a little brown sugar, sliced onions and lemon, the chops cooked for about 45 minutes, and rested for about 10. They were absolutely delicious. I have some extra for lunch.

Along with the rest of world, we are conscious of where we shop, going local as much as possible. Meijer has amazing produce, far better than our local (and very high priced D & W), an excellent selection of dry goods and milk/yogurt products and all the bottle and can beverages known to man. A far better selection than Sam's Club and lower prices than D & W. And we are supporting a local business. We keep our membership to Sam's Club for the lower gas price - and that is significant, and we buy staples there as well.

We were going to do the chicken enchiladas tonight but our neighbors Dennis and Amy are doing a final hurrah for the summer - some brats on the grill, a couple of cold Oberon and Founder's Ale and some fellowship. We have later in the week with rain coming to cook indoors.

Cheers from the Cafe!