Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The chicken divan I made yesterday must have been good because it is gone today! It was my super secret sauce that did the trick I'm sure. No one else would think of combining cream of chicken soup, sour cream, dehydrated onions, and curry powder to make this sauce. Except, of course, my mother, who taught me how to make it. Hehehe!
I did use the last of the rescued chicken. I had purchased a chicken, cut up, for fried chicken. Sarah helped with the menu, so there you go. I didn't cook it Thursday as planned, then forgot Friday and Saturday since we were in Albany. Sunday I was pretty mad at myself for waisting that money and knew that i didnt have the time, ingredients, or energy to marinade it overnight and cook it on Monday, but thought I would try and save the meat for something later. I threw it all in a crockpot, skin, bones, and all, along with some cream of chicken soup, onions, garlic, and some chicken stock. It worked! All I had to do was wait for it to cool, take the meat off the bones, get rid of the skin, and voila!
Sarah says I missed a bone because it was in her chicken divan today. Considering it was a whole chicken I think I did pretty well!
Here's the recipe:
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon curry powder (or more to taste!)
1/8 cup dried onions-rehydrate to 1/4 cup
1 cup roasted/leftover chicken
1 cup broccoli
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (more to taste)

Mix the first four ingredients together. In medium baking pan put chicken and broccoli. Poor sauce over chicken and broccoli, then sprinkle with cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes, uncovering the last 10 minutes to brown up the cheese.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easter dinner was several days after Easter. I'm pretty sure I explained why. Crazy busy lives.
We had braised lamb shanks. These are not nearly as difficult as they sound because braising the lamb means you don't have to worry about rare, medium rare, etc. It's just done. All it takes are some good ingredients and time. Once the lamb is browned then the vegetables need to be browned and develop their flavor. This all takes 20-30 minutes. Then all of it goes into the roasting pan and into the oven for 3 hours. You do have to turn the shanks a few times for even cooking, but I found that helps me time the other dishes.
I also made a super cheesy polenta which was much too cheesy. I fixed it the next day by making another batch without cheese and stirring them together.
Our vegetable, beyond the sauce for the lamb, was asparagus. This time the seasonings were in perfect ratio to the vegetable. I made a super easy gremolata with garlic, anchovies, parsley, lemon zest, and olive oil.
We also had tzaziki sauce for the lamb, but it was almost better with the asparagus. Who knew?
We tried to have gyros for leftovers, but they weren't great, so I used as much as I could along with the lamb bones to make a lamb broth. Now I just need recipes that call for lamb broth instead of chicken or beef.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Last night I made pasta putanesca. According to Klaus on A Series of Unfortunate Events, putanesca is Italian for very few ingredients. I've made sauces with fewer ingredients, but this is a good one. Sarah's favorite part are the capers. Between the capers, the anchovies, and the olives, this is a pretty salty dish. It rarely needs extra anywhere except the pasta water.
Just for an overview of my week and why I don't cook more, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I have dialysis. This means I am at least worn out, but often it means I have to get over a migraine before I can start cooking. Tuesday I go grocery shopping, which, surprise, surprise, wears me out. So that is four days a week that I need something quick and easy. Thursday and Saturday are good, but Sunday Matt leaves for DCA before dinner time. Between church, a required Sunday afternoon nap, and the trip to the airport, leftovers are usually my best bet.
If you are paying attention to the date you may be wondering why Easter dinner was not mentioned. We planned to do it Saturday, but that happened to be the same day as an event at the Disney store over in Syracuse. So, great parent that I am, I took Sarah to Syracuse for the 12:30 event. I bought myself some new jewelry for Easter, but could not find a good dress. Sarah does not want the dresses she owns, let alone a new one, so we decided we were tired of shopping and left the mall. Matt was flying in to Syracuse at 4:30, so it would be useless to go home just to come back. We picked him up and then went to Mexican food. I'll have to cook the lamb another time.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I can't remember anything I made after the chicken soup. Sad, eh? I knowi mademac and cheese again, this time ruining it by putting too much mustard in it. Good thing Sarah likes mustard. It's still edible, but without perfection it's ruined.
I made a ragu for lasagna but that took over three hours, as a good ragu should, but it did me in. The ragu is in the freezer waiting for motivation.
I made a shepherds pie for St. Patrick's Day. I added mushrooms to the ground beef (I didn't have any ground lamb) and cheese, sour cream and bacon to the potatos to make them taste like loaded potatos from a restaurant. The big problem was my vegetable. I only had canned peas, nothing fresh or even frozen. Talk about a buzz kill. Still, it was pretty good.
Sarah and I had what I call toaster tacos. I call them that because I make them in my toaster oven. When my mom made them from my recipe and had more than two people to feed she made them using her regular oven and a cookie sheet. Huh. Who knew? It really has been a long time since cooked for a crowd.
Back to the toaster tacos. The toaster part is still accurate, but technically I'm just making a quesadilla. It's a soft taco shell with pre-roasted or canned chicken, shredded cheese, and salsa or hot sauce. Toast until crispy and golden. No veggies beyond the salsa, super cinchy, and something I can do even with a migraine. Sarah loves them. She makes them herself in the microwave, as she has not mastered the toaster oven, so they are more melty than crisp, but it's the same idea. Matt doesn't like them as much as we do, but since he is gone for some of our meals, we can still get away with it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

As promised, the Chicken Chorizo Soup post. I know it is a long time since I actually made it but since I promised ...
The soup was not hard to do, but as with most Rachel Ray recipes, the first go-round is never 30 minutes. It took me a while to chop everything, but it really was worth it. I am so glad Matt got me a knife sharpener, because the time it saves is phenomenal. I don't worry about cutting myself as much because I don't have to put my fingers in harms way just to get through a particularly difficult chop. Anyway, I was impressed with my mis en plas (sp) and thought about taking a picture, but I get so tired while cooking it didn't happen. Apologies to Hanna especially.
The soup was good the first night, served with chips and cheese, but it was excellent the next couple of days when the flavors had time to meld. Eventually the soup part was gone before the rest of the ingredients, probably because the chips sopping up that flavor was the best part. Maybe next time I'll add more liquid and spices and keep the chopped ingredients the same.