Archive for the ‘Chicken’ Category

BBQ Chicken Taco

There’s a barbecue place in Central Texas that has this tasty little creation that every once in a while, I just have to have. Fuschak’s takes a tortilla, loads it with refried beans, brisket, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, cheese, and onions, and wraps it all up, creating the most delicious burrito, what they call a bar-burrito. When my hubby insisted we serve barbecue at our wedding because “otherwise it wouldn’t be a real Texas wedding,” I insisted we hire Fuschak’s to cater just so I could order myself a bar-burrito. They kindly delivered a handful of their delicious bar-burritos for hubby, my stepsister, and me.

The only problem about getting a bar-burrito craving is that I’m not about to hop onto IH35 and spend up to two hours in death-trap-like traffic just to get one. The only solution is to make our own version at home. And on Friday evening, that’s just what I did – except I switched the brisket for chicken and the white flour tortillas for whole wheat.

Makes 6-8 tacos, serving size 2 per person
Downloadable PDF of Barbecue Chicken Tacos

  • In a large, deep skillet, add:
    • 1 pound chicken breast; I used a package of chicken breast tenders
    • 1 cup barbecue sauce; use more if needed – you want just enough sauce to simmer the chicken, but not so much that it covers the chicken. I used Jack Daniel’s Original No. 7 Barbecue Sauce
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, then cover and reduce heat, letting the chicken simmer until just cooked through and no longer pink, about 15 – 20 minutes
  • While the chicken cooks, prepare the beans:
    • You can use a can of refried beans, or you can use my method below for smashed pinto beans. I prefer the smashed pinto beans because canned refried beans are too dry and thick for my liking. If you make your own homemade beans, that would be absolutely perfect.
    • Drain just a bit of liquid from 1 15-ounce can pinto beans
    • Pour beans and remaining liquid into a medium saucepan
    • Using a potato masher, mash the beans into the liquid until they are all smashed, resulting in a creamy, slightly thick consistency.
    • Cook over low heat until just heated through, cover to keep warm and turn off heat so as not to burn.
  • While chicken and beans are cooking, finely chop half a small onion and set aside.
  • Set aside 1/2 cup shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese
  • Also set aside 1/2 cup barbecue sauce of your choice and 2 Tablespoons hot sauce of your choice, such as Tobasco.
  • When chicken is cooked through, turn off heat and shred the chicken using two forks. I shred it in the skillet.
  • Stir the chicken into the sauce remaining in the skillet, adding more if necessary to coat chicken, and heat through.
  • Heat 6 7-inch whole wheat flour tortillas by either wrapping in damp paper towels and steaming in the microwave until hot (30 seconds – 1 minute) or warming for 15-30 seconds per side in a dry skillet over medium heat.
  • To assemble:
    • Spread beans onto each tortilla
    • Place chicken on top of beans
    • Sprinkle shredded cheese over the chicken
    • Sprinkle on the finely chopped onion
    • Top with 1 Tablespoon or so of barbecue sauce and 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, give or take for your own preference
    • Fold tortilla and enjoy!

BBQ Chicken Taco

I’ll be honest – I forgot to put the hot sauce on mine and I was missing it. It adds that perfect kick to enhance all the flavors. They were not the Fuschak’s bar-burrito (chicken is not a replacement for slow cooked brisket!). But they were still really good – good enough to fulfill the craving. I’ll definitely be making them again, especially when I can talk hubby into firing up the charcoal grill to grill the chicken.

The girls loved these for dinner, without the hot sauce and onions, of course! And the leftover chicken was used for:


The next day the girls wanted grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. I sliced some smoked cheddar, buttered some bread, used the leftover barbecue chicken, and made a tasty take on grilled cheese that was a hit with the kids.

Downloadable PDF of Barbecue Chicken Tacos

Are there any restaurant specialties you like to recreate at home? I’m always trying to recreate different dishes I had at restaurants, especially since we drastically scaled back how often we eat out, venturing to a restaurant only twice a month now.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~


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Saturday night was soup and pie night at our house. My dad, stepmom, and father-in-law came over for dinner and a little World Series watching. I can’t wait to repeat this meal next month with my hubby’s brother and his family. It’s definitely a meal worth sharing.

Soup Night
Bowls are ready and soup is simmering

Getting ready to boil the chicken
Ready to boil the chicken

Chicken and Noodle soup
Chicken and Noodle Soup

Fresh Vegetable Tray
Sugar snap peas and carrot sticks with buttermilk ranch

Covered Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie Slice
Slice of the best pecan pie

I had been looking forward to making this soup for a while. It’s one my mom’s family makes every Thanksgiving. I can’t remember a Thanksgiving in Missouri without chicken and noodles. I don’t know who started making it, but it was my favorite dish at Thanksgiving when I was a kid. I don’t have the recipe, so I made my own version and it turned out excellent. Followed by the best pecan pie, and my hankering for my Thanksgiving favorites was satisfied. For now, anyway. The soup is really easy, and perfect to make on a lazy Sunday afternoon when you have time to let the chicken simmer for a long time. It makes your house smell amazing. Paired with a pecan pie baking in the oven, and you’ll be in aromatic heaven.

Serves 8
Downloadable PDF of Old Fashioned Chicken and Noodles

  • Place in a 6-quart stock pot:
    • 2 bone-in split chicken breasts
    • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 30 cranks black pepper from a mill
    • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
    • 1 carrot, peeled and quartered
    • 2 extra-large (or 4 medium-large) garlic cloves, peeled and halved
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 1 handful fresh oregano, still on stem
    • 1 8-ounce container chicken stock
    • Water to cover everything by 2-3 inches, nearly filling the pot
  • Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for 1 1/2 hours
  • Turn off heat and remove chicken breasts and thighs (carefully so the pieces stay in tact), place on a cutting board and set aside
  • Place a large strainer in a bowl large enough to hold all the cooking liquid
  • Pour cooking liquid through strainer into bowl to strain out all the vegetables and herbs
  • Discard the vegetables and herbs
  • Return cooking liquid to the pot
  • To the cooking liquid, add 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste, and another 8-ounce container chicken stock
  • Bring liquid to a rapid boil
  • Add 1 12-ounce package Reames brand frozen egg noodles
  • Boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to separate noodles
  • While noodles are boiling, carefully remove and discard skin and bones from chicken pieces (the meat should simply fall from the bone after simmering for so long, but will be very hot to the touch near the bone)
  • Shred the chicken meat either with two forks or your hands (it’s so tender, it falls apart in my hands and takes only a few minutes to shred)
  • Set shredded meat aside
  • In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together:
    • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1/2 cup water
  • Once the noodles have boiled 20 minutes, add the cornstarch slurry and continue to boil, stirring until soup thickens slightly
  • Add the shredded chicken, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer to heat through
  • Serve immediately, or continue to simmer covered until ready to serve.

This soup is SOOO good. We served it with fresh sugar snap peas and carrot sticks on the side with buttermilk ranch for dipping, rosemary bread, and Hawaiian sweet rolls. I went for seconds of the soup and found an empty pot in the sink!

FOR THE PECAN PIE, I used this recipe by Eddy Van Damme that doesn’t use any corn syrup. And it is the best pecan pie recipe. Optional is adding brandy or rum. I don’t keep much alcohol in the house, so add 1/4 teaspoon rum extract instead. It adds the perfect depth of flavor to enhance the pecans. I ran out of brown sugar, so used 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1 1/4 cups regular sugar with 2 Tablespoons molasses, which turned the custard portion a luscious, deep, dark brown. Baked in a fresh whole wheat pastry crust, and it was absolutely divine.

Downloadable PDF of Whole Wheat Pastry Crust

  • In a food processor, or large bowl, add:
    • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cut 1 stick cold butter into small pieces, and to the flour mixture
  • Pulse processor until the butter creates coarse, peas-sized crumbs (if not using a food processor, use a pastry cutter, two forks, or your hands to cut the butter into the flour)
  • Add ice cold water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and pulse/mix just until dough comes together
  • Flatten dough into a disc shape and place on plastic wrap
  • Dust with flour and roll out to a circle 2 inches larger than your pie dish
  • Lift plastic wrap from countertop, and turn over to gently position pastry in pie dish, gently pressing crust to the sides of the dish
  • Pull plastic from the sides only and gently cut away excess pastry from the top edge of the pie dish
  • Gently flute the top of the remaining crust, then gently return plastic wrap against sides of pastry and over the edge and refrigerate until ready to fill
  • If desired, roll out excess pastry remnants and free-hand cut 5 leaves and set on a plate, cover with wrap, and refrigerate to place in the center of the pie before baking. I use a toothpick to carve the veins of the leaves.

Pecan Pie Slice

What are your favorite Thanksgiving dishes?

Does your family have a special Thanksgiving dish?

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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BBQ Chicken Enchiladas with Mexican Rice

When I had dinner at a local restaurant recently, I was drawn to the BBQ chicken enchiladas on their menu. They were very simple and so delicious. So naturally, I had to make them at home to share with the rest of the family.

These enchiladas (and the accompanying rice that I’ll post tomorrow) were one of THE most popular dinners I’ve made for my kids. Any of you who know them know that they eat the smallest portion sizes ever. With this meal, however, E had four helpings, and B had three. I would say that makes this dinner a winner!

BBQ Shredded Chicken
BBQ shredded chicken

BBQ Sauce-dipped tortilla with filling
BBQ sauce-dipped corn tortilla with BBQ shredded chicken

BBQ chicken enchiladas topped with grilled onions
BBQ chicken enchiladas topped with grilled onions

Inspired by the BBQ chicken enchiladas at El Mercado Restaurant
Downloadable PDF of BBQ Chicken Enchiladas

  • In a slow cooker, combine:
    • 4 chicken breasts
      • I keep individually flash-frozen chicken breasts in my freezer and toss them in the slow cooker frozen – no thawing necessary.
      • If the chicken breasts you are using are extra thick/large, use three instead of four. The flash frozen variety tend to be somewhat thin.
    • 1 cup BBQ sauce
      • You can make your own, or use your favorite store-bought sauce. I am partial to the Jack Daniel’s brand Original No. 7 sauce, so that’s what I used.
  • Cook on low heat for about 4 1/2 hours (if using frozen chicken breasts); you may need to decrease the time a bit if using thawed chicken.
  • Julienne:
    • 1 large onion
  • Heat 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a medium skillet.
  • Add sliced onion to the skillet and cook until soft and they start to caramelize.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Once chicken is just cooked through, remove from slow cooker and shred using two forks.
  • Place shredded chicken in a large bowl.
  • Add 1 cup of the liquid from the slow cooker to the shredded chicken and toss to coat.
  • Keep slow cooker on low to keep remaining liquid heated.
  • Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish lightly with cooking spray.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place a cutting board in front of the slow cooker to use as your work station to fill the tortillas.
  • Place 12 corn tortillas near your work station.
  • Dip each tortilla in the warm BBQ sauce in the slow cooker, coating both sides and making tortilla pliable.
  • Place tortilla on cutting board.
  • Place some of the shredded chicken in the center of the tortilla.
  • Roll tortilla to wrap around the filling and place seam side down in prepared baking dish.
  • Repeat with remaining tortillas, dividing the shredded chicken evenly among the tortillas.
  • Sprinkle cooked onion slices over the enchiladas, distributing evenly.
  • Top each enchilada with:
    • 1 Tablespoon shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or just until enchiladas are heated through and cheese is melted.
  • Serve with Mexican rice, beans, or any of your favorite Tex-Mex inspired side dishes.

BBQ Chicken Enchiladas with Mexican Rice

So simple. So few ingredients. So filling. So delicious.

The BBQ flavor really comes through the chicken and the dipped tortillas. I love that there’s no sauce poured over the enchiladas. Many folk may be disappointed because that’s their favorite part of enchiladas (I’m usually one of those people, but these don’t need a sauce).

The caramelized onions add a lovely flavor and really make the BBQ flavor pop. You can add more cheese to your liking. I just don’t prefer a ton of cheese on my enchiladas.

Like I noted above, my kids ate nearly the entire batch by themselves! If you have boys who already eat good-sized portions, I’d suggest doubling this recipe. I was shocked we didn’t have enough for hubby and I to have for lunch the next day.

Downloadable PDF of BBQ Chicken Enchiladas

What is your favorite filling and sauce combination for enchiladas? One of mine is chicken with suiza sauce.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Shredded Chicken Tacos

School is back in session! My stepdaughters started back to school today. And what a whirlwind of a day!

What I want to share is my favorite dinner for back-to-school. It’s a go-to favorite of mine from when I was commuting long distance to work and seemingly always away from home. I’d make this in the slow cooker on a Sunday and have dinner for the next few week nights.

This dinner has all the qualities of the perfect back-to-school-hectic-life meal:

  • It’s easy (hello, slow cooker!)
  • It’s versatile (make it into enchiladas, stuff it into quesadillas, or pile it into tacos)
  • It’s freezer-friendly (my favorite part!)
  • It doesn’t take a lot of ingredients (read as, “it’s cheaper than take-out”)
  • Kids love it

Downloadable PDF of Shredded Chicken Tacos

  • In a large slow cooker, add:
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 6 chicken breasts
    • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies
    • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
    • 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
  • Cook on low for 4.5 hours, or until chicken is just cooked through and tender, stirring halfway through cooking to distribute liquid and seasoning
  • Remove chicken from slow cooker to a large cutting board
  • Remove 2 cups of the liquid from the slow cooker and set aside to use as the liquid for making Mexican rice
  • Leave remaining liquid in the slow cooker
  • Shred the chicken breasts
  • Place shredded chicken back in the slow cooker
  • Stir to coat with the liquid
  • Cover and cook on low one hour
    • In a medium pot, add:
      • 1 1/2 cups rice (I use brown rice)
      • The 2 cups liquid reserved from the slow cooker
      • 1 additional cup water
      • 1 Tablespoon butter (this keeps my rice from bubbling over as it simmers)
    • Bring to a boil, stir, then cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender
    • Add 1/2 cup frozen peas or peas/carrot mix in the last 5 minutes of cooking, if desired
    • Season with salt and pepper as needed
  • Spoon the shredded chicken with a slotted spoon onto tortillas with a variety of toppings and alongside the rice


  • When storing the leftovers in the refrigerator or the freezer, include the remaining liquid from the slow cooker. It helps keep the chicken moist and delicious.
  • When freezing, divide into the appropriate size for your family. Since we don’t have the kids during the week, I often freeze some to serve 2 (Hubby and me) and some to feed 4 (when the girls are with us).
  • Place in the refrigerator the night before a day when you know you need a quick meal. It will thaw in the refrigerator and be ready to reheat in the microwave when you get home.
  • If you freeze the servings in oven-proof containers (such as foil containers), you can pop it straight from the freezer to the oven to reheat. I use plastic containers, so I don’t use this method, but it would work well. Keep the container covered and the liquid that was packed with the chicken will keep the chicken moist while reheating in the oven. I would suggest 350 degrees. The time will depend on the amount you’re reheating. I would allow for 30-45 minutes.
  • TORTILLAS can be stored in the freezer as well! I buy both corn and flour tortillas in bulk, then divide into freezer bags. Because of the size of my family and our usual serving size per meal, I divide the tortillas into groups of 10, leaving us a few extra per package for a quick breakfast taco or quesadilla for lunch. Tortillas thaw quickly either in the refrigerator, on the counter, or in the microwave. If using the microwave, be sure to only thaw for the least amount of time possible and not until they’re hot. Pull them out and wrap in a damp paper towel and then microwave to complete heating them. The damp towel helps keep them moist instead of dry and chewy. I have a gas stove, so I just turn a burner on medium-low and plop each tortilla on top of the burner for a few seconds, then turn to warm the other side for a few seconds, and serve.
  • CHEESE can be stored in the freezer too! I buy 8-cup packages of shredded cheddar, Mozzarella, and Monterrey Jack cheeses. I divide them by 1-cup per freezer bag, then freeze. Whenever I need 1 or 2 cups for a recipe, I just pull out what I need from the freezer. For casseroles, the cheese can be added straight from the freezer before baking. For something like tacos, it can be pulled out only 15 or 20 minutes early and it’ll be thawed enough to sprinkle on top of a hot taco.

Shredded Chicken

Shredded Chicken Tacos

Shredded Chicken Taco with Mexican Rice

To make this into enchiladas, roll the chicken with a bit of cheese into tortillas, top with your favorite enchilada sauce and cheese, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until bubbly. You can assemble the enchiladas in freezer-safe and oven-safe containers, pour sauce over them, then freeze for a meal to bake at a later date. I always make double the amount of enchiladas so I can make one batch that night and freeze the second for a later meal when I’m too busy to be bothered with dinner prep.

If we have small amounts of leftover shredded chicken, it usually gets cooked into hot, cheesy quesadillas, or thrown on top of some crumbled tortilla chips and topped with a mound of lettuce for a taco salad.

My stepdaughters’ first day of school was awesome, as I hope all kids’ first days went. Here’s to another busy school year, full of nights too busy to cook, where a homemade meal straight from the freezer fills bellies and warms hearts and souls.

Downloadable PDF of Shredded Chicken Tacos

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Farmer's Market Kids' Feast

Sometimes my kids just want chicken nuggets with macaroni and cheese. It’s a kid classic comfort food dinner that my kids occasionally crave after some of the more adventurous dinners they love.

They gave me the request for this meal when they came for their weekend visit on Friday. With that in mind, I headed to my local farmer’s market early Saturday morning to buy the week’s necessities. While I was still in recovery from Thursday’s trip to urgent care, I managed to get everything I needed for the week, including a pound of chicken from Smith & Smith Farms, 1/2 pound of aged cheddar from Full Quiver Farms, and zucchini and onion from Johnson’s Backyard Garden.




It makes me happy to show my stepdaughters that we can make homemade chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese from items found at our local farmers market. It lets them know there are a variety of places their food can come from, and how much fresher it tastes than the stuff out of a box in the frozen section of the grocery store, with a much smaller ingredients list (not to mention they can pronounce the ingredients). I’m not militant about everything that goes in their mouths, but I do like to ensure the majority of what I feed them is prepared at home with fresh, quality ingredients.

Downloadable PDF of Farmers Market Chicken Nuggets

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cut 1 pound chicken breast into bite-sized pieces (about 2-inches)
  • In a medium bowl, mix together:
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
    • 1/2 Tablespoon Original Mrs. Dash Seasoning, or to taste (or use your own mix of seasonings)
  • Toss chicken nuggets in bread crumb mixture until well-coated
  • Place on lightly greased baking sheet
  • Spray lightly with olive oil
  • Bake for 12 minutes
  • Turn nuggets and bake another 10 minutes or until cooked through
  • Serve with favorite dipping sauce

~ ~ ~          ~ ~ ~          ~ ~ ~         ~ ~ ~

Adapted from this recipe at Every Day Health

  • In a medium saucepan, heat until simmering:
    • 1 1/2 cups milk (I use unsweetened plain soy milk)
  • In a medium liquid measuring cup, whisk together:
    • 1/4 cup milk (again, I use unsweetened plain soy milk)
    • 3 Tablespoons flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic (or 1 large clove fresh minced garlic)
    • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • When milk is simmering, add flour mixture and whisk until smooth and milk has thickened
  • Add:
    • 1/4 pound shredded aged cheddar
  • Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth
  • Pour over 1 pound whole wheat pasta (I prefer corkscrew pasta so the ridges get filled with the sauce), and toss to coat

~ ~ ~          ~ ~ ~          ~ ~ ~         ~ ~ ~


  • Thinly slice 4-5 small zucchini
  • Place zucchini in a colander, salt with kosher salt, and let sit over a bowl until it releases some liquid
  • Once some liquid has been released, rinse zucchini and pat dry
  • Chop 1/2 yellow onion
  • In a large saucepan, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Cook chopped onion until soft, a few minutes
  • Add zucchini slices and cook until heated through
  • Add:
    • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh sage
    • 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram
  • Cook a couple minutes longer, stirring to mix the seasonings well with the zucchini

Farmer's Market Kids' Feast

Younger B exclaimed happily when she tasted the zucchini, immediately asking what was in it that made it so good. She was thrilled to hear it was the sage and marjoram (thank you GG for the starter plant!) from our front porch – my only two potted herbs thriving in the intense heat. Everyone in the family loves this comfort-food meal. It’s delicious and filling without all the junk food fillers.

What’s your family’s favorite comfort food dinner?

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Chicken Adobo

I promised at the end of yesterday’s post, I’d post something normal today, like chicken. I am holding true to that promise after finally pulling myself out of a hypnotic-type focus directed at a spur-of-the-moment kitchen re-organization and clean-out that I’ve spent the last 8 hours working on – more about that tomorrow.

Today is all about chicken. And purple potatoes.

One of my closest friends, who was also my roommate in grad school, first made this chicken dish for me. When I was cleaning out my boxes of files the other day, I ran across the recipe. I didn’t notice it wasn’t her recipe until I started making it. My printed copy says it’s from Gourmet Magazine, though there’s no date. When I searched the magazine’s site online, this particular recipe didn’t come up, so I’m not sure how I got.

It’s good, though. Even if it’s not her recipe, it reminds me of her, and all the Saturday nights she and I spent with another grad school friend (now her hubby) cooking yummy meals and watching movies. Sadly, the apartment we lived in was recently torn down by the university, but I still have fond memories of to-die-for steaks, shrimp scampi, her baklava, and something yummy with a mushroom filling (what was that?), many, many other dishes, and having a great time with the two of them.

Chopped Onion and Tamari Sauce

Downloadable PDF of Chicken Adobo

  • In a deep pot, combine the following:
    • 8 pieces of chicken, drumsticks and thighs (I used 5 chicken breasts instead)
    • 1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
    • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1/2 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns, lightly crushed (which I didn’t have, so I just added a ton of fresh cracked black pepper – using a disposable pepper mill that I can’t open to fish out the peppercorns)
    • 1 cup water
  • Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat, simmering for about 12 minutes for boneless and 20 minutes for bone-in chicken
  • Add:
    • 3/4 cup soy sauce (I used Tamari sauce)
  • Cover and simmer 20 minutes
  • Transfer chicken to a plate
  • To the remaining liquid, add:
    • 1 small chopped onion
  • Boil sauce for 10 minutes or until it has reduced
  • Remove the bay leaves and skim fat from surface
  • While sauce cooks down, heat a medium deep skillet over medium heat
  • To the hot skillet, add:
    • 3 Tablespoons oil
  • Brown both sides of the chicken in the hot oil
  • Serve with the sauce
  • Can be served over rice

I served ours with the purple potatoes I bought from Johnson’s Backyard Garden at the farmers market, mashed with a touch of butter, salt, and sprinkled with fresh parsley from my herb garden.

Chicken Adobo with Purple Mashed Potatoes

I’m very happy I made the potatoes instead of serving the chicken over rice. Mostly because they’re purple, and that just looks cool on the plate. But also because they really tasted fantastic; mellow potato with bright, fresh parsley was a perfect complement to the sharp sweet and sour sauce for the chicken.

Downloadable PDF of Chicken Adobo

Are there any dishes you make that bring a flood of memories from a particular time or certain people in your life?

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Arroz con Pollo

Celebrating my 100th post with an old favorite!

I’m a stepmother to two young girls. I met them when they were 4 and 7 years old. It’s hard to believe they’re now ages 9 and 11! I’ve always connected with the girls through food. Food is magical in how it loosens the tongue and encourages lots of conversation and often, lots of laughter as well. The first year I lived with the girls, I often made them two of my favorite dishes my own stepmother introduced to me when I was a teenager.

I was 16 when my dad and stepmom married. She lived in Austin, and my father had moved there to marry her. I remained in Missouri for a few more years before moving to the Lone Star State. Arroz con pollo was a dish I hadn’t encountered in Missouri, but it quickly became my favorite the first time my stepmom made it for me. When I had abdominal surgery last summer, she and my dad came to visit me the 4th day of recovery, and brought over a large dish of arroz con pollo. It was the first solid food I ate after surgery, and was sooooo delicious, even if I had to pick around the chicken because I couldn’t eat meat yet.

Hubby and the girls enjoyed arroz con pollo just as much the first time I made it for them and it was quickly added to the regular dinner rotation. I could double the recipe to have leftovers. Like a stew, the flavor is better the next day. I worked a ton of hours 60 miles from home, and leftovers were an easy dinner when I’d get home between 7:00 and 7:30 any given evening.

The girls are with their grandparents for two weeks, and I’ve found myself thinking about them often. As a way to feel closer to two sweet girls who won’t be here this weekend – the first weekend without them since Christmas! – I made a meal that always reminds me of them, and is always a comfort food to me. I hope you enjoy my recipe for arroz con pollo.

Browned Chicken Thighs

(downloadable PDF of Arroz con Pollo)

  • In a dutch oven, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil (or butter) over medium to medium-high heat.
  • Season 4 large chicken thighs, bone-in with skin, with ground black pepper and salt.
  • Place the chicken skin side down in the hot oil and let cook about 8 – 10 minutes or until the skin is browned and crispy.
  • Season the opposite side with ground black pepper and salt before turning the chicken to brown on the other side. Cook another 8 – 10 minutes or until that side is also browned and crispy.
  • Remove the chicken and set aside; lower the heat to medium.
  • To the pan drippings, add 1/2 chopped yellow onion and 1 1/2 cups brown rice.
  • Stir the onion and rice, cooking 4 – 5 minutes, until the rice begins to brown, scraping the browned bits from the pan.
  • Add 2 large cloves minced garlic to the rice and cook one more minute while stirring.
  • Pour 3 cups chicken broth over the rice and stir.
  • Add one 14.5 ounce can undrained diced tomatoes.
  • Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
  • Bring to a rolling boil.
  • Place chicken on top of rice, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.
  • Check at 30 minutes to make sure there is still liquid in the pan.
  • At 40 minutes, add 1 cup frozen chopped carrots with peas mix, and cook uncovered an additional 5 – 10 minutes.
  • When most of liquid is absorbed/evaporated, but the dish isn’t dry, it is ready to serve.
  • Spoon the rice with veggies into a shallow plate or bowl, and top with a piece of chicken.
  • Sprinkle with 1 – 2 teaspoons chopped pimiento.
  • The chicken will be very tender, sliding off the bone easily.

Arroz con Pollo

Comfort in a bowl. To cut the fat a bit, substitute the chicken thighs with skinless chicken breasts. I use my own homemade chicken broth that I freeze in 2-cup portions. Once thawed, I add 1 cup water to make the 3 cups liquid called for in this recipe. I don’t often make this version with bone-in meat when making it for the kids. When making it for them, I usually boil skinless chicken breasts, shred the chicken so there are no large pieces, and use that with the broth from boiling the chicken to make the recipe. The shredded chicken is easier for them to handle, but the bone-in thighs add a richer flavor.

This is one of the most meaningful meals in my life, and I hope if you try it, it brings you as much comfort and contentment that it does me.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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