Friday, November 30, 2012

Chicken (or Turkey) Gnocchi Soup

I had been wanting to make home made Gnocchi for the longest time! Especially after I found this recipe, I LOVE the Chicken Gnocchi soup that you get at Olive Garden and this tastes quite a bit like that.  I had a recipe that I got off the food network for homemade Gnocchi that had you rice the potatoes, but I found they disintegrated when I cooked them. This one was awesome! I made mine with left over mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving. Or you could use potato buds and make mashed potatoes first (that's what this recipe originally called for) but I'm posting the recipe for how I made it. For those of you that don't know what Gnocchi is, it's a small potato dumpling used in a lot of Italian recipes. I also used my leftover turkey in the soup, but you could easily buy a roasted chicken from your local deli and chop it up or use left over grilled chicken. This is a creamy soup that was a good way to use up my Thanksgiving leftovers. Enjoy!

Chicken (or Turkey) Gnocchi Soup
For the Gnocchi:
2 cups (approx) leftover mashed potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
1/4  scant teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

For the Soup:
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium carrot, sliced thin
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 of a large onion, diced
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups half-and half
3 cups cooked chicken (or turkey) chopped
2 cups fresh spinach

Grated Parmesan cheese for Garnishing

Make the gnocchi by mixing your mashed potatoes with the egg yolk, salt and nutmeg. Stir until the egg yolk is well incorporated into the mashed potatoes.
Next, stir in the 2/3 cups flour and knead with your hands for about a minute. (This shouldn't be real sticky, it should feel almost like a play dough).
Next, take about a teaspoon of the dough and roll into a ball....
then on a floured piece of wax paper, roll with your finger tip into a slight oblong shape. When all of your gnocchi is made you can start your soup. Heat the 2 Tablespoons oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, celery and garlic; saute for 3 to 5 minutes. While your veggies are cooking, whisk the cornstarch into the chicken broth. Add the broth mixture to the vegetables along with the water. Bring this to a boil, then add your gnocchi. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the half -n half and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the soup begins to thicken. Add the chicken (or turkey) and spinach, simmer for another 10 minutes or until the soup has thickened and the spinach is tender. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese. YUM!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

Before Thanksgiving I was craving comfort food...it was cold, rainy, and just felt like comfort food weather. I decided to make a chicken pot pie, my version anyway. You could do this with leftover Thanksgiving turkey too, and leftover veggies, or I like to use frozen peas, carrots and corn because you can measure out what you need and keep the rest in the freezer. You also can use as much or less vegetables than I did, depending on how big you want your chicken pot pie. I like to top mine with biscuit dough rather than pie crust, it's heartier that way. (see this recipe so you get an idea of how I make it) I always make extra biscuits that I bake in the oven while my pot pie is 'resting' (have you ever been sooo hungry and put a bite of hot pot pie in only to have it scald your mouth to death??) I let mine rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a green salad and enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie
1-2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon flour
1 large potato, washed and diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup peas
1 cup corn
Chicken broth
2 to 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cans cream of chicken soup
Pinch of Thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot heat the Olive oil over medium heat, then add the onions and celery, cook and stir for about 3 to 4 minutes so they start to cook, add the garlic and sprinkle the flour over the Veggies. Cook and stir for another minute. Next, add the potatoes, carrots, peas, corn , chicken and enough Chicken broth to barely come to the top of the veggies mixture and add a pinch of thyme, salt and pepper. Bring this to a boil, then turn down, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until your vegetables are tender. Add your cream of chicken soup and stir until it's all combined. Taste and add more Salt and Pepper if needed.

 Turn off heat and make the biscuits:

Biscuits
2 1/4 cups Bisquick mix
2/3 cups milk

Preheat the oven to about 425 degrees.
Add the Bisquick and milk together in a large bowl, stir with a fork until just combined. Dump onto lightly floured surface (I use more Bisquick)
and knead by hand just about 10 to 12 times (don't over mix or you will have tough biscuits) Roll out into a large circle about 1/2 inch or a little thicker and cut into random shapes and sizes.
Place pieces of biscuit dough, randomly around the top of your Chicken stew to cover (if your pan is large you may want to double the biscuit dough, and I make another batch, so you have extra biscuits for those that want them... always seems there are never enough biscuits on top)
Bake in oven for about 8 to 10 minutes or until Biscuits turn a nice golden brown color. Remove from oven, and brush the biscuits with butter.

Let sit for a minute or two so you don't burn your mouth when eating! Serve in a bowl or on a plate and enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!




I can't believe it's Thanksgiving already! Where has the year gone? I took the day off from work so I could begin my Thanksgiving cooking, this holiday was made for me I think. My Turkey Brine is cooling, click here for the recipe. I am going to try to make a pumpkin pecan cheesecake like the Cheesecake Factories if possible, they have pecan pie on the bottom (this is a good recipe for pecan pie) and it had a pumpkin cheesecake on top.... I love experimenting. I will post my recipe later if it turns out. Also making a Lemon Meringue pie from one of my older cookbooks that's all pies. Also my daughter LOVES the jello Brand cheesecake mix ... I always have to make that for her. It is good and I'm glad she likes it.
Tonight for dinner to start of the Thanksgiving feast (i tried to do an all day dinner one year with appetisers, soup, and then the feast and pie later all spread out about 2 hours apart, but my parents say they can't eat that much) So tonight I thought I would make a light dinner with stuffed mushrooms (recipe) and a Butternut squash soup (recipe) and maybe this pumpkin dinner roll (found this recipe) with cinnamon butter (recipe)  ...or I might make those for tomorrow along with my regular roll recipe.
Tomorrow I think I will roast my turkey in the oven instead of smoking it. I like to use those oven bags for roasting... my turkey is never dry that way....especially when I stuff butter under the skin. When you brine the turkey you can't really stuff it because of the salt in the brine, so I like to make y stuffing in the crock pot. I use Mrs. Cubbison's and follow the directions, then I put it in the crock pot for a couple of hours... I'm never disappointed with it. I'm going to try this recipe from Guy Fieri for Green Bean Casserole. I'm making my Mashed Potatoes (recipe) and gravy. (For gravy I always cook the turkey neck in broth  with a little onion and celery; then thicken and season it after I take the neck and celery and onion out) My mother always makes our candy yams, I also cheat and buy the canned jellied cranberry sauce because that is what my hubby likes best. I think that's about it for my turkey dinner.
Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving... enjoy your dinner... whatever you make, and enjoy being with family and friends. I'm so thankful for mine and all of the things I have been blessed with. Life is good.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lion House Pie Crust

Mmmmmmmm Pies!! Thanksgiving is coming up and I can't decide what kind of pie to make! Well, of course I will make the traditional pumpkin, but I always like to make a couple of other kinds too! Does anyone have a good recipe for German Chocolate Pie? Someone asked me the other day if I had ever tried it and no I haven't but I LOVE German Chocolate cake... might have to experiment with that. But anyway, back to this post, last month while canning my apple pie filling, I had enough pie filling leftover to make some apple pie empanada's, but I've had a struggle with pie crusts, I've had favorite recipes that turned out once or twice and then I go to make them again they don't, I've heard that the water HAS to be cold, to use butter, and another said to use shortening, oh who do you believe and which recipe do you use? THEN... I accidentally ran across this video on You tube, can't even remember how I did, but the lady made pie crust look soooo easy I had to give it a try. It was delicious AND easy... watch how she rolls the dough out! It seriously works just like that!  AND yes, I used the specific flours and all 4 different varieties of fat... after all, to make the recipe like they do, you need to FOLLOW the recipe. This is the recipe I'm going to use for my Thanksgiving pies this year.... I think I'll do Pumpkin, Pecan (or German Chocolate.... maybe add chocolate and coconut to my usual pecan recipe? hmmmm) and maybe a lemon meringue! YUM!

Lion House Pie Crust
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon non-fat dry milk
**1-1/2 cups pastry flour --See note at the bottom of the recipe 1-1/2 cup bread flour
1-1/2 cup bread flour
Mix the all the ingredients above together in a large bowl.

1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup Lard

Cut in the fat with a pastry blender; or your hands until it's incorporated and looks grainy.
Add  1/2 cup ROOM temperature water and gently mix with hands.

If dough is too wet or soft, chill in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
Divide the dough in half. Roll out on counter top that is covered with flour. Form a disc with your dough and flour each side. Roll up once and then back. Make sure the dough is floured again on both sides to prevent sticking; then turn so the length is going in the opposite direction than it was. Then roll again making a criss-cross  with the rolling pin. (Watch the video) Place in pie pan.

Fill with desired fruit and roll out the other piece and place on the top. Crimp the edges however you like.
Bake your pie as directed on the recipe you are using.

**I had a hard time finding pastry flour so I looked up substitutions on the Internet. The different kinds of flour have different amounts of proteins in them. Cake flour has about 5 to 8 %, Pastry flour is a little above that , Bread flour has a lot, like 12%. So they recommended using 1 to 1 ratio of Cake flour and all purpose flour (which has around 9%) , so for the recipe I used 3/4 cup of each.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Batterway Rolls

This is a quick roll recipe that I got at one of my kitchen meetings from one of the cute little elderly ladies. I was surprised at how good they were and easy. I thought I would share this recipe since it's the holiday season and rolls seem to be on a lot of menus this time of year. Try them out first before you serve them for something like a Thanksgiving Dinner, just so you know what you're doing. These are good with stews, soups, you name it or just by themselves with butter and jam. YUM!

Batterway Rolls
1-1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup sugar
2 packages active dry yeast or rapid-rise yeast, or 3-1/3 teaspoons instant yeast
4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup soft shortening (not oil)
1 egg
Put water in large bowl. Add sugar and yeast. Let stand for about 5 minutes or until the yeast starts to bubble and becomes foamy. Add 2 cups flour, the salt, shortening and egg. Mix well. Add the remaining 2 cups flour(this dough is supposed to be slightly sticky). Cover with wax paper and let raise until doubled, (about 30 minutes if you use the rapid-rise yeast.) Grease muffin tins. ( I just used 1 pan and got large rolls, use more for smaller rolls). Stir the batter for 30 strokes. NO more than that. Spoon into muffin tins. Let raise for another 30 minutes. Bake at 425-450 degrees for about 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Enjoy!