Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour for coating
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 pounds chicken tendors, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups fresh mushrooms, quartered
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Shake the chicken pieces in flour until coated. Heat the oil in a large skillet (one that has a cover/lid). Fry the chicken pieces until they are browned on both sides. Remove from skillet.

Chicken Cacciatore

Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper to the skillet and saute until the onion is slightly browned. Return the chicken to the skillet and add the tomatoes, oregano and wine. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes over medium low heat.

Add the mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 more minutes.

Inspiration: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/moms-chicken-cacciatore/

Chicken Puff Pastry With Asparagus

Number of people: 5
Time from start to finish: 1.5 hours

Menu:
Chicken Puff Pastry
Asparagus

1 Rotisserie chicken, about 2 cups deboned
1 8 oz container of cream cheese (room temperature)
2 stalks of celery
1 small white onion
2 sheets of puff pastry
1 egg white
2 tbsp butter
2 pounds asparagus

Lay out 2 sheets of puff pastry to defrost on a lightly floured cookie sheet or counter (takes about 40 minutes). Diced celery and onions, then sauté in a small skillet with the butter until the celery is soft. Debone the chicken (you could also use leftover chicken, or fried chicken) and cut into bite size pieces.

Heat oven to 400⁰ F. In a medium sized bowl, mix the chicken, cream cheese, softened onions and celery until well incorporated. Unroll and stretch out 1 sheet of puff pastry on a cookie sheet that has be lightly sprayed with non-stick spray until the pastry covers most of the pan. Starting in the middle, place the chicken mixture on top of the puff pastry sheet and, with a spoon, spread out the mixture until the chicken covers all but about 1/2 inch of the sheet.

Place the second sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface (I used a second cookie sheet) and stretch or roll it to almost the same size as the first sheet. Once stretched, place the second sheet on top of the first sheet and chicken mixture. With a pastry brush, use the egg whites to lightly moisten the edges of the puff pastry. Once all the edges have been moistened, crimp and fold the edges up so that the pastry makes a sealed pocket (it will look like a pillow). You can use a fork around the sides to help the pastry join together like you would with a pie crust. Brush the top of puff pastry lightly with the egg whites. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the puff pastry is golden brown.

For the asparagus, I cut off about an inch off the bottom to remove the woody/dry part. I then steamed the asparagus in a large skillet with about an inch of salted boiling water for about 10 minutes or until desired tenderness and added 2 tbsp. of butter.

KFC Bowls

Number of people: 5
Time from start to finish: about 1 hour

Menu:
Tyson Chicken Breast Tenders
Shredded Colby Jack Cheese
Pioneer Biscuit Gravy
Canned Whole Corn
Mashed Potatoes

First I peeled and diced the potatoes, about 8 of them. I used 3 different types (red, gold, and russet) because I needed to use them before they went bad. I suggest using 2 types of potatoes, one that’s starchy (like a russet) and one that has less starch (like a red or gold) because it gives you a creamier taste and texture. Also, while dicing the potatoes, I try to make sure I have a few pieces of russet that are a little larger than the others, this will give you those yummy lumps.

I boiled the potatoes in salted water that was about ½ an inch above the potatoes until they were fork tender. I then set the potatoes aside, still in the water, while I put the chicken tenders in the oven.

Next I started the gravy. Since I was using 2 packets, I used 3 cups of water on the stove, and 1 ½ cups of water to mix the gravy powder with. The directions only call for ½ a cup of water to mix the gravy powder with per packet, but I’ve found that it comes out a little to thick, so I use ¾ a cup per packet instead. While waiting for the water to boil for the gravy, I opened 2 cans of corn and emptied them into a plastic bowl for the microwave. Once the water was boiling, I poured in the gravy/water mixture and stirred with a whisk until the gravy came to a boil. I then set the gravy aside.

Since the chicken was close to being ready, I drained the potatoes, returned them to the pot, added ½ a stick (¼ cup) butter and about ¼ to ½ a cup of milk. I used a hand mixer on low until the milk and butter were incorporated into the potatoes, but not so much so that I didn’t have lumps. If you prefer a smoother mashed potato, just add a little more milk and continue to mix until they are smooth. Just be careful not to over beat your potatoes, otherwise they become gummy.

Now it was time to remove the chicken from the oven and get out the shredded cheese. The kids and I like to start with the potatoes, then add the corn, chicken, gravy and shredded cheese on top (sort of like KFC bowls).