Posted in Baked, Casserole, Chicken, Classic, Comfort Food, Dinner, Family Friendly, Leftovers, Make Ahead, Mushrooms, One Pot Meals, Pantry Staples, Potluck, Winter

Comfort Food – Chicken Elegant

Some days just call for comfort food.  Especially cold, rainy Sundays that start at 5:30am with a busted water heater that leaked down through the floor into the neighbors apartment.  That’s not the way you make friends!!

Don’t mind me.  I’ll just be over here with this pan of deliciousness and a fork.

This was one of the very first recipes I remember making entirely by myself as a kid.  It’s super simple to put together, especially if you have leftover chicken just hanging out in the fridge.  The only thing you have to be careful about is taking the hot pan in and out of the oven.  This recipe has been a part of our regular repertoire for years!  It’s simple, inexpensive, and quick to get to the table.  It’s great recipe to make with your kids or let them take the reigns while you sit back and relax!

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It’s not really a looker but it is so tasty!

Chicken Elegant

3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 8 oz. container sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 10 oz. can of mushrooms
¼ cup butter, melted
1 cup chicken broth
1 8 oz. package of herb stuffing

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix chicken, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, mushrooms, butter, and chicken broth together with herb stuffing. Bake in a 9×13 pan for 45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Source: Randy Travis’ Favorite Recipes, 1989.

You’ll notice my source is a cookbook written by Randy Travis.  I was a huge fan of his when I was little (who am I kidding I still love me some Randy) and picked up this gem at his museum in Nashville back in the 90s.  My mom recently uncovered it in a box of my stuff I’d left at their house after college.  It’s a great little piece of nostalgia for me and there are actually some great, simple recipes in there that I had completely forgotten about but will probably find their way back into the rotation.

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Tomorrow is Monday, I need all the comfort I can get right now, ha!  And I have leftovers for lunch!

Posted in Christmas, Classic, Comfort Food, Cranberry, Dessert, Fall, Family Friendly, Family Recipe, Holiday, Make Ahead, Potluck, Thanksgiving, Vintage, Winter

Grandma’s Cranberry Salad

Thanksgiving?!  How did that get here so fast?!

I wouldn’t normally post another recipe this close to the last one but I wanted to make sure you all had it before Turkey Day!

I honestly didn’t think I was going to be able to write this post when I started.  As some of you know, we lost my Grandma back in August and it’s been an emotional road since then. This Thanksgiving seems especially hard because this time last year is when she got sick and she never bounced back.  It’s a really bittersweet week for me and I’m getting ready to celebrate my favorite holiday.

I don’t know if I’ve ever had a time when I’ve been as nostalgic about recipes as I have been the last few months.  Everything seems to be reminding me of my Grandma this fall just like all the fresh veggies and gardens remind me of my Pappa in the summer.  A few weeks ago I found myself crying over melted marshmallows while I was making Rice Krispie treats.  My Grandma used to start making sheet pans of treats a month before Halloween and freeze them in preparation for trick-or-treaters.

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Today I started my prep for Thanksgiving dinner and I told myself I was going to be strong.  I got out my recipe card for Cranberry Salad that my Grandma had lovingly typed up for me soon after I got married (she typed everything!) and gathered all my things to start cooking.  Surely I’ll be able to get through one recipe without tears, right?!  Wrong.  As I started prepping the cranberries I had to fight back the water works.  Cranberries make me cry, okay?!

I did stop myself and think about the first time I remember making this with my Grandma though.  Now my Grandma wasn’t a huge fan of cranberries (I’ll save that story for later) but every Thanksgiving and Christmas this recipe made it to the table.  When I was little I remember her getting out the cast iron meat grinder to grind everything up and then she’d let me help put everything together.  One time, when I was really little, I remember asking her what cranberries tasted like.  I loved her cranberry salad but had never tried a cranberry on its own.  Wow was I in for a surprise!  I still remember her laughing at me as I puckered up and made a funny face!

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Grandma’s Cranberry Salad

2 boxes strawberry Jello
1 pound cranberries
1 orange, peeled and seeded
1 apple, cored, peeled and seeded
2-2 ½ cups sugar (I only do 2 because I like it more tart)
Nuts (optional, I usually leave them out but pecans or walnuts would be preferable here)
Cool Whip, for serving

Grind cranberries, orange, and apple in a food processor. Add sugar and let sit until juice starts to release from fruit. Drain the liquid into another bowl. Use the liquid as a part of the cold water when making the jello. Continue making jello according to package instructions. Add ground ingredients. Put mixture in a 9×13 pan. Top with nuts if using. Refrigerate until set. Serve topped with Cool Whip.

Source: My Grandma’s recipe book

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This Cranberry Salad is one of our family’s staples during the holidays and I didn’t think it would be right to leave it off the table this year.

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My mom recently gave me my Grandma’s recipe book which will forever be one of my most cherished treasures (and seeing her handwriting brings on the tears again!).  I can’t wait to share some of these family recipes!
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Me and my Grandma in the kitchen
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Thanksgiving feast with cranberry salad right in the middle!
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My Grandma had a sassy side!
Posted in Baked, Casserole, Cinco de Mayo, Comfort Food, Family Friendly, Leftovers, Make Ahead, Mexican, Pantry Staples, Party Worthy, Pork, Slow Cooker

It’s Been a While…Enchiladas Verde

Whoa y’all.  I have been a major slacker!  Well at least with the blog.  The last few months have been a whirlwind of work, family, being out of town, sheesh I don’t know where the last 3 months have gone.  And how is this week Thanksgiving already?!

Well, I’m back on the wagon!  Bring on the recipes!  I’m really excited to share a new vision I have for the blog with you over the coming months.  In the meantime, I’ve been making some delicious things but not blog worthy really (but follow me on Instagram to keep up with the day to day https://www.instagram.com/amandarichard421/).

BUT…

Echiladas verde.  Guys, I hit this one out of the park on the first try!  Usually it takes a few times to get it just right but this time, wow!  My hubby even high-fived me!  :)

I basically took my Mojo Pork recipe, wrapped it up in a corn tortilla and smothered it in green chile sauce and cheese and voila, dinner!  And check out the bonus recipe for Mexican Rice at the bottom, yum!

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Enchilada Verde

 

Enchiladas:
12 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil
Pork
Verde sauce
Shredded cheese
To garnish: cilantro, sour cream, extra verde sauce

 

Mojo Pork:
1-2 pound pork roast or boneless pork ribs
Juice of one orange
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one lime
½ cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small onion, chopped
Salt & pepper

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Enchilada Verde Sauce:

Olive oil
1 pound tomatillos, quartered
2 poblanos, cut in half and seeds removed
1 serrano, cut in half and seeds removed
3 garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup chicken stock
1 cup cilantro
1 Tablespoon honey
Salt & pepper

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For the pork: Put all of the ingredients for the pork in the bowl of a slow-cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred the pork for enchiladas.

 

For the verde sauce: Roast tomatillos, poblanos, serrano, and garlic cloves in a 500° oven until peppers are charred. Put the peppers in a plastic bag and seal. Let cool and then remove skin from the peppers. Blend the tomatillos, peppers, garlic, cilantro and salt & pepper until smooth. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add ¾ of pureed tomatillo mixture, chicken stock, and honey and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Reserve remaining raw sauce for serving.

 

For enchiladas: Preheat oven to 350°. Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a shallow skillet, fry corn tortillas for about 30 seconds or until pliable. Drain on paper towels. Cover the bottom of a 9×13 pan with a thin layer of verde sauce. Fill each tortilla with pork and roll, tucking them snuggly in the pan. Cover with sauce and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, cover with a little more sauce and shredded cheese. Bake another 5-10 minutes or until bubbly.

 

Serve with remaining raw sauce and sour cream.

 

Source: Ruth’s Table

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BONUS RECIPE!!!

Mexican Rice

 

Olive oil
1 cup basmati rice
1 can Rotel tomatoes plus enough water to make 2 cups
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt & pepper

 

In a large, deep pan with a lid, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add rice and cook until toasted (1-2 minutes). Add tomatoes, water, garlic, cumin and smoked paprika, salt & pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 23 minutes or until rice is cooked through. Turn off heat, remove lid and fluff. You may have some crispy bits but that makes it even better!!

Posted in 4th of July, Canning, Classic, Cook out, Grilling, Pantry Staples, Patriotic, pickled, Portable/Picnic, Preserving, Sandwiches, Summer, Vegetarian, Veggies, Vintage

Summer Bounty – Bread & Butter Pickles

You all know I say I am NOT a big fan of summer.  I’m really not.  I don’t like the humidity.  I burn when I look at the sun.  The only time I “like” to sweat is when I’m working out or cleaning my apartment or something.  I’m  not a super big beach/pool person so I could kind of care less.  I know that’s sacrilege for a lot of my friends!

BUT…

The more I think about growing up in rural Ohio (I’ve been getting seriously nostalgic lately) the more I realize there are things about summer that I absolutely love.  So many of my favorite memories as a kid happened during the summer time.  And so many of those memories are wrapped up around our garden, the local farmers, spending time harvesting lots of veggies and spending a lot of time with my Grandma in the kitchen as she cleaned, prepped, and canned green beans, beets, tomatoes, made jam, and made her own homemade pickles.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I can’t stand pickles.  Well I should say, I don’t like dill pickles.  Growing up I would tolerate my Grandma’s bread and butter pickles but get anything dill anywhere near me and I would run the other way.  As I’ve gotten older and my tastebuds have grown with me I have finally discovered a love of all things pickl-y.  I’m still not a fan of dill but my world has been opened up to so many amazing ways of preservation in the last few years that I’ve been much more adventurous and have found some things I can’t live without.

One of my latest summer staples has become the humble bread and butter pickle for sure.  It’s amazing how easy they are to make and how just this simple little pickle will make a burger, or even a simple turkey sandwich something really special.

I’ve been working to perfect a new smoked turkey recipe that isn’t quite ready for the world yet but I had to go ahead and share this quick and classic pickle recipe that you can enjoy all summer!!

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I need to get my Grandma’s recipe but this one has become my go-to!

Bread & Butter Pickles

2 pounds medium Kirby cucumbers
2 cups small dice sweet onion
¼ cup kosher salt
1 pound ice
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
½ teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups cider vinegar
1 bay leaf, torn into pieces
3 whole cloves
½ jalapeno pepper, sliced paper thin

 

Sterilize three quart canning jars, along with the rings and lids. (I recommend checking out the Ball canning website for tips if you’ve never canned before, http://www.freshpreserving.com/canningmenu.html.

 

Cut the blossom end off the cucumbers and slice the cucumbers into 1/8-inch thick slices. To draw out the excess liquid and increase the crunch, layers the cucumber slices with onion, salt, and ice in a glass or stainless steel container. Weight with a plate large enough to cover all the cucumbers and keep them submerged when the ice melts. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

 

Drain the cucumbers and onions, put them in a large stainless steel, and add the sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, turmeric, vinegar, bay leaf, cloves and jalapeno. Bring the mixture to a simmer over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Using a digital thermometer to check, make sure that the internal temperature of the cucumbers reaches 180° and stays there for 90 seconds. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.

 

Divide the hot cucumbers among the sterilized jars. Ladle the remaining hot vinegar mixture over the cucumbers, leaving a ¼-inch headspace. Wipe the rims and threads clean. Place the lids and rings on the jars and tighten the rings. Cool the jars on a clean dish towel or a rack, not directly on the countertop.

 

Refrigerate for at least 1 week to let the pickles cure before eating (you can skip this step but the wait will be worth it!). Unopened, the pickles will keep for up to 6 months in the refrigerator. Once opened, they will keep for up to 3 weeks longer in the refrigerator.

 

Source: Heritage, Sean Brock

 

Posted in Comfort Food, Date Night, Dinner, Family Friendly, Lunch, Make Ahead, Pork, Sandwiches, Slow Cooker, Summer, Vacation Food

Key West State of Mind -Cuban Sandwiches

I have a confession to make.  Some days I just want to run away and be a starving artist in some place beautiful and inspiring.

This feeling usually hits me about mid-week when I’m bogged down with work and life and Friday is just out of reach.  I especially feel this way when it’s the middle of May and dreary and chilly (less than 60 degrees, in May, in the South, what?! Remind me that I was complaining about this when it’s sweltering in August).

On days like today I dream of warm places, filled with culture, interesting people, and of course great food.

Five years ago we visited Key West for the wedding of some very dear friends and absolutely fell in love with the laid back atmosphere.  I often dream of warm, lazy days sitting on the porch, drinking, rum, and reading Hemingway with my pet cat.

Speaking of Hemingway, I’ve become slightly (okay maybe not so slightly) obsessed with him and his time in Key West since we visited there.  After visiting his home and his stomping grounds I am completely fascinated with that time and way of island life.

My husband and I often talk about the day when we win the lottery and run away to Key West.  We have a dream of opening a restaurant, cocktail lounge, and cigar bar combo that has just the right amount of class but still that not a care in the world vibe that would be the place that discerning “tourists” and locals would call home (or home away from home).  This all means a lot of rum, international flavors, and all things Cuban of course.

A girl can dream, right?!

So when I’m missing Key West, I make myself a good Cuban Sandwich, shake up a classic daiquiri, and get lost in the world of The Old Man and the Sea.  Maybe one day we’ll call that world home.🙂

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Cuban Sandwiches
(makes 4-6 sandwiches)

 

Mojo Pork:
1-2 pound pork roast or boneless pork ribs
Juice of one orange
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one lime
½ cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small onion, chopped
Salt & pepper

 

Cuban rolls
½ pound deli ham
Mojo Pork
Swiss cheese
Yellow mustard
Bread & butter pickles (I prefer homemade but your favorite store bought is great too!)
Butter

 

For the pork: Put all of the ingredients for the pork in the bowl of a slow-cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred the pork for sandwiches. (Any leftover pork you have is great served over rice, with black beans, and some fried plantains!)

 

To assemble sandwiches:

Butter the outside of the Cuban rolls. Spread mustard on each half. Top one half with swiss cheese, a couple slices of ham, a good amount of pork (not too much or everything will fall out when you press it), and pickles. Top with the other half of the roll.

Press sandwiches on a panini press (or in a cast iron skillet topped with another heavy skillet) for 3-4 minutes until toasty and the cheese is melty.

 

Source: Ruth’s Table

 

Posted in Asian flare, Beef, Cinco de Mayo, Comfort Food, Date Night, Dinner, Fusion, Mexican, Pantry Staples, Slow Cooker, Summer, Tacos

Taco Tuesday – Korean BBQ Tacos

My boss recently asked me what my favorite thing is to cook.  I’m always at a loss on how to answer that.  The answer could change every week, every day even!  It’s really hard to pinpoint just one thing that’s my favorite.  I just love to cook!  Period.🙂

When I get asked that question I almost always respond with:

What time of year is it?  Is it spring and asparagus is in season?  If so, then simple roasted asparagus or spring pasta with asparagus, peas, and herbed breadcrumbs.  

Is it summer and perfect grilling weather? Then a juicy cheeseburger with a big slice of heirloom tomato.  

Is it cold and rainy so all I want is soup?  Well then that could be butternut squash soup, posole, or chili.  

Are we talking Asian food?  Stirfry, Pad Thai, potstickers, I could go on and on.  Give me everything Asian.

Mexican food?  Enchiladas, every kind imaginable.  

All American food?  Definitely a recipe from my childhood, either meatloaf or my Pappa’s pork chops.

Well, what about desserts?  Lemony (my preferenc)?  Chocolatey?  Cookies?  Pies?  

Do I have all day to work on a meal?  Definitely something “fancier” like roasted chicken or beef bourguignon.

Or am I just getting in the door after sitting in traffic for an hour and want something super quick?  Greek Chicken and Couscous it is.

Am I cooking for family?  Friends?  Just me and my husband?  Just me?  What day of the week is it?!

Well, if it’s Tuesday that could very well mean tacos at my house.  Taco Tuesday has definitely become a thing for me lately and I’ll put it in writing that they are probably my favorite thing to cook.  Today.  Or until someone asks me that again.

I’ve been experimenting quite a bit lately and have finally perfected what has become one of my favorite fusion recipes.  I am a HUGE Asian food fan and my hubby is a big Mexican food fan so I smashed it all together (and took some cues from one of our go-to date night places) and voila, Korean BBQ Tacos.

This Taco Tuesday inspiration is just in time for Cinco de Mayo.  Why not change things up and try something new?!  AND it’s a perfect Slow-Cooker Sunday meal too.  It’s perfect to prep ahead of time to make Taco Tuesday super easy after a long, hard day at work!

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Korean BBQ Tacos

2 lb. beef roast
Hoisin, heaping tablespoon

Korean BBQ Sauce:
1/2 cup hoisin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon ginger, grated
1 Tablespoon lemongrass, grated
3 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons honey
Sesame oil
Rice wine vinegar, just a splash
Liquid smoke, just a few drops

To serve:
Flour tortillas
Shredded cabbage
Pickled vegetables
Cilantro
Siracha mayo
Limes

Mix all bbq sauce ingredients together. Put beef roast in the bowl of a slow-cooker. Pour sauce over beef. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Shred the beef and cook in batches until just a little crispy around the edges. Add a heaping tablespoon of hoisin to make it saucy.

To serve, warm tortillas, top with beef, shredded cabbage, pickled vegetables, cilantro and siracha mayo.

Source: Ruth’s Table

 

 

Posted in Cheese, Comfort Food, Date Night, Dinner, Indulgence, Italian, Mushrooms, One Pot Meals, Pasta, Quick cooking, Veggies

Happy Birthday to Me – Asparagus and Mushroom Carbonara

It’s my birthday so I can eat whatever I want, right?!  Duh.  Of course I can.  Calories don’t count on your birthday.

Today has been an awesome day filled with amazing friends.  From my staff who decorated my office with balloons and streamers, to my co-workers who conspired with them to schedule an important meeting (scheduling it a week ago so I wasn’t suspicious!) only to surprise me with cake, to all the texts,  phone calls, emails, Facebook messages, and topped off with a quiet, cozy night at home with my hubby this girl is feeling super loved!

Some people may think I’m weird for making my own birthday dinner but you know me, I love to cook!  AND I got to stay in my yoga pants, bonus!!

So what did I choose as this year’s birthday dinner?  One of my absolute favorite pasta dishes of course, carbonara.  With the addition of in season asparagus and my favorite go-to ingredient, mushrooms, it was the perfect, creamy, comforting meal to celebrate!
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Asparagus and Mushroom Carbonara

1 shallot, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ lb. asparagus, sliced into bite-sized pieces
8 oz. mixed mushrooms
12 oz. spaghetti
Kosher salt
2 oz. proscuitto, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
⅓ cup grated Pecorino plus more
2 large egg yolks, beaten to blend
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add shallots, garlic, asparagus, and mushrooms and cook, tossing occasionally, until charred in spots and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate and set aside. Wipe out skillet.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente (about 7 minutes). Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto and cook, stirring often, until slightly crisp, about 4 minutes. Add pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Immediately add ½ cup pasta cooking liquid to keep pepper from burning; reduce heat to low and gradually add butter, swirling skillet and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until a thick, glossy sauce forms. (Taste as you go and switch to hot water once sauce is adequately seasoned.)

Add pasta to skillet and toss to coat. Add Pecorino; toss to combine. Remove from heat; mix in egg yolks. Add reserved veggies; toss, adding pasta cooking liquid (or hot water) as needed to thin sauce.

Serve pasta topped with more Pecorino.

Adapted from a recipe by Philip Krajek, Rolf & Daughters, Nashville – Bon Appétit Magazine, September 2013