Post for Procrastinators

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(Getting ready to put the rotisserie chicken on the grill)

The week of Thanksgiving is here and you are freaking out because you don’t know what to do with you sweet potatoes or you are sick of the traditional green bean casserole. Don’t fret I’ve got your back. I have the perfect different sweet potato recipe and a perfect simple green bean recipe that has as much flavor as the casserole.  Also if you are looking for a killer traditional apple pie recipe I’ve got that here for you too!

Family Thanksgiving happened on Saturday for me this year and my sister and brother-in-law had the newest addition to their family in attendance…Henry!! A giant schnauzer puppy! I’m in love. I don’t know what was better, food or hanging with Henry. Oh and the family time was good too.

Classic Apple Pie Recipe

One of the best apple pies I have ever had. It has lemon zest, as well as lemon, in it and it taste so fresh and crisp and delicious.

These green beans were amazing! They were the perfect green crunch you need with all the heavy potatos and gravy at Thanksgiving. They also had the same french onion flavor as a green bean casserole from the crispy shallots.
My dad thought this was the best sweet potato casserole he has ever had. Trust him it was that good. And its different because its savory.
(John killing it at the grill. As usual)

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(Henry!!!!!!!!)

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(This was my dad’s first lattice apple pie, if you can’t tell by his expression he was amazed)

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Real American Meal

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I recently just realized the beauty of the crock-pot.  I don’t know what it is about cooking a little, tossing everything in a pot, then coming back to a perfectly cook meal that gets me so excited, but I can’t believe it took me this long to realize my love for it.  Sure my mom had mad me slow cooker meals back in the day, but I just didn’t appreciate them.  It’s also perfect timing for me to discover my new found love.  Chilly Sunday’s make me pop out of bed and skip to the kitchen to cook or should I say slow cook.

This Sunday I did another first.  I made chicken and dumplings.  I don’t think I’ve ever even really had good honest home made chicken and dumplings—unless you count Cracker Barrel.  So when it was cooking and I started to get my first wiffs, I was surprised by how rich it smelled and then when I took my first bite I was absolutely blown away with the depth of flavor.  With every bite I just kept saying “I can’t believe I have not made this before” and then I would say that again while shoving another spoonful into my mouth.  The only reason why I’m hoping it stays cool is to make this meal.  I take that back; this meal would still be amazing in the summer.

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America’s Test Kitchen Chicken and Dumplings

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed

salt and pepper

3 tbs vegetable oil

2 onions, minced

2 celery ribs, sliced ¼ inch thick

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbs tomato paste

2 tsp minced fresh thyme

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup dry sheery

4 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus extra as needed

4 carrots, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick

2 bay leaves

1 cup frozen peas

3 tbs minced fresh parsley

Dumplings

2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tbs baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup whole milk

3 tbs unsalted butter

  1. For the stew:  Dry chicken with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-heat until just smoking.  Brown half of chicken lightly on both sides, 5 to 8 minutes; transfer to a bowl.  Repeat with 1 tablespoon more oil and remaining chick; transfer to bowl.
  1. Heat remaining tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until simmering.  Add onions, celery, garlic, tomato paste, and thyme, and cook until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in sherry, scraping up any browned bits.  Whisk in 1 cup broth, smoothing out lumps; transfer to slow cooker.
  1. Stir remaining 3 ½ cups broth, carrots, and bay leaves into slow cooker.  Nestle browned chicken with any accumulated juice into slow cooker.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.
  1. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces.  Let stew settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using large spoon.  Discard bay leaves.
  1. Stir shredded chicken, peas, parsley into stew, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  (Add broth as needed) Cover and cook on high until simmering.
  1. For the dumplings: Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl.  Microwave milk and butter together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt butter.  Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until just incorporated and smooth.
  1. Drop golf ball-size dumplings on top of simmering stew, leaving about ¼ inch between each dumpling (about 18 dumplings). Cover and cook until dumplings have doubled in size, 25 to 35 minutes.  Serve.

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That’s a Wrap!

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Christmas has come and gone and what that means is lots of dishes are left in its path.  This year our traditional polish meal of pierogis and mushroom borscht were created in the tiny kitchen of my sisters new house in the Highlands in Denver.  It’s a tiny kitchen but we made it work with all of us rolling, mixing, and of course singing.

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Kapusta filling, which is sauerkraut and mushrooms.

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Above is my sister’s fiance John playing Subway Surfers a phone game. Do not let your friends or family play it if you ever want to talk to them again.  Adding my sisters fiance to our mix is great because he made a beautiful orange star anise brown sugar glazed  ham.  One of the many reasons we love him.

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And We’re Back

This was my first trip in, I don’t-know-how-long, that I didn’t bring my computer.  For almost a solid four days I was computer free.  I must say it was pretty amazing.  I also bought a ticket, so no standby traveling for me this time, which was also pretty amazing.

This Thanksgiving we went to New Hampshire for my cousin’s wedding at the Omni Resort in Mount Washington.  We had Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt’s in Exeter, New Hampshire.  I of course brought the cake, which means I brought it on the plane.  If anyone wants to make friends on a plane or in the airport carry a container with cakes in them, people will comment.

Hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving and are ready for the transition from pumpkin everything to gingerbread.

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Lowcountry Bites – Peach Salsa

I can officially say that I am a columnist at The Island Eye News!  It is a bi-weekly, or published twice a month, publication that is sent out to some of the islands in the Charleston area.  My column is called Lowcountry Bites and each week has a write up and recipe.  My first story was about peach salsa and thought my readers here would enjoy the recipe as well.  Enjoy!

PS  You can consider yourself lucky that you are linking to the article from here.  Those who only saw it in the paper didn’t get the great color photo.

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