Yam and Black Bean Chowder

8 oz sliced bacon (about 8- 10 slices)
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 Tbs flour
2 cans chicken broth
1 C milk (or cream, or evaporated milk)
2-29 oz canned yams, mashed with fork or masher
1 can black beans
1 can whole corn
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Cut bacon with scissors into small pieces. Fry bacon, onions and garlic in pot, until bacon is cooked. Add a couple tablespoons of flour to the bacon and stir. Add chicken broth and stir until thickened. Add the yams, corn and black beans. Add milk.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cayenne or Red pepper could be added to give more of a kick.

Simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes.


Coconut Chicken Chili


Ingredients:

12 oz skinless, boneless chicken breast halves chopped
1 large onion
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs flour
1 14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbs peanut butter
1 15 oz can cannellini beans (white kidney beans) drained/rinsed
3 medium carrots, shredded
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium green onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
fresh basil
* optional* shredded colbyjack cheese
Jasmine Rice

Directions:

In large sauce pan cook chicken, garlic, onion, 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper, ginger and chili powder in hot olive oil on medium heat for 6-8 minutes.

Stir in flour and cook 1 minute more.

Stir in coconut milk, peanut butter, and 1 C of water. Bring to boil.

Stir in beans, carrots, celery, green onion and simmer.

Serve over cooked Jasmine rice. Top with cheese if you want, and fresh basil.


Creamy Jalapeño Chicken Enchiladas

Serves 6/makes 12 enchiladas:

Broil 2 skinless chicken breasts seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper in oven on High for about 10 minutes on each side (depending how thick the breasts are.)

* It is important to keep an eye on the chicken so as to not over cook it and end up with dry chicken. It will be juicy and moist if you cook it just until it’s done and not any longer!

**While chicken is broiling, you can chopped the onions and get the rest of the ingredients below ready.

Ingredients:

Chop 1 small onion (reserving about half for the meat, sautéing the rest with the butter)
1/4 C butter
1/3 C flour
1 – (10 3/4 oz) can chicken broth
1 – 8 oz container sour cream
1 – 4 oz can jalapeño peppers, chopped, drained and juice reserved if you wish to make your sauce hotter.
1/2 to 3/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chopped dried (or fresh) cilantro 

2 1/2 C shredded monterey jack cheese, divided (you can also use the mexican blend shredded cheese)

Check on the chicken and take out if done, now set your oven to 425°

1) Chop (or shred) the chicken

2) Melt butter in pan, adding 1/2 of the onions set aside and sauté until tender and clear.

3) Add the flour and stir until well blended with the butter and onions. Add chicken broth (and the reserved jalapeño juice is desired) stirring well and cooking on medium until thickened.

4) Add sour cream and jalapeños and stir well. Add chili powder, cumin and garlic powder stirring until blended. Let sit on low until you are ready to pour on top of enchiladas.

Prepare baking pan: I used a glass 13 X 9 inch dish. Spoon just enough sauce on the bottom of the dish to cover it to keep the tortillas from sticking to it.

Tortillas: I use white corn tortillas. Most recipes have you quick fry the tortillas in oil and set aside on paper towels to drain most of the oil off.

* I prefer to skip this step because I am lazy, and I justify it by saying it is healthier to skip the oil. One draw back on this is that the tortillas will soak up your sauce more than if they were fried.

When you are ready with the tortillas –  technically you should take each tortilla and dip it into the sauce first and then fill them, roll them seam side down. I found that without frying the tortillas they just fell apart manhandling them, so I just fill them dry and roll them and put them in the pan.

However you have decide to prepare the tortillas (either fried or not), fill them with some of the chicken and onions (you could even reserve about half of the peppers and put in the tortilla as well) and roll them, placing seam side down in the pan. Continue to fill the tortillas until you fill the pan.
Cover them with the sauce. (This doesn’t look like enough cheese because it isn’t. I stopped sprinkling cheese to take my picture)
* I have come to the thinking that next time I will reserve a portion of the sauce to top off the enchiladas on the plate when serving, maybe sprinkling the cheese on it then and allowing it to melt.

5)  Bake in oven for 20 minutes, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cook for 5 more minutes.

** This would also be good served with some finely chopped fresh tomato, pepper and onions (pico de gallo) on the side.

***It definitely goes well with black beans and seasoned rice.


Roasted Chicken

When I was a kid I wouldn’t eat turkey, because it was dry and tasteless — gravy couldn’t even help it. Five years ago I discovered a new technique that made my turkey juicy and tasty and I have applied that to roasting whole chicken. It is delicious, easy, and my family loves it. 1 whole chicken 1/2 C butter (softened) Seasoninig — your choice of what kind and how much.  I use a citrus blend seasoning, usually. 1 navel orange 1 white onion 1.  Wash your chicken and dry (make sure you get all the innards from inside the chicken). 2. Mix your butter and seasoning together.  Rub the butter between the skin and the meat… yes you have to get your hands dirty. 🙂 3.  Make a little cut in the skin on each leg and run your finger under the skin to seperate it from the meat.  Put butter in through the cut in the skin and rub it on the meat.  You can see my small cut in the picture above. 4.  Put thin slices of orange between the skin and the meat on the breast, back, and legs. 5.  Put slices of onion and the remaining orange inside the chicken. 6.  Put the chicken in an oven bag into a 9×13 pan.  Pop it in the oven at 350° the cook time depends on size of bird.  Approximately 20 min. cook time for every pound. 7.  Let chicken sit for 15 min. after you take it out of the oven, and then you can carve it.


Chicken a la King

Chicken a la King is one of those oldies but goodies, dating back to the 1890’s. I would consider it a comfort food, which usually equates to fattening but “oh so delicious” in my book. But you can always skinny this up by using skim milk for the sauce and brown rice instead of noodles.

Ingredients:

1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained, liquid reserved (or use 3 oz fresh mushrooms – sauté with green peppers in butter)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk (you can use skim milk, evaporated milk, or heavy cream depending on your preference)
4 cooked (about 2 cups) boneless chicken breast halves, shredded or cut into small pieces
4 ounces chopped pimento (if you prefer you can use red bell peppers and sauté with green peppers in butter) 

* There are many varieties to this recipe when it comes to vegetables you can put in the sauce rather than the green peppers: peas, carrots, finely chopped broccoli, asparagus, shallots or onions (which I have added to mine), red peppers instead of the pimento (or roasted red peppers.)

** You can also add about 1/4 cup of cooking sherry, or 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce.

*** choices of meat can also vary from chicken to turkey or tuna.

Directions:
Sauté green pepper (red peppers, fresh mushroom and/or onions if desired) in butter or margarine over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

If using canned mushrooms, drain and reserve liquid. Add mushrooms.

Blend in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly.

Remove from heat. Stir in chicken broth, milk and reserved mushroom liquid. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute.

Stir in chicken and pimiento. Heat through.

* I sprinkled some shredded cheese on my serving for photography purposes, you really don’t need it, but it tasted good so if you want go for it!

**** There are many different things you can serve your Chicken a la King on: egg noodles (which I usually use, but this time I used some Barilla Campanelle pasta,) white or brown rice, toast, biscuits, or even puff phyllo pastry (found by the phyllo in the stores), I have even made my own puff pastries (like for cream puffs) and filled them. Very delicious!

Cream puffs: Obviously if using for Chicken a la King, don’t worry about chilling the pastries first, and definitely don’t frost the tops 😉

1/2 cup shortening or 1 stick of butter/margarine 1 cup water. Bring these to a boil.

1 cup flour 1/2 tsp salt.  Add quickly and stir.

4 eggs. Beat into flour mixture one at a time.

Spoon onto greased pan. Bake at 400° for 10- 12 minutes. Chill for at least 30 minutes (preferably overnight) before adding custard filling. Slice off the top and fill. Chill again before adding fudge frosting.

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