Thursday, January 15, 2015

LEMON CHICKEN WITH THYME


Sometimes a recipe just shows up, you try it and everyone raves about it. That's what happened to this recipe. Consequently, I cook it more than anything else when family are coming...well, except for Mexican food, of course...or a pot roast.

The little ones always like chicken. You can just cut it up and put it on their plates without the gravy. They can't tell that it's not chicken nuggets.

I received this recipe in a cookbook promotion as an example of their recipes. I don't know if the cookbook was Creative Everyday Cooking or Extra-Light Cooking so I'll give them both credit.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (depending on the size, you can use two and slice them in half for four servings; lots of the chicken breasts out there look like they're on steriods or have had augmentation)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-sized onion
2 tablespoons butter (remember, buy unsalted butter)
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Lemon wedges
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley to sprinkle on top when serving.

Process:

*In a plastic bag, combine the flour and salt and pepper.
Shake the bag to mix it up.
Add the chicken pieces to the bag and shake to coat the chicken lightly with the flour mixture. Remove the chicken from the bag and place on a plate to let the coating dry a little.
Save the excess flour in the bag for later.

*In a large skillet (that has a lid), heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown on one side about 5 minutes. Add the remaining one tablespoon oil, turn the chicken and brown well on the other side until golden brown. Put the chicken breasts back on the plate (I know it's contaminated from using it before but we're not finished cooking the chicken) and set aside or place in a 250 degree oven to keep warm.

*Coarsely chop the onion. Add the butter to the skillet. When the butter melts, add the onion and cook, stirring, until it is soft. It usually takes just a couple of minutes.

*Stir in the flour you saved from shaking the chicken, Cook and stir until the flour is incorporated.

*Add the broth, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and the thyme. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.

* Put the chicken back in the skillet. Turn the heat down to low/simmer and cover the skillet. Cook until the chicken is cooked through. Periodically, lift the lid and spoon some of the juice/gravy in the skillet over the chicken pieces.

*Let the chicken cook about 30 minutes. If they are especially large pieces, cook longer. A normal size chicken breast takes about 40 minutes to cook thoroughly if baked in the oven.

*Divide the chicken breasts onto four plates. Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice into the sauce in the skillet, heat and stir or whisk, and pour a little over each piece of chicken after it's on the plate.

Serve with a lemon wedge on the plate and a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley on the chicken.

Serve with bright green fresh steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes. A favorite fruit salad on the side completes the meal.

Enjoy!




Sunday, January 4, 2015

AGNES DICKEY'S GRITS AU GRATIN


Although I only lived in Fairfield, IL for 17 years, I visited my parents and friends there several times a years for another 50 years. In fact, it is my hometown. I cherish it and the people there.

My mother was a wonderful cook and many of the recipes in this cookbook memoir are from her recipe box.


Not Agnes.
This is one of her favorites and mine.

It is great with pork chops, lamb chops, fried chicken, baked or fried fish fillets, ham or by itself as a leftover for lunch. You decide.

We have been known to have this for breakfast also. It is cereal after all.

There is no debate from those who have enjoyed this grits casserole that it is right up there with Sammi's Spoonbread...delicious, easy to put together and it can't be messed up if you follow the recipe to the letter.

Allow about an hour and a half from beginning to serving.

Serves 4. Double the recipe for 8 servings.

Ingredients:

1 cup grits
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

Follow the directions on the 24-ounce Quaker Quick 5-Minute Grits container for four servings except use 3 cups water instead of 4. You will add more liquid later and you want it to be thick. By letting it sit after it's cooked it will be the right consistency.

Slowly stir grits and salt into boiling water.
Turn heat on stove to medium-low and cover the pot.
Let cook, covered, 5-7 minutes.
Stir occasionally.

At the end of the cooking time, turn the heat off and let the covered pot sit on the stove for about ten minutes. Don't lift the lid. You want the steam to stay inside the pot.

Mix the following into the cooked grits while still in the pan:

1/2 stick unsalted butter ( 4 tablespoons)
1/2 pound ( 8 ounces) of sharp cheddar cheese in block form cut into cubes. Pure cheese, not shredded. Shredded has flour on it and will change the consistency.)
2 eggs beaten well.
1 cup whole milk

After all the cheese and butter is melted and mixed in with the eggs and milk, put mixture in a buttered 8X8 glass baking dish.

Use an 11X8 dish for double the recipe.

Sprinkle paprika on the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

It might not have set up completely so let it remain in the oven with the heat off for about fifteen minutes. I put a piece of foil on top while it's resting in the oven.

Place the casserole dish on the table with a nice big serving spoon.





Yummy!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

THAT'S MY SNOW SHOVEL!!

My husband...aka Mi Amigo Pedro...does not follow instructions very well. This is not why we've been together for 20 years. We've sweated it out because I am resilient to rejection. I "bark" orders in a predictable fashion and he ignores me.

I am convinced that in almost all situations he knows better than I what should be done.

It's New Year's Day. I awakened to darkness. It could have been dawn or dusk. There was a soft light over the east ridge of the Greer valley. It is dawn.

Our Bunkhouse guests are keeping warm.
I could barely make out that there had been a soft snowfall last night. Soft because the disturbing winds had subsided and I slept peacefully for my normal 11 hours.

It is a  new year...2015...and I slept through the band and reveling at Molly Butler's. I don't miss all that excitement even a smidgen.

In preparation for our New Year's Day menu, I had put pinto beans in the slow cooker to soak overnight. This morning before daybreak I rinsed them, put them back in the slow cooker with fresh water, added some chopped onion and fresh garlic, put the lid on and turned on the heat. The recipe for beans (frijoles) is on this blog under the label "Mexican Food."


I see light...

Yes, there is snow and the sun is coming up. More snow is predicted for today. I hope it snows and snows and snows.

Main Street, Greer AZ
My apathetic stupor is gone. Snow makes me happy. Someone once called me a Mexican Viking.

My mtDNA shows that I am 97% Western European with a heavy concentration in the British Isles, slightly less in Scandanavia and Germany. Not surprising. Cold, snow and water are my lifeblood...with some Mexican food to warm me if I get too cold.

I suggested to Peter that we just relax by the warm morning fire, eat a hearty breakfast, take our time getting dressed, and, I insisted that he not go rushing out to start working on clearing the snow. We had plenty of time to work today.

We'll open the gallery after the sun hits the sign.
A bit later he disappeared. As I looked out the window I spotted him. There he was, complete with "earflap hat", winter coat, gloves and...MY SNOW SHOVEL!



It is clearly my snow shovel...it has my name on it. It was a gift from my sweet husband last Christmas. A gentle reminder of what my duties are.

I think I'll let him keep shoveling.

Happy New Year everyone.

Jake and Sioux