Category Archives: chicken

The Big Easy

I know you want some of this - turkey from the Big Easy Oil-less Turkey Fryer

I know you want some of this – turkey from the Big Easy Oil-less Turkey Fryer

I have fried a turkey the traditional way once. ONCE. It was at Bunny and Paul’s house in Knoxville and here’s how it went.

I buy a turkey frying kit for about $80. I like fried turkey plus I regularly engage in pastimes that are traditionally male like competition barbecue, high heat grilling and never asking for directions. Frying turkeys falls into that category. I load the turkey fryer into the CC and head to Knoxville with King Daddy and Dammit Boy for Thanksgiving.

I buy about $40 of oil. I’m already starting to get skeptical. This turkey has already cost me more than $100. And that’s without actually buying the turkey. Plus, my mother in law is not pleased.

“Where are you going to fry the turkey?” Bunny asks skeptically.

“On the driveway,” I answer confidently.

“No, you’re not. There are a lot of children and dogs in this neighborhood. It’s a fire hazard.”

True enough. “How about the basement patio?”

“Just don’t get too close to the house. Your father in law already has a heart condition.”

So I lug the turkey frying kit and the 5 gallons of oil downstairs and set up shop. This is going to be great!

Long story short, it wasn’t. First you have to fill the giant turkey cooking vessel with water and lower the turkey in to gauge how much oil you need. If the boiling oil spills over the top as you lower the turkey, you will die. Then you have to completely dry the turkey. If you don’t, when you lower the turkey into the vessel any residual water will cause the boiling hot oil  to shoot into the air like a lunar rocket. And you will die. And then, of course, as you are frying the turkey – should you still be alive – you cannot use a digital probe thermometer to check for doneness because if you stick the probe in the boiling hot oil. Well, you know.

And then there’s the matter of cleaning up. The turkey fryer instructions say you can strain the oil and save it for another use. And I actually did that. Once. It sat in my garage for six months before I decided that it didn’t look quite right. I think I disposed of it illegally. Don’t tell.

So what I use now is the Char-Broil Big Easy TRU-Infrared Oil-less Turkey Fryer. Yes, I blog for them but my love affair with all things Char-Broil goes back way before the All-Star team was formed. When I wrote a cookbook about grilling, I needed a gas grill and the salesman at Lowe’s took me straight to the Char-Broil grills. I loved that first Char-Broil so much I almost moved it into the bedroom with me.

No complicated instructions - slather a turkey breast with butter mixed with Cajun seasoning, put it in the fryer basket and take it for a spin.

No complicated instructions – slather a turkey breast with butter mixed with Cajun seasoning, put it in the fryer basket and take it for a spin

So how, you may ask, can an “oil-less turkey fryer” fry a turkey? Honestly,  I don’t understand it. It’s magic. I believe. I was hooked after my first bird. I get shatteringly crispy skin, a juicy moist interior and no clean up. Actually, I do not believe the Char-Broil folks brag on this as much as they should. After the turkey’s done, just leave the heat on for about 15 minutes and it burns away any debris. And the Big Easy costs less than the old-fashioned fryer when you add in the cost of oil. With no potentially deadly results.

This 5-pound turkey breast was done in an hour and a half.

This 5-pound turkey breast was done in an hour and a half.

So now I use it for turkey, but also for pork butts, chickens, pork loins – any large cut of meat. With Thanksgiving coming up next month, you might want to think about getting a Big Easy. It also clears up oven space for some of the equally important stuff like the dressing, mac and cheese, and green bean bundles. Tell me you have green bean bundles at your house on Turkey Day. No? We’ll have to have a talk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pounding the Preacher

The parishioners of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church just ooze hospitality.  Recovering from surgery? We will break down your door to bring you a casserole. Need a ride to the doctor? We practically create a traffic jam getting to your house. We might as well run around with pineapples hung around our necks we’re so hospitable.

We are getting an interim rector to temporarily replace our beloved Father Bob. It’s an Episcopal thing. Priests, usually retired, specialize in shepherding the flock for a period of time while a new rector is chosen. And we have ours now. The Reverend Dr. J. Wesley Smith and his wife, Christina, moved into the rectory yesterday. And we were ready for him.

We revived an old custom called Pounding the Preacher – bringing our new spiritual leader a pound of this and a pound of that to stock his larder before he moved in. And this should give Father J. or Father Wesley or whatever he desires to be called an indication of what he has gotten himself into. As usual, we did it excessively. I hope we didn’t scare him off.

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Seriously. Really. Nothing succeeds like excess. Wait until the reception after his first Sunday preaching. We have glass plate receptions and silver platter receptions. This will be a silver platter situation. The man has no idea.

I made my award-winning-in-my-own-mind Chicken Divan for the Pounding so the Smith’s would have a nice home-cooked meal on their first night in the rectory. In a disposable aluminum pan. That is the first rule of hospitality when it comes to banging down the door with a casserole. Never make the recipient wash a dish and have to return it.  We have many more rules. Iron-clad rules. But you have to know the secret handshake to get them.

 

Chicken Divan
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Milk to thin
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen French-cut green beans, thawed
  • 2 pouches Trader Joe's frozen organic brown rice
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs mixed with 2 tablespoons melted butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove the chicken meat from the carcass and shred it. Reserve.
  3. Mix together the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice and curry powder.
  4. Add the cheese, combine thoroughly and add enough milk to thin the sauce.
  5. Microwave each rice pouch according to the package directions and put in the bottom of a casserole dish. Sprinkle the green beans over the rice. Mix the chicken in with the sauce and top the green beans. Finish by sprinkling the bread crumbs over the top.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes.

 

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Grilled Filipino adobo chicken wings

Filipino Adobo Chicken Wings 1My beloved Tennessee Volunteers will take the field once again a week from today. We are going to battle Utah State and I believe we will prevail. It’s been a tough few years to be a UT fan. I will not disparage the two worst ever in the world coaches who got us into this pickle, but I’m counting on Butch Jones to get us out of it.

King Daddy and I always watch the games in separate rooms. I cannot stand the yelling. When Noah was little he actively became afraid of football because of the screaming at the screen. Normally, King Daddy is a very composed individual, but not on UT game days. He watches in the den and I watch in our bedroom and when he hollers at the TV I can still hear him. Chardonnay helps. With both the yelling and, in the past few years, the games.

But I always do football food in the hoped-for spirit of victory. This has backfired on me more than once since the more the game deteriorates so does King Daddy’s appetite. One game last year, I couldn’t even get him to try the hot Rotel, Velveeta and Tennessee Pride Sausage dip. The man loves his hot cheese and sausage dip (he can take or leave the Rotel since tomatoes are a vegetable – actually a fruit, but that’s another discussion).

By the way, the first game of the year is on a Sunday. I take that as a sign of divine intervention because we’re going to need a lot of that this year. I will be making Char-Broil’s Filipino Adobo Chicken Wings. You will be alarmed when you see what they’re marinated in, but I guarantee they will cure even the most forlorn UT fan. The recipe is over on the Char-Broil LIVE site. Go on. Get on over there and you can thank me later.

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Sometimes things go wrong

I am quite certain you read this blog for recipes that work. Or perhaps my witty commentary. But sometimes things go wrong and I have to admit that I do not always turn out spectacular food.

It seemed like a good idea yesterday to make the Chicken Sofrito from the Jerusalem cookbook, one of the greatest cookbooks ever produced in my opinion. By all appearances, it’s a simple recipe: slowly cook chicken in its own juices and add a nice bed of crispy fried potatoes underneath. Chicken, potatoes, a few spices and an onion. What could be easier? I miscalculated.

The recipe calls for you to put the chicken in a large pan with low sides. I do not have such a pan. So I cram the chicken in a smaller pan with low sides. I know as I am doing this that it’s not going to work. Dang it. Remove chicken from pan, find larger cast iron skillet with high sides and wash previous pan after scraping off encrusted barely cooked chicken parts.

Put chicken on the stove on low. It’s supposed to cook for an hour before the potatoes go in. How hard is it to fry potatoes? Not hard. Just incredibly messy.

Exhibit A:

IMG_4406And I start to realize it will take King Daddy and I until Labor Day to eat all those potatoes. No matter. It is more of a problem that I didn’t have enough oil and have to fry the potatoes in batches of three. It eats up the entire hour.

At this point, I am to add the potatoes to the chicken which, according to the recipe, should be beginning to fall off the bone. I open the lid. Oh, dear.

Exhibit B:

IMG_4397It is not falling off the bone. It is entirely, sadly, intact. I am more than an hour into this recipe and I sense disaster. I briefly consider throwing everything away before King Daddy gets home, but the chicken is organic and it is apparently some kind of International Court violation to throw away anything that once had a beak and and two scratchy legs. So I pause a moment to ponder.

Exhibit C:

IMG_4403The saddest selfie ever recorded. Wine and cigarettes were required. I sit on the deck for a few minutes reviewing my options. I am already so screwed, but I decide to proceed apace and live with the consequences.

Exhibit D: IMG_4398Well, alrighty then. The potatoes and the pan juices look pretty tasty. Only a half hour to go so what the hell. Chicken goes back on top and it simmers covered for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, King Daddy comes home and I warn him that this meal may rival my worst suppers ever made (Fish Jello being at the top of the list). He seems to think I am over-reacting.

Exhibit E:

Chicken SofritoIt is…acceptable. The chicken, as predicted, did not fall off the bone but it was moist. The potatoes were quite tasty. And I learned a few lessons in the process, the most important being that when you make a recipe for the first time follow it exactly. I substituted chicken breasts for a whole cut-up chicken because K.D. and I don’t like dark meat. But the legs and thighs would have added a lot more moisture and juice, thereby getting the chicken to that fall-off-the-bone stage.

And, most important, do NOT equate a less-than-stellar result with Armageddon. Although I always try.

 

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Rotisserie chicken

Chicken 1

I try to keep King Daddy provisioned at all times when I am called out of town. I literally count the plastic containers of leftovers in the refrigerator to make sure he will not starve. I realize this is my failing. I have conditioned King Daddy to expect to be fed at all times, whether I’m in town or not. I think that might be called enabling.

So I was out of town on a super secret project that I will reveal to you at the proper time and I call KD on my way back just to report that I am still alive. “The refrigerator is empty,” he says wistfully. I think he might have over-eaten a bit, but I do not call that to his attention. “That’s fine,” I tell him. “I’ll cook supper when I get back.”

Have I mentioned to you that it’s pouring down rain and there are tornado warnings? I am thinking grilling a steak is just not an option. So when I get back to Brentwood I head to my beloved Publix for the single best invention of the 21st century – rotisserie chicken (and yes, you greedy people, there’s a recipe coming for repurposed rotisserie chicken).

Rotisserie chicken has saved my life many times. First of all, you cannot tell it’s not homemade. You can take that chicken right out of the paper bag, plop it on a platter and tell a huge fib that you made it yourself for a dinner party. Of course, I have never done that. It also makes quick work of a casserole, which most people don’t realize takes more time and dishes than a country club buffet. And like Sister Schubert yeast rolls, I can’t make it any better or cheaper. That is my definition of a revolutionary idea.

And an added bonus is that even King Daddy cannot eat an entire rotisserie chicken in one sitting. So his anxiety level due to the vast spaces of emptiness in the refrigerator is greatly reduced because now, once again, there are leftovers.

 

Chicken Tetrazzini
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup Marsala
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8 ounces thin spaghetti
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Shred chicken and set aside. Melt one tablespoon of the butter and add the mushrooms. Saute with a little salt and pepper until well browned. Add the marsala and reduce any liquid in the pan. Remove the mushrooms and add the onion, sautéing until tender. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Combine the mushrooms, onion, garlic and thyme and set aside.
  2. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and whisk for about a minute. Ad the milk, cream, broth, lemon juice and nutmeg. Continue whisking until the sauce thickens slightly. Salt and pepper to taste. Note: This will be thinner than a regular cream gravy but it’s all good. The warm pasta will absorb much of the sauce.
  3. Cook the pasta until it is al dente. Mix the pasta with the chicken, mushroom mixture and sauce. Mix the Parmesan and the breadcrumbs. Put the chicken mixture in a casserole dish and top with the cheese/breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling.

 

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Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

This whole thing started with the croutons entirely because I am cheap. I cannot stand to throw food away and, dammit, onion poppy seed hamburger buns come in packages of eight. I just needed two for a sandwich project. So I had six left over, staring at me every time I opened the pantry door. Taunting me to do something with them.

CroutonsSo I made croutons. I actually have a beef with store-bought croutons and I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t make their own. Store-bought croutons are generally hard as rocks and exhibit all the taste of a hardened cube of sand. And since I have become a dedicated package ingredient reader after several alarming revelations about processed foods, I just don’t want any preservatives or other funny stuff in my croutons. Plus I have to tell you if you make these with melted butter rather than olive oil, you will just end up eating them straight out of the bag without any trip to a bowl of salad.

Once I had my croutons, I had to have something to put them on. Talk about the chicken and the egg. Decided on a Chicken Caesar Salad since that’s also a beef of mine. Why are they so bad at restaurants because they’re so good with a homemade dressing and some grilled chicken?

The croutons store in the fridge for a few weeks. They never last that long at my house. I’ve eaten two bags of them already. Without the salad.

 

Chicken Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • BBQ rub
  • Spray oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • Dash hot sauce
  • 1 10-ounce bag romaine lettuce
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the grill to medium.
  2. Trim the chicken breasts of any fat or cartilage and sprinkle with the BBQ rub. Spray one side of the chicken with oil and grill for 4-5 minutes, oiled side down. Spray the other side, flip and grill for an additional 4 minutes or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees as determined with a digital probe thermometer. Remove from the grill and reserve.
  3. Combine the garlic and parsley in a small bowl. Add the anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice, mayonnaise and hot sauce. Combine thoroughly and chill the dressing in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Put the romaine lettuce in a large bowl. Cut the chicken into strips or cubes and add to the lettuce along with the dressing. Toss thoroughly. Sprinkle with salad with the Parmesan cheese and serve.

Homemade Croutons
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3-4 cups leftover bread or buns
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil or melted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the bread or buns into cubes and put on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil or melted butter. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they are browned to the degree you like.
Notes
These croutons will store in a baggie in the fridge for a good two-three weeks.

 

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Four pepper chicken

Four pepper chicken

Life used to be so sweet and we didn’t even know it then. Before the recession (which one?). Before the newspaper industry took a nosedive. Back when there was such a thing as an expense account. Which is how I got acquainted with a sassy little dish at Merchant’s restaurant in Nashville called Five Pepper Chicken.

Merchant’s was actually in the middle rung of the expense account ladder. At the tippy top was The Wild Boar, sadly no longer with us. Dinner at The Wild Boar took a minimum of four hours and cost, oh, approximately $500 for a party of four – excluding wine (which was never excluded). Of course, I never paid that. Our kindly Uncle Gan Nett took care of the bill. He had deep pockets back in the day. He once rented out the entire property of Blackberry Farm, a very pricy resort in East Tennessee, for a management retreat.  At which, of course, nothing was accomplished but at which we could fish for our own trout in their stocked pond and have them served to us for breakfast. Oh, yes. Those were the days.

Most of the luxury dinners involved job candidates. In the hinterlands, Uncle Gan Nett squeezed every nickel from the poor wretches who toiled in the shabby small-town newsrooms. But should they get a call from the Mother Ship for a job interview, they saw the promised land – complete with an expensive bottle of French wine and jumbo crab claws.

Even with all the filet mignon, lobster tails and truffle-studded mashed potatoes, my favorite expense account meal was the Five Pepper Chicken at Merchant’s.  The chicken was studded with a combination of sweet and fiery peppers and bathed in a luxurious lemon cream sauce. It never occurred to me to ask for the recipe because A. I assumed my expense account joy ride would last forever and B. I thought they would never take it off the menu.

I was wrong on both counts. So I have recreated it here. But it’s not exact. I am missing a pepper and I can’t figure out which one. So here is my four pepper version of Five Pepper Chicken. It’s still utterly delicious and even I can afford to make it.

Four pepper chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • BBQ rub
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • ⅓ cup chicken stock
  • 8 ounces heavy cream
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Trim the chicken breasts of any fat and season them with the BBQ rub (use your favorite). Heat the vegetable oil on medium high in a large heavy skillet and sauté the chicken breasts on both sides until browned and cooked through (160 degrees internal temperature using a digital probe thermometer). Reserve.
  2. Slice the four peppers into thin strips, removing the seeds and veins. Add a little more oil to the pan and add the peppers. Saute over medium heat until they are tender and beginning to brown. Reserve.
  3. Add the chicken stock to the skillet and boil, reducing it by half. Add the cream and continue to boil until the sauce is reduced by half. Add the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly. Add the chicken and peppers back to the pan to warm them through and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fried apples and what goes together

Fried ApplesI was making supper the other night – pork chops, dressing and fried apples. And it occurred to me there are certain things that just “go together” – food combinations that I return to again and again.

Some of them could be considered odd or quaint. I have always served King Daddy’s favorite mustard chicken with buttered egg noodles. To do otherwise would be unthinkable. It just wouldn’t be right. On Sloppy Joe night, the Joe must be Manwich and it must lean along side Tater Tots. With ketchup. Ditto the ketchup with fried chicken livers.

Braised short ribs require mashed potatoes. Last night I was provisioning the refrigerator for KD because I am heading to Bunny’s tomorrow to help her unpack at her new home. I made the short ribs and mashed potatoes, but stuck some garlic bread in the oven for another meal. KD actually asked for garlic bread with short ribs. I was horrified. They don’t go together. Turkey sandwiches. Just turkey, mayonnaise, iceberg lettuce, salt and pepper. No cheese. Cheese and turkey don’t go together.

Fish and rice go together. Fish does not go with potatoes or pasta. Flat chicken and green noodles. Only a classic in our home, I’m sure. It’s just breaded chicken breasts and thin spaghetti with pesto. But the chicken breasts must be thin and the noodles must be thin, also. The calorie count is not thin. Corned beef hash with English muffins and blackberry jam. The hash must be from a can. And you must fry it with onions until it is crispy. The jam can be seedless or not. That’s where King Daddy and I part ways. He likes the seeds.

A wedge salad demands blue cheese dressing and bacon. Diet Coke must be present with hamburgers and French fries. Iced tea does not go with hamburgers or French fries. Iced tea does, however, go with chicken salad. I don’t know why.

So what foods “go together” for you? What are your odd and quaint combinations? I hope you disagree with me. It’s always more fun when you do.

 

Fried apples
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 tart apples, such as Honey Crisp or Granny Smith
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Core and cut the apple into wedges. As you cut the apples, put them in a bowl with the lemon juice to keep them from discoloring.
  2. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, sugar and cinnamon. Cook until the apples soften, about 10 minutes.

 

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Chicken a la King

Chicken a la KingThat old Billy King, what a rascal. No one’s ever heard of him save the fact that he invented one of my favorite comfort foods, Chicken a la King.

King was a hotel cook at the Bellevue in Philadelphia. His obituary in New York Tribune in 1915 had this to say:

“The name of William King is not listed among the great ones of the earth. No monuments will ever be erected to his memory, for he was only a cook. Yet what a cook! In him blazed the fire of genius which, at the white heat of inspiration, drove him one day, in the old Bellevue, in Philadelphia, to combine bits of chicken, mushrooms, truffles, red and green peppers and cream in that delight-some mixture which ever after has been known as ‘Chicken a la King.’ “

There wasn’t a restaurant in the greater Chicagoland area that didn’t serve Chicken a la King in the 1960s, but you can barely find it now. What a shame since we have something in 2014 that Billy could never have dreamed about – supermarket rotisserie chicken. Rotisserie chicken comes under the heading of “I can’t make it better.” I am a purist when it comes to Chicken a la King. I only use the white breast meat, saving the legs and thighs for another use. You can also poach chicken breasts for this recipe, but why would you do that? The package of chicken breasts will cost more than the entire rotisserie chicken and they won’t be half as good.

Chicken a la King
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 puff pastry shells
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large shallots minced
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • ¼ cup Madeira
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Breast meat from a rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • ½ cup frozen peas
Instructions
  1. Prepare the puff pastry shells according to the package directions
  2. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms. Saute until the shallots are translucent and the mushrooms are browned. Add the Madeira and deglaze the pan. When all the alcohol has evaporated, add the flour and stir thoroughly.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium and add the chicken stock and heavy cream. Stir until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the parsley, thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  4. Add the chicken and the frozen peas. Heat for 3-4 minutes until the chicken and peas are warmed through. Serve in the puff pastry shells.

 

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We might starve: Part two

We are getting ready for the Mayhew/Harbin/Mayhew Family Reunion. And, as always, if we do not lay in enough supplies, we might starve. Tammy, my daughter-in-law, has already stockpiled the entire freezer section of the Piggly Wiggly because she is the snack lady and a pox will be upon her if she runs out of Pigs in a Blanket and Stuffed Potato Skins.

We barely made it through the last reunion with the few ingredients we had in the refrigerator

We barely made it through the last reunion with the few ingredients we had in the refrigerator

So I made a little trip to the grocery store just in case Tammy forgets the cheese puffs and Bunny, my mother-in-law, does not produce adequate amounts of ham dip and chicken biscuits.

Just a few things. Let’s see. Bacon-flavored smoked almonds. Protein and pork. Have to have those. Crunchy Cheetos – a nice contrast to the softer cheese puffs my granddaughter prefers. Thirty-two ounces of sour cream to make two “servings” of onion dip. Josh, my stepson, has a habit of sneaking out to the refrigerator in the middle of the night and absconding with the onion dip. I shall leave a container under my bed for safe keeping.

Cheese. Five different kinds of cheese. And crackers. Two kinds. Little Smokies. One must have Little Smokies for that mid-morning pick-me-up. Tammy and I need to keep up our strength for the long drive (two minutes) to the spa for our pedicures. Dark chocolate Reese’s peanut butter cups. Quick energy for making our way out to the porch to read. Bacon. Seriously, how can you survive in the wilderness that is just five miles from Dollywood without bacon?

Oh, and Danish Butter Cookies. Honestly, King Daddy should not be eating Danish Butter Cookies. Well, none of us should. But we will. And dried apricots. Because we want to set a good example for my granddaughter, Puddin’.

Sydney Funnel CakeBy the way, here’s a photo of Puddin’ eating a funnel cake. Because we don’t have enough food in the house, Bunny always takes her and Noah to get funnel cake.  I realize when she’s 13 Puddin’ will hate me for this. But right now Nana is willing to take the risk.

Bunny and SydneyAnd here’s Bunny teaching Puddin’ how to create a massive sugar overload by dumping three pounds of candy sprinkles into canned icing for cupcakes. As I said, we try to set a good example.

I can’t even remember how many reunions there have been, but not a single one of them involved kale or carrot juice. I believe we have our priorities straight. Bless our hearts.

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