Chicken Hotdish with Tater Tots

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Just in time for Super Bowl!  The term Hotdish originates from the Upper Midwest  –  describing a casserole containing meat, frozen vegetables and bound together with canned soup, popular at church suppers and family potluck gatherings.   This recipe’s “soup” is a white sauce flavored with chicken stock base such as Better Than Bouillon and fresh thyme.  I’ve heard cream of mushroom soup referred to as “Presbyterian glue”, I just love that.

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup chopped frozen onions

1 cup peeled and diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

1 cup frozen baby peas

32 ounce bag Tater Tots (there will be leftovers)

 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 tablespoons potato starch

3 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon chicken stock base

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Heat a large saute pan to medium high heat and add the vegetable oil, chicken thighs, onions, carrots and celery and stir from time to time until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through – about 10-12 minutes and set aside
  • In a small bowl mix the potato starch and a bit of the milk and stir until smooth
  • In a medium sauce pan add the butter and melt
  • Add the milk, potato starch mixture, chicken stock base and fresh thyme, whisk and bring to a boil, then reduce and continue to whisk until thick – 2-3 minutes
  • Pour the mixture over the chicken mixture and add the peas, mix until well combined
  • Pour into a greased 9X13 pan
  • Line the top with Tater Tots
  • Bake for about 30 minutes or until the Tater Tots are browned and the sides of the casserole dish are bubbly

 

 

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Apple Crisp

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For all of you who haven’t mastered perfect pie crust, this recipe is for you – the topping can be made well ahead, so keep an extra batch in refrigerator.  You will be happy to have it on hand.

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup butter, cut into small pieces

½ cup flour (can substitute equal amount of a gluten free flour mix)

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

8 -9 large apples – Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, McIntosh or any combination – peeled cored and sliced

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix all the topping ingredients in a bowl, working the bits of butter in until well incorporated
  • Place the apples in a 9X13 glass baking dish and top with the oatmeal mixture and spread evenly
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is brown and the sides are bubbly
  • Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream if desired
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Pecan Dill Chicken Salad

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We had Sunday family lunch with our cousin.  She brought out Auntie, who is in her mid-nineties, sharp as a tack and always up for an adventure.   We set the table, shared a glass of wine and reminisced about beloved family members now gone.  I served a simple butternut squash soup, some lightly dressed tomatoes and avocado and toasted brioche bread – apple crisp for dessert.  It was the most civilized meal I have had in ages.

Serves 6

1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken, bones and skin removed, diced into bite size pieces

1 cup red seedless grapes, cut in half

1 cup diced celery

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

1/2 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise – or more to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

butter lettuce to serve

  • Combine all of the above ingredients and chill.
  • Line the plate with butter lettuce and place a scoop of chicken salad on top, garnish will additional dill
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Award Winning Chili

 

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Our church had a fund raising chili cook-off this past weekend.  The chili recipes ranged from white chicken, venison, vegetarian, and classic dirty cowboy chili.  The competition was stiff, yet somehow, my chili won.  I used the gas grill and a large disposable aluminum roasting pan to cook the chili – a genius method for large quantities.   Hard to believe a girl from Connecticut, who didn’t even taste chili until late in life, could win a cook-off, so there you go.

makes 20 servings

1/4 cup olive oil

1 12 ounce bag chopped frozen onions (you can use fresh, but these are so handy)

4 pounds ground chuck

1 pound sweet Italian sausage – removed from the casing

 

Spice Mix

1 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

4 tablespoons chili powder

3 tablespoons cumin powder

3 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika

3 tablespoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon cayenne red pepper (or to taste)

 

1 12-ounce can tomato paste

2 28-ounce cans petite dice tomatoes

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup red wine

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 15-ounce cans white bean, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup flat Italian parsley, stems removed and chopped

Sour cream and cilantro for serving

  • Heat the gas grill to medium high, and place an aluminum roasting pan on the grill.  (if you have a large enough pot, use the range)
  • Add the olive oil and the onions and stir until translucent
  • Add the ground chuck and the sausage and break the meat apart and brown
  • Add the spice mix and stir
  • Add the tomato paste, petite dice tomatoes, lemon juice, red wine, Dijon, and white beans and stir
  • Simmer on low for about 30 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and the chili is thick
  • Add the parsley and stir, simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes
  • Serve with sour cream and cilantro

 

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Orange and Ginger Glazed Drumsticks

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Serves 6-8

 

These sticky sweet drumsticks are great hot or at room temperature

 

½ cup soy sauce

½ cup hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 large orange – juice and zest

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)

12-15 chicken drumstick (about 3 pounds)

 

  • Combine all of the ingredients (except the chicken) in a large bowl and mix to combine
  • Toss the chicken drumstick in the marinade until they are all coated
  • Cover and marinate at least 6 hours and up to 24
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil
  • Place the drumsticks skin side up on the lined cookie sheet and pour the marinade over the chicken
  • Bake for about an hour basting them at 30 minutes
  • When they are sticky and dark golden brown, remove from the oven and spoon the juices over the drumsticks and serve

 

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