Chicken Angelique

My family had this special dish that my mom found in a magazine. She always called it Chicken Angelique and I have never seen it in a cookbook. It was small bite sized cubes of chicken breast fried until browned and done inside. You make a lovely French sauce of celery, green onions, garlic, bacon, broth and milk. Serve it on top of fluffy white rice and have a side dish of steamed fresh asparagus and it was a meal for royalty. My mom made it only for company like my grandparents or aunts and uncles. She served it on her and my father’s twenty fifth wedding anniversary when I was a kid. When Mom turned 100 my sister Karen and I made it for her birthday supper and it was a good as I ever remembered it. A small labor of love for our lovely mother and she was thrilled to enjoy it on that momentous occasion. 

Notes: The raw chicken cuts into cubes better if it is partially frozen. I had frozen it for 5 days and I cut it up before it thawed fully.  Do use the entire scallion minus the roots of course! It adds a nice hint of scallion to the sauce. My sister put enough of the green leaves that her sauce was pale green; quite lovely actually. That one slice of bacon is very important; adds a special bit of flavor. Do not use anything less than 2 percent milk in the sauce. I prefer whole milk which is what my mom used. We had a milk cow, and she used a mechanical separator machine that gave a stream of milk and a lesser stream of thick cream. Use tender celery and real butter for the best flavor. I used rice flour, but you can use all-purpose flour if you don’t need to be gluten free.  Enjoy!

This is the only picture I took of it, the one of it in the pan was slightly out of focus; I was just too busy cooking and wasn’t thinking much about sharing pictures.
I did take a picture of the rice! Lovely fluffy basmati rice.

Mom’s Chicken Angelique,  serves 4-5

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

½ tsp. salt and 3 Tbsp. rice flour (pepper is optional)

1 Tbsp and 1 tsp. butter

1-2 Tbsp. mild olive oil or canola oil

Sauce:

1 slice cold bacon; mince it up

1 smaller rib celery chopped finely

4 green onions chopped finely

1 small clove garlic minced

1 Tbsp. mild olive oil

2 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 1 cup boiling hot water

1 small bay leaf

1/8 tsp. thyme, skimp it a bit

2 Tbsp rice flour or slightly less all purpose flour

1 cup plus 3 Tbsp. whole milk

1 medium egg yolk (I used the smallest egg out of a dozen large ones) Stirred up a bit

8 oz fresh small mushrooms; slice them medium thin after cutting of the bottom of the stem

1 tbsp butter and 1 tsp. oil

Make the sauce first. Using a large sauce pan; heat it; add oil, bacon, celery, green onions; cook 2-3 minutes; add the garlic and cook another minute. Light brown; not dark brown. Add the hot bullion, the bay leaf and the thyme. Simmer it covered for 15 minutes. (while the sauce simmers, slice the raw mushrooms and cook them in a tablespoon of butter and a dash of cooking oil. Turn off when they look done. Back to the sauce: you can then blend it in a blender until smooth but we never bother with that step. Mix a tablespoon of flour with half a cup of the milk and add to the sauce; heat on medium stirring constantly until it starts to thicken. Put the rest of the flour in with another half cup of milk; add to sauce and cook a few moments. Add a half cup of the sauce into the cup with the stirred-up egg yolk to warm it up and then dump it all back into the sauce pan. Stir well as you add the rest of the milk. It should be like slightly thick gravy. Add the sautéed mushrooms to it. Turn to the lowest setting to keep it warm while you make the chicken.

The chicken should be skinless; cut it up into 1-inch cubes. Roll in flour that you salted a bit. Heat a large saucepan, add the oil and butter. I did my chicken in 3 batches. There should be a bit of space between the cubes. Turn them 1-2 times to brown the sides. I used a dinner fork to do that. I put the done ones into a bowl, and you will probably need to add another tablespoon of oil for each batch.  When they are all browned you are ready to bring It together with the sauce. You should have made some white rice to serve with them. And a vegetable like asparagus, peas or whatever you enjoy. Pour the hot cooked cubes into the sauce and serve it on a bed of hot rice. Some people sprinkle some paprika or fresh parsley on top, but I don’t really bother with that. Enjoy!

Un-stuffed Cabbage n Beef Casserole

Stuffed cabbage rolls are definitely a Pennsylvania treat. But making this recipe can be time consuming and complex; you have to cook the whole cabbage leaves and separately cook the filling and roll up it inside the half cooked leaves, sauce it and bake it. This is just way, way easier and pretty much better in my opinion. Less work, less heat in my kitchen (I did it in my Instant Pot but you could use a slow cooker or bake in the oven.) It isn’t a pretty dish to photograph and I frankly forgot to take pictures of making it. I debated even sharing it due to this but the flavor is so delish I knew I was gonna make it again so I wanted you to have the option to give it a try.

cabbages

Here is my entire cabbage crop. These fat leaves will make a great batch of this casserole.

This recipe is very homey; great in these trying times. I used some outside cabbage leaves but any fresh cabbage will do.  I used ground chuck but lots of people swear by ground pork or even ground turkey. The amount of spices is variable and you can use any sort of tomato product you wish to get that wonderful tomato flavor in there. I added some smoked paprika and a few raisins to make it like my old recipe. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar to zip it up a bit. Fiddle with the ingredients as you wish. It will still be a comfort meal your family will appreciate. Makes about 6 servings.

cabbage n rice casserolle

Told you my photo was lousy! Trust me it tastes better than it looks. And it looked better the first time we had it.

Angie’s Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

2 big garlic cloves, minced

1 med-large onion diced fine

About 4 cups of cabbage cut into 1-2 inch squares/chunks

1 can (13.5 oz) diced tomatoes

16 oz can plain tomato sauce

1.5 cups beef or chicken broth

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp. smoked paprika

A Tbsp brown sugar (optional…some folks love, some hate this)

2/3 cup white or parboiled brown rice, uncooked

  • sea salt

¼ tsp ground pepper

¼ cup raisins (optional)

 

Directions: In instant pot or big pan brown ground beef: I sprayed it with cooking spray before starting. Or use a tsp or two of mild olive oil. After the beef is half browned add the onions, stir a couple minutes; add the garlic too.  Add the spices and stir. Add the tomatoes, broth and cabbage, stir, then add the sugar, rice and salt/pepper. Stir well so nothing is stuck to the bottom. Cook in IP under pressure for 35 minutes. Let rest 10 min before depressurizing and adding optional raisins. Then serve. You can bake it in oven for 45 minutes. Slow cooker for maybe 6 hours? I don’t use that function often but I am sure it would work fine for this recipe.

Enjoy!

 

Stuffed Peppers..2.0 Version

Stuffed peppers are a great homey fall supper. I made them a few weeks ago and my recipe is just about the same as my mom used to make, comfort food for sure.  My garden produced more bell peppers….not sure I wanted the same flavor so I went looking for a different take. I found this vegetarian recipe by Robert Irvine on Food Network.  I changed it by adding ground chicken and removing some veggies to make room for that chicken. The result was just a great combination of flavors and very satisfying. I will put my version here.  If you want it vegetarian look for his recipe on the website. It got five stars and they are well deserved. I guess you could use any ground meat for this recipe.  I got my dark meat ground chicken at Valley Farm Markets in Bethlehem.

I don’t cook with tarragon that often but it really makes the flavor of this dish so delightful and different. Just try it.

Notes: I used cooked brown rice, the original choice was wild rice. You can use whatever rice floats your boat or is in your pantry; just cook it and cool somewhat before mixing with the other filling ingredients.  This is a naturally gluten free meal and I never got tired of it – ate all the servings up in a week and know I will be making it again for sure.

 

Angie’s Italian Stuffed Peppers   makes six

 

6 green, red or yellow bell peppers; nice sized

3-4 Tbsp. olive oil

1 lb ground chicken; dark meat if you can find it

1 yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves minced

1-2 cups diced summer squash

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes

½ cup diced red pepper

2 tbsp. tomato paste

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp. fresh tarragon chopped

½ cup Asiago cheese freshly grated (Parmesan would also work)

Directions:

Cut the lids off the peppers, discard seeds, I cut about ½ inch down the pepper so the center and stem stays part of the lid.  Heat a cup of water in a big pot with a steamer in it. Add the peppers and their lids, cook about 8 minutes, remove lid and let cool.

In a large skillet pour half the olive oil, heat, add the chicken and cook until no longer pink.  After it is cooking a couple minutes add the onions and garlic.  Cook a minute or two and add the diced squash and red pepper.  Do not overcook the squash. I used a firm variety of squash(tromboni) so it stayed together and didn’t get mushy.  Add the tomato paste and tomato; don’t add all the juice in the can of tomatoes; reserve about half for adding to the baking pan later on. Stir and cook until onions are soft.  Total cooking time; no more than ten or twelve minutes.  Heat the oven: 375 degrees.

Dump the cooled rice in a big bowl, add the skillet’s contents. Season with salt and pepper to taste and fresh tarragon.  Mix up gently. Stuff the cooled and drained peppers, do not pack in filling. Put a bit of filling in the bottom of a large oval baking dish that will hold your six peppers and stand the stuffed peppers upright in there.  Sprinkle them with the grated cheese, put the pepper lids on the peppers, I would add that reserved tomato juice from the can to the stuffing loose in the pan to keep it moist.  Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy  stuffed pepper

 

Homemade Fried Rice…Oh So Nice!

It can be problematic for someone with celiac to eat at most Chinese restaurants.  The only one I hear having lots of gf options is PF Changs which is not located anywhere in the Lehigh Valley.  I have friends who eat at chinese places and ask about gf options – they get little or no response. Not even sure the staff understands what gluten free means. Not comforting.  I miss a few Chinese take out dishes but there is one I actually have always liked my homemade version best; fried rice.  Been making it for many years from scratch and it is far tastier than any I have ever been served at/from any Chinese restaurant.  It is not that fried rice normally has a gluten component; it is cross contamination as well as unsafe soy sauce that are usually the issue. So go homemade.

Fried rice is not that difficult to construct and you get the bonus that you know what is in there; not so easy to know at the local take out counter.  It’s a great supper idea if you have leftover white or brown steamed rice on hand. Leftover Easter ham; perfect for it! Otherwise, I often buy a small ham steak and just cut that up. It can be modified quite a bit to whatever is in your fridge and pantry.  I put in broccoli this time for my grandson who adores it.  I often add water chestnuts or even bamboo shoots. If I don’t have fresh pea pods; no biggie: go with the flow and just increase the frozen peas a bit! I don’t always put in zucchini or broccoli; your choice. My kind of recipe….  Must haves in my recipe are rice, a protein, scrambled eggs and an assortment of small dice vegetables.  Once you chop the veggies and if have that leftover rice it goes together very fast.  I find that hot rice doesn’t work as well as cold so try to make the rice earlier if not the day before.   My ingredient measuring is somewhat fluid, go with what you have and what you think you will like.

The middle set of these pictures is the scrambled eggs; just poured into the pan and right after I turned the heat off.

fried rice 003fried rice 008fried rice 006fried rice 007fried rice 016fried rice 026fried rice 028

Angie’s Fried Rice

Ingredients

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 med onion diced

1 carrot unpeeled and small diced

½ a red pepper, small diced

1 stalk celery, small dice

1 garlic clove minced

½ cup cut up zucchini; cubed more or less

½ cup broccoli flowerets cut up

2 tbsp water

2 eggs

½ cup fresh pea pods, cut in half

1-2 tsp. gf soy sauce or Bragg liquid aminos (tastes like soy sauce)

1 tsp. rice vinegar

½ tsp sea salt, black pepper, fresh ground…to taste

½ cup frozen peas

½ can chopped water chestnuts (optional)

½ lb cooked ham cut in 1/3 to ½ inch cubes

1 ½ to 2 cups Leftover rice; either white or brown

Directions

Heat a small wok over med high heat; add oil, stir around, add the onion and carrot, cook a minute, add the red pepper and celery, cook 2 minutes, add the garlic, cook a minute.  Add the squash, broccoli and water, cook 2 minutes.  While that cooks, mix the eggs with a tbsp of water and scramble over medium heat in a nonstick pan for less then 2-3 minutes.  Do not over cook.  Set aside for the finishing touches.

Add the peapods, the soy sauce, the rice vinegar and salt/pepper, stir.  Add the frozen peas, water chestnuts and cooked ham.  Cook 2 minutes.  Add the rice, stir well, adjust seasoning; add more soy sauce if needed. If you like it crispy cook it a bit longer, if not; it is finished. Add the eggs you scrambled and stir well before serving. A meal on a plate, cooked in the wok.  If you don’t have a wok use a sauté pan.

Could serve 4 if you are not too piggy! Three if you are…. I will let you guess what goes on in my house.

Not Grandma’s Rice Pudding

I always loved rice pudding as a child, creamy custard studded with raisins and topped with a good sprinkle of cinnamon.  But the rice itself was kinda drab.  A few years ago, I found a recipe that caused a rice pudding revolution in my kitchen: it used sweet rice which is a white short grain oriental rice.  You could substitute Arborio rice if you like.  I buy this rice in oriental grocery stores but I think Wegmans may carry it too.  Each grain absorbs the milk as it cooks and releases a lot of creaminess as well as providing a soft squishier rice that gives the pudding a more blended feel than my mom’s usage of long grain rice that stayed firm and separate from its pudding surrounding.

arborio rice

This recipe is naturally gluten free.  No one eating it will think, “Oh, darn, another of those weird GF recipes!”  They will just think, “I wonder if she will think I am piggy to want seconds of this?

I think in a pinch you could skip the second part where you briefly bake the pudding but I never do, I think it helps the pudding form the best texture.  Do sprinkle the top with cinnamon unless it is something you despise.  I recommend whole milk as it makes pudding taste so good but if you prefer two percent that will work.  I do not recommend skim milk for pudding. Ick on the texture and flavor of such a mutant pudding!  And this recipe is great with chopped dried apricots, dried cherries, golden raisins, or even currents or in it instead of raisins. My original recipe had lemon peel and apricots in it. Recently I put a few long orange peelings in it and a cinnamon stick while it cooked on the stove top which gave it a delicate orange flavor which played well with the raisins. So, you can alter it to suit your mood and your ingredients.

rice pudding

This snowy weekend adds more really cold days.  What could be more comforting after a chilly time shoveling than a bowl of wickedly creamy homemade rice pudding?

Best Ever Rice Pudding

Ingredients

¾ cup sweet or Arborio rice

1 quart whole milk

1/3 cup raisins

1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar, this depends on your sweetness needs!

2 egg yolks

2 whole large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla

A good sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

Rinse the rice in a strainer briefly, place in a heavy bottomed 1 ½ quart saucepan, pour in the milk (4 cups) and stir frequently as it heats on medium to a bubbly simmer.  Add the raisins and turn down the heat to low, cover and cook 25 minutes.  Be sure to stir it every 5-9 minutes to separate the rice and keep it from scorching on the bottom.  Add the sugar, stir well.  Mix up the egg yolk and whole eggs in a bowl with a whisk and add in some of the hot mixture; maybe 1/3 to ½ cup.  Dump it all back in the pot and stir well.  Turn off the heat and add the vanilla.

Heat your oven to 300 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a low ceramic or glass baking dish. I like an oval myself, that shape is what my mom usually used!  Pour in the pudding, removing any lemon or orange peel and the cinnamon stick if you used such and sprinkle it well with cinnamon to dust the surface.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Sometimes I put it in a hot water bath created with a 9×13 cake pan and some hot tap water.  This can produce lovely delicate custard if you don’t mind the extra fuss.

It is tasty warm and wonderful the next day.  Some people guild the lily with toppings of whipped cream, grated lemon or orange peel or even whipped mascarpone cheese.  Up to you how you dress it up!  I occasionally serve a homemade cookie on the side for added crunch value.  Enjoy!