Recipe from Annie’s Eats

This is the first recipe using my December Ingredient of the Month: Cream Cheese!! Cream Cheese was used in the pie crust of this recipe.

J has been wanting Chicken Pot Pie for a while now.  I’ve never made it, nor have I ever made pie crust.  So this was an adventure. 🙂

The finished product turned out really well!  I decided to make these in 2 (1.5 quart) corningware dishes, instead of individual servings. (I froze one to make another day.)  I swear J would’ve eaten a whole dish himself if he could have. 🙂

The pie crust, however, was a huge PITA!!  I made it in the food processor, and it never really came together in a ball.  So I put it in a ziplock bag and tried to form it into a ball that way.  It sort of worked, but as soon as I dumped it on the counter to roll out it fell apart.  I eventually made it work, but it definitely took a lot of effort.  While I think it turned out pretty good, next time I may be going store bought. :p

My changes: I skipped the bell pepper, added a turnip, used fresh carrots and just used about 3-4 lbs chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken.

Ingredients:
Filling:
3 T unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped
8 ou button mushrooms, sliced
1 turnip, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper, to taste
3-4 lbs cooked chicken breasts, shredded or chopped
1 c frozen peas

Sauce:
8 T unsalted butter
1 c AP flour
2 1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c heavy cream (optional)
Dash of hot sauce
Salt & pepper, to taste

Pie Crust:
16 T cold unsalted butter
3 c AP flour
10 ou cream cheese, chilled
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 large egg

Directions:
To make the filling – melt the butter in a large skillet (with high sides) over medium heat.  Add the potato and onion to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, carrot, turnip and mushrooms for about 15 minutes more, until tender.

Turn off the heat and mix in the chicken, frozen peas, red pepper and salt and pepper.

While filling cooks, prepare the sauce. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the flour and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in the chicken broth and cook until it thickens to the consistency of a cream soup (whisking occasionally).

Mix in the cream, if using, hot sauce and salt & pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken/veggie mixture and stir to combine. Spoon the mixture into your baking dishes (sprayed with cooking spray).

Preheat the oven to 375.

To make the crust – cut the butter into about 16 pieces and combine it with the flour in your food processor (fitted with the metal blade).   Pulse until crumbly.

Add the cream cheese, salt and pepper.  Continue to pulse until dough forms a ball. (As I mentioned above, this never really happened for me, so I placed it in a ziplock bag and formed it into a ball with my hands.)

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Use a floured rolling pin to roll dough to about 1/4″ thick.  Cut dough to be about 1 1/2″ larger than the diameter of your baking dishes.

Lay the dough rounds on top of the baking dishes.  Beat the egg with a whisk, and brush over the tops of the dough.

Place in the oven and cook for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

It’s a new month, and; therefore, time for a new ingredient! 

 
This month I’ve decided that I am going to feature Cream Cheese!

Photo from foodatarian.com
I absolutely love cream cheese – flavored or plain!  It’s a great product that can be used in a sweet or savory dish.  In the past, other than spreading it on bagels, I’ve used it to make cheesecake, and to stuff chicken breasts!
Here is some information from wikipedia:
Cream cheese is a sweet, soft, mild-tasting white cheese containing at least 33% milkfat.  It is meant to be consumed fresh, so it differs from other soft cheeses such as Brie and Neufchatel.  It is more comparable in taste, texture and production to Boursin and Marscarpone.
There are French references to cream cheese as early as 1651.  According to the American food processing company, Kraft Foods, the first American cream cheese was made in New York by dairyman William Lawrence in 1872. In 1880, ‘Philadelphia’ was adopted as the brand name, after the city that was, at the time, considered to be the home of top quality food.  ‘Philadelphia’ is now used as some as a generic term for cream cheese, and in Spanish is translated as ‘queso Filadelfia’ or ‘queso crema’.
Cream cheese is typically used as a spread for bagels, crackers, bread or vegetables, and also is often used in cheesecakes or salads.  It can be used to make cheese sauces, and is often used in place of or alongside butter. It makes delicious icing, and is the main ingredient in crab rangoon.

Recipe from $5 Dinners 

This is recipe #4 featuring my Ingredient of the Month: Maple Syrup!

I love Maple Syrup!  And I’ve really enjoyed implementing it into different dinner recipes.  This one was no exception!

This was such an easy side dish to throw together.  And I loved the maple flavor with the butternut squash – as did J.  This recipe is definitely a keeper! 🙂

Ingredients:
1 2-3 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 T EVOO
1/4 c Pure Maple Syrup
Pinch of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss squash with remaining ingredients and place in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Cook for about 30-35 minutes, until fork tender.  Mix once or twice as it cooks.

Recipe from maplegrove.com 

This is the third recipe featuring my Ingredient of the Month: Maple!

This chicken was delicious and super easy to make!  I thought it had the perfect sweet/spicy combination.  YUM! 🙂

Ingredients:
2.5 lbs chicken drumsticks (you can really use any part of the chicken you prefer, bone-in)
4 ou Pure Maple Syrup
5 T chili sauce
1 small onion, chopped
2 T cider vinegar
1 T mustard (I used dijon)
1 t Worcestershire

Directions:
Mix all ingredients except the chicken in a small baking dish.  Add the chicken and toss to coat.  Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 4 hours, tossing every so often.

Preheat grill, and cook until done all the way through, basting occasionally (I made a mixture of about 1/2 the marinade, without onions, for basting and it was the perfect amount.)  You can also bake these, if you prefer. 

I served these with baked potatos chips that I seasoned with seasoned salt.

Recipe from buffummaple.com

This is the second recipe featuring my Ingredient of the Month: Maple Syrup!

I absolutely loved this recipe!  This was so delicious and so incredibly easy to make.  I wish I could say it’s healthy, but, since it used a stick of butter, that would be a lie. :p

I’m going to tag this as Quick and Easy – because, while it takes an hour to cook, it literally took me about 5 minutes to throw it together. 🙂

The recipe called for 2.5-3 lbs chicken pieces, or equivalent chicken breasts, but I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs that I had in my freezer.  I think the more flavorful dark meat worked really well with the maple flavor. Also – I didn’t have any almonds, so I substituted pine nuts – which I think worked quite well.

I had also planned to add some carrots to the recipe, but I apparently used them all in my Tangy Slow Cooker Pork the other day.  But I think they’d be a really great addition. 

Serve this over brown rice – it’s delicious!!

Ingredients:
2.5-3 lbs chicken (whole chicken (cut up), breasts or thighs)
1/2 t lemon zest
2 t lemon juice
Dash of pepper
1/2 c (one stick) butter, melted
1/2 c pure Maple Syrup
1/2 t salt (optional)
1/4 c chopped almonds (I didn’t have any, so I used pine nuts)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish and place the chicken evenly throughout the dish.

Mix the remaining ingredients and pour evenly over the chicken.  Cook for 50-60 minutes, until chicken is cooked through – basting occasionaly.

Serve over brown rice.

Recipe from Apple a Day

This is the first recipe featuring my Ingredient of the Month: Maple Syrup!

This chicken was very good; however, I felt like the flavor could really be stronger.  I think if I made this again, I would brown the chicken and then cook it in the sauce so that it really soaks up the flavors.

But it was a really simple recipe to throw together – great for a weeknight meal!

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt & pepper to taste
2 T olive oil
1 c chicken broth
3 T pure maple syrup
2 T plus 1 t coarse-grained mustard
1/2 t dry mustard
2 t dry parsley (or use fresh at the end for garnish)

Directions:
Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook through in the pan, about 5 minutes per side (depending on thickness of chicken). (As I said above, next time I would cook it with the sauce in the pan.)

Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining ingredients.

Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pan.  Place the sauce into the pan and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes, until reduced down to about 3/4 of the original amount.  Return chicken to pan and bring up to temp, turning once to coat with sauce.

Serve with some of the pan sauce spooned over top.

It’s a new month, which means it’s time for a new ingredient!!  Since I actually used this new ingredient in a meal this week (last night, in fact) I decided it would be perfect for the new month!

So, the new Ingredient of the Month is… Maple Syrup!

Image from frontiersoups.com
I love the sweet, sticky goodness of maple syrup!  And I’m talking pure maple syrup, not the kind made mostly from corn syrup.
Here’s some information about Maple Syrup I found on wikipedia.
Maple Syrup is a sweetener made from the sap of some maple trees. In cold climate areas, these trees store sugar in the roots, and the sap which rises in the spring can be tapped and concentrated. Quebec, Canada produces the world’s largest supply of maple syrup, and the United States is the only other major producer and the leading consumer.
Uses:
Maple syrup is most often used with pancakes, waffles, french toast, oatmeal, as an ingredient in baking, or as a sweetener for beer.  Though, as you’ll see in my first Ingredient of the Month recipe, it can be used in savory recipes as well.
Production:
It takes approximately 10 gallons of sap to be boiled down to make only 1 quart of syrup. One mature sugar maple produces only about 10 gallons of sap in the 4-6 week sugaring season. Trees are not tapped until they have a diameter of 10 inches at chest height, and are at least 40 years old.
Maple Syrup is sometimes boiled down even further to make maple sugar, a hard candy usually sold in pressed blocks, and maple taffy.

Imitation ‘Maple Syrup’:
In the United States, “Maple Syrup” must be entirely made from maple sap (small amount of substances such as salt may be added.) “Maple-flavored Syrups” contain maple, but also other, cheaper ingredients.  “Pancake, waffle, or table Syrup” is typically made up of high-fructose corn syrup flavored with sotolon, with no genuine maple content. U.S. labeling laws prevent these syrups from having the word ‘maple’ in their name.

I typically don’t do anything more with maple syrup than pour it over my pancakes, waffles and french toast.  And, in that case, it’s typically the ‘Pancake Syrup’, as opposed to actual ‘Maple Syrup’.  So I think this month will be interesting as I try to find different recipes to incorporate this ingredient.