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Monthly Archives: March 2012

A Hectic Week Ends with Shrimp & Grits

It’s been a pretty crazy week here so I haven’t had much of a chance to post any recipes lately. Sean has been sick all week, we’re trying to prepare for a trip to Charlotte next week and to top it all off, I won a trip from Guinness for a trip to Dublin! (I still haven’t gotten over the shock of that one). In between all that, I did manage to cook the meat loaf dinner this week. If you would like the recipe I use, you can check a previous post I did on it right here. For tonight, I am going to make a recipe I saw on the Food Network website for an easy Shrimp and Grits. I am not a big grits fan, but Michelle loves them so we thought we would give this one a try. This recipe cheats a little by using instant grits, but feel free to use whatever works best for you.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits

3/4 cup instant grits

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons butter

1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon, plus wedges for serving

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, covered. Uncover and slowly whisk in the grits, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

meanwhile, season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic and cayenne pepper, if using, and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of water, the lemon juice and parsley; stir to coat the shrimp with the sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Divide the grits among shallow bowls and top with the shrimp and sauce. Serve with lemon wedges.

It’s a very simple meal. The prep time and the cooking time should only take you about 30 minutes in total and it will make a nice dinner.

Well it’s back to the crazy week for me. More medicine to pick up for Sean, start packing for Charlotte and we have a party to attend tomorrow, so I won’t be cooking anything tomorrow. There won’t be a meal plan for next week since we are leaving to travel on Tuesday, but I do plan to blog while we are gone and post some recipes and ideas that a few readers have asked about. If you have anything you would like to see or read about, feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll see if I can fit it in for next week’s writing. Thanks again to everyone for following along. Have a wonderful Friday, enjoy your day, and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Seafood

 

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Here’s a blog about meal plans from a great blog that I follow, rantingchef.com. he also has found that the meal plan works really well, and there’s a great recipe for Garlic Lime Chicken there too!

Rantings of an Amateur Chef

What do you want to do for dinner for tonight? A question which is common to too many households. Let me tell you that if you are asking that question after a long day at work, you are just as likely to order in a pizza as you are to making anything good.

A number of years ago, I was at the end of a work week and my wife and I looked back at our meals: three nights with a frozen dinner, one dinner that ended with the word “Helper” and a delivery pizza. We decided we wanted to make a change and that is when we began to menu plan in earnest. Typically on a Friday evening (if not busy) or Saturday, I will sit down and plan a menu for the week. This includes dinners for all seven days and weekend lunches. The next critical step is I…

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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

A Kid’s Delight – Chicken Fingers & Tater Tots, Homemade

Tonight’s recipes are a kid’s delight (well, my kid’s anyway). Sean likes to get chicken fingers when we got out, and adding tater tots to the meal is just icing on the cake for him. Chicken fingers themselves are pretty easy to make. Some recipes call for frying them, but I have decided to go with one that bakes the chicken to make it a little healthier. It’;s a very simple recipe with not many ingredients.

Chicken Fingers

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Salt

2 cups breadcrumbs

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch-wide strips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set a rack on a baking sheet and mist with cooking spray. Whisk the eggs, mustard and 1 teaspoon of salt in a shallow bowl. Place the breadcrumbs in a second shallow bowl. Dip the chicken strips in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off, then coat with the breadcrumbs. Place the chicken on the rack and bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

A few notes about the chicken fingers. Placing them on a rack over the baking sheet is key, since it lets air circulate around the whole piece of chicken, allowing it to crisp up all over. You can buy chicken tenders pre-cut  already, but they seem to be more expensive than just buying boneless chicken and cutting it yourself. Lastly, you could use any breadcrumbs you choose for this recipe; I am using homemade breadcrumbs, but if I went for store-bought, I would use panko to give you a little extra crunch.

Now on to the tater tots. As I have said, I’ve never made these before. I looked at a bunch of recipes and each one seemed to have both good and bad results, so I wasn’t really sure which one to go for until I found this one from Cook’s Country. It seems simple, basic and looks like it will taste good, so let’s go for it!

Tater Tots

1 cup water

2 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

4 cups peanut oil or vegetable oil

 In a small bowl, whisk the water and salt together until the salt dissolves. Transfer the salt water and potatoes to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until coarsely ground, 10 to 12 pulses, stirring occasionally.

Drain the potato mixture in a fine-mesh strainer, pressing the potatoes with a spoon until dry (the liquid should measure about 1½ cups); discard liquid. Transfer the potatoes to a microwave safe bowl and microwave, uncovered, until dry and sticky, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

Stir the flour, black pepper and cayenne pepper into the potatoes. Spread the potato mixture into a thin layer over a large sheet of aluminum foil and let it cool for 10 minutes. Push the potatoes to the center of the foil and place the foil and potatoes in an 8-inch square baking pan. Push the foil into the corners and up the sides of  the pan, smoothing it flush to the pan. Press the potato mixture tightly and evenly into the pan. Freeze, uncovered, until firm, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Heat the oil in a saucepan over high heat until 375 degrees. Using the foil overhang, lift potatoes from pan and cut into 1¼ by 1-inch pieces (6 cuts in 1 direction and 8 in other). Fry half of the potato tots, until golden brown and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally once they begin to brown. Drain the prepared baking sheet, season to taste and place in oven. Bring the oil back to 375 degrees and repeat with the remaining potato tots. Serve warm.

You could take the easy way out and just make a frozen bag of tater tots, but showing off to your kids that you can make them at home is pretty cool on its own :). I am just making some simple steamed broccoli as a vegetable, since it is Sean’s favorite vegetable and this is his meal.

That’s it for tonight. Follow the recipes and you’ll be the hero of the day for the kids. Tomorrow I’ll be making Meatloaf for dinner, which is one of my all time favorites. I have made it before, but it’s a family favorite and turns up on here once in a while. I may vary the recipe a little tomorrow, so check back and see how what’s up. Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Potatoes, Poultry, Vegetables

 

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Nice and Slow (Cooked) Barbecued Ribs

Tonight’s dinner is very easy and makes good use of your slow cooker. Since it’s not quite grill season yet here in New York, I decided to try a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that uses the slow cooker for Barbecued Ribs. This recipe uses baby back ribs, my personal favorite, and has very few ingredients. It doesn’t get much easier than this one and from the looks of the ribs (they are almost done as I write this) they are going to taste great.

Barbecued Ribs in the Slow Cooker

3 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

6 pounds pork baby back ribs

3 cups barbecue sauce

Vegetable oil spray

Mix the paprika, sugar, cayenne, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of pepper together, then rub the mixture evenly over the ribs. Arrange the ribs upright in the slow cooker, with the meaty sides facing outward toward the slow cooker insert wall. Pour the barbecue sauce over the ribs, cover and cook until the ribs are tender, 6 to 8 hours on low.

Position an oven rack 10 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler. Place a wire rack in an aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and coat with vegetable spray. Carefully transfer the ribs, meaty side down, to the prepared baking sheet and tent with foil. Let the braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove the fat from the surface using a  large spoon.

Strain the braising liquid into a medium saucepan and simmer until thickened and measures 2 cups, about 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Brush the ribs with some sauce and broil until the ribs begin to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip the ribs over, brush with more sauce, and continue to broil until the ribs are well browned and sticky, 9 to 12 minutes longer, brushing with additional sauce every few minutes. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with the remaining sauce.

This recipe serves 6 to 8, so I cut the recipe in half since there is only the three of us for dinner tonight. You can replace the dry rub ingredients with any type of dry rub you prefer. Everyone seems to have their own rub they like to use for ribs (I know I have one I use, and as we get into the summer I’ll post it). The same can be said for the barbecue sauce. You can use any bottled sauce that you’re family prefers, make your own sauce that you like, or make a simple one, like this:

Quick and Easy Barbecue Sauce

2 1/4 cups ketchup

3/4 cup molasses

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 teaspoons hot sauce

3/4 teaspoon liquid smoke

Whisk all the ingredients together in bowl until well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For this rib recipe, the baby backs work really well since they are smaller and fit in the slow cooker better than larger spare ribs. Depending on the size of your slow cooker, you may not be able to fit a rack of ribs larger than 2 pounds anyway ( I know I can’t).

To go with the ribs, I decided to make some potato salad today. Like barbecue sauce or a dry rub, everyone has their own version or recipe of potato salad. I keep mine pretty simple and don’t really add anything to it. Occasionally I’ll put some diced red onion in, but that’s a rare occasion. I really prefer just the potatoes myself, but add whatever your family likes best or use whatever recipe you have been using.

Potato Salad

  1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 pounds potatoes, cooked, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)

In large bowl combine mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, sugar and pepper. Add the potatoes and gently mix until blended. Chill for 2 to 3 hours before serving.

Sean is not a big fan of potato salad, so he’ll be having a sweet potato tonight with his ribs. I am serving some corn with this meal, off the cob since it’s not in season yet, so we’ll settle for frozen this time.

That’s all there is to this dinner. I just took the ribs out of the slow cooker to get ready to transfer to the broiler to crisp up, and they are fall off the bone tender already; they look great. Here’s a picture:

Tomorrow’s dinner is a Sean’s choice and we’re going to try it completely homemade. I am making Chicken Fingers, Tater Tots and Broccoli. I’ve never tried making tater tots at home before, so we’ll see how it goes. The recipe seems pretty straightforward, so it shouldn’t be too bad. Tune in tomorrow to find out how it goes! Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Pork, Potatoes, Salad, Sauce, Slow Cooker Meals

 

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This Week’s Meal Plan

So I am going to try to keep things pretty simple for the next 10 days or so by using mostly what we have in the freezer since we are leaving for a trip to Charlotte after that and will be gone for a week. I would rather not buy stuff that I know we’ll end up having some leftovers that will just get thrown away. I rummaged through the freezer this weekend, bought a few staples today, and this is what we’ve come up with for the week:

Monday: Baby Back Ribs in the slow cooker, Homemade Potato Salad, Corn

Tuesday – Homemade Chicken Fingers, Homemade Tater Tots and Broccoli

Wednesday: Meatloaf, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Baked Potatoes

Thursday: I have down for our meat-free day, but we haven’t been able to agree on a meal for the day, so this one is still open.

Friday: Our seafood meal for the week will be Shrimp and Grits

Saturday: We’ll be out for the day, so it looks like a leftovers day for us

Sunday: Pork Roast with Apple Stuffing, Rice, Cauliflower

That looks like a pretty good menu for the week. I’ve never made the tater tots before, so that one will be something different, but it doesn’t look like it’s too hard to do. I was finally able to start growing some of mine own herbs, although it hasn’t been quite warm enough to put them outside yet, but I am just starting to get some growth out of the basil, oregano and parsley, so we’ll see how it goes.

A few of my friends have approached me about things that would like to see me write about, so I’ll be taking on some of that while we are away from home and I won’t be cooking as much. If there’s anything you would like to see written here, recipes you’re looking for, new methods to try, or anything at all, just let me know. I’m open to writing about more than what we happen to be eating for the day. You can leave a comment here, send me an email at IguanaFlats@msn.com, visit my Facebook page (the link is on the right) or send me a message on Twitter (also listed at the right). I’ll get back to you as soon as I can and I love new ideas, so I am always looking for something new to try or write about.

Well, back to a lazy Sunday. Sean is under the weather today, so there’s nothing set in stone for a meal today; we’ll have to see how everything goes. Check back in tomorrow to see my recipe for the barbecued ribs in the slow cooker. It’s a good one. Until then, enjoy your day and your meal!

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Cooking, Meal Plan Menu

 

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This recipe is from another cooking blog I follow, 35aweek.com, that has awesome recipes that are not only easy to cook, but money saving as well. Check it out and check out her blog.

The $35 a Week Project

This popular-through-the-ages French dish is pure genius in its simplicity: chicken thighs and shallots braised in wine, chicken stock and cider vinegar. That’s it. No obscure or exotic ingredients or off-the-wall cooking methods. And the ratio of flavor to effort is phenomenal—I was pretty surprised the first time I made it. You mean I can just throw a handful of ingredients together, bake them in a skillet, and have it taste that good, for under $2 a serving? Mais oui!

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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

It’s a Baked Fish Friday!

It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for our seafood meal for the week. it doesn’t get much easier than this one. i am making a very simple Baked Tilapia, with Brown Rice and a nice veggie dish of Sautéed Snap Peas, Asparagus and Peas with Herbs. First, the fish dish. There’s very little to do with this one, so it can be done quickly.

Baked Tilapia

7 tablespoons butter

4 (6 to 8 ounce) tilapia filets

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lime, finely grated zest and juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large cast iron pan, Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Rinse the fish and pat it dry; season the fish with salt, pepper, lime zest and lime juice. Add the fish to the cast iron pan and place 1 tablespoon of butter on each filet. Cook the fish in the oven until tender, about 8 to 12 minutes.

For the side dishes, they are both pretty easy to make. The first is Brown Rice. You can substitute brown rice for white rice in just about any recipe, just keep in mind that brown rice takes longer to cook the white rice. To me, tastewise, it isn’t any better or worse than white rice, just a little different, and it has much more nutrition than white rice, so I am trying to introduce it more into our diet. This is just a simple recipe on the stove top for the brown rice.

Brown Rice

1 1/2 cups brown rice

Large pinch of salt

Put the rice in a small saucepan with water to cover by about 1 inch. Add the salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then adjust the heat so the mixture simmers gently. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, checking occasionally to make the sure the water is not evaporating too quickly. When the liquid has been absorbed, taste and see if the rice is tender or nearly so. If not, add about 1/2 cup more of liquid and continue to cook covered.

When the rice is tender, you can serve it or turn the heat off, or keep it at an absolute minimum, and let it sit for 15-30 minutes, during which time it will become a bit drier. There are a lot of things you can add to the rice at this point, like a little butter or extra virgin olive oil, some fresh herbs, grated cheese, some shrimp, or instead of cooking in water, cook in some kind of stock. Once the brown rice is cooked, you can use it as a substitute for white rice in recipes like pilaf.

Now on to the vegetables. This is a recipe that I literally picked up at Willams Sonoma. They had a recipe card on the counter for it and it looked really good, so I thought I would try it. It is Sautéed Snap Peas, Asparagus, and Peas with Spring Herbs and Salt. It’s a great showcase for some spring vegetables.

Sautéed Snap Peas, Asparagus and Peas with Spring Herbs and Salt

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 small leek, white and light green portions, thinly sliced

3/4 pound sugar snap peas, cut in half

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, spears thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups fresh shelled peas (you can use frozen if you can’t find fresh)

1/4 cup water

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as chives or parsley, or a combination

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the leek and cook, stirring, until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas, asparagus and shelled peas and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are evenly coated with the oil, about 1 minute. Add the water and cook, stirring the vegetables occasionally, until the water has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon zest and herbs and stir until evenly distributed. Transfer the vegetables to a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Yummy, yummy! It’s a pretty easy meal to put together. If you’re looking to save some time, you can always use white rice instead of the brown, but I think it goes nicely with the fish.

I have no plans for dinner tomorrow since we have plans for the evening, but I do hope to have our menu plan for next week set for tomorrow, so I will be posting that. Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Rice, Seafood, Vegetables

 

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One-Pot Chicken Parm Rice | Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy Living Blog

This is a good recipe for a one pot meal, and for all my gluten-free friends out there, it’s a gluten free recipe. Check it out!

One-Pot Chicken Parm Rice | Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy Living Blog.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Dinner, Poultry

 

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Back to the Kitchen For Some Fried Chicken

Hectic schedules, homework, late work days, you name it and it has a way of interfering with life in general, including cooking dinner. We ended up having leftovers the last 2 nights because of crazy schedules, doctor’s appointments and everyday life, but today I am going to get back in the kitchen and I am going to make some fried chicken.

I don’t make fried chicken too often, and when I do I usually oven fry it to cut down on the mess and all the oil needed, but tonight I think I am going to really fry it. I could use the deep fryer, but I am going to do it on the stove this time, and I am going to try a different recipe tonight, one I got from America’s Test Kitchen.

Fried Chicken

1 quart buttermilk

3 tablespoons salt

4 pounds bone in chicken pieces (halved split breasts, thighs, and/or drumsticks)

5 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

5 to 6 cups vegetable oil

Whisk 3 1/4 cups of the buttermilk and the salt together in a large bowl until the salt dissolves. Add the chicken and coat thoroughly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (Don’t let the chicken soak much longer or it will become too salty).

Whisk the flour, baking powder, thyme, pepper, and garlic powder together in a large bowl. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of buttermilk and rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse wet sand. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk soak and then coat thoroughly with the flour mixture and lay it on a wire rack set over a baking sheet while the oil heats.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Pour 1 inch of the oil into a large Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Add half of the chicken, skin-side down. Cover and cook until deep golden brown on the first side, about 10 minutes (After the first 4 minutes, re-arrange the pieces if some are browning faster than others).

Turn the chicken pieces over. Continue to fry, uncovered and maintaining an oil temperature of 315 degrees, until the chicken pieces are a deep golden on the second side, about 7 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to drain for 5 minutes, then lay on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Add additional oil to the pot as needed to maintain a depth of 1 inch and return it to 375 degrees before frying the remaining chicken.

With the fried chicken, I am going to serve mashed potatoes and gravy. I have made mashed potatoes many times in the meal plan, and if you would like to see the method I use for the potatoes, you can check an earlier blog posting here. You definitely need to have some gravy with this one as well. I have posted a quick chicken gravy recipe before, but since I don’t have any pan drippings to use, I am going to use the all purpose gravy recipe that I have used in the past.

All Purpose Gravy

3 tablespoons butter

1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine

1 rib celery, chopped fine

1 onion, minced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken broth 

2 cups beef broth

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried

5 whole black peppercorns

Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook until softened and well browned, about 9 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly browned, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the broths and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20-25 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface.

Pour the gravy through a fine-mesh strainer (or gravy separator) into a clean saucepan, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste.

I’ll be serving all this with some simple steamed green beans. It’s just a pound of green beans (stem ends trimmed) in a steaming rack in a large pot of boiling water just touching the rack. I cover and steam the green beans for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the beans are crisp-tender.

If there are any leftovers, there’s nothing like some cold fried chicken with some potato salad for a nice lunch or dinner the next day. Tomorrow is Friday, which means we’ll be having fish. I picked up some tilapia this morning so we’ll be having a nice simple baked tilapia with some brown rice and asparagus tomorrow.   Check out the blog tomorrow so you can see how it goes. Until then, enjoy your day and enjoy your meal!


 
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Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Gravy, Potatoes, Poultry, Vegetables

 

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A Slow Day Calls for Slow Cooking

It’s been a typical Monday, so I am glad I was cooking with the slow cooker today. Today I am using a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for Chicken and Dumplings. I’ve made this before on the stove top, but I decided to use the slow cooker method today.

Chicken and Dumplings

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 onions, minced

2 celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch thick

6 garlic cloves, minced

1  tablespoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup dry sherry

4 1/2 cups chicken broth, plus extra if needed

4 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 bay leaves

1 cup frozen peas

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

For the Dumplings:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

3 tablespoons butter

Dry the chicken with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of the chicken lightly on both sides, 5 to 8 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Repeat with 1 tablespoon more of the oil and the remaining chicken; transfer to a bowl.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, celery, garlic, tomato paste and thyme, and cook until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the sherry, scraping up any browned bits. Whisk in 1 cup of broth, smoothing out any lumps; transfer to the slow cooker.

Stir in the remaining 3 1/2 cups of broth, carrots and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Nestle browned chicken with any accumulated juices into the slow cooker. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender, 4 to 6 hours on low setting.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, allow to cool slightly, then shred into bite size pieces. Let the stew settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from the surface using a large spoon. Discard the bay leaves. Stir the shredded chicken, peas and parsley into the stew, and season with salt and pepper to taste (Adjust the stew consistency with additional broth if necessary). Cover and cook on high until simmering, or transfer to a Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

For the dumplings, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Microwave the milk and butter together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt the butter. Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture until just incorporated and smooth. Drop golf ball size dumplings on top of the simmering stew, leaving about 1/4 inch between each dumpling (you should have about 18 dumplings). Cover and cook until the dumplings double in size, 25 to 35 minutes. Serve.

It’s a delicious meal. The dumplings come out just right and the chicken just falls apart and tastes wonderful. Here’s a picture of how it looks when it’s done:

Tomorrow night’s meal will be the Spaghetti and Meatballs that I never got to last week. Work schedules and homework just got in the way last week, but this week we shouldn’t have any problems (fingers crossed). I have made spaghetti and meatballs before, and if you want to see the previous recipe, you can check it out here. I think I am going to try to vary it a little bit this time. Check back tomorrow and see how it looks. Until then, enjoy the last day of winter (it was 74 here in New York today) and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Slow Cooker Meals

 

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