Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Potato, Squash & Carrot Stew + Chicken Salad: 1 chicken, 2 dishes

Adding Cilantro, a hint of lime and a ripen Tomato, makes this soup and sandwich meal over the top.  I have made many chicken salad sandwiches in my lifetime and eaten just as many or more but, this version is my go to chicken salad, it hits every one of my taste buds that want to be touched. 

I love a bowl of hot soup by itself but, to also pair it with a delicious chicken sandwich, then all I can say is you have a winning combination.  I  was raised on soups and stews, anything that would feed us hungry vultures.  By watching Mama cook, taking mental notes (might I add) and also, with my years of feeding my own crew, I have learned to cook some very tasty one pot meals and a sandwich made the right way, is the icing on this meal.

You Will Need...

For poaching
3 pounds of chicken breast (boneless & skinless)
41/2 to 5 cups of water.
3 stalks celery
3 large carrots
2 onions
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf (2 if they are small)

For Your soup...
5 cups poaching liquid, plus the carrots
6 cups of potatoes (will take 6 to 7, depending on there size)
3 1/2 cups of butternut squash (peeled & seeded)
1 large onion (or two small ones)
4 garlic cloves
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chipolte chile pepper
Salt & fresh Cracked black pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons honey

For Your Sandwich

5 1/2 cups cubed chicken breast (cooled)
1 1/2 cups carrots
6 green onion
1 2/3 cups of mayonnaise
1 can of green chilies (.45 ounce can)
2 1/2 tablespoons of cilantro (fresh only please)
Juice from 1/2 of a lime
1/4 teaspoon of ground chipotle chile pepper
Parmesan shavings
2 tomatoes  (best they have, worth every penny)
6 hamburger buns
Butter (real please)

Start with Poaching...

In a 5 quart dutch oven place your chicken, onions (cut into 1/4's), carrots, celery, thyme, bay leaf and 'fresh' cracked black pepper.  After all is in, add your water to the pot, make sure you start out with cold water.

Place on the stove having your burner set on medium heat, right before it comes to a boil and you can see bubbles starting to rise up to the surface, turn the temperature down to a low simmer and cover with a lid.

Do not allow your chicken to come to a boil, if so then the vegetables and spices are not allowed the time to soak up all that goodness.  Also, you do not want over cooked chicken on the outside.

How long you cook your chicken will depend on a few things, 'your' stove and the size of chicken pieces you are using and actually, just the meat itself can change the temperature.

Mine takes anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes.  Please invest in a meat thermometer, when inserted into your chicken breast and it has reached 165 degrees, it will be done. I check every 5 minutes after the first initial 20 minutes.

Cool it Down

When your chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees, then it is done.

Pace your chicken breast in a bowl, add a few strips of lime zest, trying not to get any of the white, as it is bitter and then add the zest to your bowl of chicken breast and then top the chicken off with some of the poaching liquid.

Place your chicken breast in the refrigerator so it is able to cool down, nothing worse than adding mayonnaise to hot chicken when making chicken salad.

Strain your poaching broth into a bowl and add the carrots, the rest has met its doom, no flavor left so I discard them.  Place your broth in the refrigerator to cool down.  I would say in about 2 hours, the broth and chicken should be cooled down enough to continue on.  Placing your broth in the freezer will cool it down faster.

All Your Ducks in A Row

The best way to make this soup is to have all your ingredients ready to cook, sitting right next to you.  I find sitting at the kitchen table and cutting up vegetables is very relaxing.  Also having your spices already measured out and on a plate, will help in making sure you have all your spices you will need.

Drain your cooked vegetables from your poaching broth, saving the broth and carrots, set aside.

Peel and dice both your squash and potatoes.  Dice your onions in a medium dice and then slice the carrots that you just saved from your poaching liquid, slice cross wise, about a inch long.

Peel the skin off of your garlic cloves, cut in half and add to your spice plate.  Make sure your honey and pepper mill is close by.

Fry & Boil

Place your cubed potatoes into your cooking broth.  Cook for ten minutes after ten minutes has passed,

Add the carrots left over from your poaching broth.  Grab your potato masher and start to mash.

Keeping the heat on medium low.

In a frying pan, on high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil, allow the pan to get hot, then add your onion  and squash.  Stir fry for around 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes are up lower your heat to medium, add your spices and garlic cloves, stir for a minute, or until you are able to smell the garlic cooking, cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on low, until the squash is tender but, not falling apart.

Please do not skip the cooling down process of your poaching broth, if you do then you will have cooked potatoes on the outside but hard un-cooked potatoes in the middle.

Simmer that Goodness
When mashing your potatoes and carrots remember that you want your soup to resemble a more rustic consistency.

Cook on simmer for 5 minutes, stirring once, make sure you hit the bottom of the pan with your spoon, so as your soup will not scorch.

Remove the garlic cloves from your squash & onions and then add to your potato and carrot pot.  Add your honey, taste and then adjust for salt and pepper.  Cook together on medium low for around 6 to 8 minutes.

I like to add a few tablespoons of heavy cream at the end, it adds some depth and makes for a more luxurious soup.  As they do say 'fat adds flavor'.  

Sandwich Time

Take your chicken out of the broth, discard the lime zest and add the broth back to your pot of soup and mix.  Dice your chicken in bite size chunks, add back to your bowl. 

Grate your carrots, slice your tomatoes, green onions add to your bowl of chicken.

Strain the green chili's in a small mesh strainer, take the back of a wooden spoon and push out all the juice.  Then add the juice of half of a lime over your green chili's and set aside.  Allow the chili's and lime juice to drain as you get the rest of the ingredients ready.

In a separate bowl add mayonnaise, ground chipolte pepper and cilantro, mix well.   After your mayonnaise is well incorporated, add to your chicken and toss in your green chili's. 

Buttered UP!

In a separate bowl add mayonnaise, ground chipolte pepper and cilantro, mix well.   After your mayonnaise is well incorporated, add to your chicken and toss in your green chili's.

In the mean time butter your hamburger buns, one side and plate on a griddle or a frying pan and toast one side of the bread.

I have found that using real butter makes this sandwich go from great to 'fantastic'.

Also, it is key to get a ripen tomato, I actually paid 4 dollars for these two (big) well ripened tomatoes, it is so key to making this sandwich as mouth watering as it is and also, salt & pepper your tomatoes as you add them to your sandwiches.

 Make it 'even' Better...

After you have topped off each hamburger bun take a chunk of parmesan cheese and a potato peeler, shave a few slices of parmesan cheese and place on top of your chicken salad and then top with a tomato slice and then top it off with your bun.

Now this would make a great lunch or supper for anyone, just add a few chips on the side.  If I decide to give my dear husband this sandwich for his lunch during his lunch break, I take a few extra steps.

I will toast the bread, make sure it has cooled down before I place it into a sandwich bag.  I place the chicken salad in a container and the tomato slice is also placed in a separate baggie.  This was my husband can put it altogether at work during his lunch break and not have a soggy sandwich.  Well worth the trouble.

Soup & Sandwich...

Yes the sandwich is delicious on its own, as is the soup but add them together and you have the perfect match.  Between the hot healthy soup, paired with this flavor packed sandwich your family will be begging you to make this meal every week.  Since I came up with this recipe, we now have it once a week.

For another delicious yet easy recipe...

Lentil & Vegetable Soup

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All written material is owned by Denise O, it will not be 'used' (sharing my article is different, it is acceptable and appreciated) without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real folks.:)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl XLVII: Football, Fun, Food and Yes, Drinks! Part 6

Yes we are now close to kick off time, I have exactly 1 hour to get a bit more of my knowledge out.  I am a beer person but, I love me some Alabama Sangria.  You just might also.

Do not get me wrong...

I love a ice cold beer like most, the colder the better.  I also like to have a bit more of a punch at times and this Alabama Sangria is my go to drink.  It is also good because you make it by the batch and then you can make friends.

Hunch Punch

Me, back in the day
I remember back in the day when we would all pool our money together so we could make us some hunch punch.  I am sure I am dating myself by admitting this but, oh well, so goes life.

The one thing that has changed over these decades is, I can now afford a better base for the punch other than kool-aid.  I am able to buy a better quality of spirits and no, I am no longer the one in the corner trying to suck that last little bit of alcohol out of that piece of fruit.

After saying that, it does make a bit giddy and it taste so darn good.  I usually soak my fruit over night, you don't have the time.  Still do this step but leave it out on the counter, room temperature fruit will soak up the alcohol faster than cold fruit will.

Alabama Sangria Punch

You will need...

4 cups peach schnapps
2 bottles wine (white or blush
46 ounce pineapple juice
3 1/2 cups mango nectar
1 cup vodka
1 orange (sliced into rings)
1 2 liter Sprite


5 cups watermelon
2 cups peaches  (frozen)
2 1/2 cups pineapple
1 cantaloupe
Star fruit for garnish

Grab a few extra sprites, some folks don't like a strong drink, so be prepared.  Also, add the fruit you like.

Soak the Fruit

Cut up your fruit and place your fruit in a big glass bowl, including your orange.  Pour your schnapps and vodka over the fruit and allow the fruit to rest, room temperature.  So the fruit will have a better chance to soak up all that goodness.

Almost 'buttkicking' Time...

When your fruit is done, add your wine, pineapple juice and mango nectar to your bowl.  This is why you need a big bowl.  Mix and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes, pour it in a pitcher.

I use a bamboo skewer and place some of the fruit pieces on the skewer, always the star on top.

Is it a must you take this step, well no but remember, they will be talkng about this party for months to come, let us make the feedback positive.


That you have taken the steps to beautify your Alabama Sangria Punch, it is time to start pouring the drinks.

 After you have pours the Sangria from the pitcher, then top it off with a tad bit of Sprite or more if you would like, it is your drink.


For us Too...

Yes we will make sure that Bugg and Sweet Tee will have plenty of ice but also, we need ice.  It is one of the most important items you can have!

Make sure you add non-alcoholic drinks and of course, beer to the tub.  If you don't have a wash tub like I do ( I live in Bama folks, do I have a wash tub) then use bath tub.

You will need all the space you have in your refrigerator to place all those goodies you are going to serve your guest.

If someone calls before coming and they say "Do you need any thing?".  Tell them yes you do, I need more ice.  You never (it seems) have enough.

3 Minutes to 6...

I am sure I will be a bit past my 6 o'clock deadline but hey, it will only be a few minutes late.  If this series did not help you for this Super Bowl Party then maybe, it will come in handy next year.

Drinking Game...

I have comprised a drinking game you and your guest will be able to enjoy. How ever many of these suggestions you want to use or not use, is up to you.

When a quarterback is sacked: The team that was sacked must take a shot or down what they are drinking.

When a team makes a touchdown: The team that did not stop them from making a touchdown, must take a shot or down what they are drinking

When a team makes a field goal: The team that did not block that ball has to take a shot or down what they are drinking.

If the field goal: Was kicked at least 40 yards away and it is successful, the opposing team has to take a additional shot.

If the field goal: Is missed then, the team that missed, must take a shot and 2 shots if the attempt was 30 yards or less.

Have a great day!  Please 'do not' Drink & Drive!

Now, Let's Get Ready For Some Football!

It all started here...

Super Bowl: Part 1

Never Forgotten!

To all of you wonderful men & women (& their families) whom keep our freedoms alive and well, you are in our thoughts today, no matter where you might be.  A special shout out to those in Afghanistan, we 'still' have your back!

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All written material is owned by Denise O, it will not be 'used' (sharing my article is different and acceptable) without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real folks.:)

Super Bowl XLVII: Football, Fun, Tips and Yes, Appetizers! Part 5

We have gotten through the pranks, gifts and Meat.  Now it is time for appetizers.  Must I point this out (again) this is Super Bowl Sunday, we are Americans, we will be eating, Period!

For those that know me, I just might surprise you when I reveal one of my tricks...

Yes it is already made goodies from the deli I use, Sue Me!

In my defense, our publix supermarket has a great deal.  If you buy 6 items from their list, pepsi products, tortilla chips, lays chips and Salsa, then you get 10 dollars off of any platter, I opted for the Cuban sandwich platter.

They will 'never' Know...

Grab a pretty platter and a small bowl that will fit in the middle, add what you like as a little nibble, I decided on some sweet grape tomatoes.

Lettuce you will find, will become your best friend as you start to throw parties.

Lettuce makes your goodies pop, it is colorful and when your snacks are being gobbled up, your platter will not look old, dirty and empty.

Place your bowl in the middle and then start by laying a single layer of some loose leaf lettuce.

After you have placed your lettuce all around your platter, start adding your sandwiches, or just about any appetizer you might be serving.

Remember, all sandwiches are not make equal so work with the sandwiches until you get the look you find most appealing.

No Shame in this Game Folks!

Now you tell me, would you dig into that platter or what.  I was intending to buy the other ingredients any ways, so why not add a few more bunches to the bunch.

Man Rule: Take those extra steps to help the hostess/host, not only by buying the platter (remember the discount), assemble it and just hear all the women say "He sure is a very thoughtful man, hmm.".  You just might get lucky if you are with someone or there might be some single folks that you will then impress.  You meet your life partner today.


Serving sandwiches for appetizers is a economical and easy way to prepare.  I suggest you use a platter that you will have to replenish, rather than putting them all out at once.  When you do this, you end up with dried out bread and yes, this sandwich contains mayonnaise, do not take the chance of the mayonnaise going bad.

My Turkey, Bacon & Ham club would be a great edition to every party.  When you yourself make the sandwiches, instead of just laying cold cuts out, you then are able to stretch that meat a bit more and actually give your guest a better tasting snack to nibble on.

Spread it!

I make a very yummy green olive spread, it is a take off of a southern favorite, pimento cheese spread.  It is very easy to make and you might even have the ingredients in your refrigerator already.

You will need:

2 8 oz. packages cream cheese

2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese (I prefer sharp)

1 cup green olives

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon (or more if desired) Thai chili sauce

Salt & Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Let's Get Started...

Place the cream cheese, mayonnaise and mix.  Make sure you take the time to mix it well.

Add your Thai chili sauce, salt and pepper to the bowl and mix for 1 minutes, you want all the seasoning to penetrate each and every bit of creamy goodness.

I will just let the mixer go for as long as it takes for me to shred my cheese and chop my olives.

Make sure to drain your olives well and also, I prefer to start with a whole olive, instead of those already chopped up, they contain less liquid, we don't want a runny dip.

Add to the Mix

After you have chopped your olives and grated your cheese, add to your mix and then mix until it is just incorporated.  You want the cheese and olives to mix in well but, not to the point that people have no idea what those green and red specks are.  We don't want to scare our guest.

Grab that lettuce...

A platter, your favorite crackers.  Maybe cube up some cheese, pierce it with a toothpick and place a black or green olive on top.  I am sure this will be a very busy location for your guest.

Easy Folks...

I am sure you have many other delicious recipes in your recipe box and I am sure they are loved by all but every now and then, just make a bit of a change, try something new.  Maybe just one dish at a time.

Also, grab the chips and dip, they are just fine and your guest will appreciate the thought.

I will not be making any homemade salsa, it will be coming out of a jar.  I find that there are so many delicious salsa products out there, so why make extra work for yourself.

Also please remind them, you did supply them with a wonderful gift, as you hand them a EFF-IT ball, they will not even give it a second thought.

Are 'you' Ready for Some Football!

I know I am and Bugg, Sweet Tee are ready for the fight.   As  have said previously, if you need supplies, delegate, this is not the time to be a martyr.  Make them work!

Super Bowl:  Part 1

Super Bowl: Part 2

Super Bowl:  Part 3

Super Bowl:  Part 4

Super Bowl:  Part 6

Turkey, Ham & Bacon Club Recipe

Once again, sorry about the typos, I am trying folks, working on real time here folks.  I will not give up! I have 1 more article to go... Drinks

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All written material is owned by Denise O, it will not be 'used' (sharing my article is different and acceptable) without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real folks.:)

Super Bowl XLVII: Football, Fun, Food and Yes, Meat! Part 4

Well folks we are here, it is Super Bowl Sunday and we are almost there when it comes to throwing the best Super Bowl Party, by kickoff which will be 6:30 EST.  We want, Meat!

Meat:  It's What's for Dinner

My hubby has a saying "Meat is for the man, bone is for the dog.".  Yes meat is for the man and us wo-men but it will also be served to my best friends Bugg & Sweet Tee, why should they be left out of it all.  If you are going to throw some meat on the grill for your dog, please do not add any seasoning, they can be harmful to your pets, especially black pepper, onion salt (onions, period), garlic powder (garlic of any kind).  

My husband will not be disappointed with today's Super Bowl menu, I promise you.  He is a meat lover and he will not be denied and as the hostess of this party, I will make sure each and every person is happy.  Plus also, operation duct tape worked beautifully.  One for the record books.


I mean really, what is more American than a big, hot & juicy slab of meat, it be in a bun, or just set on your dinner plate, us Americans will devour many of meat recipes come this Super Bowl Sunday.

Rightly so!

I am about to share with you one of my favorite recipes, it calls for overnight marinating but, if you start this process in the next hour, you will be able to share this wonderful recipe with the ones you love.

I will be sharing a recipe for sliders in time for kick-off but, we are a small production company here and the cook (also me) is a bit busy right now.  She (me) promises you she (me) will have the recipe out in plenty of time, so as you and your guest will still be able to gobble up these small hamburgers in time for your Super Bowl festivities.

You will need hamburger (the amount depends on how many you will be making), about 1 pound for each 10 sliders, give or take.  Dinner rolls, buy in most all supermarkets in the USA, onions, salt & pepper and all the condiments you think you and your guest might like.

My Choices: Tomatoes (grape tomatoes), saute'd mushrooms & onions, both sweet & dill pickles, cheese, lettuce, ketchup, mustard & mayonnaise. 

Grilling Time Folks...

I usually don't just start off with a man rule but in this case, I really feel it is a 'must'.  Once the meat is well, can I say, a tad bit over done, why even bother...

Well until that 8th beers had been drunk, then even the warm potato salad might look appealing, save your guest this potential bout of food poisoning.

Man Rule:  Only one beer before you tend to your grilling duties, more after folks, chill.  Burnt meat makes for a bad meal and also, for a very upset host/hostess.

Grilled Chicken, Done Mama's Way...

You will need & it can be doubled or tripled.

5 pounds Chicken breast (boneless & skinless)
1 10 ounce bottle of teriyaki sauce
8 loves garlic
4 bell peppers (red, orange & yellow)
4 portabella mushrooms (large ones)
3 onions
1 cup chicken broth
Salt & Pepper to taste

1 throw away tin roasting pan

Always use fresh cracked black pepper, it adds a lot more flavor.

Cut off the top part of a few heads of garlic (the rest can be saved in the refrigerator for further use, cover with olive oil and then plastic wrap) place them in some tin foil, drizzle with olive oil, set aside.

I char my peppers under the broiler, on high and as they char I turn them.  They had a special on organic baby peppers so I opted for them, the same process but I find if you just gut these in half, place on the sheet,  there is no need in turning them.   Any pepper works great with this process.

Once your peppers are charred, place into a bowl and cover wit a plate/lid.  In the meantime place your heads of garlic in a 400 degree oven and allow them to roast, check after 15 minutes.  Check the garlic cloves like you check potatoes when baking, run a knife though the clove, if it is soft all the way through, take out and set aside.

Peel & Saute

 I find the best way to make a recipe turn out (especially those you come up with yourself) good and also in an easier fashion altogether is to be prepared and also, being able to chew gum and walk at the same time.

While my garlic is roasting and my peppers are steaming their skins off, I dice up my onions, medium dice.

Place your diced onion in a hot  (medium high heat), add some canola oil and your diced onions.  Saute moving around as if you are making a stir fry) until the onions have 'started' to soften and have turn brown around the edges.

Place all your 'cooled' vegetables in a plastic freezer bag, add your teriyaki sauce, marinade for at least 6 hours.  Turn the bag every 2 hours, so all that goodness reaches ever inch of those chicken breast.

After 6 hours place your chicken on a plate, pour some canola oil over your chicken breast.

Transfer the marinade into a sauce pan (including the vegetables), add your chicken broth, bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.

To the Grill We Go...

I know your husband was such a great man that he has already started the coals and made sure he only put the coals one side, as you want to place your tin pan on the side where there is no coals, this is called indirect cooking method.

Take your tin pan, chicken, mushrooms and cooked marinade out to your grill.  Do not forget a basting brush, tongs, spatula, spray bottle of water for those flare ups and the one beer for the cook or beverage of choice.

Place your pan on the side of your grill that does not have direct heat and then place your chicken on the side of the coals, get a good sear on your chicken beast, transfer them to your tin pan and add your marinade to your tin pan.

Brush your mushrooms with some canola oil and place them over the coals & close the lid, turn as needed until they get to your desired softness.

When your mushrooms have reached 'your' desired consistency then place them in with your chicken and that delicious marinade.  Close the lid, allow to cook together for about 3 minutes.

One More Step...

When I bring this mouth watering dish into the kitchen, I make sure to take this one last step, I cut up the portabella mushrooms for my guest, why make them work so hard on Super Bowl Sunday, it's party time!

After you have sliced your mushrooms, place them back in the chicken and that flavor packed marinade.

You can make a simple pot of rice or, it would be fine sitting right next to any side dish you plan to serve.

Make sure to salt and pepper the chicken breast and mushrooms before cooking them.  The lack of this seasoning will make for a bland dish.  Remember to taste, as the teriyaki sauce has salt in it.


Come on, you know you want to dive right, so will your guest.  We will also throw some hot dogs on for the kids and yes, us big kids also.

Remember Folks:  This is the Super Bowl and 'we want meat', yes we do!

Yes folks, we do have vegetarian folks and quite frankly, I am a huge vegetable fan, so do not let them feel left out, throw in a vegetarian dish that contains more than some pita chip and store bought hummus. 

I promise you, your meat eaters will be placing it on their plate as well.

As the host/hostess, it is your job to make sure that you spread the love on this day.  They will be talking about your Super Bowl until the next year.

You will have plenty of other vegetarian dish to go along with this delicious recipe, as simple as chips and salsa will do the trick.

You Are Doing Fine...

I know you feel as if you are trying to complete this balancing act of cooking, cleaning and making extra stops to the grocery store and you are about to lose your mind, you have time folks.  Calm down and remember the biggest factor of throwing a great Super Bowl Party is to, 'delegate'!

Super Bowl: Part 1

Super Bowl: Part 2

Super Bowl: Part 3

Super Bowl:  Part 4

For that mouth watering eggplant casserole...

Vegetarian Eggplant Parmesan

Folks please excuse my mistakes during this series, I am writing them at real time, basically.  I am using 'some' older photographs, I think I am entitled to at least that.  So please be patient and understanding.

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All written material is owned by Denise O, it will not be 'used' (sharing my article is different and acceptable) without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real folks.:)