I love to cook, but I don’t want to spend a life time in the kitchen which is why I love to make meals that the family loves but does not take a long time for me to get on the table. For my lunch I like a simple little dish which I have talked about before but it is easy to make it work just the same for supper, you just need to make some changes that make it feel like it bigger than it really is. Since this is a little bit bigger I use a wok but only because I have one. You can use whatever pan will hold everything if you don’t. Thawed chicken, cut into bite sized pieces. Amount of everything will depend on how much chicken – I usually do three breasts a package of frozen broccoli, and I use something like 2 tsp for that. You should have enough to coat your pan, so the chicken doesn’t stick. Cook it on medium heat. You want enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan in a thin shimmery layer and you’d want to cook the chicken over high heat. I find chicken tough to cut up evenly before cooking it. If you’re having trouble with it, it’s easier when it’s partially frozen – it holds its shape more, so you can see what you’re doing. When you throw in the broccoli, you can add the sauces too and stir it up and let it all steam together. I throw it in frozen, you can thaw it if you want, it’ll cook faster that way. Turn the heat down to medium low after you add the broccoli/cover to steam. Stir it every few minutes so that the stuff on the bottom doesn’t get overcooked. I’d turn it down when you throw it on, just to give yourself some more wiggle room. The chicken will have some residual heat to help the broccoli along. For the sauces, I’d guess it’s about 1 tsp of each per chicken breast, although you can add more sriracha if you like it hotter. If you want to change it up, you can also do thinly sliced carrots, mushrooms, peppers, snow peas, or you can get the bags of frozen “stir fry” veggies if you don’t feel like assembling/prepping your own stuff. This recipe works pretty well for beef, too, but beef is easier to overcook imo.
A Cornish game hen isn’t actually game. It’s a young farm-raised chicken with a misleading name. My sister didn’t like them, she found it annoying how small they are, but we made a number of them last year and there was more than enough for everyone. And the left overs are also great since it can be used for a lot of different dishes and freezing leftovers is super easy! I find them easier than turkey. They taste so much better and well, as I said. They are so much easier. For turkey I spent forever making sure they were alright. I am sure that you know the game. For exaple when I was just doing the turkey breast I had to make sure to keep it moist. Brine and baste, then baste and then repeat 100 times. But for the best results I tend to make a lot of extras. Because even if its only a small Thanksgiving dinner, the best part is the leftovers next day. I also like to add if you can get the turkey skin to wrap the roulade in it adds so much more flavour and keeps the white meat from drying out. Getting some turkey necks or wings on the side to make gravy makes it even better.
I had a huge batch of roasted chicken breast that I prepped last night. We decided to make a nice casserole for supper tonight and it turned out really well. Now I have come to the conclusion that I need to write things down so that I don’t forget it.
The Casserole Ingredients
- 15 oz roasted chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 50 g bacon
- Cooked and crumbled
- 15.3 oz cauliflower
- Steamed and crumbled into rice-like pieces
- 9.5 oz broccoli
- Steamed and chopped into bite sized pieces
- 75 g brown mushrooms
- Diced into equally sized cubes
- 62 g red onion, diced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp chicken boullion granules
- 1 tsp xantham gum
- Xantham gum is a very efficient thickener. A bag of it will last a long time, since you really only need a little bit at a time. If you make the recipe without it make sure that you let the sauce reduce for a little longer, cut the broth back. Honestly it will be runnier without it but will taste the same.
- 50 g grated parmesan cheese
- 5 oz grated extra sharp cheddar
- 35 g butter
- A pintch of salt and pepper
The Topping Ingredients
- 30 g butter, melted on the stove top
- 85 g almond flour
- 30 g grated parmesan cheese
- Minced parsley
Oh So Delicious Directions
- Steam the cauliflower.
- Dice it in the food processor or chop finely until it resembles rice.
- Set it aside in a big mixing bowl that you’ll assemble all the ingredients in.
- Steam the broccoli and chop into bite size pieces, throw in with cauliflower.
- In a medium saucepan, melt 35 grams of butter over medium heat.
- Throw in the mushrooms and onions until translucent, then add in the garlic for ~30 sec.
- Add the chicken stock, 1 tsp bouillon and sprinkle the xanthum gum in.
- Bring to a quick boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat.
- Add heavy whipping cream, parmesan, bacon, and black pepper.
- This is essentially your “cream of mushroom soup” replacement, so do the majority of your seasoning/time spent on this step.
- Once the sauce is to your liking, dump the chicken, cheese and sauce in with the broccoli and cauliflower.
- Mix everything together and then finish seasoning to taste.
- Place mixture into greased 3 qt casserole dish.
Mix the Topping
- Melt remaining butter in a small bowl.
- Let cool slightly, then mix in almond flour, parmesan and parsley until you have a fine crumb mixture. Sprinkle evenly over casserole.
- Bake uncovered in a 350 oven for 30-45 minutes.
- Check at 30, then every 5 minutes until top is golden brown and sides are bubbly.
- Hit it with the broiler at the end to crisp up the topping for a minute or two.
The thing I’ve found about baking is that it’s not like cooking. You can’t go off-piste with baking unless you really know what you’re doing, you have to treat it almost like a chemistry experiment and read the whole thing through first, get all your ingredients together, make sure you have enough of everything before you start. You also need to have the right equipment – cookies are a bit more forgiving than cakes because they don’t need to be baked in a tin, but you still need to use standard measuring spoons and cups and measure exactly – no heaping teaspoons, no half-filled cups. If the recipe specifies just “flour”, then I would use all-purpose. For most simple recipes there’s no reason not to use all purpose flour. Only use a specialty flour if it’s specified in the recipe, eg self raising, which has raising agents incorporated, or “strong” bread flour which has extra protein to make stretchy bread dough. Don’t soften butter in the microwave. What you want is soft, but not melted butter. I leave butter out on the counter overnight to soften to room temperature rather than microwaving. Make sure you follow the recipes to the absolute letter. But only if it is in a cookbook I know and trust. Online, anything goes, there are so many horribly-written recipes on the internet. I’d invest in an actual (vetted/tested) cookbook with basic cookie recipes like Betty Crocker or Pillsbury and go from there. Top of the list is Smitten Kitchen – I have never had a baking failure with any of her recipes. I just made her brownie roll-out cookies today with my kids and they were super easy – if you have some holiday themed cookie cutters they would be lovely with a bit of powdered sugar on them. If you’re the sort who can’t ever get the ingredients assembled ahead of time, pick some recipes that use melted butter.
When I was a little girl my mother showed me much of what I use today in my kitchen. One of my first lessons was there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. One day I was in school and I offered to bring cookies the next day. My mother was excited and was already to help me mix up a batch. But I told her that “I” had offered and I wanted to make them. She was happy that I was willing to take the responsibility on myself and so she offered no further help. I had made cookies plenty of times with her so I was positive in my eight year-old sort of way that I would get it right. Well, wouldn’t you know, it turned out to be harder than I had thought? Instead of cute little cookies I ended up with melted pancakes. My mother explained that the next time I should refrigerate my dough. It makes your cookies keep their shape better while baking, so they won’t turn into pancakes. An hour should be long enough. The flattening happens when the butter is too warm, so it spreads the dough out before it can be cooked.