Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

•December 26, 2015 • 1 Comment

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole


Two 6-ounce boxes long-grain and wild rice mix, such as Uncle Ben’s
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing dish
16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced, or two 4 1/2-ounce cans sliced mushrooms, drained (reserve the liquid)
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups half-and-half
4 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, diced
1 cup toasted slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sliced pimientos
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Cook the long-grain and wild rice mixes according to the package directions. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch casserole dish.

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and onions and saute until the onions are translucent. Stir in the flour, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly stir the broth (and reserved canned mushroom liquid if using) into the onion mixture, then stir in the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture has thickened, 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the chicken, rice, toasted almonds, pimientos, parsley, salt and pepper into the wet mixture. Pour everything into the prepared casserole dish and bake, uncovered, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 30 to 45 minutes.

Creamy Crockpot Chicken Stuffing and Green Beans

•December 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This looks like a sloppy mess but it’s pretty tasty.

Green Bean Chicken Stuffing Crockpot

  • 2 lbs (about 4 chicken breast)
  • 1 (6oz) box of stuffing mix
  • 1 (10.5 oz) can cream of chicken condensed soup
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 10 oz bag frozen green beans
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Prepare crockpot with cooking spray. Season chicken with salt/pepper and place in the bottom of a crockpot.
  2. Next, top chicken with 1 box of stuffing mix.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together condensed soup, sour cream and water. Spread mixture over stuffing.
  4. Place green bean on top. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours. If you need a longer cooking time, you can do LOW for 6 hours, but I recommend the high setting 🙂

Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana Soup with Swiss Chard

•December 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I skipped the chard since we both hate it but still a good winter soup.

Zuppa Toscana


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 12 oz Italian sausages or bratwursts (about 2-3 sausages), chopped
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 medium size or large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into small chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 strips of freshly cooked bacon, chopped
  • 3 cups Swiss chard (center stalks removed and sliced thin like ribbons)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • salt and red crushed pepper


  1. Chop uncooked sausages into small slices. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a soup pot, add chopped onions and chopped sausage and cook until both onion and sausage are cooked through.
  2. Add 5 cups of water to the pan, stir, and bring to boil.
  3. Add potatoes (peeled and cubed into small chunks), and minced garlic. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until potatoes are done, about 15-20 minutes on low simmer.
  4. For Swiss chard, make sure to remove center stalks and slice the Swiss chard leaves thin like ribbon. Then, add Swiss chard and half the bacon (reserve the remaining half for serving) to the soup pot. Add 1 cup half and half to the soup pot. Bring to hot temperature (not boil), mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste
  5. Serve in individual bowls, topped with the remaining amount of chopped bacon on top.

Russian Salmon Pie

•December 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Russian Salmon Pie


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • ½ pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • ½ head green cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1-pound skinless salmon fillet (preferably Alaskan)
  • 2 sheets homemade or store-bought puff pastry
  • 2 cups cooked short grain brown rice
  • 2 eggs, one hard-boiled, the other beaten
  • ½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar
  • ½ cup fine bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup heavy cream


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, cabbage and vinegar; increase heat to medium. Cover pan and cook 4 minutes; uncover, toss and cook 2 more minutes. Remove vegetables from pan, season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
  2. Wipe out skillet, add olive oil and set over medium-high heat. Add salmon and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook salmon 5 minutes per side; remove to a plate and let cool. Flake salmon into large chunks and set aside.
  3. Set a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Gently roll out until it is large enough to fit a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Transfer pastry to pie plate, allowing extra dough to drape over edge.
  4. Spread brown rice over bottom of pastry. Peel and chop the hard-boiled egg, then add to pie, followed by flaked salmon. Sprinkle with cheese, then bread crumbs. Mound vegetable mixture on top. Sprinkle with parsley and drizzle cream over top.
  5. Roll out remaining sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to cover pie. Brush rim of bottom pastry with water and place second sheet of pastry directly on top. Using kitchen scissors or a paring knife, trim off excess dough. Use a fork to crimp the edges of the pie together and help the sheets of pastry adhere.
  6. Cut a few small slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape. Brush top of pie with beaten egg. Bake until pastry is puffed and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

Salt and Vinegar Wings

•December 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Salt and Vinegar Wings

  • Wings:
  • 2 – 2 ½ pounds Chicken Wings
  • 1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • ½ tsp Accent (can substitute poultry seasoning)
  • ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
  • Marinade: (optional, for a more potent wing)
  • ¼ Cup + 1 TBS White Distilled Vinegar
  • 2 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 tsp Kosher Sea Slat
  • 1 tsp Dry Ranch Mix
  • ½ tsp Granulated Sugar
  • Sauce:
  • ¼ Cup + 1 TBS White Distilled Vinegar
  • 2 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 tsp Kosher Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Dry Ranch Mix
  • ½ tsp Granulated Sugar
  1. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and place a wire rack insert on top. Set aside.
  2. Remove wing tips from chicken wings with a sharp chef’s knife, or kitchen shears, at the joint. (save tips for making stock or discard)
  3. Separate chicken drumettes from flats by cutting through the joint between the two. The joint is easy to find, bend the flat from the wing backwards, exposing joint.
  4. Optional, Marinate Chicken Wings: Combine all marinade ingredients in a large Ziploc bag, add chicken wings and marinate for 3-4 hours. Drain and discard marinade.
  5. To Cook Chicken Wings: Fill a large stockpot, with a steamer basket insert, with 1-1 ½’’ of water. Cover and bring the water to a boil over high heat.
  6. Add the wings to the steamer basket insert. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to medium and steam wings for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the wings to a clean work surface lined with paper towel or a clean kitchen towel. Pat thoroughly dry. Place dried wings in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  8. In a small bowl, combine the baking powder, salt and garlic powder.
  9. Sprinkle baking powder mixture over wings, tossing to coat evenly.
  10. Transfer chicken wings to the sheet pan with rack insert, placing them in a single layer (do not overlap). Place sheet pan in the refrigerator, but do not wrap with plastic (you do not want condensation from wrapping them in plastic dripping on the wings.) Refrigerate the wings at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.**
  11. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and arrange baking rack to middle position. Remove the wings from the refrigerator and allow them to sit on the counter, and come to room temperature, while the oven is preheating.
  12. Roast chicken wings for 20 minutes. Remove wings, flip over, and continue to roast wings for another 15-20 minutes, or until crispy, browned and cooked through.
  13. Meanwhile, prepare the sea salt and vinegar sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small container, with a tight fitting lid. Vigorously shake together all ingredients to dissolve salt, sugar, and ranch mix. Set aside.
  14. When wings are cooked, remove and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle wings with ⅔rds of the salt and vinegar sauce and toss together to completely coat the wings.
  15. Adjust oven temperature to High Broil.
  16. Transfer wings back to wire rack, and broil for 1-2 minutes. Flip and broil an additional 1-2 minutes.
  17. Transfer wings back to mixing bowl. Drizzle and toss with remaining salt and vinegar sauce. Or serve remaining sauce on the side for dipping.
  18. Serve wings immediately.


•December 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Red wine, chocolate and bacon…how could you go wrong?


Ingredients (for 6 people):
200 gms – 1 x 6 oz. chunk of streaky bacon
Extra virgin olive oil
1⅓ kg – 3 lbs stewing beef cut into 5 cm – 2 inches cubes (I used chuck steak)
6 gms – 1 tsp salt
2 gms – ½ tsp pepper
30 gms – 3 tbsp flour
720 ml – 3 cups of young red wine. (Suggestions: Bourgogne of course, but also Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Rioja etc., depending on your country and your taste)
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced in julienne
355 to 475 ml – 1 ½ to 2 cups of beef stock or beef bouillon (plus more for the onions)
15 ml – 1 tbsp tomato paste or tomato purée
2 cloves mashed garlic
½ teaspoon thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
The blanched bacon rind
2 squares of dark chocolate
18-24 small onions, brown-braised in stock
½ kg – 1 lb. mushrooms sautéed in butter (Champignons/button mushrooms are perfect)
Fresh parsley to serve

Start by preparing the bacon.  Remove the rind. Cut the bacon into lardons (5 mm x 15 mm – ¼ inch thick x ½ inch sticks,) and simmer everything in 1 litre – 4 cups of water for 10 minutes.  Drain and dry carefully with paper towels.

Dry the meat cubes carefully with paper towels and preheat your oven to 230ºC – 450ºF.

In an oven proof casserole or a frying pan, sauté the lardons (but keep the rind aside) in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil for 2-3 minutes until lightly brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon and keep them aside.

In the same casserole, sauté the beef until golden brown. Remove it and keep it aside.

Still in the same casserole, sauté the carrots and the onion, until golden brown.

Return the bacon and the beef to the casserole.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add the flour and mix to combine.

Place the casserole uncovered in the middle rack of the oven for 4 minutes.  This will give the meat a lovely crust.

Remove the casserole from the oven.  Stir in the wine, stock, tomato paste, mashed garlic cloves, thyme, bay leaf, blanched bacon rind and dark chocolate.  The chocolate will prevent the sauce from turning purple because of the wine and it will give it a nice and deep reddish-brown colour.

Bring it to simmering point on the stove.  Now, if you were using a frying pan, discard it and put the stew in an oven proof dish.

Cover the casserole/dish (if your dish doesn’t have a lid, use aluminium foil and stretch it to the edges of the dish in order to minimize evaporation and the loss of juices) and place it on the lowest rack of the oven.  Adjust the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly, it has to go on for 3-4 hours.  I cooked it at 150ºC – 300ºF for 3 and a half hours.

While the stew is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

For the onions, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a frying pan and sauté the peeled onions until golden brown.  Add beef stock until they are almost covered and simmer for 20-25 minutes turning them around as they cook, or until almost all the liquid disappears and they are tender but still retain their shape.  Set them aside.

For the mushrooms, wash, quarter and sauté them in 2 tablespoons of butter.  Keep stirring until they are nicely brown.  Set them aside.

When the meat is tender, remove it from the oven.  Put the onions and mushrooms in the casserole and simmer on the stove for 5 minutes.  The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If not, boil it until it thickens.  If it’s too thick, stir in some stock or bouillon to make it thinner.

Serve the beef bourguignon in the casserole with some fresh parsley and boiled potatoes (or mash, rice…).

Foil-Pack Chicken and Broccoli Dinner

•December 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Foil Chicken Packs


1/2 package Stuffing mix; chicken flavor
2/3 cup Water
12 ounce Boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets; 6oz each
2 cups Broccoli Florets
1/2 cup Shredded chedar cheese
2 slices Cooked bacon; crumbled
2 tablespoon Ranch dressing


You’ve adjusted the recipe from 4 Servings (as originally posted) to 2 Servings. The ingredients above reflect 2 Servings, but the instructions reflect the as-posted 4 Servings. You may need to adjust the times, temperatures or quantities mentioned in the recipe below as needed.

– Oven to 400

– Spray 4 large sheets of heavy-duty foil with oil.

– Combine stuffing mix and water.

– Spoon 1/4 of the stuffing mixture onto the center of each foil sheet.

– Top stuffing with a 6oz. chicken breast half.

– Top chicken with 1 c. broccoli.

– Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese and 1 slice of bacon, crumbled.

– Drizzle with 1 T. ranch dressing

– Bring up foil sides and fold to seal, leaving room for heat circulation inside

– Place packets on a cookie sheet and bake 25-30 mins

– Remove packets and let stand 5 mins

– Cut sits in foil for steam before opening.