I’m back! Chicken Tacos

Wow!  That was a long time coming and I have FINALLY fixed my login so I can start posting again!  ^_^

Alot has happened since my last post, so I will try to recap soon.

Here’s an amazing recipe I made yesterday, its quick and easy, and of course, delicious.

Chicken Tacos

5 lbs chicken legs (drumstick and thigh)

2 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

salt & black pepper to taste

1 small can diced tomatoes

4 cloves garlic

1 small onion, sliced

1-2 chiles in adobo sauce, diced fine

Place everything in crockpot on high for 6 hours.  Debone and shred meat.  Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas, cilantro, sour cream and shredded cabbage.

 

 

Gluten-Free Blueberry Sour Cream Coffeecake

Between Sunday School and the Main Service at my family’s church there falls a very special time.   I call it either ‘coffee-time’ or ‘fellowship-time’, and usually between the 3 or so of us culinarily-inclined artisans, there is something sweet and nice to have with a cup of coffee.  In addition to myself, there is a very good friend of mine who happens to be Celiac.  She is the one who usually brings her famous yeast cinnamon rolls.  Go figure.  lol.  Nah, us giver/server types don’t only make things that we necessarily are able to enjoy for ourselves.  Having been on a gluten-free diet for many years, I can relate to the needs of those with this disease.

Anyways, I was experimenting with a quick coffeecake recipe that I brought last week to church, and after a less-than-satisfactory outcome and wanting to do a retake, this week I purposed to make it something nice that my Celiac friend could enjoy as well.

I ended up having to come up with my own recipe (as usual) since the ones I was referencing either were not scaled properly, or did not have the features i was looking for.

My criteria were as follows:

  • I wanted to make it in a 13 x 9-inch pan, enough for everyone
  • gluten-free of course
  • that it be a sour cream coffeecake
  • no buttermilk (since I don’t have any)
  • the ability to add fruit, and a cinnamon streusel (easy)
Overall, it was easy to put together andbaked up very nice and fluffy, but because of the specific baking mix I used, there was a slight bitter flavor from the millet flour in the mix.   I would make it again for sure, but next time use a different baking mix or experiment with my own blend.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Sour Cream Coffeecake with Streusel

Cake

  • 310 g Hodgson Mill Multi Purpose Baking Mix (or other GF baking mix)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 egg  (I actually measured this out by grams.  You can either experiment and use 2 eggs, or beat one and measure out about 1.5 tbsp for the 1/2 egg.   1/2 egg is also 25 grams.)
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 3 oz milk
  • 6 oz sour cream
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted

Streusel

  • 1/4 cup GF Baking Mix
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • about 10 oz blueberries, fresh or frozen

Directions

Preheat oven to 360*F, grease a 13 x 9-inch glass baking pan.

Sift together baking mix, baking powder, salt and sugar.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, vanilla, milk and sour cream until blended.  Add dry ingredients and melted butter.  Mix until just combined.

Make streusel in a small bowl, combine baking mix, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until crumbly.

Assembly: 

Spread about 1/3 coffeecake batter in the pan, evenly distribute the blueberries over the batter, do the same with about 1/3 – 1/2 of the streusel, drop the remainder of the batter over the streusel, spread slightly if possible, top with the remaining streusel.

Bake 30-40 minutes or until the center is done.  Do not overbake to avoid it becoming crumbly and dry.  (A common complaint with GF baked goods)

11/25/2012 Chef Andrew www.chefandrew.com

 

 

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

Amazingly delicious, festive, and so easy to make!

I made this for the luncheon at church this past Sunday; everyone LOVED it!

Check it out:

It went too quickly to get a picture after it was baked!

Ordinary and unassuming?  Appears so, but then have a taste…  WOW!  Creamy, rich pumpkin flavor with that touch of nutmeg and zesty Parmesan cheese just exploding with flavor!  ^^

 

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:

2 small boxes macaroni and cheese

1 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin

2 cups milk

4 tbsp butter

8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Directions:

Cook macaroni noodles according to package directions.  Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat butter and milk in a medium saucepan until butter is melted.  Add cheese sauce mix until smooth.

Stir in pumpkin, nutmeg and half of the shredded cheddar cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

Combine cooked macaroni noodles and sauce, transfer to 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Top with remaining cheddar, the Parmesan cheese, and walnuts.  Bake uncovered 20-30 minutes or until center is hot and cheese is melted.

Chef Andrew www.ChefAndrew.com

 

 

 

Saturday Sweets: Spelt Biscuits with Flax – Recipe for One

For some reason I felt like having something different (for me) this morning, and biscuits just seemed to be stuck in my mind.  mmm, warm biscuits with butter and jam…  ooh, that’s why I was thinking about biscuits!  I had just picked up some jars of very nice jam, a red raspberry (WITH SEEDS!) and an orange marmalade  both of which I love, especially the marmalade  and I guess in my mind it just lends itself very well to the image of a simple, fluffy biscuit or scone with a nice cup of coffee.

When it came to deciding which jam to have with the biscuit, heaven knows I did my best to pick ONE, and leave the other jar unopened for another time!  However, I realized that when you split the biscuit, you have TWO sides!  ha!  One jam on each side!  lol  So yea, I opened both jars anyway…

I prefer to only make enough for one or two meals at a time when I am cooking for myself, so I came up with this recipe.  One of the things I like about it is that even though it makes such a small amount, all of the measurements are still whole, meaning, no splitting an egg in half or trying to guesstimate at how much 1/2 of 1/3 of a teaspoon is.  (to you technical bakers: yea, I know it’s 1/6th, but how do you measure that with the spoon? and yes, I do have a gram scale.)

Ready to bake

 

Spelt Biscuits with Flax for one
by Chef Andrew www.chefandrew.com 

makes 2 large biscuits

Ingredients:

1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1/4 cup spelt flour

1-2 tsp ground flax seed

1-1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 Tbsp butter, soft

1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Mix flour, baking, and salt in medium-size bowl.

Cut in butter with a fork. Slowly stir in milk until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto floured board. Carefully press dough into a rectangle and cut, or press into 2 rounds, about 1/2 inch thick either way.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Serve hot with plenty of butter and preserves of your choice.

Light and fluffy!

 

 

 

Product Review and Recipe: Chicken with Ray Ray’s Barbeque and Chestnut Rice Pilaf

A few weeks ago I was in Birch Tree checking out the Annual Logger’s Festival :) , where I ran into a friend who introduced me to Mr. Ray Ward, who is the man behind the increasingly popular Ray Ray’s Original Ozark BBQ sauce.  I had never tried it before, although I have seen it in many of the local supermarkets along with his dry rub.

To make a long story short, we talked for a while, and he gave me a bottle of his sauce.  I finally got around to trying it, which I used here, in a simple pulled bbq chicken, which I paired with a vegetable rice pilaf with roasted chestnuts my family received from a friend at church who harvested them from the trees in their yard!

It is so amazing having these local and seasonal ingredients available and being able to work with them.

While there isn’t much of a recipe, per say, for the bbq chicken (this is more a review on Ray Ray’s bbq sauce), I will give you the quick one for the chestnut rice.

Roasted Chestnut Rice

1 tbsp oil

1/4 c diced onion

1/3 c diced celery

1/4 c roasted chestnuts, shelled and roughly chopped.

1/2 c white or brown rice

1 1/4 cup water

1/2 t salt or 1 vegetable or chicken bullion cube

 fresh ground black pepper to taste

 Heat oil in a medium pan, sweat onion and celery for a few minutes, then add chestnuts and saute 1 minute.

Add rice and toss to coat.  Dissolve bullion cube (if using) in water, and add to pan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 18-20 minutes for white rice, or 45-55 minutes for brown rice.

Remove from heat, let sit 5 minutes, fluff with a fork before serving piping hot!

————

I am very grateful to Mr. Ward for his kindness and after I am happy to give my “Chef Approved” stamp of approval. ^_^ I found the Ray Ray’s BBQ Sauce truly amazing and delicious, with a intricate depth of flavor seldom found in other barbeque sauces.  His sauce has renewed my faith in bottled bbq sauces, which in my experience are usually full of sugar and or salt, and lack any real flavor.

I hope you try the delicious BBQ sauce if it is available in your area, and if not, I certainly encourage you to ask for it at your supermarket.

 

This is what Mr. Ward says on his website:

“When we created Ray Ray’s original Ozark sauce, we set out to have a sauce that put a signature taste on our barbeque.  With the rich taste of sweet molasses blended with an assortment of fresh spices, our original Ozark sauce will not only bring out the very best in your next barbecue, it’s an all purpose sauce that tastes GREAT on just about anything.”

The Ray Ray’s website is www.rayraysbbq.com.

 

 

Chicken in Gravy with Spanish-Style Vegetable Rice

I needed a substantial dinner in a hurry, and since I had almost nothing in the house, or so I thought :) , it was getting late and I was getting stressed lol.    I had just picked up a bag of white rice to use for the sunday dinner at church, so I opened that up, threw a portion in my little stockpot and started adding some diced veggies.  After I realized that the chicken breast was bad, I had to reconsider the protien part of my dinner, so I found the dark meat I had frozen, and made up some white pepper gravy from a mix I had in the back of the cupboard and called it good.

Spanish-style Vegetable Rice

1/2 c white rice

1 c water

1/4 cube chicken bullion

1/4 diced green pepper

1/4 diced yellow onion

1/4 c diced tomato

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

pinch or two ground cumin

dash olive oil

1-2 cloves fresh garlic

blanch garlic and onion in olive oil, then add all ingredients to a pot, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer, cook according to package directions.  Remove from heat, let rest 5 minutes, fluff with fork before serving.

Dark meat chicken

white pepper gravy, prepared according to package directions

combine chicken and gravy, heat through.

Serve with a green salad and beverage of choice.

 

 

Look Ma, No Cans! Italian Sausage and Fresh Tomato Ragu with Whole Wheat Rotini

Rotini with sausage and fresh tomato ragu

Nothing beats this kind of succulent ragu-style sauce when you make it from fresh ingredients.  No cans to be found in this recipe!

It is so flavorful and rich, yet very simple and quick to throw together, you’ll never go back to sauce from a jar or a can again!

The key is to start with fresh, sweet tomatoes.  I used my last Missouri-grown tomato, which, btw, I did not grow myself, but I am glad to have had it.

1 cooked mild Italian sausage link

1 large or 2 medium tomatoes

1/2 sweet or yellow onion, sliced

1-2 cloves garlic, sliced thin

EVOO

salt and pepper to taste

Fresh herbs such as basil and/or oregano, your choice

Dice the tomato into cubes, set aside.  Brown the onion and garlic in a little olive oil, then add the tomato.

Simmer over low heat until the tomato is soft and begins breaking down, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the Italian sausage into disks and brown in a saute pan.  Drain and add to the ragu.

Season well and add your choice of fresh herbs, simmer another 10-15 minutes for flavors to blend and the sauce to reduce and the sauce thickens.

Toss with your favorite pasta that goes with a chunky-type sauce, such as rotini or penne, rigitoni or farfalle.   Top with generous amounts or freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese and serve with crusty artisan bread.

Enjoy!

 

Cinnamon-sugar Filled Buttermilk Pancakes with Cream Cheese Syrup

I have been on a cinnamon roll streak lately, as is apparent by this inspired concoction, which came together on my “pancake day” which is Saturdays.

Many times I have alot of difficulty deciding what to have to breakfast (I’m big on breakfast), and I’ve realized that if I decide ahead of time and designate certain days for a particular category of food, it makes deciding what to eat much easier.  For example, Saturdays are pancakes, Mondays are starch-based, Tuesdays I try to have something higher protein, then again Wednesdays I have starch, Thursday is my “eat-out day”, when I go to a favorite breakfast place in town.  I should mention my experience at one of my most frequented, TC’s Cafe, in another post.

Anyways, on to the pancakes.

(makes 2-4 servings)

First make the cream cheese syrup, then everything else comes together quickly, which is what I love about this that it is so easy!

Syrup ingredients:

4 tablespoons (2 ounces) cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons sour cream

1/4 – 1/3 cup pancake syrup, your choice

To make the cream cheese syrup, blend the cream cheese and sour cream with a whip or fork until smooth. (this works best if the ingredients are warm) Then gradually add in the pancake syrup until it returns to a syrupy consistency.

Quick and easy buttermilk pancakes:

1 cup plain flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

Sift together first 5 ingredients, whisk together egg and buttermilk, then add dry into wet ingredients, mixing just until moistened.  Cook like regular pancakes, using 1/3 cup batter for each pancake.

When the pancakes are done, place one on a plate and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and sugar, top with another cake.  Drizzle cream cheese syrup over each portion and serve with extra on the side.  Top with sliced fresh strawberries or peaches, if desired.  Enjoy!

 

Chef Andrew is a freelance chef/caterer in Mountain View, Missouri.  This recipe can also be found on www.ChefAndrew.com

 

Chorizo, Black Bean, and Chicken Tacos

My first experience with chorizo! A few weeks ago I noticed that the local supermarket started carrying both pork and beef chorizo, and my culinary curiosity was begging me to get some and try it. One tube is only $1.49, so I figured I sh
ould find a reason to buy some and use it. This started as an inspiration from a recipe online, I meant to make a shopping list, but I coudnt seem to find it, so I decided to just pitch the idea and wing it with some chorizo, sliced onion, a can of black beans, fresh garlic, pulled chicken breast and seasoned with a pinch of salt and a dash of cinnamon. This filling I piled into a 100% whole wheat tortilla, topped with some shredded cabbage for a nice crunch and cool fresh tomato-cilantro salsa then garnished with a little chopped green onion. I stupidly deleted the photo of the (half eaten) finished taco, so you cant see what that looked like sorry…

Very simple fresh tomato salsa: 2 small diced local Missouri tomatoes, a generous handful of chopped fresh cilantro, and about two ounces of prepared corn and black bean salsa, season to taste with salt, black pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

 

 Next time, I’ll be sure not to delete the picture of the finished product!  ><

 

Nashville Conference

I am now traveling to the city of Nashville, Tennessee, where the homeschool conference is held each year. For the past 4 years, I have participated in running the kitchen there in some way. This will be the first year that I will not be directly involved in the food preparation in any way, unless something changes somehow.

I currently do not know anyone who will be working the kitchen, and it seems a strange thought to me. All of the things that we take for granted about the mealtimes may be turned quite around and be very different than we are used to. To think, the menu will probably be different!

I for one, hope they keep the tradition pf the salad bar at every meal. Although, I wouldn’t miss the turkey dinner with the cheap coldcut-style turkey meat held together with the pink goo. lol

I will be sure to check in with the kitchen crew and get on their good graces (they know where the coffee and ice cream are ^_^)

I hope to post a few pictures of the kitchen and of the conference. The Nashville conference is always a good one with lots of reunions between good friends an meetings of new ones.

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