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Chicken with Bacon and Spinach in a Creamy White Wine Sauce

Chicken thighs with bacon and spinach in a creamy white wine sauceI combined some ideas from several recipes, and a delicious supper resulted tonight!!

Ingredients

Disclaimer: I don’t measure anything, so the amounts are approximate. Please adjust them according to your personal tastes.

5-6 chicken thighs

salt & pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, smashed & minced

2 green onions, chopped

fresh, canned, or frozen spinach

8 slices bacon, cooked separately

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 cup white wine (or chicken broth)

1 cup heavy cream

Instructions:

Pat the chicken thighs dry and sprinkle generously with salt & pepper, including under the skin, as possible. Brown and cook the thighs, skin side down, with lid on, about 7 minutes, in the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Check them occasionally, but do not turn them.

Remove the thighs to a plate. Cook the garlic and onions in the pan liquids about 1 minute. Then add already cooked & chopped bacon, spinach, lemon juice, & white wine and scrape (deglaze) the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up, cover and simmer about 20 minutes until the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken to a plate. Add the heavy cream to the skillet and reduce and thicken slightly by simmering.

Serve sauce with spinach over angel hair pasta. Place chicken thigh on top and spoon creamy sauce over all.

Serve with garlic bread.

 

 

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French Toast with Nutella & Banana

20150808_104934This variation of French Toast is delicious!!

I got this idea from The Chew  TV program and made it from my recollection.

I believe they used white bread, and I only had 100% whole wheat.

They rolled it out a little, and I forgot that step, so I mashed it down. If rolled, it would have closed and stayed closed more tightly I think.

I spread it with one (1) Tbsp Nutella and

placed almost 1/2 banana sliced on one side.

One (1) Tbsp Nutella

One (1) Tbsp Nutella

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Then I rolled it as tightly as possible,

dipped it (but didn’t soak it) in one beaten egg, and

cooked it in a small non-stick skillet in one (1) tsp (pat) of butter until the egg was cooked. After I took it out of the pan, I cooked the remainder of the egg in the same pan. Therefore, the entire egg is counted in the total calories.

Then I sprinkled the french toast with sugar and cinnamon (mixed) and

then a little powdered sugar and

1 Tbsp pancake syrup

for a total of 400 calories

(or 500 calories if you wanted to add another Tbsp of Nutella)

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Delicious Healthy Breakfast

Bacon, Onion, Cheese, Spinach Omelet

Bacon, Onion, Cheese, Spinach Omelet

I’m not a nutritionist, so when I say it’s healthy, it’s because it seems healthy to me. You and your doctor decide for yourself. That’s my disclaimer for all the “diet” / “healthy eating” information and tips on this blog. It’s just my opinions based on the research I’ve done. Now, I can tell you with authority what is DELICIOUS to me. 🙂

I’ve been losing weight since July 4, 2015, and have lost 17-1/2 lbs. To lose weight is one of my goals, but it’s also a goal to eat healthier the rest of my life. I’ll talk more about all this in upcoming posts. For today, here’s the recipe for this morning’s delicious breakfast:

In a small skillet, I put less than a Tbsp of butter,

a little chopped green onion to taste, and

one piece leftover bacon torn.

After that cooked briefly, I added

2 eggs which had been briskly beaten with a dab of skim milk, and

salt and freshly ground black pepper.

On top, I added

1/8 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and

fresh spinach which I tore into small pieces.

I cooked it all over medium heat, shaking it occasionally to be sure it didn’t stick, and tilting it occasionally to let the uncooked egg run to the sides. (I gently scraped some liquid off the top to the sides so it would cook, too.

Then I turned it out onto a small plate, folding it over on itself as I let it slide out.

Easy and delicious!!

Omelet opened so you can see the delicious ingredients!!

Omelet opened so you can see the delicious ingredients!!

Cabbage Rolls

Supper’s experiment turned out good. I blanched the cabbage 5 minutes so the leaves would be pliable. I wanted to put rice in the stuffing, but all I had was a packet of quick Spanish rice. I cooked it in the microwave and then added it to hamburger meat, a little canned spaghetti sauce, onion, & salt. The rice had a lot of seasoning in it. Then I put the remainder of the spaghetti sauce over the top.

350 degrees for almost an hour.

Cabbage Rolls

I didn’t take a pretty picture — just the leftovers. I covered the cabbage rolls with some extra leaves to keep in moisture, so that’s the burnt looking ones. If I had ever made these before it was probably 20-30 years ago. They turned out good and hubby got seconds!

Tonight’s Creation with Chicken Breasts

 

 

Sometimes I feel inspired just to get out some spices I haven’t used very much and put together something using basic ideas I’ve picked up along the way from cooking shows, recipe books, and experimentation. It’s really fun — especially if it turns out to be good. When I cook this way, I usually learn something to do differently next time (or several somethings). I’ll talk about that more at the end.

The basic ideas include:

(1) starting with a meat and deciding whether or not to braise (as I did tonight), bake, fry, grill, or broil.

(2) spices (salt & pepper, of course, and then a plethora of options)

(3) vegetables, if desired (possibilities include but are not limited to onions, garlic, celery, hot or mild peppers, carrots, mushrooms)

(4) oil (olive, vegetable, bacon grease, butter, etc.)

(5) liquid (wine, beer, chicken or beef broth, water, milk, canned soups or sauces, etc.)

(6) vegetable sides if you want to cook them with the meat and sauce (potatoes, carrots, etc.) or separate.

First tonight, I had bought bone-in chicken breasts, which I will now try to remember not to do. So I deboned 2 breasts. Then I meant to pound them to about 1/4-inch thick, but I forgot (the grease got hot). So, I pounded them later, after they were browned and not in oil, with the side of a small plate. I do NOT recommend doing it this way, but it worked pretty well in a pinch. Flattening them helps them cook more evenly and more quickly.

Before I put the chicken breasts in the skillet, I sprinkled one side with salt and pepper (S&P)  and paprika.  Then I put them in hot olive oil (not smoking hot) in a heavy skillet. When you put the meat in a hot skillet with the olive oil hot, they will appear to stick, but just don’t try to move the meat too soon. It will almost magically release itself from the skillet when it’s brown.

While they were browning, I added sliced onions and chopped garlic to the skillet and crushed red pepper flakes and sprinkled the chicken with S&P, coriander, ground ginger, and cumin. Then when I turned them, the full flavor of the dried spices was boosted awake in the hot oil. The same was true with the paprika on the first side.

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Mushrooms Cut with a Boiled Egg Cutter

Mushrooms Cut with a Boiled Egg Cutter

After turning the chicken, I added sliced mushrooms about a minute before the browning was done.

 

20150128_18241120150128_182345When browned, I removed the chicken to a plate, added Marsala wine to the pan and deglazed it (scraping loose any residue – sucs or fond – stuck to the bottom that the wine helped to release) while over medium heat.

 

 

 

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I returned the chicken to the pan, covered the skillet with a lid, and cooked on medium-low (or enough to keep the liquid bubbling gently) until the chicken was tender and done – about 10 minutes in this case. Finish with a sprinkling of parsley and lemon juice.

 

I served the combination of  mushrooms, onions, and sauce over the chicken and white rice. The side was asparagus.

The pairing of wine was pinot noir. You can always choose your favorite wine, of course. Some would say it should be white with chicken. But I find that pinot noir pairs nicely with just about anything, and I thought it was especially good with the mushrooms.

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What did I learn tonight?

I like foods pretty spicy, so I think I was a little timid with the spices tonight. I’m sure that had something to do with the fact that they were unfamiliar spices to my cooking with chicken.

Also, there were lots of really good tasting and moist mushrooms and onions, but not enough liquid (gravy) left at the end to serve over the rice and chicken. Next time I’d add quite a bit more wine to assure that it doesn’t all absorb into the food or cook away.

Experiment! Be brave! Bon appetite!

 

Preventing Waste Means Enjoying Creative Leftovers

I am blessed with a husband who doesn't mind eating leftovers the next day even if they are not creatively changed.

 

Last night we had chicken fried steak and white gravy, English peas with onions and butter, and garlic and onion mashed potatoes. Tonight he ate exactly the same thing and even heated his own plate of leftovers in the microwave. It happened that way because I got hungry before he did, we were just having leftovers anyway, and I decided I would eat the leftovers from two nights ago. By the way, because the chicken fried steak meal is one of hubby’s favorites, we’ll have leftovers from it again tomorrow night without any creative changing needed. We’ll just need to fix another can of English peas. Do you think maybe I cook enough food for more than one night on purpose?

I don’t like to waste food! The leftovers I ate tonight were a combination of black-eyed peas, ham, jalapeno deer sausage, one small new potato, and bits of onion and cabbage. If those leftovers were going to be eaten, they needed to be eaten tonight because part of that meal actually started 3 nights ago as boiled cabbage, onion, and ham served with cornbread. There was some left, but not enough for a meal,  so I got creative with the leftovers and added jalapeno deer sausage that I sauted, canned blackeyed peas (because I didn’t think ahead and cook any of our frozen ones from the garden), and canned new potatoes (again because it was spur-of-the-moment). Tonight, I took  the solid food, which I wanted, out of the soup/water which I did not want, and by the time I reheated it again, any cabbage and onions in there were little mushy bits — but good flavoring!!

Another way I don’t waste food is by feeding scraps to my dogs and cats…….there I admitted it and I don’t advocate doing that. But, I do take some care with what I don’t feed them. I don’t feed them onions, because I’ve read they’re not good for them. I don’t give them bones. And, I don’t give our black lab Buck flour products because he has a skin allergy to wheat. I don’t give them very spicy foods. We eat quite a bit of spicy foods.

One more recent example, hubby cooked a pot of homemade chili several days ago, and we ate it that day with cornbread. The next morning, I fixed scrambled eggs with some chili on top, refried beans, and corn tortillas — one of my all-time favorite breakfasts! I was born and raised the first 12 years of my life in San Antonio, Texas. I had been hungry for Mexican food, and now I had leftover refried beans, corn tortillas, and chili, so for supper that night I fixed cheddar cheese and onion enchiladas with chili on top, refried beans, Spanish rice, and chips and salsa. Hubby preferred and ate just the last of the chili and leftover cornbread. The next day I still had leftover refried beans, Spanish rice, and corn tortillas, so I had soft tacos with shredded cheddar cheese for lunch.

I mentioned white gravy in the first paragraph. A few days ago, in a “Cooking” post, I explained how I make gravy. I use a small, plastic coated whisk. I have only had one, and often it’s in the dishwasher when I want to use it, so I’ve been looking at stores but couldn’t find one….small and plastic coated. Today, I found one here>>>

http://www.amazon.com/Silicone-Whisk-Set-Miles-Kimball/dp/B008E05UMQ/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=molder-20&linkCode=w01&linkId=YZ4IQ3K32DLKLWRO&creativeASIN=B008E05UMQ  [This link is not supposed to be this long, but it works. I told you in the beginning I’m technology challenged. lol   But, I’ll learn.]

Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, and English Peas

Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, and English Peas

Boiled Cabbage, Ham, and Onions

Boiled Cabbage, Ham, and Onions

Creative Leftovers - Jalapeno Deer Sausage added to Cabbage

Creative Leftovers – Jalapeno Deer Sausage added to Cabbage

Homemade Chili

Homemade Chili

Eggs and Chili

Eggs and Chili

Cheese Enchiladas with Chili, Refried Beans, Spanish Rich, Chips and Salsa

Cheese Enchiladas with Chili, Refried Beans, Spanish Rice, Chips and Salsa

Soft Tacos with Leftover Rice and Beans

Soft Tacos with Leftover Rice and Beans

Fried Pork Chops with Spicy Batter

Good evening!!

We had such a good supper! As you will realize, we really like fried foods. Tonight I fixed pork chops with a spicy flour batter fried in bacon grease [the rather large amount of bacon grease that is always in a ceramic container in my kitchen will be the object of a different post],

garlic & onion & butter & sour cream mashed potatoes,

flour & milk gravy from the sucs or fond and deglazed with milk and a small amount of the bacon grease, and

English peas with butter & onions.

I used hubby’s “secret herbs & spices” (pictures below)  in flour for the batter. [He mixes most of the spices that we have in the kitchen together in a plastic bowl with a lid and puts some in a shaker bottle. This started for use on his delicious ribeye steaks, but now we use them for many dishes.]

Hubby is very helpful and peals and cuts up the russet potatoes and chops an onion. Any extra onion I keep in a zip lock bag in the freezer and add to it or use it, as needed.

I saute’ enough onions in enough butter in the sauce pan to be used for the English peas for both the peas and the potatoes. When the potatoes are boiled and done and drained in a separate pan, I add some of the onions and butter to them and leave some of the onions and butter in the English pea sauce pan and add the English peas and heat. I keep minced garlic in the frig and also add a little of that to the potatoes, as well as sour cream or milk.

I like to put a little cold bacon grease in a cold stainless steel skillet and get it very hot but not smoking before putting in the meat. This technique helps to keep the meat from sticking. The same thing can be accomplished by putting cold oil in a hot skillet and adding the meat immediately if the skillet is hot enough that the oil gets very hot immediately. When frying a piece of any meat that’s relatively flat and thin, I turn it when red blood begins to come out the top. That traps the juices inside.

When the meat is brown on both sides and done, I put it on paper towels to drain. With the skillet and grease not very hot, I mix flour left from the breading process into the grease in the skillet and mix with a whisk [essential to me] until it is smooth. An estimate of the ratio is 1 Tbsp flour for each 1 Tbsp of grease to 1 cup of liquid, but I add more of any one of them, as needed. The flour and grease are easier to manage if initially they are not very hot and not thin but not at all thick. The thickening comes after it cooks in the milk. I gradually add milk while whisking and continue whisking until smooth. Then I whisk occasionally as the gravy begins to gently boil and thicken over medium low heat. If it gets too thick, more milk or hot water can be added and whisked. When taken off the heat, the gravy will thicken some more, so don’t make the consistency too thick before taking it off the heat and declaring it “finished”.

Pork Chops Fried                Bon appetit!!27 Spices 122614 27 Spices