Sunday, May 20, 2018

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Hello friends!  Happy almost summer!  Who has vacations planned?  Who loves working in their yard?  Who is a sun worshiper?

I admittedly don't LOVE summer.  I  love Spring, but heat, sweat, and sunburns, nah, not so fun for me!  No worries my house will feel like winter because that is how we like it and everyone who comes over will need a blanket or sweatshirt!  Makes me giggle.

If you watch my YouTube videos, you know that I am wearing my glasses for right now so I am not doing as much recipe writing and testing as usual.  I am waiting for a rescheduled appt, to get my new contacts, they are special orders and take almost 3 weeks to arrive.  UGH.  SO, my husband came bee-bopping in from work last weekend and wanted to make mini chicken pot pies.  I suggested we film it and it ended being an all day venture that was so worth it, but my a ham when I turn that camera on!

As far as the videos, they will be split into three parts.
1.  The Filling
2.  The Pie Crust
3.  The Pot Pies

So many of you have commented through the years that you have such a hard time with pie crust. I will show you how easy mine is and how perfect and flaky it is!  No secrets, you don't have to make it will standing on your hands.  The planets don't have to be in perfect alignment either.  You will see!

So let's get started on this filling of my hubby's.  If you love the Marie Callender Pot Pies, these are going to be your jam,only BETTER!

Please feel free, in fact I encourage you to add more veggies.  Perhaps 1 cup of green beans, a couple small potatoes cubed up if you want.  My husband is apparently since birth, allergic to all vegetables.  (insert sarcastic eye roll here).  Broccoli would be good as well as celery.  How did a veggie lover marry a veggie hater?  This may be our final straw. LOL

This will make about 12 mini pies.  You can double the pie crust or do what we did.  Divide the remaining filling into 2 freezer bags.  One of them we turned into a cheesy sauce, added egg noodles, and butter bread crumbs on top and that was a dinner for 2 nights with a salad.  The last bag, we thinned down, added extra veggies and made a fantastic creamy chicken and veggie soup!

You will need 1 recipe of my pie dough which is in this blog post:
 Basic Pie Crust

Here we go!
2 T butter
1.5 lbs of chicken cut into small pieces
salt and pepper to taste  (you will be adding bouillon cubes later so let up on the salt now!)

In a large skillet, melt butter and add in chicken.  Season to taste and cook until fully done.  Drain chicken, and set aside for later.

In a large pot....

1 stick or 1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
6-8 cups of milk
4 bouillon cubes (I use only Knorr)
1-2 cups frozen mixed veggies of you choice
Optional: 1 large potato cut into a small dice. Onion finely minced, Celery, Green Beans.
My husband has a grudge against veggies so we just used frozen peas and carrots!

Melt the butter in your pot, add in flour and cook for one minute while stirring.  Add in your milk, start with 6 cups, it may be all you need, you want a thick consistency.  After about 5 minutes, add in your chicken bouillon cubes.  Stir until they are dissolved.  Add in chicken, and veggies and stir.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before making the pot pies.  You want this to chill and become fairly firm, it helps the small pies not overflow, and give it a fabulous hearty texture.

Using cookie cutters or the top of a glass, find 2 that are just a bit different in shape.  The smaller for the bottom of your muffin tin, and the larger for the top!  Spray your muffin tin with nonstick spray or brush with butter and get all of them lined with pie dough.  Using a cookie scoop, fill each one and then place a top on.  Try to get the top to stick to the top of the bottom crust to seal it!  Use an egg wash (1 egg+splash of water) to brush the tops.

Bake at 350, for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown!


Monday, April 23, 2018

Banana Cream Poke Cake

Happy Spring!  I mean, happy "Calendar Spring" but still winter!  We had 2 inches of snow, but don't worry, it was 72 the next day.  If, in fact you were missing the snow it is OK, it snowed again 2 days later and we followed that up with some thunderstorms.  I mean, SERIOUSLY?  Mother Nature is like a mom, laying on the bed, grunting and groaning, twisting and shaking trying to get a pair of skinny jeans on from last year.  Ain't happening girl.  I just want Spring.  I just want thunderstorms, and sun, and flowers popping out of the ground and to put my patio together.  Is that SO much to ask when in fact, it is supposed to be Spring?

I digress..

I hope you all had a blessed Easter!  I cooked a feast, as usual, I needed about 10 more people to eat according the amount of food I made.  I just have this issue, I would rather way over cook and have days of leftovers, than to have someone walk away from my table still hungry.  No, it isn't going to happen.  However this year, I decided to stick with one dessert.  "Banana something" was requested.  I wanted easy, because as it happened, I was up hurling my guts out the entire night before Easter.  To much information?  Sorry.  I had no energy so, thankfully we were eating late and I could cook and rest and cook and rest.  Mom power is amazing.

This was an easy recipe I came up with, to satisfy the "banana something" request and still make it a little special for Easter!  I hope you love it!

1 yellow cake mix, prepared according to package direction.....
1 tsp baking sofa
3 mashed bananas (if bananas aren't ripe, microwave them until soft, then mash!)
1 tsp banana extract (can use vanilla instead)

Prepare your yellow cake mix as directed.  In another bowl, mash bananas and baking soda together.  Add into the cake mix and add your extract.  Mix to completely combine.

Spray a 9x13 cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.  DO NOT PREHEAT YOUR OVEN!

Place cake in the oven and then turn oven on to 350 degrees F.   Bake at 350 F, for approximately 1 hour.  Let cake cool completely before moving on to the next step.

Poke holes in your cake.  I used the hand of a wooden spoon to make large holes for the thicker pudding!

2, 3.4 oz boxes banana pudding

Prepare according to package directions and pour over entire cake, covering the entire top!  It will likely settle on top a bit, but that is a good thing!  Refrigerate for 1 hour!


7 oz container of Marshmallow Fluff
8 oz container whipped topping
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate Jimmies or Nuts of your choice for the top!

Whip together all ingredients except sprinkles.  Whip until fluffy and completely combined.  Frost cake and add sprinkles or nuts of your choice!  Refrigerate until ready to serve and keep refrigerated after!


Friday, March 23, 2018

Sweet Heat Chili


How long have I been blogging now and I have never shared my recipe for chili?  Everyone it seems has their "famous" chili recipe or "makes the best chili".  Well, yeah.....that has never been an issue for me.  It has taken me years to perfect how we like our chili.  Even then, it was sometimes not the same as the last time.   No consistency, always a crap shoot.  I finally nailed it down, wrote it down, and got it right, for GOOD!

This is a sweat chili with a good amount of heat.  Heat, as always, can be adjusted to your preference.  The sweet isn't overwhelming but definitely there.  I worked my sweetness so many ways sugar, honey, agave, and you know, nothing does it like the corn syrup.  So there you go.  If you happen to go a little over the amount on the recipe, no worries, just makes it better!  My husband will add in a couple of Thai chilies to his, but, that is how he rolls.

Let me get you started, to me, in this recipe, the order of the ingredients seems important.  I don't know why, please don't ask, because I have no sane explanation, it just seems that way!

2 lbs ground beef
1 lb ground Italian sausage (hot or mild)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to your taste)
1 can tomato soup
i can petite diced tomatoes1
1 tsp onion powder
3 tsp cumin
1 T chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 T light corn syrup

Brown your ground meats.  If it renders a lot of fat, drain it, if not, no worries.  And in your red pepper flakes.  Let cook for a minute while stirring.  Wake those babies up!  Add in soup, diced tomatoes, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, salt, and black pepper.   Stir to combine and let simmer for abut 15 minutes.  Add in light corn syrup, and make those tablespoons heaping!  Adjust to your taste adding more if you want.  Stir and simmer on low for another 30 minutes.

If you are using a slow cooker, just put your browned meet and peppers in the slow cooker, add all other ingredients except corn syrup.  Cook on low for 4 hours, and add corn syrup in about 30 minutes before serving.

Obviously you can adjust the sweet or heat to your taste, this is how we do it, and sometimes end up adding more heat to individual bowls.  Don't forget the cheddar cheese on top!

PS.  If you prefer a thinner chili, please feel free to add water or beef stock!If you groove on beans, (erp) add those too!


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Long John Silvers Copycat Batter Dipped Chicken

Hey all!  Long time no see  Admittedly I have been working on filming recipes from old blogs for my YouTube channel and it has been awhile since I have posted a new recipe.  I am back with a GOOOOOD one!  I would love to have you SUBSCRIBE to my channel linked here.

I have been making a copycat of Long John Silvers Chicken for years.  I make it a couple of times a year, so not tons of opportunity to perfect it as much as I wanted.  Well, I decided to the other night, and boy, did I hit it.  At least in OUR opinion I did!  Part of the key to getting that crunch is letting it cool on a cooling rack, and not sitting on paper towels, although it won't make a ton of difference, one side just won't be as crispy.

When I sliced my chicken (I did it the short way because I used my fryer) I cut it in about 
1/2 thick slices.  After my first batch, I went thinner.  You don't want to have to worry about if the chicken is done all the way through before your batter is to dark.  So I recommend below to go for 1/4 inch thick pieces.  These are absolutely addictive and PLEASE do this with some cod, or shrimp too!

If you normally bread when you fry something, I challenge you to batter!  One thing I went easy on was salt, you can always salt it when it comes out of the fryer, but I like everyone to choose their own level of salt and there will be some in your seasoned salt.   Make sure your garlic and onion are POWDERS not salts!

Here we go!

3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp all purpose season salt (pick your favorite)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt (optional, you can also salt them after you take them out of the fryer)
1 cup water

3 large chicken breasts thawed and cut into1/4 inch strips.  My fryer is small so I did it the short way instead of the long way.  If you are using a large pot, do it the long way.  Tomato.  Tomahto.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl big enough to hold it and the chicken.  After slicing the chicken add it to the batter and using a fork just get all the chicken covered.

Heat your oil to 350 degrees F.  Drop about 4 pieces in at a time, don't let it stick to the bottom, and let fry until golden brown.  You MAY want to check for doneness by pulling one piece out when you think they are done and cutting it in half to gauge the rest of your batches.  Mine took 5-7 minutes per batch.  As long as you don't cut your chicken to thick, they should be done as soon as the batter coating is a nice deep golden brown!

Place on to a paper towel lined cookie sheet with a cooling rack on top.  That will allow all sides to crisp even more as it cools.

Dare I say you even get the the crispy bits of batter that are so generously placed in your container of chicken or fish?  Which reminds me, do this with fish too!  Get some cod fillets and go for it! Or shrimp, YES shrimp too!

Enjoy my friends!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Pineapple Cream Cheese

Once upon a time, when I was young, carefree, and fun.... (HAHA)  I worked for Dana, my dear friend who owned a coffee house in my small town.  After mastering the art of coffee, I mastered the goodness of pineapple cream cheese on blueberry bagels.  If you have never tried it, please do.  This recipe is supper easy, and with the little bite and texture of pineapple I think it is absolutely amazing.  It is one of my favorite treats, on its best day ever!

Make sure to save your drained pineapple juice, mix it with orange juice or drink it alone or use it in something!  In the video, I used 2 TBSP of powdered sugar but you can use up to 4.  I tend to go with 4, but I used 2, and it was really plenty to be honest.

I have been making this for a little while, but had to nail it down to a recipe of proper measurements.  That completely stresses me out!  I do it because I LOVE YA!

I think this would be a perfect make ahead spread for bagels for a brunch or breakfast, or anytime really.  I imagine some graham cracker sticks or Vanilla Wafers might like to jump into this bowl of goodness and then into your mouth too!

Here we go!

1- 8oz pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup drained, crushed pineapple
2-4 T powdered sugar (icing sugar, confectioners sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Throw it all in a bowl and using a hand mixer, let her rip.  I like to whip this on high for at least 1 minutes to incorporate some air to keep it spreadable for a long time!  Refrigerate whatever you don't if.....and finish it at night when everyone else is sleeping.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cherry Mash Bars

Another good evening to you all!

Tonight, I am sharing what was a staple in our house as kids at the holidays.  Cherry Mash Bars.  Admittedly I was never a HUGE fan of these, my mom loved them and I believe my sister Peg was a lover as well.  These were supposed to be a take from the "Bing" Candy bars we had here.  Did anyone else have Bing Candy Bars? 

These are no bake, simple, quick and add beautiful color and flavor to your cookie trays!  I added some food coloring so my red layer on the bottom was red, not pink.  I like vibrant color, not faded!  You can choose to do this or not, no difference to me, I won't even ever know!  Seriously!

I hope you enjoy the video, and the recipe.  Let me know if you have had these, or if you try them! You are always welcome to post photos on my Instagram or Facebook and tag me!  I love seeing your interpretation of my recipes!

Oh, by the way, I found that cherry chips were SLIGHTLY less easy to find than regular chips.  Don't just assume your grocery store has them!  (like I did)!

1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup evaporated milk
2 T butter
1 heaping cup of cherry chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
red food coloring (optional)
1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup marshmallows
1 cup peanuts

Line an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, heat the sugar, milk and butter until boiling.  Let boil, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Add in cherry chips and marshmallows.  Stir until melted and combined.  Add in red food coloring (optional) and stir. Pour into your lined pan and refrigerate until you are ready for the next step.

In a microwaveable bowl, melt chocolate chips in 30 second increments so you do not burn them.  When melted add in marshmallows and stur until mostly melted.  Stir in peanuts and then spread carefully over the top of your cherry layer.  Smooth out and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until set and cooled.

Cut into squares and serve!


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Russian Tea Cake Christmas Cookies

Christmas is coming!  Christmas is coming!  I am unusually excited.  Perhaps it is the new home, maybe it is my deeper faith, or perhaps, it is that I am excited to be back in the swing of life after a hard 18 months. I think I can attribute it to being the happiest, and most content I have ever been in my life.  I have a gracious heart, especially about all of you.

I am late out of the gate but I will be posting as many recipes as I can before Christmas Eve!  I work best under pressure!  I will be filming some of my recipes, as many as I can as well, so make sure you hit up my YouTube Channel and subscribe!  Here is the link: FoodThoughtsOfaChefWannabe YouTube Channel!  If you haven't hit the FOLLOW on this website, I would love for you to do that as well.  I love having you all in my life, everywhere!  You see, and learn, and experience different parts of me on my different social media outlets.  Not sure why, but, it seems to be that way!  I am weird, like so weird, but I am fun!  I mean at least I think I am! HA!

Now, on to the recipe.  These were a staple Christmas cookie as a kid.  My mom never skipped over making these.  I wasn't a huge fan of them as a child.  But, I think, these are more appealing to grown ups.  I love them now.  I of course changed mine up, just a little updating on my moms recipe, but hers were awesome as well.  As you can see in the video, I can't keep anything the same size.  I think you should get 2 doz out of this recipe, but I made a few of mine for the jolly green giant so I didn't get quite as many.

Please feel free to change the type of nuts you use to what you have on hand or love.  I wanted to just go with hazelnuts because I love them, I had some some and it was definitely the right choice.  What if you did almonds, with a WEE bit of almond extract?  Ohhhhhh!

1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup finely ground hazelnuts
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract (maybe a heaping tsp)
pinch of salt
1 cup extra powdered sugar for dipping

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

Combine butter and powdered sugar until combined.  Add in nuts, and let it mix until completely combined.  Add in a pinch of salt, your vanilla extract and again, mix until combined.  Add in flour and mix just until it is all incorporated.  Your mixture will appear to be dry and crumbly, but I promise it will stick together!  

Using a cookie scoop, scoop out your cookies, dump into your hand and roll into a ball.  The warmth of your hands will melt that butter enough to make them roll nicely.  Do this will all of them, place on your parchment lined cookie sheet and then bake for 10 minutes!  Let cool completely and then roll in your additional powdered sugar!  Place on a platter and waaa-laaaa, time to enjoy!

PS Did I mention to just double this recipe from the start?!  DO!
PSS These will be perfect for your #nobrowncookietray Christmas cookie trays!