Archives

Chicken Madeira with Ultra Gel

This week I had some leftover mushrooms hanging out in the fridge and found a package of chicken breasts in the freezer. I wanted to try something new to bring these ingredients together and after some searching I found a recipe for chicken madeira. Chicken Madeira is basically cheese covered chicken breasts with a rich mushroom wine sauce. I was pretty much sold the moment I looked at the ingredient list.

When I made my chicken madeira I used Ultra Gel as my thickening agent instead of cornstarch, which made it easy to keep from getting lumps. I also added some sour cream and used a red cooking wine since I didn’t have madeira on hand.

I served this over brown rice with a side of broccoli and cauliflower and the family declared it a winner. Enough so that we’re having it for lunch tomorrow too!

Chicken Madeira

Chicken Madeira with Ultra Gel

4 chicken breasts, sliced in half

2 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon oil

salt and pepper

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

1/2 white onion, sliced

1 1/2 cups red cooking wine or madeira

15 ounces beef broth

2 Tablespoons sour cream

2-3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1-2 cups shredded mozzarella

In a large skillet heat butter and oil. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place in the skillet. Brown on both sides until done through. Move to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add mushrooms and onions to hot skillet along with an additional Tablespoon of butter and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes until mushrooms and onions are soft. Add wine and broth and simmer for 7-10 minutes until liquid reduces to half. Add sour cream and mix well. Thicken with Ultra Gel. Add additional salt and pepper if needed. Depending on the salt level of your beef broth you may not need any salt at all.

Place chicken breasts on a sheet pan and top with cheese. Place in a 350 degree oven for 3-5 minutes until cheese is well melted.

Serve chicken and sauce over brown rice or mashed potatoes.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Ultra Gel

In the last few days I’ve been going back through some of my Ultra Gel recipes looking for things I haven’t done in a while and I happened upon this sweet and sour meatballs recipe. I love this recipe. It’s a combination of Asian flavors with a bright burst of pineapple all wrapped around a meatball, with crunchy vegetables for contrast.

My mother and I first developed this recipe when I was competing in the 4-H Beef Ambassador contest (about a million years ago). We wanted a meatball which would hold together well, but have a simple flavor and texture. Ultra Gel provides this as well as keeping the meatball moist even after baking (and it freezes really well too). Then we wanted a simple sauce which wouldn’t have to be cooked twice. Again Ultra Gel solved our problem as we can create a stir together sauce at the desired thickness before baking it with the meatballs for full flavor.

You can get creative with this recipe and add other tropical fruit such as mangoes, or vegetables like baby corn or bamboo shoots. Get creative, and be sure to let us know what you try!

IMG_5371

Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Ultra Gel

Meatballs:

1 pound ground beef – a combination of ground beef and ground turkey is really good too

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

2 Tablespoons dried chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Sauce:

1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained (reserve juice)

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 Tablespoons vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 small can water chestnuts

4-6 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1-2 green peppers, cut into chunks

Combine ingredients for meatballs gently.  DO NOT OVERMIX.  Shape into 1″ meatballs and bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until centers are no longer pink.  Remove meatballs to baking pan.

Meanwhile drain pineapple and set aside, reserving juice.  Combine reserved pineapple juice, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and water in mixing bowl.  Add Ultra Gel gradually, stirring with a wire whisk.  Add green peppers, pineapple and water chestnuts.  Pour sauce over meatballs and bake for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees until peppers are crisp-tender.

Serve over hot cooked rice.

Beef Gravy with Ultra Gel

I know what you’re thinking.

Okay…I can make a guess at what you’re thinking. Beef gravy. In July?

Yep. In July.

Because July in Utah is hot, and this year it’s particularly hot, so we’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with our slow cooker to keep the temperature in the house at least somewhat reasonable. Ultra Gel is an amazing helper when it comes to the slow cooker. Because Ultra Gel doesn’t have to boil in order to thicken it makes it easy to add to slow cooker dishes, and makes the world’s easiest gravy. Don’t believe me? Here it is.

Beef Gravy with Ultra Gel

Slow cook a large hunk of meat along with onions, garlic, a splash of red wine, salt, pepper and anything else you like. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and carve. Remove any large hunks of vegetables or herbage that you don’t want in your gravy (Often I just grab my stick blender and blend everything in for more flavor.) Add water or additional broth if necessary, sometimes the drippings will be a bit strong for a gravy. Whisk in Ultra Gel until the mixture is just slightly thinner than you want it to end up. Yes, right in the slow cooker! No need to dirty up another pot. Use a silicone whisk if your slow cooker is non-stick. Let the gravy sit for 2 minutes to achieve full thickness. Thicken further if desired. Serve. Yum. That’s it. Easy, yummy, gluten-free beef gravy. And hey, the house is still cool!

Mango Chicken with Ultra Gel

This is a great time of year for getting really nice mangoes. I like working with mangoes as they add a nice sweet and tart combination to dishes and have a beautiful chew to them. When cooked they tend to stay in nice chunks versus going too mushy. I like them in asian recipes from sushi rolls to this mango chicken recipe.

A note about mangoes. Mangoes have a big old seed right in the center of them. It’s not impossible to cut them in half, but it’s really hard. The flesh is also kinda slimy and slick. Soo…there are two really good ways to get mango chunks. In method one you cut the cheeks of the mangos, the biggest curved sections, away from the seed. Then cut a cross hatch pattern down to the skin, but not through it. Push on the skin and push the chunks out. In method two you cut off the top and the bottom of the mango and then tilt it up on the flat end and skin it. Then remove the big chunks of mango and slice into chunks or spears. It takes a little practice, but you’ll get good at it.

mangochicken

Mango Chicken with Ultra Gel

2 medium mangoes, cut into chunks

1 cup chicken stock

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 teaspoon powdered garlic

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1 pound chicken breasts, chunked

2 Tablespoons olive oil

onion, diced

celery, sliced

mushrooms, sliced

peas

carrots, sliced

Combine mango chunks, broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and spices in a medium pan. Cook until warmed through. In a large skillet heat olive oil and brown chicken through. Add vegetables and stir fry until just soft. Add mango sauce and toss gently with chicken and vegetables. Add Ultra Gel to thicken. Serve over warm rice.

Creme Brulee with Ultra Gel

When it comes to decadent even slightly naughty favorite desserts most people’s lists are topped by chocolate. I can’t blame them really, chocolate is a wonderful thing, but for me there is nothing quite as sinfully satisfying as the combination of caramelized sugar crunch and creamy filling that is a good creme brulee.

Creme brulee has a reputation for being very hard to make. This isn’t actually the case. The issue is that you are adding hot cream to egg yolks and if you aren’t patient you can make a very nice bowl of sweet scrambled eggs instead of beautiful custard. Adding Ultra Gel to the mix helps to keep the egg from scrambling, but you’ve still got to go slowly and be patient.

As Alton Brown would say, “Your patience will be rewarded.”

Creme Brulee with Ultra Gel

3 cups heavy cream

3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon high quality vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

5 egg yolks

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the egg yolks into a large bowl and whip well. In a heavy saucepan combine cream, sugar, vanilla, salt and Ultra Gel whisking very well to combine. Cook over medium heat until cream just begins to bubble around the edges. You don’t actually want it to boil.

Set hot cream aside for 2 minutes. Slowly add cream mixture to the egg yolks a little at t time, whisking after each addition, until mixtures are fully combined. Pour the mixture through a tight sieve to remove any lumps.

Divide custard into small ramekins filling them almost to the top. Set the ramekins into a large roasting pan and fill the pan with boiling water until the ramekins are about half submerged. You do not want water IN the custard, just around the outside to create a water bath.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until custard begins to set. The very center will still be wobbly. If you wait until it’s completely set it will be dried out. You don’t want any cracks in the surface. Allow to cool completely, 2 hours is good, over night in the fridge is better.

When ready to serve sprinkle white sugar over the top of the creme brulee and use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar. (You can also place the ramekins under the oven broiler, but watch them VERY carefully or you’ll get smoke). Don’t over cook that sugar, the line between caramel perfection and burnt to a crisp is narrow and you want your sugar on the caramel size. Serve with whipped cream and/or berries as desired.

Yum.

 

Peanut Butter Bars with Ultra Gel

I love peanut butter bars.  There, I said it. I really and truly love peanut butter bars.

It’s true.

Just think about it for a minute. These peanut butter bars are everything that’s good all wrapped into one bundle. You have peanut butter, oats and brown sugar mixed with butter to make a great bar, topped with chocolate and then topped again with chunky peanut butter frosting. It’s a little bit of heaven. I can only make them when I have an event where I am forced to share them because otherwise I will eat them ALL by myself and those calories add up in a hurry.

I use Ultra Gel in the bar itself to help hold the moisture and keep everything tender. Then it goes into the peanut butter icing where it provides excellent stability so the frosting isn’t too sweet. Yum.

So…for when you’re ready to share, or not, I won’t judge. Here we go.

Peanut Butter Bars with Ultra Gel

1 cup butter, soft

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups oats (old fashioned)

2 cups flour

Combine butter and sugars and mix until fluffy and light. Add eggs, Ultra Gel and vanilla and mix until smooth. Mix in peanut butter. Combine all dry ingredients and add slowly to creamed mixture until completely incorporated. Spread into a greased 11×15 inch jelly roll pan (one with sides). Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees until light golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Top cooled bars with 6-8 ounces of melted chocolate. Allow to harden.

Top chocolate layer with peanut butter frosting (recipe below).

Peanut Butter Frosting with Ultra Gel

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1-2 pounds powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)

Combine all ingredients in order listed and whip until light, fluffy and slightly thick. Top peanut butter bars. (Also excellent on graham crackers as a snack.)

 

 

Stovetop Beef Stroganoff with Ultra Gel

Beef stroganoff is one of those meals which we eat about once every six months. It’s hearty, and rich, and easy to make, and goes well with either rice or noodles. While stroganoff can be made either with ground beef or beef pieces I prefer the later, and I always prefer fresh mushrooms over canned, though either works in a pinch. I’ve experimented a bit with different kinds of cream of mushroom soup (yeah, I know some folks are anti cream soups and there are a lot of alternatives if you want to make those and they work fine), but my favorite is the Progresso cream of mushroom. It’s not as condensed and I think has more flavor, but any variety will work.

I always serve our beef stroganoff up with a big pile of vegetables.

We use Ultra Gel in this dish as a thickener and to make the mix fridge and freezer stable. It reheats easily and maintains a great flavor and consistency. So we tend to eat it for dinner, then make up lunches in tupperware containers which are there for grab and go.

Stovetop Beef Stroganoff with Ultra Gel

1 pound beef pieces or ground beef

2 Tablespoons oil (Do not add if you use ground beef)

1 medium onion, diced

6-8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup sour cream

salt and pepper to taste

2-4 Tablespoons of Ultra Gel

Brown beef in oil in a heavy medium pan. When beef is about half way done add onions and mushrooms and continue cooking until meat is fully browned and vegetables are soft. Add soup and milk and cook at medium heat for about 5 minutes. Fold in sour cream and spice to taste. Finish with Ultra Gel to desired consistency and serve over rice or noodles.