Tag Archive | dinner

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole with Thick Gel

With the cooler weather fully in command I find my thoughts turn a lot to comfort foods, especially soups and casseroles. Not only are these recipes excellent comfort food, but they are also great dishes for using up leftovers and turning them into another fantastic dish. In this case I had some left over ham pieces and wanted a quick, but delicious, way to use them. I did some digging and found I also had some chicken breasts and cheese. This all lead me to making chicken cordon bleu casserole.

I love how quickly this dish works up, but how yummy it is. There’s a great contrast in flavors, and it can be served with rice, potatoes or pasta very easily. I like swiss cheese best, but if you have colby jack or even mozarella they’ll work fine too.

For this recipe we use Thick Gel in one of my favorite applications, that of building a roux base for a white sauce. I like Thick Gel in this method because it creates a beautiful cream sauce that doesn’t fracture or weep when it’s refrigerated and has a very smooth texture. I use a little bit of flour because I like the flavor of the butter and browned flour, but if you’re looking to stay completely gluten free Thick Gel can do all the work for you!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole with Thick Gel

2 cooked chicken breasts, diced

1 cup diced ham pieces

1-2 cups shredded cheese swiss, colby jack or mozzarella

Sauce:

2 Tablespoons butter

1 Tablespoon flour

2 Tablespoons Thick Gel (Or remove the flour and use 4 Tablespoons Thick Gel)

1 1/2 to 2 cups milk

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 Tablespoon spicy mustard

1/2 teaspoon paprika

salt and pepper to taste

Topping:

panko crumbs

In a 9×9 inch dripper pan layer ham, chicken and cheese and set aside. ‘

In a medium sized heavy sauce pan melt the butter. Once the butter is completely melted add the flour and Thick Gel and stir well to combine. Let cook for 30 seconds then whisk in the milk. It won’t look thick enough, but it will thicken as the temperature increases. Cook for 3-4 minutes until thick and creamy. Add lemon juice, mustard and spices. Add extra milk if needed to maintain a pourable consistency.

Pour sauce over meat and cheese layer and top with panko crumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until cheese is melted and the casserole is hot all the way through.

Serve with rice, pasta or potatoes and a vegetable side.

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Crispy Taco Wraps with Ultra Gel

So yesterday we talked about my favorite recipe for taco seasoning mix. If you didn’t see it, go back and take a read, or at least write down the recipe. You’ll need it. 🙂

There are several dishes I use this mix in, but this one is a new favorite inspired by the lovely folks at Tastes Better From Scratch. She’s right, the whole family loves this idea of a crispy wrap that isn’t deep fried or too heavy. We change up the flavors a bit and I like a wetter filling, so feel free to experiment until you find your taco nirvana!

Taco Wrap

These crispy taco wraps can be made large for a party, or wrapped in small tortillas for killer appetizers!

Crispy Taco Wraps with Ultra Gel

1 pound ground meat, we like beef or turkey or a mixture of both

1/2 white onion, finely chopped1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2-1 can whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained

1 small can diced green chiles (opt)

1/2 bell pepper, chopped

1 batch Taco Seasoning Mix

2-4 Tablespoons water or broth

sour cream

salsa

Cooked rice

cheese

tortillas

For the filling: Brown the ground meat in a large skillet, adding the chopped onion about half way through browning. Cook until meat is done through and onion is translucent. Add beans, corn, chiles, bell pepper and Taco Seasoning Mix. Stir well to combine and cook until veg is soft, adding water as needed to achieve desired thickness.

Lay out tortillas and assemble by layering sour cream, salsa, rice, taco meat and cheese. Fold in ends and cook on a hot skillet or electric skillet. For extra crisp brush or spray with olive oil before placing wraps on the skillet. Rotate until sides are golden and crispy. You may lose some filling in the turning, but I either just chalked that up to taste testing or shoved it back inside when I flipped the wrap back over.

Serve with fresh tomatoes and shredded lettuce.

Taco Seasoning Mix with Ultra Gel

Vegan Taco Soup

I don’t know about you, but there are days at my house where dinner is a matter of what’s thawed and what can I make of it in a hurry? You know these days when there are soccer games and school projects and life all happening in a blur. One of my favorite go tos on these days is tacos in various shapes and sizes.

Tacos are quick to make, and you can use just about any ground meat or beans as a base and you’re in business. Now, I learned a long time ago that you could make the creation of tacos even -faster- by using a taco seasoning mix. Just dump it into a pan of browned meat and onions, add a few beans and you were in business. The problem I had was that most of these mixes were really heavy on the salt, and sometimes they had an off flavor, or not enough of a flavor I liked. So what’s a girl to do?

Well, I’ll tell you. We came up with our own mixes, and started adding either Ultra Gel or Thick Gel. Why add the starch, you ask? There are two really good reasons for this. Reason the first, if you have a starch in the mix and add a little additional water or broth to your taco meat you get juicier meat. The starch thickens that additional liquid around the meat and catches all the lovely seasonings in it and… it’s so very very yummy. Reason the second is that the starch helps in keeping the spices from clump and helps the dispurse evenly when you pour them into your taco meat, soup, etc. They’re very clever kitchen helpers!

So here’s my mix. And unlike the store one if you try this mix and find you want a little more cumin, or a bit less chili powder or want to add hot peppers you have the power! I tend to make these mixes in snack bags or small candy bags 12 at a time. Why 12? Because I set out a muffin tray and put an open bag in each hole. Then, I go around and add each ingredient to each bag. When I’m finished pop a label on it and I’ve got 12 taco seasoning mixes all ready for use or ready to add to a gift for a friend. It’s a win all the way around.

The mix had the strongest flavor for about 2-3 months. After that it’s still good for another 3-4 months but the quality starts to suffer and the combination of flavors isn’t as strong.

 

Taco Seasoning Mix with Ultra Gel

1 Tablespoon chili powder (mild or hot, you choose)

1/2 teaspoon salt (I like a fine salt for this, versus a kosher or coarse salt)

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika (I like a smoked paprika)

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (Omit this for a mild batch)

2 Tablespoons Thick Gel or 3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

Combine all ingredients in a small plastic bag. Seal, label, date and store in tightly covered container.

So there’s your mix. Stay tuned. Tomorrow we’ll talk about some ways to use this mix that take ordinary tacos and make them fabulous!

Grilled Pork Chops with Peach Habanero Sauce

Despite the fact that Utah is getting a late season snow warning, grill season has begun – at least at our house. One of our favorite things to grill is a nice bone in pork chop. I like bone in pork chops because the bone adds to the flavor, and my boys like bone in because it gives them a handle to hold onto while they go to town. I’ve been assured it’s a caveman thing similar to eating turkey legs and chicken drumsticks. I’ve learned to accept these things.

One of our favorite pork chops recipe is actually very simple. We marinade the chops for about two hours, then cook them over medium heat until they’re around medium in the center and then crank up the heat for a quick char. Then we douse the whole thing in Cornaby’s Peach Habanero Sauce and eat up. The light sweetness of the peach is really good with pork and the habanero pepper adds a nice zing. I also like Cornaby’s Raspberry Jalapeno with this method if you want a slightly sweeter and less hot sauce.

Bring a jar to your Memorial Day party and add a zip you won’t forget!

Pork Chops with Peach Habanero Sauce

4 medium pork chops 1/2-3/4 inch thick

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 Tablespoons Red Wine vinegar

1 teaspoon spicy mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 generous Tablespoon garlic

1 Tablespoon Ultra Gel

splash of orange juice

Cornaby’s Peach Habanero Sauce

Combine all ingredients except for the pork chops and Peach Habanero Sauce in a large zip top bag. Shake well to mix. Add chops and allow to sit for 2 hours in the fridge. Remove from fridge and discard excess marinade. Grill at medium heat until a meat thermometer reads medium to medium-well (~160 F). Turn up grill and give a quick 30 second char on both sides for flavor and color. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Top with Cornaby’s Peach Habanero Sauce.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Ultra Gel

Every evening I’m feeding a pretty full household. Teenagers, not toddlers, husbands, cats…the kitchen is always busy, and, let’s be honest, I like it that way. Usually. But sometimes I feel less inspired than others and I like having a file of easy go-tos which I add to upon occasion.

This is one such occasion and one such recipe. I love these Easy Chicken Enchiladas, and the power of Ultra Gel makes them even better. These Chicken Enchiladas are great with either chicken breasts or thighs, you just want a pile of cooked, boneless meat to start with and everything goes from there.

Because of the Ultra Gel these Chicken Enchiladas can be made days ahead of time and frozen, then baked for about an hour before dinner time. Viola! Easy, tasty, yum.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Ultra Gel

1 can (10-12 ounces) red enchilada sauce (You can make this, but this is the way easy version)

1 can (15 ounces) chicken broth (homemade will also work well here)

2-3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1-2 pounds cooked, diced boneless chicken

1/2 medium onion chopped

1-2 Tablespoons minced garlic

1/2-3/4 cups sour cream

1 small can diced green chiles

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

2 cups cheese

8-10 corn tortillas

In a small pan combine enchilada sauce, chicken broth, Ultra Gel and black pepper and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer for 1 minute. Set aside.

In a medium pan combine 1 Tablespoon oil, chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook on medium heat until onion is transparent. Don’t over cook or garlic will burn. Add chicken, sour cream, green chiles and rinsed beans and mix until well combined and warmed through. Add salt and pepper and Ultra Gel.

Line the bottom of a 9×12 inch pan with 1 cup of the enchilada sauce. Place 2 Tablespoons chicken mixture in each tortilla and roll up. Place each roll into enchilada sauce in baking pan, seam side down. When pan is full cover all tortilla rolls with remaining enchilada sauce. If you want to freeze the batch cover with a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of tin foil and move to the freezer. Otherwise, cover with cheese and bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees until bubbly and amazing.

For frozen batches: Remove from freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Top with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes until cooked all the way through.

Mango Chicken Stir Fry

Mangoes have been on sale for the last little bit and I’ve been looking for different things to do with them. Mango Cake is always a fun option, but this time I wanted something savory and light.I had some chicken breast pieces and bell peppers which also needed using so I put everything together to end up with a Mango Chicken Stir Fry. Let me tell you this is a magnificent combination. The dish is chewy and sweet and crunchy with a little bit of spice and goes great over a little baked rice. This was good enough that we ate mango chicken for dinner, and then again for lunch…and another lunch…every scrap was eaten. That’s one of the things I love, a food where the leftovers are just as desired as the first go around!

I found more mangoes on sale this week and I think we’ll be giving this mango chicken stir fry an encore.

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Mango Chicken Stir Fry

1 pound chicken breast, sliced

2 medium mangoes, cubed

1-2 bell peppers, cubed

1 medium white onion, sliced

1 can sliced water chestnuts

2-3 Tablespoons soy sauce

salt

pepper

garlic

ginger

Leftover Teriyaki sauce (optional but gives it a great flavor boost or you can use a dollop of Cornaby’s Peach Habanero sauce if you want more kick!)

Ultra Gel

Heat a large skillet or wok. When the pan is good and hot add 1-2 Tablespoons of oil. Add chicken and cook until mostly done. Add fruits and vegetables and cook until tender. Add soy sauce and spices and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add Ultra Gel as needed to soak up extra liquids. It’s usually 1-2 Tablespoons depending on how juicy your mangoes are.

Serve warm over rice.

Mango Chutney

Spring is a glorious time for mangos! They’re not a food which I just like to eat by themselves, however, I love it as an ingredient or a topping. Mango has a unique tart and sweet flavor and a soft, but chewy, texture which goes well with other foods. I’ve had mango several times on top of sushi rolls and love the contrast. The mango chutney recipe I’m sharing today is very good on steak, but also delightful on salmon or other fleshy seafood.

Mangoes are an odd fruit with a large flat seed in the middle. When preparing mangos you want to peel them and slice a small piece off the top and the bottom so you have a flat surface to set it on. Then carve the two large cheeks of fruit off each side and the smaller slices from the edges. Mangoes are slippery and a little sticky, so be careful. You don’t want to lose fingers doing this! Once you have the cheeks off then you can easily work them into slices or cubes. A more traditional way to do this is to skip the peeling and just slice the cheeks off with the skin intact. Then you make a grid pattern through the fruit and flip the skin wrong side out to make the fruit easy to harvest. Either way is fine, but both take a little practice. Look for mangos without soft spots or blemishes and that are relatively heavy for their size. They’ll be the sweetest.

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Mango Chutney

1 mango, peeled and cubbed

2 roma tomatoes, cubbed

juice from one lime

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel (This will be determined by just how juicy your fruit is. Start with 1 Tablespoon and allow the mixture to sit before adding more.)

(A splash of Cornaby’s Peach Habanero Sauce is amazing in this too!)

Combine all ingredients and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes for flavors to mesh. Serve with salmon or steak, or with tortilla chips. My son loves this as an option for nachos!