Friday, December 12, 2008

Potato Soup

I would make and eat soup several nights a week during the winter if I were not the only soup enthusiast in my house. As things are, I keep it to once every couple of weeks. Lately I've been craving potato soup, so last night I made it and it was gooo-oood. I served it up with some garlic bread (not that fake frozen crap, either) and a whole rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (same price as a whole raw chicken after 3:00 pm at my Kroger!) for those who might not think soup is a meal.

I added cream to this because I happened to have some on hand, but you could easily use milk, half and half, or even skip it all together if you want to minimize calories. The chicken broth gives it a lot of flavor on its own.

1 large box reduced-fat chicken broth (sometimes I have homemade broth in the freezer, but right now I don't)
about 3 lbs red potatoes, peeled and roughly cubed
2 tbsp butter
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup sour cream (low-fat or fat-free is fine)
1/2 cup cream, half and half, or milk
salt and pepper

In bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter and add shallot. Sautee for about a minute, then add potatoes and stir to coat with butter. Add broth, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a steady boil. Cook for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Reduce heat and use a potato masher to smush up some of the potatoes. You want the base to be thickened but still have some chunks of potato. Add sour cream and milk/cream. Simmer over med/low heat another ten minutes or so.
Serve with shredded sharp cheddar and chives as garnish if desired.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Easier Than You Think Tamales

I decided to go ahead and post about tamale making, because all the recipes I found when I was looking were so complicated and time consuming. I sort of modified and combined ideas from a few recipes, and drew on my experience with making blue corn lobster tamales at In Limbo back in the day.

You will need some type of steamer for this. A basket placed over a pot of boiling water is all that really is. I was lucky enough to have a friend with the perfect setup for tamales, but you could probably improvise with a flat-bottomed basket with 4-6 inch sides placed over a large pot or dutch oven. You can see the setup I used here.

You can find dried corn husks and Masa (the cornmeal-based flour for the tamale "crust") at most supermarkets in the Mexican section.


1 package dried corn husks
1 bag Masa Harina
1 3-5 lb beef or pork roast (I used beef because roasts were on sale)
Dried red chiles
1 white or yellow onion, sliced and separated into rings
3-5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
salt and black pepper
red pepper
chili powder

Cook the meat:

If you don't have a pressure cooker (you really should get one), you'll need to plan ahead a little and cook the meat in a crock pot with enough liquid to cover. Place meat in pressure cooker/crock pot with plenty of water (pressure cookers can't be more than about half full, but they produce a concentrated broth that you can add water to afterwards), 2 dried chiles, garlic, about a tsp each salt and black pepper, 1/2 tsp red pepper (more if you want them spicier), a tsp or so each of chili powder and cumin. Cook until meat is very tender and falling apart. Remove meat to a cutting board, reserving broth, and chop very fine. Keep in the onion and garlic but remove the dried chiles. You can do this part up to three days ahead and stick the meat and broth in the fridge until you're ready to assemble.

Assemble the tamales:

Put the corn husks in a large bowl of water to soak and set aside. Pour about half the Masa (2 of the 4 lbs) in a large bowl. Slowly add warm broth and work in with your hands until mixture reaches a peanutbutter-like consistency.

Remove corn husks from water, separate and pat dry-ish. Set up your assembly line of ingredients so that you can easily make the tamales. Grab a husk, spread it with about a half-inch thickness of prepared masa, leaving about an inch down the right side uncovered. Place a line of chopped meat down the length sort of left of center, then roll up so the uncovered edge of husk makes the outer edge. Fold the long pointy end over like and envelope, and place on end (standing up) in basket. Continue until you run out of all or one of the components.

Cook the tamales:

Now, I kept finding recipes that said the tamales need to steam for two hours, but I knew we didn't cook them that long at the restaurant. I eventually found a chef's recipe for more fussily filled tamales that said steam for 30 minutes, so I went with that cook time and it worked fine. maybe the longer time is necessary for larger batches? Anyway, bring your pot of water to a rolling boil, put your tamale-filled basket on top of it, and cover the basket with some kind of lid. It doesn't have to be airtight--I just sort of dropped the lid to my dutch oven on top of the tamales. If you're using a large flat basket, a cookie sheet or something might work as a lid. Cook until done, and enjoy! I served mine with steamed a pot of black beans, fresh corn, fresh avocado salad, and my favorite salsa. A lot of people like chili over theirs, with shredded cheese and chopped onion. Or you can keep it simple with a little Cholula or Frank's Red Hot.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Richard's Favorite Enchilada casserole

I love enchiladas, but when it comes to weeknight dinners I tend to go for effect over detail. Why roll up individual enchiladas when you can layer it all in half the time? I always make this with chicken, but it occurs to me that this could be a perfect way to use up left-over turkey. Throw some Spanish rice and refried beans on the side and you'll feel like you went out to one of those weird Mexican restaurants that all have different names but identical, numbered menus. (Is that just a Memphis thing?)

1 pkg (at least 24) corn tortillas (Do NOT use flour. I mean it. CORN!)
1 large can or 2 regular-sized cans red enchilada sauce
1 small can tomato sauce
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 16 oz (or larger) carton sour cream
About 4 cups cooked chicken or turkey, shredded or chopped (I guess--I don't really measure anything. I use one whole chicken or four breasts usually.)
1 can whole green chiles
8 ounces shredded cheddar or Mexican blend or casserole blend cheese

Mix enchilada sauce and tomato sauce in a small bowl or large measuring cup and pour a small amount in the bottom of a rectangular baking dish (just enough to cover the bottom with a thin layer).

In another bowl, mix chicken, cream of chicken soup, and half the sour cream.

Cover the sauced bottom of dish with a layer of tortillas. It's fine if they overlap substantially, but don't leave any gaps. I use 8 per layer in my 9X13 dish. Cover tortillas with half the chicken mixture, spreading to make a somewhat even layer. Tear half the chiles into strips and arrange over chicken. Sprinkle with 1/3 of cheese, then drizzle with a thin layer of sauce. Repeat layers, starting with tortillas, using all the remaining chicken mixture and chiles, 1/3 of cheese, and another thin layer of sauce. Top with last layer of tortillas, then pour all remaining sauce evenly over casserole. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Remove foil, add remaining cheese, and bake another 10-15 minutes until most of sauce has been absorbed and the whole thing is bubbly. Let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting or it will not retain it's shape when served. Serve with remaining sour cream as garnish.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Italian Beef

When I was in high school, my best friend's mom used to make this all the time. The first time I had it, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I immediately asked for the recipe and brought it to my mom. Now I often make it to bring to gatherings and it never fails to be a hit. You can easily double it for larger crowds if you have a big enough crock pot. I sometimes cheat and use my pressure cooker, but my husband insists the crock pot makes it better. This is served on hoagie rolls, and all you soft white bread fans need to listen to me when I say that this is one time when crustier is better. The juicy goodness will soak right through a soft roll in two seconds flat. We also like to make burritos with the leftovers, so I guess you could make it just for that purpose if you wanted.

Aprox 3-4 lbs beef roast (cheap cuts work fine), trimmed of excess fat
3-5 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
1 small white or yellow onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper (half if you want less heat)
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 jar pepperoncini peppers (be careful not to get the really salty, bitter ones. I often find the store brand ones to be the best. Kroger's store brand pepperoncinis are awesome.)

Place the roast in crock pot (no need to brown first). Add water to be even with the thickness of the roast, but not covering the top. Sprinkle all seasonings over roast. Lay onion rings and crushed garlic on top, along with 6-8 pepperoncinis. Cook in crock pot until completely tender and falling apart (time depends on how fast you need it--you can cook it all day on low or about 6 hours on high, usually).

Remove meat to a large platter or shallow bowl and let sit just until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, strain broth into a large bowl, discard solids (you can keep the onion if you want but the peppers will be gross and you're going to put more in anyway). Return broth to crock pot, then shred the meat and add to the broth. Put in 1/2 cup of pepperoncini juice and simmer another half hour at least (or just let it sit if it's going to be awhile or you are taking it somewhere). At this step, I also add a few more coarsely chopped pepperoncinis (or the banana peppers that come sliced in rings), but you can opt to serve these as a garnish if you prefer. Serve with a large slotted spoon.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Southern-style Dressing

I think that holiday food traditions really highlight the differences between regional cooking styles. I never believed anyone actually cooked the "stuffing" inside the turkey until I saw pictures of it actually done. That just seems gross to me! Down here we call it "dressing," and we make it in big lasagna-sized pans to ensure there's enough to go around. Being a very picky eater as a child, I never even tried dressing until I was in college. I worked at Dino's, which had T&D on the meat-and-three every Sunday, and it was good! The dressing was very much like what my mom makes. I'm hoping to volunteer to make the dressing this year in Georgia as we gather with my husband's family for the big feast. There's always so much good food that dressing is understandably not a priority, and we often just go with something like Stove Top. That's okay, but I'd rather have real dressing, so I'm going to make it!

These are my mom's instructions, which are not super exact, but I've watched her make the dressing many times so I know how it should look and feel and I'll try to describe that here.

Ingredients/shopping list:

***Corn Meal Mix (sold next to the regular corn meal but already has some flour and leavening built in)
buttermilk (you can add 1 tsp vinegar to a cup of milk, but it won't be as good)
5 biscuits, rolls, or slices of white bread, or two hamburger buns (Seriously.)
1 cup each chopped celery and onion
1 stick of butter
1 can cream of chicken soup (oh hush, you won't even know its there)
chicken broth as needed (get the box that you can keep in the fridge and use as needed)
ground sage
poultry seasoning (My mom says either or but I say why not both? Unless poultry seasoning already has, check label.)

***Note: Do NOT use a boxed "corn muffin" mix like Jiffy. It will be way too sweet and won't make enough. I mean it!

Okay, Step one, cut a whole in the box...wait, that's not right. Step one, make the cornbread according to the directions on the bag, using the buttermilk and eggs from the list. Use the same pan you will use for the dressing--a large rectangular or oblong baking dish, like 9x13. You can do this in advance or just while you do the other prep work.

Meanwhile, chop your onions and celery and sautee it all in the stick of butter

Crumble the cornbread all up in the pan. Add whatever form of white bread you are using--either five biscuits, five slices of bread, or two hamburger buns, also crumbled up (just tear it with your hands). Add the cooked celery and onions with all the melted butter, the cream of chicken soup, and enough chicken broth, a little at a time, to give it all a soupy, pudding-like consistency. Salt and pepper generously and add the sage/poultry seasoning (a generous tsp, maybe), mix it all up to one big homogenous mass, and spread in the pan (it should have surface tension and be thicker than cake batter). Bake uncovered until golden-brown on top, about 30-45 minutes (I'm going to say 375 degrees). Enjoy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Simple avocado salad

A month or so ago I got a random urge to make tamales from scratch, so I did. I doubt y'all want to make tamales from scratch, so I'll spare you the step-by-step (but it was actually really easy and they tasted great and I'll tell you how if you want). I wanted some quick and easy sides to serve with them, and the idea for this salad popped into my head, even though I do not eat avocados. Or raw onion. It's basically guacamole that's not mushed up, but Stacey liked it so much that she requested I make it again a couple weeks later, so I thought it was worth sharing.

2 ripe but not over-ripe avocados
1/2 a small purple onion, finely chopped
1 or 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1 lemon
sea salt

Dice avocados into medium-sized cubes (cut them in half lengthwise, remove the large pit, use a small sharp knife to cut down into each half in a grid pattern, turn each half inside out, and easily cut the resulting cubes from the peel). Place cubes in a small glass bowl and add tomato and onion. Cut lemon in half and squeeze both halves over avocado mixture (I put my hand underneath to catch the seeds and let the juice run through my fingers). Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of sea salt or other coarse salt. Voila!

"Toasted" Ravioli

I put "toasted" in quotes because that's really just a euphemistic way of saying "fried." I could have also put "ravioli" in quotes, because instead of using up any of our precious, real, from-scratch Zanone Family Recipe ravioli for this cocktail-hour favorite, I use some of the inevitable leftover filling and won ton wrappers. I can't give you the actual filling recipe, because if I did I'd have to kill you, but the one I will give you is quicker and easier anyway. You could also experiment with your own fillings. Ravioli was originally designed to use up leftovers, really. At first glance this may look labor intensive, but it's all pretty basic and mindless. It's easier than it sounds and the results are sooo worth it. Serve with marinara sauce.

Most grocery stores sell won ton wrappers, although I bought them super cheap at an Asian market near my work. There are about a billion in a package, but I usually get two just to be safe if I'm cooking for a crowd. (I'm usually working with an unknown quantity of leftover filling and just make them until I get tired of cooking and my guests get tired of eating, so outcome amounts for this recipe are inexact, to say the least.) You will need a food processor to grind the filling. If you end up with extra, freeze it and use it later in lasagna or stuffed pasta like jumbo shells.


1 lb Italian sausage (in bulk or removed from casings)
1 bag or box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed as dry as possible (I put it in a thin dish towel and wring it out)
2 eggs
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
3-5 cloves garlic, minched
1 small onion, chopped
16 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped (optional)

Brown sausage, crumbling as it cooks. Dump into strainer over a bowl and leave it there for a minute. Sautee onion in small amount of remaining fat for two or three minutes. Add mushrooms and cook a few more minutes, then garlic for about 30 seconds before you dump the sausage back in, along with sausage. Stir and cook until everything is well combined.

Process filling in food processor until it is a consistent texture with no big chunks, but not total mush. It should be just wet enough to hold together in a meatball-type configuration. If it seems too wet, add some bread crumbs or cracker crumbs to tighten it up a bit.

Now, make a little assembly line. At one end is a large, deep skillet with about an inch of hot oil in it. Next to that is a plate, next to that a stack of won ton wrappers, next to that your bowl of filling. Somewhere near the wrappers and plate you need a small bowl of water. Lay wrappers on the plate--as many as you can fit without them overlapping. Dip your finger in the water and run it around the edges of each wrapper. Now, grab a little bit of filling, make a little ball (dosn't have to be rolled tightly or anything), and put it in the center of the wrapper, then repeat with all the other wrappers. Fold each wrapper over its filling so the edges touch, then press edges together firmly. I sometimes make a little fold to reinforce this but I'm not sure that's totally necessary. Carefully place each ravioli in hot oil, filling skillet but not crowding it (I usually keep adding as I make them, but you can do distinct batches if you don't like things to be at different stages of doneness in the same pan). Once the underside looks golden, gently flip them. Move to a paper-towel-lined plate and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve, but serve as soon after cooking as possible.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hodge-Podge Soup

This soup is super-easy to make and is sort of a cross between chili and vegetable soup. It's delicious and requires no cooking skills whatsoever. I serve it with cornbread.

1 lb ground beef
2 cans diced tomatoes and green chiles, like Rotel
2 cans condensed minestrone soup
2 cans Ranch Style Beans (use chili beans if you can't find Ranch Style)

Brown ground beef in the bottom of a Dutch oven or large pot. Drain fat. Add everything else, stir, and simmer for 20-30 minutes. That's it! Garnish with sour cream and/or shredded cheese if desired.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Roast Chicken with Polenta and Tomato Sauce

AKA, what I had for dinner last night. Years ago, I found a very simple recipe for "Chicken with two lemons" that I have made time and again ever since. I found the exact same recipe on line just now, so I'm pasting it here, but you could use any roast chicken method you like. (I can't usually get the skin to crisp and puff up as described, but it still looks and tastes delicious.) If you have some marinara in the freezer or (gasp!) can find a good jarred variety (not in my house!), this is really a simple and satisfying meal. I didn't have any prepared last night and it was still quick and easy to make a simple sauce while the chicken baked and the polenta boiled. And don't be intimidated by polenta--it's super easy and delicious. People just like to complicate peasant food and make it fancy, but you don't have to. Serve the chicken alongside the polenta and sauce, and add a nice spinach salad or green veg if desired.

Roast Chicken With Two Lemons
  • A 3- to 4-pound chicken
  • Salt
  • Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
  • 2 rather small lemons

  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    2. Wash the chicken thoroughly in cold water, both inside and out. Remove all the bits of fat hanging loose. Let the bird sit for about 10 minutes on a slightly tilted plate to let all the water drain out of it. Pat it thoroughly dry all over with cloth or paper towels.

    3. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt and black pepper on the chicken, rubbing it with your fingers over all its body and into its cavity.

    4. Wash the lemons in cold water and dry them with a towel. Soften each lemon by placing it on a counter and rolling it back and forth as you put firm downward pressure on it with the palm of your hand. Puncture the lemons in at least 20 places each, using a sturdy round toothpick, a trussing needle, a sharp-pointed fork, or similar implement.

    5. Place both lemons in the birds cavity. Close up the opening with toothpicks or with trussing needle and string. Close it well, but dont make an absolutely airtight job of it because the chicken may burst. Run kitchen string from one leg to the other, tying it at both knuckle ends. Leave the legs in their natural position without pulling them tight. If the skin is unbroken, the chicken will puff up as it cooks, and the string serves only to keep the thighs from spreading apart and splitting the skin.

    6. Put the chicken into a roasting pan, breast facing down. Do not add cooking fat of any kind. This bird is self-basting, so you need not fear it will stick to the pan. Place it in the upper third of the preheated oven. After 30 minutes, turn the chicken over to have the breast face up. When turning it, try not to puncture the skin. If kept intact, the chicken will swell like a balloon, which makes for an arresting presentation at the table later. Do not worry too much about it, however, because even if it fails to swell, the flavor will not be affected.

    7. Cook for another 30 to 35 minutes, then turn the oven thermostat up to 400 degrees, and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Calculate between 20 and 25 minutes total cooking time for each pound. There is no need to turn the chicken again.

    8. Whether your bird has puffed up or not, bring it to the table whole and leave the lemons inside until it is carved and opened. The juices that run out are perfectly delicious. Be sure to spoon them over the chicken slices. The lemons will have shriveled up, but they still contain some juice; do not squeeze them, they may squirt.

    Ahead-of-time note: If you want to eat it while it is warm, plan to have it the moment it comes out of the oven. If there are leftovers, they will be very tasty cold, kept moist with some of the cooking juices and eaten not straight out of the refrigerator, but at room temperature.


    1 1/2 cups coarse ground yellow corn meal
    4 1/2 cups water
    1 tsp salt
    1/4 cup parmesan or romano cheese, grated or shredded
    1/2 stick of butter

    Bring salted water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Slowly whisk in corn meal in a steady stream. Cover and allow to boil and bubble over medium heat, stirring every few minutes. In about 20 minutes, mixture should resemble a creamy but thick porridge (this is basically grits) and start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Turn off heat and stir in butter and cheese. Turn into a shallow baking dish (I have a smallish 8X10 rectangular dish that seems perfect for this amount of polenta) and smooth slightly, then let set for at least 10 minutes. To serve, just cut squares with a spatula and spoon sauce over. Delish!

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    Chocolate Croissants

    I'm sneaking this onto the "dinner" blog under the auspices that it could be dessert, but I'm more likely to make it as a weekend breakfast treat or to serve with coffee at playdates. Yummy whenever you make them!

    1 pkg refrigerated crescent roll dough
    Indeterminate amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips, any size

    Heat oven as directed on dough package. Unroll dough and separate into triangles on cookie sheet or baking stone. Sprinkle an even layer of chocolate chips onto each triangle, leaving the bottom narrow point clean for about an inch or so. Press down lightly on chips to help them stay in place, then roll each triangle up as you would for croissants, starting at short straight edge. Bake until golden and serve warm.

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008

    Pasta with Shrimp fra Diavalo

    I don't really measure anything when I cook, (unless I'm baking, which I don't do much because it requires an exactitude that I do not possess), so I'm guesstimating. You want a somewhat brothy sauce for this. Also, the "fra Diavalo" means spicy, but it doesn't really have to be.

    1 lb thin spaghetti, angel hair, or other long, thin pasta
    1 lg (28 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
    1 pkg small or medium raw peeled and de-veined frozen shrimp
    1-2 tbsp butter
    1-2 tbsp olive oil
    3-5 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
    1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional spiciness)
    one or all of the following: fresh or freeze-dried* basil to taste, Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish Magic seasoning blend, Old Bay seafood seasoning, salt and pepper

    Place frozen shrimp in a colander, run cold water over them for a few minutes, and leave them there to thaw a bit. Start a large pot of salted water for pasta. In a large, deep skillet, heat butter and olive oil. Add garlic and crushed red pepper (if using) and sautee until fragrant but not browned. Add wine or stock and reduce slightly (simmer 2-3 minutes). Add tomatoes with their liquid and any seasonings except basil (frsh herbs lose their flavor in intense heat and should go in toward the end of cooking). Bring to a good simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When your water comes to a boil and you add the pasta, it's time to add the shrimp to the sauce (overcooking shrimp makes them tough and gross--you just want them to turn nice and pink). Both should be ready about the same time. Toss pasta with sauce or spoon it over, as you prefer. Serve with crusty bread and a nice salad.

    Monday, October 6, 2008

    Easy Quiche by Amanda

    I've decided to implement a Wednesday night quiche or homemade pizza night. Here's my easy, put-it-together with what you have quiche recipe:

    1. some kind of meat (bacon, ham, ground beef, whatever you want to try!) (optional)
    2. spinach (frozen, thawed and chopped)
    3. some kind of shredded cheese
    4. a diced onion
    5. 1/2 stick of butter
    6. a cup of Bisquick and milk OR a frozen pie crust
    7. four eggs

    Cook the meat.
    Melt the butter.
    Combine the spinach, butter, meat, cheese, and onion in a mixing bowl.
    Pour combination into pie crust OR add cup of milk and cup of Bisquick and pour that into a pie tin.
    Whip your eggs (is whip the right word?) and pour on top.

    Bake until eggs are done and slightly brown -- about 25 minutes at 375.

    We had ours with bacon and mozzarella cheese last week, in a frozen pie crust. I'm going to try hamburger meat with chedder and the Bisquick this week. It made WONDERFUL lunch leftovers!

    Wednesday, October 1, 2008

    Cook once, eat twice pork tenderloin and Cuban Sandwiches

    A few times recently, my grocery store has run huge pork tenderloins on sale for around $8. I mean whole loin the size of your arm!
    Here's what I have done with my bargain meat, to very tasty results:

    Grilled Pork Tenderloin

    Cut whole tenderloin in half cross-wise to make two shorter lengths. In a gallon-sized zip-lock bag, create about 1 cup of marinade. I use about 1/2 cup of Italian dressing (I like the Kraft Tuscan), about a tbsp of spicey mustard, 2 or 3 tbsp of Dale's marinade (it's way too salty full-strength but works great this way) or Worcestershire sauce, a shake or two of montreal steak seasoning, and a little water. Add the pork to the marinade and let set for at least half an hour. Grill until a meat thermometer says it's done.

    The first night, I serve half of the meat with mashed potatoes, a green veg, rolls, etc.

    Cuban Sandwiches

    If you aren't familiar with the Cuban sandwich, it is a very specific type of pressed sandwich that is always made with the same ingredients. The only variation seems to be mustard or no mustard. Mayo is an abomination!

    2 loaves wide Italian bread (like French but usually wider and flatter and a little softer) or 1 package hoagie rolls
    1 half of grilled pork loin, heated
    1 pkg good quality sliced deli ham
    1 pkg sliced swiss cheese
    Sliced dill pickles (get the flat, un-ridged "fast food style" ones if you can)

    Cut Italian bread (if using) into sandwich-sized lengths and split lengthwise (to make a top and a bottom), spread with mustard, and set aside.
    Slice pork loin about 1/2 inch thick. I actually don't cut full slices, but kind of cut it off at differing angles so that each piece is not as wide as the whole. (Does that make sense?) On each roll, layer pork loin, a few slices of ham, swiss cheese, and pickles.

    Now, if you do not have a sandwich press, like I don't, you have to get a little creative for the pressing part. What has worked for me is lining them up on a warm griddle and them mashing them with a cookie sheet, flipping to heat on both sides. I've also done pretty well just arranging them in a large skillet and pressing them with a large sauce pan or Dutch Oven (do people still call them that?) As for the waffle iron experiment, well...

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    Soyaki Chicken

    We marinade chicken breasts in Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce. Then grill them. Then cut them up into strips. I read online that there is a product called Soy-vey, if you can't find Trader Joe's. We also used to make our own marinade, consisting of teriyaki sauce and ginger and it was yummy, but not as good as the TJ's stuff.

    I serve this with a plate of mixed stir fry type vegetables (carrots, water chestnuts, onions, sugar snap peas, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini) that we cook using this grill wok thing we have (basically a big basket to cook all the vegetables on the grill), and rice. I'm going to try Amanda's fried rice with it.

    Alfredo sauce

    1-2 cloves of garlic (minced)
    1 pint of heavy whipping cream
    2 cups of milk
    2T flour
    shredded parmesean cheese (or mixture of cheeses)

    Melt enough butter to coat the bottom of a medium sized saucepan. Add the minced garlic, sauté until fragrant (don't let them burn!). If you like garlic, add a few cloves, if not, then maybe just one. Add the heavy whipping cream and the milk. Let them warm up. Stir in the flour. Keep stirring it. Keep stirring it. Don't let it settle at the bottom. Keep stirring it.

    OK, I know some people start out with an actual roux for this (mixing the butter and the garlic) and I've tried that and it just makes this really lumpy. For some reason, adding the flour after the dairy has worked for me. I went through a thousand batches of inedible alfredo before I finally got it (this was back in Massachusetts when I had nothing better to do than cook anyway).

    When it gets frothy (it will get frothy on the heat) move it and dump in some of the cheese and stir it back in, putting it back on the heat again to get it bubbling, then off the heat when it gets too bubly). I use this four cheese blend (in the little plastic containers near the deli) that is delish. I use most of the cheese in the container when I make alfredo.

    Serve this over anything. Toast, even. It is soooo good (but not really good for you). Liz will eat it better if it's on the ring shaped pastas or medium shells than on long noodles.

    Alternates: add some chunks of ham to make it carbonara; mix it up with some spaghetti sauce for a creamy, zingy sauce.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Emeril-ish Chex Mix

    Not dinner food, but yummy all the same

    8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
    2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    3 teaspoons Modified Baby Bam (ingredients below)
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
    5 cups of mixed types of Chex-like cereal (I like rice and wheat)
    1 package (1 of the inside plastic wrapped packages) of Rye Melba Toast
    Goldfish, pretzels, cheez-its, whatever else you have on hand

    Turn on oven to 250 degrees.

    Place the butter in a large baking dish or roasting pan and put in the oven to melt.

    Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and add the Worcestershire sauce, Modified Baby Bam, seasoned salt and garlic powder. Stir well to combine.

    Add the remaining ingredients and gently toss with a large wooden spoon to coat evenly. I take the plastic bag of the Melba Toast and kind of break them up while they're in the bag--not to crumbs, but to bite-size pieces, then I open the bag and dump them in with the Chex. These are really good with the buttery spices soaked into them.

    Return the baking dish to the oven and bake about 1 hour, until crisp and golden brown, removing from the oven every 15 minutes to stir.

    Baby Bam is an Emeril Trademark thing. I have modified it somewhat so it's like this:
    3 tablespoons paprika
    2 tablespoons dried parsley
    2 teaspoons onion powder
    2 teaspoons garlic powder
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 teaspoon dried basil
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon celery salt

    I store this in a little plastic container and I use it to spice my pumpkin seeds when I bake them, too.

    Best Damn Cookies Ever!

    Who knew an oatmeal raisin cookie could be more desireable then chocolate chip...but this recipe does me in...

    ½ cup butter or margarine
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    ½ cup brown sugar
    1 egg - beaten
    1¼ cups quick cooking rolled oats
    1 cup flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp baking powder
    1½ tsp cinnamon
    1½ tsp vanilla extract
    ½ cup raisins
    (My son hates raisins so I cook one sheet without then put the ½ cup in after. I have some dried blueberries from Costco I want to try...but I'm too afraid to do it...I'll eat the whole batch.)

    Preheat oven to 350°.
    Cream together butter and sugars till fluffy and then mix in beaten egg.
    Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
    Drop on ungreased cookie sheet (I always use parchment paper) allowing 1 inch space between cookies.
    Bake in oven 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.
    Yes...I'm that lame...I took a photo since I just happened to have some baked!

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Lazy Eileen's Casserole

    Rita told me I haven't posted anything on her dinner blog and I explained to her, I don't really DO recipes.

    Seriously, I was asked to bring in our family's favorite recipe for school to post on the board and I sent in this:

    1 box of shake and bake
    a package of pork chops
    a container of Bob Evans ready to serve mashed potatoes
    head of broccoli

    Open pork chops. Put in shake and bake bag. Pour in shake and bake topping.
    Put in a casserole and BAKE for 35 minutes in a 425 degree oven.
    Set table
    Wash Broccoli.
    Heat broccoli in microwave. heat potatos.

    HOller at family that dinner is ready.

    THAT is the kind of meals we have at our house. some kind of a meat, a fresh vegetable I nuke in the microwave..and either some pillsbury rolls, a loaf of bread, or those mashed potatos you get in the cheese section of the grocery store.

    Sometimes I get a little wild and we will substitute....Egg Noodles for the potatos and my family thinks I'm the bomb.

    BUT...BUT...I do have a casserole that my family loves. I think its okay - its certainly not UNCOMMON. YOu might know it as Tater Tot casserole. I call it Lazy Eileen's Casserole.

    Here ya go:

    1 Bag of Ore Ida Tater Tots (Yes, you MUST use this brand - they have a special seasoning and crunch up nicely
    1 Pound of Ground Meat (I use could do beef)
    1 Can of Cream of _______ Soup. You pick your type...broccoli, mushroom, chicken
    A little evaporated milk (don't use the sweetened kind..did that once YUCK)

    Cook your meat and drain it.
    Put PAM or some kind of nonstick on your casserole dish.
    Dump the meat in the dish.
    Dump the cream of ____ soup in the dish, add some evaporated milk.
    No, I don't know how much to add...make it soupyish.
    Dump the tater tots and stir it up some more.
    Dribble some more milk on the tater tots, but not all of it.
    Add a lid
    Put in 425 degree oven for 35 minutes. Check it to see if it is bubbling yet. Keep checking until it starts bubbling. Remove lid for 10 minutes to brown up the tater tots.

    Serve with a smile.
    Feed 4 with lunch leftovers for the next day.

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Quick Chicken and Dumplings

    2 baked and pulled chicken breasts (or if you're feeling really lazy, a pulled apart rotisserie chicken from the deli)

    1 can of biscuits (I get the storebrand kind.)

    1 can cream of chicken soup

    Combine soup and three cans of water in pot (I often make this in the crock pot early in the day. The flavors really meld well and the sauce gets nice and thick.) Add chicken. Tear each biscuit into quarters and toss into the liquid.

    On crock pot, keep it on lowest setting for no more than four or five hours. On stove top, boil 10 minutes then reduce to warm for as long as wanted. Salt and pepper to taste.

    Breakfast Casserole

    1 pound Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage
    1 c. cheddar cheese
    2 c. milk
    1 tsp. salt
    1 1/2 c. Bisquick
    1 stick butter, melted
    1/4 tsp. pepper
    6 eggs

    Brown sausage and cool. Mix all ingredients in bowl and then refrigerate overnight. The next morning, pour into a greased casserole dish and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. This is nice for company or holiday mornings.

    Fried Rice (Amanda)

    2 cups rice (cooked)
    assorted veggies cut up (I use shredded carrots, diced onion, zucchini, bean sprouts, and a handful of assorted frozen veggies--that big Costco organic bag)
    2 eggs
    soy sauce

    In a hot wok, saute the veggies in a bit of olive oil or butter.
    When the veggies are a bit tender, toss in the two eggs to scramble up with the veggies.
    Add the rice.
    Drizzle all with soy sauce to taste.
    Let is sit on warm for a few minutes.

    I serve this as a vegetarian meal, but you could add thinly sliced beef, shrimp, chicken, or pork, just as you'd find on a restaurant menu.

    Easy Pasta Salad

    Box and a half of Rainbow Rotini
    package of Zesty Italian powdered salad dressing (you will need vinegar)
    8 oz cheddar cheese
    1/4 large onion (sliced)
    1 large cucumber
    sliced olives

    Boil the Rotini, drain and rinse with cold water until they're chilled. Dump into a large bowl

    Prepare the salad dressing according to packet directions and pour over noodles.

    Cut up the cheese and the vegetables and put into the bowl (I slice the cucumbers, then cut the slices in quarters; I do the same with the onion).

    You can add red peppers, or celery, or carrot shavings or pepperoni, or whatever else you like or happen to have on hand. I make such a big container of it because Mike and the kids love to take it for lunch the next day. I usually serve this as a side with hot dogs or sandwiches for dinner.

    Sloppy Joes

    1 pound lean ground beef
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1/2 cup chopped celery
    1 large can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
    1 teaspoon seasoned salt
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    dash Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, or Frank's Red Hot
    10 to 12 hamburger buns, split and toasted

    In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion, and celery until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain off excess fat.

    Stir in tomato sauce, seasoned salt, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, pepper, and Tabasco sauce.

    Simmer, uncovered, until mixture reduces to desired consistency, about 25 to 35 minutes. Spoon about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of ground beef mixture into each bun.

    I serve with cheddar cheese and slices of tomato on top.

    Makes about 10 to 12 sandwiches.

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    Comfort food chicken and rice

    Yes, this features the dread "cream-of" soups, but it's easy and good and kids love it. It was one of my favorite things for my mom to cook when I was growing up, and now my kids request it. This is a great dish to pop in the oven and walk away from on a busy evening. Goes great with broccoli and cheese.

    1 lb (or so) chicken parts (boneless or bone-in both work)
    1 1/2 cups rice*
    1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
    1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
    1 can water
    salt and pepper

    Heat oven to 375. In a large rectangular baking dish, spread uncooked rice evenly to cover the bottom (you can add more rice to make more, just remember to add a little extra water or broth if you have some). Blend soups, water, and salt and pepper, and pour about half over the rice. Stir to make sure all of rice is coated in liquid. Arrange chicken pieces on top and cover with remaining soup mixture . Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes (if you use boneless chicken pieces and white rice, you may be able to cut this to 30 minutes). Uncover and bake another 15 minutes or until most liquid has been absorbed.

    *I prefer to use brown rice whenever possible, and it will work for this if you add about 1/2 a cup of additional water to the soup mixture and cook for the full time.

    Pretty and delicious green bean side dish

    This has been my favorite side dish this summer. It's pretty, colorful, and delicious. Thanks to frozen beans and year-round availability of grape tomatoes, you can make it year round.

    1 bag frozen whole green beans, steam-in-the-bag variety
    about 1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
    Italian dressing or vinaigrette (I love the new Kraft Tuscan Italian)
    Finely minced garlic or thinly sliced purple onion, optional

    Steam beans in microwave according to directions. Place in a wide, shallow bowl, and top with halved tomatoes (and garlic/onions if using). Add a little dressing, just enough to coat, and toss. Add more dressing as needed. Best if allowed to sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.

    Mock Caesar Salad

    A whole lot of lettuce (I prefer baby greens and some romaine)
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
    1-2 large tomatoes
    1/2 cup light oil (canola)
    1 clove garlic
    1 can of flat anchovies
    parmesan cheese (I get the shredded by the deli)
    croutons (boxed is fine)

    This is not a traditional caesar salad, but it's close enough and really yummy.

    smash up the clove of garlic and let it sit in the light oil

    in a big bowl, mix up the greens, chop up the tomatoes, and dump in the can of anchovies. I use kitchen shears to cut up the little fishies. You can skip the anchovies if you must, but I love them.

    In a small bowl, add the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and egg. Whisk it up and pour it over the salad. Then add the oil, careful to not get the garlic in. Toss the salad, serve with croutons and parmesan cheese.

    Breakfast Burritos

    Medium size tortillas
    breakfast meats (bacon, sausage)
    shredded cheese
    hash browns of some sort (I actually use Crispy Crowns)

    I make these in bulk to freeze and then we wrap them in a paper towel and microwave them for lunches.

    Each burrito contains a little more than 1 egg (I can get ten burritos from a dozen eggs). I scramble them in the pan and then dump them in a big bowl for the assembly line.

    I cook the Crispy Crowns and the bacon in the oven. The Crispy Crowns on a baking sheet and the bacon in a broiler pan to let the grease drip off. Sausage is good, too, but I don't like sausage, so I tend not to use it.

    Then just put whatever you want in the tortilla--eggs, cheese, potatoes, Crispy Crowns, bacon, onions, mushrooms, whatever!--wrap it up tightly and then wrap it in aluminum foil.

    Alex likes his with just egg and cheese, so I make a bunch with just that, but everyone else likes everything in them. You can serve them with a side of salsa to dip it in as you eat.

    Guacamole (Rita)

    My guacamole is very plain, because that's the way the kids like it.

    garlic powder
    lemon juice
    Worcestershire sauce

    Mash up the avocado, sprinkle a dash or garlic powder (I used to use minced fresh garlic, but, frankly, it takes too long and I like my guac in a hurry), a dash or lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and then just a little bit of mayo to extend it some.

    Tacos by Rita

    Boring, I know, but everyone does tacos differently.

    We use the Stand-N-Stuff kit by Old El Paso, cooking according to the box directions.

    But, Alex is a big fan of the double wrap tacos, so we also have flour soft taco tortillas available. He uses one soft taco tortilla, smears refried beans (from a can) on it, then secures the hard taco shell inside it and fills it with beef, rice, sour cream, cheese, salsa, whatever.

    It's nice to have the hard and soft shells available, for variety, and it's also great for leftovers.  I generally end up making quesadillas the next day--putting the refried beans, or any left over taco beef, and rice and cheese between the tortillas and heating them in a pan.  Then I serve them with sour cream, salsa and  guacamole on the side.

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Italian Pork Chops

    As I begin to prep this for tonight's dinner, I figured I'd come share it here.

    This is super easy -- just have to plan ahead because it's in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours.

    ~ 1 pound breakfast pork chops (thin sliced, boneless)
    ~ 4-5 potatoes, peeled and cubed (I'm a big potato fan, so others might like fewer
    1 bottle Italian dressing (I use store brand fat free)

    In a casserole dish, place the pork chops. Add the cubed potatoes on top. Pour the bottle of dressing over the mixture. Cook at 425 until potatoes are tender -- most of the dressing will be absorbed by then. (Takes about an hour and a half)

    I serve it with a green salad and garlic bread.

    Ravioli and/or Tortellini in Broth

    This looks fancy, tastes delicious, is super-easy to make, and is one of few things I've found that will impress kids and company alike. Get different fillings in the pasta, and avoid using all cheese filled because they will not have as much flavor. We love the Italian sausage, chicken with proscuitto, and spinach-filled ones. Whether I get ravioli or tortellini depends on what is available at my unreliable grocery store, or what's on sale. I serve it with *knotted rolls.

    This recipe can also be increased as much as you want if you need to serve a lot of people by adding a regular-sized can of broth and another package of pasta for every 2-3 additional people. The basic recipe serves 4-6, depending on their appetites.

    3 pkgs refrigerated ravioli or tortellini (like DiGiorno or Barilla)
    1 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
    1 box or large can chicken broth (low sodium or fat free works fine) or aprox 4 cups homemade broth
    1 cup water
    1 pkg sliced fresh mushrooms
    2-4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tbsp olive oil

    In the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sautee the sliced mushrooms (you can chop them up smaller if you prefer) for 2 to 3 minutes or until they soften. Add minced garlic and sautee for about a minute (never brown garlic--it becomes bitter). Add broth all at once, along with tomatoes and their liquid and the water. Season with salt and pepper. When broth mixture comes to a rolling boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions (usually about 7 minutes). That's it! You can add some fresh basil or something if you want, but if you've chosen your pasta well, it should be flavorful without heavy seasoning.

    *Knotted rolls:

    1 can refrigerated flaky layers biscuit dough (it's very important to get the flaky layers and not any other kind), like Hungry Jack

    Heat oven to temperature on package. Take each individual biscuit and roll it between your hands like you're making a play-dough snake, until it's a little wider than your palms. Tie in a knot (it should be just long enough to tie with no long ends hanging out). Bake on a lightly greased or sprayed cookie sheet or stone until golden (it may take a little longer than the package says). Brush finished rolls with melted butter or garlic butter, sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired. Yummy!

    Sassy's Famous All-Purpose Burrito Filling

    This recipe can be varied quite a bit by using cut-up boneless chicken in place of the ground beef or turkey, substituting black beans, etc. I usually do black beans if I use chicken, and chili beans with ground meat. You can also use petite diced tomatoes without the chiles if you prefer. Also, even if you think you don't like brown rice, I've been told you can't tell the difference in this recipe and it really is so much healthier. The texture holds up better than white rice will in this recipe.

    1 cup brown rice
    1 to 1.5 lbs ground beef or turkey
    1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (like Rotel)
    1 can chili beans or ranch-style beans

    Large flour tortillas
    Shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, etc. for garnish

    Start rice cooking with 2 1/2 cups of water in a medium saucepan.
    In a large, deep skillet that has a lid, brown meat and drain fat if needed. Add tomatoes w/ chiles and beans to meat without draining (unless you use beans packed in unseasoned liquid instead of the chili beans). Stir and season as desired with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, etc. (If you're not good with spice amounts, start with 1/2 tsp of each and then add a little more if needed.) Simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice is at least half-way cooked (about 15 minutes). Dump rice with its remaining water in with meat mixture, stir, and cover. Simmer another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender. Serve wrapped in tortillas or over crushed tortilla chips or in a "taco" salad. This recipe makes a ton, too, so it's great for lunch the next day.

    Tuesday, September 9, 2008

    Make Your Own Pizzas

    Boboli or other individual size pizza crusts
    1 Can of store-bought pizza sauce (I like our store brand, it doesn't have any added sweeteners)
    pizza cheese (I buy the bag of mixed cheeses)

    I brush a little bit of olive oil onto the crusts, then everyone just adds their own stuff how they like it. I serve with salad. Little kids love doing this.

    Microwave Meatloaf

    about a pound of ground beef
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1 can (soup can size) tomato sauce
    1 egg
    about a cup or so of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
    drizzle of red wine

    Mix all that up in a big mixing bowl (yuck, I know), then arrange it in a big ring on a plate (leaving a large donut hole in the middle), nuke the heck out of it--like 10 minutes.

    I've done meatloafs where you bake them in the oven and seriously, this one turns out just as well, or maybe even a little better because it doesn't get dried out.  It may not be quite as pretty as an oven-baked meatloaf, but it takes just a fraction of the time.

    I love America, so I serve it with a side of home-made mashed potatoes and that bag of mixed vegetables you get in the frozen section (peas, corn, cubed carrots, green beans). 

    My Favorite Vinagrette

    1 clove minced garlic
    a couple tablespoons of light oil (I use canola)
    a drizzle of malt vinegar
    a drizzle of lemon juice
    a drizzle of soy sauce

    This is one where you kind of just have to add things in small amounts, then shake it up and taste it.  But, it's very salty and the malt vinegar adds a lot of depth.  Then I pour it all, garlic bits and everything onto my salad (I love it on baby greens or spring greens--the softer lettuces).  It's very sharp with the garlic, so if you're not a fan of the fresh garlic then you probably wouldn't like this dressing.

    Pepperoni Rolls

    Frozen Texas Rolls (I buy Rhodes brand)

    Thaw the rolls according to bag instructions.  I use one roll for two pepperoni rolls.  You have to set them out on a plate under plastic wrap to thaw for a bunch of hours.  I usually do 7 (which makes 14 pepperoni rolls).

    After they've thawed (and are big and poofy and look really cool), resist the urge to pop them, and cut them in half.  Plop pepperoni slices in each roll (I usually use 3 per roll), then roll them up gently and put them on a baking sheet.  Bake according to bag instructions (like 350 degrees) until they are golden brown.

    You can add cheese if you want, but it makes the pan clean-up a lot harder and in my opinion, not worth it.  The kids love these left over, either warmed in the microwave or cold.

    Spaghetti Sauce

    3 large cans of whole peeled tomatoes
    1 small can of tomato paste
    fresh basil
    dried Italian seasonings
    1 cup diced onion
    3 cloves minced garlic
    1/4 cup red wine
    drizzle of olive oil

    cover bottom of large cooking pot with olive oil
    add onion and garlic, heat until fragrant (don't burn the garlic!)

    put 1/3 of the little can of tomato paste, 1 can of tomatoes, bunch of the basil and a shake of the Italian seasoning into the blender--pulse/liquify until it's not chunky anymore, pour it into the cooking pot.  Repeat twice more with another 1/3 of the tomato paste, can of tomatoes, basil and Italian seasoning.

    Add the red wine (should be wine you would drink, good quality wine--I buy the 4 packs of little bottles to use for cooking because we're not big drinkers here).

    Let the sauce simmer (covered) for about an hour.  This makes a giant vat of sauce.  I freeze it into smaller containers (I get 4 dinners with leftovers for lunches out of this).  There's nothing easier than popping a tub of frozen sauce into a pan to heat up, boiling some noodles and tossing a salad together for a last-minute meal.

    I use this sauce for spaghetti, on top of store-bought ravioli or tortellini, and in lasagna.  

    I serve it with store-bought garlic bread or  pepperoni rolls and salad. 

    Headache Chicken

    Alex dubbed this "Headache Chicken" because it seems he always coincidentally had a headache whenever I made it.

    1-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
    drizzle olive oil 
    little bit of butter
    1/2 cup of chicken broth
    1T dried Tarragon leaves
    1T dried Thyme
    1T Dijon Mustard
    1/4 cup sour cream

    Drizzle a little bit of olive oil into a skillet, add a little bit of butter (just enough to coat the surface--the olive oil helps keep the butter from burning)

    When the skillet is hot, add the chicken breasts.  Let them brown completely on one side before turning (you only want to turn them once, they get this great crispy coating on them that way).

    Turn and finish cooking on the other side.

    When they are done, remove them from the skillet and put on a plate.

    Add the chicken broth (I use Knorr chicken bullion cubes dissolved in water for this).  It will sizzle and there will be steam, stir it up with a whisk.  

    Add Tarragon and Thyme and stir with the whisk just a little bit--add more water if it seems like a lot has evaporated.

    Add the Dijon and stir it around with a big spoon, then add the sour cream and stir it around.

    You can then drizzle the sauce on top of the chicken, or serve it in a separate bowl (I serve it in another bowl and let everyone spoon their own desired amount of sauce on their chicken).

    I usually make about 2 pounds so that I have leftovers to send with Mike and Alex for lunch the next day.  The tarragon adds a little sweetness and the sour cream also helps to cut the dijon, so even little kids like this chicken a lot.

    I serve it with either stuffing (often from a box) or baked potatoes and salad on the side.