Friday, April 17, 2009

Foodie Friday - Chicken Stuff


I'd thought I'd posted this before, but since it was mentioned in the Husband MeMe I posted on my other blog, I figured I'd better put it in this one. It's also my Foodie Friday post, so check out Gollum's blog for more tasty recipes!

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 10 oz. package frozen broccoli flowerets
2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise (you can use heavy or lite mayo, just not fat free)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1.5-2 cups bread crumbs
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. Boil the chicken cubes in water until done. While chicken is cooking, cook the frozen broccoli in the microwave for 3-5 minutes until defrosted and slightly cooked. Drain the broccoli and layer it in the bottom of a square baking pan. Chicken will probably still be cooking, so go ahead and mix up the cheese, mayo and soup in a mixing bowl and add black pepper to taste. After chicken is done, drain it and create a layer of cooked chicken on top of the broccoli. Spread the cheese/mayo/soup mixture over the chicken to create the final layer. Top with bread crumbs and squirt the top of the casserole with some spray butter or margarine if you have any. Bake for 30-35 minutes until crumbs are toasted and casserole is bubbly around the edges.

Since this is a rich one-dish meal, side dishes (if you choose to serve them) should be light and refreshing - good choices are a crisp green salad, congealed salad, or fruit.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lamb Stew with Olives - Emeril's Way


Back in my more adventurous days, I liked to cook "weird food" for kicks. Somehow, I stumbled on this recipe for a Moroccan Lamb Stew with Olives on and, I have to say, it's awesome. I have a "thing" with cooking lamb around Easter because lamb has been a historical and Biblical symbol of Christ. I only make this recipe once a year mainly because it's really hard to get good lamb in Alabama unless you special order it from your meat market, and also because all those spices can get really expensive! However, if you have a good number of them already in your pantry, I will be calling the meat dept. at Publix to order some lamb this week - maybe they'll order a little extra for you too!

1 pinch ground saffron
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. salt
3 T. olive oil
3 lbs. lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into cubes like stew meat
1 cup grated yellow onions, rinsed and squeezed dry
more black pepper
3 cups chicken stock
2/3 c. chopped parsley
1/3 c. chopped cilantro
1 lb. crack green olives, drained & pitted
3-5 T. lemon juice
cooked couscous

In a small food processor, combine the saffron, ginger, 1 tsp. black pepper, cumin, paprika, garlic, salt and 2T. oil. Process until smooth. Place cubed lamb in a big bowl and toss with the spice mixture to coat evenly. Heat the remaining 1T. oil in a cast iron pot over medium and add the lamb to sear 2-3 minutes. Stir in the onions, season with additional black pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, add herbs and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours. After an hour and 45 minutes, heat oven to 450. After the 2 hours have passed, use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and put it in a shallow ovenproof serving dish and cook until the meat is slightly crisped, about 15-20 minutes. While the lamb is in the oven, it's time to re-focus on the sauce. Remove any scum that has risen to the surface of the liquid. Add the olives, increase heat to high, and boil for 10 minutes until it's like a really thick gravy. Stir in lots of lemon juice and reseason if necessary.

Spread the couscous in the bottom of a large, pretty serving dish, top with the cooked lamb, then pour the olive gravy over the top. This dish is very rich, and seldom makes it to the refrigerator as leftovers.

* Tips and Tricks: To pit the olives quickly, smash them with the flat side of a broad knife then just pick out the pits and discard.