Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich

Brownie Ice Cream Sammich

What kind of crazy made me think  it was reasonable to order my child’s birthday present six days before her birthday and expect to get away with it?

The kind of crazy that comes from sleep deprivation.

Who in their right mind orders their child’s present three times, from three different vendors, and pays for expedited shipping, counting on at least one of them to show up in time?

Nobody in their right mind, obviously.

And that would be the same kind of mindless crazy that made me think I needed to see if I would like a brownie ice cream sandwich recipe.

I can’t believe I even considered such a question.  Seriously, what the hell was I thinking?  Brownie + ice cream = classic.  It’s the dessert equivalent of a little black dress.

I don’t yet know how the birthday present situation is going to end.  Two of the three orders have been cancelled and Amazon SWEARS that the Peppa Pig Playhouse will arrive in two days.  Only time will tell.

What I do know is that I need to exercise restraint when it comes to this brownie ice cream sandwich because it is ridiculously easy to make and it got enthusiastic thumbs up from every member of the household.  Which means it could make frequent appearances in our home.  Which means I might have easy access to brownies and ice cream on a regular basis.

I think I gained five pounds just considering that possibility.

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

BAH Note: Deb used 8 inch square pans to bake her brownie layers.  I used 9 inch round pans, because that’s what I have in my kitchen.  Either one will give you thin brownie perfection. Since I used round pans, I turned a big circle into a square by cutting off the curves after the layers had been sandwiched together and frozen.  Those scraps may have been nibbled on to get a quick fix when nobody was looking….what you do with them is between you and your conscience.

Be sure to smooth out the batter as much as possible in your pan.  It’s pretty thick and takes some gentle convincing to cover the bottom of the pan.  Oh, and you need to clear space in your freezer to stash the cake pans as soon as they come out of the oven and to store your finished product.

According to Deb, “you can store the cut sandwiches in an airtight container or bag in the freezer as-is, or individually wrapped in squares of waxed paper. They should keep for at least two months in the freezer, but good luck with that.”

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped or broken
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 pint ice cream, slightly thawed

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and line two cake pans (see note above) with baking parchment.

Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, cooking in 30 second increments and stirring in between.  Add the sugar and stir until completely combined before stirring in the eggs and salt.  Add the flour, folding it into the batter just until it disappears.

Spray your parchment lined pans with cooking spray and divide the batter between the two pans.  Use a spatula or spoon to smooth the batter out in the pans and bake for approximately 12 to 15 minutes or until a tester inserted in the brownie comes out clean.

Place the cake pans on a dish towel or pot holders and transfer to the freezer for approximately 20 to 30 minutes for the brownies to cool completely and become firm.  While the brownie layers cool in the freezer, set your ice cream out to thaw a bit.

Once the brownie layers have cooled, gently remove the brownie from one pan, peel off the parchment, and set the brownie on a plate.  Use a paper towel to wipe the cake pan clean and line it completely with parchment, freezer paper, or plastic wrap making sure it extends up the sides.  Return the brownie layer to the pan, placing the flat smooth side up facing you.  Remove the brownie from the second pan, discard the parchment, and set the brownie on a plate.

Working quickly, stir your ice cream so that it is spreadable and spoon or scoop it into your prepared pan.  Use a spoon or spatula to spread the ice cream into an even layer on top of the brownie.  Top with the second brownie, flat side down, and cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap.  Use the now empty cake pan to press down on the layers and return the stacked pans to the freezer.

Freeze for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until your sandwiches are completely frozen.  Use the parchment, freezer paper, or plastic wrap extending up the sides of your pan to remove the giant sandwich from the pan, transfer to a cutting board, and cut into single servings.

{printable recipe}

Posted in Baking, Dessert, Photo, Recipe, Sweets | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

7.20.14

2014 Birthday Collage Low Res

Happy birthday to you.

Happy birthday to you.

Happy birthday dear Libby.  Happy birthday to you.

I love you to pieces.

Momma

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Foolproof Broiled Pork Chops

I hate bedtime.

Wait, let me clarify.  I love my bedtime.  But I dread Libby’s.

Up until a few months ago, we had a solid routine.  A little Peppa Pig, Charlie and Lola, or Yo Gabba Gabba!, dinner, play, pajamas, books and cuddles, then lights out.  Libby would even tap on her crib to let me know that yes, it’s time for night night.  There might be a few tears after I put her down, but usually nothing more than 5 or 10 minutes, and the rest of the evening was available for other things like chores, projects, and catching up on Tivo because the Libster was down for the night.

God I miss those days.

Now our routine is more like cartoons, dinner, play, bath, books, and lights out followed by tossing and turning, crocodile tears, fingers in my eyes, fingers in her eyes, and any other delay tactic she can come up with to avoid closing her eyes and going to sleep.  For a while she was milking the “my mouth hurts” ploy to get extra cuddles.  Now she just straight up melts down when I try and leave her room.  Even when I think she’s asleep, as soon as I take a step towards the door her little head whips around off the pillow and the drama commences.  Lather, rinse, and repeat at intervals ranging from 15 minutes to 3 hours…All. Night. Long.

On a good night, if the stars have aligned and I managed to appease the gods, it can take as little as one hour to go from bath to sleep.  I’d say very few nights in the last few months have been “good” nights.  Sometimes I fall asleep waiting for her to give up the fight.  Other times I’ve given up after multiple trips back into her room to calm my tiny tyrant and either crawled in bed with her or brought her in bed with me.

I’ve gotten a  LOT of well meaning advice and I’ve done my own researching.  Yes, I tried letting her cry…90 minutes of sustained rage didn’t do any of us a damn bit of good.  Yes, I ruled out ear infections and teething.  Yes, I offered loveys and turned on white noise.  And she’s having none of it.  What she wants is to fall asleep being held and to not wake up alone.

You know, I can’t say that I blame her because those are pretty nice things no matter how old you are…this life lessons courtesy of my 2 year old.

My point is that there’s a lot of tired going around my house.  And not a whole lot of anything else.  Which is to say that sometimes I make some food.  And occasionally I get a pretty picture before shoving it in my face.  This is not one of those times.  You’re just going to have to trust me on this one that the end result is worthwhile.

And if you’re chronically sleep deprived, don’t you dare feel bad about putting on whatever cartoon it takes to occupy your tiny tyrant so you can rest your eyes while the chops do their thing in the brine.

Foolproof Broiled Pork Chops

Adapted from Cook’s Country

BAH Note: If you follow a few easy steps you will be rewarded with the perfect chop.  This is really just the method for achieving the perfect chop.  You can dress them up with a compound butter (see below) after they come out of the oven.  Or not.  I think they are absolute perfection in their naked state.

The folks at CC advise that your oven rack should be about 5 inches from your broiler element.  If you can’t get it this close, or if using the broiler scares the bejeebus out of you, go for more distance between the rack and the broiler.  You’ll need to cook the chops a little longer but you’ll also give yourself a little buffer with that fine line between broiled and charred.

If you are inclined to spice things up, rub the chops with your spice mixture of choice before they go in the oven.  Reserve some of the spices and stir them into 2 tablespoons of softened butter.  When the chops come out of the oven, slather them with the compound butter before tucking them in to rest.

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 center cut, bone in chops, about 1.5 inches thick
  • 6 cups cold water

Combine the sugar and salt in a large bowl and stir until completely dissolved.  Add the chops, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Turn the oven to broil.  Remove the chops from the brine, pat dry, and place on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.  Set the baking sheet on the oven rack and carefully pour 1.5 cups warm water into the bottom of the baking sheet.

Broil for approximately 20 minutes, turning the chops over after about 10 minutes, until they register 140 degrees on an instant read thermometer.  Transfer the chops to a platter and rest, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes.  Let the water and baking sheet cool down in the oven while you enjoy your succulent chops.

{printable recipe}

Posted in Cooking, Main Course, Recipe | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

cupcake ninja

Did you know that cupcakes can be so good that they need protection?  They can.  These are.  Let me  tell you how they came to be.

After stumbling across Movita Beaucoup’s delightful blog, courtesy of More Stomach, I added her feed to my reader.  Not long after that she had the nerve to post a recipe for one bowl yellow cake with lemon buttercream frosting.  Now I do love me a one bowl recipe as evidenced by my sworn allegiance to Abby Dodge’s Emergency Chocolate Cupcakes, so I had to investigate the Beaucoup. Luckily, Easter presented an opportunity to give them a go and they instantly won me over.

The cake is pillowy soft with an enjoyable tang from the buttermilk.  It makes a perfect canvas for whatever flavors you want to showcase.  For Easter I threw the zest of one lemon into the cake batter and then made a strawberry lemonade frosting.  They were a homerun.

Fast forward a few months and I was trying to find the perfect treat to make for my cousins who were visiting from Detroit.  I threw out a few options in a conversation that went something like this:

Me:  I can’t make a damn decision about what to bake for Cousins Birthday on Friday. Here’s the options….how about you pick:  Apple Upside Down Cake; Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars; Caramel Apple Muffins; One Bowl Yellow Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting.

Jen: Looking at recipes…I’m leaning towards the yellow cake or the pb&j bars!

Me: What do you think about the yellow cake with a jelly filling and peanut butter buttercream frosting?

Jen: Ummm. Amazing.  Omg. Pb frosting.  You’re a genius!

Me: As Daddy Pig tells Peppa, I am a bit of an expert ; )

So it was that I set about turning the easiest yellow cake into an homage to the classic pb&j sandwich.  I kept strictly to the cake recipe….no tweaks, no additions, no deviations.  Once the cupcakes had cooled, I used my favorite unitasker to make a hole in the middle for the jelly to hide…and those little cupcake cores may or may not have become a perfect little snack as I filled and frosted.  Next came the jelly and a generous dollop of peanut butter frosting.   All that was left to do was keep them safe until after dinner and shove them in our faces.

Hence, the ninja.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

Adapted from Movita Beaucoup and Brown Eyed Baker

BAH Note: I had to make a second batch of cupcakes because I overfilled the tin on my first batch which caused me to overbake the cupcakes and completely mangle the goods trying to get them out of the pan.  Learn from my mistake and don’t fill your pan any more than half full.  I ended up using about two tablespoons of batter per cupcake in the second batch and it was spot on.

I lost track of exactly how many cupcakes I got but this recipe will make approximately 12, or a single 8 inch round cake.  If you have a little batter leftover after filling your pan, drop cupcake paper into glass jars or custard cups and make a few extras for snacking…nobody has to know.

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons room temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Line a cupcake tin and heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the workbowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle beater and mix on low for about one minute.

Add the butter and mix on low for about two minutes until the mixture resembles sand and no large bits of butter remain.

Add the buttermilk and vanilla and mix for about two minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl occasionally.  Add the egg and mix until combined.  Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and give the batter a final mix to ensure no pockets of flour remain.

Fill each cup with approximately 2 tablespoons batter and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes then remove the cupcakes from the pan to cool completely.

Remove a small core from each cupcake and fill the hole with your choice of jam, jelly, or preserve before topping with frosting.

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons room temperature butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Place the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

{printable recipe}

Posted in Baking, Dessert, Photo, Recipe, Sweets | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Pudding Pops

Pudding Pop

Dear Libby,

I hope that you will always have golden summer moments like this one.

Love,

Momma

Pudding Pops

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan and The Craving Chronicles

BAH Note: These pops are ridiculously easy to pull together.  Just remember that they need time to do their thing in the freezer before they are ready to serve.  Of course, you can skip the pop part and just dive into the bowl of pudding.  Either way, you really can’t go wrong.

Many thanks to Theresa of The Craving Chronicles for introducing me to Dorie Greenspan’s pudding recipe. My apologies to Ms. Greenspan for monkeying with her process to make it fit my style.  Regardless of how I got there, the final product may change my life, or at least my waistline.

  • 2 1/4 cups milk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg + 2 large egg yolks
  • 5 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Combine the butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted.  Stir to completely combine the melted butter and chocolate and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup of milk, vanilla, 3 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, egg and yolks.

Add the remaining ingredients (2 cups milk, 2 tablespoons sugar, cocoa powder, and salt) to a medium saucepan.  Whisk until the cocoa is thoroughly combined and the liquid looks like chocolate milk.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture just comes to a steam.

Working in several small batches, whisk 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the steaming milk mixture into the egg mixture and stir to combine.  Whisk the warmed egg mixture back into the saucepan and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the pudding thickens.  Remove from the heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer (to catch any bits of cooked egg) into another bowl.  Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture and stir until fully combined.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing it down onto the top of the pudding, and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or until completely chilled.  Spoon the chilled pudding into your molds and freeze.  Let the pops sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

 {printable recipe}

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1.20.14

Cheeeeese

Dear Libby, I took this picture of you today.  Somehow, in this moment you aren’t my 18 month old.  No, in this moment I see the big girl you will become peeking out at me.  And it makes me all melty inside because it happens so quickly.

I swear it was just yesterday you were this wee crying baby that we brought home.  And now you say actual words like cat, night night, elmo, more, and up.  You don’t just walk, you run…even when there isn’t enough room for you to, you run at full speed.  I’ve watched you mimic with your dolls the things your Dad and I do with you…you give them medicine, you feed them, you show them books, and you hug and kiss on them.  Watching you be the momma taking care of your dolls reminds me that you don’t miss a trick and I need to be mindful that your eyes are always on me.

You won’t remember these days.  So I want you to know that even from the time you were just getting to know the world, you found joy in it, sometimes in the most unlikely places.  Whether it’s turning any request into a game of catch me, providing the sound effects when we read that all the hippos go bezerk, or discovering that momma’s black loafers and old watch are the perfect accessories, you embrace where you are. I hope you will always hold on to that trait.

I also want you to know how you got that the tiny scar by your right eye.  By the time you grow up it will probably be hardly noticeable, but I will always know it’s there.  And so before that particular detail gets lost to me….you had a real knack for knocking into the coffee table.  Usually it just resulted in a bump or bruise.  But this one time you hit the corner just right and got a cut that turned into your very first scar.  I know you can’t even see it in this picture, but I promise you it’s there. I also know it won’t be the only hurt you will ever experience but I hope that the others that are sure to come will fade in time as well.

Happy half birthday to you dear Libby.  I love you to pieces.

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Red Pepper Tomato Sauce

Red Pepper and TomatoI have a news flash for you…life with a one year old is pretty freaking chaotic. Pick me up, put me down, catch me, chase me up the stairs, read me a book, let’s play picnic, BANANA! Put that on a loop and repeat at 90 second intervals throughout the day.  This can’t possibly continue indefinitely, can it?  Because just typing that sentence makes me feel manic AND exhausted.

In my house there are two barometers that show the current level of crazy.  The toys scattered around every inch of floor space don’t count because that’s just a given.  No, I’m talking about the dining room table and the refrigerator.

When the surface of the table is no longer visible because of the mail, receipts, grocery bags, boxes and cans of food that didn’t get put away, daily reports from daycare, lunch bags, the Sunday Post, and god only knows what else, it makes me twitchy.  The longer the mess sits around, the more anxious I get, until finally I go through it grumbling and cursing the whole time about people not cleaning up after themselves.  Naturally then, the majority of the crap on the table turns out to be mine.  So I could save myself a whole lot of time and aggravation by either not letting the table deteriorate into a DEFCON 1 situation or by choosing to ignore it.

Likewise, peeking into the fridge will give you a pretty accurate assessment of my mental state even if I’m faking it with the dining room table organization.  Is the fridge relatively clean?  Then all is well…or as well as it can be.  Is the fridge disorganized and maybe a wee bit crowded? This tells you that I am being hijacked by my toddler to entertain her.  This may or may not include viewing episodes of Peppa Pig and hosting spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen . Does my fridge have an unidentified funk that haunts your senses?  Then simply close the door and run because the person having a nuclear meltdown in the corner is not my child, it is me.  Little Miss won’t take a nap and refuses to drink milk from anything but a bottle, she insists on watering the tables with the contents of her sippy cups, there is cat litter scattered all over the floor along with cheerios and bits of half chewed chicken, I have three or four sewing projects in various stages of completion, the dirty laundry is multiplying exponentially, and there is a knob of ginger on my counter that I have so utterly neglected that it actually sprouted.

By the time things actually start to smell, pretending not to notice….the chaos or the funk…is no longer an option.  That’s where I was last night.  So while The Mistah was on duty with bath night (also known as I will scream at you until you take me out of this damn tub), I emptied the fridge shelf by shelf, sniffed out the offenders (yeah, I’m looking at you cauliflower and ignored cup of milk), tossed a few other things that were about to take a turn for the stinky, wiped everything down, and restored order in my Frigidaire.  And damn if it didn’t feel so good when I was done that I kept going with the clean and tackled my stovetop.  For someone who hasn’t been doing a whole lot in the kitchen, I sure managed to make one hell of a mess of my stove.

Along with the physical clutter that I cleared out, I also gave myself a bit of mental breathing room.  And I have to say that felt pretty good too.  I know it will get better and that eventually Miss Libby won’t need constant supervision. Which means that my days of manic exhaustion are numbered.

Red Pepper Tomato Sauce

Adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen

BAH Note:  I wanted a bigger batch of this sauce so that I could put some up in the freezer for those DEFCON 1 days.  Since I didn’t bother to write down a single note on how much tomato or peppers I used, I’m going to use the quantity from Alexandra’s post as a starting point.  You can bend and twist this to your liking.

PS…I discovered that this also makes the base for a pretty rocking red pepper tomato soup.  So you do what you like.

  • 2 cups red bell peppers, chopped (about 2 peppers)
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • basil (optional)

Place the peppers, tomato, salt, pepper, and water in a pot.  Simmer for approximately 30 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.  If the tomatoes want to stick to the pan during cooking, add a bit more water to the pot.

The sauce is done when the tomatoes and peppers are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.  Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor, add the basil (if using) and process till smooth.

Return the sauce to the pot and add the butter and olive oil. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper as desired.   Serve with your pasta of choice, or if the day has been really bad, enjoy a nice tomato sauce sandwich.

{printable recipe}

Posted in Food, Photo, Recipe | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Beefyroni

Cheesy Beefaroni

I’ve been visiting rehab lately.  Something about that sentence has a whole lot of shock value until I clarify that I was going to visit my grandmother who was getting physical therapy/rehab for a broken arm.  After a number of weeks and an operation to reset the bones with pins, the powers that be at her insurance company decided they were done paying for her stay at the facility.  And that was that.

Yup, my 90 year old grandmother got kicked out of rehab.  I can add that to the list of things I never thought I’d hear myself say.

I’m at the point in my life where I’m flanked by life beginning and ending.  On one hand there is Miss Libby just starting out on this journey.  On the other is my grandmother whose journey is winding down.  And both metaphorically as well as mathematically I am almost exactly in the middle of the two.  Somehow that feels so very right.  I get to watch Libby’s light grow and shine while I also get to see my grandmother’s fade.  Both are a privilege but there is sadness in the certainty of knowing I face a profound loss ahead.

I was talking about this recently with a friend and said how unfair I thought it was that after such a long life my grandmother should be facing a growing list of health issues.  And my friend said something that really made me think.  She reminded me that it takes time for a life to begin.  And it takes time for a life to end.  The notion of people peacefully passing on in their sleep?  It looks nice in the movies, but life isn’t The Notebook.  So what I’m seeing, and struggling with, this is part of the process.

That doesn’t make me dislike it any less.  But at least I can look at it a little differently now.  And in those moments when my heart breaks just a little at seeing my grandmother look so old and frail, I can take comfort in the delight she gets from seeing Libby’s joy and wonder unfold at the world around her.

Beefyroni

Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

Note:  This is all about comfort.  I’m not suggesting that you should feed your feelings…well, maybe I am.  But there is something reassuring about ground beef, macaroni, and cheese.  Maybe it’s the simplicity of the dish.  Or maybe it’s just a trifecta of perfection.  Mine is not to reason why…yours shouldn’t be either…just enjoy.

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Cheddar cheese, grated

Brown the beef and onion in a large skillet on medium high heat, breaking the beef apart with your spoon or spatula as it browns.

While the beef and onion cooks, combine the beef broth, mustard, ketchup, and salt in a bowl.

Once the beef is no longer pink, drain off most of the grease (remember, there’s a lot of flavor in those drippings).  Add the broth mixture to your pan with the beef and bring to a boil.  Add the macaroni, give it a stir, and then cover the pan.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook for approximately 10 to 12 minutes until the macaroni is tender.

Add the cheese, stir to combine, and dig in to a heaping bowl of comfort.

{printable recipe}

Posted in Cooking, Food, Main Course, Pasta, Photo, Recipe, Retro Recipe | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Secret to Homemade Chicken Soup

chicken soup

my grandmother’s secret to chicken soup? her homemade noodles.
flour + egg is all you need.

Seems to me that the people who write recipes must have have some secrets up their sleeves, or a rabbit in their hat.  Because I can’t otherwise explain how they can possibly do things like caramelize onions in 30 minutes or get a really good sear on a cut of meat in 2 minutes per side.  It’s as though time is suspended in their kitchen.

Anytime I read a recipe I feel like I should start mentally marking up the cooking time that is quoted as guidelines.  I need to sweat onion and celery till soft and you say it should take about five minutes.  In my kitchen it’s more like ten or fifteen minutes.  Roast my veg for 30 minutes until tender?  Please, I’m giving that pan a shake every 30 minutes.

Am I responsible for some of the discrepancies?  Absolutely.  Am I using a large enough pan?  Maybe not.  Am I cooking over a high enough heat?  Maybe not.  Have I overcrowded my pan?  Possibly.  All of these differences could partly explain why it takes me longer to get from Point A to Point B than you say it will.  As far as the rest of the explanation…I will never know.

One thing I do know is that some secrets can be cracked.  Like the secret to homemade chicken soup.

The secret is simple, use a rotisserie chicken as both the base of the stock and the meat for the finished soup.  No more taking up valuable freezer space to save random chicken parts until you have enough for a soup.  And no more spending a whole day with a pot slowly simmering away on the stove.  Who has time for that?

One rotisserie chicken is all you need.  Simmering the stripped carcass and skin in chicken broth gives you a full and rich stock in no time at all.  Now, if you want to tell people that this soup took you all day so that you could sneak in some alone time, I can promise that your secret is safe with me.

Easy Chicken Soup

Adapted from Cook’s Country

BAH Note:  Use this as your guide and then fancy it up any way you like.  Add rice or noodles!  Don’t want to give peas a chance?  Substitute frozen corn instead.  Do what makes you happy.

I make a mess in the kitchen on my good days.  So when a recipe tells me to pour 8 cups of hot liquid through a strainer, I see danger signs.  Instead of tempting fate, and 2nd degree burns, by trying to pour steaming hot liquid out of the hot stock pot, I break the process down into a few steps.  I place a mesh strainer in a bowl large enough to hold all the liquid.  Then I use tongs to remove the chicken from the pot and place it in the strainer.  Using a big ladle, I run the stock from the pot through the strainer.  Lastly I scrape any bits from the bottom of the stock pot into the strainer.  Once all the liquid has drained off the chicken and vegetables, the strainer rests in the sink until the bones and veg have cooled enough to go in the trash.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Break down the rotisserie chicken and shred the meat into bite sized pieces.  Keep the skin and bones for making the stock.  And be sure to scrape any gelled juices out of the chicken carrier.  That’s pure gold right there and it needs to go in your soup pot.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook until the vegetables begin to soften about 10 minutes.  Add the chicken bones and skin, broth, water, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and garlic to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

Strain your stock through a mesh strainer and press on the solids to get as much liquid out as possible.  Return the stock to your dutch oven.  You want to have about 8 cups of liquid by this point.  If you have less than 8 cups, add water till you get there.

While the stock cooks, take the diced carrot and onion and remaining 1/2 tablespoon (that’s 1 1/2 teaspoons) olive oil and microwave on high for approximately 5 minutes or until the vegetables soften.

Transfer the softened carrot and onion mixture to the chicken stock.  Stir in the frozen peas and chicken and cook for another 5 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and add kosher salt and pepper to taste.

{printable recipe}

Posted in Chicken, Cooking, Recipe, Soup, Tips and Tricks | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

10.10.13

9 years low res

Happy Anniversary!

Posted in Random | Tagged , | 7 Comments