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Chicken-roni with Avocado

Category : Chicken, Featured, Main Dishes

This was based on a dish my mother used to make*. It’s become a comfort meal for us and a favorite of my husband. It’s a fusion of flavors from savory chicken with rice & pasta, side effects to the creamy coolness of diced avocado and the spicy zest of the salsa. This is a hearty dish that satisfies!

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup uncooked whole wheat vermicelli broken into 3/4″ pieces
1 cup uncooked rice
3 cloves garlic chopped fine
4 green onions chopped coarse
20 oz chicken stock
13 oz canned white chicken breast
9 oz chopped green chilis
1 cup shredded cheese, page Mexican blend
4 avocados
Salsa

Ingredients

Melt the butter over low heat in a large lidded pan and add the vermicelli.  Cook until the vermicelli starts to brown, stirring frequently. It’s very easy for it to burn if left unattended.

Browning the vermicelli

Add the rice, garlic and green onions and stir until well mixed and the garlic starts to be fragrant.

rice-roni mixture with onions & garlic

Carefully add the broth to the mixture and bring quickly to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Start checking the pan as you get to the 2o minute mark to make sure that the mixture hasn’t cooked dry. Add the chicken and chilis and cook until everything is warmed.

Chicken & Chilis

Turn off the heat and add the cheese. Stir thoroughly.

Finished chicken rice & roni mix

In bowls, cut and chop the avocado into bite-size pieces. Place a generous helping of the rice, chicken and cheese mixture on top. Spoon a little of the salsa on top and enjoy!

Yummy Finished Chicken-roni & Avocado Meal

*When my mom used to make this, we just used rice-a-roni.

Jalapeno Chicken Stew

Category : Chicken, Featured, Stew/Soup

Today we bundled up, recipe stoked the fire, and prepared for what they promised would be the ice and snow storm of winter. With some foresight, my husband and I made the excursion to the local farmer’s market for root vegetables and chickens. We also found a woman selling Amish made pasta called Pot Pie Pasta. They were thick and square cut and made me want to create a thick chicken stew to showcase them. Among the stands of vegetables, we found a basket of firm, plump jalapeno peppers, carrots and sweet onions. We also nabbed a late season sweet potato that had to have easily weighed 2 lbs. A plan was coming together! A loaf of Challah and we were set!

We built a nice fire in the wood stove with the Ash and Oak. I wanted a smokey flavor to the stew

Ingredients:
3.5 lb whole fryer chicken (cleaned, quartered, & patted dry)
2 lbs sweet potato (peeled and cut into quarters or very large chunks)
2 sweet onions (chopped coarse)
3 large carrots (peeled and sliced)
4 jalapeno peppers, roasted (chopped coarse)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
5 cups water
1 cup Chardonnay
4 Tablespoons olive oil or bacon grease
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon
garam masala
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt to taste
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup of cooked pasta in noodle form.

Put the olive oil or bacon grease into a deep stock pot. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the chicken and brown slightly. Add the herbs and garlic when the browning is just about done and coat the chicken.

Add the Chardonnay to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the pasta) and simmer for 2 hours.

During this time I roasted the jalapenos over the fire. You can also roast them under the broiler for about 7 minutes, until the skin is black and blistered. Turn to get all sides. Put the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. Use a knife to scrape off the skin, which will come of very easily at this point. Don’t rinse. Cut off the stem end and split the pepper in half, scooping out and discarding the seeds. Chop the pepper coarsely and add to the stew. It is highly recommended that you use gloves to handle the peppers. Roasting the peppers isn’t critical, but once you’ve tried it, you’ll understand how it mellows the flavor, but not the heat and blends well with the sweet and smokey flavors of this stew.

After 2 hours, remove the chicken from the stew carefully with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl. Your goal is to make sure no bones end up in the stew. I put mine into a colander and pick off all the meat to add back to the liquid in the pot.

At this point, fish out all of the sweet potato chunks. Put these into a bowl and mash well. Add this back to the stew to give it body. This stew has a very distinct flavor of sweet potatoes, which matches fabulously with the smoke and heat of the jalapenos.

Make sure you get all the tender meat from the chicken to put back into the stew. This is a tedious, finger singing step, but it’s completely worth it in the end.

Let the stew simmer for a while longer. I let mine go for another 2 hours before not being able to take the delicious smells any longer. Add the cooked pasta as the last step.

This dinner was paired with a sweet bread, Challah. There was a definite heat to this dish, but not a tongue blistering hot. It was a huge hit to warm us up against the ice outside.

My husband has taken the task of cleaning the whole chickens we get from the farmer’s market. A year ago I shattered my wrist and he picked up a lot of awesome kitchen skills helping me while I healed. This is one task he didn’t give back and the one that netted me a nice set of Henckel knives for Christmas! He takes the backbone out and the wings off of the bird and puts them in the freezer for making chicken stock. He removes the cartilage and a few of the small bones, then cleaves the halves into quarters. This little bit of kitchen work saves us a considerable amount of money.