Apple, Feta, & Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Previously, I had experimented with this recipe and decided to change it around a little this time.
Ingredients:
  • 6-8 Crimini mushrooms
  • 1 peeled & diced apple
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then some in a small dish for coating the mushrooms
  • 1 Adell’s Chicken & Apple precooked sausage
  • Salt
Directions:
  1. Clean and stem your mushrooms but save the stems for the stuffing!
  2. Cut the sausage into slices and add to the food processor.
  3. Add mushroom stems, 2 tablespoons olive oil, apple, and feta into the food processor.
  4. Process until all ingredients are finely chopped and incorporated. Add a little more olive oil to the mixture if you find it too dry.  You want something that stays together well without being too moist.  Set aside.
  5. Slather each mushroom top with olive oil to allow for a nice presentation (and flavor) when cooked.
  6. Lightly sprinkle salt inside each mushroom cap.
  7. Add caps to a baking sheet.
  8. Take a fork and gently press a small amount of stuffing inside the mushroom cap, enough to fill it generously.  Repeat for all caps.
  9. Then create equal size balls of stuffing for each of your mushrooms.  We are going to create large mounds of stuffing atop the mushroom which is why the stuffing can’t be too dry (or it will crumble) or too wet (it will slide off your cap).  Add a ball of stuffing to each cap, pressing gently to create a mound the width of the cap but not over the edges.
  10. Then BROIL your stuffed mushrooms for 15 minutes or until they start to brown/crust at the top.
  11. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Crockpot Turkey

This recipe is a bit difficult to write out as it depends on how much you are planning to make.  I’ve brought everything down to the smallest increments for a meal for two that averages about 3-4 lbs of meat.

Ingredients:
  • 3-4 lbs Turkey parts*
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup brown gravy mix
  • 2 Tbsp Apricot preserves**
  • 1 cup Bisquick mix***
  • 1 cup Cranberries (dried, fresh or frozen)
  • 2 Bouillon cubes
Directions:
  1. Boil one cup of water and whisk in gravy mix until thoroughly dissolved; add to slowcooker.
  2. Add 2 cups of water, garlic, preserves and bouillon cubes to cooker; mix.
  3. Remove the skin from your turkey if you so desire.
  4. Place turkey in a slow cooker and set on high.
  5. Allow turkey to cook on high, until turkey falls off the bone or cooked as desired.
  6. Remove the bones (you can freeze the bones to make broth later) if you cooked legs.
  7. Remove the meat from the cooker and set aside.
  8. Boil the last remaining cup of water and whisk in Bisquick until all lumps are gone.
  9. Whisk Bisquick mixture into the liquid in the cooker.   Add more Bisquick if you want it thicker just remember it thickens a lot upon cooling.
  10. Add cranberries.
  11. Drizzle gravy over meat, stuffing, potatoes, or whatever else suits your fancy.
Notes:
*White meat falls apart a lot sooner than the dark meat.
**Apricot preserves can be substituted with apple sauce as it’s primarily used to keep the turkey moist and add a bit of autumn flavor.  They are also a great addition to your yam/sweet potato recipe!
***Instead of Bisquick, you can use Arrowroot or any flour you wish but it doesn’t quite have the flavorful effect.

Apple Chicken with Stuffing

One of my favorite autumn/winter dishes is Apple Chicken.  Aside from it being incredibly easy to make, it’s unbelievably tasty and can be made in large batches for freezing.
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breast
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken thighs
  • Apple Cider
  • 2 cups apple sauce
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • Cranberries
  • Stuffing Mix
Directions:
  1. Place chicken breasts and thighs into crockpot.
  2. Add 2 cups apple sauce.
  3. Add enough apple cider to barely cover the chicken.
  4. Stir.
  5. Set slow cooker on high and cook until chicken is done (generally 3-4 hours).
  6. Add enough stuffing mix to absorb the apple cider and allow to set.
  7. Peel and dice your apple.
  8. Incorporate apple and cranberries into chicken/stuffing.
  9. Serve.

Chicken Pot Pie Pockets

Okay, I have to admit it… I seriously need to invest in pre-made refrigerated dough.  I buy them by the case and can come up with just about any creative way to use them.  I’ve used pre-made croissant rolls for my minced meat pies and for my egg-n-cheese breakfasts on the go.  Now I’m telling you how to make some pretty tasty chicken pot pies in a really short amount of time by using pre-made roll dough.

Ingredients:
  • 2 containers of Pre-made roll dough (8 rolls per can)
  • 2.5 cups of cooked and cut chicken ( or beef, pork, turkey, etc.)
  • 1 can cream of chicken (or turkey, broccoli or potato)
  • 1 can of cheddar cheese (found in the soup section of your grocery store)
  • 1 cup mixed cubed/diced frozen or fresh veggies (don’t use any canned veggies as they become mush)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • Optional: Shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook your meat of choice however you like (this is great for leftovers!): boiled, sauteed, etc.
  2. Cube, dice or tear your meat into small pieces.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Toss everything but the dough into a bowl and mix (no need to thaw frozen veggies).
  5. Grab a muffin pan and line each pocket with a roll, creating a bowl shape.
  6. Spoon the mixture into each dough pocket, packing it down, until it is level with top or slightly heaping.
  7. Optional: add some shredded cheese on top of each pocket.
  8. Put pan in oven and bake for 15 minutes or until roll edges are golden.

Note:

  • I’ve made these several times and cooking times vary.  If the veggies are frozen, it takes a little bit longer.  If you use only cheddar cheese and not the canned version, it takes less time.  I recommend checking the pockets after ten minutes and every 3 to 5 minutes thereafter.
  • You can “top” the pocket with a layer of dough but remember, it will expand greatly and you might end up with a lot of attached pockets.
  • This recipe does NOT work well with seitan.
  • A great variation of this is to make a thick beef stew and fill the pockets with that!
  • Thin soups do NOT work in this recipe.
  • If you have ramekins, add a flattened roll on the bottom, fill ramekin, then add a flattened roll on top!  Great for a meal!

Not So Spicy Tandoori Chicken

This recipe was quite the challenge for me.  Not because it’s difficult, but because my wife doesn’t like spicy (hot) foods and because I didn’t have many of the spices that would normally go into Tandoori chicken.  Also, Tandoori chicken is quite dry tasting normally and I REALLY wanted to see if I could make it a bit more moist.  The results were fantastic!  It was juicy, tasty and just the perfect amount of spicy.  Also, I realized that the gravy this recipe makes is perfect to use as the water when making quinoa (seen in the image and instructions below) which is an excellent and healthy alternative to pasta or rice.  I also made an amazing creamed spinach (seen in the image) that I will post the recipe for tomorrow.
Ingredients:
  • 2 chicken breasts, thighs and legs (see notes)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fennel (see notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (see notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (see notes)
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
Directions:
  1. Partially thaw your chicken pieces (or see step three for thawed chicken)  You want them a little bit frozen but not solid.  This allows the moisture from the chicken to keep it from drying out in the cooker.  Plus the mix of white and dark meat really adds to this recipe.
  2. Cut/dice your chicken and drop in the slow cooker.
  3. Pour lemon juice into cooker over chicken (you can also marinade your chicken in the lemon juice for an hour or two as the acid helps tenderize the chicken).
  4. In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and yogurt until fully incorporated.
  5. Add yogurt mixture to the slow cooker and thoroughly mix with chicken and lemon juice.
  6. Smother the other parts of the chicken and place on top of the chicken breasts.
  7. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

Quinoa:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • gravy from above recipe
  • 1 cup water
I simply added 1 cup of quinoa to the drained gravy plus one cup water.  I heated the mixture on high until it boiled and then continued to cook it until the liquid thickened.  I then reduced the heat to medium and continued cooking until the mixture thickened greatly and the quinoa was cooked.
Notes:
  • Most recipes state to use a whole chicken, I find that pieces work better and are less likely to dry out.  I also normally use 4 thigh pieces and no drumsticks as we like boneless meat.
  • You can use coriander as a substitute for fennel.
  • You can use Cayenne pepper as a substitute for red pepper.
  • You can use cumin as a substitute for paprika and perhaps double this measurement for spiciness.
  • Regarding red food coloring: Most people know that Tandoori chicken is red.  To get this effect, many add red food coloring.  I do not add any coloring because I think it is an unnecessary ingredient.  Naturally it’s entirely your decision.
  • If this is still a bit too spicy, or even too lemony, you can add a 1/4 cup sour cream to the finished chicken and sauce.
 

Summer Fruit Salsa Chicken

Ingredients:
  • 16 oz. Summer Fruit Salsa*
  • 2 diced chicken breasts
  • 15 oz. can of black beans
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • Lime juice
*1 cup diced frozen/fresh mixed fruit to one 16 oz. jar of regular salsa – melons, mango and similar fruits are perfect for this recipe.
Directions:
  1. Add everything to your slow cooker.
  2. Set temperature to low.
  3. Set timer for three hours.
  4. Go about your daily routine.
  5. Return when the timer goes off and open your can of black beans.
  6. Drain them into a strainer and rinse thoroughly.
  7. Stir into slow cooker.
  8. Set temperature to low.
  9. Set timer for 1 hour.
  10. Make the rice according to instructions and set aside (or wait to make it towards the end of the hour).
  11. Once everything is done, lay a bed of rice and top with beans and chicken mixture.
  12. Drizzle lime juice over entire dish before serving OR serve with lime tortilla chips!  OR BOTH!!

Slow cooker whole chicken

Yet again, no image for this one but mostly because this entry is more like a quick reference.  If you want to cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker, this is a general idea of weight & time.
Meat:
  • Meat that falls off the bone = 1 hour per pound on high + 1 additional hour for every 3 lbs. ( 3 lb. bird would cook for 4 hours on high, a 6 lbs. bird would cook for 7 hours on high – though temperatures vary in slow cookers so always check your bird after 4 hours then every hour after until you have the meat as desired): This is great for chicken stock, boiled chicken, chicken soup base or deboning a cooked chicken.
  • Whole chicken intact = 45 minutes per pound on high with NO liquids except for what naturally comes from the chicken during cooking: This is for when you want more of a presentation chicken.
Liquids:
  • For boiled chicken, soup stock, or to make a broth base: Add 2 cups chicken broth and 1 cup water to the crock pot before adding the chicken.  [NOTE: Chicken in the slow cooker is very moist to begin with especially if it is cooked with the skin (can be easily removed after it’s done cooking), adding any sort of liquids to the cooker is only recommended if you are making a soup/broth base or boiled chicken.]
  • For soup stock or broth WITHOUT boiling the chicken: Cook chicken as desired, remove from cooker but leave any liquid at the bottom.  Debone and/or skin the chicken, add them back to the cooker, add 2 cups chicken base (see below) and/or six cups of water.
  • Chicken Base:  Every time you make a chicken in the slow cooker, keep the drippings for a chicken base.  If you aren’t making a broth/soup right away, simply allow the drippings to cool, pour them into a container and freeze.  If you want something with less fat, allow the container to cool in the fridge first; remove the layer of fat that rises to the top and then freeze the remaining.
Making Soup:
  • Egg noodles: Cooked in the drippings plus water for twenty minutes (with base already hot)
  • Frozen veggies/potatoes: Added after base and noodles are done cooking
  • Fresh chopped veggies/potatoes: Added an half hour before the noodles are added
  • Thickening Agent: I highly recommend Bisquick as a thickening agent for your chicken soup – remove 2 cups of the base from the slow cooker and pour it into a microwavable bowl.  Slowly whisk in the Bisquick until it is MUCH thicker than desired (remember it will be added to the base again and therefore much thinner).  Keep the base hot to allow the mix to completely dissolve and not produce lumps by putting it in the microwave for 30 second intervals as needed.  Pour and stir the mixture into the slow cooker base.
Stock/Base:
  • Cook the entire chicken: skin, bones, meat, etc.  You can even cook the giblets and neck if so desired.
  • Remove the meat from the cooker once it’s fully cooked.
  • Debone and/or skin the chicken.  Set the meat aside.
  • Add the bones and skin to the chicken drippings plus 1 cup chicken broth or water.
  • Cook till bones become soft.
  • Remove bones and skin (skin can be chopped in a food processor if you wish to use it in the stock).
  • Pour into single use containers and freeze.