Thursday, January 19, 2012

Oven Broiler Sandwiches

You don't have to have a panini press to make delicious hot toasty sandwiches at home. I actually DO have a panini press but sometimes I don't want to get it out, or clean it, or add the calories of extra butter or olive oil on the outside of the bread. I have been making oven broiler sandwiches for years, and they are oh so tasty! This is also a good way to make a large batch of sandwiches at one time. This is a great quick meal for Sunday afternoon when we get home, starving & everyone wants lunch QUICK.
I used:
Mortadella as best I can tell it's facy Italian bologna Boar's Head makes a wonderful one, it has bits of pistachios in it. Yumm! You want it sliced very thin.
Genoa Salami - much nicer than hard salami you want one that is a nice deep color, some of the supermarket brands are almost pale pink, they're not as good. Private Selections at Kroger is of a good quality.
Pepperoni - you just can't go wrong with a bit of spicy pepperoni on your sandwich
Provalone is my cheese of choice - but I was out so I used what I had in the fridge, today.
You can also add some ham (which will make the sandwich sweet)
or Turkey (using more turkey and less of the higher fat sausage meats will help the sandwich have fewer calories)
Tomato also makes a nice addition.
I used Sourdough bread, but any kind of bread or roll works well.

Mix up some mayonnaise with Italian Salad dressing and spared it on the bread.

Next I like to add a layer of cheese, this helps the meats adhere to the sandwich & not slip & slide around as much. If you're going to use tomato, add it next. Then add the deli meats, ending up with a bit more cheese, which will serve as sandwich glue.
Position the sandwich halves on a foil lined baking sheet & position under the broiler until the cheese gets melty and the edges of the meats begin to crisp & curl up, you're going to love the way this brings out the flavors of the meat.
Now add any mustard, pickles or other dressings you desire. I drizzled in a bit more of the Italian mayo dressing. Put the two halves together and return to the broiler until the bread is toasted, flip the sandwich over & repeat.

The possibilities are endless with all the different combinations of meat, cheese, veggies, spreads & condiments. Go forth & create your own winning combination!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Chicken Stew With White Wine: Master Recipe Becomes - Chicken & Dumplings, Chicken Noodle Soup or Chicken Pie

Updated Feb 18, 2013

 This recipe comes out of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (Amazon Affiliate Link at bottom of post) It's his Basic Stew recipe the Chicken and White Wine variation. Jamie's base recipe calls for a can of tomatoes, I leave those out, my idea of Chicken comfort food doesn't include tomatoes. My family loves this recipe I have now made it as Chicken & Dumplings & Chicken Noodle Soup. It would also make a wonderful chicken pot pie. I used to make it with boneless chicken breasts, but after using boneless thighs, I will never go back. The thigh meat requires some trimming away of fat, but the results are worth it. The thigh meat remains tender & juicy, by comparison chicken breasts seem a little tough & dry, particularly in leftovers the next Day. As for the wine, I have used Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Vermouth & Sherry all are fine, it seems that just about anything that's light in color will do. This recipe can be made on the stovetop or in the oven. I prefer the oven as it produces a gentler, all over heat & I don't have to adjust the temperature as I would on the stovetop. Be sure that the pot you use is oven safe, you don't want to melt your handles.

Basic Stew Recipe Chicken With White Wine

2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled & sliced (I sometimes use 3 or 4 it adds more color)
2 celery stalks (use up to 4, celery adds a lot of flavor)
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 chicken bouillon cube (I use Knorr – this item is my addition)
1 Tablespoon of flour (see the variation you are making for possible alteration)
1 – 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed & cut into pieces
2 cups of white wine
2 cups of chicken broth or stock (this makes up for the liquid in the can of tomatoes I omit)
1 teaspoon of salt
pepper to taste

If using your oven move position a rack in the center of the oven & preheat to 350 F.
Add the olive oil to a large dutch oven or stock pot & heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the veggies to the pan and cook until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally as needed (I like to use a bamboo paddle for this purpose) When the veggies are nearly ready add the thyme, bouillon cube and flour and stir frequently to cook off the raw taste of the flour.
Add the chicken pieces to the pan & stir. Add the white wine, chicken broth, salt & pepper, stir and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, they add flavor. Increase the heat if needed and bring to a bubble. Place the lid on the pot & either place in the oven, or reduce the heat to barely a simmer. Cook for 1 and ½ hours more (see notes for the variation you are making.)
Serves 4, generously

Chicken & Dumplings
If you want a thicker stew you can add an extra 2 teaspoons of flour at the stage where you added the flour (for a total of 1 Tbs + 2 teaspoons)
30 minutes before the stew is due to be removed from the oven remove the lid & check on it. Add more liquid if desired. It's now time to mix up your dumpling batter. I use Bisquick Baking mix & follow the directions on the box which calls for 2 cups of baking mix to be mixed with ¾ cup of milk (I use lactose free milk since I have some dairy issues.) Mix it up in a bowl with a fork. Pull the pot out of the oven & add dumpling batter to the top of the stew liquid – a large ice cream dipper works wonderful for this purpose & produces uniformly sized dumplings. Cook on the stovetop (or return to the oven) uncovered for 10 minutes. Then replace the lid and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Ladle into large soup bowls and enjoy!

You may have misgivings about using Bisquick but that's how my Aunt Virginia always makes them, and she was a caterer. If it was good enough for her, it's good enough for me – and it produces wonderful fluffy dumplings.

Chicken Noodle Soup
For Chicken Noodle Soup check on the pot 30 minutes before it will be ready (after 1 hour of simmer time) Depending on how much broth is in the pot you may wish to add more chicken broth at this point. The soup will thicken a little bit after you add the noodles as they will add starch to the water.
I find that 3 oz of dried fettuccine noodles broken into 4 pieces produce the amount and size of noodles that I like. Add them to the pot at the 1 hour and 10 minutes point & return to oven with the lid on (or continue to cook on the stove-top, covered) until the noodles are soft, then serve. I found my noodles were ready after 20 minutes of cooking in the oven.

Chicken Pot Pie
Add 1 Tablespoon of flour at the point where you added the flour (2 Tablespoons total). When the stew is ready remove thyme stems, add 1 cup of cream & 1 cup of frozen peas. Remove from heat and allow to cool (hot stew will make the pie crust melt and fall into the broth, then it will not get crisp.)
Roll out pie dough to the size of dish you are using for your pie (be it one large pie – or two individual pies) I find that rolling together 2 rounds of Pillsbury refrigerated pie dough produces a thicker crust that is hearty & pleasing for chicken pie. Place dough on top of dish & crimp, then cut 4 or more slits in the dough to allow the steam to vent away brush with milk. Bake until browned and done, consult your pie dough recipe for an idea of how long and what temperature to bake.

A short cut to Chicken Pot Pie is to cut shapes or rounds out of the pie crust, brush with milk & bake on a baking sheet. Serve the stew in large bowls & float the pie crust shapes on the top. This is a great way to prevent having soggy pie crust if you're serving again as leftovers.
(photo coming soon Chicken in White Wine with Cream & Pie Crust Crackers.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Something New for 2012