Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chicken Corn Chowder

It finally feels like winter. Okay, so here in Southern California we really don't have to much of a winter, but I would like to at least need a sweater. Yesterday it was cold and rainy so I decided it was a perfect night for a warm, hearty, filling and comforting soup.

I thought about what I had at home and decided on Chicken Corn Chowder and fresh baked beer bread.

I got home threw together some beer bread with fresh Rosemary, Parmesan cheese and garlic and got to work on my chowder. The chowder was done about 10 minutes before the bread so I put a lid on it and it was perfect when the bread was ready to cut.

This chowder is relatively quick and easy. And, it is great way to use some of your left over rotisserie chicken.

CHICKEN CORN CHOWDER

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
2 to 3 ribs celery, peeled and diced
2 to 3 potatoes, peeled and diced (I used 3 small)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, or 1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried, optional
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk or light cream (I used 1/2 C. half & half with 1/2 C. nonfat milk)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned), optional

Heat vegetable oil in a large pot and stir in the onion and celery, continuing to stir for about 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes. Cover and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes,Stirring occasionally. Stir in the herbs. Mix the flour with milk to make a thin paste, then add the milk and broth to the soup pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Stir in the chicken and optional corn, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Cook gently 5 minutes; serve hot.

Note: This works really well with left over turkey also.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Beer Bread....So Easy

The doctor Nathan has been seeing for ten years is retiring. Nathan decided he wanted to take something to the doctor on his last visit, which was yesterday (Saturday). Friday night I remembered that this is what he wanted to do and having been sick I didn't have a lot of energy to do something big. So, I asked Nathan if beer bread would be alright and he said yes.

On the way home from picking up Tara at play rehearsal I stopped to pick up some beer. Now for those of us not used to doing this it was a little strange to walk into 7-11 and have them put my purchase in a paper bag. I had to laugh at the way it looked. I decided that the next time I made this I would do my buying at the grocery store, at least that way I wasn't walking to my truck looking like a hobo. Aaahhh, my Bishop would be so proud...hahaha.

Anyway, beer bread is great. It is quick, easy and doesn't taste like beer. The yeast and other grains in it give it great flavor and the best part is that the basic bread only takes five ingredients. Oh! and ..... there is no need to let it rise.

I made two loaves, one for the doctor and one for my family. I decided to make Dill Cheddar Beer Bread. It took all of an hour to put together and bake and tasted great!

Give it a try, it makes a nice gift and people will think you spent much longer in the kitchen than you really did.

Basic Beer Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
12 oz. beer (You may use non-alcoholic beer if you prefer)

Optional glaze: 1 egg & 2 teaspoons water, beaten

Heat oven to 375°. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, herbs and cheese if you are using them, in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in beer and mix just until combined. Batter will be thick. Spread in a greased 8-inch loaf pan, brush with egg glaze if desired, and bake until golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool 10 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: The glaze gives it a beautiful golden color and makes for great presentation.

Flavor variations:

Dill & Cheddar: Add 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried) and 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese.

Garlic & Herb: Add 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 2 minced garlic cloves (or 1 teaspoon garlic flakes) to the basic mix. For fresh herbs, use 1 chopped Tablespoon of each.

Dill & Chive: Add 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried dill) and 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives to the basic mix.
From Food

From Food

From Food