Chicken Fricot

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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken pieces (thighs or breast)
  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 7 cups water
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning (thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • Bay Leaf
  • Salt to taste (I usually let people add their own)

For dumplings:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

This makes 8 tbsp dumplings.

Directions

Add olive oil to pot, select Saute.  When oil is hot, add the defrosted or raw chicken pieces to brown.  While chicken is browning, cut up the potatoes, carrots and onions.

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When the chicken is browned, remove from the pot.  Add a little water to the pot and deglaze the bottom.  Add the chopped onion to soften.  While the onion is softening, cut up the chicken pieces and remove any bones.

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Once the onions are done, deglaze the bottom again if necessary, then sprinkle the 1 tbsp of flour over the top.  Turn off the pot.

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Add the vegetables, spices, meat, broth and water.  I used the Soup button with 25 minutes setting (same as Manual for 25 minutes).  NPR for about 5 minutes.

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When ready to release the steam, make the dumplings.  Drop them into the pot changing the setting to Saute.  Put the lid on to keep the steam in.  Let cook for about 10 minutes until the dumplings are done and serve.

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This recipe is an adaptation from the February page of the 2018 Buy New Brunswick calendar.  I cut down the amount of chicken and water, and added a green vegetable.  I like this recipe because it’s simple which means you can add all sorts of things to it to adapt to your taste.  My thoughts are:  celery, something spicy, corn, okra, paprika, peas, turnip…Maybe not all at the same time but you get the idea.

Note:  Yes, I put the Instant Pot on the stove.  I don’t have anywhere else to put it, but I make sure nothing else is going on the stove (except maybe the 3 qt Instant Pot) so that the burner doesn’t accidentally get turned on.  If you’re in this situation and need to use a burner on the other side I’d recommend removing the burner if you can (like my stove) or using a fireproof cover over the burner on a glass top stove.  I wouldn’t do this at all if I were using a gas stove.  In that case I’d probably break down and buy a stand on wheels or something 🙂

 

 

 

Eggplant Chicken Instant Pot Pasta

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This is a one pot meal.  The Instant Pot is great for making spaghetti and sauce meals so why not add fresh vegetables?  Here’s my experiment.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken or turkey
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 cups chopped and peeled eggplant
  • 1 cup chopped zuccinni
  • 1/4 chopped red or green pepper (or both)
  • 1 square of frozen chopped spinach (that’s about a cup frozen or cooked)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Italian Seasoning to taste (I put about 1 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 can of diced tomatoes (400 mg/14 oz)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup pasta
  • 1 bay leaf
  • parmesean, salt, pepper to taste

Instructions

Cook the ground turkey in oil on sauté (about 10 minutes).  Push the ground meat aside, add a little more oil or liquid if necessary to deglaze the pot, saute the garlic for a minute then add the chopped vegetables and sauté for 3 or 4 minutes just to soften.  Add the spices, liquids and pasta.  Cook manual on high for 8 minutes.  NPR for 4 minutes.

Note:  This is all approximate because it really is to taste – adjust the liquids if you want soupier or drier; also the time should be adjusted depending on the type of pasta and how soft you want it.  Basic thing is 2 cups liquid to 1 cup pasta, in general it’s 8 minutes manual to cook.  I put longer because I was using macaroni and I need to make it on the soft side so when I did 10 minutes it was very soft – 8 is better.

 

 

Lady Ashburnham Pickles

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There’s a story behind these pickles:  http://www.heritagefredericton.org/node/197 .  The reason for me making these is that they are a local signature food, and last year I had purchased a lady ashburnham cucumber out of curiosity because it was huge.  It was also a bit sour so I wondered what purpose they had.

This year I found the story and the recipe so I went back to our wonderful Country Pumpkin https://www.facebook.com/Moxons-Country-Pumpkin-404378682958393/  where I found the cucumber last year.  It’s the only place I’ve seen those cucumbers.  They’re also the only place I’ve seen potato squash (delicious, I stocked up this year).

Next was trying the recipe.  There are several versions which is why I’m posting what I did so I can add my middle of the road attempt.  The Barbour Cookbook is one of the sources quoted online as that person’s source.  I’m not familiar with that cookbook but I will look for it.

Ingredients

  • 6 large cucumbers, peeled and seeded
  • 4 cups combination of onion, red pepper, cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 tsp celery seed

Instructions

Wash, peel, seed and chop the cucumbers finely (relish style).  Cover with the 1/4 cup salt and let sit overnight.  Drain and rinse the cucumber.  Put in pot.

In a bowl mix together the spices and sugar, stir in the vinegar.  When well disolved add to the cucumber and the 4 cups of chopped vegetables and bring to boil.  Cook on medium for 1 hour.

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Wash and sterilize the jars and lids.  Fill your jars and do a 10 minute hot water bath then tighten lids.  Let sit for a few weeks to set and serve.

Makes 6 500ml (1/2 pint) jars.

Note:  You can chose whatever vegetables such as green peppers and carrots or just use cucumber and onion.  The amount of sugar seems to be to taste because I’ve seen recipes with 4 cups.  Personally I don’t like very sweet pickles so I was pleased with the taste of the 2 cup version when I mixed it together. I found this recipe very liquidy, I’m not sure if I should have used more salt or perhaps smaller pickles but we’ll see later on after it’s set.

Also, if you’re not familiar with making pickles that are jarred (not refrigerator pickles) and aren’t sure how to sterilize or what a hot water bath is, please see this site before attempting any pickling:  http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can6b_pickle.html.

Taco Soup

 

20170903_234653So Jim wanted some soup with flavour that could be puréed in the blender.  He just had oral surgery so is limited in what he can eat.  Liquidy, not too spicy.  He thought the idea of taco soup sounded great so here we are.  In searching for the recipe I realized that there’s as many recipes for this as there are cooks.  So this is what I’ve come up with, written down at Jim’s request.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground meat (I used ground turkey)
  • 2 cups broth (I used chicken bone broth)
  • 1 large can of puréed stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can of creamed corn (or put about a cup of frozen corn)
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce (if you want it spicier, try a cup of salsa)
  • 1 tsp Tex-Mex spice (use more, I toned it down for Jim)
  • 1 tbsp minced cilantro
  • olive oil (to coat bottom of pan)
  • 1 cup cooked kidney beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • shredded nacho cheese

I made this in the Instant Pot but really any soup pot on the stove would do.

Pour a bit of olive oil in the pan and sauté the ground meat until brown.  Remove from pan and deglaze the bottom with a couple of tablespoons of the broth.  Cook the onions and garlic until the onions are soft.  Add all the remaining ingredients including the cooked ground meat, except the shredded cheese.  Feel free to add whatever spices you like that you would normally add to tacos; taco sauce would be great.

Cook on soup setting for 30 minutes and NPR for 15.  If you’re cooking on the stove I’d bring it to a boil, bring the heat down to simmer and simmer with a lid on for about 45 minutes.

Put the shredded cheese on your bowl and enjoy!  You could also put sour cream and avocado on top, that would be nice.

For Jim, I whizzed it all in the blender and he was a happy guy.  Me, I added a wee bit more spice 😉

Red Beans & Rice

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This is an instant pot recipe, but it can be done in a pot on the stove.

  • 1 pound ground chicken (you could use any ground meat)
  • olive oil to coat the pan
  • onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked red beans
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • salt to taste (I usually leave out the salt)
  • 1 tbsp Tex Mex spice
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups rice

Heat the oil on saute and coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the ground chicken and cook until brown.  Add the onions and garlic and stir until the onions are translucent.  Add the spices, broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, red beans, water and the rice.

In the instant pot cook on manual for 25 minutes then NPR.  On the stove bring to a boil then bring down to a simmer and cook covered until the rice is cooked.

Serve with shredded nacho cheese on top and a salad or other green vegetable.

The spices are approximate, I normally add to taste so keep that in mind.  You could also add hot pepper to make it more spicy.

 

 

Instant Pot Salmon Casserole

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Salmon Casserole

Still loving discovering what you can do with an Instant Pot.  I have the 6 qt 6-in-1 version.  I’m hunting for a good sale on the 3 qt 7-in-1 version so I can make my yogurt more easily, plus small versions of stew, etc.

Today’s experiment involved 2 frozen pieces of salmon, a can of cream of celery soup, half a bag of egg noodles, chicken bone broth and milk on hand.  Sounded like casserole to me so I adapted a chicken casserole recipe I’d seen to salmon with creamed soup instead of cream.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk (I use 1%)
  • 2 frozen salmon pieces (however large you want)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • 2 cups frozen vegetables (I used peas and corn mixed)
  • 1 can of cream of celery soup (you can use any cream soup if you prefer something else)
  • spices to taste:  I used about a quarter tsp of dill, quarter tsp of cilantro paste, about a tstp of Italian spice, about a quarter tsp of poultry seasoning, several grinds of black pepper – I suggest you put whatever you think is best with salmon
  • a shake of ground parmesan

To cook:

  1. Heat the oil in IP on saute until hot.
  2. Add the salmon and cook until white on both sides and defrosted enough to split apart.
  3. Add the garlic and just stir into the oil then deglaze the pot with the broth.
  4. Add the spices, milk, vegetables, noodles and stir.
  5. Add the cream of celery soup on top and just gently stir so it mixed in enough on top to not be clumpy.
  6. Seal and heat on manual for 8 minutes.  Quick release.
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IP Salmon Casserole

If you find the broth is a little thin, put the pot on Saute, add either cream or a tbsp of corn starch mixed with enough cold water to melt the powder and pour in.  Stir for a minute or two until the sauce is thick enough.  Serve with ground parmesan on top.

You’ll notice I didn’t add salt – I normally don’t unless it’s essential to the recipe because I like to leave salt preference to the person eating the meal; nothing worse than a meal that’s too salty, and parmesan is normally salty tasting enough for me.

 

 

My Best Ever Instant Pot Chili

I don’t have a picture, it was an experiment but I will be doing this again!

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg / 2.2 lb ground chicken, turkey or beef (I use chicken)
  • one onion, chopped
  • tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 cup chicken (or beef) bone broth
  • 2 tbsp concentrated chicken broth
  • Tex-Mex spice to taste (I put about 2 tbsp)
  • olive oil
  • large can of diced or blended stewed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • small can of creamed corn
  • pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 slices of chopped raw bacon
  • 1 cup of cooked red beans
  1.  Put the instant pot on saute, pour enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  When hot, place ground meat in the pot and stir until brown.  Remove from pan.  Put pepper, salt and Tex-Mex spice on top of the meat.
  2.  Add a little more olive oil (just enough to make sure its not dry) to the pan and when hot put in the garlic, onions and cut up bacon slices in pan to brown.
  3.  While it’s cooking put the bone broth and chicken broth concentrate in a measuring cup.
  4. When the onions etc are browned, push to the side and pour about half a cup of the broth or diced tomato juice in the pan and deglaze (scrub off any brown spots with your plastic stirer).  Add the rest of the broth, the stewed tomatoes, meat, red beans, the can of creamed corn, then top with the tomato paste (it goes on top so it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan).
  5. Set the pot for 20 minutes manual.
  6. While this is cooking, cook rice or macaroni if you wish as a base for the chili.  I like either – tonight I made rice.
  7. NPR about 10 minutes. Release.
  8. Pour over your favorite base or just plain in a bowl.  Top with shredded Nacho cheese to taste.

 

Yellow Split-Pea Soup (Pressure Cooker)

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I recently read an article about a pressure cooker that did more than your usual pressure cooker and it was invented by ex-Nortel workers from Ottawa.  Well now that was enough for me to look into it a little more.  When I saw there was a model that did yogurt I thought, wonderful!  You see I make my own Greek yogurt and I do it in my very old crockpot with the heavy inner pot.  So I looked online and saw that the model 60 was the right size and price so I purchased it from an Amazon seller (not the Instant Pot company).

It arrived very quickly and after I opened it realized that there was no recipe for Greek yogurt.  When I looked more closely I realized there were two versions of the model 60, the other one was the one that cooked the yogurt.  Now this led me to a crisis.  Do I return it and wait or keep it?  Two things changed my mind, the first being that the shipping charges I would have paid in the end for the buying, return and rebuying would be about $80, and the other when I saw how to make yogurt in the other version was not a whole lot different from how I make it now.  The only difference was it cooked in 110 degree heat in the pot on the stove instead of in a big heavy pot wrapped in a towel in the oven with the light on for heat.  I kept the model I had and began experimenting.

I love Habitant pea soup (French Canadian Pea Soup).  So I modified a few online pressure cooker split-pea soup recipes to be what I thought it should be.  So here it is!

French Canadian Yellow Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of bacon, raw, cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 piece of celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bag of dried yellow split peas (454 grams)
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Set the pot to Saute, add the olive oil and the chopped vegetables.  Let them saute for a couple of minutes, stirring. Remove from the pot and set aside. Add the chopped bacon and cook.  Leave the bacon grease in, it adds flavour. Take about a cup of the broth and deglaze the bottom of the pan so there’s nothing stuck to it. Return the vegetables to the pot. Add the rest of the broth.  Rinse the peas and add to the pot. Add the bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste. Note:  for the liquid be sure not to fill more than half of the pot if using the pressure setting.

Close the pressure cooker, set it for Soup for 20 minutes.  Once it has cooked let it depressurize on its own (about 10 minutes). Release the steam. Mash about a cup or two of the peas in liquid to a mush, return to the broth if you like it thicker. Stir and serve.  Enjoy with buttered bread or buns.  Delicious!

This makes about 4 to 6 servings.

Vermont (macaroni and cheese) Recipe

vermont uncookedcooked vermont Vermont is what we call a macaroni and cheese recipe that I adapted from a web page for Vermont visitors. It uses Vermont sharp cheddar. I don’t, I like to use Tex Mex or Nacho shredded cheese. It also had too much butter to be healthy so I changed it to be a little more to our tastes. The basic recipe is below. I also add things depending on my mood. Some add ins include tomato, spinach, or peas. The picture shows a version I made with diced stewed tomatoes and some of the milk replaced by tomato juice from the canned tomatoes, and with fresh spinach leaves.

The recipe serves 4 as a meal, 6 as a side.

Use a 2 quart (2 litre) casserole dish, no lid.

Ingredients

2 cups (500 ml) elbow macaroni
1 to 2 cups (250 to 500 ml) shredded cheese for the topping
Paprika

Sauce
1/4 cup (62.5 ml) olive oil
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) salt
1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) ground black pepper
1/4 cup (62.5 ml) flour
1 3/4 cup (437.5 ml) milk (I use 1%)
1 1/4 cup (312.5 ml) shredded cheese (I use Tex Mex or Nacho blend)

Cook the macaroni, adding vegetables (not tomatoes) to the pot if you wish. This will cook about 10 minutes, with 5 minutes to bring the water to a boil (15 minutes total).

While the macaroni is cooking, pour the olive oil in a sauce pan and add the salt and pepper. Heat the oil on medium-low for a minute or so (don’t let it get so hot it’s smoking). Add the flour and stir until the mixture is smooth (my dad used to call this the “rue” when making gravy – hint: this is also how you make gravy).

Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the milk, stirring the whole time. If you are adding diced tomatoes and juice this is when and where you do that. When it is stirred in and smooth return the pan to the heat, and gradually increase the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly. When it is thick and bubbly, remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese.

At this point the macaroni should be ready to drain. You should check the doneness of the macaroni as you are cooking the sauce as it’s better that the macaroni be a little under-cooked than over cooked. Drain the macaroni and put in the casserole dish. Pour in the cheese sauce and mix well. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the top, amount based on your taste.

Cook in a 375 degree F / 190 celcius oven for 25 minutes. At 25 minutes, remove from oven, sprinkle with paprika and return for 5 more minutes. This is done when it’s bubbly and the top is nicely browned.

Total time to make is approximately one hour. Don’t ask me how many calories this has. I don’t want to know. 🙂

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Baked Beans Recipe

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Making baked beans is a bit of an art – what’s crucial is the sauce and that is very much dependent on personal taste. I’ve tried several recipes and found the answer was simply to take the one that most suited my taste and adapt.  My main complaint about bean recipes are they are too sweet, or alternatively, quite bland.  So I took the recipe from the back of a Webster’s Farm Soldier Bean bag.  Webster’s Farm is a Nova Scotia company, and solider beans, as far as I have seen is a maritime peculiarity.  I haven’t seen them anywhere else and when my children were small when we went to the cottage in New Brunswick in the summer we would always come back to Mississauga with a few bags of soldier beans. So, for the uninitiated they are a large meaty beans.  I normally use Great Northern Beans because they are also large meaty beans, just a little more available and less expensive.

To make baked beans the first thing you need to do is to soak them.  Pour the beans into a collander, rinse them off and check there’s no rocks or other debris.  Place the beans in a container large enough to cover them with water and to allow for swelling as they absorb the water.  I usually put the beans in the large pot I’ll be cooking them in.  Cover the beans with at least two inches of cool water.  These will need to soak overnight; check midway if you can to ensure that they don’t need more water – also, draining and replacing the water half way if you can will reduce the gassy effect of beans somewhat.

When the beans are done soaking, rinse and then put them back into the pot and cover with cool water, leaving 2 inches of water above the beans.  Bring the beans to a boil – keep an eye on this, bean water gets this weird foam that boils over if you’re not careful.  When the beans are boiling, scoop off the foam, reduce heat to simmer and cover.  Cook until the beans are cooked, firm but not crunchy; try not to overcook as that will make the beans a little mushy.  This cooking part is usually about 45 minutes but I have had to simmer for a couple of hours – it depends on the soaking time given.  Once you add the sugar and the vinegar later on, the beans will not get any softer so keep that in mind. A tip from the beans package says that if you remove a bean from the pot, blow on it and the skin cracks it’s almost done.

When the beans are the right firmness, drain and put them in the container you will be cooking in.  More on the how of cooking is after the sauce recipe.

Sauce

4 tsp (20 ml) dried mustard
1/2 cup (125 ml) brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) molasses
2 tsp (10 ml) salt
1 tsp (5 ml) maple syrup
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) pepper
1/4 lbs (113 g) salt pork or bacon (I don’t put this myself – could also put roast beef)
2 tsp (10 ml) vinegar
1 cup (250 ml) tomato ketchup or tomato sauce
1 large onion

Combine all the ingredients except for the onion in a bowl and add 2 cups (500 ml) warm water. Pour over the beans. Chop the onion and sprinkle over the top of the beans. Top off with enough water to have 2 inches or so above the beans (not more than that – less if you want less sauce).  If you want a little heat, try adding a tsp or two of chili powder or Tex Mex powder.  An hour or so before the cooking is done, take a cup of the beans and mash them then add them back to the pot to thicken the sauce.  Do this to the amount of thickness you prefer.

Cooking choices: these can be cooked on top of the stove (bring to a boil, bring down to low and simmer, covered for 4 to 6 hours); in a crockpot (cook on high for 4 – 6 hours); or baked in the stove at 300 degrees F/150 degrees celcius for 4-6 hours.

This can also be done in the Instant Pot with either fresh or dried beans. I prefer to soak the beans overnight so they aren’t so hard but you could follow the bean softening instructions for Instant Pots. Once your beans are soft you cook the bacon and onion on saute, deglaze the pot with a bit of the sauce (or water), add the beans to the pot and cook on manual for 25 minutes with 15 NPR. If the beans are too hard cook for 5 or 10 minutes longer depending on how soft you want them to be. When done put on Saute and mash the cup of beans and stir back in, then saute until the sauce is your desired thickness.

Saving for later: what I love about these “weekend beans” is that I can freeze them in meal sized containers and use them throughout the month. I will make a pot on one weekend and it often last two or three weeks frozen before it’s time to make another pot.