Monday, May 21, 2012

Chicken with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes


Tonight I needed a meal that would work for both our family and another family.  I wanted one pan and something that would transport easily.  Both families were also looking for something relatively healthy.   Chicken with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes hit the spot!





Chicken with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes
Adapted from Real Simple

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp olive oil
5 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 pound button mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 box grape tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup vegetable stock, chicken stock, or dry white wine
2 bunches spinach, thick stems removed (about 8 cups)

Directions:

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet (I used 14-inch) over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook the chicken in the skillet until browned on both sides and cooked through, approximately 10 - 13 minutes per side (I had large pieces).  Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover loosely with foil.

Continuing on medium-high heat, add the remaining Tbsp of olive oil.  When heated, add the mushrooms, tomatoes, and red pepper, and cook for approximately 3-5 minutes.  Add the liquid (stock or wine) and garlic and cook until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the spinach, as well as more salt and pepper to taste, and cook until the spinach is wilted.  Return chicken to pan to ensure heated through.  Serve with rice or potatoes.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mushroom Wine Sauce - Rotisserie Chicken

For tonight's dinner, I had half of a rotisserie chicken leftover from yesterday.  I had honestly planned to just slice it up and serve it with some veggies.  At the last minute, I decided I wanted something a little tastier and also realized I had a box of mushrooms that needed to be used up.  A simple, easy mushroom wine sauce seemed like a great idea (and someone has to drink the rest of the wine, right?).

I used what I had on hand, but there are endless possibilities with this sauce - many other herbs and spices could be added to change up the flavor.  Also, we really like mushrooms, so we went heavy on that - if you'd rather have a hint of mushrooms, you could use this sauce for a whole chicken.

Mushroom Wine Sauce

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 cup white wine
zest of one lemon
salt and pepper, to taste (I used shallot salt)
rotisserie chicken (1/2 to whole), sliced thinly

Add the butter and olive oil to a medium-sized pan on medium-low heat.  Once the butter is melted, add the garlic and sautee for 2-3 minutes (do not burn the garlic).  Add the mushrooms to the pan and sautee for another 3 minutes.  Add the white wine, lemon zest, and salt/pepper, and let the mixture cook until the sauce reaches the desired consistency (10-20 minutes).  Add the sliced chicken to the mixture just to heat through.  Serve immediately.

*If you want to speed up the sauce thickening, start with a roux of flour and butter - add olive oil and garlic to this.

Daily Bread - Bread Machine

Over the years, I've tried lots of different recipes in the bread maker in search of THAT loaf of bread that we make every week.  A few months ago, I came across a recipe on the King Arthur Flour website, and it has been our go-to ever since.  It's great for a sandwich, all by itself, toasted, or for grilled cheese/paninis.  I also use any leftovers after a few days to make breadcrumbs that I keep in the freezer. 




100% Whole Wheat Bread - Bread Machine
adapted from King Arthur Flour 
(based on measurements for 2 lb loaf listed in comments - 1/15/12)

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cup warm water 
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil or melted butter
4 cups wheat flour (I usually mix whole wheat and white whole wheat)
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp vital wheat gluten
2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast

Directions:

Place ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed, or as required by your bread machine (mine uses wet ingredients first).  Program as needed for your machine.  (The original recipe says to use the white bread cycle, but I use the wheat bread cycle.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Whole Wheat Drop Biscuits

Several months ago, I went looking for a great drop biscuit recipe. I wanted something I didn't have to bother with rolling out, and it needed to have wheat flour.  I came across a recipe that we've now made at least 15 times at our house.  Because it is so quick, I can have bread on the table with dinner on those nights that I forget to put together a yeast bread earlier in the day.  We've had these with breakfast, soup, roast, and veggies, and they've worked well with each meal. 

These have just a hint of sweetness (and are amazing with a little bit of honey!), but the possibilities are endless.  If you wanted savory biscuits, you could leave out some or all of the sugar and add in garlic, onion, cheese, chives, or any other combinations of herbs and flavors to pair with the meal.  Every time I've made these, they've been a hit!

Whole Wheat Drop Biscuits
adapted from Hospitably Yours

Ingredients:

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
3/4 cup milk (may need more depending on batter consistency)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt until well-blended.  Add the milk and the melted butter, and stir the mixture just until it all comes together. 

Using a tablespoon, drop by large spoonfuls onto the prepared pan.  Bake at 450 degrees for 13-15 minutes, or until brown on top.  Serve with butter, honey, or preserves.

Makes approximately 9 large biscuits or 12 smaller biscuits.  One of the large biscuits is 4 Weight Watchers Points Plus points.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Great Chicken Experiment

Haven't you heard?  Urban farming is all the rage these days.  Since we have a ginormous backyard, free time on our hands (ha!), and want our own fresh eggs, we decided to jump into the backyard chicken craze.  Our friends have had theirs for a couple of years now and have started hatching chicks for others. 

About 3 months ago, we went and picked out 8 baby chicks.  (FYI - baby chicks are a lot of trouble.  But darn cute.)  Just in the last couple of weeks, we've started to figure out who's who - who lives at the top of the pecking order, who's the most easily scared, who has the funniest run, and - most importantly - which ones are roosters.  As pretty as roosters can be, they're not generally welcome in the big city.  We still have one left, and he will hopefully find a new home ASAP - the domestickate homestead is no longer an option.

That leaves us with 4 hens, which was exactly what we wanted.  Now we have to name these girls, and I've been stumped.  The Boy would love to give them all Star Wars names, and I'm pretty sure The Hubs would agree.  I'm thinking something more... Southern.  So, here they are: Suzanne, Julia, Mary Jo, and Charlene.  (Cheesy, I know.  I can't help it.)


Charlene - Kind of goofy, and you just can't help but love her.


Mary Jo - Spunky and red.  


Julia - The most refined of the group, and the head hen.


Suzanne - The beauty queen of the group - love the gray and white feather mix.


The coop still needs to be painted - hopefully sometime soon, or it won't happen until the Fall.  My original plan was to paint it gray and white, but now I'm debating other colors.  Maybe red?  Or blue?  Can't decide...  I want to add a little LED lantern on the end without a nesting box.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Reunited...

Wow!  This blog has been neglected for quite some time!  Over the last 14 months, I was crazy busy with family, a full-time job, and other outside interests.  I wasn't doing a whole lot of cooking - I just didn't have time.  (OK. That's a lie.  I just chose not to make time.  And, boy, has my waistline suffered.)

So, the blog is being taken off life support and will start seeing new posts on a regular basis very soon.  You may notice the change in domain name - I decided to go ahead and jump in with both feet with an actual domain name.  Lesson learned in the last couple of days - I should have purchased that bad boy when I first started using "domestickate."  Alas, you live, you learn, right?

So, The Real Domestickate is back in business and will chronicle recipes, crafty projects (and all of the hilarity that inevitably ensues when I try to be crafty), chicken stories - we have 5 now!, and general domestic-like stuff.  This is mainly for me to keep up with what works and what doesn't, and it's also a scrapbook of sorts.  I'll also be working on improving my photography skills - I had started a couple of years ago just for fun, but that also fell by the wayside over the last year or so.  I have no interest in starting any kind of photography business; I just want to be better at it for our own pictures.

So, for the 5 of you who actually read my blog, here we go again!