Holiday Inn Chicken

Funny name, but amazing chicken dish.  This dish has a history in my family. It goes way back to the mid 1980’s and a trip to our nations capital, Washington, D.C. We stayed a Holiday Inn in Arlington, VA back when hotels still had good restaurants attached to them.The special of the day was this chicken dish.Im sure it had a real name, but over the years it was forgotten or discarded only to known as the infamous Holiday Inn Chicken.

This is a favorite meal of mine to make when I need comfort food that is not too full of fat. Its great on a cold day. Its like a stew so and its perfect with nice fluffy rice and a crusty roll.

Here are the ingredients you will need, this serves 3-4 depending on appetite!In my house it gets only 3 servings.

3 large or 4 small chicken thighs and one large breast, I skin and bone them, discarding the skin and keeping the bones.
1 medium yellow or white onion
3 carrots
1 green bell peper
8-10 Cremini mushrooms or button mushrooms
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/8 to 1/4 cup of dark soy sauce
Dash of worcheshire sauce
2 cups water
1 tsp red pepper flakes, more or less depending on your taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
Oil for searing
Cheesecloth

Prep chicken, reserve the bones and set aside. Heat oil in dutch oven or other large heavy pot. Season chicken with salt and pepper. I like to cut the chicken so that its smaller in size. So each thigh gets cut in half and breast gets cut into thirds or fourths depending on size. Sear on each side till brown. You could also dredge the chicken in flour, this will make your broth thicker as well.Remove chicken and set aside.

Prep veggies.Rough chop onion and carrot. I use about 1 inch chunks. Seed and de rib the green pepper and chop to one inch chunks. If your mushrooms are large half them , small ones are good whole. Smash the garlic and rough chop, no need to finely chop it as it will stew for a while an break up naturally.Lightly sauté in the pot you used for chicken, there should be enough oil left over to lightly sauté the veggies.

Add the chicken back to the pot and add the rest of the liquid ingredients.  Add your desired amount of red pepper flakes. Jalapeno would be good here to, just be sure to seed and rib it first.

Here is where the cheesecloth and the thigh bones and breast bones come in. I add wrap these up in cheese cloth and add to the pot at this time.This will make a nice broth along with the chicken pieces. You could use bone in chicken in the stew, but I don’t like this. As this will simmer for a few hours to develop the taste the bones fall apart and you end up with thigh bones and breast bones in the broth, which are no fun when you bite in them. This method allows you to use the bones for flavoring, but makes it easy to remove them at the end for ease of serving and eating.

You could also use chicken broth to add flavor if you don’t want to use the bones to make broth, but I find it makes the dish taste “tin canny” and to salty.

Simmer on the stove top on lowest setting for 1.5 to 2 hours. Near the end of cooking remove the lid and let the sauce reduce a bit. So be sure to go lighter on the salt, so when it reduces it will not be to salty. You can also place in a low oven 300 or so degrees in a dutch oven.

This is best served over rice. Hopefully this Holiday Inn chicken will bring you as many good memories as it brings me!

Chipotle Steak Pizza

Chipotle Steak Pizza is my absolute favorite pizza at the best pizza place in Alaska, Mooses Tooth Pizza in Anchorage AK.  To bad Anchorage is over 6 hours away, so I cant just call in for take out.

I had this pizza for the first time abut 5 years ago, and it was awesome.  I remember the first time I had this, I woke up in the middle of the nite and snarfed down the leftover under the cover or darkness so I didnt have to share any 🙂  My two favorite food groups combined, Pizza and Steak.  Heaven on dough 🙂  Its the chipotle spiced sour cream on top that makes this pie stand out. Spicy and good. 

Here is my version of the classic.

Here are the ingredients you will need

Pizza dough (i use home made, its the easy recipe that came with my kitchen aid mixer)
Mozzerella Cheese and unsmoked Provolone (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 cups of sour cream (depending on the size of your crust)
chiptole in adobe, half or 1/4 a small can
green onions
mushrooms
thin slices of steak ( I like grilled tenderloin)
Roma tomato
Pizza Sauce
Parmesan cheese for serving

To make the chipotle sauce:

In a small food processor or blender puree your desired amount of chipotle and sour cream.  Blend/process until smooth. Set aside.  Remember the longer you let it set the hotter it will be 🙂

To make the pie:

Roll out the dough to desired shape and size.  I tend to make smaller personal sized pies. I use for my pizza sauce some of my red pasta sauce that has been pureed until smoth.  Any red sauce, jarred or homemade will work fine.  I use about 1/4 a cup for my 8-10 inch pizza.  Just enough that it wets the crust.  I dont like to much sauce.

Top with Cheese then steak, and then veggies.  When dealing with the tomatos, i like to seed them as I dont want all the juice, it makes the pizza soggy.  I like to use tenderloin that has been grilled or broiled to medium rare, cooled and sliced thinly.  You want the most tender meat you can have, since chewy meat on pizza is not good eats!  I use about 1/2 a very small tenderloin for my 10 inch pizza.

After your topping are on, sprinkle with parmesan.  Bake in preheated 425 oven for about 14-20 minuted depending on size and what you are cooking on.  I used to have a pizza stone, but it broke in half.  This time I cooked on foil lined sheet pan.  This worked out just fine.  Though  pizza stone will make a nicer bottom crust.

Remove pie when crust is desired color and cheese is all melted.  Now its time to top with the sauce.  I like to use a make shift piping bag.  Which is a zippy bag with the end cut off (very high tech and fancy).  This makes it easier to dress the top of the pie with out globs of sauce.  Drizzle sauce on top. As you can see from this photo, I was out of bags and ended up with clumpy sauce, but it was still super tastey. You can also top with finely chopped cilantro (this is how they do it at Mooses Tooth) but I leave it out, as my husband doesnt particularly like the taste.  I give this pie a two thumbs up!!!!

Almost Perfect Buttermilk Biscuits

My newest quest is to make perfect southern style butter milk biscuits.  Like the ones from Hardees, Bojangles, and my old Favorite Biscuitville.

This is the closest I have been able to come, so far.  My only problem is uneven rising.  I have read that if you put a dent in the middle of the biscuit it will rise evenly.  I will try this next time.  I may next time use a smaller sheet pan and place the biscuits close together and maybe they will not fall over on each other.

Even though lopsided, these were light fluffy and buttery and oooo so good with honey 🙂

Heres the recipe

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbls sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder (i used a little more, as I did not level off the spoon, same for the baking soda)
1/2  tsp regular salt
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/4 cup cold quartered butter
3/4 to 1 cup cold buttermilk

Mix and sift all dry ingredients.  Add cold butter and mix with pastry tool, fork, or use a food processor to incorporate the butter into the flour.  Mix till butter is crumbly with the dry ingredients.  Then add the buttermilk.  Add in slowly and mix with your hands ( you gotta get down and dirty with these) add until the dough comes together. Somewhere between 3/4 and a cup depending on the flour….

Then lightly knead 5 or 6 times.  When you do this fold the dough over itself to make nice layers.  Wrap in paper or plastic wrap and let rest in the ‘fridge for about 10 minutes.

Roll dough out to about 3/4 of an inch and cut with cutter, assemble scraps and lightly knead and roll out to make the remaining biscuits. Makes about 8 biscuits.

Brush tops with melted butter if you choose and bake for about 10-12 minutes at 425.  Until golden brown!  You can also brush with better right after they come out of the oven instead of before.

 

These were awesome!  I cant wait to make more.

Greek Salad

Its Holiday Buffet time at work 🙂  I decided to take my favorite salad, Greek Salad.  I love the combo of fresh veggies with the salty feta cheese. Mmmmmmm good.

1 english cucumber, sliced and quartered
1 flat of grape tomato
1 small red onion small chopped or sliced in thin slices
1 cube of feta cheese, cubed
1 can black or kalamata olives, whole

1 cup of greek style vinaigrette, store bought or fresh.
     1/2 cup Olive Oil
     just shy of 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
     dash or two of balsamic
    1/2 tsp oregeno
    1 crushed garlic clove
    salt and pepper to taste
 
   mix all ingredients well and let sit for 1 hour or so for flavours to meld.

Combine all veggies and add vinaigrette about 30 minutes before serving so everything doesnt get to soggy!

   

Harvest Apple Pie

pple pie is one of my favorite things to make around the holidays.

I decided to make this one a little early.  I will cool it and freeze it for Thanksgiving.  I dont have enough oven space to do this on the big day. Maybe I should invest in a Turkey Roaster so that I can free up more oven space during the holidays.

I like to mix apples in my pie, i like the combo of sweet and tart

2-3 Granny Smith Apples
2-3 Jonagold or Cameo Apples
1/4 cup of flour
3/4 cups of sugar
2 tsp. apple pie spices
2 tbls unsalted butter
Lemon Juice for the apples
Prepared Pie Crust or Puff Pastry Sheets

I like to slice up my apples thin, then toss them in the lemon juice about 1 tbls to keep them from browning.

Then I prepare the sugar,flour, and spice in a bowl and stir to incorporate then mix in with the apples.  Set aside while preparing the crust.

I use a prepared pie crust, its easy and tastes just as good as the ones I make, with less hassle.  Prep the bottom crust.  Then begin to carefully layer the apples.  I like to fill the crust nice and full.  Then arrange small pieces of the butter along the top.  You can also melt the butter and add to the apples and spice mix.

Then prep the top crust.  I like to either use a full crust with little cutouts.  I use the mine cookie cutters for shapes like stars and moons to cut out the vent holes.  This time I went with the traditional lattice top.  Which I am not very good at.  This is one of my best attempts in a long time.
Brush with a egg was if desired and then bake for 15 minutes in prepared 450 degree oven.  Then I cover lightly with foil, reduce temp to 350 and bake for another 30-40 minutes.  If the crust is not brown enough remove foil and bake until golden and bubbly.
Serve with french vanilla ice cream and I am in heaven.