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Spicy Wok-Fried Chicken with Chilis (Chongqing Chicken)

14 Oct



Okay, So if you like Kung Pao chicken. (Which if you haven’t had it is a little spicy) This is going to kick it up a notch.

(Lazi jiding is the name in Mandarin, so you don’t get confused) .

Where is Chongqing ?

Right here :

And why might we want to know that ?

Chongqing (Chinese: 重庆), formerly transliterated as Chungking[a], is a major city in southwest China.

Not to be confused with Chun King

An American line of canned Chinese food products founded food products founded in the 1940s by Jeno Paulucci, who also developed Jeno’s Pizza Rolls



But ,…………..back to the Chongqing Chicken


Chongqing used to be part of Szechuan( Sichuan ) so they share a lot of the same tastes.


Sichuan dishes, as you all know,  are a bit  spicy .

The spicy and hot tastes were created by the use of horseradishes, ginger, botanical peppers and mustards, among other spices.

That’s why they have the little peppers next to them on the Menu. 



Yes, the food of Sichuan was always known for being spicy, as far back as  Confucius, in the 5th Century B.C.E., he  mentions  the numbing hot spice of Sichuan peppercorns ,

Which by the way ,

Are called peppercorns because of their flavor, not because of any actual relation to pepper.

They are actually dried berries from a tree (a shrub, actually) which grows in parts of Asia called the “Prickly Mountain Ash” tree.




Among the different Chinese cuisines, Sichuan cuisine is best known for its chili dishes.

  Chao tian jiao, or facing heaven chilies, are so called because they grow upward toward the sky.

This  hot spice originated in South America. People have eaten chili for almost 10,000 years, but it was not until the 15th century, when Columbus brought the pepper seed to the Old World, that the plant started its fantastic world tour.

Chili was introduced to China either through the Silk Road, or on water through the Strait of Malacca into southern the Portuguese.

Although the exact time that the chilis entered the country remains unknown, the earliest Chinese document to mention chilis dates from the Ming Dynasty. Zunshengbajian (1591) describes the plants this way: “The clustered fanjiao (chili peppers) with white flowers and round fruits are red and incredibly beautiful.”



Even tho this dish looks a little dangerous because of all the peppers, it is very good.

You can always reduce the amount of peppers to lower the heat.

Or if you really like it hot, You can break open 3 or 4 of the peppers to turn up temperature.

(  My mouth is watering and I’m sweating just writing about this )



Spicy Chicken

Serves 4

  • 1 pound chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups peanut or vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon for stir-frying 
  • 8 to 10 dried red chiles
  • Spices at Penzeys Tien Tsin Chili Peppers
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced and smashed
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced rinsed
  • What’s a leek ? Oh !
  • Those big fat green onion looking things You never know what to do with.
  • It is part of the onion family. How would you describe the difference between leeks and onions? The flavor of leeks seems more refined and subtle.
  • 1 small piece ginger, minced


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 egg whites


  • 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chicken stock or water
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar, or substitute a good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
  1. Prepare the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, and egg whites. Coat the chicken with the marinade mixture and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix together the ingredients for the sauce: chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, chicken stock or water, Chinese black vinegar, cornstarch, and Sichuan pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl or plate, mix together the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken in cornstarch mixture and shake off the excess cornstarch.
  4. Heat the 3 cups of peanut or vegetable oil in your wok until it registers 350°F on an instant-read oil thermometer. Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the first batch of chicken cubes and fry until golden brown on the outside and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  5. Drain the oil into a heatproof container and save for discarding. Wipe the wok with a paper towel to remove any brown bits, but don’t wash.
  6. Reheat the wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the base and sides. Add the dried chiles to the wok and stir-fry until just they start to blister, about 30 to 60 seconds. Add the leeks, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Stir in sauce mixture and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Add the fried chicken, toss to combine, and remove from heat. Serve immediately


Eat and Enjoy!



30 Sep


Okay, So this is pretty simple . My Mom  use to make this with Chicken legs and Thighs.


Although you  do need a couple of cool toys to make it.

First your going to need a Rotisserie

This is the one that I got to fit my Weber


or whatever kind you have



Then you also need one of these:

a Round Rotisserie basket

This makes some dynamite chicken wings, or you can also use Chicken Thighs.


4 lb bag of  chicken wings   

(Aldi’s have the most meat on them if you have an Aldi store near you}

A little Emeril’s Essence  

I really like this stuff and I make my own( recipe is on Google ) or you could use your favorite rub.

Thaw the wings and place them on a cooling rack.

Pat Dry with a paper towel and sprinkle a little essence on – BOTH SIDES



















Star your fire, and get some wood. Hard wood like oak— DO NOT USE PINE !

Yeah, from the forest or from one of those bundles you can buy

cut a piece in   half  ,    then split it,   you only need 3 or 4 pieces added to the charcoal
and it really adds some nice smoke flavor to whatever you may be grilling.

( pssst ….that’s one of my secrets so don’t tell anybody   ….okay? )


Put the chicken in the basket , then on the spit , then on the grill and then turn on the motor.

The chicken fat melts and  bastes  itself.  Pretty cool !




Turn on some tune-age  and get a bucket of beer and watch the chicken.

It going to take about a six pack or an hour ,

whichever comes first.


You can use you favorite BBQ  sauce for dipping or you can spice it up alittle .

Here’s  what I use.

1 cup BBQ sauce

2 Tbsp  Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. if you have it

or if you don’t.


Or you can just eat them plain .

They’re good either way


    Eat end enjoy







Cool Picnic Chicken

9 Sep



Hey !  before fall really gets here there ‘s still time to get out to the lake for one last


No lake by you ? The back yard and some tunes will be just fine.


You can have a great outdoor feast with out a lot of messing around.

Cold beer and wine , no brainer there.,  a bucket filled with ice  buck

Pickles  , 2 or 3 kinds of olives ( including the stuffed ones from the deli)


And while your at the deli pick up 3 or 4 different kinds of cheese –  Swiss,

smoked gouda , hot pepper jack ,  sharp cedar , some 3 bean salad and some crackers.


A picnic  with all the fix’ns ,  is always  a good time for everyone !


And one of the side dishes to go along with  this  wonderful  Cool  Picnic Chicken  is of course ,


which is right here:


So, A day or so before the picnic:

WE are going to brine the chicken.

Now I know some of you might not be familiar with this  technique but I gotta tell you


since I took the plunge

I do this all the time.


I had heard about this for a long time  , and all I could ever think of  was ,

I am going to ruin the chicken and have a lot of really salty chicken that I can’t eat and everyone will laugh at me and worse tell me what a bad cook I am


Brining before cooking, is an effective way to increase the moisture and tenderness of the meat before roasting. This is especially important for chicken, which often gets dry in the oven or the grill .  The process of soaking the meat in salted water causes the chicken to absorb some of the water through


noun: osmosis
Biology / Chemistry
a process by which molecules of a solvent tend to pass through a semipermeable membrane from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one, thus equalizing the concentrations on each side of the membrane.
the process of gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas, knowledge, etc.  —- Like the Idea of brining all of your chicken before you cook it


This will make  it moister when cooked



Brine :

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 gallon cold water, divided

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

3 sprigs rosemary 0r 2 Tsp ground

5 sprigs thyme or 3 tsp ground

4 cloves garlic – smashed

2 bay leaves


To prepare the brine:

In a large soup kettle, dissolve the salt and sugar  in 2 cups water over medium-high heat.

Add the remaining water, stirring to blend in the salt. Add the black peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, garlic cloves and bay leaves.

To prepare the chicken: Place the chicken pieces in the brine and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. .


For the chicken:
2 whole chickens, cut into 10 pieces each — or buy a mix of legs,  thighs and breasts.

For the egg wash:

1 quart butter milk

6 large eggs
1 Tablespoon hot sauce 
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons  fresh  ground black pepper


To prepare the egg wash:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk ,  eggs, hot sauce, 2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper.

Drain the chicken from the brine  and place it in the bowl with the egg wash.

Turn the chicken pieces to coat them with the egg wash. Let sit 30 minutes.


For the dredge:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup corn starch

3 Tsp salt

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

1 Tablespoon onion powder

2 Tablespoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons dried thyme

A few grinds  black pepper    



Deep fryer or large, heavy pot with cooking thermometer


Combine the flour, cornstarch and seasonings in a shallow bowl or resalable plastic bag.

Remove 2 pieces of chicken at a time from the egg wash, letting the excess liquid drain off.

Roll in the seasoned flour. or shake in bag .

Shake off any excess flour and place the chicken on a wire rack until ready to fry.


To fry the chicken:

Place Crisco  into a large cast-iron pan to a depth of 1 inch and heat over medium heat until it registers 350 F on a deep frying thermometer.

Place 4 to 6 pieces of chicken into the oil. Take care to use long tongs to move the chicken and do not crowd the pan

chick oven

derek on cast iron


Turn each piece about every 2 minutes. If the chicken begins to darken, turn the flame on the stove down slightly to adjust the temperature.

Cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 180 F.

(You have to get one of these )

Be sure to give the oil 5 minutes to return to the proper temperature before dropping in the next batch of chicken. Place the fried chicken on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil .

When the chicken is at room temp,  wrap in foil and stick it in the fridge for at least 6 hours , better overnight.

Take it out to your picnic. Bring salt and hot sauce.

Eat and Enjoy!




22 Jul

OKAY, So this is about the Dish you might have heard about , THE KING RANCH CASSEROLE



Yes , Kristine  , there is a king in Texas

left eye on the media




And he is a cowboy and does have a ranch

 Materiality & Spectacle




But that’s not the King we are talking about today.


There is also THE KING RANCH in south Texas



“Everything’s bigger in Texas!”  Have y’all heard that a few times?   In the heart of South Texas there’s a ranch that’s bigger than the state of Rhode Island! It’s the world famous, 825,000 acre King Ranch!

Los Kineños
The heritage of King Ranch is a fascinating and critical part of Texas history which is why it’s both a national historic landmark and a popular tourist attraction. In 1853, a successful steamboat captain named Richard King purchased 15,000 acres of untamed land along the Santa Gertrudis Creek. He bought cattle from an impoverished village in Mexico to stock his new ranch. While driving his herd back home, he came to the realization that he just took away the villagers’ main means of survival, so he headed back and invited the people to come work for him on his ranch. Many accepted his offer and became known as Los Kineños, Spanish for the King’s men.


They began by raising Texas Longhorns, but later the ranch developed its own breed, the Santa Gertrudis, which is regarded as the first new breed of beef cattle in America! Later generations developed more cattle breeds, planted crops and even raised thoroughbred horses, including Assault, who won the Triple Crown in 1946.



Alas, that is not were this recipe was perfected. As far as anyone can tell.

It seems that in the it does not appear that this casserole was created at the famous ranch known for its beef and the main ingredient for this casserole is chicken.  It has been said that the ranch owners wife cringes at the thought of this casserole:

One theory attributes that the rise of the popularity of King Ranch casserole coincided with post World War II cooking in the 1950’s.  Canned soups provided more cooking convenience for housewives to free up their time.  It is possible that the Campbell soup company introduced the idea of this casserole in recipe pamphlets that used to be sent to housewives in an effort to sell more product in the stores.




Another theory is the recipe could have been created by a Junior League Society club woman in Texas for one of their cookbooks.

Another rumor is that a lady from Robstown, Texas (which is near the King Ranch) may have entered the recipe in a national cooking contest for either Pillsbury or Campbells and used the name King Ranch since it was catchy.

Most people believe this casserole recipe originated sometime in the 1950’s.  In most cases, the creation of casseroles across the country came from the need for housewives to find inexpensive and filling ingredients to feed a large family or church congregation.
1950’s – Casserole gained popularity with the introduction of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup.

What’s Cooking, San Antonio Light, (TX), January 23rd 1966 (p.9-G):
“King Ranch Chicken is Mrs. William L Gill’s favorite casserole for luncheon or buffet. It was served to her Christmas Party for the Holly Garden Club of which she was the member for many years.  She finds the casserole a hit with men as well as with women guests.


This is the 1950’s recipe using mushroom soup:

Three to four pounds of chicken breasts, boiled until tender, then diced. (reserve stock):

1 dozen fresh tortillas,

1 can cream of mushroom soup,

1 can cream of chicken soup, 

1 cup chopped green pepper,

1 cup chopped onion,

1 tablespoon of chili powder,

pound of grated cheddar cheese.

1/2 small can of tomatoes (10 oz size)

1/2 small can of tomatoes with chiles.


Line the bottom and sides of greased 3-quart casserole with a layer of tortillas.

Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of chicken stock.

Then make a layer with 1 can undiluted cream of mushroom soup, of the diced chicken and of the other ingredients in order.

Cover with tortillas, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of chicken stock, and make a second layer with 1 can of undiluted cream of chicken soup and the remaining ingredients.

Top the last layer with 1/2 small can of tomatoes (10 oz. size) and 1/2 small can of tomatoes with chiles.

The casserole may be prepared in advance and refrigerated.  When ready to serve, bake at 350 degrees F. for about 1 hour. Served with a tossed green salad and French bread.”


king ranch chicken casserole



A version based on :


1 1/2 pounds of chicken, without skin and bones ( or use a rotisserie chicken)
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp  chili powder
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed, and diced     king ranch chicken casserole
1 poblano pepper, seeded, stemmed, and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup of chicken broth
1 (10-ounce) can Ro-Tel tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup half and half
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Vegetable oil, for cooking the tortillas
10 corn tortillas  
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded pepper Jack
3 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar


Season the chicken with the 2 teaspoons of the lime juice, 2 teaspoons of the chili powder, and a dash of salt and pepper. In a skillet heated on medium, cook the chicken in the olive oil on each side for about 10 minutes. When the chicken is done (after about 20 minutes), shred it with two forks. Taste and see if it needs more salt and pepper. There should be about 3 cups of chicken.

Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium low, and add the onions, red bell pepper and poblano pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until the onion and peppers are soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Stir in the flour, cumin, cayenne pepper and the remaining 2 teaspoons of ancho chili powder, and cook for 1 more minute.

Pour in the chicken broth and cook on low until the mixture is thickened, a few minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and Ro-Tel cover the pot, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover the pot, and add the sour cream, the remaining 2 teaspoons of lime juice, and the cilantro, and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat.

Preheat the oven to 350° F and have ready a 9×13 baking dish.

To heat up the tortillas, add about 1 teaspoon of oil to a large skillet heated on medium-high, and add the tortillas, one at a time, cooking about 30 seconds per side or until softened. Add more oil as needed.

To assemble the casserole, ladle 1/2 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of the baking dish. Layer half the tortillas along the bottom of the pan (on top of the sauce). To make sure entire pan is evenly covered, you can rip some of the tortillas into strips to fill any gaps. Add half the chicken, half the remaining sauce, half the remaining cilantro and 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese.

Repeat the layering, leaving the cheese layer on top. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbling. If you like, top with additional sour cream and cilantro for serving.


 king ranch chicken casserole


“Eat and Enjoy!








Bacon- Cheese – Chicken Wings

21 May






Okay, so this was supposed to be a snack that turned out tot be quite the meal.

I have tweaked it a little and you are going to love this cheese and bacon chicken wing  …

How could  that go wrong ?  … it can’ t.



1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce



Emeril’s essence 

Yah yah,  I hear you I , I don’t very often use a pre-made seasoning but I really like this stuff and use it on a lot of recipes.

You can make your own if you want to. You probably have most of this in your cupboard.


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Mix it all up and put in an air tight container –

1 c. all-purpose flour

  • 2 lb. chicken breast
  • 2 c. panko bread crumbs –
  • Panko is a type of flaky breadcrumb. It’s commonly used in Asian cuisine, although it has become more popular and widely available in Western cooking.What sets it apart from standard breadcrumbs is its texture and the type of bread that’s used. While breadcrumbs can be made using a number of different types of bread, panko is made using white bread. There are two varieties of panko: white panko, which is made from white bread without any crust, and tan panko, which is made from the entire loaf. The bread is processed into large flakes, rather than crumbs, and then dried.

    Panko has a light, airy, and delicate texture that helps it crisp as it cooks. The texture of panko makes it especially wonderful for fried food because it absorbs less oil than breadcrumbs, keeping food more crisp and crunchy.

    On its own, panko has little to no flavor. It can be used as a crunchy topping to add texture to baked casseroles, like macaroni and cheese, as a breaded coating for fried foods, or as a binder for meatballs.

    Just thought you might like to know !!!!!


  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • parchment paper –  cut to size and roll up the opposite way it’s rolled so that the paper will lay relatively flat
  • 1 c. barbecue sauce
  • 1 tbsp.brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp.  Louisiana hot sauce –
  • 2 c. shredded Cheddar
  • 4 slices bacon, diced  –  cooked
  • Green onions, chopped.



Cut chicken breast into approximately  2×3″ piece

Add soy and Worcestershire sauce in a 1 gal zip lock bag.

Add chicken . Marinate for 20 min.

Remove chicken from bag and place on cookie sheet.

Sprinkle with Emeril’s essence.  Let stand for 20 min.

Turn oven on to 425′

Pour out any sauce that might be left in zip lock bag. Add flour and chicken SHAKE   SHAKE SHAKE!      

Set up for dredge: in 1 bowl add panko crumbs in another bowl add eggs splash of water and whisk.

With a pair of tongs     Dip chicken( 1 piece at a time) in the egg wash then in panko crumbs

Place on a parchment covered baking sheet  . Salt and pepper.

Bake for 25 minutes

While that’s cooking in a small sauce pan, on low heat  add BBQ sauce ,lime juice sugar and 2 tsp hot sauce and garlic powder. mix simmer for 5 minutes.

When chicken is done turn on broiler.

Coat chicken pieces in sauce , top with cheese, bacon and green onions.

Place in broiler until cheese has melted about 1 minute

Eat and enjoy !


5 May

Natasha’s Kitchen

Once upon a time, There was a thing called Pot luck dinners. Some times at Schools and most time at church.

Every one would bring a homemade dish , their best usually,  and share it with the community.

Of course there was always bragging rights,    whose Broccoli rice casserole was the best,  but it was all to  enjoyed and a shared , family style.

Yes , it’s  still happening , yes they are  somewhere  out there,  country parishes and the city  churches and it’s always a warm and welcoming time to join in fellowship and a togethership of community even if you don’t like everything on the table .


Steve Boling


       Now, this here recipe is a real old-time Church supper favorite.

Whenever there was a reason to have a supper, be it a new baby or a wedding, or a funeral, or just because the ladies of the Society of Perpetual Doubt and Worry decided that Pastor Dan needed to get the word out to all the sinners that did not regularly attend Sunday service, this was a had to have for the potluck dinner, just had to.

   This recipe was a closely guarded secret of one old woman parishioner, that everyone called Granny Bess.

    Now, she wasn’t my gramma or anybody else’s either. As a matter of fact,

she, Granny Bess, was not related to anyone in the county, or any of the neighboring counties.

As far as anyone knew she was always old and had always been here. Even old Mr. Torkelson, who is 84, who owns the local store, says she was old when he was a kid. Of course, his eyes aren’t very good and never were, reason he didn’t fight in the war, but he raises the flag on the flagpole outside his store every morning because loves America.

      And every once in a while, some outsider might stop by and get an invite, to the church supper ,  we’re mostly pretty friendly like that .

They and would have a plate of Granny Bess’ Chicken and Mushroom casserole and say, “This is the best I’ve  ever had!”

Then the outsider might say, “How old are you Granny Bess?”

“I’m as old as dirt, “she would say, and spit on the ground.

Folks would ask Granny Bess for the recipe but Granny Bess never gived it up to nobody.

Absolutely the best Chicken and Mushroom casserole anybody ever had and no one could duplicate it.

  They tried, but there was something, some ingredient the only Granny Bess knew about.


     Well, one day I was up at her place doing some chores (I told you she’s real old) and she says to me “Come on in to the kitchen”

And I did, thinking that faucet had started to leak again.

Granny Bess sits me down in a wooden chair, looks me right in the eye and says,” You’re a pretty good cook, might even call you a chef.”

” Thanks”

“I’m not giving you no compliment. I’m telling you why I’m going to tell you something”

“I’m not going to be able to make my Chicken Mushroom casserole for the church suppers anymore”

“Why not?”

“Don’t you worry about why not! I going to do a little traveling”

“Where to Granny Bess? “

“You needn’t worry about that either. Thing is, all those folks down at the church have come to depend on having my Chicken and Mushroom casserole at the suppers and well with me not being here someone’s got to be able to make it for them. Especially Pastor Dan. He’ s the reason there’s never any leftovers.”

  “Yes, he sure can pack the groceries away.”

“Yes, he can, God Bless him!”

“Now I’ve watched you cook and I like most of the dishes you fix so I’m gonna tell you the secret of my casserole and you can carry on the tradition.”

I couldn’t believe it. Folks would give their right arm for that recipe.

“I believe you can figure out most of what I do, ain’t no magic in it.”

 She walked d over to the old ice box, opens the door, reaches in and tosses me ……. a lemon.

“Squeeze that in to the gravy right before you put the pan in the oven to bake “

“A Lemon” ….  I understand, as I nod my head.

“A Lemon, I never would of  thought it, you can’t taste lemon.”

“You can’t taste THE lemon you mean. That’s the something special that no one can figure out It’s what makes the chicken and mushroom casserole the best. And don’t get any seeds in there!”


    Granny Bess disappeared the next day.

She just up and left. Nobody knew where she came from or where she went to. The house she had always lived in, cleaned out.


Not a stick of furniture left. Like no one had ever lived there.

    And the only thing I have to remember Granny Bess by is her recipe for chicken and Mushrooms casserole.

    That was a long time ago and I’ve kept her secret ever since.

  Then I got to thinking, if you don’t live around these parts, and you don’t get off the highway at the exit by old man Growlers barn and if it’s not a supper night at the Ladies  Society of Perpetual Doubt and Worry, you will never get a chance to taste Granny Bess’ Chicken and Mushroom casserole.

  So, I’m gonna give it to you and you promise not to tell anyone, okay?


So here it is


4-5 large (2 1/2 lbs.) boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch thick strips
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 Tsp paprika –  to coat the chicken
6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 pound fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 medium onion, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, minced


3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour for the sauce
1  1/2 cups chicken broth with 2 cubes chicken bullion dissolved
Juice of 1 lemon NO SEEDS  !!!!!!!
3/4 cup half and half (or 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 cup heavy cream)

Handful of flat Italian Parsley – chopped


  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge both sides in flour. Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Once oil is hot, add chicken and saute until golden. Work in batches if needed so you don’t crowd your pan. Don’t worry about cooking the chicken through; it still needs to go in the oven. Transfer chicken to a 13×9 casserole baking dish.
  2. Wipe down the skillet with a paper towel. Add 3 Tbsp oil along with sliced mushrooms and diced onions and saute until soft and golden. Add garlic and saute another 1-2 min. Spread mixture over the chicken.
  3. In a medium saucepan (or in the same pan you’ve been using), melt 3 Tbsp butter. Whisk in 3 Tbsp flour until lightly golden (1-2 min).
  4. Add 1½ cups chicken broth, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tsp pepper, and whisk until smooth. Add 1 cup half & half and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour sauce over the chicken and mushrooms. Cover with foil and bake at 350˚F for 45 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with parsley.
  7. Serve warm or hot over mashed potatoes, pasta or rice.

Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen

  Eat And Enjoy !

Potato Buffalo Chicken Casserole

18 Feb







Okay, So  this is a good week night meal , easy and painless.

It’s kinda like Buffalo wings but not really and the beautiful part is that it is a one pot meal that you don’t have to scrub and clean up !



I 13×9 foil cake pan

1 rotisserie chicken from the grocery store     rotchciken

Pick off all the chicken and cut into 1/2″ pieces

( DO Not include any Bones  or you will get the  bonehead)

8 med potatoes – scrubbed and cubed –   1/2 ”

1/3 cup olive oil

1 1/2  Tsp season salt – your favorite – mine is     rr

1 Tbsp. fresh ground pepper

1 tbsp. REAL PAPRIKA – sp

2TSP garlic powder


1 cup each – shredded cheddar and Monterey cheese.

1 cup crumbled bacon – 6 strips chopped and fried

1 bunch Green onions – chopped into 1/2 ” pieces



Preheat oven to 500′ (ohhh YYYEAHHH !!!! )

In a large bowl mix together olive oil, salt , pepper paprika , garlic powder and hot sauce

Add potatoes and mix to coat,   stirpot




Spay foil pan with Pam  pam

Scoop potatoes into foil pan ,  leaving as much of the olive oil mixture behind as possible.

Bake potatoes for 45 minutes .  Stirring every 15 minutes , until crispy and browned.



While potatoes are cooking add shredded chicken to bowl with leftover sauce. And mix to coat.

Remove potatoes from oven and lower tempeture to 400′.

Top potatoes with marinated chicken.

In a bowl mix together the 2 cheeses bacon and green onions.

Top chicken with Cheese mixture    chibuf


Put casserole back in the oven and bake for 15 minute until  top is bubbly.

Eat and Enjoy !

Can be served  with a drizzle of Blue Cheese Dressing







18 Dec



Heyyyyy!                  They just started carrying EL PATO in my jewel store and my Mexican grocery store.

I really like this sauce and it has not been around for awhile.


So , having said that ,  here is a real easy ENCHILADA  recipe you can whip up during the week when you are pressed for time.



2 chicken breasts

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Soy sauce
a couple drops fish sauce  ( if you got it )
1 sprinkle of ADOBO  powderad
1/2 cup Hi-CHI’s salsa         chichi      ( or your favorite )

1 can EL PATPO enchilada sauce    elpato

1 /2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese

1/4 cup diced onion

1 tsp cumin

1 package el Milagro corn tortillas corntortillas

Hand full  cut up cilantro





Cut the chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes

Mix   Worcestershire,  soy  , fish  sauces ( this is the umamai )  pour over chicken pieces and sprinkle with Adobo . Mix well let sit for 20 Min.

If this is a little to time consuming for you or a to difficult at this stage of your Culinary Learning Journey , you can just pick up one of these chickens at the grocery and shred the meat off of it by hand.rotchciken ( won’t be as good though )

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and “STIR FRY” the chicken .

Let cool alittle then SHRED  using two forks.

Heat oven to 325′

Mix in 1/4 cup of each of the cheeses ,  the onion and a little cumin , and the salsa ,  in with the shredded chicken .

Rip open the package of tortillas and place the whole pack in the microwave and heat for 1 MINUTE. this will soften them so you can roll them.

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with Pam

Take 1 Tortilla ,  and spread  1 heaping  tbsp. chicken mixture on it.  Then roll up and place in pan with the seam side down.rollenc


When all of the tortillas are packed in  , Pour enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with remaining  cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly




Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes

Sprinkle with cilantro

Eat and Enjoy !




13 Nov




Okay , So if you like Chicken and you like  Hot Chicken Buffalo Wings , you are going to like this dish.

And yes ,  this is another trip into Indian cuisine.

This is India


And this is a state in Indian        Where this recipe comes from.


Cuisine of Andhra Pradesh is famous for the rich seasoning and lots of variety.


The spicy goodness comes from a few items you are probably going to have to go the the Indian store for.

Mine is Masalas N More on rt 59 in Aurora.


First up  is Curry Leaves


Curry Leaves
© Denzil Green

Curry Leaves have an aroma reminiscent of curry and citrus fruit, with a slight and very mild bitter after taste.

They look somewhat like very small leaves from a lemon tree (if you’ve ever seen those leaves.) They are long for their size, narrowing to a point.

Fresh ones are far superior to the dried, though it’s much easier to get the dried in the UK and North America.

Fresh ones should be shiny, dark green, with no yellow on them and not wilted. They are sold with the branch and stems attached. Remove from the branch and discard the stems. In ethnic stores, they will be sold in chillers in plastic bags.


The leaves are used in cooking in southern India (in areas as the state of Kerala) and Sri Lanka, as well as other places in southern Asia such as Burma (aka Myanmar), Fiji and Mayalsia.

Curry Leaves come from a plant called “Murraya koenigii.” The tree only grows 6 1/2 to 16 feet (2 to 5 metres) tall. There are about 20 leaves per branch. They grow closely together.

To clarify, you don’t make curry powder from these by drying up the leaves and grinding them. Curry Leaves aren’t used in any curry spice mixture.


If you look to buy a plant to grow indoors so that you can always have fresh Curry Leaves, don’t confuse this Curry Leaf plant with another sometimes referred to as “Curry Plant”    as well.

That one, “Helichrysum italicum”,  cp55      is not used in cooking.

Nor is Stephen Curry the basketball player


although he might or might not cook Indian food.

And if you find yourself in Curry Alaska,  Which is now an uninhabited stop along the Alaska Railroad, about 22 miles north of Talkeetna

ca3 I don’t think they will have any Curry leaves to sell.



Next up : Chili Peppers

The purpose of chili peppers is to add depth of flavor to a meal, not ‘torture by spice’.    toohot

Each palate has a distinct level of tolerance for spice; use your judgment to increase or reduce the quantity of chili pepper in any recipe as suited to you and your family.

indian-chilies birds eye , Indian chili ,   3chilia curry of life

hungry desi

Many of my recipes call for “green chilies.” Green chilies used in Indian cooking are small, heat packed chilies. They are about the 2 inches to 3 inches in length. Unless we go to the Indian grocery store though, these chilies can be tough to come by.  What do you substitute for these green chilies? Sometimes I use the longer  and slightly fatter green chilies that can be found in other ethnic markets. Or I stock up on Indian chilies and then freeze them. Fat, fresh jalapenos just don’t give quite the same flavor as Indian chilies so  don’t use them . Serrano are kinda close , but if you go to the Indian store you should just stock up



Dhani:   –   [Bird Chilis, African Devil; C. frutescens or C. annuum]

There are a great number of varieties of Bird Chili in the world, but they all have a lot in common. They are small, intensely hot , and grow point up on the plant. Most ripen to deep red, but the ones I grow ripen to bright orange. Unripe, they are commonly green, but some are white, yellow, purple or black. The hottest varieties tend to be a bit shorter and wider than those in the photo. They are hottest when green, losing a little heat when red, and more when they are dried.


And there is Chili Powder:





The Kashmiri Chili Red Chili Powder is a mild chili powder but with very vibrant  colors and this is what I usually use in my kitchen.

Standard Indian chili powder is about like cayenne pepper in heat. The extra hot types are like they say  , while Kashmiri chili powder is more like a hot paprika but with loads of flavor.
.Indian chili powder is just pure ground chilies. Mexican chili powder contains several other spices.

However do keep in mind that the Chilli/Chile Powder is not the spice mix to make the Mexican Chili.


Gram Masala :

The composition of garam masala differs regionally, with many recipes across India according to regional and personal taste, and none is considered more authentic than others. The components of the mix are toasted, then ground together.

A typical Indian   version of garam masala contains nothing but:



1.5 lb boneless chicken thighs  – cut into 1 1/2 cubes

3 tsp oil or ghee

4 green chilies    – minced

7 curry leaves

4 med onions – minced

2 large cloves garlic – minced and smashed

2 tsp grated ginger stir for 1 minute

1 Tsp chili powder

1 Tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 Tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 Tsp Gram Masala

2 Tsp fresh coriander  – and by the way ……………………….

Coriander seeds (UK) or just coriander (US).

In the United Kingdom
In the United States
In India
Here, we would refer to the leaves and stalks of the plant as “coriander” while the the seeds are called “coriander seeds.” Basically, the word “cilantro” does not exist in the UK.
In the US, the leaves and stalks of the plant are referred to as “cilantro,” while the seeds are referred to as “coriander.”
In India, the herb is extremely popular in cooking, it is referred to as something different-sounding altogether — “dhania” (just to further confuse the issue!)


Iowa State University Extension.


Heat oil in a wok or large fry pan

Add chilies and stir

Add curry leaves and cook for 1 minute

Add onions and sauté until soft but not brown

Add ginger and garlic, stir

Add chicken , a little  salt  and roast until color of chicken changes.

Add red chili powder, turmeric, coriander, black pepper Gram Masala and mix well.

Cover and roust chicken for 2-3 minutes. Stir to keep from sticking.

Serve with cilantro leaves sprinkled on top and a side of Basmati or Jasmine rice .


Eat and Enjoy !



2 Jul



PIRI PIRI  is pronounced piri piri and rhymes with   cheery  ,   teary  , beery  , deary and theory . But  wait I’ll stop before this gets weary ,  dearie   .  

So what is this you might wonder ? I did and had to look it up .

Piri piri  –  PIR-ree-PIR-ree also spelled peri peri, pili pili),  also called African bird’s eye chili, is a cultivar of Capsicum frutescens , one of the sources of chili pepper  that grows both wild and domestic



You say “piri piiri”  .   I say ‘pili pili,’   just as the chile pepper was called by the Swahili.  Not the ethnically diverse African people who speak the Swahili language, but the Swahili people who have inhabited the eastern coast of Africa below the Equator for over a thousand years.

Not to be confused with the Capsicum baccatum pepper   the Bishops Crown



or the Kenyan musician, Pilipili , who might be hot …..somewhere…….to someone  …..    phil

Peppers originated in the Americas, and they were spread around the globe by Spanish and Portuguese traders in the 1500s and 1600s.  That’s when a small thin chile called a birds-eye entered the diet of the Swahili, and it became the basis for the pili pili sauce originating from Mozambique


 as a marinade or dipping sauce for grilled meat.  From there, pili pili sauce spread north to Kenya and south around the shores of South Africa. 


This is from Curtis Stone and then I tweaked it a little


For the Piri Piri Chicken:

10 birds eye – chiles    bec



  (The Scoville scale is a measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chili peppers )


SO     THERE     YOU    GO




6 red Fresno chilies, roughly chopped

4 red Thai chilies, stemmed


Not being able to get Birds eye chili but wanting the authentic taste  ,   I bought



I got it from   Mo Hotta Mo Betta which is also a cool site I have been with for years.

Check it out !

1 tbsp. sweet paprika

3 bay leaves

1 tsp oregano

5 garlic cloves

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2½ teaspoons kosher salt

⅔ cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for grilling

1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1½-inch chunks

Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 1 hour, or metal skewers


For the Cabbage and Cucumber Slaw:    slaw

¼ small head green cabbage, very thinly sliced (about 2½ cups)

¼ English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on an angle (about ¾ cup)

¼ white onion, very thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)

¼ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest – remember to use your micro planer





Kosher salt, to taste

Grilled flatbreads – pitas   pita



If you are going  to make this from scratch :       In a food processor, combine the chilies, garlic, vinegar and salt. Pulse until finely minced. With the machine running, add ⅔ cup of olive oil and pulse until smooth. Set aside. OR USE SAUCE .

. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with ⅔ cup of the piri piri mixture to coat. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes or preferably overnight. Cover and chill the remaining piri piri sauce.

. Prepare a grill for medium-hot heat or place a grill pan over medium-high heat.

Thread 4 to 5 pieces of chicken onto each skewer.

. Using a pastry brush, coat the grill with the remaining tablespoon of oil.

. Grill the chicken, turning and basting often with the remaining ⅓ cup of sauce, until the chicken is cooked through and charred in spots, 12 to 15 minutes.

. Meanwhile, make the cabbage and cucumber slaw: In a large mixing bowl, toss the cabbage, cucumber, onion, mint, olive oil, lime juice and zest. Season with salt.

Grill pitas lightly

. To serve, divide the chicken skewers, slaw and flatbreads among 4 plates. Serve the remaining piri piri sauce alongside for dipping



I guess you could put it in a tortilla , a little sauce and some slaw .   pp46    This is good too !


squeeze a little lime on it

and both go real  good with a cold beer    beer6








nanado    n2