This weekend’s cooking adventures

While I wanted to work almost full-time on the quilt, I also wanted to make some meals so we would have leftovers for lunches for the week.

This is one of those recipes that I am kind of surprised Ken likes. I don’t think he grew up eating anything like this. This is from Quilters in the Kitchen, published by the Colorado Quilting Council, in 2001.

Shoyu Chicken by Helen Paul, Rye, Colo. With modifications by Glenderella

3 large chicken breasts, cut in chunks
½ cup water
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup soy sauce
¼ tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed (G. uses the garlic press, and doesn’t stop with 2 cloves)

(I usually double the sauce recipe, because we like lots of sauce with our rice)

Stir sauce ingredients together in deep pot, I use a dutch oven. Add chicken breast chunks. (You could use thighs or bone in pieces as well). Cook on medium. Stir occasionally, cook until chicken is tender. If you use breast chunks, this will be 20 minutes or so. Look out, this loves to boil over and it makes a big mess on your stove. Serve over rice. Makes about 6 servings, depending on the size of your chicken pieces.

This does have a lot of sugar, but it is really good. My dad would not eat this with a 10 foot pole, but I still think I will submit it to my aunt for the family cookbook. Other people in the family might be adventurous.

I make my rice in a rice cooker. I don’t usually believe in one-purpose appliances, but rice is harder to cook here in the high altitudes of Colorado, and rice cookers do it SO WELL. Plus, I got Roger Ebert’s cookbook (link) and it gives instructions for cooking other stuff besides rice. It also does the Lipton and Rice-a-Roni boxed rice side dishes quite well.

The following recipe changes a bit every time I make it. I very rarely make a recipe the same way twice, but I will try to do my best for the sake of sharing the recipe.

 Easy Stuffed Shells

1 jar pasta sauce, whatever kind you like (or you can make some homemade if you have time, or use some if you have some frozen)
As many garlic cloves as your family will stand
4 oz Italian sausage (sweet if you are in my family, hot if you like that) (can also use more meat if you want, but it is nice to have a bit just for flavoring)
16 oz small curd cottage cheese
15 oz ricotta cheese (lowfat OK)
16 oz mozzarella cheese, divided in half and shredded
1 egg, beaten
1 T. dry parsley
1 T. dry basil
12 oz package jumbo shells

Cook the shells as instructed on package, but subtract about 2 minutes from the cooking time because they will continue to cook in the oven and you don’t want them to get too mushy. Brown the Italian sausage, crush the garlic (I use a garlic press) and add with about 30 seconds to go. Stir in the pasta sauce and remove from heat. Drain the cooked shells and let them cook a bit.

While they are cooling, mix together the cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and 8 oz shredded mozzarella. Add the beaten egg, parsley, and basil. If you have someone who is really fussy, you can leave out the parsley and basil. Some people in my family view green things in their food with great suspicion.

When the shells have cooled, stuff each one with a HEAPING tablespoon of the cheese mixture. I pretty much put in as much as will fit. When I was done, I had about 9 shells left over. If that is a big deal to you, put less in each shell. Lay these out in a 9 by 13 baking pan or whatever casserole you have that works. Spread the sauce mixture over the top of the shells. Bake in a 350 oven for 45 minutes, add remaining mozzarella cheese to the top and bake until it starts to brown, about 15 more minutes.

Not for the lactose intolerant. Or the cholesterol-impaired, but oh is it good. Also makes excellent leftovers. I think I have even frozen these and had them turn out fine. You can go “light” on one of the cheese, using a skim milk or low fat version, but going light or no-fat on all of them is just asking for trouble.

And now for the promised Christmas recipe. We grew up with this at most family gatherings, it was what Aunt Connie traditionally brought. When we started talking about it the day before Christmas Eve, I knew we would have to make it, it was nostalgia, it was tradition, and I like it.

Aunt Connie’s Scalloped Corn (for bigger crowds, double, triple or quadruple- a double recipe served 15 people at Christmas Eve pretty well)

1 can creamed corn
1 egg
½ cup milk
1 cup finely crushed cracker crumbs (we use saltines)
¼ cup onions, chopped very finely (use less if you want my dad to eat this)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees or put in crock pot (the small roaster ones work best, with the metal removable cooking pan), about 3 hours. If cooking in slow cooker/crock pot, take lid off for a while so steam escapes.

Add to jazz it up if you aren’t feeding picky people: more onion, celery, paprika, pimento, green pepper, Worcestershire sauce, shredded cheese. (Probably not all of these at once….) Sorry, no picture of this one. Maybe later!

And because SOMEONE says “more cat pictures.”. . .  These pictures are from 2008, when we still had Simon and Misty (both deceased now) but we had Leo too. We had a new toy, that attaches to the door and runs on batteries. We don’t get this out too often but it does keep them busy for a while when we do get it out. MaryAnne will play with it, Leo will watch it like a TV.

Approach with caution.

Show it who is boss. Break it if possible.

Show some vague interest.

Let Simon do it first and see if he gets killed.

I just set it up and MaryAnne is giving it heck.

4 thoughts on “This weekend’s cooking adventures

  1. I have a similar recipe that has a lot less sugar. It is a cashew chicken recipe from a Morman cookbook John gave me. You combine cornstarch, soy sauce and a little sugar–shake with chicken pieces to coat. Cook in bit of oil until no longer pink. Add some chicken stock/broth and cashews, simmer until sauce thickens. Serve over rice. I make frozen stir fry veggies for John.

  2. No. Glenda .. the recipe I made for the Christmas crowd was quadrupled. Four cans of corn! I knew that there would be a lot that wanted it. And I took the rest home and we enjoyed it there.

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