Mexican Chicken Stew

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I once received this recipe in an email from my friend of many years, Julie. She labeled it “heavenly!” Don’t let the long list of ingredients fool you. The hearty stew is very easy to assemble, and goes together quickly, particularly considering the large quantity.  It is one of my favorite meals to prepare for sharing with a family who needs a meal brought in.  This week I took a crockpot full to our son and daughter-in-law who just brought their beautiful new baby Nora home. As stated in the recipe directions, it reheats beautifully and freezes well. It is a delicious one pot meal, good with a pan of cornbread or warmed corn tortillas.

Note:  When I make this, I preheat the oven to 400 degrees and begin roasting the lightly seasoned chicken breasts, then put the rice on to cook (1 cup equals 3 cups cooked). While these two ingredients are cooking, I assemble the other ingredients and chop the fresh veggies. By the time all other ingredients are in the pot, the rice is done and the chicken is ready for shredding. If you wish, buy a rotisserie chicken to bone and shred.

Mexican Chicken Stew

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion,  chopped

4 large cloves garlic,  chopped

l large green pepper, chopped

2 jalapenos, seeded and minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried cumin

2 (28-ounce) cans petite chopped tomatoes

3 cans black beans, drained

3 lbs. chicken breasts, roasted and shredded (about 4 large chicken breast halves)

1 bag frozen sweet corn

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 (32 oz) boxes chicken stock, 2 quarts total

2 limes

3 cups cooked white rice

Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Optional:Sour cream, for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Extra lime quarters

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add green pepper, garlic and jalapeno and continue sauteing until soft. Add spices and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant and aromatic. Add tomatoes, beans, chicken, corn,Worcestershire, and stock.

Bring to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.

Cut the limes in half, squeeze juice into the pot, and then add the juiced halves as well.

Add rice and cook 5 minutes longer to warm rice through. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Ladle into bowls and serve with lime quarters for squeezing at table. Pass sour cream and cilantro for desired additional toppings.  This is wonderful reheated and freezes well.

 

 

 

 

 

Sauteed Mushrooms in Red Wine

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Mushrooms are a delicious topping for any grilled meat or as a topping for buttered pasta.  I used lemon juice from our Meyer lemon harvest that I froze into mini muffin cups.  Each lemon “muffin” is exactly 2 tablespoons, and very convenient for adding to sauces. I picked a handful of fresh parsley from the garden to toss on top.   Note:  if you happen to have any leftovers, this is a wonderful addition to the next night’s spaghetti sauce!

Sautéed Mushrooms in Red Wine

1 lb mushroom, sliced

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup red wine

salt and pepper

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried French thyme

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Melt butter in  sauté  pan. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté over high heat until they are nicely browned. Add salt, pepper and red wine. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and parsley. Serve immediately.

Red Velvet Peppermint Cake

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My daughter-in-law Kristen baked this cake last week and brought it when she and our son came to dinner at our house. She is pregnant, and any day now they will be bringing their baby Nora to our house instead of cake!  Pregnancies are well known for food cravings, and she had been craving this cake, which she first ate when my friend Joyce brought it here for a Solstice gathering several years ago.  The cake was a huge hit that evening, as it was again.  It is a beautiful cake, billed in 1998 Southern Living magazine as their “most show-stopping dessert ever.”  It appears in several sites online and Kristen made it by the book!   It is a lovely thing to look at it, and delicious to sample. I rarely post recipes here that I have not made myself or helped to make, but this is a special cake, baked at a special time!  Kristen, thank you!

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Red Velvet Peppermint Cake

  • 1 (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (9-ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Peppermint Candy Canes for garnish

Beat first 4 ingredients according to cake mix package directions.

Beat yellow cake mix and next 6 ingredients according to package directions. Spoon red batter alternately with white batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round pans. Swirl batter gently with a knife.

Bake at 350° for 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks.

Spread Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.  Garnish with crushed candy canes.

Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 cup butter or margarine, softened\

1 (2-pound) package powdered sugar

2 teaspoons peppermint extract

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at low speed until smooth. Add extract, beating until blended.

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Beef Tenderloin with Pancetta and Rosemary Wrap

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When I made this recently at family request, I could not get my camera out fast enough for a “before” picture.  The photo is after my hungry crew sliced into it. This is definitely a delicious entrée choice for a special occasion.  In fact, we first tried this recipe for a Christmas dinner about 3 years ago. A bacon-wrapped filet mignon  is  a more simple single portion version of this since pancetta is Italian bacon, salt cured with black pepper and sometimes other spices. Its round slices curl and ruffle as they crisp, very  pretty on top of the tenderloin. My version is adapted from one found in December 2010 Southern Living magazine, but it can be found many places on the internet.  

Beef Tenderloin with Pancetta and Rosemary Wrap

1 4 lb. beef tenderloin, trimmed

1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil,

14-16 thin pancetta slices

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Kitchen string

Waxed Paper

Prepared horseradish cream, found near the deli section of your supermarket

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Sprinkle tenderloin with salt and pepper. Brown tenderloin in 2 Tbsp. hot oil in a large skillet about 5 minutes on each side. Let stand while you prepare pancetta and chop garlic and rosemary.

2. Arrange pancetta slices in 2 rows on a  piece of wax paper, overlapping to form a rectangle the same length and width of tenderloin

.3. Sprinkle half of garlic and rosemary over pancetta . Place tenderloin on edge of 1 long side of pancetta and sprinkle with remaining garlic and rosemary. Tightly roll up tenderloin with pancetta, using wax paper as a guide.. Tie tenderloin with kitchen string, securing at 1-inch intervals. Discard wax paper wrapping and transfer to an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, and brush with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil.

4. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until pancetta is crispy and a meat thermometer inserted into center of tenderloin registers 120° (rare). Let stand 10 minutes. Discard kitchen string before slicing. Serve with Horseradish Cream.
Note: For medium-rare, cook tenderloin to 135°, or to 150° for medium.