Slow cooker chicken paprikash

My mother made chicken paprikash.  It was always a big deal because the preparation was complicated.  Easy, but complicated.  The cooking time was long.  And getting the dish from pot to table was complex.

I love this dish.  I alternately requested this or stuffed cabbage for my birthday dinner.  Now I alternately make this or stuffed cabbage for my birthday dinner.

My children like this dish as do my grandchildren.  My grandson calls it chicken with sauce.  Which is exactly what it is.

My mother used to make this with a dumpling.  I’ve made it with noodles and I’ve made it with rice.  I’ve even served with with gnocchi.  You can serve it with whatever you like as long as you pour lots of “sauce” on top.

My husband doesn’t like to deal with picking the meat off the chicken so I do that before serving.  It really is a lot easier to put a plate of chicken on the table.  And he enjoys his meal so much more when he can pile his chicken on his plate and pour lots of sauce on top.

So…in order to make this easier all the way around, (and it turns out, lighter in fat than the original).  I adapted my mother’s way of preparing it to a slow cooker.

Ingredients:
a whole chicken cut up or your favorite parts (I used a whole breast and three thighs)
1 large onion
paprika (sweet, not hot)
up to a stick of butter
8 ounces of sour cream

Directions:
1. Rough chop one large onion and spread it on the bottom of the slow cooker.

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2.  Place the chicken on top of the onions.  This way neither the onions nor the chicken stick to the bottom of the insert.IMG_7404
3.  Sprinkle paprika on top of the chicken.  Cover it thoroughly.  Sprinkle with salt to taste.


4.  Dot the top of the chicken with butter.  For a whole chicken you can use a whole stick.IMG_7411
5.  Put the lid on the slow cooker.
6.  Set to cook for 8 hours on low.
7.  After eight hours, carefully take the chicken out of the slow cooker.  It will fall apart so be careful and be ready.

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8.  Dump the sour cream into the crock pot with the onions and chicken juice.
9.  Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
(if you want a thicker sauce, take about a 1/2 cup of sauce in a cup or bowl and mix 1/2 to 1 teaspoon corn starch.  When mixed smooth, stir into sauce.


10.  Serve the chicken over rice, noodles, gnocchi,( why you could even serve it over toast!)…generously spoon the magic sauce on top.IMG_7424

An easy spin on a traditional dish.  Simple to throw together.  So delicious and so very comforting!

 

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noodles and cottage cheese

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It’s snowing, again.  It is below freezing, again.  I need inner warmth.  I need noodles.

I don’t eat much pasta. Watching those carbs.  But there are times when nothing else will fill that hole.  Nothing else will satisfy.  Noodles please!

My husband has rules about noodles.  Essentially he doesn’t like “flat noodles”.  He likes very thin spaghetti and elbow macaroni.  That’s about it.  I usually oblige but today I craved…I needed…noodles and cottage cheese.  One can only make truly good noodles and cottage cheese with flat egg noodles.  Nothing else will do.

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This is a dish that my mother made.  She learned from her mother.  And so on back down the line.  My mother often served this as a side dish.  I did too.  But with so much snow and so much very cold weather this is a perfect lunch by itself. There is something indulgent and satisfying about eating out of a big bowl.  This is also a dish children love.  Love.

A word before the recipe about an ingredient.  My mother made this dish as her mother did with dry curd cottage cheese.  I did too.  Up until a few years ago dry curd cottage cheese was easily found at grocery stores.  Now.  Nowhere.  You can make your own dry curd by dumping cottage cheese into a colander, rinsing it gently with water to get the excess “dairy” off it, and letting it drain for about an hour.  BUT….regular cottage cheese works just fine.  Not light or lite or low fat.  Full fat cottage cheese is required.

Ingredients:
Two cups of flat egg noodlesIMG_7381
Large piece of good butter (I use unsalted) …about 3-4 tablespoons
1/2 to 3/4 cup of 4% cottage cheese
Dash of salt to taste

For browned bread crumb topping:
Two tablespoons good butter
3-4 tablespoons bread crumbs

Directions:
1.  Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil.  (putting a wooden spoon across the pot will keep the pot from boiling over.  It will.  Honest.)IMG_7384
2.  While waiting for the noodles to boil make the browned bread crumbs by melting butter in a mall frying pan.  When the butter is melted drop in the bread crumbs and stir until brown.  Watch the bread crumbs don’t burn…they can go from bland to burned very quickly.


3.  Boil the noodles until they are soft enough to your taste (al dente does not work here).
4.  When noodles are done, drain the water off in a colander.  Put the hot drained noodles back into the hot pot in which they were cooked.
5.  Drop in the butter and cottage cheese and salt.  Allow to start melting (30 seconds to a minute).  Gently stir to mix.


6.  Pour noodle mixture into a serving bowl and top with browned bread crumbs.IMG_7397

Eat!  You’ll feel so warm inside and out! (These are also delicious in the Spring!)

One dish meal…pork chops with apples, leeks, and sweet potatoes

This is a very simple dish that can easily be put together on a day when you’re too tired to cook and you’ll look like a champion!

First, preparing pork chops can be difficult.  Preparing them this way makes them tender and keeps them moist.  The recipe is for two pork chops but you can easily double or triple the amounts as long as you have a big enough dish.  Be sure to choose an oven safe dish with a lid.  All the preparations are done in the same dish.  This is a one dish oven dinner.

Ingredients:

2 bone-in pork chops (or bone-in smoked pork chops which I used for this post)IMG_7311

1 leek, cleaned and slicedIMG_7313

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwiseIMG_7318

2 tart apples, peeled and slicedIMG_7315

1 eight ounce can or box of low salt chicken broth
1 clove of peeled garlic ( or a generous pinch of granulated or powdered dry garlic)
salt

 

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
1. Choose an oven safe dish with a fitted lid.
2. Place the pork chops in the dish.
3. Place the cleaned and sliced leeks, apples, and sweet potatoes around the chops.

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4.  Pour a cup of chicken broth into the dish.  Do not cover the chops with the broth.
5.  Season with salt and dried garlic.  Do not over season.   Remember there is salt in the chicken broth (even in the low salt variety).  If you’re using fresh garlic, peel one clove and place it in the pan alongside the meat. Discard the garlic clove when the or mash it in the sweet potatoes.
6.  Put a sheet of aluminum foil over the dish and then put the lid on the pan.  Scrunch up the foil all around the lid.  You do not want any of the moisture to escape.


7.  Put the lidded dish in the oven.
8.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes to 2 hours.  Check for doneness at 90 minutes.  The meat should easily come away from the bone and there should be some liquid left.  If not, put back in the oven, with the lid, for another 15 to 30 minutes.  (If the chops are very thick…an inch or more…bake for 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours in a 325 degree oven and add more broth at 90 minutes cooking time).

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When the chops are done, put on a serving plate.  (The chops pictured here are smoked…they will be pink…they taste like ham.  Regular, unsmoked chops will be tan/brown when done).

Take the apples out of the baking dish and put in a bowl.  Mash with a fork….applesauce.  Side-dish number one!  IMG_7333

Take the sweet potatoes and leeks and put them in another bowl.  Top with a generous pat of butter and mash with a fork.  Side-dish number two!!  IMG_7332

Spoon the remaining juice from the baking dish over the chops on their serving dish.

Delicious moist pork chops.  Great dish for a fall or winter evening.  Easy!

 

simply easy roast chicken

977612-Thomas-Keller-Quote-Anyone-can-make-a-good-roast-chickenI’ve been cooking for a very long time.  That having been said, I am always looking for a simple, easy, delicious recipe.  And I am always looking for a better recipe.

I have discovered this simply easy roast chicken recipe.  It’s easy.  It’s simple.  And it always produces a delicious whole roast chicken!

Ingredients:
whole thawed chicken.
salt and pepper to taste.

That’s all!

Directions:
1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.  While the oven is preheating, DRY THE CHICKEN.  Using paper towels, dry the inside (stuff some paper towels in the cavity) and the outside thoroughly.  I let the bird rest on a pile of paper towels while preheating.
3.  Place the dried chicken in a roasting pan, breast side up.
4.  Tie the legs together.IMG_7300
5.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to your taste.
6.  Place the pan with the chicken in the oven.
7.  After one hour, turn the oven off.  DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN.
8.  Leave chicken in the oven that has been turned off for one more hour.
9.  Take the bird out of the oven and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.IMG_7304
10.  Serve with pan juices on the side.

And that’s it.  Perfectly crisp skin.  Perfectly juicy meat.  Delicious juices.

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Easy…every time.