Archive | October, 2011

Lobster Bisque

18 Oct

My favourite dish to make is Lobster Bisque.  Now don’t let that name intimidate you.  It’s actually SUPER easy to make, and a huge crowd pleaser.  I got the recipe from a friend of mine, and have been making it for several years.  I’ve made it for family and friends, and one time I even cooked it for a swanky fundraising event that had around 70 people attending.  That was pretty fun!  I’d never seen that much lobster in my life before.

This recipe does take time to prepare, but it is SO worth the effort.

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small white onion
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 lobster tails, chopped
  • 1/2 lb chopped shrimp
  • 500 mL Half & Half
  • 1 tablespoon creole spices
  • 2-4 tablespoons sour cream (optional)

Heat butter over medium heat in a large saucepan.  Finely chop onion, celery and mince garlic.  Add veggies to saucepan and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add flour, stir and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add chicken broth, lobster tails and shrimp.  Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally

Add half & half and creole spices.  Stir and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve with a sour cream garnish, depending on taste.

One time I added green onions for a bit of colour:

As the weather starts to get cooler, I eat more and more soups.  This one is SUPER rich, and rather expensive to make, but it’s worth the cost every time.  Don’t skimp out and buy artificial lobster or shrimp – it’s worth the expense to get high quality ingredients.  If you live in the Lower Mainland, this should be very easy for you to find.  There are most likely some good options in your grocery store, or you can always buy from a local seafood market.  The first time I made this recipe, I’ll admit that I used lobster flavoured pollock, and it was good, but once I tried it with the real deal?  No way I’m ever going back.

Spaghetti Casserole

13 Oct

Yesterday I was searching for some dinner inspiration, as all the recipes in my regular rotation are starting to bore me.  I tend to get into a rut pretty easily, so every few months I like to drop all my regular eats and try a bunch of new stuff.  In my searches I came across a recipe for Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole.  I had most of the ingredients on hand, and I’m a huge fan of pasta, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I had to improvise a bit, as I don’t keep whole milk (cream) or fresh Parmesan on hand, so that probably made it a little less rich (I used skim milk and Kraft parmesan).  I also had a rotisserie chicken that I needed to finish up, and used packaged chicken stock instead.  It took a lot longer to cook than expected, as my burners/oven are old and crochety, but it turned out pretty good!

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 whole Cut Up Fryer Chicken
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 16 ounces, weight White Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 1/4 cup Dry White Wine
  • Kosher Salt And Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth (reserved From Chicken Or Canned)
  • 1-1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/4 cup (additional) Dry White Wine
  • 1 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 cup Whole Black Olives, Chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt, Or To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Extra Cheese, For Sprinkling
  • 1 pound Thin Spaghetti

Place chicken in a pot of water and boil on medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and allow to cool slightly. Keep broth in pot.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Throw in mushrooms, add 1/4 cup white wine, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until liquid has totally evaporated. Remove mushrooms from skillet. Set aside.

Bring broth to a boil. Break spaghetti into thirds (shorter pieces). Add spaghetti pieces to boiling broth and cook. Drain when al dente. Remove meat from bones and shred until you have 2-plus cups of shredded chicken.

Return large skillet to medium-low heat. Add remaining butter. Sprinkle flour over butter, whisking to combine. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Pour in 2 cups broth and whisk to combine. Pour in milk, additional 1/4 cup wine, salt and pepper to taste, then cook and bubble until thick. Turn off heat, add Parmesan cheese, and stir.

Add mushrooms, chicken, and chopped olives. Stir to combine and check seasonings. Add cooked spaghetti and stir.

Turn into a 9 x 13 casserole pan. Bake at 350 degrees or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve with salad and warm, crusty bread.

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Ree’s pictures are much prettier than mine are, but here’s what my finished product looked like:

It’s really delicious, and I have enough leftovers to feed an army.  I froze one container of it to eat at a later date, as I know I’ll get sick of it if I eat it for every meal this week. 🙂  This is a fairly simple yet delicious comfort food recipe.  Definitely worth a try!

Homemade Bread

9 Oct

For my birthday earlier this year, I was given a used bread machine.  This thing is as old as the hills (i.e.: it was one of the first US models on the market), but it works great.  I’ve always enjoyed the taste of fresh bread, but had been too lazy to make it on my own in the past.  I just didn’t want to put in all the effort of kneading and letting it rise, then baking it, so I’d never bothered.  Now that I have a bread machine?  I eat fresh bread pretty much every day.  It’s glorious!

Along with the bread machine came an instruction/recipe booklet that has a surprising number of fabulous and unique recipes.  For being made in 1992, it’s quite adventurous food-wise.  I thought I’d share some of the best recipes that I’ve tried so far.  With my bread machine, you have to put all the ingredients in in the order they’re listed in, and all ingredients should be at room temperature unless otherwise stated.  Your machine may vary.

French Bread

  • 1 package yeast
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water

Put all ingredients into machine in the order listed, select “French” bread and press Start.

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Applesauce Bread

  • 1 package yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup warm applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup warm apple juice
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh apple

Use white bread setting and press Start.

The Applesauce bread was the first loaf I tried in my machine.  It was fabulous when I used it in french toast for a breakfast.  The outside is obviously rather brown, but it still tasted fantastic.  Every other loaf I’ve made since then hasn’t been as scorched.  🙂

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Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 package yeast
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin

Use white bread setting and press Start.

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Bloody Mary Bread

  • 1 package yeast
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 60z can of spicy V8 juice
  • 1 tablespoon vodka
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 egg

Use white bread setting and press Start.  This bread was FABULOUS with turkey or chicken sandwiches. Very unique flavour!

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Most of the breads I’ve made have turned out fairly well.  I made the pumpkin bread about a week ago, and I must have gotten distracted and left out part of the flour, as the bread was VERY dense and liquidy, and it didn’t look so good when it was done.  I think it would be great with a little added sugar, especially if you’re looking to have it for breakfast or dessert.

What are some of your favourite types of bread to make?