Beka To Basics

Real Food Cooking

Archive for the tag “chicken”


So, I love mole, but I don’t know how to make it.  I know that it is similar/related to adobo sauce, but, if my understanding is correct, it’s more time consuming and has more ingredients.  I have found some recipes online that look promising – I’m just not ready for the complications yet 🙂  I don’t really make a lot of complicated sauces.

This one turned out to be a whole lot easier than I thought it would.  It’s an Emril recipe for Adobo Pork Tenderloin.

I used chicken, instead of pork and didn’t marinate it since I planned on putting it in the slow cooker.  I made the sauce while cooking dinner last night and put the sauce, some chicken stock and tomato sauce in the slow cooker with the chicken.  Tell me why I always forget to turn on the slow cooker BEFORE leaving for work.  It’s just a good thing someone work close enough to home to come turn it on for me when I have a spacey moment in the morning. 😉

It looks like a lot of steps for a sauce, but really it boils down to this:

1) Heat the dried peppers to make them pliable.

2) Cut them and pour out the seeds.

3) Simmer them for a few minutes.

4) While the peppers are simmering, put all the other ingredients in a food processor and pulse until everything is a paste.

5) Add the peppers to the food processor and pulse.  Add some of the simmering liquid to get the consistency you need.
This made about a pint of Adobo Sauce.

In between these steps, I made spinach sausage casserole. Also easy.

Usually, casseroles require cream of something soup.  I can make my own, but sometimes, I just don’t feel like it.  I should really make a bunch and freeze them so they’re ready to go.  Anyways, I’ve come up with a replacement for casseroles for a quick fix.

  • 1/2 lb cooked sausage or chicken
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 or 1/2 diced onion
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic
  • 1 cup cheese – I used fresh mozzarella, but cheddar is good too
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • salt and pepper

Mix it all together and bake it at 350 until it’s bubbly.


Roasting a Chicken in the Slow Cooker

As everyone already knows, I love having chicken broth around to cook with.  Well, this requires cooking a chicken from time to time (at least once a month). Sometimes, it’s too hot to roast a chicken in the oven, especially when your oven heats up the whole house even when your AC is working, which it isn’t, which isn’t fun.  I have my hot face on.

I also bought a fresh chicken, which needs to be cooked basically right away.  Fresh chicken is chicken that was just slau… um… harvested (to put it nicely) and hasn’t been frozen at all yet.  I’ve only ever had frozen chicken, just because it’s easier to buy, tick in the freezer and thaw when I know I’m going to have time to cook it.  Since I hadn’t had a fresh one before, when the opportunity came about, I had to take it.

I’ve cooked pork shoulder and beef roast in the crock pot before and don’t get me wrong, I’ve cooked plenty of chicken pieces in

Whole Bird in the Crock Pot

liquid in the crock pot, but did you know that you can roast it in the crock pot?

The skin doesn’t get quite as crispy as it would in the oven, but I’m ok with that since it made dinner without having to turn the oven on.  If it was a problem, I could have put it in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up without having to heat the whole house. Hello, Salad and Chicken.

Basically, you just put 1/4 of liquid in the crock pot, season the chicken however you like, put the lid on and cook for 5 hours on low (or until it’s cooked through).  Luckily, my crock pot has a timer to switch to “Keep Warm,” so I was able to come home to a coolish house and a cooked dinner.   This time, I seasoned it with Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, pepper and tarragon.  Mix all that together and rub all over the chicken before putting it in the crock pot.  The recipe is based on a Rachel Ray recipe, but I can’t find the link right now – I like to give credit when it’s due, so if you know the link, let me know!

The chicken creates it’s own gravy while it cooks and you really only have to reduce it down a bit to make it the right consistency.  Or you could do like me and make a gravy by cooking the drippings with roux, cook up some squash, green peppers and onions with rice, gravy and chicken.  Your Mom and Sister will really appreciate having dinner delivered, promise. 😉  It’s also why I don’t have any pictures post cooking, it was all gone by the time I thought of taking one.  You can bet that the bones are already in the crock pot again simmering away for some broth.
Featured in What’s in the Box? and Fat Tuesday

Pseudo Soup

We need to clear a few things up…

I love soup. I don’t think I can stress that enough. I will make any regular meal into a soup if I’m given the chance. If I had to choose between a million dollars and a bowl of delicious soup, the sole reason that I would pick the money is that it would buy me A LOT more than just one bowl of soup.

When everyone else is celebrating and rejoicing in the increasingly warm weather, I secretly lament the months and months I will have to go without soup. Maybe not so secretly. The first day of warm weather will see me scrambling about making one last batch of soup. And then another, and another, until finally someone will point out that it is just way to hot for soup. (Beka, it’s the 4th of July, don’t you think it’s a bit warm for that?)

So here we are in May and it’s been 90 outside and all I want is soup, but it IS seriously way to hot for soup. So, what’s a girl to do?


Swiss Chard, Beans, Bacon, Cheese, Irish Soda Bread – served NOT piping hot

Making Cheese

Yes I did

You are looking at cream cheese sitting the the cheesecloth I wrapped it in to drain.  And, I just want to say one more time.  Yes I did.

Ok, Ok, now that we’ve gotten past my gloating, it’s not TECHNICALLY cream cheese… Its Labneh  – A middle eastern cheese that’s easy to make if you’re already making yogurt, which I am.

It tastes and acts a lot like cream cheese and you can use it just like cream cheese, at least I think you can.  I used it to top my chicken and bean casserole instead of cream cheese.

This casserole is soo easy too.  Its just shredded chicken, 2 cups of beans (any kind), 1 cup of corn, 1 jar of salsa – bake until bubbly and melt in cream cheese or labneh 🙂

But, my real victory this week was the garlic peppercorn pork tenderloin I made to replace the one I used to buy at Trader Joe’s.  I used this recipe and it is to die for delicious.

Chicken and Meatballs and Bread, oh yum

The most exciting Friday night is happening here at my house tonight.

Lots and lots of cooking.  I have been slacking recently with my planning, but since I found a farm to buy meat from, I decided it was time to start again.  Especially since they only deliver once a month (sometimes twice).  My poor freezer. Almost full, half full, almost empty, completely stuffed.

So to make all my plans happen, it means I need to get cooking! Hence the exciting Friday night.

#1 – Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread

I’ve actually been working on this since last night, and I made bread without an exact recipe, so we’ll have to see how that turns out.  The crumbs are really sour – sourdough sour, but more so than the store bought sourdough I’ve had before.

#2 – Roast Chicken with Green Things

Yes, it’s probably the most awesome name you will ever hear for a recipe, ever. It’s exactly what it sounds like – take chicken, cover with butter, or oil or some other fat and the season with salt, pepper, and all of the green herbs you have.

#3 – Pasta Dough and Meatballs

Not too much of a recipe, but here it is.  Half ground beef, half ground pork, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, random herbs that felt right at the moment.  They smell sooo good while they’re cooking.

And yes, this is just the beginning of what I have planned.  On the books for tomorrow, and the rest of the weekend?  Chicken stock, spaghetti sauce, Broccoli and cheese soup, making more bread (really, can there be too much?), and refried beans.

And later next week, my very first attempt at homemade gnocchi!!!

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