To tide you over, I’m sharing the recipe for a salad that we have pretty much every year at Christmas. We always spend Christmas Eve at Fred’s father and stepmother’s house (we spend Christmas Eve morning with Fred’s mother and stepfather at our house for breakfast), and we usually have spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna (I grew up eating a turkey dinner type meal for Christmas, so this was kind of weird to me the first few times). We almost always have this spinach salad with that meal, and since I’m a fan of raw spinach (forget the nutritional benefits – I just LIKE it; I know, I’m weird), I finally asked for the recipe so we could occasionally have it through the year.
It’s a salad you make ahead, and it’s even fairly good (though wilted) the next day. You can’t save it for longer than that, though – it gets way too shriveled and wilted to eat, though I guess you could always pick out the mushrooms and eat those (okay, you CAN do that – I don’t know why I’m acting like I’ve never done that.)
Sliced mushrooms (you could always buy whole mushrooms and slice them, if that’s what floats your boat), spinach (I use baby spinach), red wine vinegar, minced garlic, spinach, salad oil (I use olive oil). Not pictured: salt and pepper.
First, whisk the red wine vinegar, salt, garlic, and pepper together in a plastic dish.
Add the mushrooms, toss, and let marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so.
Put your spinach in a big plastic container, toss with the olive oil.
Add the marinated mushrooms (including any marinade left in the dish) to the spinach, toss, and then chill for a couple of hours.
This stuff is so good and so easy, I hope you give it a try and like it as much as we do – I’m looking forward to having it again next week!
Have y’all ever watched Hell’s Kitchen? Did you see Chef Ramsay lose his shit over some hapless fool’s shitty risotto and go on a rant at least once a show? When you see a show where they talk about risotto constantly, guess what happens? That’s right, you want to eat you some risotto. The other thing he was ALWAYS going on about was Beef Wellington, which I hope someday to eat. I Googled about for risotto recipes, and when I found that you have to stand over the stove and slowwwwwly stir stock into the pot of rice until it’s absorbed, then add more and slowwwwly stir it while it absorbs, I was all “Um, no.” I’ve got better things to do than stand over the stove and babying some stupid rice dish along.
I saw this recipe in some magazine somewhere and I was all “Risotto! I bet it’s a pain in the ass!” and then I read the recipe and it’s made in the microwave, removing the need to stand and stir for 37 days.
Now, I know what those of you who make risotto on the regular are going to say. You’re going to tell me that I’m nuts, that I need to make it the RIGHT way, that the microwave version DOES NOT COMPARE. I find that I like the microwave version so much that I’m willing to forgo making it the RIGHT way, because if the RIGHT-way-made risotto is better than this stuff, I’ll be spending my entire life in front of that stupid-ass stove.
And I don’t wanna.
If you’re lazy like me, take my hand and let’s get to microwavin’!
I use Arborio rice. The recipe says you could also use long grain rice, but I recommend you give the Arborio a try. Mushrooms (fresh – I’ve tried canned, they just aren’t as good in this recipe), butter, thyme, chicken broth, garlic cloves, and while the recipe calls for grated parmesan, I use shredded.
Now, please note that you see peas above. You DO NOT have to use peas. The recipe actually does not call for peas, but I like them. Some people, like my friend Liz, consider peas to be a personal insult. If you are a pea-hater, leave ’em out, no biggie.
Also, please note the onions. Again, the original recipe doesn’t call for onions, but I love them. Leave ’em out if you don’t.
First step, in a deep microwave-safe dish with a tight-fitting lid (I use a Pyrex dish, you’ll see), combine butter and thyme. Microwave for 1 minute (this is just to melt the butter). Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and microwave for 8 minutes.
(Because I used onion and peas, I added the onion with the mushrooms, microwaved for 6 minutes, added the peas, and microwaved for an additional 2 minutes.)
With a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms (and onions and peas, if you’re using them) to a plate.
In the same dish that you cooked the mushrooms (etc.) in, combine rice, broth and garlic. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Cover and microwave for 9 minutes.
Stir, add 2 c. water, and microwave for 9 minutes more. Now, because everything in my life is a big pain in the ass, for some reason in this particular step, some of the liquid boils over. To prevent a huge mess in the microwave, I put a couple of paper towels under the dish. After the cooking is done, I toss those paper towels in the compost bin, and don’t have to scrub down the microwave. That’s a win for me!
When that 9 minutes is up, stir the mushroom (/onion/ peas) mixture into the rice and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir in the parmesan.
After you add the parmesan, the whole mixture might be a bit soupy. That’s okay – let it sit for a few minutes and it will get thicker. And it will be faaaaaabulous.
That’s right, we had risotto with our roast. Two DCEP recipes from one meal! I’m a cheater!
It’s even better the next day. I’ve been known to sneak bites of cold risotto during the day when I happen to see the dish sitting in the fridge beckoning me seductively.
I imagine there are any number of things you could add to this stuff to liven it up. We’ve talked about grilling shrimp and stirring it in at the end, for one.
If possible, Fred likes this stuff even more than I do. I don’t make it too often (I don’t want to make it so often we get tired of it), but when I do the chickens don’t get any of it because we like it so much! From us, that’s high praise indeed.
10 oz mushrooms, trimmed and quartered (I use the 8 oz container of sliced (cleaned) mushrooms from the grocery store.)
coarse salt & ground pepper
1 c. Arborio or long grain rice
1 can chicken broth (I use 2 c. chicken broth)
3 garlic cloves, sliced (I use minced)
¼ c. grated Parmesan (I use shredded)
½ c. peas
1 - 2 small onions, chopped
In a deep microwave safe dish with tight-fitting lid, combine butter and thyme. Microwave 1 minute. Add mushrooms (and onions, if you're using them), season with salt and pepper, microwave 8 minutes. (If you're using peas, microwave the mushrooms for 6 minutes, stir in the peas, and microwave another 2 minutes)
Transfer mushroom mixture to a plate.
In the same dish (that you microwaved the mushrooms in) combine rice, broth and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and microwave for 9 minutes.
Stir in 2 c. water, microwave 9 minutes more.
Stir in mushroom mixture; microwave 2 minutes.
Stir in Parmesan; let sit for a few minutes (mixture will thicken a bit).
Every Monday, we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was from Kayotic Kitchen.
It was my turn to choose this week’s recipe, so I took a look through my foot-high and ever-growing stack of recipes, and chose one (okay, I chose three and made Nance make the final choice). I don’t remember where I found this recipe, I suspect it’s one I saw on Pinterest. And who doesn’t like the idea of fancy country club chicken for a Sunday dinner? Bacon and apple and mushrooms in a tasty, tasty sauce, right?
Chicken breasts, onions, mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup, bacon, dry white wine, sharp cheddar, apple, and butter. Also, salt and pepper should be in there, too.
Making this dish is fairly simple, but time-consuming. You start with cooking the bacon – I chopped up the bacon before I cooked it, because eventually you’re supposed to crumble the bacon into the sauce, and chopping it before you cook it is easier, I think. This bacon is actually bacon I bought at the store despite the fact that we raise our own pigs, and the freezer has plenty of bacon in it. Our bacon isn’t cured, though, so when a recipe calls for bacon, I buy a small pack at the store to give it that bacony flavor. I am actually not a huge fan of regular bacon, but if you get between me and a piece of our own bacon (which I broil in the oven with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper), you’re likely to lose a finger or two.
So, once the bacon is cooked, you drain it on paper towels and then you’re intended to use all the bacon grease AND some butter for browning the chicken in. I actually dumped all the bacon grease into my bacon grease container, figuring that the bacon and grease remnants left in the pan would be fine. I put a sliver of butter in the pan, and browned the chicken.
The chicken breasts (I made five instead of four, since that’s what we had left in the freezer) rests in a baking dish while you make the sauce – cook your diced onion for three minutes, add your mushrooms and continue cooking for three minutes, then your diced apple and cook for another three minutes. Pour your white wine into the pan, add the cream of mushroom soup, crumble your bacon (if it’s not already crumbled) and add it, and then stir in the sharp cheddar.
Now, a side note on the wine – I don’t know anything about wine and we don’t keep it on hand. So I said to that wine connoisseur Google, “What is a good white wine for cooking with, o kind sir?” and Google sniffed disdainfully and looked at my outfit and flared its nostrils and stared off into space and told me that Sauvignon Blanc was a decent white wine for cooking with, and would Madame care to take her sleep-pants-clad self out of the foyer so as not to bother the CLASSY customers?
(Also, I found a page that advised that you should never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink. Well, then, that really narrows the possibilities quite a bit. I’m not a wine drinker, I think wine is gross, and the only wine-type beverage I would ever drink would be Raspberry Sparkletini and I’m not sure Raspberry goes with mushrooms at all. Usually if a recipe calls for wine, I use chicken broth instead. This time, for some reason, I decided to follow the recipe, and so I bought a tiny four-pack of Sauvignon Blanc.)
So you’ve got your sauce all ready to go, and you pour it over your chicken, which has been impatiently waiting in the baking dish.
Trust me, there’s chicken under there.
Bake it for 25 – 30 minutes, until everything’s all hot and bubbly. Serve over cooked pasta (the recipe called for spaghetti – we always opt for angel hair.)
My verdict? All I could taste was the wine. Did I mention I hate wine? I took two bites of it, and refused to eat the rest. Blegh.
If I were forced to make it again, I’d use chicken broth in place of the white wine, but Fred thought the sauce was “too rich”, so chances are really good that I won’t be making it again.
I’m kind of bummed because I was really looking forward to it – I love everything in it except for the wine! – but I guess they can’t all be winners.
Robyn shot me three recipes and told me to pick one. I never give her a choice when it’s my turn (and don’t think I’m going to start either, brat). Hell, I’m lucky to find one recipe let alone three. And also, I would like y’all to know that every single one of the recipes that She Who Hates Wine sent to me included WINE in the ingredient list. I’m starting to think that someone is protesting just a little too much, if ya know what I mean and I think that you do. Anyway, I picked this recipe out of the wine laden ones that she sent me because I thought it was the most interesting. Apples! With Chicken! Different! Whee!
I knew that certain family members were not going to go near this due to mushrooms. The husband is allergic (but I’m starting to think he’s allergic to mushrooms like some men claim to be allergic to cats, ahem). But he was still nice enough to pick up the cheapest bottle of white wine they had (because wine, blech). I am so jealous that Robyn was able to find a smaller bottle. We needed 1/4 cup. My son (who is 23) drank a glass at dinner the following day and the rest is now in our garbage can. I was kinda bummed at the waste. I think we should make a new rule that we don’t have any more wine-based dishes unless it involves spaghetti sauce.
I assembled my ingredients because I wanted to be like Robyn (since she’s so special). But after I uploaded this picture I noticed that the chicken wasn’t in there. Ugh! This is probably why I don’t do the ingredient photos. Please note that there are more than five slices of bacon on that plate (the recipe calls for five). Get real. If I’m going to fry bacon I’m going to make it worth my while. I didn’t read the recipe thoroughly and thought it was just a garnish. No shit. I must have read that recipe a million times and never saw that you were suppose to crumble it and boy was I bitching because I thought I could have just pulled my container of saved bacon grease out of my refrigerator and saved myself a hassle*. And also, raise your hand if you have a container full of bacon grease in your fridge because I will high five your ass for knowing what good home cookin’ is all about. Hee!
This is the chicken after having been fried in bacon grease and butter. ho-hum.
I was curious to see how this whole apple thing was going to work out. I always paired (bwahaha, like I really talk that way) apples with pork, but never with chicken. Translation: I like applesauce with my porkchops.
So, here’s the final result and I will tell you this. My mother LOVED it! Raved about how great it was! Went on and on and even had it for breakfast the next day. Me? Not so much. It’s funny how you can be friends with someone and not know little things like how Robyn doesn’t like wine. I don’t like wine either. But I didn’t say anything because hello, the object here is to try new and different things! And we did! But boy, this one was a huge fail and is definitely not going into my dinner rotation. Sorry, Mom. You’re shit outta luck.
Robyn & Nance try the same recipe - Country Club Chicken
* Edited to add: I used the recipe that was available for print from Kayotic Kitchen’s website. Upon further review (my OCD needed to know how I missed that bacon part) I found that crumbling the bacon was not included in the printable version of the recipe. This is where I get frustrated with food blogging. Sometimes relying on photos and mere blogging can result in a very ambiguous recipe. I do not have a computer in my kitchen. I also did not memorize the blog entry. I simply printed the recipe and went on my merry way. Who knows? Maybe I would have actually liked the recipe if I had made it as the author would have originally intended. It did, however, teach me a very important lesson. We all have to proceed with caution when sharing recipes. I don’t want to waste food. I’m sure you don’t want to waste your food (or money) either. If you ever notice a mistake on our recipes, please notify us immediately.