Rose Wagner’s Chicken Bake

March 15th, 2014
by: Sue

My sister Rose gave me the recipe; I have always loved it and for some reason had not cooked it up for a long time until today when I discovered it was not on Blue Cooks. So here it is: I believe Rose found this recipe when she lived in Syracuse.

Heat your oven to 325 degrees.

Cut up:

1 whole fryer
Blot the chicken with paper towels then salt and pepper the chicken pieces.

Place a dutch oven on your stove top, heat to medium and add:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

When butter is melted, increase heat to medium high and add chicken one piece at a time using kitchen tongs.

Turn chicken when well browned on one side. Some pieces take longer to brown than others, so move chicken around in pan and monitor the browning.

While it’s browning chop: (while keeping an eye on the skillet)

one medium onion and
one medium bell pepper

Turn the chicken piece at a time to brown the other side. When each piece is well browned on each side, move to a plate. What’s left in the pot is a lovely chicken fond and the butter. Don’t let the butter smoke! Keep the heat where it will brown the chicken but not get so hot it smokes.

When all chicken pieces are out of the pot add the chopped veggies. Salt and pepper them as they cook, stirring frequently. The moisture in the veggies will dissolve the fond and add a lovely caramelly flavor to the dish. Add:

1 cup white rice

Stir, and cook the rice for a minute or two then add:

1 1/2 cups water ( I like to use chicken broth, too)
1 jar pimentos
1 can mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt
4 chicken bouillion cubes, dissolved in a little water

Place the chicken on top of this mixture, place the lid on the dutch oven, and put in the oven. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

It will be hard to wait that long because the smell is so fragrant, but be patient!

Remove after the hour and a half slow baking is done, remove the lid and let cool for five minutes.

Serve with a lovely salad and the veggie of your choice.


Today I did not have a whole chicken so I substituted boneless skinless chicken breasts (two very large ones), cut them in half lengthwise and each of those halves in half so I had 8 pieces of chicken. I used some homemade chicken stock made from a whole chicken to try to make up for the loss of flavor from using just chicken breasts.

Organic Chicken Thighs with Brown and Wild Rice

August 10th, 2013
by: Sue

I created this recipe to fit within the guidelines of a Cleanse diet I am on. It turned out so good, I’m going to share it. Why it is allowed on the Cleanse Diet: Organic chicken, no dairy, no gluten, no eggs, no cheese, just good food. When the organic version of all ingredients is available that’s what to use to aid in the cleanse.

6 organic boneless chicken thighs

Bring chicken to room temperature, I put bricks on them to press them flat while they warmed so they’ll cook evenly. After thirty minutes under the bricks, I removed excess moisture with paper towels and seasoned them with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Using my 12 inch stainless steel skillet, I heated it up and then I dropped in:

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

When the oil was melted and the pan good and hot, I placed the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking on the skin side first until nicely browned, then turning each thigh to brown the other side. When browned, I removed the chicken to a paper plate and added

1/2 onion, finely chopped, lightly salted

When translucent, deglaze the pan with

1 cup white wine

Bring the temp up and reduce the wine to about half, then add

1 cup organic chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Add back the thighs, cover the skillet and lower the heat to simmer. Cook for about ten minutes, then remove the lid so the gravy will thicken. After five to ten more minutes, add

2 Tablespoons almond butter

This will thick your gravy nicely.


1 cup Bob’s Red Mill brown and wild rice
2 1/2 cups pure filtered water

Put rice and water into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer and cook approximately 40 minutes or according to the rice package directions.
When done, fluff with a fork, then add:

1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup pinon nuts
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
salt to taste
1/2 lemon juice and zest
2 Tablespoons almond butter preferably organic and fresh ground

When serving, put a thin layer of the rice on the plate, add a chicken thigh on top of the rice, and ladle on some of the sauce from the chicken.

We had fresh turnips with this, diced and cooked in pure water, then seasoned with a little coconut oil and kosher salt and pepper. But greens of any kind would be wonderful !

Gluten free Skillet Lasagne

January 14th, 2012
by: Sue

This skillet lasagne is quick and easy and better than any standard lasagne I have made. I took an America’s test kitchen recipe and altered it to fit my pantry and my gluten free diet, the result is outstanding!

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 slices Wrights peppered bacon, cut into dice
8 ounces smoked sausage, diced
12 ounces corn pasta (lasagne corte)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated parmesan
ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 grated parmesan to top
1/2 cup grated cheddar to top

Empty the tomatoes into a four cup measure; add liquid until it measures four cups (I used water). Heat the oil in a 12 inch high sided stainless skillet, add the onion, salt and cook until the onion browns, stir in the garlic and pepper flakes and cook 30 seconds. Cook in a separate skillet the bacon until crisp, add the chopped sausage, when brown add to the onion mixture. Scatter the pasta over the mixture, add the tomatoes and cover, stirring occastionally, add the wine, and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the parmesan. Dot with heaping tablespoons of the ricotta, cover and let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle top with 1/4 cup parmesan grated, and 1/2 cup grated cheddar and put under broiler until cheese begins to bubble and brown. Remove from oven, let stand for 5 minutes then serve with salad.

Shrimp and Grits Casserole

January 7th, 2012
by: Blue

Shrimply delicious!

I decided to make this dish mostly because I had all the ingredients on hand and did not have to make a trip to the grocery store.  My limit on grocery shopping is about once a week.  More trips than that makes me grouchy because that means I’m going after work (UG!).  I hate going after work.  And besides, sometimes the fun of cooking is figuring out the perfect dish using what is in the pantry.

Key thoughts on this dish:

I love grits, but I’m picky about them.  I only buy Bob’s Red Mill coarsely ground grits (also labeled as polenta).  Yes, I’ve said that before.  This dish would be good with any grits, but Bob’s Red Mill grits take it to the next level.  GET IT! GOT IT? GOOD.

I used large shrimp, so big that I was concerned about the cook time – so I butterflied them.  The added benefit of this is they cooked up beautifully (which is typical of butterflied shrimp – they are just prettier and make a better presentation).  I also used about 2 pounds, which was on the verge of excessive, because I wanted it to be extra-shrimpy-licious. Und it vas (said in my very best Dr. Everett Scott voice – yes I’m a Rocky Horror Picture Show dweeb).

Whatever you tweak in the recipe – don’t mess with the corn!  I realize it may sound bizarre to you, but it’ s fantastic bit of crunchy sweetness that is perfect on the palate.  A recommended tweak would be to add chopped Hatch green chiles or chopped fresh jalapenos.  Or chipotle peppers.  Do we see a pattern here?

Tweaking recipes is fun.  This dish started out as a kind of standard recipe that I found (ironically it was a healthy, light version – but it certainly wasn’t after I was done with it).  My tweaks were based on one of my favorite recipes in the whole wide world, Sue’s Kickin’ Grits.  Make those and you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven (we also call them the Virgin Mary grits because one bite will make you see the face of the Virgin Mary).  Giving due credit to my Dad, he is the one who blessed the grits with the Virgin Mary nickname.  Gotta love it.

And finally, do yourself a favor and buy a high quality smoked paprika, it’s much tastier than the standard paprika.  I use La Chinata.


2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup uncooked grits
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Worschester sauce
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter
3 ounces cream cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 – 2 cups frozen corn
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
1 – 2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp, butterflied
Cooking spray
3/4 cup panko
Smoked paprika


Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine milk and broth in a medium heavy saucepan; bring to a boil. Gradually add grits and salt to pan, stirring constantly. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in Worschester sauce, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 2 tablespoons butter, and cream cheese.

Sauté onion, celery, and garlic in 2 tablespoons butter over med high heat for 5 minutes.  Stir onion, celery, garlic, frozen corn, parsley, and lemon juice into grits.  Let the grits cool for 15-20 minutes, then add egg and shrimp. Mix well.

Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with panko, remaining 1/4 cup parmesan, and sprinkle liberally with smoked paprika. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until set. Serve with hot pepper sauce, if desired.

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

September 29th, 2011
by: Sue

Today, I had some beautiful pattypan squash which I’ve never cooked with before, and after surfing the web a bit, I created my own recipe:

4-6 large pattypan squash
1 pound hamburger
one onion, diced
salt & pepper to taste
garlic powder (optional)
1/2 cup green chili, fall roast
2 slices parmesan pepper bread, diced small
3 slices bacon, cut into lardons and slowly cooked in skillet over low heat
1/3 cup shredded parmesan
Slowly brown hamburger until done, salt and pepper the onion and add to the skillet. Cook until onion is throughly cooked, and turn off heat. Add bread cubes, green chile, and season to taste. Set aside and cook squash.
Wash squash, and place in a large cooking pot, add three inches of water, cover, and cook on medium heat until squash are fork tender. (10-15 minutes) Remove from water, and place in a baking dish. With a paring knife, cut out inside the “crown” of the top of the squash, remove the top and scoop out the seeds. Fill squash with stuffing, top with parmesan cheese and bacon. Bake at 350 until cheese melts. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Buttermilk Fried Chicken

August 13th, 2011
by: Sue

Buy the freshest most naturally raised chicken you can find. Organic, free range, are preferred. Buddy’s chicken in Texas is a large commercial source but if you can’t find Buddy’s try to find a local source for chicken. Wherever you get the chicken, rinse it carefully after you take it out of the packaging, and wash your hands before, during, and after handling the chicken.

Home fried chicken is so much better than anything you can buy.

Start with:

1 large frying chicken, removed from packing and washed with running water

Cut into frying pieces, reserving the bony pieces to make stock.
Place pieces you’ll fry into a large bowl, cover with water, and add 2-3 tablespoons salt. Soak the chicken in the briny water for around 30 minutes. The brining step will result in tender juicy chicken with a good flavor. Drain water off the chicken, rinse again, and dry with paper towels. Put pieces back in bowl, and pour 1 to 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk over the chicken. If you like spicy chicken, add cayenne pepper to the buttermilk before pouring over the chicken. Place in refrigerator and let soak in for one hour to overnight.

Place in a paper bag:

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
two teaspoons salt
pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
nutmeg to taste

Shake paper bag, mixing together the dry ingredients. Remove chicken pieces with tongs three or four at a time from the buttermilk and place in the flour mixture. Shake the bag well until chicken is well coated. Place on a rack and let air cure for about twenty minutes. Repeat with all the pieces of chicken. The air curing will allow the flour to be absorbed into the buttermilk and prevent a lot of flour messing up the grease.

Get out your 12 inch iron skillet. Pour about two inches of cooking oil (peanut oil preferred because it has a high smoking point) into it, and heat the oil over medium high heat to 360 (I like to use my thermopen to measure the temperature). Gently place chicken pieces in the oil using tongs and lowering each piece in by one edge then slanting the piece down so it won’t splash grease on you. Check chicken browning often and turn when the bottom is golden brown. Continue cooking to 165 degrees (use the meat thermometer or thermopen). I like to cook the big pieces first then place them in a 250 degree oven in a foil covered glass pan while I cook the remaining pieces in order to insure the chicken is cooked through on all the pieces.

Chicken stock:

Place bony pieces and trimmings into a stock pot. Cover with water (you can use a couple of quarts of water) , add a peeled carrot, cut up, some celery, garlic powder, onion, and salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat for several hours or overnight. Try not to boil, just simmer. When finished, pour into colander with a bowl underneath it to catch the broth. The broth can be frozen to use later, and you can make dumplings in the broth right away, taking the meat off the chicken bones.

This broth will make the canned version taste like salted water to you!

Lip Smackin’ Ribs

June 19th, 2011
by: Blue

There is just something about ribs – I love them. But they have to be moist and fall off the bone tender.  As of this date I haven’t been able to perfect the traditional slow smoked ribs (which are delicious but require much time spent monitoring temperatures, and smoke, and coals).  Probably I haven’t been able to perfect it because I’m a lazy cook.  I didn’t even recognize this completely until someone special in my life actually told me that.  I wasn’t even offended – I was just like – YES!  That’s what I am. Most of the food that I cook is low maintenance, like me.  I like delicious food, and I like it to be easy.  Most of the time.  There are occasions when I spend hours in the kitchen tending a dish, obsessing over one thing or another.  These ribs are not one of those occasions.

Over time I have found that the basic secrets to great ribs are pretty simple:  start with a slow braising of some sort, and finish them off on the grill.  That’s it.  So let’s get to it.

Slow braising

There are 50 ways to skin a cat, and there are many ways to slow braise ribs.  I don’t recommend slow braising a cat though.  Yuck. 

There are lots of cooks that choose to slow braise ribs by boiling them in water.  I tried this technique in the beginning (yes, like “IN THE BEGINNING” 20 or so years ago).  What I don’t like about this technique is I think you lose much of the concentrated flavor of spices and seasonings.  So if you use this technique (which I don’t talk about here) – I would recommend really kicking up all the seasonings to a level that seems like overkill.

My preferred technique depends on how much time I have to spend on the braising part.  If I have 3-4 hours I’ll slow braise the ribs in the oven.  If I have 7-8 hours and need to be out of the house or working on other stuff I’ll slow braise them in a slow cooker.  The technique only varies in the length of cooking.

Take your ribs and season them liberally on all sides with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and about 2 teaspoons of Stubbs liquid smoke per rack of ribs.  If you are braising them in a slow cooker cut the ribs in sections small enough to layer and fit in the cooker.  Wrap each seasoned section (or the whole rack, if you are doing them in the oven) in heavy duty aluminum foil and seal tightly.  The idea here is that the ribs will release moisture as they cook into the sealed packet, so they will have braising liquid, but they will also have exposure to a high concentration of seasonings.

For the oven:  cook the ribs at 300 degrees for 3 hours.  Check them at this point.  You want them to be veeery tender and close to falling apart, but not quite.  If they are not ready cook them a little longer.

For the slow cooker:  cook the ribs on low for 7-8 hours. Check them at this point.  Repeat:  You want them to be veeery tender and close to falling apart, but not quite.  If they are not ready cook them a little longer.

When the ribs are tender to your liking, you can remove them from the oven or slow cooker to cool.  You could even do the braising the day before you plan to grill them.  So many options here.

The grilling

Not much to talk about here.  You want a medium to medium high heat.  You want to get a nice grilled crust on both sides of the ribs without burning them.  I don’t put bbq sauce on them until they are already nicely marked up from the grill since bbq sauce burns easily.

When the ribs are nicely browned (and usually at the point that I am concerned that they will burn on the grill), I place a section of aluminum foil on the grill, place the ribs on top, and slather them with bbq sauce.  I may slather them two or three times on both sides.


You could do a packet of soaked wood chips on the grill.  Delicious.  Just make a packet of soaked wood chips with aluminum foil.  Poke some holes in the packet with a fork and place the packet directly on top of the coals or gas flame.  Wait to put the ribs on the grill until the grill is visibly smoking with the lid down.

You could skip the grilling part, depending on your day (or in my case, my laziness level).  No matter what, you need to brown the ribs at some point.  This could be before you slow braise them, or after.  To brown them before braising place the seasoned ribs on a cooking sheet in a 425 degree oven until browned.  To brown them after braising place the ribs on a cooking sheet under a broiler until browned.  One advantage of browning ribs before is that if you have some particularly fatty ribs (sometimes beef ribs can be fatty) the pre-browning cuts down on the fat since some of it will be released while it browns.

If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you *could* brown the ribs in the oven, braise them, and grill them.  I may have try that next.  That just might be the rib trifecta.

BBQ Sauce

My favorite BBQ sauce is my Grandpa’s, the recipe is here.  But in a pinch I also love Stubbs BBQ sauce.

Creamy Brussel Sprouts and Noodles

May 12th, 2011
by: Sue

It’s spring and I am hungry for vegetables. A trip to the supermarket brought beautiful brussel sprouts to my attention, along with sweet yellow bell peppers. I thought about combining these veggies with bacon and noodles in a creamy sauce and here is what I came up with:

6 slices Wright’s peppered bacon, diced and slow cooked in skillet
12 ounces medium home style egg noodles
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow bell pepper, rough diced to bite sized (3/4″)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups brussel sprouts, quartered lengthwise
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup pasta water
4 ounces cream cheese
salt & pepper
shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
fresh basil, rolled and cut into chiffonade strips

Cook noodles according to package directions. When done, drain but retain a cup of starchy water. Drizzle olive oil and/or butter over the noodles and lightly salt to taste.

In large (12″) skillet, cook bacon until fat is rendered. Salt and pepper all the chopped vegetables. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and add all vegetables except garlic to pan. Cook on medium high heat until brussel sprouts turn bright green and onions and peppers are tender. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Add cream cheese, and chicken stock and enough starch water to produce a medium thick sauce, stirring until sauce forms and fond is dissolved.

Plate and top with Parmigiano Reggiano and basil chiffonade. Enjoy!

Meatloaf with Green Chile

December 10th, 2010
by: Sue

Heat a large saute pan, then add:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bell pepper, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Cook until onion is clear, about 5 minutes. Cool.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together :

2 eggs
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley (optional)

1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground lean beef
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/2 cup Parmesan
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
Cooled vegetables
1/2 cup of diced roasted peeled green chilies (I usually double this, depending on the heat of the chilies)

Mix until combined. Mold in a parchment paper or aluminum foil lined baking sheet or in a loaf pan.

Whisk together:

1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Brush this mixture over the entire loaf. Bake for 1-1 1/4 hours. Remove from the oven and let the meatloaf rest before slicing.


August 6th, 2010
by: Blue

I made this for Mitchell while he was home last week – he loved it and asked for me to post the recipe.  So here it is :-D   Posole is SO cussing delicious.  And it’s very forgiving.  Feel free to make substitutions or throw some other things in (black beans or some sweet corn would be yummy).

Red chile sauce:
1 1/2 cups boiling-hot water
1/4 large white onion
about 5 ounces (around 8 dried chiles), ancho, or guajillo, or new mexico red chiles
2 cloves garlic (from whole head; the rest will go into the posole)

1 large head garlic
2 quarts chicken broth, beef broth, or water
3-4 pounds pork shoulder or butt roast, fat trimmed, and cut into chunks
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
Prepared Red chile sauce, or substitute 2-3 cans of red enchilada sauce
2 can green chiles (optional); or substitute Hatch chiles or roasted anaheim chiles)
3 teaspoons salt
2 30-ounce cans hominy, drained, or dried hominy that has been soaked overnight
1 can Rotel tomatoes (optional)

Soak dried hominy, unless you are using canned hominy (dried is better though!):
The day/night before you plan on making posole, start soaking the dried hominy in water.  You will need to use ALOT of water as the posole will soak it up and swell up big.  That’s what she said.  Generally I add enough water to the container with the posole in it so that the posole takes up 1/3 and water 2/3 of the total level…

Red chile sauce instructions:
Tear the chiles apart by hand; remove and discard the seeds and and stems.  Place the chiles in a bowl and cover completely with boiling-hot water. Soak chiles, turning them occasionally, for 30 minutes. Cut onion into large pieces and in a blender purée with chiles and soaking liquid (do not drain the chiles before pureeing), 2 cloves of garlic, and 2 teaspoons salt until smooth. For a shortcut on the red chile – simply substitute 2-3 cans of red enchilada sauce.

Posole instructions:

Thinly slice remaining garlic. In a heavy skillet over high heat, preheat a couple of tablespoons of oil and brown the chunks of pork with sliced garlic. High heat results in nice crusty brown bits on the pork.  This is what you want. Remove from heat.

In a big soup pot – add chicken broth, pork, oregano, cumin, red chili sauce, green chilis (optional), salt, homony, and Rotel tomatoes (optional). Gently simmer the posole, uncovered, until tender, at least 1 1/2 hours.  Your cooking time will be longer if you started with dried hominy – taking at least an additional hour.  But this is not rocket science – simmer it until the hominy is tender and the house is fragrant with the wonderful spicy smell….and adjust seasonings to your own tastes.

Optional Accompaniments:
diced avocado
chopped white onion
sour cream
tortilla chips or strips