Lasagne, English Style

September 28th, 2009
by: Sue

This dish uses a bechamel sauce between the layers of lasagne noodles and sauce instead of calorie-heavy cheese. The result is a creamy dish that avoids the dryness that you frequently see in lasagne. Using no boil noodles also cuts down the preparation time and assures a noodle that is not overcooked. You can substitute Italian cheeses for the chedddar cheese topping if you want the more traditional Italian flavors. Easy and great tasting, I serve this to guests with more confidence than my old lasagne recipe which was sometimes just too dry and unpredictable.

Meat Sauce:
1Tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound Italian sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons chdopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes in puree

Bechamel Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups 2% reduced-fat milk

12 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles
3 cups shredded aged Cheddar cheese

Heat a large skillet and add olive oil. Add the beef and sausage in a large skillet and cook over medium high heat about 10 minutes, breaking into small pieces. Cook until browned, then spoon out most of the fat. Add onion and garlic, saute 5 minutes over medium heat. Add wine, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until wine is nearly evaporated. Stir in tomato paste, parsley, crushed red pepper and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook and stir 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook and stir with whisk about 10 minutes or until thick and bubbly.

Preheat oven to 400. Spread 3/4 cup meat sauce in bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Place 4 sheets of lasagna cross wise in pan over sauce, overlapping slightly. Top with 1/3 of the meat sauce (spreading evently to cover noodles), one third of the bechamel sauce and one third of the cheese. Repeat layers twice, starting with noodles and ending with cheese.

Bake, uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. Serves 10.

Chicken and buttermilk dumplings

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

I love the tang of buttermilk in these rolled dumplings. Since you use self-rising flour, they have some fluffiness to them without being too biscuit-like. Chicken and dumplings have been my favorite comfort food since I was a little kid. There are lots of recipes around to short cut the dumpling preparation but I don’t like any of them. Flour tortillas or canned biscuits don’t cut it as dumplings at the Barron house, we want made from scratch dumplings and a whole chicken cooked until tender. I like to follow Julia Child’s instructions when boiling a chicken–cover with water and bring to a boil. On top of the water will be the scummy stuff you don’t want in the broth, so you pour off all the first boil water, and start all over again with clean water. That way you don’t have to waste a lot of time skimming off the crud and your broth is clear and beautiful.

1 small chicken
Water for boiling the chicken, to cover
Salt to taste
3-4 celery sticks, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 cups self rising flour
3 – 4 Tablespoons butter shortening or butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
white pepper
Kosher salt
parsley or dried chives

Slowly simmer chicken in soup pot, adding salt to taste. When tender, remove chicken from the broth and remove the meat, cutting into small pieces and returning to the broth.

Pour flour into bowl. Cut in shortening or butter with pastry cutter and stir in parsley or chives if desired. Make a hole in the middle of the flour mixture and add buttermilk with 1 egg gently beaten into it to form a doughy consistency (like biscuit dough). Sprinkle flour on cutting board. Roll dough into a thin sheet and cut into squares. Let rest for 10 minutes. Add celery, onion, and carrot to broth. Simmer on medium heat. Drop dumplings one square at a time into boiling broth. Add salt, white pepper and black pepper to taste and simmer until tender, uncovered and unstirred. If you stir this mixture, your dumplings will disintegrate.

Note: You can stew chicken breasts in chicken broth if you do not wish to cook a whole chicken but the chicken flavor will not be as intense and you won’t have the gelatin from the bones to thicken the broth.

Green Chile Chipotle Rice

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

While this is not really a Mexican influenced dish, I like to serve it with enchiladas. The green chile and peppers bring the heat and flavor of New Mexico to it, and I will probably continue to tinker with it. I think I’m going to try sprinkling some chili powder on top of the cheese next time, can’t wait to see what that does.

1 cup jasmine rice
2 cups chicken broth, unsalted
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Cook rice in broth for 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork. Stir in:

1 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 cup roasted green chile
2 chopped chipotle peppers

Place in oven proof glass casserole dish (1.5 to 2 quart) Top with

1 -2 cups Fiesta grated cheese (Mexican blend)

Bake at 325 for 20 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Serve with enchiladas and beans, or any other main dish.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

This casserole qualifies as comfort food at my house. One of my “go to” recipes that will serve 4 to 6 guests and may be prepared ahead of time. I like to use the pre-cooked rotisserie chickens that are so readily available and the other ingredients are always in my pantry. The casserole can be prepared in around ten minutes, and you can make it a lower fat version by using Pam on the tortillas and microwaving them instead of frying them in oil. Low fat or no fat cheeses further reduce the calorie and fat content.

1 can cream of mushroom soup, low fat
1 can cream of chicken soup, low fat
1/2 cup reduced fat milk
2 cups cooked, diced chicken
2 cans chopped green chilies, drained
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cups (1 pint) reduced fat sour cream
1/4 teaspoon cumin
12 corn tortillas
3 cups grated Jack or Cheddar cheese
2 medium tomatoes (do not use canned tomatoes)

Put about 4 tablespoons oil in a skillet; fry tortillas, one at a time, until soft and pliable (about 30 seconds on each side, adding more oil if necessary). Drain tortillas on paper towels. After all are fried, saute onion in skillet until soft and golden; drain off excess oil. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, except tortillas and cheese. Spray Pam on 10″ X 14″ casserole; place 4 tortillas on bottom of casserole, tearing as necessary, to fit into a single layer. Spread about one third of mixture from bowl over the tortillas, then spread cup of cheese over the mixture. Repeat layers twice. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until cheese browns and bubbles. Remove from oven; let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

To lower calories, cottage cheese may be substituted for sour cream; blend with 1/2 cup milk called for in recipe until texture is like sour cream.

Mitchell Barbeque Sauce

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

My Dad loved to barbeque, and one of my favorite childhood meals happened when he barbequed pork chops over charcoal with this sauce sopped on when the chops were nearly done. Since it has a lot of sugar, if you put it on too quickly, the meat will blacken too much and you’ll have blackened pork chops. This recipe came from his family, I understand that Granddad Mitchell brought it from Louisiana. Our family fled Louisiana after the Civil War and came to Texas. Good move!! This sauce because of the high vinegar content will tenderize your meat if you also use it as a marinade before cooking. Forget about bottled sauce, this is the best!!

1 large can tomato juice
1 quart vinegar (preferably apple cider)
2 lb. bag brown sugar
3 -4 onions, peeled and sliced
3-4 lemons, sliced
8-10 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 bottle worcestershire sauce
1 bottle Tabasco hot sauce
Optional: 1 can tomato puree to thicken

Combine ingredients in large pot. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes, or you can reduce this by cooking longer. When the smell of sauce wafts through the air, remember all the joys of barbecues in the past.

Pour into quart canning jars. This does not require refrigeration. Use as a marinade or brush over barbeque in the last few minutes of grilling.

This recipe was from my Dad who got it from his Dad.

Chicken Bake

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

My sister Rose gave me this recipe. In our many years of recipe exchanges, this is my favorite. Rose lived in Syracuse, New York, for a few years and she brought this dish back with her from Syracuse. I’ve carried it to many friends when they lost a loved one and served it as a special meal for special guests (we call it a company meal in West Texas). While the ingredients list is not long, it has a complexity of flavors that I love. Of course, anything that contains the words “chicken” and “bake” that uses a stick of butter is going to be good.

1 chicken, cut up (do yourself a favor and buy a kosher chicken)
1 cup long grain rice
4 chicken bouillion cubes
1 can mushroom pieces (or splurge and have mushroom caps!)
1/4 cup pimientos
1 1/2 cups water
1 stick butter
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt

Salt & pepper chicken pieces. Brown in butter in a dutch oven. Remove chicken and saute pepper and onion until tender. Add pimientos, mushrooms, salt, mashed bouillion cubes, rice, and water. Mix well. Place chicken pieces on top, and bake in 325 oven for 1 1/2 hour.

Grandmother Mitchell’s Tamale Pie

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

My Grandmother Mitchell is a legendary cook in my family. She made blackberry cobblers I still dream about, and her turkey and dressing set the standard for holiday fare for us. Grandmother taught my Mom most of what she knew about cooking, and most of the things that Mom did really well were a product of this training. Tamale pies came on the scene during the depression. Using only 3/4 pounds of hamburger, this dish will feed a lot of people! I must confess I usually splurge and use a whole pound of hamburger. We love tamale pie for Christmas Eve dinners, and serve it with beans and rice and salsa. It’s a good way to prepare for the holiday season and a nice change from the usual holiday fare. The cornmeal mush that is the base for this recipe is a “polenta” and we love it! Thanks, Grandmother, now if you had only left us the recipe for your cobbler.

1 cup cornmeal
3 cups water (or chicken broth for extra flavor)
1 teaspoon salt

Place three ingredients in a large sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until you have a stiff cornmeal mush. Line a greased large baking dish with the mush, reserving enough to drop by teaspoons on top of casserole before baking the pie.

1 large onion
3/4 pounds hamburger
1 cup tomatoes
3 teaspoons chili powder
2 chopped green peppers
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions and meat in skillet; add remaining ingredients and pour over the mush. Drop remaining mush over the casserole, top with grated cheese if desired, and bake at 400 degrees until browned. Slice into squares, and serve with fresh salsa and beans. Serves 5 or 6 people.

Hint: I like to add crushed red pepper flakes to this filling . I also like to use chicken broth for the mush instead of water, and moisten it with some butter stirred into the mush to make a richer taste. I think Grandmother would approve.

Green Chile Burgers

August 30th, 2009
by: Blue

2 lbs of lean ground beef (preferably raised by my Daddy)
1 package onion soup mix
1 cup Hatch Green Chiles (or less, or more, whatever)
2 tablespoons worchester sauce
1-2 tablespoons water
Fresh ground pepper

Crumble the beef into a bowl. Add soup mix and green chiles and mix lightly. Add 1 tablespoon water and mix lightly. If the water is absorbed almost immediately add another tablespoon. This might sound bizarre but this adds a lot of moisture to the burger, which is critical for lean ground beef. Heck, add three tablespoons if you need too, along with fresh ground pepper to taste. When mixed the beef should not feel compact, it should almost like it’s going to fall apart when you form the patties and you’ll feel scared that it’ll survive grilling. This is your goal. After you form the patties (I made 6), you can chill them in the fridge to firm them up a bit. When you are ready to grill, lightly oil the grate and cook the burgers over medium high heat about 4-5 minutes each side. Grab a beer while you enjoy the amazing aroma of roasted green chiles and grilled beef.

Green Chile Chili

August 30th, 2009
by: Blue

WARNING: This recipe is named for the massive amount of green chiles in the leftover green chile burgers, and not for being traditional New Mexico Green Chili.  Proceed if you still desire deliciousness in your mouth.

Chopped onions, 1-2 cups
Leftover green chile burgers, crumbled (I had approximately 1 1/3 lbs leftover, weight prior to cooking. Precision not guaranteed)
1 can pinto beans, or substitute your bean of choice
2 cans Rotel tomatoes
2 teaspoons cumin
2 bay leaves
¼ cup chili powder, or to taste
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cups (1 quart) chicken broth
½ cup sofrito (optional, but add some garlic if you leave this out)

Saute onions in a bit of oil until softened. Add remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat until you can no longer resist the delicious aroma wafting through your house (at least two hours).

Sugar might seem unnecessary or weird, and I swear that Paula Deen did not tell me to do it!! The acidity of the tomatoes needed to be tamed during my taste tests and the tiny bit of sugar did the trick. This trick is something that is worthy of remembering, I pull it out of my sleeve frequently.

Thai Green Curry

April 20th, 2009
by: Blue

Read this for more information on the ingredients for Thai green curry.

1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
2-3 tablespoons green curry paste, to taste
1 medium chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 stalk fresh lemongrass (optional), white part only, cut in 1 inch pieces and “bruised”
6 kaffir lime leaves (optional), chopped
1 small can bamboo shoots
Approx 2 cups green beans, fresh or frozen
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (approx 15 oz can)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon brown sugar
fresh basil and cilantro

Add a tablespoon or so of oil to a pot over medium-high heat.  Saute onion for a few minutes.  Add the curry paste, ginger, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves and saute for a couple of minutes.  Throw the green beans and carrots in and again, saute for a few minutes.  Add coconut milk, chicken stock, brown sugar, and fish sauce.  Cover and let this simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add sliced chicken, give it a good stir, and let cook over low heat until chicken is cooked through (another 10 minutes or so).  Serve over jasmine rice and top with fresh basil and cilantro after plating.


I use all kinds of different veggies in this – it depends on what I have on hand.  Try it with sweet potatoes, eggplant, peas, potatoes, mushrooms, etc.  It’s all good.