Modified Sonoma Chicken Salad

Here’s the original recipe

I was craving this salad enough to go out and get pecans today. I also grabbed a bottle of poppyseed dressing to take a shortcut in preparation.

Modified Sonoma Chicken Salad

  • 1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup poppyseed dressing
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole cranberry sauce*

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, poppyseed dressing, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad. This can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. When ready to serve, toss dressing with chicken, pecans, cranberry sauce.

Serve on crusty rolls or I really like them on romaine lettuce leaves.

*I have cranberries in the freezer as a staple, so I made my own whole cranberry sauce.

Also, I never post photos of this because I always use fresh cranberries and unlike dried cranberries, it turns the entire salad pinkish.

Multi Pot: Chicken and Dumplings

I’ve updated my Chicken and Dumpling recipe for the Instant Pot/Multi-Pot version.

Creamy Chicken & Dumplings

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts*
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs*
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of parsley
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped, w/leaves
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 32 oz chicken broth or water
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk or cream

Instant pot (I have a Multi-Pot)

Cut chicken into large pieces. Heat oil with the saute feature, add chicken and brown. Add remaining ingredients (except flour, butter & milk). Set to soup setting and pressure cook for 20 minutes.  Let pressure release naturally. Continue reading

More Stir Fry

The chicken marinade was black bean/garlic sauce, Thai sweet chili sauce, Chinese cooking wine, mushroom soy, and sweet soy sauce plus a lot of minced ginger and fresh garlic.The veggies steamed concurrently with the chicken cooking in the wok and everything was timed to be ready when the rice was done.  And it happened just that way!  I dumped the veggies into the chicken to coat with the sauce.  Yay!

Christmas Eve Menu

Every year, around Thanksgiving, I ask my Christmas Eve guests what they want at our annual soiree.

This year we settled on fairly simple, yet tasty menu:

Oven Fried Buttermilk Chicken 

This will be a tweaked recipe – kind of combining two of my favorite recipes. I’ve done a couple of practice batches – can’t have too much oven fried chicken! – and once I have it perfected, I’ll post.

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

I’m doing my no boil mashed potatoes (recipe here) and serving it fully loaded with sour cream, bacon and cheddar cheese. Also gravy.

Cajun Gravy

This will be a spicy mix of sausage, bacon, minced chicken hearty gravy.

Bacon, Tomato, Green Beans

Pretty simple – tossing green beans with bacon (and bacon grease) and sliced grape tomatoes in a skillet until tender.

And finally, dessert will be the ever popular Ice Cream Sundae Bar

Premium vanilla bean ice cream served with choice of toppings – caramel, chocolate, peanuts, walnuts and sliced bananas

Photos and recipes to follow.

 

Multi-Pot Recipes: Shredded Chicken, Two Ways

My multi-pot electric pressure cooker is 6 qt, so I like to fill it up when I’m using it. I bought a large package of boneless chicken breasts and instead of freezing half, I decided to cook them all up. I used the steaming tray and add just enough water to come up to the bottom of the tray. I also added 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar. I seasoned the breasts with salt, pepper and garlic.

I layered them in the pot and pressed the chicken setting and walked away. That’s my favorite part of this, I don’t have to babysit it. It even has a warming feature if I need to be away from it for a while after it depressurizes.

Once it had depressurized, I divided the chicken in half, shredded both halves. I removed the liquid from the pot and saved it to add to my next broth session.

I added half the chicken back to the pot, stirred in a generous amount of barbecue sauce (we like Sweet Baby Rays here) and turned on the slow cooker feature. I let it simmer on the low setting for a couple of hours, just to get the flavors good and incorporated.  I then used it for BBQ Chicken Sandwiches.

The remainder of the chicken, I put into a bowl, coated with hot wing sauce – I happened to try Sweet Baby Rays wing sauce and it’s pretty good. I then refrigerated it and had for lunches as a Buffalo Chicken Salad, tossed with blue cheese dressing, and paired with my new favorite soup, Creamy Roasted Poblano, recipe here.



 

Chicken Ramen

Ramen has a rap about it being a cheap as dirt staple of starving students.  While absolutely true, it makes a very tasty base for more upscale dinners.  I like poaching an egg or two in the broth.  I put a daub of sambal in mine.You could leave the egg in the simmering broth long enough to get beyond the runny yolk phase but that is not something I would do.  The yolk adds a richness to the broth that is hard to beat.

Fried Rice

Fried rice is one of the easiest things, but be sure to use older rice that has dried out some.  This lunch was the happy result of finding a baggie of rice in the back of freezer beyond during an exploration this morning.  I also used up a single link of garlic pepper sausage left over from a breakfast a few days past.  Saute the sausage or ham or whatever in sesame oil, add the peas and carrots and chopped green onions and sweat those for a few minutes, add the rice and warm that up.  Lastly stir in some oyster sauce and a little soy sauce.  I usually add in some scrambled egg but this time I didn’t.The chicken was dredged in flour, fried, and set aside.  It has a sauce of honey, garlic, ginger, chili paste, and soy sauce that was simmered to warm and reduce.  Add the chicken to it and toss to coat.  The green beans were steamed and chilled, then re-warmed in a pan with garlic and sesame oil.