Locked Down Cooking: Raiding the Freezer

I’m trying to clean out the freezer, using up items before my weekly shopping trip. Since I can’t run out to pick up something I may have forgotten, I’ve had to get creative as I cook. Here are two meals made from what was in the house on those days.

My favorite Oven-Baked Fried Chicken and mashed potatoes, with a little twist: smoked brisket gravy. The thing about oven-baked chicken is there’s not enough drippings to make a good gravy. But in my freezer, I had little secret ingredient to make a great, smoky gravy: burnt ends. These were leftover from my very first smoked brisketContinue reading

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.

 

Pan Biscuits and Chicken Gravy

 

This was a cross between biscuits and gravy and chicken pot pie.  I went with this recipe for the biscuits.  I’ve made it before but this time I used an 8×8 inch glass pan.  I should have stayed with my larger hotel pan because the biscuits took way longer to bake than the recipe indicated.  After I took the pic I tried to plate some biscuits for the dinner but they were not yet done, I had to give them 10 more minutes past the 25 I had set the timer for and they were still not quite right.

The chicken was leftover from the “Winner, Winner..” post the other day, and the gravy was just a simple white sauce with powdered mustard, a few ounces of Parmesan, plus the remaining chicken gravy.  I steamed some more veggies to add to it.  I was hungry when I put the biscuits into the oven and ravenous by the time they were finally done.

Garlic Herbed Butter Roasted Chicken

I grabbed a big chicken at the store the other day, I was thinking beer-butt roasted fryer chicken for Sunday dinner but when I went to put it into the fridge  I saw the “roasting chicken” right there on the wrapper.  No problem!  A quick search led me to this recipe.  I had some fresh rosemary, bought for the porchetta last week.A quick slather and we were ready for the oven.  I ran it at 400° on the convection roast setting.  I mixed the soft butter with several cloves of roasted garlic rather than fresh garlic.  I did add fresh garlic to the cavity, and several cloves went under the bird along with the onions, celery, and carrots.I more or less destroyed the breast quarter, Mrs J got the leg and thigh.  The juices strained from the bottom of the pan made a killer gravy.  A baked potato and steamed veggies rounded out the meal.

Pie Pr0n

DSC_2008(1600x1200)I had a couple of pre-made pie crusts I bought on a whim.  We went with a beef filling that included carrots, onions, potatoes, and mushrooms.  The beef was from an all day simmer in the crockpot, the mushrooms, onions, and celery were sauteed in olive oil, and the potatoes and carrots were both boiled until tender before being combined with Bisto gravy made with the water the veggies were boiled in.20160801_122645(1600x1200)I like an egg wash on these savory pies, and a good sprinkle of kosher salt.  I baked this deep dish pie for what seemed like hours in a 350 oven and the crust just would not brown for me until I placed it into my toaster oven set to broil.  I gave it a good brushing with butter before it went under.DSC_2010(1600x1200)

A Nice Couscous Side Dish

DSC_0997 (1600x1060)I had the pork chops cooking before I had settled on a side dish.  Mashed potatoes or rice would have usually been my choice but I spied some couscous in the back of the cabinet.  The basic package directions would have worked just fine but I did a search just to see what was out there and saw this one that called for cherry tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan.  I still have one cherry tomato bush in the back garden that is pretty well grown up with grass and weeds but it yielded enough for the recipe.  I’ve let my basil go to seed but there are still plenty of young, tender leaves on it.  It worked just fine as a side, although it was a shame to waste all that good gravy!IMG_20150916_122343052 (1600x1200)Bonus critter shot!  Katie and Homer taking time for a little shut eye.  Homer stays out in the garage all night because he doesn’t get along with Toby.  Mrs J lets Toby out in the morning and Homer comes in.  He must spend all night awake because he sleeps pretty much all day long.  Tired kitteh.