Hassleback Potatoes – A Chicklets in the Kitchen Blog Post

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This is the time of year for entertaining and while I’m a mashed potatoes kind of girl, once in a while it’s nice to change things up. Hassleback potatoes are named for the Austrian restaurant that developed them. Deceptively simple to make and very elegant on the plate, these are delicious.

Hardware

Cutting Board

Knife

Baking pan (I was cooking for two so I only needed an 8-inch square pan)

Large metal or wooden spoon

Small saucepan for melting butter

 

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Ingredients

4 whole, peeled Yukon gold potatoes (Other recipes I saw called for baking potatoes (russets) or even sweet potatoes.) The potatoes I used were small so we had two each. Judge your needs accordingly.

1 stick butter

Salt and Pepper

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Melt the butter over low heat.

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Place the potato in the bowl of the spoon and make horizontal (1/4 inch’ish apart) cuts in the potato down to the spoon being careful not to cut all the way through.

Repeat with all of the potatoes.

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Place in the baking pan and using a spoon, drizzle half of the butter into the cuts on each potato. I ended up using my fingers to get the butter into each cut. Salt and pepper to taste.

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Bake at 425F for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle the remaining butter over the potatoes and cook another 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, test for doneness, then plate.

Optional: Mix together 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of grated parmesan and romano cheese, top the potatoes with this mixture, doing your best to get it into the leaves of potato, at the 40-minute point then drizzle with the remaining butter. Finish baking for 20 minutes.

Serves 2 – 4 based on potato size.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What is your favorite kind of potatoes? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Cranberry Orange Relish: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Cranberry Orange Relish

Cranberry Orange Relish

I’m jumping the holiday gun just a little. Since my posts appear on the 25th, I wanted to share this before your Thanksgiving holiday meal. This is the cranberry sauce I grew up with. It used to be right on the back of the 12 oz Ocean Spray fresh cranberry bag but this year when I looked, it wasn’t. I had to go to http://www.OceanSpray.com where it, and a good many other holiday recipes, are located and download it. This is also great because there’s no cooking, freeing up a burner on your stove for other things, like gravy!

Hardware

Food Processor

Cutting Board

Knife

Bowl

Rubber Spatula

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Ingredients

1 12oz bag fresh cranberries

1 navel orange, unpeeled, cut into eighths and seeded

3/4 to 1 cup sugar

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Place half the cranberries and half the orange slices in food processor container. Process until mixture is evenly chopped. Transfer to a bowl.

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Repeat with remaining cranberries and orange slices. Stir in sugar. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Makes about 3 cups.

NOTE: May also be prepared in a food grinder.

Per Serving: (1/4 cup) Cal. 67 (3% DV), Fat Cal. 0, Pro. 0g (0% DV), Carb. 17g (5% DV), Fat 0g (0% DV), Chol. 0mg (0% DV), Sod. 0mg (0% DV), Vit. A 4RE (0% DV), Vit. C 10mg (16% DV), Vit. E 0mg (0% DV), Calcium 6mg (0% DV), Folate 4Ug (0% DV), Zinc 0mg (0% DV), Pot. 40mg (1% DV), Dietary Exchange: Fruit 1

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What is your favorite holiday recipe? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Tomato Soup: Chicklets in the Kitchen

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It’s the end of summer and I have a glut of tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes. Fortunately, the variety I chose for this year has that cherry tomato sweetness but isn’t too sweet. What to do with a giant bowl full of cherry tomatoes? Why tomato soup, of course! A few random Amish Paste and Early Girls found their way into the soup as well but it’s all good. The batch ended up making 3 pints of soup. Half a pint made it into my lunch but the rest I froze for future meals. Happy cooking and eating.

Hardware

4 Quart Pot

Cutting Board

Knife

1 or ½ pint freezer containers

Immersion Blender

 

Ingredients

Bowl full of cherry tomatoes, washed

¼ cup sliced onion

2 med garlic cloves, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Slice the onion and garlic. Cut the tomatoes in half.

Add ½ cup of water to the pot.

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Drop in the onion, garlic, and tomatoes, and salt and pepper.

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Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about an hour.

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Right in the pot, use the immersion blender to blend the mixture until smooth. Serve up bowls full for lunch or supper. Freeze the rest.

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NOTE: I did not strain the blended soup to remove the seeds. I kind of like the seedy chew but if you don’t, go ahead and strain the seeds out.

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Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What do you do with your tomato abundance? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Peach Shortcake

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Mid-Summer in my neck of the woods means peaches. My peach tree tends to ripen late July, depending on the weather. It held off to the 1st week in August when all the peaches ripened just about at once. Nothing like an avalanche of peaches to make you put on your thinking cap. After giving away a LOT! I decided peach shortcake would be just the thing. Now it’s not complicated, but after all those peaches, I didn’t have too much brain power left. And it’s hot! So why not peach shortcake for supper. Or breakfast!

Hardware

Medium Bowl

Cutting Board

Knife

Individual serving bowls

 

Ingredients

Bowl full of peaches, washed

½ to 1 cup sugar (your choice)

Can of Whipped Cream

Shortcake

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Cut the peaches in half, remove the pit, chop up and put in the bowl. Continue until all of the peaches are chopped up. I didn’t peel them, just chopped them into bite-sized chunks.

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Pour sugar over the fruit. I know. Peaches are already sweet, especially ones ripened on the tree. But the sugar makes a syrup that you really need to have to pour over the short cake. Let stand in the refrigerator all day or all night to develop the syrup.

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In an individual bowl. Place your short cake/pound cake/muffin (I used a gluten free muffin, hubby used a generous slice of Sara Lee Pound Cake).

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Scoop generous portions of fruit over the cake.

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Spray your whipped cream over all. I’m pretty generous as you can see from the photo. If I hadn’t been lazy that day I’d have made home-made whipped cream. It’s just better, but, you know. Summer, lazy, heat. It was delicious.

Left over fruit can be used in yogurt, cereal, crepes, the sky is the limit.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What do you do with your peachy abundance? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Chile Spice Mix: Chicklets in the Kitchen Blog Post

Finished Jar of Chili Spice Mix

Finished Jar of Chili Spice Mix

I know. I missed May and June. I can only plead that I was super busy but I haven’t forgotten you. Today I’m talking about chili spice. What’s that? It’s a spice mix that I use to flavor my chili! I know a lot of people just by those little packets at the store. That would work except I’m Celiac and most of those packets have additives in them that I can’t eat. Well, what’s a girl to do who likes chili? Make it myself. There are tons of recipes out there for the spices for chili. I started with a recipe that is courtesy of Tyler Florence from Food Network. I added my own twists.

This spice mix can also be used as a dry rub. I love it on spare and country ribs, especially.

I’m still trying to perfect my dish but here’s the recipe.

Hardware

Food Processor

Meauring Spoons

Wax Paper

Canning Jar (to store it, especially if you double the batch)

 

The Chili Spice Mix Ingredients

The Chili Spice Mix Ingredients

Ingredients

3 dried ancho peppers, stemmed and seeded

2 T dried oregano (I used dried oregano from my garden)

2 T smoked paprika (my twist to Tyler’s recipe which called for sweet paprika)

2 T whole coriander

1 T cumin seed

1 T chili powder

1 T dried cilantro (my twist)

1 tsp cocoa powder (My twist. Every heard of mole?)

½ tsp cinnamon (my twist)

Breaking up the Chilies

Breaking up the Chilies

Get the food processor set up and ready to use. Spread the wax paper on the counter in front of you and by hand, open up the dried anchos, seed them and break the chilies up into small pieces. I’ve tried using big pieces but they just don’t grind up as well. No one wants to bite into a big chunk of a chili. If you’re smarter than I am, wear food prep gloves. Otherwise your fingers will be burning for hours. You could use the seed to flavor a cup of olive oil for hot chili oil and lemon spaghetti another day.

Chop the chilies

Chop the chilies

Add the whole coriander and cumin seed to the food processor.

Chilies, Corriander, and Cumin seed, chopped fine

Chilies, Corriander, and Cumin seed, chopped fine

Spin those together until the peppers, the coriander and the cumin seed and fine. My husband does NOT like biting into a coriander seed. So while I think it’s a big flavor punch, I try to get them crushed well

Heaping tablespoon of whole dried Oregano

Heaping tablespoon of whole dried Oregano

Add the dried oregano and cilantro. Pulse again to make those fine.

Adding powdered spices: Paprika, chili powder, cocoa and cinnamon

Adding powdered spices: Paprika, chili powder, cocoa and cinnamon

Add the powdered spices: paprika, chili powder, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Pulse again.

Spin again, covering the hole so you don't get spice mix all over the kitchen

Spin again, covering the hole so you don’t get spice mix all over the kitchen

Be careful as you take the lid of the processor on and off. The volatile oils from the dried chili will fry your nasal passages.

Final Mix

Final Mix

Storage

Storage

Pour the mix into a bowl and then into a storage jar. Glass is best, it won’t stain the way a plastic container might. Also note, the chilies did stain the bowl of my food processor. If you know of a way to get rid of the stain, I’d like to hear it.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you make your own herb or spice mix? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Chicken Cordon Bleu: Chicklets in the Kitchen

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Finished Cordon Bleu

Once in awhile, I like to get fancy and in February, I did just that. I happened to have ham and swiss cheese on hand and boneless chicken breast in the freezer so I decided to make chicken cordon bleu.

The first time I ever had this dish was when my husband and I were stationed in West Germany in the late 70’s. We went to a local Gast Haus (pub) in the small town where we lived and I spotted it on the menu. I’d heard of it in movies and books. Here was my chance to try it. It arrived on a plate by itself and covered the entire plate. Crispy and golden brown on the outside, the inside was a delight of tender white chicken wrapped around a ham and cheese center that just oozed out onto the plate when I cut into it.

I’m still trying to perfect my dish but here’s the recipe.

Hardware

3 pie plates for the egg, flour, and bread crumb

Large frying pan

Cookie sheet lined with wax paper

Cookie sheet lined with foil and cooling racks

Long sharp knife

Cutting board

Wooden toothpicks

Wax Paper

Mallet or rolling pin to pound out the chicken breast

 

Ingredients

1 chicken breast per person, I used three as I was expecting a guest

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Cup flour (I used gluten free flour) seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs. I used dried thyme.

1 Cup bread Crumbs (I used gluten free crumbs I made myself)

2 eggs slightly whisked

2 slices ham per chicken breast

2 slices Swiss Cheese per chicken Breast

Vegetable Oil for frying

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

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Boneless Whole Chicken Breast

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Butterfly the Chicken

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Butterflied

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Pound Thin

 

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All Butterflied

Butterfly each chicken breast lengthwise. Place between sheets of wax paper and pound uniformly thin. Place on the cookie sheet, lined with wax paper to hold until all breasts are prepared.

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Black Forest Ham and Swiss Cheese

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Line Half the breast with the Ham

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Top with the Swiss Cheese

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Secure all edges with toothpicks

Line one-half of each breast with the ham slices and cheese. Do your best to avoid the ham and cheese hanging outside of the breast. Fold over and secure edges with the toothpicks.

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Preheat Frying Pan

Add oil to the frying pan and heat to medium.

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1st egg wash

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Coat with flour

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2nd egg wash

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Coat with Crumbs

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Brown the bundles

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Holding until ready to fry

Dip the filled chicken bundles in the egg, the flour to coat, then the egg, then the crumbs. Put the breaded chicken in the frying pan. Brown on both sides and move to the foil lined cookie sheet and place on the wire racks.

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Brown on Both Sides

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Ready for the Oven

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Baking

Bake for 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes. Serve. I had grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes as my sides.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Have you ever had chicken cordon bleu? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

AuGratin Potatoes: Chicklets in the Kitchen

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The Tools: Potatoes, Cheese Sauce, Mandolin and Oiled Casserole Dish.

I’ve done scalloped potatoes on this blog before and AuGratin Potatoes are a close relation to them. I won’t go into the making of a white sauce again but all you have to do for AuGratin sauce is add in a cup or two of shredded cheese and your sauce is done. I used left-over sauce that I’d made a few days earlier for macaroni and cheese.

I don’t usually get this fancy but I had friends coming over for dinner and thought this would be a great side dish. The rest of the meal was grilled chicken thighs and grilled asparagus. Yummy!

Hardware

One 2 quart casserole dish oiled or buttered

Mandolin (or sharp knife)

 

Ingredients

3 pounds of white or yellow potatoes. I love Yukon Golds.

Salt and pepper to taste

Cheese sauce, about 3 cups

Milk or half and half to thin out the cheese sauce

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

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Potatoes and Mandolin

If you have a mandolin, it makes the job faster and easier but using a knife is just as effective. Slice the potatoes.

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Put the slices into the casserole.

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Warming up the cheese sauce so the casserole doesn’t take so long to come up to temperature.

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Adding milk, salt and pepper to the cheese sauce

Salt and pepper the sauce. It makes seasoning the potatoes a lot easier.

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Saucing the potatoes

Pour the cheese sauce over the potatoes, doing a little stir to make sure the sauce gets to the bottom. Add the milk or half and half and stir again if there isn’t enough sauce to cover.

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Casserole covered and ready to go into a 350 degree oven.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes for the boiling to subside. Serve

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The finished AuGratin casserole

Feeds 6.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your favorite potato recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

 

Individual Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

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Finished individual scalloped potatoes with green beans and sirloin steak

One of my favorite dishes is scalloped potatoes. My mom taught me to make it in a huge pan and nestle pork chops into it for a delicious one pan meal that fed two parents and six hungry kids. I have posted a gluten-free version of it on this website in the past. Today I’m sharing a recipe I saw on a Facebook post. Have you ever done that? Seen something that looked tasty on Facebook and gave it a try?

Well, I did, mainly because this recipe looked easy and used very few ingredients. I love my traditional scalloped potatoes but it involves a lot of steps. Hey, I thought, let me try this easier version.

Hardware

One 12 cup muffin tin

Bowl (to hold potato slices)

Mandolin (or sharp knife)

 

Ingredients

One large sweet potato, peeled and sliced thin

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 tsp dried thyme, or fresh if you have it

1 pint heavy cream

Vegetable oil

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

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If you have a mandolin, it makes the job faster and easier but using a knife is just as effective. Be sure to get sweet potatoes. There is a difference between the light yellow sweet potatoes and the dark orange yams we’re used to having at Thanksgiving. The yams would certainly work as would regular potatoes. Lots of options.

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In the bowl, mix the potatoes, melted butter, salt, pepper, and thyme.

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Lightly oil the muffin cups. Layer the potatoes in each muffin tin.

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Pour the cream into each cup. I had to lift the layers up to let the cream get all the way in.

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Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes for the boiling to subside. Serve 2 cups per person.

Feeds 6.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your favorite potato recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.

Chicken Noodle Cassarole: Chicklets in the Kitchen

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Chicken Noodle Casserole

Leftovers. I know. It’s Christmas Day. You’re going to have left-over turkey, or beef, or even pork. Or later in the year, you’ll have left-over chicken, but not enough for everyone. What to do? Chop it up and mix it into a casserole. That way one chicken leg and thigh quarter will feed four instead of just one or two!

Mid-December I roasted four leg and thigh quarters because I was expecting company. They had to cancel at the last minute, so that meant I had leftover chicken. Not a problem. Hubby polished off some in his salad the next day. Then he asked if I’d make chicken noodle casserole. I was good with that.

So, here’s how you do it.

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Ingredients for Chicken Noodle Casserole

Hardware

2 quart sauce pan

2 quart casserole dish, lightly coated bottom and sides with olive oil

Silicone spatula

Food Ingredients

2 Cups of left-over chicken

1/2 pound of pasta (I use gluten free)

2 Cans of Progresso Gluten Free Cream of Mushroom Soup

1/2 – 1 cup chopped Celery

1/2 cup chopped onion

Tablespoon dried sage

1/2 tsp dried garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

Fresh ground pepper

Optional: Instead of the canned soup, use 4 cups of white sauce, seasoned to taste.

 

Directions

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Pasta in Boiling Water

Bring water in the saucepan to a boil. Add the pasta. Cook only half-way, about 7 minutes (for my pasta), then drain and rinse.

Set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Saute Onions, Celery, herbs and salt and pepper

After you drain the pasta, in the same saucepan melt 2 T of butter and sauté the onion and celery until they begin to soften. Add the salt, pepper, and herbs. Add the canned soup (or the white sauce).

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Corn starch Slurry

Note: I only had one can of the soup so I used a cup of milk (lactose free for the hubby) and a couple of tablespoons of corn starch to make a slurry. I added that to the onion/celery mix first and let it begin to thicken, then added the soup. Add the chicken.

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Slurry and Soup into the Onions and Celery

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Chicken Added to the Mix

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Pasta in the Dish

Put the pasta in the oiled casserole dish. Pour the saucepan mix over it and mix well. Add more milk or water if you think you need more sauce.

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Pour Chicken Mix over the Pasta

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Mix Pasta and Chicken Sauce

Put into the heated oven for half an hour. Remove the lid and cook another 15 minutes to get those lovely brown crunchy bits on top. Remove from oven and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite casserole recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Basic Water Fondant: Chicklets in the Kitchen

Finished Peppermint patties and Truffles by Connie Cockrell

Mid-November, I start thinking about Christmas. A bit of thought is required because I like to make candy and ship packages of it back to my family in New York. The problem is timing. Mail slows down, a lot!, in December. So I want to get it in the mail as soon as possible after Thanksgiving so it can reach its destination in time to be enjoyed for the holiday. That means candy-making is competing for time with National Novel Writing Month, garden clean-up, conferences and Thanksgiving.

One thing I can do to help myself is to make some of the candy in advance. A family favorite is homemade peppermint patties. Fondant is the key to that creamy filling. Since I don’t live near a baking/candy store where I can buy packages of it, I make it myself.

This recipe is taken from the book, Homemade Candy by the food editors of Farm Journal and edited by Nell B. Nichols. Copyright 1970.

So, here’s how you do it.

Hardware and Ingredients for Fondant by Connie Cockrell

Hardware

Liquid and glass measuring cups

1 cookie sheet

2-quart stainless steel pot

Silicone spatula

Bench Scraper

Food Ingredients

2 cups white sugar

2 T light corn syrup

3/4 cup boiling water

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 tsp almond extract

 

Directions

Almond extract is the traditional flavoring for fondant. Since I’m using the fondant for peppermint patties, I use peppermint extract. You can use any flavor you like: strawberry, maple, lemon, it’s all up to you.

All Ingredients combined and stirred

Combine all ingredients, except the extract and chocolate, in the 2-quart heavy saucepan and stir gently over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. I say stir gently because like all candy, you want to keep as much sugar crystallization off of the sides of the pot as possible.

 

 

Bring sugar mixture to a boil.

Bring the mixture to a boil.

Cover and Boil 1 Minute

Cover and boil for 1 minute. (This gives the steam inside a chance to wash any sugar crystals off of the sides of the pan.)

No picture of the next step. Sorry.

Remove the lid and cook to the soft ball stage, 238 to 240 degrees F. If you live in a high altitude area as I do, you’ll have to modify the temperature range to fit your altitude. See note below about my mistake. That step goes here!

Pour Mixture onto a cool, moist baking sheet

Pour at once onto a cool, moist baking sheet, platter or marble slab. Let cool until lukewarm.

Work with Spatula until smooth and creamy

Work with a broad spatula or wooden paddle until fondant is white and creamy. Add your extract of choice. Knead until smooth.

Place in plastic bag to mellow

Put in a plastic bag and close tightly. Place in refrigerator to mellow at least 24 hours or for several weeks!

 

 

 

 

Now, here’s a note. I tried three times to make this fondant.

Fondant is not turning creamy and white

You can see pictures here of the fondant not becoming creamy and white. It wasn’t until I was typing up this post that I see where I made my mistake. So if the fondant doesn’t come out, one fix is to add confectioner’s sugar.

Confectioner's Sugar to Fix

Poured mix into a bowl for easier mixing

Close to correct consistency

I added half a pound of sugar before it became the correct, well, close to correct consistency. I tried again a couple of days later and made the same mistake. That time I let the fondant sit on the cookie sheet, working it every half hour until it was close to the correct consistency.

Working the Fondant

What was my mistake? I skipped the cooking to soft ball stage step. Color me red! I wanted to share that fail with all of you. Not everything done in the kitchen comes out right. Laugh, and keep on going.

When you’re ready to make your patties, pull the fondant out of the fridge, and divide into 4 equal portions. Knead the fondant until soft then press into shape. For me, this would be one inch balls that I then press into a disk shape. I put the disks on a cookie sheet and let the fondant develop a skin. This will allow the discs to hold their shape when I dip them into warm, dark chocolate. Place the dipped candy on a wax or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet to harden in a cool place.

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your favorite candy recipe or biggest kitchen disaster in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books atwww.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.