November 11, 2016

Rich and Brown Crockpot Chicken


Are you ready for a crockpot chicken dish that will completely knock your socks off? Are you also ready for your taste buds to explode? If you do you need to read this recipe. Then promptly head to the supermarket {and the Wine and Spirits for the Marsala wine if you need it!} and purchase these ingredients to make this dish. This is a fairly quick crockpot recipe - I cooked the chicken on high for 5 hours, so it's not an all-day-er like most crockpot dishes.  Although, you could absolutely let it cook on low for a full 8 hours so that it is ready for you over a workday.

The flavors in the dish are so complex and magical; you should have heard the ooos and aaaaahs when we were eating dinner last Sunday.  The ingredients are simple and not very many – here's what I used:

Ingredients

10 Chicken thighs, bone in and skin on!
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
Salt, Pepper and Granulated Garlic, to taste
1 Large or 2 Small Onions, Sliced
1/2 Cup Marsala Wine
1 Packet Knorr Leek Recipe Mix (Vegetable Recipe Mix can be used too!)
1 Can Golden Mushroom Soup
1 Can Chicken Broth






{Season your chicken on both sides with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. I was sure to season this very well to create a good flavor base for this dish. Any chicken parts can be used; as long as they are skin-on and bone-in which also adds to the flavor. }


{In a hot heavy-bottomed skillet on medium heat, add the olive oil and begin browning the chicken.}


{Let this sizzle and brown for about 4-5 minutes per side.  No need to cook all the way through, these will obviously finish cooking in the crockpot.  This browning step not only seals in the chicken juices, but the skin caramelizes and creates this rich flavor base for the entire dish.


{Once the chicken is seared on each side, remove from the pan.}


{Drain any excess oil from the pan, leaving 1-2 tablespoons.  Over medium heat, sauté the onions and cook for about 5 minutes until they start to brown.}


{Add the marsala wine and let it bubble for about 3 minutes so that the alcohol evaporates a bit.}


{With a spatula, lightly scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. All that crispy brown goodness is definitely needed to help flavor the dish! :)}                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

{Sprinkle in the Leek Recipe Mix and mix it well.  The leek mix is sometimes hard to find – if you are unable to locate it, feel free to use vegetable recipe mix, which will be just as good.}


{Add the can of golden mushroom soup then mix to combine.}



{Next add in your chicken broth and mix well.  Let it simmer for another minute or two.}


{As it bubbles, taste for salt an pepper.  I didn't need salt but I added some fresh cracked pepper.} 




{Put the browned chicken in the crockpot...}


{And pour your flavorful brown sauce all over.  Let it cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 8. It will be falling off the bone and completely delicious!


{We had ours over rice and I also made my braised kale to accompany it. What an insanely superb Sunday dinner!}

Please let me know if you try this one! I'd love to hear how you liked it.

xoxo,

September 13, 2016

Easy Creamy Macaroni and Cheese











This recipe for creamy macaroni and cheese impressed me so very much, I could not wait to share it here on the blog! This was the second time I made this dish and it came out 100% perfect both times.  

Before initially making it back in July, I had never made macaroni and cheese that started with a Béchamel sauce.  My go-to macaroni and cheese is simply mixed and baked – which comes out perfectly well but let me tell you! This creamy macaroni and cheese may just be the BEST macaroni and cheese I have ever eaten. YES. You heard that right.  The flavors are unbelievable.  The texture is amazing. This can be made in whatever portion size you would like - a small batch for two people or a HUGE batch for a dinner event.

Ingredients

1 Box Pasta, Cooked  {you can use traditional macaroni noodles but I decided to use Cavatappi and I LOVED the texture they gave this dish. It was so hearty I found that it yielded more portions}
6 Tablespoons Stick Butter 
1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 12 Ounce Can Evaporated Milk
2 Cups Half and Half
1 Heaping Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper
3 8 Ounce Blocks Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Divided {it is IMPERETIVE that you use fresh cheese and grate it yourself.  The pre-grated / shredded bagged stuff just won't cut it in this recipe. In a pinch, you probably could use it but I would never compromise the flavor of this dish by taking that shortcut. :)


 

{In a heavy bottomed large pot, melt your butter over medium-low heat.}


{Once the butter is melted, add in your flour.}


{Begin whisking immediately to work out any lumps.  Continue to whisk this until it starts to brown, about 4 minutes. You want to slightly cook the flour/butter mixture.}


{Slowly add the evaporated and continue to mix, working any visible lumps.}


{Keep whisking those lumps out! The key to making a good Béchamel is getting it as smooth and creamy as possible.}
 

{Slowly add in your half and half. Continue whisking.}


{Season the sauce with the Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. The Dijon is an essential ingredient.  It REALLY brings out the cheese flavor in this dish.  It provides just the right amount of characteristic savor that it needs.}


{Once you mix the salt, pepper and Dijon in, reduce the heat a bit let it slightly simmer for a minute or two.}


{Add 2 {of the 3} 8 ounce cubes of your {FRESHLY GRATED!!} cheese and mix it in well to melt down into the sauce.}




{Keep whisking this it until the cheese has melted down and the sauce is thick and creamy.  Taste it for seasoning, I added a pinch more of salt and pepper.}




{Add your pasta and mix it until you have coated every single piece. Try very hard not to devour the entire pot and I am warning you – it WILL BE HARD! LOL! You could serve this now and it would be absolutely delicious but I think the next steps kick this dish up a bit.}


{Spread the macaroni and cheese mixture into a 9"x13" baking dish.}


{Sprinkle the last 8 ounce block of grated cheese over it along with a bit of paprika.  This helps give the dish a nice tan while in the oven. :)}


{Bake for about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until it is bubbly and golden brown.}




{The creaminess is out of this WORLD! I man BEYOND. This is the most perfect pan of macaroni and cheese that will ever come out of your kitchen. And that's a promise.}



Serve it up and bask in your accomplishment while everyone who tastes it raves and raves. LOL! There really isn't much more to say. I hope you give this one a try! :)

xoxo, thanks for reading!