Chicken with Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

Chicken with Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

Recipes in this Post

My best friend’s mother, Joan, used to make the best chicken. I was very close to Joan, and paid attention when she cooked. I think this was my favorite, and she was nice enough to give me the recipe.

I loved Joan for other reasons, too. Joan was the manager of a high-end gift shop in Beverly Hills, and she had very good taste. Her house was beautifully decorated, and well-organized. Everything had a place, and everything had a job, even the legs on the cast iron dining room table. It’s job was to bite us on the toe as we passed by it and weren’t paying attention.

Joan taught me a lot of stuff. She taught me the right jewelry to wear with what outfit, she taught me the importance of being organized, she taught me how to make the Hot Dogs with Mashed Potatoes and Cheese (Spane’s favorite), and she taught me how to make this chicken dish. She loved me like her own daughter, and I loved her like the mother I lost when I was 15 years old. When I moved out of her place, she gave me metal prep bowls and a stainless steel wok. Despite all the moving I have done, I still have those bowls and that wok, and use them frequently.

Fresh Water ChestnutsThe only thing Joan did not teach me was about fresh water chestnuts. My grocer taught me about those. They look like ginger fingers, and sliced thinly, they are very crisp with a nice flavor. I don’t know about you, but I always avoid water chestnuts when I find them in Chinese food because those have no flavor. But, the fresh ones? They have a very subtle flavor, almost like a potato. If you can find them, I highly recommend them.

Sadly, Joan died just before Spane was born, but I know she watches over us. I love you, Mom!

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Enchiladas with Three Pepper Sauce

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Enchiladas with Three Pepper Sauce

Enchiladas with Three Pepper Sauce

I have been making these Enchiladas with Three Pepper Sauce for years. They are similar to Enchiladas Verde or Enchiladas Suizas. Even though there are three different types of peppers in the sauce, Pablano, Anaheim, and Jalapeño, the sauce is very mild. Because the peppers and tomatoes are charred, the flavor is really spectacular.

When I was a little girl, living in Germany, my father used to make enchiladas. My father was a major in the U.S. Army, and he loved to make Mexican food. I’m not sure why he wanted to do this, or even where he managed to get ingredients, but he made flaming salsa and flaming enchiladas on a regular basis. I learned early on to have a big glass of milk with my dinner when the Major cooked. My mother could never understand how I could gobble up my father’s spicy food. She used to kid me and tell me I was Paul Fierro’s child, and not my father’s. For those of you who want to know, yes I am most definitely my father’s daughter. Oddly enough, when I finally met Paul Fierro, I told my mother she was crazy to not have married him, he was gorgeous, even to a preteen like me! I guess there must have been some osmosis genetic thing going on, apparently, Paul Fierro’s mother made killer enchiladas, and even though I’m not related to her, I make killer enchilada’s too.

You will find when you make this that it’s a lot easier if you have a food processor and a stand mixer. You’ll want to grate the cheese, chop vegetables and chicken in the food processor, and bring it all together in the stand mixer. Yes you can do it all by hand, but be prepared for a long day and tired muscles.

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Stuffed Turkey Thighs in the Nesco

Recipes in this PostStuffed Turkey Thighs

So, it’s just the two of us. We have a lot to be thankful for today. As a work-at-home Mom, I’ve been busy as a one armed paper-hanger. That’s great for my pocketbook, but for spending time with my wonderful son, not so good. Today, we’re going to cook together, play the Monopoly game we started last night (he’s winning), watch a movie, enjoy our meal, and just enjoy our time together.

When I went to the market looking for our feast, I had a bit of a problem. Since it is just going to be the two of us, I couldn’t see the sense in purchasing a whole turkey, it’s just too much food. All I’m concerned with is The Sandwich the next day. I don’t want to have to eat left over turkey until I start gobbling. I looked at a breast, because it’s smaller, but neither one of us likes breast meat, and I wanted something we both like. I said to Spane, “Gee, I wish turkeys came with just thighs and wings!” He said, “Mom, don’t they have parts? Why not just get parts?” I love my son! He is so smart! Sure enough, there was a nice package with two large thighs, and those were the ones I took home. Hurray!

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Braised Chicken with Onions and Mushrooms in the Nesco

Braised Chicken with Onions and Mushrooms in the Nesco

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I have a friend who has a chicken, who I have named Coq Au Vin. She’s a big orange chicken, and she is going to live a nice long life in my friend’s yard, with plenty of food, water and melon treats. Coq Au Vin even recognizes me when I go and visit with her. Why did I name her that? Well, when she is quite old, and not laying eggs anymore, then she will have the glory of becoming a real Coq Au Vin. It will be a good day for her to die because she will know that she is going to make a wonderful dinner.

Well, until that time, I’m not waiting to eat chicken. I bought a chicken, some nice boiling onions, and large mushrooms, most of which became Bacon Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms. I buy most of my produce at the local Armenian store, and they don’t usually have the kind of wine I would need to make Coq Au Vin, but I did have some Marsala in the pantry. I also had some dried leeks in my pantry, which also went into my dish.

Whole vs Precut Chicken

A word about whole chickens vs precut chicken. You know, you pay more for the meat-packing company to cut the chicken, and you don’t even know if it’s all coming from the same bird. When you purchase a whole chicken, you know everything is from the same bird, and you save money by cutting it up yourself. It takes about a minute, and you can find plenty of videos on Youtube showing exactly how to do it. Here’s my chicken, all ready to go.

cut up whole chicken

Cut up whole chicken


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Stuffing Turkey Meatloaf Ring

Recipes in this PostStuffing Turkey Meatloaf Ring

I love it when I suddenly have something I didn’t know I had. A few days ago, when Spane and I went to one of the wonderful Armenian stores, the check out lady gave us a loaf of Stone bread. I put it up on top of the refrigerator, and forgot it was up there. We don’t eat a lot of bread, so that’s not a surprise. I should have put it in the freezer, but… When I checked it two days later, it had really turned into its namesake, stone.

What to do with bread that has turned to stone that you know has really good flavor? Why turn it into stuffing mix! The stuffing mix that comes in the box has bread that I swear is dryer and harder.

Bread in the bag

Bread in the bag

I only had one problem. It was a big loaf of bread, not sliced, and too hard to cut with a knife. I tried whacking it with a skillet, but that didn’t work too well either. I thought to myself, what is the heaviest thing in the house? Me! So, I put my bread in several plastic bags (hey, finally, a good use for plastic bags), put some flat shoes on, and stepped all over the bread. Let me tell you, the sound was great, and the bread crumbled just the way I wanted it to.

I also had some ground turkey in the freezer, and cranberry sauce in the pantry. That sounded to me like a great head start on Thanksgiving!

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Jambalaya in the Nesco

Recipes in this PostJambalaya

In the midst of the last move, I forgot to close out the old gas bill. When I called to turn on the gas in the new place, no one mentioned it, and I still didn’t think about it. Then, I get this nasty letter from the gas company saying that they are going to turn off my gas in the new place if I don’t immediately pay the old bill, and that I have to call a certain phone number when I make the payment. To make sure that the payment is properly recorded, I went to the local gas company on July 2, 2013 and paid the bill in person. Then I called the special number at about 3:30pm and got a recorded message that the gas company was open from 8:00am to 5:15pm. I figured all the lines were busy, so I waited a few minutes and called again, and still got the same recording. I figured that in the information age, the payment would be recorded and all would be well.

I was wrong. When I got home yesterday, Monday, July 8, 2013, Spane and I were hungry, so I started dinner early, at 4:30. I chopped the vegetables, cut the meat, put butter in the pan, turned the knob – and ……. nothing. No gas. I called the gas company, the special number and again was told that the office was open from 8:00am to 5:15pm, a full 45 minutes before the office was supposed to close. When calling the regular number, I got a nice woman who I kept on apologizing to because I was so mad, and she said the gas would be turned back on tomorrow, Wednesday, July 10, 2013 between 8:00am and 5:00pm, and to make sure that all pets were secure and gates open. I chuckled and said, “Humph, you didn’t seem to have any problems turning it off, did you?”

That meant that today, I don’t have gas. I have been on the phone with them, and have asked for a supervisor. I’m still waiting for a call back, but I’m not waiting anymore to make dinner. I have a small Nesco, and I’m going to make my Jambalaya in it. This is one of the reasons I have this wonderful roaster oven, so I can cook no matter what.

My recipe for Jambalaya follows, I have more recipes for foods perfect for the Nesco.

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