Wish Upon A Dish

June 14, 2018

Breakfast Barley Bowl with Ham and Egg

I was never a lover of oatmeal.
My mom would try for years to put a warm breakfast into my belly when winter came around.

You see, back then, no matter how cold or how much snow there was, we walked to school.

I honestly believe she ate microwaved packets of oatmeal every day of her working years.
While she was healthy most of her life, it was the complications of Alzheimer's that eventually did her in.
The one thing she never passed on to her girls was that love of oatmeal.
Granted, I love granola but even I can not eat that every morning.

When I saw this recipe created by David Chan somewhere on the Internet, I tucked a copy away into my every growing list of must try recipes.

When the Nudge travels, I get to play with my food and this dish went to the top of the list.
I changed a few ingredients, not with different ones, but with a variation on the originals.

His choice of seaweed was kombu, I had wakame. The apple cider was apple juice mixed with chicken bone stock and the smoked sausage was minced Black Bear Smoked Virginia ham.
This morning I filled a bowl with the barley and by the time I poached an egg, it was hot & ready and waiting for me in my microwave.

It was yummy and extremely satisfying.
For those that would prefer no cholesterol but wants the protein, fry up an egg white and slice it into the bowl as you would with a fried rice.
So easy, just dump all the ingredients into a stockpot and set the timer, but if you simply do not have the time to babysit, a crockpot can help you out with that. Make a big batch on the weekend and feast all week.

I am glad I did not have apple cider as the apple juice was sweet enough for my tastes but I leave that decision up to you.

Breakfast Barley Bowl with Ham & Egg
makes 4-6 servings

* 1 cup apple juice
* 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
* 1 (4x6") piece of kombu or 1/4 wakame
* 1 medium sweet onion, diced
* Kosher salt
* 2 ounces cooked smoke ham, chopped
* 2 cups rinsed pearl barley
* 2 tbls low-sodium soy sauce
* 4 eggs, poached
* Sliced scallions for garnish

1. In a large saucepan, combine the cider, broth, seaweed and 2 cups water. Bring just to a boil, then remove from the heat. Let it steep for 40 minutes. Discard the kombu and transfer the cider broth to a bowl.
2. Wipe out the saucepan, add the ham, onions, broth, soy sauce and barley. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the barley is porridge-like, about 1 hour. Season with salt.
3. Spoon the cooked barley into bowls and top with an egg. Garnish with scallions and serve.


March 9, 2018

French Onion Soup Chicken Strips

I am totally tired of doing the dishes.
Use your dishwasher, yea, I know.

First of all, my dishwasher is about 24 years old and let's just say unless I soak my pots, I end up having to wash them anyways.
So, I load up plate & silverware because I am a responsible consumer and wait till that appliance is full before I hit the start button.

Unfortunately I find I like certain cooking vessels and the ones I reach for end up being in the "waiting till full" stage. What do I do? I pull them out and wash them the old fashioned way.

I will say that in the last 10 years I use my dishwasher to store my holiday dishes on the top and the bottom holds all those pots that are only good for certain preparations.

This month is dedicated to 5 ingredient dinners (or close to it) and I find that quite a few slow cooker recipes are about 5 ingredients so I started to stockpile those that I thought would translate to the stove.

Not that I don't love my slow cooker but I hate leftovers more and since I know that halving a recipe (for 2) doesn't always translate well, I make them the old fashioned way.

The inspiration for this dish came from a collection of slow cooker recipes.
Chicken breasts cooked in a slow cooker are unreliable but are quick and easy in a skillet.

I have to say the sauce tasted just like a pumped up onion soup.

I served these with mashed Gruyere cauliflower.

French Onion Soup Chicken
makes 2 servings (4 in parenthesis)

* 1 boneless chicken breast (2 for 4 servings) cut into 1 1/2" strips
* 1 tablespoon EVOO
* 1 medium onion (1 large) sliced
* 1 tablespoon butter (2 tablespoons)
* 1 teaspoon dried or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
* 2 (4) tablespoons Vermouth or chicken broth
* 1 (2) tablespoon(s) Cognac
* 1 (2) teaspoon(s) Worcestershire sauce
* Salt & pepper to taste

Saute chicken strips in olive oil until they take on color, about 2 minutes on each side.
Remove to plate.

In same skillet melt butter and add onions. Lower temperature and saute until onions brown, about 20 minutes.

Add thyme and vermouth (broth) and cook another 10 minutes.
Add cognac and Worcestershire, stir and remove from heat.

When ready to eat, add chicken strips to sauce, season with salt and pepper, and cook until sauce bubbles, about 3-4 minutes.

Serve with mashed potatoes or cauliflower flavored with Gruyere or Jarlsburg cheese.

February 13, 2018

5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Balsamic Chicken

I have spent the last few weeks tearing my house down to the bare walls and building it back up to the best organized shape it has ever been in.

I think all those Pinterest posts on Dollar Store Organization has had a big influence on me.
They always say it gets worse before it gets better and in this case, it was so true.

I thought once I bought all the bins, put same type articles in each, I would experience that satisfaction of being totally organized. Not to be.

For the first 3-4 weeks I couldn't find a thing. I spent more time wasted on removing items from 2-3 bins before even getting warm. I thought I would remember what was in each bin as long as it was in a certain room but, NO.

So, my advice to anyone who starts a huge organizing project is this.....
buy big labels and label everything before putting them in their new location.

Along with personal items, I have also been purging my printed 'wish list' recipe file. There is no way I would ever have time to cook each one. About a year ago, I scanned all my old Bon Appetit, F&W, Food Network, and Cooks Illustrated indexes on to a stick and recycled all the magazines. If I am looking for inspiration I can read through that stick in about 30 minutes instead of each magazine.

This dish was part of a series of 5 ingredient Slow Cooker recipes recently emailed my way and I needed a few simple, unattended dinners while I completed my project.

The original recipe called for thighs but I wanted to try a breast in the slow cooker.
I used 2 skin-on, bone-in breasts, a bottle of balsamic dressing, garlic and grape tomatoes.

I have a small Crockpot I use when I need dinner with no leftovers. This time I needed two breasts for two nights while The Nudge was involved in a yearly meeting of all worldwide buyers.

Last night I made a batch of polenta to serve my chicken over and it was a good meal.
Tonight I am ripping the other breast into a pot of Pasta a Ceci.

Since I will be home alone quite a bit this year, I think I need to use my slow cooker more often.

5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Balsamic Chicken
Adapted from Pillsbury

* 2 bone-in skin-on chicken breast halves
* 1 cup favorite balsamic vinaigrette dressing
* 4 cloves minced garlic
* 1 /2 cup grape tomatoes
* Fresh basil leaves, optional

1. Preheat slow cooker while washing and drying chicken.
2. Pour half bottle of dressing & garlic into insert. Place chicken breasts, meat side down on top of dressing.
3. Set heat to high for hours or until internal temp of breast reaches 165, checking at 3 hours. Mine was spot on at that time.
4. Add the tomatoes after 1 hour.

Serve over polenta, pasta or grain of choice and top with fresh basil.