Chicken Paprikash

The spice paprika can be found in many recipes that have their roots in Eastern Europe. One such dish is goulash, which originated in 9th-century Hungary. It’s a dish that I’ve found quite tasty, especially a recipe for it that came to me from a co-worker, Brad Schlossman.

The recipe for it was passed down to Brad from his grandmother, Jennie Nartnik, herself of Slovenian descent. (Slovenia is located just southwest of Hungary in the Balkan penisula.)

Another dish that contains generous amounts of paprika and is native to that area of Europe is chicken paprikash, the classic Hungarian stew of onions, peppers and sometimes tomatoes and mushrooms.

With some leftover roast chicken in the refrigerator, today I put together a paprikash dish, the combination of three recipes, each a little different than the other.

The result was easy to make and quite tasty when served over egg noodles, and the perfect comfort food for a winter day.

Chicken Paprikash
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 15-ounce cans stewed tomatoes
4 teaspoons Hungarian or sweet paprika
¾ cup sour cream
Cooked egg noodles (you could sub in rice, potatoes, spaetzle, dumplings, or bread)
Heat olive oil in the Dutch oven and add the sliced onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally, then lower the heat to medium.
Add the chicken and tomatoes, Cover and let stew for 1 hour. Turn the heat to low. Add the sour cream and paprika stirring until smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper as desired. Serve over egg noodles or rice.
Yield: Serves 2.

West Bank Wings

There’s not much doubt that chicken wings are a Super Bowl party favorite. In fact, more than 1.23 billion wings will be eaten before, during and after the big game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.

But that’s 12.3 million less than last year, according to the National Chicken Council. The reason is because high feed prices have left the United States with a smaller chicken crop and, therefore, fewer chicken wings available.

For those of you who already have purchased wings, here’s a recipe from Zatarain’s, the brand that’s been serving up New Orleans-style foods for more than 120 years, and the first lady of football, Olivia Manning, wife of Archie and mother of Peyton and Eli.

Olivia’s take on the classic dish, which is her husband’s favorite, uses Creole Mustard, chili sauce and pineapple juice for a sweet and spicy combo sure to fire folks up during halftime.

West Bank Wings
3 pounds chicken wing pieces
2 teaspoons Creole Seasoning
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup Creole Mustard
¼ cup cane syrup or molasses
¼ cup sweet chili sauce (like Thai Kitchen)
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro
Sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss chicken wings with oil and Creole Seasoning in large bowl.
Arrange wings in single layer on foil-lined large shallow baking pan.
Bake 35 minutes or until wings are cooked through and skin is crisp.
Mix remaining ingredients, except cilantro and sesame seeds, in large skillet. Bring to
boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer about 15 minutes or until sauce is reduced
Add wings; toss to coat with sauce. Transfer
wings to serving platter. Garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10 as appetizer.

Scrambled Eggs, Bacon and Tomato Panini

Everything is better with bacon. Whoever came up with that saying knows what they’re talking about. And it couldn’t be any more true than with eggs.

Bacon and eggs are the consummate breakfast combo. They are probably are ordered in tandem at cafes across the country more than any two other foods that go together.

And during the winter, when days are the shortest of the year and sunshine is at a minimum, the eggs in such a sandwich can be an important source of vitamin D. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reviewed egg nutrient data and results showed that one large egg contains 41 IU (International Unit) of vitamin D, 64 percent higher than before.

Here’s a bacon and egg sandwich — in panini form —  from the American Egg Board, which is sure to help you get some added vitamin D.

Scrambled Eggs, Bacon and Tomato Panini
2 eggs
2  tablespoon water
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons butter, room temperature
4  slices whole wheat or white bread
4 slices fully cooked bacon
4 slices tomato
2 slices Swiss cheese
Heat panini press according to manufacturer’s directions. Beat eggs, water, salt and pepper in microwave-safe bowl until blended. Microwave on High 45 seconds; stir. Microwave until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer.
Spread butter evenly on one side of each bread slice. Layer bacon, tomato, scrambled eggs and cheese evenly on unbuttered side of 2 bread slices. Cove with remaining bread, buttered side up.
Grill sandwiches in panini press, on medium-high heat, until bread is toasted and cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.
Notes: Sandwiches can be grilled in a skillet over medium heat, turning once, until bread is toasted and cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes. Don’t overcook. Scrambled eggs will continue to cook and firm up after removed from microwave.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 386 calories, 21 grams fat (10 grams saturated), 229 milligrams cholesterol, 26 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams dietary fiber, 24 grams protein:, 273 milligrams calcium.

Bourbon Apple Glazed Chicken Wings

It’s not too early to start thinking about a Super Bowl party. And with the big game just a little more than three weeks away, many cooks are mulling the possibilities for eats.

Without a doubt, some sort of wings should come under consideration if you’re planning on hosting a get-together for this annual event, to be played Feb. 3 in New Orleans.

Chef Lee Anne Wong, winner of Iron Chef America and editor of the Maker’s Mark Cookbook, has created several delicious game-day snack recipes using Maker’s Mark Kentucky bourbon, including the following, which would surely be a hit to celebrate pro football’s biggest game of the year.

Bourbon Apple Glazed Chicken Wings
2 pounds chicken wings, trimmed
1 cup bourbon
1 can frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed (12 ounces)
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium pot. Bring to boil on high heat and then reduces to a simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the wings are tender and the glaze has reduced, coating the wings. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove the wings from the pot and transfer to a parchment-lined sheet tray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the wings being to color and the glaze become shiny. Garnish with minced scallions and apple. Serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 4.

Easy Chicken Tenders

Anyone who has frequented a fast-food restaurant such as McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken or Dairy Queen probably is familiar with chicken tenders or fingers. They are extremely popular with the younger crowd.

Of course, the ones you can buy at those eateries or others more than likely are deep-fried and heavily coated with breading.

Here’s an alternative, adapted a recipe at the Real Women of Philadelphia  website (http://realwomenofphiladelphia.com/). These baked chicken tenders are quick and easy to make.

The Philadelphia Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese in the crunchy breading and on the side in a tasty dipping sauce keeps these lean tenders moist and juicy.

Easy Chicken Tenders
1¼ pounds chicken breast tenders (about 12 tenders)
6 ounces Philadelphia Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese
36 Ritz Crackers (one sleeve crumbled)
½ cup French’s French Fried Onions (crumbled)
6 ounces plain fat-free yogurt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with a butter flavored nonstick spray.
Coat your tenders in 4 ounces of room temperature cream cheese then toss them in a crumbled mixture of crackers and fried onions. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees and is crispy on outside. Salt and pepper to taste.
Mix 2 ounces of cream cheese with yogurt, salt and pepper to taste. Serve this dip on side.
Yield: Serves 4.

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

What comes to mind when you think of comfort food? To some, it might be meatloaf. Still others will say mashed potatoes. And I’ll guarantee that mac ‘n’ cheese is high on a lot of people’s list.

Those are just three of nearly 30 foods that Americans picked as their favorite comfort food in a recent survey conducted by about.com.

A number of casseroles also rated high in the survey, and that’s not surprising. They are one of my favorite comfort foods, regardless of what the star ingredient is.

Here’s a casserole recipe that I fixed recently. It’s from Ree Drummond, also known as The Pioneer Woman, who on her website (www.pioneerwoman.com) describes herself as a moderately agoraphobic ranch wife and mother of four.

Ree lives on a working cattle ranch, where she spends her days wrangling children, chipping dried manure from boots, washing jeans and making gravy, and she describes this recipe as one of the all-time greatest “make-before” comfort foods.

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
2 cups cooked chicken
3 cups dry spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 4½-ounce can sliced mushrooms
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
¼ cup finely diced green pepper
¼ cup finely diced onion
1 4-ounce jar diced pimentos, drained
2 cups reserved chicken broth from pot
1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon) cayenne pepper
Salt And pepper, to taste
1 cup additional grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Cook 1 cut-up fryer and pick out the meat to make two cups. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp Cheddar.
Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp Cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).
Yield: Serves 8.

Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

Casseroles — or hotdishes as they are called in this part of the country — are one of the most economical and easiest things to fix, which makes them perfect fare for busy people. And there is no better use of leftovers than in a casserole or hotdish.

A case in point is the following recipe for a chicken chow mein casserole. I used leftover chicken from our supper the night before in the recipe. I had all of the other ingredients on hand, so putting it together was a snap. The only alteration I made was to add some leftover gravy (less than a cup).

The casserole reminded me of my childhood, when hotdishes were a mainstay in our family, and a chicken chow mein one was among them. It wasn’t unusual for us to have a hotdish twice a week for supper. And at our school hot lunch, hotdish was featured at least one a week.

Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
1 12-ounce can chow mein noodles (the crunchy kind)
2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
¼ cup green pepper, chopped
3 pounds cooked chicken, cut up
2 10¾-ounce cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees degrees.
In the bottom of 9-by-13-inch casserole dish, put a layer of chow mein noodles followed by chicken and vegetables. Top with remaining noodles.
Mix soup with 1 can of water. Spoon soup mixture over vegetables.
Drizzle soy sauce over all.
Bake 30 to 40 minutes.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Pheasant Noodle Soup

Soup is hard to beat when the weather starts to get cold. And that’s what happens as summer turns into fall, and the days keep getting shorter and the nights longer.

One of my favorite soups to make this time of the year is pheasant noodle soup. It’s especially tasty with carrots fresh from the garden and homemade egg noodles — the German type from South Dakota — courtesy of a co-worker and friend Paulette Tobin. (I trade homemade sauerkraut for the noodles.)

Another ingredient that I really sets the soup apart from traditional noodle soups is ground savory, which we’ve really come to enjoy.

I had a hankering from the soup the other day and just happened to have some of the noodles in the cupboard,a big bag carrots and a half-dozen cooked pheasant legs — along with some broth in the refrigerator.

Pheasant Noodle Soup
6 pheasant legs (minus thighs), cleaned well and skinned
8 to 12 cups water (depending on how thick you want soup)
3 teaspoons salt
3 celery ribs, diced
onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons ground savory
1 8-ounce package egg noodles
1 cup frozen peas
Put pheasant legs in large kettle and cover with water.
Add salt and cover. Cook until pheasant is done.
Remove pheasant, debone and put meat back in kettle.
Add remaining ingredients except noodles. Cook until vegetables are tender.
Add noodles. Cover and cook till noodles are soft.
Note: This is also good with chicken instead of pheasant.
Yield: Serves 6.

Chicken ala King

Chicken, perhaps more than any other meat, lends itself to leftovers. And chicken ala king is a great example.

While exactly no one knows the origin of the dish, some say it was the creation of a Philadelphia hotel cook named King in the 1890s. Others back the story that it dates back to the 1880s, credit going to a chef named Charles Ranhofer, who called it Chicken à la Keene, named after Foxhall Parker Keene.

Regardless, chicken ala king has simple ingredients, can be made ahead of time and is easily reheated. If that sounds like a recipe for someone on the go, it is.

Here’s a chicken ala king recipe we tried the other night that was quite tasty.

Chicken ala King
1 4½-ounce can mushrooms, drained, liquid reserved
1 green bell pepper, chopped
½ cup butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1½ cups milk
1¼ cups chicken broth
4 cups boneless chicken, chopped
4 ounces chopped pimento
Cook and stir drained mushrooms and green pepper in butter or margarine over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Blend in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat.
Stir in broth, milk, water and reserved mushroom liquid. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute.
Stir in chicken and pimiento. Heat through.
Yield: Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 305 calories, 19 grams fat, 86 milligrams cholesterol, 733 milligrams sodium, 12 grams carbohydrates, 1,3 grams dietary fiber, 21 grams protein.

Pesto-Marinated Chicken (or Pheasant) and Vegetable Kabobs

Labor Day is the last time a lot of people pull out the grill for the season. For many, it symbolizes the end of summer, since school has started or very soon will be under way.

I used to be one of those people. In fact, there were quite a few years when I didn’t even own a grill.

It’s a different story now. We grill three or four times a month during the summer. Most of the time, it’s fish, elk burgers or sausage or some other wild game that we need to use before the new seasons begin.

One of my favorite things to grill is marinated pheasant breasts and thighs. I usually use my old standby marinade but sometimes like to try store-bought versions. Recently, I used a herb and white wine marinade from Lawry’s with salmon.

Here’s a kebab recipe that makes use of a marinade. It’s adapted from one supplied by Weber, the grilling people. I plan on trying it this Labor Day with some pheasant. Not only do you marinade the meat but also vegetables. I can’t wait to try it!

Pesto-Marinated Chicken (or Pheasant) and Vegetable  Kabobs
½ cup  dry white wine
¼ cup  extra virgin olive oil
1 package  Weber Tomato Garlic Pesto Marinade Mix
4  (6 to 8 ounces each) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2  medium yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch squares
16  small cherry or grape tomatoes, stemmed
2  small zucchini, cut into chunks
2  small summer squash, cut into chunks
1 small eggplant, halved lengthwise and cut into bite-size chunks
Red onion, quartered, separated (use outer sections only)
Place a large, resealable plastic bag in a bowl. In the bag mix the wine, oil, and Weber Italian Herb Marinade.
Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise and then cut each half into equal-size pieces, about 1½ inches each. Add the chicken and vegetables. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade evenly. Refrigerate for about 2 hours, turning the bag once or twice.
Pour the contents of the bag onto a rimmed platter or sheet pan. Thread the chicken pieces with the vegetables onto 8 to 10 metal skewers, alternating the ingredients. Discard the marinade.
Grill the kabobs over Direct Medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice. Serve warm.