Chicken Mushroom & Collard Green Stew

I needed some inspiration. I’d been craving some flavorful soup for weeks now. I was flipping through some of my old food magazines. I came across a recipe that looked fairly good. I read through it, went to the grocery store and worked out my gameplan.

I did use the skeleton of this recipe and made some changes as I do. I will include the original recipe from Cooking Light, if you’re interested. I will walk through my process below.

Ingredients:

4-5 slices, thick cut bacon

Olive oil

1-2 chicken breasts, chopped into 1″ chunks

Salt

Pepper

Garlic powder

Onion powder

4 cups sliced preferred mushrooms

1-2 medium carrots, sliced

1-2 stalks of celery, sliced

1 medium onion, diced

4-5 garlic cloves, chopped

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

4 tbsp unsalted butter

1/3 AP flour

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup 2% milk

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/2 tsp dry mustard

3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1-2 cups chiffonade collard greens

4 cups wild rice

Mise en place! Chop up everything now. Once the recipe gets going it will make things a lot easier for you. There will be some multi-tasking involved. The measurements above are fairly guesstimated but you can see the amounts.

Render the fat from the bacon (not pictured) and set the bacon to the side to be used later as garnish.

Depending on how much fat you rendered you  may need to add a glug of oil to the pot. Brown the chicken, SEASON THE CHICKEN, it is okay if it is not cooked through completely at this point. Set the chicken aside.

Add the mushrooms and stir. If your pot starts to dry out add another glug of oil.Cook the mushrooms down. Remove the mushrooms and set them aside.Add your mirepoix to the pot plus the garlic and bay leaves. Allow the vegetables to soften, not caramelize. Add vinegar and stir, allow to reduce. Return chicken and mushrooms back into the pot. Turn the heat to low.In a pot, melt butter over med-high heat. Add flour and whisk quickly. Carefully and slowly add the milk/cream/stock, whisking constantly. You want this to be smooth, no flour chunks. After you pour in about half of the liquid and you have a slight thick but smooth sauce, pour in the remaining liquid and stir. Bring to a boil then reduce to low. Season this simply with salt, pepper and dry mustard.

Add the chiffonade collards to the pot, the hot liquid will gently wilt the collards without over cooking them. They’ll keep that pretty green color. At this point you want to stir to combine and TASTE TASTE TASTE. Add what you feel you may need; I wound up adding more salt and pepper plus some garlic and onion powder.Add parsley and remove bay leaves. Make sure you get them all, bite into one and you’ll curse yourself out. I chopped the bacon and some parsley for garnish.

© 2020 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

The recipe from Cooking Light (it’s a good magazine, I recommend it)

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Spinach and Artichoke Chicken Manicotti

I intended on boiling the handy dandy boxed noodles but I felt compelled to make the noodles. The last time I did that I just made some simple pasta noodles. When I went to the Googles to find some inspo I saw a technique that I’d never heard of which meant that I obviously have to try it.

Additionally the supermarket only had an insanely large container of ricotta. The Googles said it was easy so I said ‘what the hell?”

And it was!

I’m not writing up a lengthy post. I think the pictures are largely self explanatory. I didn’t use any precise measurements aside from the manicotti and the ricotta, which I’ll link to if anyone feels adventurous.

Fresh ricotta

Fresh manicotti

I winged this meal. I didn’t know what was happening until I was basically ready to assemble.

The following are the components:

I cooked up ground chicken thighs. I seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and a bit of chopped garlic and shallots.

Chopped spinach (frozen) and chopped artichoke hearts

I used a can of crushed tomatoes. I seasoned it up with the usual suspects and my personal tricks. Season your sauce as you like or use your usual.

Shredded mozzarella.

I mixed the ricotta with the spinach and artichokes. I seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, parmesan and crushed red pepper.The rest is just assembly. Make sure you place them seam side down. Bake at 350 until nice and bubbly then make sure your cheese gets nice and melty 😍

This was my first time using this crepe-pasta technique. I did an amazing job with the flavors. I think it’s more suitable for a light recipe. This is hearty. I think I would have preferred an ordinary noodle. Either way this was amazingly yummy!

Worth every step!

🐷.

 

 

 

© 2020 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Buttermilk Waffles for Two

My friend teases me because I’ll make a pancake or four cupcakes. Well, I’ll also make two waffles. Waste not want not. It’s just me and the kid. I have no use for a half dozen waffles.

This recipe is for two decently sized waffles. If you want to make more then allow me to direct you to my go-to recipe converter. Simply input the interval you want to increase the recipe by (3 for roughly six, four for roughly 8, etc.)

You can add fixins, below I added spices and chopped apples. You can also add toppings, pictured below with strawberry compote.

Ingredients

1c flour

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

(any dry add on)

3/4c warmed buttermilk

3tbsp melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Basic recipe:

Dry ingredients in one bowl.

Melt butter in another.

Add warmed buttermilk to the butter.

Add lightly whisked egg and vanilla.

Whisk wet into dry.

Portion into your waffle maker and cook following your machine’s operation.

© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Peach Pico

This isn’t a precise recipe. It can easily be scaled up for a larger amount. This yielded me about two cups which was more than enough for our dinner tonight.

Taste as you go and adjust to suit your preference. If you have a good peach, your pico should be plenty sweet.

You can easily substitute in other fruits like mango or pineapple!

Combine gently in a large mixing bowl:

1/2 large tomato

1 ripe peach chopped

1/4 chopped medium red onion

1/8 c chopped cilantro

1/2 small jalapeño chopped (seeded if you don’t want it too spicy)

1/4 habenero chopped (ditto)

Zest of half of a lime

Juice of a lime

S&P

Sugar/honey/agave as needed if it isn’t sweet enough

Use as dip or on top of some tacos 🐷

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Brown Butter Glazed Banana Bread

I’ve made this recipe a fewtimes and shared it on my personal Instagram. I first tried with just four bananas but I’ve since discovered that 6 is the perfect amount for a truly moist and bananaful bread.

(This trial used 1 tsp baking soda)

My first trial was a plain banana bread with a mostly bread consistency. I like a more cake like texture. My second trial required two extra bananas and I added a cream cheese icing. This third time we added walnuts and topped with a brown butter glaze and it was divine!

It’s a very forgiving recipe! I love having chunks of bananas so I mash my bananas with a fork. If that’s not your ministry you can puree the bananas. I make this by hand using mixing bowls, a fork and a spatula.

Feel free to sub in your own add ins. This is an easily customizable recipe. It’s truly no fuss.

Ingredients:

6 ripe bananas (the blacker the peel the better)

1 stick melted unsalted butter

3/4 c white sugar

1/4 c brown sugar

2 c flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder (if you like a slightly breadier consistency use baking soda, the loaf may be darker but still yummy)

1/4 c milk

2 eggs

Brown butter glaze:

1/2 stick unsalted butter

Up to 2 tbsp Half and half

Up to 1 c powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Direction:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. In a large bowl, mash your bananas.
  3. Melt your butter
  4. In a small bowl, gently whisk your eggs
  5. Combine milk, egg, vanilla, banana and butter.
  6. In another bowl, stir to combine your sugars, salt, baking powder, and preferred spices (I did 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp Nutmeg)
  7. Using a spatula, combine the wet and dry ingredients.
  8. OPTIONAL: Fold in 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  9. Oil and flour a loaf pan.
  10. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Start the toothpick test around 50m.
  11. OPTIONAL:While the banana bread is baking start your brown butter. Over medium low heat, melt the butter constantly whisking.
  12. You’ll be doing this for at least 5 minutes, once brown bits start forming remove from heat.
  13. In a mixing bowl,combine the brown butter, vanilla extract and powdered sugar.
  14. Slowly add and incorporate the half and half about a 1/2 tsp at a time.
  15. This isn’t an exact science. If it’s too thick, add a little more half and half. If it’s too thin, add a little more powdered sugar.
  16. Remove the banana bread from the oven and allow it to cool before pouring out on the glaze.

© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Curried Pumpkin Coconut and Shrimp Soup

There are so many layers of flavor here from the mirepoix, to the curry, to the coconut, to the potent shrimp stock and of course, the pumpkin. This is a hearty, homey soup perfect for Autumn!

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There are quite a few steps but don’t let this intimidate you. Organize your ingredients, your tools and get to work! I always say, work smarter not harder. Tackle one thing at a time in the order that you will be working. If you are roasting your fresh pumpkin, get that out of the way first. While that’s happening, you can get your shrimp stock simmering. Once you have everything lines up, just bang it on out!

 

Ingredients:

8 cup fresh chopped, roasted pumpkin (3-4 C canned pumpkin)

1 large onion

3 celery stalks

2 large carrots, or 3-5 smaller carrots

4-6 garlic cloves

1-2 lbs shrimp, deveined (save shells)

1- 13.5 oz can of coconut milk

6 tbsp preferred curry powder

5 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp black pepper

Worcestershire sauce

kosher salt, to taste

 

  1. If you are using fresh pumpkin, roast this first. You can follow the steps here. pumpsoup7
  2. Peel your shrimp and place the shells in a pot, cover with waterpumpsouppumpsoup2
  3. Prepare your mirepoix
    1. Roughly chop celery, carrot, onionpumpsoup3
  4. Throw any peels, tops, etc. in the pot with the shrimp, stir.
    1. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, this will be your shrimp stock
      pumpsoup4

      Shrimp shells, onion peel, celery stumps, carrot peel and heads

  5. Over medium heat, soften the mirepoix. Season with salt and pepper.pumpsoup8
  6. Add the pumpkin, add your spices plus salt and pepperpumpsoup9pumpsoup10pumpsoup12
  7. Drain the shells and peels from the stockpumpsoup5pumpsoup6
  8. Add 3-4 cups of shrimp stock, stir
  9. Reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutespumpsoup13
  10. Using an immersion blender, food processor or regular blenderpumpsoup14pumpsoup15
  11. Return to your pot, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer
  12. Add the coconut milk and 1-2 splashes of Worcestershire saucepumpsoup16
  13. Taste, taste, taste! Adjust your spices as needed. My family likes bold spice and flavor, you may want a little less or a little more. This is where you taste and adjust.
  14. Add your shrimp, stir and close the lid. Your shrimp will gently poach in the soup liquid.soup102
  15. Allow to simmer for another 20-30 minutes

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Optional:

Top with pepitas, drizzle of coconut milk or chopped mint or cilantro!

 

 

 

© 2017 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

 

Pumpkin Cornbread

A very homey, Autumny treat. These are lightly spiced. They smell, taste and look like my favorite season. These would be awesome with some really hearty chili. I served these with an equally Autumny Pumpkin Soup!

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Ingredients:

 

1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

1 cup reduced fat milk

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 ¼ cup cornmeal

¾ cup AP flour, leveled

½ tsp baking soda

1 tbsp baking powder

¾ tsp

1 dash each: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove

4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

 

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  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. In a small bowl, whisk and combine puree, milk, sugar and eggs.cb3
  3. In a larger bowl, combine the dry ingredientscb2
  4. You’ll add the wet ingredients to the dry, plus the buttercb6
  5. Using a silicone spatula, just combine; do not over mix your batter
  6. Spray your muffin tin with cooking spray
  7. Scoop your batter into the tinscb7
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes until goldeny; and pass the toothpick test
  9. Allow to cool in the pan before transferring to rack
    1. For a little extra yum, top with butter while they’re hotcb8cb10cb11
  10. Store in air tight container

 

 

 

 

© 2017 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

It is my favorite season of the year. Time for boots, scarves, pumpkin spice everything and hearty, comfort food. I decided to whip up a soup this Sunday. I am hosting my nana and my aunt and I figured comfort food would be the way to go. This was my first time working with gnocchi and in true form I chose to make them myself instead of buying them from the store. Fortunately, it was not a tragedy. This soup is super flavorful and pretty damn easy to make! Feel free to use store bought gnocchi! I am not Ina Garten. Use what you want or what you got!

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Ingredients:

 

Large Onion

Celery

Carrots

4-5 cloves of garlic

Chicken

3 cups of half and half

1 ½ containers of low sodium chicken stock (32oz)

Kosher salt

Thyme

Rosemary

Three handfuls of fresh spinach

Splash of fish sauce

Splash of Worcestershire

6 tbsp unsalted butter

½ cup of flour

 

  1. Prepare your chicken as you prefer. I chose to roast three bone in chicken breasts at 400 degrees. I shredded the meat. Feel free to use your preferred cut of chicken or even a rotisserie chicken.20171015_15233020171015_16184220171015_162337
  2. Over medium heat, sautee your carrots, celery and onions until they’re softened. Towards the end add the garlic. Remove from the heat.
  3. Melt the butter and add the flour to create a roux.20171015_16351220171015_164018
  4. Add the half and half, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the chicken broth.
  6. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, this will thicken.
  7. Season to taste. I used thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic and a couple of splashes of Worcestershire and fish sauce to deepen the savory flavor.20171015_165336
  8. If cooking: Remove your chicken, allow it to cool. Chop or shred. Add this to the soup.20171015_162701
  9. Taste and adjust your seasonings.
  10. Add gnocchi
  11. Add your spinach and allow it to wilt.20171015_173215
  12. Allow this to simmer
  13. Top with chopped tomato20171015_18265520171015_18265820171015_183117

 

© 2017 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Veggie-Packed Spicy Sausage Lasagna Rolls

Lasagna is one of those meals that you whip up and you know you won’t have to worry about dinner for a couple of nights. It’s also one of those meals that allow you to load up on veggies! If you punch up the flavor, even the most anti-veg person will devour a serving or few.

 

Yields 15 lasagna rolls

 

Ingredients:

Box of lasagna noodles

5 Spicy Italian sausage

small yellow onion

half of a green bell pepper

1 large zucchini

3 large carrots

1 pack of frozen chopped spinach

pint of reduced fat ricotta

4 cloves of garlic

Garlic powder

Italian seasoning

Kosher salt

Crushed pepper

Your favorite tomato sauce

Your preferred shredded cheese

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 375
  2. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
  3. Boil the lasagna noodles.
  4. Using a mandolin slicer, create zucchini ribbons and carrot ribbonsrolls2
  5. Defrost spinach
  6. Brown your sausage or other ground meat (this could be a omitted for a completely vegetarian recipe)rolls1
  7. Add chopped garlic, onion and pepper, cook until just softened, season with salt and pepper.
  8. Drain your noodles, should be al denterolls3
  9. Remove the meat and veg from the pan and drain in a strainer or a paper towel
  10. Drain spinach, season with salt, pepper and about 1 tsp garlic powder.
  11. Season ricotta with 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp kosher salt and a pinch of crushed pepper, mix to combine
  12. Take one noodle and “paint” ricotta mixture using a spoon or a spatula
  13. Lay carrot ribbons, sprinkle spinach, sprinkle meat mixture and top with cheeserolls4
  14. Tightly roll the noodles uprolls5-copy
  15. Nestle a zucchini ribbon overtop, repeat until your pan is full. My pan was 13×9 and that fit 15 rolls. Lightly sprinkle kosher salt over your ribbon-wrapped rolls. rolls6
  16. Top with your favorite tomato sauce (I used 2 parts canned diced tomato and 1 part canned crushed tomato that I seasoned it up using my go-to’s: kosher salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, Italian seasoning, pinch of sugar and a dash of fish sauce).
  17. Generously top with your preferred shredded cheeserolls8
  18. Bake covered with foil for 45 minutes then uncovered until bubbling and the edges start to brown.

rolls9

rolls11

 

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved