Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chicken Casserole ala Campbell

What can you make with chicken thighs, a can of Campbell Cream of Mushroom Soup and some imagination? You can come up with a dinner that's surpisingly very good and extremely easy to make!

Chicken Casserole ala Campbell
8 chicken thighs, trimmed of excess skin and fat
garlic seasoning (which I got from Costco...I think any steak seasoning would make a good sub)
3 shallots, sliced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 can water
1 tsp. pepper
salt to taste (if necessary)
1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. whole grain mustard

1. Sprinkle chicken generously with seasoning.
2. Over medium-high heat, heat oil in an oven-proof skillet (I used an enamelled cast-iron one).
3. Brown chicken on all sides. Set aside.
4. Saute shallots until soft.
5. Add soup, water, pepper, worcestershire sauce and mustard. Mix with a whisk until smooth.
6. Taste and adjust the seasoning at this point.
7. Place chicken in the skillet.
8. Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes.
9. During the last 5 minutes or so, turn on the broiler to brown and crisp up the chicken skin. Watch that it doesn't burn! (I'm notorious for this!)

I served this with smashed potatoes with the sauce as the gravy. Another "make again" dish for me.


I will not claim that this chili is authentic. There are chili fanatics out there who feel that chili should not have beans, or tomato paste, or should only used chopped and not ground beef. What I will attest to is that this chili is gooooood...at least we here in our humble home think so :-)


500 g lean ground beef
1 can red beans, rinsed and drained
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp. texmex seasoning (I used clubhouse, but you could sub this with a mixture of cumin, paprika and chili powder)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. sugar
salt to taste (I used a full sodium beef broth so I didn't use much)
1 ancho chili in adobo sauce, sliced
2 tbsp. salsa lizano

1. Saute onion and pepper until soft.
2. Add garlic and sute a few minutes until fragrant.
3. Add beef and cook until no longer pink.
4. Add tomato paste, texmex seasoning, sugar, and ancho chili.
5. Pour in beef broth and beans.
6. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
7. Season with lizano sauce and salt to taste.
8. Simmer 5 more minutes unti flavors come together.

I like this topped with a bit of cheese and some sour cream on the side. I also had a bag of corn chips lying around that I had bought from a latino grocery. It was a perfect supper for a cold winter night.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Toffee bars

This has got to be the easiest toffee bar recipe ever. Prep time is maybe ten minutes max. And the results...excellent. Chewy and sticky, with just the right crunch from the nuts. Yum!

Toffee Bars
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 can condensed milk
1/2 cup toffee chips (I used Nestle Skor chips)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped almonds (or whatever nut you like)

1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs and butter until well blended.
3. Press firmly into a lined 9x9 pan (I used parchment to line it).
4. Bake for 10 minutes.
5. Pour condensed milk on top of crumb mixture.
6. Sprinkle toffee chips, chocolate chips and nuts evenly .
7. Press down with spatula (or the back of a large spoon) until the "solids" have "embedded" into the condensed milk.
8. Bake for 40 minutes.
9. Cool completely.
10. Put in fridge for 30 minutes, remove from pan and cut into desired slices.

Monday, November 19, 2007


And now back to our regular programming...

It's been so long since I had a good seafood meal. Actually, that's not entirely correct. Last week, we had dungeness crabs for dinner. One whole steamed crab for each one of us. It was heavenly!


I've always wanted to try making cioppino, which is an italian seafood stew made with an assortment of the freshest seafood. So off I went to Bill's Lobsters in Chinatown East and bought my ingredients. I googled cioppino recipes, found one that I could use as a launching point, and here's what I came up with.


3 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
3 tsp. chopped garlic
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 can whole tomatoes in juice
6 cups shrimp stock (or fish stock)
1 lb. halibut fillet, cut into cubes
1 lb. mussels, cleaned
1 lb. headless shrimp, deveined
1/2 lb. sea scallops, cut into fourths (or bay scallops would work too)
1/2 lb. squid, cleaned and cut into rings

1. In a very large pot, heat olive oil and saute onion, shallots and fennel until soft.
2. Add garlic and chili flakes and saute for a couple of minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, stock, salt and fish sauce.
4. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes.
5. Adjust seasonings, remove bay leaf, then puree with a hand blender.
6. Add mussels and cook until they open.
7. Add the rest of the seafood and simmer gently for about 5 minutes just until everything is tender and opaque. Be careful not to overcook the seafood!
8. Serve with some crusty garlic bread.

We had this last night for dinner. It was perfect with a few glasses of Riesling. We had LOTS of leftovers so we gently reheated them tonight and it was even better! I think the stew develops its flavors over time. Very, very, very good! Definitely one to make again another night, maybe when we have guests :-)