Cooks Exchange

Cook's Exchange: Keep taste buds intrigued with new recipes

A new year calls for new recipes.

Does this mean tossing out all the tried-and-true recipes? Of course not, but all professional and home chefs need to change up their menus frequently even if the menu change is simply a daily special or a new recipe to try out on the family.

Whether snail mail or email, my inbox fills with recipes from different companies, cookbooks, newsletters and readers. For the new year, I want to make at least one new recipe a week. At the end of the year, I will have 52 new recipes. Knowing me, there will probably be twice that number.

So far, I have made two new recipes and revamped an old favorite to make it healthier. I found a good price on chicken breasts last week, so the two new recipes are made with chicken. The other was a lighter baked potato soup that cuts the sodium and fat. The flavor was still good, just not as rich, but the family had no complaints not even when I served cups of the leftover soup with turkey breast sandwiches the next night.

One of the new recipes is a lighter take on chicken chimichangas. This I found in a newsletter from Food.com. Mexican food, as longtime readers know, is a mainstay in our family; even my granddaughter loves Spanish rice and cheese quesadillas. We train those taste buds early.

The chimichangas are baked in the oven instead of being fried and come out nice and crispy and less than 360 calories per chimichanga. This recipe is a keeper and would be good anytime. I used 2 cups of chopped chicken breasts, so I ended up with 10 chimichangas instead of the 6 that the recipe yields. Again, we ate leftovers for

lunch the next day. Allen and Elyssa brown bagged them.

OVEN-FRIED CHICKEN CHIMICHANGAS

2/3 cup picante sauce or 2/3 cup your favorite salsa

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed

1- 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

2 green onions, chopped with some tops (about1/4 cup)

6 (8-inch) flour tortillas

2 tablespoons margarine, melted

Shredded cheddar cheese, for serving

Chopped green onion, for serving

Picante sauce, for serving

Low-fat sour cream

Avocado slices or guacamole made without mayonnaise

Mix chicken, picante sauce or salsa, cumin, oregano, cheese and onions. Place about1/4 cup of the chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla. Fold opposite sides over filling. Roll up from bottom and place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Brush with melted margarine.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden. Garnish with additional cheese and green onion and serve salsa, light sour cream and sliced avocados or guacamole on the side.

-- From Food.com newsletter

My second new recipe was a twist on an old-fashioned chicken pot pie. What attracted my attention was that the recipe used Cheddar bacon biscuits instead of pie crust or regular biscuits as the pie topper. I was making this for dinner with friends who enjoy bacon as much as my husband does. I cut the sodium by using low-sodium chicken broth and low-sodium bacon. I also used low-fat milk in place of the heavy cream. I also used poached chicken breasts instead of leg quarters. With the hearty flavor of potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic, the heavy cream is not missed.

The recipe credit goes to chocolatemoosey.com, although that site does not publish the newsletter.

I followed the recipe except for the ingredient substitutions but would not the next time I make this. There definitely will be a next time. It is a good recipe. The instructions say to bake the filling for 15 minutes after potatoes have softened, remove from oven, top with biscuits and return to oven for 25 minutes. I would omit the 15 minutes of baking the filling. I like a creamy texture to the filling, not as dry as this was, but everyone has different tastes. My husband and friends agreed with me, but everyone loved the flavor and the biscuits.

CHICKEN POT PIE TOPPED WITH BACON CHEDDAR BISCUITS

For pot pie:

2 chicken quarters (See note)

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 tablespoons flour

1 cup carrots, peeled and cut into pieces

16 ounces chicken stock (I used low sodium)

1 cup potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes (about 2 medium potatoes)

1/2 cup frozen green peas

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream or milk (I used low-fat milk)

Salt and pepper, to taste (I tasted the pie and didn't think extra salt was needed; I did add the freshly ground black pepper)

Biscuits:

1/4 cup butter, cut into tablespoons

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons bacon, cooked and crumbled (I used low-sodium bacon; could use turkey bacon)

1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (I used low-fat milk)

Fill an extra large pot with water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the chicken quarters and cover with a lid. Cook 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through. Remove from the water. Let the chicken cool. Once it's cool enough to handle, shred the meat off of the bones, discarding skin and bones. Set aside shredded chicken.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Have a casserole dish ready.

In a Dutch oven or deep pot, melt the butter. Add the onions, garlic, and carrots and cook until onions and carrots start to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour until flour is completely coated. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil.

Once the stock is boiling, add the potatoes and peas. Cook until the potatoes are soft but not mushy, about 10-15 minutes (stir often because the potatoes will stick to the bottom). Stir in the shredded chicken then stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove from the heat and pour into the casserole dish. Bake for 15 minutes. (I would omit this 15 minutes of cook time.)

For the biscuits: Make the biscuits. In a large bowl, combine the butter pieces and flour. Cut with a pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly and looks like small pebbles. Add the cheese, bacon, chives and cream, stirring until everything is moistened. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough lightly, about 3-4 times. Roll out the dough to 3/4-inch thickness. Using a 2- 1/2-inch round cookie cutter or glass, cut out roughly 12 biscuits (you may have to gather up the scraps and roll out again).

When the filling is done baking, remove from the oven and top with the biscuits (if not all biscuits fit, you can put them on a separate cookie sheet). Bake another 25 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown and chicken filling is bubbly.

Notes: You can use already-cooked chicken and skip Step 1. I used chicken breasts, which we prefer.

-- From chocolatemoosey.com

Cornbread pudding found

Cheryl Mims of Petal, Miss., asked for a recipe for cornbread pudding that she had eaten at a South Mississippi restaurant.

Reader Mary Beth Greenleaf of Bradenton, has a recipe for cornbread pudding that she has been making for 20 years.

"This is super easy and super delicious," Greenleaf said. "I was introduced to this recipe at a potluck supper 20 years ago. I stood up and hollered, 'Who made this delicious casserole?' I've made it dozens of times since."

CORNBREAD PUDDING (CASSEROLE)

1 stick margarine or butter

2 large eggs

2 cans creamed corn (14- to 16-ounce size)

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix

Melt margarine (or butter) in large bowl in microwave. Beat in eggs. Add creamed corn, then muffin mix.

Pour into greased baking dish (about 2-quart). Bake at 350 or 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes. The variation in temperature is so that you can bake it with whatever else you have in the oven.

Readers, if you have a different recipe for cornbread pudding, please send it to me.

Wanted: Leg of lamb recipe

"I think when a storm comes that you should pack up your recipes like you do your pictures," Ginger Magruder said. "I lost a grilled boneless leg of lamb recipe that I have never been able to re-create. Something is missing."

Magruder, like so many, lost her recipe during Hurricane Katrina. She clipped the recipe from an old Sun Herald.

The lamb was boneless and butterflied and topped with a mint jelly sauce that was also brushed on the meat during grilling.

"I would love to have that recipe again."

Readers, if you have this recipe or the clipping, please send it to me. I will check my files, too, but I do not believe I have this recipe.

Andrea Yeager, can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net and takes requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

  Comments