Archive for August, 2009

Chicken Divan and Egg Noodle Bake

Monday, August 10th, 2009

This recipe is adapted from the Rachel Ray 365 No Repeats Cookbook that I got from mom for my birthday, and highlights one of the cool things about the cookbook. It’s organized around “Master Recipes,” followed by variations on the the theme. The master recipe in this case is a “Wild Cream of Mushroom Egg Noodle Bake, Hold the Canned Soup.” And if you’ve read the blog, pretty much ever, you know that we don’t do mushrooms around here.

Still, I liked the idea of ditching the canned soup and making my own. Even though, a can cream of mushroom soup is the foundation of every casserole, I’m not that big of a fan. It’s gray, and loaded with sodium and just kind of blah. Of course, cream of mushroom casserole doesn’t have much without the mushrooms, so I skipped the “master recipe” and went straight to one of the variations, a Chicken Divan casserole.

Didn’t miss the mushrooms at all, by the way.

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Chicken Divan & Egg Noodle Bake

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 1 cup whole milk or cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound broccoli florets
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound chicken tenders, diced
  • 4 slices bread, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound egg noodles
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 pound Emmentaler cheese, shredded

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the egg noodles.

2. To make the mushroom sauce: Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted, sprinkle in the flour, and cook 1 minute, to cook out the raw taste. Whisk in the chicken stock, bring it all to a bubble, then stir in the milk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer. Season the sauce to taste with salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg.

3. To make the casserole, heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and the shallots. Cook for one minute, then add the chicken tender pieces and continue cooking until lightly browned and cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Add the wine and deglaze the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low, and let the liquid cook off.

4. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler to high. While the chicken cooks, cook the egg noodles in the boiling water, until al dente. Drain the noodles and return them to the hot pot. Add the cream sauce to the pot and toss the noodles to coat in the sauce.

5. Cook the broccoli in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and reserve.

6. To make the croutons, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in nonstick skillet. Toss with the bread cubes and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until toasted all around.

7. Lightly coat a casserole dish with softened butter, then transfer the noodles & sauce to the dish and top with the chicken, broccoli, and croutons. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese, and place under the broiler until the cheese melts and is brown at the edges.

Note: This was pretty tasty. I’d probably try it again. I thought that the sauce was a touch on the thin side, and so I baked the casserole, instead of just melting the cheese under the broiler like the recipe suggested. I think the broiler would’ve been the right move, though. It got a little too dried out after baking.

Restaurant Review: Wow Bao

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

I’ve had these tasty little dumplings in my mind for a long time. Last year, Dave, Leah, and I sampled some bao from Wow Bao at the taste of Chicago, and I’ve thought about them often ever since.

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If you’ve never tried them before, Baozi, or simply Bao, are chinese bread dumplings. They’re light and doughy, with a vegetable or meat filling. Steaming them gives them a soft, slightly sticky texture. They come in about a million forms and flavors, and while I’m anxious to try my hand at them at home, so far, I’ve only had them from Wow Bao. A few weeks ago, Leah and I stopped by Water Tower Place to do a little shopping, and stopped and had lunch at Wow Bao.

We shared a six-pack of Bao, and had the chance to try the BBQ Pork, Chicken Teriyaki, Spicy Mongolian Beef, and Thai Curry Chicken. They were all delicious. My favorite was the Chicken Teriyaki, while Leah enjoyed the Thai Curry Chicken the most. The Mongolian Beef was tasty, but a little too spicy for me. The BBQ Pork was good, but that was the one we happened to try at the Taste the year before. Leah also had a super-tasty pomegranate ginger ale. (I stuck with Diet Cokie. Shocking, I know).  I’d like to try one of the sweet varieties next time–they have Coconut Custard and Apple Cinnamon dessert flavored Bao as well as a whole menu of noodles and potstickers and soup and salad.

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They were an awesome shopping snack, but if you aren’t close enough to one of their three Chicago locations, you can apparently have frozen bao or potstickers shipped from their website right to your home to make yourself.

Spice-Rubbed Salmon on Photograzing

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Check out my Spice Rubbed Salmon photo on Photograzing!

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If you’re reading this, thanks again for the spice rub, Jeff. The salmon was delicious. Can’t wait to try the others!

Sunday Cake Pop Marathon

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

Leah and I made a whole mess of cake pops today. A double batch! A ton!

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These were chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting on the inside (yum!) and pretty baby blue and chocolate brown on the outside, for one of Leah’s co-workers. She’s getting married in about a week, and has fallen in love with some of the past cake pops I’ve made, so she begged Leah to score some for her.

I’m a big softy, I guess, so when Leah offered to pay for the supplies, I said I’d go ahead and make the pops–as long as Leah promised to help.

These turned out beautifully. Only now I’m a little sad–I would’ve loved to have cake pops at my own wedding, if only I’d known about them!