Posts Tagged 'Simply Suppers'

Cheddar-Pecan Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Cheddar-Pecan Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is an iconic dish that most Americans expect on their Thanksgiving holiday table. Originally made with canned green beans and condensed cream of mushroom soup, I took the basic elements of this classic dish and gave it a fresher, modern spin.

First, I substituted tender haricots verts for the canned green beans.

What are haricots verts? Quite simply, they are very small and slender French green beans. (Haricot verts is French for green beans.) They tend to be more tender and flavorful than the thicker American green beans. Most markets now carry them both fresh and frozen.

Next, instead of using canned soup as my sauce, I made a quick cream sauce and flavored it with some shredded sharp white cheddar cheese. (Isn’t everything made better with cheese?!)

Lastly, I tossed chopped pecans and panko bread crumbs with the classic French fried onions for a crunchy topping that makes the dish in my opinion.

This homemade version of the classic canned soup green bean dish is sure to become a favorite at your house. The haricots verts, pecans, and the touch of sharp cheddar in the sauce elevate this dish to new heights. It’s so good you’ll serve it year round!

Cheddar-Pecan Green Bean Casserole

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen haricots verts, trimmed
8 oz. button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup French fried onions
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 395 degrees. Lightly grease a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish with butter and set aside.

Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir to combine. Slowly stir in the broth and heavy cream. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the green beans and stir until well coated. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.

In a medium mixing bowl toss together the French fried onions, bread crumbs, and pecans. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir the melted butter into the onion mixture. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the green beans. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden and bubbly, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Excepted from “Simply Suppers” by Jennifer Chandler.

 

 

 

Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice is the quintessential Louisianan comfort food. Nothing satisfies like steaming bowl of tender flavorful beans over classic white rice.

1 pound dried red kidney beans, rinsed and sorted over
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1/2 cup seeded and finely diced green bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1/4 cup finely sliced celery (about 1 rib)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound smoked ham hock
1/2 pound smoked Andouille sausage, thinly sliced into rounds
10 cups water
6 cups cooked white rice, warm

Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the ham hock and sausage and cook, stirring, to brown the ham hocks and sausage, about 4 minutes. Add the beans and water.

Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add additional water while cooking if necessary.

Remove the ham hock from the pot and pull the meat from the bones. Roughly chop the meat and return it back to the pot of beans. Adjust seasonings as needed. Discard the bay leaves. Spoon over white rice to serve.

Serves 6.

Cooking Tip: Add Tabasco® or your favorite hot sauce for a little heat.

Do-Ahead: Cooked red beans store very well in the refrigerator. Some even say they taste better the second day!

From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

Nothing says comfort food like chicken pot pie. Chicken and vegetables in a rich and creamy sauce topped off with a flaky crust makes for a satisfying one-dish meal.

If you thought frozen pot pies were good, you need to try making a homemade one. It’s surprisingly easy to make a pot pie from scratch and I can guarantee it will be infinitely better than any store-bought version.

It’s the savory sauce that makes the big difference. This version uses simple ingredients – butter, flour, chicken stock, and cream – to create a sublime filling. I use poultry seasoning to impart flavor to the dish. If you don’t have this aromatic seasoning blend in your pantry, you can make your own by grinding together 1tablespoon each of dried rosemary, dried sage, dried thyme, and dried marjoram in a spice grinder or mini food processor. Or you can simply season your pot pie filling with a pinch of the aforementioned herbs.

Once the sauce is made, you can add chicken and your favorite vegetables. This version uses traditional ingredients like carrots, potatoes, and peas. Roasted root vegetables like parsnips and turnips are also delicious in a pot pie.

If you are short on time, you can pick up a rotisserie chicken at your local grocery store for this recipe instead of baking your own chicken. This short-cut can save you about 30 minutes in your prep time.

Once the filling is complete, top the pie with a pie dough and bake until heated through with a flaky pie crust.

Besides being delicious, another wonderful thing about pot pies is that they can be made a day in advance. If doing so, either top with the pie crust just before baking or make sure the pie filling is completely cooled before topping with the uncooked pie crust. You can also freeze the unbaked pot pie to bake on a busy day.

Enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie

3 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups water
1 cup peeled and finely slices carrots (about 4 carrots)
1 cup peeled and diced white potatoes (about 1 large potato)
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 unbaked pie crusts (9-inch), homemade or store-bought
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken with the olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast until cooked through, about 35 to 40 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove and discard the bones and the skin. Cut the chicken meat into large dice. (You should have about 3 to 4 cups of chicken.)

While the chicken is roasting, in a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the water to boil. Add the carrots, potato, onion, and peas and cook until crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Raise the oven temperature to 395 degrees.

In another large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until the mixture is golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the chicken stock and cream. Add the poultry seasoning and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken, carrots, potato, onion, and peas. Stir to combine. Adjust the seasonings as necessary.

Pour the filling into a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. On a lightly floured surface, place the two pie crusts on top of each other. Roll the dough until it is big enough to cover the baking dish. Place the pie crust over the top. Flute the edges, if desired, and cut slits in the top for steam to escape. Brush the crust with the beaten egg. In case of overflow, place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes.
Serves 8.

Cooking Tip: Sometimes I top the filling with biscuits rather than the pie crust. For a short cut, you can use canned biscuits, but I prefer homemade. Just add the biscuits 15 minutes into the cooking time to prevent burning.

From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

Banana Pudding Pie

Banana Pudding Pie

Banana Pudding Pie

As all good true Southerners, I love pie and banana pudding!

I came up with this yummy dessert to marry together two of my favorite sweet treats into one perfect concoction!

Think you’ll agree … it’s a marriage made in Heaven!

Enjoy!

Banana Pudding Pie

For the crust:
2 cups vanilla wafer cookies, plus extra for the pie garnish
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature 

For the filling:
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick

For the whipped cream topping:
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup granulated or powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

To make the crust: In a food processor, finely grind the cookies. Add the sugar and pulse until combined. Slowly add the butter and pulse until well incorporated and forms moist clumps. Transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the crust evenly into the bottom and up the side. Bake until set, about 8 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla. Over medium heat, cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer a large mixing bowl. Transfer to the refrigerator and cool completely, about 1 hour.

Spoon 1/2 of the cooled pudding evenly over the bottom of the crust. Create a layer of banana slices, reserving some for garnish. Spoon the remaining pudding evenly over the bananas. Place the pie in the refrigerator to set while making the whipped cream topping.

To make the topping: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Spoon or use a pastry bag to pipe the whipped cream evenly over the pie filling. Chill the pie until set, at least 4 hours. Before serving, garnish with the remaining banana slices and extra vanilla wafer cookies.

Serves 8.

Do-Ahead: You can make and refrigerate this crust and the pie filling the day before. Add the whipped cream and garnishes the day of.

Recipe from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler.

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup copy

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken tortilla soup is the Southwestern cousin of mom’s chicken noodle soup, just with a little more kick and a crunchy topping. And, like it’s relative, it warms the soul and makes you feel good all over.

This quick, no-fuss soup has loads of flavor and uses ingredients that are typically on hand. The soup doesn’t take long to make. In fact, it can be on your table in less than 30 minutes. It’s also an ideal way to transform leftover chicken into a tasty and satisfying dish.  It has become a favorite in my house since my good friend Melissa Petersen of Edible Memphis shared this recipe with me.

Much healthier than it tastes, this broth based soup is loaded with tomatoes, lean chicken, and heart healthy avocado. The cumin and oregano add a richness and depth to the dish without any fat. If you want a little extra kick, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.

I like to top mine with a few homemade corn tortilla strips, which are surprisingly easy to make. Just cut corn tortillas into thin strips and fry for about 1 minute in a skillet with vegetable oil. If short on time, use crushed tortilla chips instead. Baked tortilla chips would be a heart-healthy alternative.

Serve with a side salad or a slice of cornbread and you have a satisfying meal.

Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Vegetable oil, for frying the tortillas
4 small (4-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch strips
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 can (28-oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

To prepare the tortilla strips, pour enough oil into a large stockpot so that you have a quarter-inch layer of oil. Warm the oil on medium-high heat until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. In batches, fry the tortilla strips until golden brown on both sides, about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Use metal tongs or a slotted spoon to lift the tortilla strips out of the pan, draining the excess oil as you do so. (The tortilla strips should be fairly stiff and crisp. If not, the oil is not hot enough.) Transfer the tortilla strips to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper while they are still warm.

In another large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, and shredded chicken. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the flavors have melded, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the fried tortilla strips, cheese, avocado, and fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The soup can be made the night before or frozen in advance. Just be sure to add the garnishes (tortilla strips, cheese, and avocado) just before serving.

Freezes well.

 

Recipe from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

Story excerpted from Jennifer Chandler’s bi-weeky Commercial Appeal newspaper column Dinner Tonight.

Photo and Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

 

Shrimp Alfredo

Shrimp Alfredo

Shrimp Alfredo

A decadently creamy Alfredo sauce is probably the quickest and easiest pasta sauce to whip up. Made simply of butter, Parmesan cheese, and heavy cream, a homemade version of this sauce is infinitely better than anything you could buy pre-made at the store.

This popular sauce was invented by Roman restaurateur Alfredo di Lelio back in 1914.  He added Parmesan to a classic butter sauce in an attempt to create a dish that would be appetizing to his pregnant wife.  Little did he know that this simple three ingredient sauce would become a classic in the United States thanks to Hollywood actors like Douglas Fairbanks that frequented his restaurant.

Since the sauce is made of just three ingredients, it is important to use high-quality components.  Never use margarine or a butter substitute.  Also, look for a wedge of a good Parmesan in your deli department. Pre-grated cheese won’t give you as flavorful as sauce or melt as smoothly.

I like to add a touch of freshly ground nutmeg to all my cream sauces. It’s a trick I learned in culinary school in France.  The nutmeg adds another layer of flavor to a dish. A dish is fine without it, but a little can add that special touch to the end result. The trick is to always use freshly grated nutmeg and never use the powdered version.

Serve Alfredo sauce plain over your favorite pasta or dress it up with sautéed shrimp and mushrooms like I do in this version. Chicken could easily be substituted for the shrimp if you are not a seafood fan.

Shrimp Alfredo

For the Alfredo Sauce:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pasta:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced button mushrooms
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound medium shrimp (30/40 count), peeled and deveined
1 box (1 pound/16-ounce) fettuccine, cooked per package directions and kept warm
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

To make the Alfredo sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the heavy cream and butter to a boil. As soon as it boils, stir in the Parmesan cheese and cook until melted. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm.

To assemble the pasta: In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and oil. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and they become slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and sauté until cooked through, about 4 minutes.In a large mixing bowl toss together the warm pasta, the Alfredo sauce, and the shrimp mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8.

 

 

Recipe from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

Story excerpted from Jennifer Chandler’s bi-weeky Commercial Appeal newspaper column Dinner Tonight.

Photo and Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Doesn’t bacon make everything taste better?

It’s so funny to think about … but when I was a kid I used to say I was allergic to brussels sprouts!  I hated them that much!  Fast forward to adulthood … and now they are one of my favorite things!

Part of the trick is not to overcook the brussels sprouts.  They get too smelly and pungent if you do. You want them to be just fork-tender after boiling them.

The second part is the bacon.  As I mentioned before, doesn’t it just make everything better?! I like to use a really smoky bacon like Benton’s when making mine.

My friend Kelly English inspired me to come up with this recipe. He serves a version of this warm dish as a first-course salad at Restaurant Iris, his popular Memphis restaurant. I dish it up as a hearty side.

Enjoy!

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
Kosher salt
3 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper

Trim the bottoms off of the Brussels sprouts and slice in half.

Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sprouts and cook until fork tender, about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and reserve.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Reserve.

Pour all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Add the sprouts and sauté until they are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the bacon to the pan and toss to combine. Serve warm.

Serves 6.

Cooking Tip: Regular bacon is fine, but for an extra bacon-y flavor, use thick-cut artisan bacon or Italian pancetta.

Do-Ahead: The Brussels sprouts can blanched ahead of time and then reheated when sautéed. 

From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler


Jennifer Chandler

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