Shredded chicken

Prepare ahead for future meals — and one suggestion

I must admit, some of my best ideas come from Ann Ful­ton in her news­pa­per col­umn, Foun­tain Avenue Kitchen. Today I have two recipes inspired by her. The first is how to cook up sev­er­al chick­en breasts to cre­ate shred­ded chick­en. The oth­er is one way to use part of that shred­ded chicken.

Shredded Chicken 

6 large chick­en breasts
3/4 cup chick­en broth or stock
1/2 tbsp gar­lic powder
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp salt or sea­soned salt
1 tsp black pepper

Place chick­en in slow cook­er. Sprin­kle spices on top, then pour the broth over all. Cov­er and cook for 4 to 5 hours on low, or 2 to 3 hours on high. (The chick­en will shred eas­i­ly when done.) Shred with two forks either inside the cook­er, or on a cut­ting board.
Use amount desired in your favorite recipe. Freeze the remain­der in one and two-cup amounts. Add some of the liq­uid to each air-tight, plas­tic bagged por­tion. To use, thaw and drain liq­uid, reserv­ing it to add to any liq­uid required.
Note: As I have a small­er pres­sure cook­er, I used half of this recipe.

Spinach, Mushroom, and Chicken Quesadillas

8 ounces sliced mush­rooms (any kind)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup rough­ly chopped spinach
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp butter
6‑inch or 8‑inch flour tortillas
1 cup cooked, shred­ded chicken
up to 2 cups shred­ded cheese (ched­dar, Mon­terey Jack, Mex­i­can blend, or mixed)
sour cream and sal­sa to serve

Saute and brown mush­rooms in olive oil for about 8 min­utes. Con­tin­ue cook­ing until any liq­uid has evap­o­rat­ed. Add the gar­lic, cook and stir for half a minute. Add the spinach and saute until it is wilt­ed. (You may warm chick­en in microwave.) Keep warm ingre­di­ents warm. Pre­pare tor­tillas by toast­ing in but­ter on one side (medi­um heat fry pan), then flip­ping. While the sec­ond side is toast­ing, add to one side mush­room mix­ture, chick­en, and cheese. Fold oth­er side over top. As cheese melts and bot­tom browns, flip to oth­er side to com­plete brown­ing. Que­sadil­las may be kept in 300 degree oven until all are ready to serve.

Note: Using 2 cups of shred­ded cheese, this recipe will fill eight 8‑inch tor­tillas. I used less cheese and divid­ed all the oth­er ingre­di­ents between five 6‑inch tor­tillas. (Good either way!)

I may make it dif­fer­ent­ly the next time. (I always do.) So feel free to change every­thing. What would you add or subtract?


Some recipes fail

Cheeseburger Muffins — NOT

Not a recipe day. Not a “save time, serve a deli­cious meal” day. No, not at all. How about a “For­get it. Let’s go to Burg­er King,” day? 

I had a half pound of ham­burg­er and high hopes. The recipe sound­ed inter­est­ing. The “come on” sound­ed even bet­ter. Oh, yes! Words like, “when we’re dying for a yum­my cheese­burg­er,” and “fam­i­ly favorite!”

I’d start­ed with a pound of ham­burg­er, plan­ning a meat­loaf, our per­son­al fam­i­ly favorite. Yum­my meal and sev­er­al cold sand­wich­es in the future. But I suc­cumbed to anoth­er idea. Must admit that was a stretch. Filled pep­per. But that’s anoth­er sto­ry about some­thing we did eat, but don’t plan to try again. Back to today’s dis­as­ter. First thing, it took an hour of my time. Sec­ond thing, it took a lot of oth­er gro­ceries that could have been bet­ter spent. Two eggs, a quar­ter of a pound of but­ter, two, count them, two cups of shred­ded cheese, ketchup, mus­tard, milk, flour, sug­ar. Sugar?

The recipe made way more than two of us could eat. (Espe­cial­ly since hub­by ate only one.) I sol­diered on, not sure why, and ate three. Or was it four? Nope, I’m sure I filled up with three. How­ev­er, a few of those good words were, “freezes well.” So now I have at least a dozen of those lit­tle nuggets of delight in the freez­er. Per­haps I’ll serve them to grand­chil­dren, nat­u­ral­ly using words like, “a go-to snack when you’re dying for a yum­my cheese­burg­er!” I won’t show them the pic­ture from the recipe book that shows them plump and rosy with­out those singed edges that result­ed from the min­i­mal cook time.

A Main Dish From Leftovers

Stacks for Two — A leftover delight

4 6‑inch four tortillas
1/2 cup cooked meat, chopped fine
1/2 jar salsa
shred­ded cheese

1. Reserve 1 table­spoon of sal­sa. Mix sal­sa and chopped meat in fry pan and heat together.
2. Place one tor­tilla in the bot­tom of a small casse­role dish.
3. Spread one half of the sal­sa mix­ture on the tortilla.
4. Sprin­kle shred­ded cheese on top.
5. Repeat 2–4 (plac­ing anoth­er tor­tilla on top of the one below, then cov­er­ing with cheese.
6. Place last tor­tilla on top, spread the reserved sal­sa, then sprin­kle more shred­ded cheese.
7. Heat in 350̊ oven 20 or more min­utes until cheese bub­bling and top slight­ly browned.
8. Cut in wedges and serve with sour cream, chopped let­tuce, and chopped tomato.

Notes: Any meat may be used — beef, pork, chick­en, ham, even fish.
Cheeses may include ched­dar, moz­zarel­la, Col­by, Parme­san, Mex­i­can blends, or oth­ers. You may pre­fer to place a dif­fer­ent cheese in each layer.

Vari­a­tions: Use pineap­ple sal­sa and include pineap­ple tid­bits with the meat.
Use a chopped, cooked veg­etable instead of meat, or with meat.

Sloppy Joes — With a secret ingredient

Sloppy Joes with Red Cabbage

1 pound ham­burg­er (more or less okay) 
1 tbsp oil
1/4 to 1/2 head red cab­bage, grated
1 onion, chopped
3/4 cup toma­to ketchup
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp Worces­ter­shire sauce
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cloves (or more)
salt and pep­per to taste

Brown the ham­burg­er in oil, chop­ping and stir­ring it with a plas­tic spat­u­la, until no red remains.
Add all the oth­er ingre­di­ents. Stir and bring to a sim­mer. A lit­tle water may be added if it is too thick. Keep at a sim­mer for 20 to 30 min­utes — with or with­out a lid.
Serve on buns.

Note: All ingre­di­ent amounts can be adjust­ed to your per­son­al taste. (I tend to mea­sure by eye.) The best part of this recipe? No one has ever guessed my secret ingredient!


Recipe — Garlic Chicken with Peanut Sauce

First, a quote from Yesterday’s Body

What’s for din­ner?” I asked.
“There’s half a bar­be­qued chick­en left,” Mel said. “I planned to heat it up.”
“Right,” I said and start­ed open­ing cup­board doors. “You real­ly want dried out leftovers?”
“I’m test­ing your skills,” he said. “You haven’t dis­ap­point­ed me yet.”
“You’re tak­ing advan­tage of my good nature.” Of course he wasn’t, and he knew it. In my
cus­tom­ary life I was an inno­v­a­tive but often hap­haz­ard cook, how­ev­er, Mel was such an
appre­cia­tive audi­ence. And face it, I did need a break from out­door research now and then.

# # # #

I found a pack­age of ramen noo­dles, a few nuts, a can of mush­rooms, and a half jar of peanut
but­ter. I lined up his spices, decid­ed which bits of veg­gies from the crisper in the bot­tom of the
refrig­er­a­tor were usable, and did my magic.

* * * * *

But before I wrote those words, I exper­i­ment­ed with the food in my refrig­er­a­tor. And, ta da, I came up with this recipe!

Garlic Chicken with Peanut Sauce, Noodles, and Vegetables

Left­over rotis­serie (bar­be­cue) chicken
Noo­dles (rice noo­dles, egg noo­dles, ramen noo­dles or any pas­ta of your choice)
Veg­gies (broc­coli flo­rets, onion chunks, car­rots sliced thin, mush­rooms, cel­ery, or any oth­ers of
your choice) Note: You won’t find any pep­pers in Jo’s recipes because she does­n’t like them — but
feel free to use them as well.
Gar­lic — 1 clove minced, or 1/2 tsp of canned chopped or minced (or more if you prefer).
Peanut Sauce — see recipe below
Peanuts — unsalt­ed dry-roast­ed — may be chopped

1. Whisk peanut sauce ingre­di­ents together.
2. Cut bite-size chunks from left-over bar­be­cue chicken.
3. Pre­pare veg­gies. (Peel &/or chop. If nec­es­sary, zap in microwave until done to ten­der­ness you
pre­fer.) Note: many veg­gies, espe­cial­ly frozen peas and mush­rooms, may not need extra cooking.
4. Break noo­dles into 2 to 4 inch lengths then cook accord­ing to box instruc­tions (rice noodles,
egg noo­dles, ramen noo­dles, etc.)
5. Sauté gar­lic in the peanut sauce for 2 or 3 min­utes. Add chick­en and heat for anoth­er 2 or 3
min­utes. Add cooked noo­dles and veg­gies. (Or add veg­gies ear­li­er.) Stir and heat through.
6. Stir peanuts in before serv­ing, or sprin­kle a hand­ful of peanuts on the top after serving.

Peanut Sauce
For 2 peo­ple (use mul­ti­ples for more peo­ple — all mea­sure­ments are approximate)
Whisk together
1 TB creamy peanut butter
1 tsp hazel­nut oil (or any oil)
1 tsp Worces­ter­shire sauce
3 shakes ground red pepper
6 twists of pep­per mill
3 shakes onion powder
3 shakes ground ginger

* * * * *

Yes­ter­day’s Body was first pub­lished by a small e‑press and is an EPIC mys­tery final­ist and part of the Jo Durbin Mys­tery Series.

A Recipe to warm your tummy!

Spicy Maryland Crab Dip Recipe

1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbs mayonnaise
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
garlic powder to taste
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
3/4 pound fresh crabmeat
3 dashes hot sauce and 2 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a 1 quart baking dish.
In a medium bowl, mix sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, garlic powder and about 2 tbsp of the Cheddar cheese. Fold in crabmeat, hot sauce and seafood seasoning.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining Cheddar cheese. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned.
Serve with crackers, bread pieces, or pretzel sticks.

In Mary­land, the blue crab is king. This recipe is includ­ed in my newest book, The Desert­er and Oth­er Sto­ries. Two of the sto­ries take place on Chesa­peake Bay. I absolute­ly had to add a col­lec­tion of crab appe­tiz­ers to the book. (They are also on my recipe page.)

Look for a new recipe here every Wednes­day. On Sat­ur­day, look for a post of inter­est to readers—especially read­ers of cozy mysteries.