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.