Larrupin

Uncommonly Good

Roast Chicken Salad

Roast Chicken Salad

Roast Chicken Salad with Mandarin Oranges, Pecans, and Honey Mustard Dressng

This salad started out the same as the one I made yesterday, but it had a totally different taste. I added diced roast chicken, mandarin oranges, pecans and sliced almonds. I dressed it with store-bought honey mustard dressing.

I roast a chicken every few weeks, usually when I see them on sale at the grocery store. I get at least one fresh meal out of it and then I have leftovers of the main meal, chicken for salads or sandwiches, chicken broth, and I set aside all the unappetizing “chicken parts” for the dogs. They love it when I add those “parts” to their bowls.

Roasting a chicken is easy. Just wash it inside and out and put it in a roasting pan. I season mine with a variety of herbs. Tarragon has a distinctive flavor, at least to me, so I don’t usually mix it with other flavors. I have a personal herb blend I use on almost everything especially on chicken. I’ll pour about a half-inch of white wine in the bottom of the pan. Sometimes I’ll add  mushrooms, celery tops, onions and garlic. It goes, uncovered, in an oven preheated to 400° for about 10–15 minutes. When the skin is crispy and golden I’ll put a lid on the pan, or cover it with foil and leave it for another 45 minutes or so.

Roast Chicken Before

Fresh chicken seasoned with rosemary, tumeric, stuffed with mushrooms, celery, and lemons.

As soon as I get it in the oven, I’ll put rice in my rice steamer and turn it on. When the rice is done, the chicken usually is as well.

When the chicken is done, I take it out of the oven and let it sit for a few minutes while I get everything together for serving. Then I’ll take the chicken out of the pan and put it on a plate for carving. My favorite fresh hot piece of chicken is the leg quarter so I’ll pull that of and add it to the rice.  I may make a gravy out of the pan juices, but if not, I’ll simply spoon the pan juices over the rice and chicken. Garnish with some slivered almonds and chow down.

Roast Chicken After

Rosemary Lemon Roast Chicken

After I eat, and the chicken is cool I’ll debone it and put the whole breasts and any other meat in a container for future use. I may toss the bones, but if I have time I’ll put the bones back in the roasting pan, add some more water and put them on the stove top and cook them down to make broth.

After the bones cook an hour or so, remove from the heat and let it cool enough to handle. Remove the larger bones with tongs or a slotted spoon . (Don’t feed them to your dogs or cats. They can splinter and cause internal injuries when your pets eat them.) After you think you have all the bones out, pour the broth through a strainer and remove the smaller bones. You can also strain it though cheese cloth if you want to get the rest of the chunks that are floating around.

When the broth is strained, pour it into a tall container. I frequently use a tall plastic to-go cup I’ve saved. Put it in the fridge and the chicken fat will form a layer and harden on the top making it very easy to remove before you use the broth.

I’m in the mood for a BLT tomorrow for lunch. I think I also have an avocado I can add to it. We’ll see if I can’t get around early enough to pull it off.  I’m also looking for my little sandwich maker so I can make grilled sandwiches at the office. At home, my trusty iron skillets are so much easier, but I just realized that little sandwich maker is just the ticket. If I can just remember where I put it. 🙂

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April 20, 2010 Posted by | Brown Bag, Salad | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Brown Bag Salad

One Brown Bag Salad
When I want something healthy for lunch and end up grabbing a salad from a fast food place I’m always disappointed. The lettuce is mostly spine and rusty on the edges, carrots are pale and dried, and there are usually only 4-5 ingredients.  The tiny cubed croutons are prepackaged and practically melt in my mouth. The dressing is also prepackaged and no matter what flavor I get, too middle-of-the-road for my taste.  And after all that it’s also way more expensive than I could have made at home.
I’m sure everyone would agree a salad is best when made with bright fresh crunchy vegetables with a variety of colors, flavors and textures. Here’s the version I had for lunch today.
 3 leaves of romaine lettuce
8-10 large leaves of spinach
1 inch of zucchini
1 carrot
3-4 red radishes
3-4 button mushrooms
3-4 green onions
1-2 T Craisins
1 T slivered almonds
3/8″ slice feta cheese
6-8 large crunchy homemade croutons
Janz Cranberry Honey Mustard Dressing*
I assembled this last night in a to-go salad bowl I saved from a store-bought salad. 
First a pile of torn romaine and spinach. I used a potato peeler to make paper-thin slices of zucchini, carrot and radishes. I sliced the mushrooms almost as thin. Next came green onions and almonds. Then I put the lid on it and put it in the fridge. 
This morning I added a thick slice of feta cheese and the craisins. I packed it with a separate bag of croutons and my own salad dressing. When I was ready to eat, I crumbled the feta, added croutons and poured on the dressing. 
I tossed it with the fork as I ate. The paper-thin slices of veggies are great for stabbing a and getting lots of variety in every bite. The craisins can soak up moisture and turn back into cranberries if I add them too soon which I why I add them at the last minute. 
*The dressing was made in an almost empty bottle of Cranberry Honey Mustard. I added some red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, a little garlic, and voila!
Larrupin!

March 15, 2010 Posted by | Brown Bag, Salad | , , | Leave a comment

Janz Hungarian Mushroom Soup

Mushroom soup is one of my favorites, especially since it’s so easy to make from scratch.
Saute a few mushrooms in butter or olive oil and add a splash of white wine or a squeeze of lemon juice for a little tartness. Add chicken broth, or water and chicken bouillon and let it simmer. Thicken with cornstarch if you want, add milk, cream, sour cream or even cream cheese to make it more creamy than brothy if that’s what you like. 
Garnish with fresh grated Parmesan or a slice of provolone, maybe some avocado slices, a dollop of sour cream and a generous sprinkling of fresh ground pepper blend… mmmm. A splatter of sliced almonds would add a tasty crunch. 

A few days ago I had some mushrooms I wanted to use, but I wanted something different. So I did some searching and came across a Hungarian take on mushroom soup which of course I had to tweak.

Janz Hungarian Mushroom Soup

1 T olive oil
1/2 C thinly sliced yellow onion
1T butter
 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 C white wine
1/2 T dried dill weed
1/2 T paprika
1/2 T soy sauce
1 C chicken broth
1 C milk
1 T cornstarch
1 t salt
Ground black pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 C chopped Italian parsley
1/4 C sour cream
Seasoned croutons
3-4 slices of crisp bacon
Feta, crumbled
Green onions, thinly sliced

Saute onions in olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes
Add sliced mushroom, butter, and wine. Saute 5 more minutes
Stir in the dill, paprika, soy sauce and broth. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes.
Combine milk and cornstarch in a pint jar with a tight lid and shake well to mix. Pour this into the soup and stir well to blend. Simmer 15 more minutes stirring occasionally.
Finally, stir in the salt, pepper, lemon juice, parsley and sour cream. Mix together and allow to heat through over low heat, about 3-5 minutes. Do not boil.
To serve, place several large seasoned croutons in the bottom of a shallow soup bowl. Ladle a serving of soup over the croutons. Garnish with crumbled feta, crispy bacon and green onions.

Larrupin!


PS: This is a larrupin good brown bag lunch.

Put a meal size portion in a plastic container, the croutons and bacon go in another container and use another small container for the feta and green onions. At lunchtime put the croutons and soup in a microwave-proof bowl (one that won’t get hot when you take it out), and when it’s hot, garnish with the bacon, feta and green onions. 

March 5, 2010 Posted by | Brown Bag, Soup | , , | Leave a comment

NHS Band Teacher Appreciation Salad

Janz Salad Basics

  • Green Leafy Stuff
  • Romaine
  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Cilantro
  • Italian Parsley
  • Bright Stuff
    • Red Pepper
    • Purple Onion
    • Red Cabbage
    • Strawberries
  • Other Stuff
    • Mushrooms
    • Feta Cheese
    • Hard Cheese Mix (Parmesan, Romano, Asiago)
  • Garnishes
    • Almonds
    • Sunflower Seeds
    • Homemade Croutons

    To Assemble:

    1. Tear all green leafy stuff (lettuce, cilantro, parsley) put in a salad bowl.
    2. Slice cabbage, dice pepper, slice mushrooms and strawberries and crumbled Feta cheese into the salad.
    3. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds & slivered almonds.
    4. Break thick dry toasted seasoned French bread into bite-size croutons.
    5. Drizzle with with vinaigrette and toss.

    Janz Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette

    1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    2. Balsamic Vinegar
    3. Honey Mustard
    4. Honey
    5. Janz Seasoning Blend
    6. Pepper
    7. Tabasco

    This is one variation of Janz Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette. I use the small jar in the photo to mix my dressings.

    • Start with about an inch of extra virgin olive oil
    • An inch of balsamic vinegar
    • A generous squeeze of honey mustard. Maybe a couple of teaspoons…
    • More honey, probably a tablespoon or so.
    • Add your favorite herbs, basil, oregano, garlic… ground herbs mix best
    • A splash of Tabasco

    Put the lid on tight and shake well. I always hold it inside the sink just in case I have a mismatched lid and it leaks. I’d rather not sling oil all over my clothes, it never happens, unless I’m dressed for work and don’t have time to change!

    As to “your favorite herbs…” I’ve come up with my own blend of favorites that I call Janz Seasoning Blend. This is something I mix up every few months and use it in almost everything. It started out as equal parts of ground basil, oregano and garlic powder and now the ingredient list is as more or less follows: basil oregano, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, onion powder, garlic powder, and marjoram. I usually use dried herbs and when I get it mixed and it smells right, I grind it into a very fine powder. I have a clean coffee grinder I use just for grinding herbs.

    The fine powder seems to readily dissolve into a salad dressing. I also use it as seasoning for croutons. Before I came up with this seasoning concoction, I flavored homemade vinaigrette with basil, oregano, thyme… whatever herbs seemed to be right at the time. Let your taste buds be your guide if you don’t have a favorite herb blend. Any leftover dressing can be refrigerated for your next salad.

    May 20, 2008 Posted by | Salad | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

       

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