A Messy Kitchen is a Loved Kitchen

As I sit down to write tonight, my kitchen looks like a confectioners sugar bomb exploded.  Ever have those moments when you have to just walk away from a mess so you can effectively go back to it a little while later?  That was me tonight.  I needed to come blog about today’s kitchen adventures and I just could not wash another dish.  You see, my dish washer is broken… I know pause for dramatic effect and the ever present look of complete shock on everyone’s face who knows just how long my dishwasher has been broken.  It has been weeks and it is a long story as to why it has not yet been replaced.  So, in addition to the normal things that make a day hectic and busy, I add to that handwashing and drying ALL of my dishes.  Not the smartest thing for a girl who is currently obsessed with cooking and starting a business that is all things food prep.  Yes, that’s a lot of dishes to wash.  But, with a family of 5 it was already a lot, I hardly notice the extra. Ha!  I joked with one of my sweet tasters today who is looking for a job that as soon as I start to make real money I will give him a job keeping me company in the kitchen and washing all my dishes.  I believe he thought I was joking.

I have had the kitchen all clean many times over today.  For some reason that makes me feel better about myself when I can stop every few recipes and completely (or almost completely) clean up.  I guess it is a sense of accomplishment, that or reassurance that my kitchen will not look like this forever and I am still capable of cleaning it up.  From 5:00 tonight until almost 10:00, 2 of my favorite guys came over to taste food.  Patrick, Maddie May’s 19 year old “boyfriend” and Robby, 20 year old son of one of my dearest friends, can always be counted on to show up when food is offered, and to get my kids in a state of complete chaotic frenzy.  Maddie May ran around for hours like a crazy person and at one point I was cooking to a background light saber show.  It was quite entertaining.  But, they did their job and tasted everything – even the chicken liver that I almost could not swallow!  Such good sports.  Thanks boys for coming.

I cooked a lot today so I have to decide where to start.  This morning I jumped right into the chicken salad that I boiled the chicken for yesterday.  I decided to go with 2 recipes, my Red Grape and Pecan Chicken Salad, and I came up with a new recipe for Curry Chicken Salad with apples and dried cranberries.  I even took samples of both to a friend at the pool and got a thumbs up on both.  They are both super easy.  For all chicken salad, I start by boiling a whole chicken in a large stock pot with celery, green onions, carrots, parsley, and salt & pepper.  I boil for 3-4 hours until it is falling from the bones.  Remove the chicken and strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve.  I freeze the broth once it is cool in large freezer bags to use in recipes later.  Discard the veggies or puree them to use as a thickener in soups.  Remove all of the meat from the bones.

Red Grape & Pecan Chicken Salad

2 C Chopped Cooked Chicken

1/2C Quartered Red Grapes

1 Stalk Celery Finely Diced

1 Green Onion Finely Sliced

1/4 of a Large Lemon

1/4 C Mayo

1T Cooking Sherry

1/2 t Dried Mustard

1/4t Garlic Powder

1/2 t Sugar

1/2 C Pecan Pieces

Combine chicken, grapes, celery, and green onion in a mixing bowl.  Squeeze lemon over chicken mixture and stir to combine.  In a small bowl, combine mayo, sherry, and dry ingredients except pecans.  Wisk together well.  Add mayo mixture to chicken and add pecans.  Stir well.  I love this as a snack on either celery or Triscuits.  It is also great as a sandwich on a croissant.

 

Curry Chicken Salad with Apples and Dried Cranberries

2 C Chopped Cooked Chicken

1/2 C Dried Cranberries

1/4 C Chopped Apples

1 Stalk Celery Finely Diced

1 Green Onion Finely Sliced

1/4 of a Large Lemon

1/2 C Mayo

1 1/2 t Curry Powder

2t Chopped Fresh Cilantro

1/8 t Ground Cumin

1/2 C Pecan Pieces

Combine chicken, cranberries, apples, celery, cilantro, and green onion in a mixing bowl.  Squeeze lemon over chicken mixture and stir to combine.  In a small bowl, combine mayo & dry ingredients.  Wisk together well.  Add mayo mixture to chicken.  Stir well.  This would be great served in the same manner as the other chicken salad but I really liked it tonight in phyllo cups.  The color was beautiful.  I completely forgot to take a picture so I will do it tomorrow.

In addition to the 2 chicken salads, I made some fun homemade granola to the delight of my kids, worked on the Mini Beef Wellington’s again (pictured here) and think I have it just as I want it, made crab cakes that I think I will probably crave from now on (I will post that recipe soon), and as I am typing I have cinnamon rolls rising upstairs.  I am sending them to work with Jeff tomorrow along with yogurt and granola parfaits.  Someone in his office brings breakfast every Friday and tomorrow is his day!  I can’t wait to see how they turn out and hopefully I will have greatness to report on those tomorrow.  I also made Rumaki.  I made the real thing, chicken livers and all, and I made them the less adventurous way which is just the marinated water chestnuts wrapped in bacon.  I am now completely positive, without question, I do not like chicken livers.  I always assumed I would not like them but until tonight had not tried.  The liver-less ones were quite good though, but what it was bacon so I am not surprised.

 

I am happy to say, I made some crazy good chocolate cupcakes today as well.  Thanks to a tip from one of my oldest friends (back to preschool days in fact) I tried a recipe that I am very happy with.  As you can see in the top picture, I did full size and minis and they are practically too cute to eat!  I have lots so if you are somewhere tomorrow that you think I should bring some samples message me and I will try!  I’m making a super fun birthday cake tomorrow night and I am really excited to show it to you all.  I have eggs already boiled and ready to be made into new gourmet stuffed flavors tomorrow.  Who knows what I will come up with.  I promise, next week I will get back to normal meals that you will want to cook for dinners.  I’m having fun testing out appetizer recipes though this week.  I think Jeff and the kids are enjoying to it too.

For now, I need to get upstairs and clean up my mess.  I’ve got to be up at the crack of dawn to bake those cinnamon rolls so I better get in bed soon.  Hope you try the chicken salad recipes.  I know I love them.

Enjoy! 

 

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