Tag Archives: Chicken

The beauty of fauxmade

First of all, let me say greetings from snowy Atlanta. As some of you might have seen, we got about 2 inches of snow yesterday and it turned in to a total nightmare. Luckily, I work from home and Eric made it home before the roads got super bad, so we weren’t stranded in our cars. But I know plenty of people who were. Fingers crossed things thaw out soon.

Now on to the post. I have written before about my love of semi-homemade baked goods, and sometimes, you need to extend that practice to other aspects of cooking. I like to call this fauxmade (did I make that up? Probably not, but it sounds good). To me fauxmade is when you take some precooked ingredients or other shortcuts to make something that tastes like you slaved over a hot stove all day. Only part of the effort but still a delicious result.


This was a pot of chicken and rice soup I made a few weeks ago. Instead of making my own stock with chicken and bones, I used bouillon and the juices and meat from a rotisserie chicken. That combination made for a rich, delicious soup  that both Eric and I slurped down. We preferred it to a chicken and rice soup I tried before that cooked all day in the crock pot. The above soup came together in about an hour.

Rotisserie chickens really are a fauxmade chef’s best friend. I have used them before to make soups, salads, tacos or quesadillas — even a stuffing for homemade/fauxmade ravioli. A $5 rotisserie chicken from Costco will feed Eric and I for at least two dinners, maybe even more.

I was inspired to write this post yesterday after I took a can of Manischewitz matzo ball soup and doctored it up to make it taste a bit more like the soup my mother-in-law makes.

51dAEkz9UiL._SY300_I put it in a pot with a little bouillon and water, added some carrots and parsley. It was quite tasty.

What are some of your favorite fauxmade cooking tricks?


Friday Five is now Friday Faves

Three days in to the new year and I’m already changing stuff up here on Kitchen Casual. It’s not a huge change, just changing the Friday feature from Friday Five to Friday Faves. It gives me more flexibility in terms of the amount of what I write about. I  found myself struggling sometimes to come up with five things and I want to make sure the things I share are things I actually am enjoying, not just things I am thinking up to take up space.


First, I have to talk about how Santa was very good to me. I got a few of the products I’ve talked about on here and they have seen a lot of use in the past week. My mother-in-law got me the tea kettle I wanted. It’s is actually quite amazing how brewing tea at the proper temperature can make a huge difference in how the tea tastes. Tea nerds unite! I’ve been getting a lot of use out of it the past few days because I am battling a nasty head cold. Hot tea, I love you. I also got two really awesome knifes. The above one is a J.A. Henckels chef’s knife made of German steel. It cuts like a dream. I just want to chop all the things. I also got a small ceramic knife that is great. I feel like I need to invest in more ceramic knives now.

UPDATE: I can’t believe I forgot to talk about my mezzaluna! I also got one for Christmas and it is pretty amazing. Yes, you can just use a knife, but I shredded a whole bunch of kale super fast with it the other day. We are now best friends.

We were out of town for past of last week so we haven’t cooked too much. We made this slow cooker Greek chicken on Sunday and ate it for a few days in warm pitas with tomatoes, cucumbers and homemade tzatziki. It was delicious. We also made lobster risotto on New Year’s Day.


It was my first time cooking lobster at home. We bought some tails from Costco (seriously, they have a great seafood selection) and boiled them. I used my recipe for baked risotto and top it with the chopped lobster. A little delicious indulgence to start the new year.

I should get back to more cooking in the new few weeks. Like most people in the world, I’m trying to eat better after the gluttonous holidays, so you might see some healthy-type dishes on here. But I’ll hopefully make them as tasty as possible!

Falafel-Crusted Chicken with Hummus Slaw

I’m a control freak when it comes to cooking. This should really come to no surprise to anyone who knows me. I like everything to be done a certain way and in a specific order. I also rarely ask for help. This sometimes annoys Eric because he likes it when we cook together and sometimes I’ll insist on doing everything myself. What annoys him even more is when he says he is going to cook for me, and then I butt in and help out when he doesn’t even ask for it.

The other night, Eric cooked dinner for me and I stayed in the living room, drinking wine and watching “Nashville” on our DVR. And you know what? It was magical.  I helped him out only when he asked, but I mostly stayed out of it. And he made a delicious, delicious meal.

photoI could definitely get used to this.

Falafel-Crusted Chicken with Hummus Slaw (From The Food Network)

3 chicken breasts (Eric used chicken cutlets)
1 tablespoon  olive oil
1/2 cup falafel mix
2 pitas, halved
6 tablespoons hummus
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
4 cups shredded coleslaw mix
6 radishes, halved and thinly sliced

1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
2) Set a rack on a rimmed baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Toss the chicken with the olive oil in a large bowl, then add the falafel mix and toss to coat. Arrange the chicken on the rack and bake until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. While the chicken is baking, stack the pita halves and wrap them in foil; warm in the oven, about 5 minutes.
3) Mix the hummus, lemon juice, hot sauce and 3 tablespoons water in a large bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of the hummus sauce and reserve. Add the coleslaw mix and radishes to the remaining hummus sauce and toss. Season with salt.
4) Divide the chicken among plates and drizzle with the reserved hummus sauce. Stuff the slaw in the pitas and serve with the chicken.

Chicken and dumplings

I was worried that maybe I built up my Dutch oven too much. That no matter what happened over the weekend, it would not be as amazing as I thought it was going to be. Well ladies and gents, it was pretty freaking amazing.

The finished product. Food styling by my mom.
The finished product. Food styling by my mom.

It was definitely the best chicken and dumplings I have ever made. Granted I don’t know if that had to do with the Dutch oven or the recipe, but I’m going to say it was a little bit of both.

My mom came over for dinner and helped me out a little with the cooking. It was good to have her around because her chicken and dumplings is one of my favorite meals (it was the first dish I requested her to make after we moved back to Atlanta). She also got to experience the awesomeness that is my new Dutch oven.

photo 1

I used Martha Stewart’s chicken and dumpling recipe as a starting off point, but as we were cooking, we realized we were going to have to make some tweaks. Pretty significant ones in my opinion, mostly in terms of the amount of stock that was used. I prefer my chicken and dumplings to have a decent amount of liquid. Even with the changes, it was a delicious and hearty meal. And I’m already craving the leftovers we’ll be having for dinner tonight.

photo 3

You could easily adapt this to work in a crock pot, but from start to finish it only took about an hour. That might be a bit too long on weeknights, but was very manageable on a Sunday night. I also used my mom’s recipe for dumplings instead of Martha’s, but am including Martha’s for reference.

Chicken and Dumplings

3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups of chopped carrots (I just used baby carrots I had on hand, cut in half)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 pounds of chicken (I used equal parts chicken thighs and chicken breasts), cut in to two inch pieces
5 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 package frozen peas

(This is Martha’s recipe for dumplings. I would probably double it given the increase in liquid. Or just follow your favorite dumpling recipe.)
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of milk
1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon dried dill

1) In a Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat butter over medium. Add onion, carrots, and thyme. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
2) Add flour and cook for  30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. With the increase in liquid this will take a bit, but stirring is a important part in thickening the base. Add chicken to post and reduce heat the medium-low. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) While the chicken is cooking, mix together the ingredients for the dumplings. The consistency should be like a biscuit dough. Add milk or flour depending if necessary. Be careful not the over stir the batter.
4) Stir in peas prior to adding dumplings. Spoon dumpling batter on top of the chicken mixture. There should be about 10 dumplings. Make sure to spread them out as they will expand while cooking. Cook for ten minutes with the lid off and then another 10 minutes with the lid on. Once the dumplings are firm, it is ready to serve.