Chicken and Lentil Mini Pot Pies!

Chicken and Lentil Mini Pot Pies!

What a peaceful few days it has been. Each day, our house begins to feel more like a home. Less hand-me-down. We got a new mattress last week and sleep so much better these last few days. 

Our three dogs sleep in bed with us and we curl around one another. Murphy sleeps at the top of the bed, Milo at the bottom, and Elsa comes and goes throughout the night. And when the alarm hits 6:30 we are all up for coffee and oatmeal and to start the day.

I spend most days alone since I work from home and Nolan does not. This means  make dinner for everyone, too. Most nights I roast a chicken or vegetables and maybe some hummus to snack on before he comes home at 9. Other days, I want nothing but junk food: fries and a salad that is more ranch dressing and chicken tenders than lettuce and tomato.

But one afternoon I had the whole day with nothing to do. No work, no cleaning, no posts, so I experimented with some lentils I've had since we moved in and the rest of the chicken that was sitting in the fridge and made this dish: Chicken and Lentil Mini Pot Pies. So easy, so satisfying, and the most work is boiling the lentils, if you're using some leftovers like I did.

Chicken and Lentil Mini Pot Pies!

Chicken and Lentil Mini Pot Pies!

So easy, so delicious, and the crust is a perfect compliment to this recipe. I used Ina Garten's pie crust recipe, but did not add sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie crust (see author's note above)
  • 1 large chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 cup green lentils, prepared by box directions
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 gloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Egg wash (one egg + 1 tablespoon water, whisked)

Directions:

  1. Grease a large muffin tin (or a regular-sized muffin tin, but the baking time will be reduced by about 5 minutes!)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except the egg wash
  3. On a floured board, cut your dough in quarters and roll out about a 1/4 inch thickness
  4. Cut out a round that is large enough to press down into the muffin tin (I just used a 6-inch plate and it worked perfectly!)
  5. Mold each round into the muffin tin
  6. Scoop your mixture into each cup
  7. With the remaining dough, cut out a round to fit on top
  8. Place each top on your cups and brush a bit of egg wash on the perimeter of the top rounds
  9. Press top and cup together and brush more egg wash for each to have a nice golden brown
  10. Poke a couple holes on top to vent
  11. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown
  12. Allow to cool before unturning from pan
  13. Enjoy! Can keep for up to 2 days!
Chicken and Lentil Mini Pot Pies!
Chicken and Lentil Mini Pot Pies!
Chicken and Lentil Mini Pot Pies!
Chicken and Lentil Mini Pot Pies!
Chicken and Lentil Mini Pot Pies!

Panko-Crusted French Toast

Panko French Toast

It's Wednesday and I am still in bed, dressed and ready for my day to start. We got a new bed, a bigger one for our three dogs, and silly sheets with ostriches on them. Mornings are my favorite around here, as I'm sure you can tell these days. 

So here's a short post as I get my day started. Panko-crusted french toast, because I'm all about a fun take on a classic.

Almond and Panko-Crusted French Toast

Panko French Toast

I thought I was so clever when I "invented" this, but then I realized that the Pioneer Woman had already done something like this. Ya win some, ya lose some.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 TB pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 TB cinnamon
  • 1 loaf of hearty bread (I used store bakery Italian here)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400*F
  2. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  3. Lay out two shallow pans
  4. In the first one, whisk together your eggs, extracts, and milk
  5. In the second, whisk together your dry ingredients
  6. Now, take a slice of bread, dip it in the wet mixture for just a second and then press gently into the dry on both sides
  7. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet
  8. Repeat with remaining bread slices
  9. Bake for 15 minutes; turn over and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown and crisp
  10. Serve immediately with maple syrup or your favorite French Toast accourtrmement 
Panko French Toast
Panko French Toast
Panko French Toast
Panko French Toast

Super Easy Stroopwafel, in Partnership with Red Star Yeast

Red Star Yeast - Stroopwafel

It's the hardest thing to wake up in the morning when you're surrounded by snoring dogs and a snoring boyfriend. The floors are cold but the coffee is warm. Only Elsa and Milo wake up with me in the morning; Murphy stays in bed until 9 or 10. 

I open the door and they rush to greet the day. Small shadows in the morning light, I sometimes only see the puffs of their barks, shotguns in the pale and deaf morning. They are crepuscular, active when the light stretches the most. Milo and Elsa play with sticks, bite at birds that rest on tree branches just above their heads. I saw a hawk attach a finch the other day through the kitchen window. I just stared until I remembered to call the dogs in.

And there are deer tracks that roam our yard in circles. Whole family come to eat from our yard, as quiet as snow the dogs don't even hear them in the midnight. A mouse has found his way into our garage from the cold and the world seems unfair if you think about it long enough.

I always wake up at six and on the weekends we sometimes pull out the sofa bed and watch I Love Lucy in the mornings, trying to keep warm and keep calm and remind ourselves what a year can do to two people.

Quick and Easy Stroopwafels

Red Star Yeast - Stroopwafel

This recipe was inspired by Food Network's but I didn't have the waffle cone iron they mandated in their recipes. Instead, I used my basic waffle iron and baked the yeasted dough into a thick round, dipping half in Ghiradelli's dark chocolate and molasses for that signature bite.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup whole milk, warm to the touch
  • 1/2 sachet of Red Star Platinum Yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 12 oz dark chocolate
  • 2 TB heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon dark molasses

Directions:

  1. Whisk together milk, yeast, and salt and let sit for five minutes or until yeast begins to bubble
  2. In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, and cinnamon
  3. Add butter and pulse until fat is pea-sized
  4. Add egg and vanilla, pulse
  5. With motor running, add wet and process for five seconds or until dough forms
  6. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead five or six times 
  7. Rest for an hour in a greased ball
  8. While dough is resting, get your waffle iron ready!
  9. Cut into 8 equal pieces, roll each into a ball
  10. Use your waffle iron to bake each 
  11. Allow to cool while you prepare your chocolate
  12. In a double boiler, whisk together chocolate, cream, and molasses until fully melted
  13. Dip your stroopwafels into the chocolate mixture and allow to cool on wax paper
  14. Eat with your favorite coffee or tea. These can be stored for up to three days in an airtight container
Red Star Yeast - Stroopwafel
Red Star Yeast - Stroopwafel
Red Star Yeast - Stroopwafel
Red Star Yeast - Stroopwafel
Red Star Yeast - Stroopwafel
Red Star Yeast - Stroopwafel
Red Star Yeast - Stroopwafel
Red Star Yeast - Stroopwafel

Thank you to Red Star Yeast for sponsoring this post. I believe in using quality products when it comes to baking and I am always confident my dough will rise beautifully with Red Star! Check out the active dry yeast I used for this recipe and others on their website, follow them on instagram and like their Facebook!

And while you're at it...like my Facebook and Instagram too!

St. Patrick's Day Puppy Chow!

St. Patrick's Day Puppy Chow!

I can't believe it's almost St. Patrick's Day! We've officially lived in this house for two months, in a kitchen that is wood and olive-colored and a dining room we play Scrabble on. The dogs bark at the birds that dance in the trees and I wait for Nolan to come from a 12-hour shift before we eat dinner. This St. Patrick's Day will be quiet, as they tend to be now.

I used to wear green paint on my face and black out on the strip of bars downtown in Pittsburgh. My fake ID would bend in my wallet and beer was cheap and dyed. Three years in a row and it never felt like I was doing it right. And in California, when it was just the two of us, I had no reason to really celebrate then. 

But it's different here, as I tend to say. I celebrate the small things, the holidays that aren't just for gifts and drinking. I made this Lucky Charms puppy chow with Nolan one Saturday and we laughed and kissed along the way.  It's these small victories of getting older that make me appreciate Nolan standing by my side.

Lucky Charms Puppy Chow

St. Patrick's Day Puppy Chow!

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  2. 3 TB matcha powder
  3. 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
  4. 1 1/2 cup peanut butter
  5. 1 cup white chocolate 
  6. 2 TB unsalted butter
  7. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  8. 1 box Lucky Charms
  9. Β 

Directions:

  1. Shake to combine sugar and matcha in a large brown paper bag
  2. In a Dutch oven, heat marshmallow, peanut butter, chocolate, and butter on medium-high and stir constantly until melted
  3. Add your box of cereal and stir to coat completely
  4. Add salt to taste (it will be sweet and the salt will cut a lot of this)
  5. Allow to cool slightly and then add in parts to your paper bag
  6. Shake to coat and pour into a bowl
  7. Repeat and enjoy!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! And celebrate the immigrants that made this country.

St. Patrick's Day Puppy Chow!
St. Patrick's Day Puppy Chow!
St. Patrick's Day Puppy Chow!
St. Patrick's Day Puppy Chow!
St. Patrick's Day Puppy Chow!
St. Patrick's Day Puppy Chow!
St. Patrick's Day Puppy Chow!

Blue Moon Beer Bread: A year at home

Blue Moon Beer Bread

The last time that I drank beer regularly was for a quarter a cup in frat basements. Cold, damp and often leaving the white laces of my shoes tea-stained in spilled Natty Light. I drank from a red plastic cup that my boyfriend had been ashing his Pall Mall in; I didn't drink beer for three years after that. 

Somewhere down the line of being back in Pennsylvania, I began to drink a beer with my father. Once by the pool deck on the Fourth of July, then weekly at a local restaurant. For years, we didn't talk much; we racked it up to not a lot in common. But slowly I opened up to him and slowly he listened more than I thought he would. He likes Coors Light. I buy him two and I stuck with Blue Moon, which runs about $2 during Happy Hour in my hometown.

My mother started coming out with us. She always had a story to tell about a relative I thought had died a long time ago. If you stop talking about people in my family, it's because they either wronged you in some arbitrary way or they died a few years ago, going unnoticed by my adolescent caprice. We liked to order spaghetti with extra garlic. I always bought the drinks. She had what I was having and one summer my father had to drive us home, we were both so drunk from Happy Hour and hearing the news of my brother's wife's pregnancy.

I moved back out of my parents' place after a year there and I miss those weekly traditions. They had to cancel their trip out next Tuesday, afraid of a snowstorm and my dad can't see very well at night. I planned on making this bread for them, but I'll hold off a week until I know they're coming, to surprise them and let them know that I wasn't unhappy the year I spent with them, I just readjusted myself a little harder to the world I grew up in.

Blue Moon Beer Bread

Blue Moon Beer Bread

Recipe adapted from here, though the ratios are similar to many others out there. I think this is possibly the easiest quick bread in the world. Make sure to try out other beers as well, but I would omit the orange, cinnamon, and use white instead of brown sugar. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 bottle Blue Moon
  • 8 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • Orange or clementine, sliced for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375*F and prepare a loaf pan with butter and parchment
  2. Sift together flour, soda, cornstarch, cinnamon, and sugar
  3. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon
  4. Pour your beer into the center of the well and stir
  5. Add butter
  6. Mix well and pour into your loaf pan
  7. Top with slices of orange and bake for 1 hour
  8. Remove and allow to cool before eating (you don't have to eat the oranges--they're just garnish!)
Blue Moon Beer Bread
Blue Moon Beer Bread
Blue Moon Beer Bread
Blue Moon Beer Bread
Blue Moon Beer Bread