Thursday, January 28, 2021

Old Fashion Comfort Meal - Homemade Chicken Croquettes

I had a hankering for some old fashion food that I remember eating as a kid.  Chicken Croquettes were so good, the croquette itself was delicious alongside the puddle of mashed potatoes and gravy.  This was restaurant food usually, and you could also get the meal with gravy fries which were the best!  My mom never made these from scratch, but there was a frozen version that came with cups of gravy sold in grocery stores.  My mother did buy those and they were a great substitute for homemade.

I wasn't busy at home and decided I would try and make them myself.  If they didn't turn out right, I could just call them something else.  The flavors in them I tried to remember so I would get it right, and the technique for getting them to look like a croquette I mastered.  They were always a conical shape, although nowadays I see them as flat pancake style, THAT is not a croquette that I remember.  So here goes my version of  The Chicken Croquette. 
Recipe Below.
I used ground chicken, this worked perfect.
I cooked it up.  Then I cut up the celery and put in a small food chopper so the pieces were cut small or minced.
These ingredients I used for my chicken base.
The base, cooking up those tasty ingredients.  Kind of looks like mashed potatoes.
Fold in the cooked ground chicken and you can see it looks like the inside of the croquettes.
Mold into a conical shape. I lined mine up on a parchment covered baking sheet.
Give them an egg bath and dip in flour and then bread crumbs to get that crispy outside coat on them when you fry them.
Here they are coated in egg and flour. Then you have to dip in egg again and then the bread crumbs.
Into the deep fryer until golden brown all over.
Drain on paper towels.  Looking scrumptious!
OOOOH, now for the gravy. You have to have gravy, its for the mashed potatoes, or if you like, French fries.
Plate them up on a cloud of fluffy mashed potatoes or fries, top with that awesome gravy and dig in!
Chicken Croquettes

Ingredients for the croquette base
1 1/4 lbs of ground chicken meat (I used Perdue in the bag)
1 cup of whole milk
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons parsley flakes, could also use fresh
1 stick of butter
1 stalk of celery, minced small
1 cup flour
oil for frying

Coating for the croquettes
1 cup of milk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, can use plain or seasoned

Chicken Gravy
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons parsley flakes or fresh parsley

For the croquette base:
In a medium frying pan on medium-high heat brown the ground chicken.  Chop and separate as you cook it, until there is no pink color remaining and it looks like it's minced very small.  Set aside. 

In a large pot, heat the milk and stock over medium heat.  Add the salt, pepper, and parsley. In another pot, melt butter and add the celery.  Cook until celery soft.  Add the flour and cook for three minutes. Pour the milk/stock mixture over the flour mixture and whisk until it thickens and becomes smooth. Fold in the ground chicken.

Breading the croquettes:
Mold the mixture with your hands into conical shapes and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Beat the milk and eggs together in a bowl.  In another bowl place the flour and in a third bowl place the bread crumbs.  Dip the croquettes one by one into the egg mixture, then the flour mixture.  Let them sit for a few minutes then dip in the egg mixture again then the breadcrumbs. Line back up on the baking sheet.

Frying the croquettes:
You can use a deep fryer or a large pot.  Heat oil to 350 degrees.  Place two croquettes at a time in the basket and lower into the oil.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown on all sides and top and bottom.  Remove from basket and drain on paper towels.

Croquette Gravy:
Melt butter in a medium size saucepan over medium heat, stir in the flour, salt and pepper.  Whisk in the stock until the gravy is smooth.  Add the parsley.  Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Serve croquettes on a bed of mashed potatoes and top with gravy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Buckeye Brownie Bowls

It all started with this pan, a brownie bowl pan. I loved the shape of it and I knew I could bake many things from it.  Lemon cakes filled with a chiffon lemon cream and fresh raspberries, strawberry cakes, chocolate and vanilla cakes filled with a variety of things. You could also fill your cakes or brownies with just fresh whipped cream and fruit or make and ice cream brownie sundae out of them, it really does have a lot of uses.  Almost any batter could be baked in this versatile pan.  I chose to make brownie bowls in my pan, but not just plain brownie bowls, Buckeye Brownie Bowls, filled with a fluffy peanut butter center and topped with hot fudge sauce and sprinkled with chopped peanuts. It was easy and they were so delicious!

The pan has six inverted bottom cups in it.
This is the underside/bottom of the pan.
I was in a hurry so I used this box mix.  I used the amounts of ingredients called for to mix the batter, but I don't follow directions, I put the packet of fudge in the mix instead of on top, I'm crazy like that.  I sprayed the pan wells with cooking spray before I baked them.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.
The amazing, fluffy, peanut butter filling needs just a few ingredients you probably already have in the pantry.
I used 2 cups of 10X sugar, 3/4 cup of creamy JIF peanut butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla and about 1/3 cup of milk.  If the mixture is too thick add a little milk at a time to make it more smooth and fluffy.  If it becomes to loose add a little more 10X sugar.
It's so creamy and fluffy, I love peanut butter!
The brownie bowls came out perfect
Nice deep wells, just waiting for that creamy fluffy peanut butter.
To fill brownie bowl.....
add peanut butter filling.....
hot fudge sauce.....
and top with chopped peanuts. And there you have Buckeye Brownie Bowls ready to eat and they were wonderful!


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

My New Pantry! Now My Favorite Little Room In The House

Our pantry has been a thorn in my side since we built this house 16 years ago.  I wasn't paying too much attention to closet shelving, as I wanted to use the money elsewhere in the house for upgrades.  My husband did surprise me with a closet system in our master closet a year after we moved in, but the other closets in the home still had wire shelving which was fine. Except the pantry, this pantry drove me nuts for 16 years!  You put stuff on the shelves, everything falls over, falls behind, got thrown in there never to been seen again, until I would clean it out 2-3 times a year.  I would find so much expired food because you would never find what was put in there!  I even had to have shelving in the garage for canned goods, because you couldn't ever put them on those wire shelves, they never stood upright. 

 Finally, I got the OK from the hubby to hire a contractor to tear this pantry up and out and get the job done right, YAY! The contractor I hired was fabulous, he  not only listened to everything I asked for, but offered some even better ideas on how to improve the space. So together we came up with more space out of this tiny little room. I couldn't have asked for a better guy for the job he was the best, and I am now in love with my new pantry!

So much wasted space and just 4 wire shelves to hold food for what was originally 5 people living in this house, totally not enough room.  All dirty from years of use too.
Shelves out and a new beginning is about to happen.
Fresh coat of a bright extra white to add more light in the space.
WOW, it looks better already.
This pantry sits under my back stairwell, that is why the wall is slanted.
This was all custom made shelving to fit in this space. It's was made sturdy to hold a lot of bottles, cans and boxes.
So I got two more shelves on the original wall, more space! I had the contractor go down a few inches on the width of the shelving, they are not as wide, so things still don't fall behind them. It also made more room in the space so now it's easier to walk all the way in and turn around.
He even beveled that edge on the slanted wall so it looks finished off. Now there is shelving on that empty space wall too, so even more room in the pantry.
Oh yea, it 's filled up already, everything is in there, even the canned goods from the shelves in the garage. And I can see everything that I have, no more falling over and behind other things.
My added feature that I wanted, to use up all the space on the walls, was to attach a shelving unit to the wall for canned goods, and to do the same feature on the door for packaged goods.  The contractor did suggest a heavier solid wood door, which I did get to hold the unit, because it is solid wood so it is very heavy.  Also, all the shelves are removeable and adjustable for height, like I said he thought of everything.
Filling up nicely!
Everything in and I still have a little space left for anything new.
The contractor's attention detail was amazing, he even made plugs for all the screw holes.
The wall and door unit have ledges so nothing slides off.
I now actually love going into the pantry to get something, it's no longer the black hole it used to be.
  It makes me so happy!