Thursday, April 14, 2016

Frugal Femme Two Week Menu #2: Week Two, Wednesday: Basic Grilled Chicken, Curried Carrot Soup, Creole Scallion "Pancakes and Mock Strawberries Romanov

Hello Everyone!
I'm going to be completely upfront here and let you know that I did not make grilled chicken tonight.  I still had chicken left over from the roast chicken that I made on Sunday, so I just reheated that with a little chicken broth, in a frying pan on the stove. Since all of my dinner only took me less than 30 minutes to prepare, and then I couldn't do anything more until about 30 minutes before my husband was scheduled to arrive home,  I decided that I would look at some retro/vintage kitchen ideas.

I want to look like this when I am in the kitchen.  I am constantly looking at retro aprons.  Somewhere, there is a picture that my husband took of me in our apartment taking a bundt cake, in a powder pink pan, out of the oven while wearing my black and pink polka dot apron with the ruffles. I also like retro looking kitchen appliances I think this pot looks snazzy.

When we bought our 1965 house we loved almost everything about the structure of the house......  Except for the kitchen. We had looked at several houses for sale on this street and all of them had double ovens. Imagine my dismay when I realized that the one we fell in love with, only had one oven.  My darling husband promised me that, if got the house, that I could update the kitchen after two years.  The two years is here and I am now starting to look into renovating my kitchen.
The plan was actually going to be very simple, take out the cabinets and the range only stove, and replace it with an all in one double oven.  The wall oven was just going away to be replaced by shelves.  It seemed simple.....easy.

I was so tickled when I found this picture!  With a few minor adjustments, this is my kitchen layout!


This is the picture that was posted in the listing of the house.  You can see how much alike the kitchens are!!!!  I have updated the kitchen a little since then, but I've really been in sort of a holding pattern.

Then, we looked at ovens and realized that modern ovens are bigger than mine. If I put one in my kitchen, I wouldn't be able to open the cabinet door to the sink.  Ummmmmmm...... This means I either have to order a custom made oven, find a renovated, vintage oven in my budget, or hire a contractor to change the cabinets and come up with a solution.  We're going to try the contractor first.  So, I am enjoying researching what other people are doing in there kitchens. Most of the ideas are far beyond my budget, but its nice to look.
Isn't this one pretty?

I like the turquoise blue around the sites of the cabinets.  But I don't think that I could do turquoise appliances. But I do like it.

I will keep you updated in this blog about how we handle this kitchen renovation since, if we can, most of it we will try to do ourselves on a teeny, tiny budget!!! 

Now on to the meal.

Grilled Chicken

I did not make grilled chicken tonight.  So I have no pictures to go along with this recipe.  You may be like me and still have enough roast chicken to make another meal. If you do still have some roast chicken, I encourage you to have it with this meal, rather than grilling up more chicken.  For those of you who may be eating larger portions of their roast chicken, or are taking the leftovers to work in chicken sandwiches, here is a quick easy recipe for grilled chicken.
Since I did not make grilled chicken, I am not going to give you one of my fancy, grilled chicken recipes.  This is going to bare bones grilled chicken as the soup and "pancakes" are both very flavorful on their own.
Before we begin, below is a link from Cook's Country giving you basic tips on how to grill chicken.  This is just good general knowledge to have in your back pocket.


Basic Grilled Chicken

1 large (mutant) chicken breast, sliced in half
Creole seasoning, to taste
1 tbsp. olive oil

1.  Slice a large chicken breast in half to make a normal size, healthy portion of meat.
2.  Pat both pieces of chicken dry with a  paper towel.
3.  Sprinkle chicken with Creole seasoning and  rub into chicken breasts.
4.  Let sit for about 15 minutes to allow seasoning to work into the chicken.
5.  Grill the chicken for about 5-7 minutes per side.  Check it with a meat thermometer and make certain that it reads 165 degrees before you take it off the grill.

Note:  You can grill the chicken in whatever manner you want to grill it.  I personally don't have the time to light up a grill on a week night, that's something magical that I leave for week-ends and my husband, so I do my week-night grilling on a stove-top grill pan.  It works just as well and you don't have to take the time to heat up the grill.

Curried Carrot Soup

1 small onion, minced  (Or you can use half of one medium onion if you have one already started.)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. curry
1 tsp. ground ginger  (If you are using fresh ginger, put in about two tablespoons.)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth  (Or you can use the broth you made in your slow cooker.)
1 cup 2% milk (Don't use skim!!!)
1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
pepper to taste (optional)

1.  In a large sauce pan, sauté the onion and garlic in butter until the onion becomes translucent over medium heat.

2.  Stir in the curry and the ginger.
3.  Add the carrots and the broth.

4.  Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
5.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
6.  After the carrots are tender, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
7.  In a blender or a food processor, process  the soup in batches until smooth.

Even if you are using a bigger blender, you should still blend the soup in batches.  If you don't, it doesn't come out creamy enough.

Once everything is blended, it looks ALOT like baby food.

8.  Return the carrot mixture to the sauce pan.  Add the milk, dill and pepper (optional).  Cook until heated through.

Creole Scallion "Pancakes"

1/2 cup water
1/2 tbsp.  plus 1 tbsp. canola oil, split
1 cup and 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning or more to taste
1 tbsp. toasted sesame seed oil
1/2 cup green onion, minced,  green part only
1 pinch kosher salt

1.  In a small sauce pan, heat water and vegetable oil over high heat and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat source and cool for 5 minutes.  (You will be amazed at how fast a 1/2 cup of water with oil comes to a boil. DO NOT step away from kitchen this process will take mere moments.)

Ooooo.  Water boiling.

2.  Mix flour and Creole seasoning in a large bowl. 

3.  Pour the water and oil mixture over the flour.  Mix with a non-metal spoon until most combined and then finish kneading with your hands.  This dough will be warm and sticky and will feel very weird.
This is what it looks like when you first pour the water and oil mixture into the flour.


4.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to chill.  I like it to chill for at least one hour as it makes the dough easier to work with.

I like wrapping the dough in plastic wrap so it takes up less room in the fridge.  You could just cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

5.  In a small bowl, mix the sesame oil, pinch of salt and green onions.  Set aside.


6.  Once dough has cooled, put it on a flat working surface and cut the dough into 6 even pieces.  Flatten these pieces into small discs about 3 inches in diameter for each disc.

I obviously can count and split them one two many times.  But it good.  Just cook a smaller pancake.  Its easier than trying to put the dough back together.

6. Roll the coated disc in the green onion mixture and form a small ball.  Flatten each ball back into a 3 inch disc.

7.  In a medium size heavy frying pan, put remaining 1 tbsp. spoon canola oil and heat on high heat.  You will know the oil is ready when cold water flicked onto the pan sizzles and "dances".
8.  Fry the pancakes in batches until they are "crispy".  (They are crispy when they are a dark golden brown color.) 

9. Drain on paper towels and serve warm.

Note:  Dip this in the curried carrot soup.  Your mouth will thank you.



We still have some strawberries left over from the strawberry salad with the poppy seed dressing. They are in your fridge, so now is your chance to make a simple and delicious dessert.

Mock Strawberries Romanov

2 cups strawberries, cut into quarters
1 tsp. Splenda
3 tsp. Grand Marnier, split
1 vanilla greek yogurt (I used Chobani individual cups, the kind that you eat for breakfast.)

1.  In a small bowl, combine the strawberries, Splenda, and 2 tsp. Grand Marnier.  Stir until the strawberries are coated.
2.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerate.  Chill for at least one hour,  (But is better the longer you chill up to about 4 hours then, the strawberries start to get squishy.)
3.  About a half hour before you are ready to serve, mix the final teaspoon of Grand Marnier into the vanilla yogurt.  ( I actually mix it in the cup that it comes in.)
4. Layer a quarter of the strawberries in a small glass or custard bowl.  Cover with a quarter of the yogurt mixture.  Repeat these steps until all of the strawberries and yogurt are gone.

This is one serving of half of the strawberries and the yogurt mixture.  I did the same thing in another glass for my husband.

5.  Serve cold and enjoy.

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