Tag Archives: chicken

A quiet, but enjoyable Christmas

Happy Boxing Day, as they might say in the UK!

We had a simple and quiet Christmas here at Casa Poolman. I am about half way through a week-and-a-half long holiday break. Within the University System, we bunch several holidays in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day and close down the institute for a week. I added a couple of  vacation days to that run, so I will have off from the Saturday before Christmas through New Year’s Day. I love it.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Poolman is not so lucky. This was the year she was scheduled to work 12-hour shifts both Christmas Eve and Christmas. It stinks, but what can you do?

I spent the first half of Tuesday putzin’ around and taking care of last-minute Christmas preps. My CCD class provided the readers for a short Christmas Pageant during the 4 o’clock Mass. Everyone we were expecting showed up, and more-or-less on time. Yea! Last year, we had one child who missed all but one practice, but we agreed to let him participate after his mother called up and practically begged us to do so. Then “mom” failed to deliver him on time. We rearranged the readers to cover his slot, but he came running up just as we were walking into church for the start of Mass. I don’t blame the child, but the mom taught us a lesson we won’t forget.

No such drama this year. Our students all did great. After constant encouragement, they all read loud enough that the congregation could actually here them. Yea again!

Our reader team.

Our reader team.

Mrs. P got home around 8 o’clock and we split a pizza for dinner. Very fancy.

On Christmas morning, I got up and drove about 45 minutes out in the country to my daughter’s in-laws. Brad and Annie are great. It was very nice of them to invite me out for Christmas brunch. Writer Princess is very lucky (and so are we) that she has such a great set of in-laws. They a house on several acres out in the boonies. Annie has taken to raising livestock. She has turkeys, chickens, “runner ducks,” guinea fowl and goats. The highlight of yesterday’s visit were two week-old baby goats.  Very cute!

"Well, Tom. We made it through another holiday. Whew!

“Well, Tom. We made it through another holiday. Whew!”

Inquisitive goat.

“So what did you get for me?”

Back home in the early afternoon and started preps for dinner. I planned on a boneless rib-eye roast, twice-baked potatoes, green bean bundles and creamed pearl onions (Mrs. P’s creation ahead of time.) Everything went well, even the green-bean bundles, which were a little more effort than I originally planned.

Mrs. P got home around 7:30 pm and I handed her a vodka and tonic. The rest of our dinner guests included son, girlfriend, daughter, son-in-law, and son-in-law’s brother. I planned to take a picture of the meal, but, frankly, I was so wrapped up in getting it all together when it was time to serve, I just forgot.

Some friends/neighbors walked down as we were finishing dinner. We all gathered in the family room to open presents and visit.

Gathered around

Gathered around

...visiting.

…visiting.

I wish Mrs. P had been around for more of the activities, but given the circumstances, it was a pretty nice holiday.

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Bombs away!

I ran across this recipe courtesy of a friend on Facebook. Mrs. Poolman and I tried it out last weekend and, let me tell you, WOW! It was really great!

Chicken bombs

Chicken Bombs

*Makes 10 Chicken Bombs

5 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
5 jalapeño peppers
20 strips of bacon
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated cheddar
cheese ( use low fat if you wish)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup BBQ sauce (find something with low sugar)

Directions:
1.) Slice chicken breasts in half WIDTH wise (Each half will make 1 Chicken
Bomb). Place between two pieces of wax paper and pound to 1/4 inch
thickness. *A rolling pin also does the trick. Season each with salt a pepper.

2.) Slice jalapeños in half LENGTH wise and remove seeds, ribs, and the end
with the stem.

3.) In a small bowl, mix your softened  cream cheese with your grated colby
jack.

4.) Fill each jalapeño half with about 1 Tbs cheese mixture. (Sometimes I use
more)

5.) Place 1 jalapeño half at the end of each pounded breast piece. Roll over and together. *It doesn’t always close the way you think it should. No worries! The bacon will pull it all together.

6.) Wrap each breast piece with 2 slices of bacon. I do 1 at a time (obviously), and just sort of wrap tightly and tuck the ends of the bacon under the strips. It all comes together in the cooking process. I promise you do not need toothpicks!

7.) Preheat your grill to 350 degrees. Cook over indirect heat for 20-25 minutes; turning every 4-5 minutes. Baste chicken with BBQ sauce each time you turn it. Giving it one final basting right before it’s done. Chicken is ready when it reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, pierce chicken with a fork. If juices run clear, it’s done!

Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Basting with BBQ sauce a few times during cooking. Baste once again when finished, and place under broil setting for a few
minutes so bacon can crisp.

My, oh my! What a pot pie!

Mrs. Poolman and I share separate, but similar bad childhood memories of pot pies. Both our mothers cooked (if you can call it that) and served the pre-made Banquet or Swanson pies. My recollection is of an aluminum foil mini-pie pan with only a top-crust and filled with nasty, oozing, yellow gravy, a few peas and carrots and maybe a little meat. The pot pies made those old-style TV dinners look like gourmet feasts. That experience left me with a deep seated aversion to pot pies – until recently.

In an effort to convert me, last winter, Mrs. P made a very good chicken pot pie. She constructed and baked it in a casserole-size baking dish. The filling was full of meat and the whole thing tasted great.

On Wednesday, it was my turn to make dinner, using some left-over grilled steak from earlier in the week. Usually, we will put the steak on a salad or make quesadillas or fajitas. I thought I would try something new.

How about a steak pie?

This was brand, new culinary territory for me. So you can imagine my excitement when it turned out really good. Here is what I did.

Steak Pie

What I used.

  • App. 1 lb (0r more) of cooked steak, sliced into small pieces.
  • One package of pre-made pie dough (2 pieces, top and bottom)
  • One onion – chopped
  • ½ stick butter or margarine
  • One “scoop” of flour
  • 2 cups of beef broth (bouillon crystals or cubes dissolved in hot water)
  • ½ cup of milk (because that was all that was in the carton) The milk is optional.
  • One small can of mushroom stems and pieces
  • App. one cup of leftover green beans (because I had them.)

 The Crust

In a small, ungreased casserole (8×8” or 7×9”) dish, spread one of the pie dough pieces, lining the bottom and sides. The pie dough is probably fitted for a round pie pan, so you’ll have to cut and patch to make it fit. Save the second piece for the top.

The Filling

In a large sauce pan, saute the chopped onion in the butter until the onion is soft.

Add the “scoop” (approximately two tablespoons) of flour to the onion-butter mixture. Mix well and allow it to cook for about a minute or two.

Add the beef broth/bouillon and milk and stir until it is a smooth gravy. Add the bouillon a little at a time, and adjust the amount according to the thickness of the gravy. You want it fairly thick.

The filling -- before adding the meat.

Add the meat and vegetables and mix well.

This is how much meat I had to work with.

Pour the mixture into the dough-lined casserole dish.

Before the top crust was added.

Spread the second dough piece over the top, once again, cutting and patching to completely cover the pie. Try to get the bottom and top pieces to meet and use a fork to crimp them together along the edge of the dish.

Ready for the oven.

Use a knife to put a couple of cross-shaped slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape during the baking. You may have to check on those “vents” during the baking. As the crust bakes, the holes may close up.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

...and ready to eat.

Note: I used green beans last night, because that is what I had in the refrigerator. You can add whatever vegetables you like, or skip the veggies all together.

Bon appetite!

Love that ‘beer butt chicken’

We had some folks over for a “float-in” Sunday afternoon. I cooked some “Beer Butt Chicken.” If you have never tried this, it is worth a shot.

1.) Mrs. P put together an herb rub which she applied to the birds the night before and sealed them in plastic bags in the refrigerator overnight.

2.) You take one can of beer for each bird, and after draining some of the beer (either in the sink or down your throat, as you will), you stick the can of beer into the large cavity of the chicken.

3.) We have some wire frames designed to hold the beer and the chicken, but supposedly you can use the drumsticks to form a tripod and keep the bird-beer combination vertical.

4.) I cooked it slowly on a covered gas grill. It took about an hour and a half, but it doesn’t require a lot of attention. As a matter of fact, I imagine the fewer times you open the grill, the better.

The end result was very tasty and very, very moist and tender chicken. Our company sure seemed to like it. If not, they sure faked it well.

Left overs — Food, that is.

We eat pretty well around Casa Poolman and always have. (I’ve picked up around 10 pounds since Christmas to show for it.) Both Mrs. Poolman and I cook. She is a much better cook than I, but I hold my own and she doesn’t complain.

One thing we both try to do is to get the maximum mileage out of what we cook. If we cook one big meal, it almost always stretches to another left-over dinner and maybe a lunch or two.

We are not as frugal as one of Mrs. P’s sisters, who will scrape the last six grains of rice from the bottom of a pot to save for a future meal.

I was thinking of this when I was eating lunch today. It was the end of a two-meal combo that demonstrated some food efficiency.

–Last Saturday, I grilled two rib-eye steaks and had some leftovers.

–On Sunday, I barbecued a whole chicken. Roughly one and a half breasts were left over.

–On Tuesday, I saute’d some sliced onion and red pepper with the sliced leftover steak and chicken and some fajita seasoning. We served it on flour tortillas with some refried beans and had great fajitas. Muy bueno!

–There was still left over fajita meat and vegetables. Mrs. P and I both took fajita salads to work for lunch on Wednesday.

Good lunch!

–And there was just enough left for another fajita salad for my lunch today.

All told, it was a pretty good use of leftovers. And good too!