Weekly Winner: Kicking it Old School, Take 2 – Bringin’ Back the Bubbas

IMG_0626.JPG I spend an inordinate amount of my time perusing new recipes  I love researching the best new techniques, discovering new (to me) ingredients and developing tastes and flavors that are not necessarily familiar to me. But then again, every once in a while you crave something Old School, something comforting and incredibly familiar.

Enter: Chicken in a Biscuit Bubbas. I realize this might shock you, however this is not the official name of the dish. The formal name is Savory Crescent Chicken Squares, but throughout my entire marriage (we’re talking over a quarter of a century) this has been lovingly referred to as Chicken in a Biscuit Bubbas.

Let me start at the beginning. For Christmas the year before I was married, my soon-to-be mother-in-law presented me with a cookbook: Women of the Chapel Cookbook from Norton Air Force Base. At the time, I hardly cooked. I was known to make a few special occasion dishes but the everyday cooking was left to others. After I was married, that was my husband. I find it funny that written in the front cover of the cookbook is the following inscription: “May you spend many happy hours browsing through this book and few in the kitchen cooking! Love, Mom S.” If she only knew! If any of us only knew! But I digress – Back to said Bubbas.

I’m not sure when I actually started making these, but I know it was very soon after I was married. It was kind of a special occasion dish. If company was coming over, I might make these. That makes me laugh. Yes, I still think they are incredibly tasty, but I definitely do not consider them “company worthy” They are however, brilliantly comforting and nostalgic.

I don’t think I’ve made this dish in close to five years. That is until this past Sunday for lunch. It was a great “Blast from the Past”. Perhaps I need to keep the “Women of the Chapel” nearby and see what other gems I might find!

Savory Crescent Chicken Squares, aka Chicken in a Biscuit Bubbas
serves 4

Ingredients:
3 oz softened cream cheese
3 Tbsp butter, melted
2 cups chicken, diced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp chives or onions, chopped
1 Tbsp pimento, chopped
1 8 oz pkg Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Seasoned croutons, crushed

Procedure:
Blend cream cheese with 2 Tbsp melted butter until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except 1 Tbsp butter, rolls, and croutons. Mix well.

Separate rolls into 4 rectangles and seal perforations. Spoon about 1/2 cup mixture into center of each and pull four corners of dough to center and seal. Brush tops with 1 remaining Tbsp melted butter. Sprinkle crushed seasoned croutons over top. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until golden brown.

 

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Weekly Winner: Reconsidering My Stand on Beef Stew

I used to think that I just didn’t like beef stew. Perhaps it is that I’ve not tried hard enough to find the right recipe. After all, I love stew…. I love beef…. I love most vegetables….. therefore shouldn’t I love beef stew? Mind you they are never bad, but they are never spectacular, or even interesting for that matter. Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve only spotlighted one beef stew recipe (see: https://donnasquickqi.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/weekly-winner-a-spectacular-stew) which I thought was the exception to the rule. By that I mean a truly memorable beef stew.

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Well now I have two recipes. And with that, perhaps I need to change how I view beef stews. They don’t have to be bland and boring. Not if you know what to look for. Case in point: Slow-Cooker Caribbean Beef Stew from The Food Network Magazine. It was truly luscious, hearty and aromatic. But, unlike many beef stews (here I go again, bashing something I obviously am starting to embrace) it was incredibly fresh-tasting and bright.

Slow-Cooker Caribbean Beef Stew
serves 4

Ingredients
1/2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground allspice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (13-14oz) can coconut milk
2 Tbsp finely chopped peeled ginger
Juice of 1 lime, plus wedges for serving
4 scallions, sliced
2 cups cooked white rice, for serving

Procedure
1. Toss the beef with the flour, curry powder, allspice, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a medium bowl; transfer the beef to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the sweet potatoes and bell pepper to the bowl and toss to coat with any remaining flour mixture. Spread over the beef. Whisk the coconut milk and ginger in a bowl until combined; pour over the vegetables.

2. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low, 7 hours. Uncover, stir well and let stand 10 minutes. Skim off any fat from the top. Stir in the lime juice and season with salt. Serve over rice; top with scallions and serve with lime wedges.

 

Weekly Winner: Tikka Take Two – India, Meet Italy.

IMG_0580.JPG So, by now you all know of my deep, abiding love of Chicken Tikka Masala. As I posted back in January (see How the Heck Did I Miss This?)  this is always one of my favorite dishes that I make. It also is very popular with the people that I cook for. So this week, when once again I found myself with some leftover Tikka Masala and dough for homemade naan, my husband came up with a brilliant idea — Tikka Masala Pizza on homemade naan.

Another true food passion of ours is — pizza!  We love the traditional, the meatless, the meat-full, the frozen, the freshly made, the red sauced, the white sauced, the unique, the adventurous.  Chances are if it (or its creator) calls it a pizza, we’re probably going to like it.  There are different levels of pizza tastiness  and without a doubt some are better than others, but really, is there ever a truly bad pizza?  No, I didn’t think so.

But this pizza — wow, it was spectacular!  As accommodating as I am with different styles of pizza. I am a firm believer that all pizzas need some cheese.  So for this we decided on some fresh ricotta and just a bit of Manchego which we had left over. All in all it was a bicultural, multi-national success. The recipe for the Chicken Tikka Masala was detailed in January’s post.  For the crust, my husband used half of the naan dough recipe and simply formed it out on our very well-used pizza stone and baked in a 450F oven.

It was a triumph!