Eat at Bett's

Our Passion for Food came from our Mom

Afghan Rice with Chicken

We haven’t posted in a while, but I wanted to share this recipe given to me by a good friend. I’m sure the first time I had it was over at this friend’s house for a Friday night meal. A group would often gather at his house for the end of the week, with good food and good conversation long into the evening. This recipe, while having a few steps, is well worth the tiny extra bit of effort. The flavors from the spiced poached chicken along with the rice, carrots and raisins are amazing. A wonderful dish for Autumn.

We’re enjoying it tonight—a Friday—with some good friends. I hope it becomes a favorite for you, too.
Afghan Rice with Chicken Serves 6-8
—Sauté 1 onion in 1/2 cup of olive oil till brown. Reserve oil.
—Poach chicken pieces (your choice—I use whole chicken cut up) in water to cover. For every 2 cups of water add 1 tsp of salt and 1 1/2 tsp of mixed spices (1/2tsp cinnamon, 1/4tsp cloves, 1/2tsp cumin, 1/4tsp cardamom). When cooked, set aside chicken and cover to keep warm. Reserve broth.
—Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 tsp sugar. Simmer 2 carrots, cut in toothpicks, remove. Simmer 1 c of raisins till swollen. Reserve oil.
—Cook 2c of rice in 4 cups of liquid (onion oil, carrot oil, broth & water as needed) with 1 tsp of salt and onions; about 20 minutes. Pour into large serving bowl.
—Sprinkle carrots and raisins over rice and place meat on top to serve.

Quick Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

This recipe started with Angela (not sure where she got it). It became Nena’s favorite and ours too! The best thing about this recipe is how it uses what you have leftover in the pantry. Use up wilty veggies and those small bits of pasta that accumulate in the cupboard. I love to make this with rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, but you can use up any chicken breast

8 cups of chicken stock (or water plus bouillon)
1-2 onions
1-2 cloves garlic
2-4 carrots
2-4 celery stalks
3 bay leaves
parsley, poultry seasoning, Frankenmuth seasoning (if you can get it!)
1 can cream of celery soup
precooked diced chicken breast
Bring stock to a boil and add all the veggies cut up to desired size. Add bay leaves and season to taste. Add celery soup and chicken. Cook pasta to desired firmness. Fill bowls with pasta and ladle soup on top and enjoy!

Baked Oatmeal

This is a comforting warm breakfast option that truly hits the spot! The leftovers were fabulous the next day as well. A great, healthy and wholesome breakfast option.

Baked Oatmeal from Simply in Season
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup raisins (or other chopped dried fruit; optional)
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons oil
1 egg (beaten)
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and optional dried fruit and nuts in a medium bowl. Combine milk, applesauce, oil and egg in a separate bowl. Add to oat mixture; stir well.

Pour into a greased 8 x 8-inch baking pan. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake in preheated oven at 350F for 25 minutes. Serve warm with milk. Serves 3-4.

This recipe can be prepared quickly in the morning by mixing the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately the night before. Combine and pop in the oven as soon as you get up. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator and can be reheated in the microwave in individual bowls.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burritos

This past weekend we went in to Denver to purchase a few gifts for folks from our local Ten Thousand Villages store. While there we discovered a great new cookbook called Simply in Season put out by the same people who created More with Less.

This is a hardback cookbook which is spiral bound inside. The book is divided into the four seasons, and focuses on foods that are more readily available from local growers. So the Spring section has recipes for asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb, peas and maple syrup. Autumn includes squash, apples, pears, cauliflower and others. It supports the locavore movement, of course, but it also helps save you money since the produce in season is usually cheaper at the market. There are plenty of meat options in this book as well, so it is a great resource with over 300 recipes, and each key ingredient is comprehensively listed in the index. If you have sweet peppers, you can find over 40 recipes listed.
We found one we just had to try for winter, a sweet potato and black bean burrito. It was both easy to prepare and absolutely fantastic!
Black Bean Sweet Potato Burritos

Preheat oven to 350

3 cups sweet potatoes (peeled and diced)
1/2 onion (chopped)
Sauté in a large frying pan in 1 tablespoon of oil until just tender. Add water to prevent sticking.

2 cups cooked black beans (or 1- 15 ounce can) drained and rinsed
1 t ground cumin
3/4 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
Add to sweet potatoes and cook until heated through.
8 flour tortillas
1 1/2 c cheddar cheese (shredded)
Divide potato/bean mixture and cheese among tortillas and roll up. Place in 9×13 pan. Cover pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Garnish with sour cream, cilantro and salsa.

Great new Blog

Our friends, the Andersons, have created a new cooking blog called Three Many Cooks. Pam is a cookbook author, and she shares this blog with her two daughters. All were our neighbors when Melissa and I lived in Connecticut.

We made their beef stew recipe tonight, and it was amazing! Melissa said it tasted much more like a beef bourguignon and less like a stew (and certainly nothing like Dinty Moore). Very tasty and full of flavor! So, check out this new site, and try this beef stew recipe!

Mom’s Coconut Cherry Bars

This cookie recipe was a favorite of mom’s, she would make them every Christmas. Phil, this is for you!

Coconut Cherry Bars

2 cups flour
1 cup butter
6 Tbls. confectioners sugar

4 eggs slightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
1 cup coconut
1 cup green maraschino cherries, quartered
1 cup red maraschino cherries, quartered

Mix flour, butter and confectioners sugar with hands and spread in a cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. In a bowl, beat eggs. Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour evenly over cooked crust. Bake about 25 minutes until golden brown all over. Cool before cutting into squares.

Traditional Wassail

This recipe comes from a good friend. The drink is delicious and the aroma fills the air. A great drink this time of year.

1 3/4 cup sugar
1 qt water
1 qt OJ

1 c lemon juice
1/2 gallon apple cider
3 sticks of cinnamon
1/2 tsp whole cloves

Mix, heat on low in a crockpot or on stovetop.

Delicious and a wonderful aroma.

And you get the added bonus of being able to sing
“Here we come a-wassailing among the leaves so green…” 🙂

The Best—and Easiest!— Cranberry-Orange Relish

Cranberry sauce was always an afterthought at our Thanksgiving meal growing up. The “SLUUP!” of the sauce coming out of the can. Half-hearted efforts to run a spoon through it to get rid of the ridges molded into the side. A single can more than supplied enough for our holiday table of at least 15 people (and many times over 20).

I never touched the stuff.
I moved to New England for college, and discovered fresh cranberries along the way. I was still suspect, of course, as is almost everyone who grew up with canned cranberry sauce. And then at some point I received The Women’s Day Cookbook, which had menus for “celebrations” from Tex-Mex gatherings to full-blown planning for Turkey Day. Included in that menu was a Fresh Cranberry-Orange Relish. It was so dang easy, I figured I’d give it a try.
It was amazing. I’ve added walnuts to mine along the way, a slight variation to the original recipe. I’ve even tried it with a granny smith apple too.
I can’t imagine Thanksgiving without this relish now. It’s a family favorite.
Fresh Cranberry-Orange Relish
1 navel orange (about 8 oz) unpeeled and cut into small chunks
1 bag (12 oz) cranberries, washed and stemmed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup walnuts (optional)
For garnish, orange twist and whole cranberries (optional)
Process all ingredients, except garnish, in a food processor, using pulsating setting, or on/off alternations until finally chopped.
Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Garnish, if desired, before serving.

Fluffy Pumpkin Dessert

We belong to a small group that meets every Friday evening. Because there are four couples, we each take turns bringing a dessert to share once a month. This past Friday, one of the woman made this Pumpkin Dessert and boy was it a hit. It is very light, and because the crust is made with gingersnaps, it has a nice autumny spice taste. Thanks Sue, for sharing your recipe with us.

Fluffy Pumpkin Dessert

2 1/2c. finely crushed gingersnaps (about 40 cookies)
1/2 c. butter or margarine melted

Cheese Layer
1 8oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. confectioners sugar
2 T. milk

3 cups cold whole milk
2 pkg. 3.4 oz instant vanilla pudding
1 can (15 oz) solid pack pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
2 cups whipped topping (cool whip)

Combine gingersnap crumbs and butter; press into an ungreased 13 x 9 baking pan. Bake 10 min. Cool. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, confectioners sugar and milk till fluffy. Spread over cooled crust. In another bowl, beat milk and pudding; mix for one minute (I use a wire whisk to avoid the splattering out of the bowl that tends to happen with an electric mixer). Add pumpkin and pie spice; beat until well blended. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Garnish with additional whipped cream if desired.

Chicken Pozole

Mom was an interesting character. She had a very tender heart, and she told me quite a few times when I was in high school that she wished she could go to India one day to love the orphans there. You could see the way she loved children, of course, when she was with her own grandkids, showering them with affection, picking them up, playing with them, so imaging her showing that same love to children who would really need it was not a far stretch.

But Mom hated spicy foods of any kind. I didn’t mention to her the fact that India is synonymous with spicy foods, knowing that if she was able to go on a short-term mission she’d figure it out. Unfortunately, she never made it there. I’ve grown to love spicy foods myself, especially curries and other specialties from India and Nepal, and I too would love to go there some day.
Melissa made this soup recently after my knee injury, and while Mexican influenced and not Indian, it has some nice flavors. She found the recipe from Real Simple for a quick week night meal. It’s not particularly spicy with its subtle hints of red pepper, although I’m pretty sure Mom would not have tried it. I hope you will.
Chicken Posole
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 32 ounce container low sodium chicken broth
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 dried ancho chili, thinly sliced or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken meat
1 15 ounce can hominy, rinsed
1 lime, cut into wedges
chopped cilantro for garnish
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to brown, 10-12 minutes
Add broth, tomatoes and chili and bring to a boil. Stir in chicken and hominy and simmer until heated through, about 4 minutes. Serve with lime and cilantro.

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