Friday, March 31, 2006

Crockpot Chicken Goulash

Crockpot Chicken Goulash

Out here where we make our living on a farm we won't let die, work days last as long as I do
– Dana Wildsmith, poet

For gardeners here in Zone 6, flower beds and vegetable plots cry out for early-spring attention.

In a good year, the fall clean-up got done before December’s snow. If not, well, so be it, it and the spring work can be done together.

Soon there’ll be no keeping up with the new grass, just as already it’s impossible to keep up with gumballs that collect in thorny carpets along the edge of driveway.

It’s too early to plant though thankfully, for gardeners whose fingers long for dirt, not too early to transplant perennials bursting sunward.

But hey, enough talk – the garden calls! But don’t worry, supper’ll be ready by dark: it’s in the slowcooker.

ALANNA's TIPS Slowcooker temperatures vary widely. Until certain about the settings on yours, use it only when you can check on the cooking progress every once in awhile. The USDA website offers food-safety tips for slowcookers (or visit, search on slow cookers).
Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. your family’s favorite slowcooker supper recipe e-mail.


A one-pot meal for extra busy days
Hands-on time: 10 minutes to start, 5 minutes an hour before serving
Cooking time: 5 hours on medium heat
Serves 4
  • 12 ounces mild salsa
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Juice of a lime
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, in four pieces

  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound frozen vegetables, thawed
  • 1/2 cup elbow macaroni

Stir together the salsa, peanut butter, soy sauce and lime juice in a slowcooker. Tuck the chicken pieces into the salsa mixture, covering completely. Cook on medium heat for about 4 hours.

An hour before serving, add the pepper, vegetables and macaroni. Cook for another hour or until the vegetables and macaroni are cooked.

Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 355 Cal (33% from Fat,); 14g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 30g Carb; 7g Fiber; 780mg Sodium; 94mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 7 points

More Recipes for Busy Nights

(click a photo for a recipe)
Quick Supper: Date-Night Chicken Quick Supper: Pepper Steak & Mushrooms Quick Supper: Cornmeal Catfish with Warm Potato Salad
The Recipe Box has plenty of recipe inspiration for busy families. Explore all the Quick Supper recipes.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Blueberry Galette

The Recipe: A relaxed and rustic blueberry pie, so easy to throw together, just a pie crust, frozen blueberries and some pantry ingredients.

The Conversation: With a pie this easy, no more "pie in the sky".

Blueberry Galette ♥, relaxed and rustic, just a store-bought pie crust, frozen blueberries and a few pantry ingredients.

Blueberry galette is a fancy-dancy signature for a most plebian pie.

Can you say gaw-LETT? While the name implies hours of trouble and fuss, the results are as relaxed as that ever-so-comfortable chair you’d no more give up than your kids.

My mother would have loved this recipe, my father, too.

My dad, you see, was and remains a fiend for pie. One of the many little inside jokes he and my mom shared went like this. He'd ask, with a hopeful grin, "What’s for dessert?" And she’d answer, with a rueful smile, "Pie in the sky."

The translation? "Sorry, dear. No dessert tonight."

For my mom, cooking was a sort of witchcraft, a way to pamper the taste buds and handle a husband. (Yes, she really was of that era. But really, aren't we all, still? I call it love.)

But if pie were always this easy, I bet that she’d have waved her rolling pin, I mean her wand, to make him real pie – no more pie in the sky – whenever he asked.

Blueberry Galette ♥, relaxed and rustic, just a store-bought pie crust, frozen blueberries and a few pantry ingredients.

NOT RECOMMENDED: TRADER JOE'S FROZEN PIE CRUSTS To love the rustic nature of a galette is to embrace its casual messiness, spills and all.

That said? This Blueberry Galette was made with a Trader Joe's frozen pie crust and needless to say, I don't recommend them. Even after thawing on the counter for the prescribed 90 minutes, the crusts tear into pieces. It's not too hard to reconstruct the crust, just keep the crust between the two pieces of plastic it's wrapped in and use a rolling pin to roll the pieces back together.

I've had Trader Joe's pie crust tear like this twice now. The first time, I blamed it on having been in the freezer too long before using the crust. This time, I bought and baked the crust on the same day. It still fell apart! Product fail, people!


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time-to-table: 1 hour
Serves 8

  • 1 unbaked refrigerated pie crust, preferably Pillsbury

  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 12- or 16-ounce bag frozen blueberries, still frozen
  • Zest and juice (about 2 tablespoons) from 1 lemon (don’t skip the lemon!)

  • 1 tablespoon butter, in tiny pieces
  • Egg wash, (1 egg lightly beaten with a tablespoon of water)
  • Sugar, preferably demerara (raw) sugar

PLAN AHEAD! I use Pillsbury refrigerated crusts, they need only about 15 minutes at room temperature before unfolding. But many people like the convenience of frozen pie crusts, these must thaw for 60 - 90 minutes before unfolding. So much for impromptu convenience, right?

CRUST Preheat the oven to 425F/220C. Cover a baking sheet with parchment. Unfold the crust on the counter, work gently to avoid tearing. With a rolling pin, gently enlarge the crust slightly with a few light swipes from the center to the edge. Transfer the crust onto the parchment.

BLUEBERRIES In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the berries. Sprinkle on the lemon zest and juice, stir in.

TO FINISH Transfer fruit to the crust, mounding it in the center at first, then spread it out to leave about a two-inch border. Spread the butter pieces evenly over the berries. Fold the crust border over the berries, pleating it to form an edge. Lightly brush the exposed crust with the egg wash, then sprinkle sugar over the crust.

BAKE Bake until golden and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly, the berries will thicken.

TO SERVE Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream or sour cream loosened with a little buttermilk.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS This pie tastes best warm from the oven so bake it right before serving. If you like, mix the berries in advance but then return them to the freezer until you're ready to bake the galette.

OVERALL Word to the wise, "fresh frozen" is key here. If either your pie crust or your berries are the least bit freezer-burned, baking them won't help. My best advice? Just toss 'em.
CRUST For some reason, this crust sticks to a baking sheet in a way it doesn’t to a pie pan. Parchment is the best defense but if there’s none on hand, try liberally buttering a piece of foil. These days, refrigerated pie crusts are quite good as is but to my taste, are even better when rolled a bit thinner, that's why I suggest rolling the crust out a bit.
BLUEBERRIES Packages of frozen blueberries used to come in 16-ounce (454g) bags but these days are mostly in 12-ounce (340g) bags. This recipe works with either size. If using the smaller amount, do reduce the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt by about 25 percent. I can't for the life of me think why but I think that the larger domestic blueberries work better in this Blueberry Galette than the smaller wild blueberries. No frozen blueberries on hand? berry mix would work great too. I’ve become a real fan of Trader Joe's frozen blue-black-raspberry medley. Or perhaps tonight’s witchery means a peach galette?

Per Slice: 333 Calories; 16g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 20mg Cholesterol; 365mg Sodium; 49g Carb; 2g Fiber; 21g Sugar; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 7.5 & PointsPlus 9 & SmartPoints 14

If You Love Blueberries

(hover for a description, click for the recipe)
Easy Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries & Bananas Blueberry Salsa Summer Corn Bread with Fresh Blueberries
Mom's Blueberry Coffeecake Master Recipe: Rustic Fruit (Blueberry) Ice Cream Finnish Fruit Tart

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Whole-Wheat Soda Bread

Traditional Irish soda bread recipe, updated with whole-wheat flour.

Whole-Wheat Soda Bread

Sure, you can buy bread in plastic bags from the grocery, in logs from the freezer section, even in paper sacks from the bakery.

But the best bread comes straight out of your own oven, hot and ready to dunk into soup or lather with butter and honey.

Soda bread is what’s called ‘quick bread’. For sure, it’s quick to make. But in the kitchen, ‘quick’ means that the leavening action (what makes the bread rise) comes from something other than yeast, usually baking powder or baking soda, in this bread, both.

So some night soon, impress your family – and yourself! – with a crusty, delicious loaf of bread hot from your own oven. They’ll beg for more!

ALANNA's TIPS Always, always always! stir flour to aerate it before measuring. Otherwise, you’ll use up to 25% more flour than is intended and your bread, your muffins, all your baked goods will be heavy and tough. Not good! Whole-wheat pastry flour is different than whole-wheat flour. It has less gluten, that's the protein that gives baked stuff texture and weight. But if whole-wheat flour is already on hand, use a scant (just less than a full) cup. In a pinch, you can also use 100% all-purpose flour though with different results. Don’t buy buttermilk if you have milk and a lemon. Just mix 3/4 cup milk with 2 teaspoons lemon juice, called ‘souring’ milk, an easy buttermilk substitute. Kneading is easy! Press the dough away from you with the heel of one hand, then fold it over itself toward you, then turn it a quarter turn. Repeat the press-fold-turn process in continuous motion – you’re kneading bread!


A yeastless bread, best oven-hot or toasted
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Oven time: 35 minutes
Makes 8 slices
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 131g (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see TIPS), fluffed to aerate before measuring
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt (the regular fine-grained stuff, not the coarser sea salt or kosher salt)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (see TIPS)
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 egg white, whisked

Preheat the oven to 375F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (that is, the flours through the salt), then make a shallow well in the center.

Separately, with a fork or metal whisk, whisk the 2 egg whites and buttermilk until frothy and pour into the well. With a wooden spoon, gently combine the two mixtures just until moistened.

Dust a clean counter with the 1/2 tablespoon of flour. Gather the dough together and knead (see TIPS) for a minute. Shape into a round or oblong loaf and place on a greased baking sheet. Slash the top in an X or cross-hatches about 1/4 inch deep, then brush lightly with the last egg white. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Serve immediately and enjoy!

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Slice: 127 Calories; 1g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 25g Carb; 2g Fiber; 327mg Sodium; 1mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers Old Points 2, Points Plus 3

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. "Like" Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

More Irish Recipes for St. Patrick's Day

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Emerald Isle Stew Caraway Corned Beef Irish Soda Bread Muffins
~ more Irish recipes ~

More Savory Quick Bread Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Skillet Cornbread Weeknight-Easy Rolls Quick Crisp Flatbread

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