Thursday, May 16, 2013

Meet Susan W!

Hi everyone, I’m Susan Whempner.  I live in pretty, sunny Southern California with my wonderful husband of almost 28 years, and our 24 year old son, who is a recent college graduate.  I enjoy quilting, photography, gardening, travelling and my husband and I have recently taken up the hobby of target shooting.  Of course, I also love to cook.

When I was growing up, my mom was a very good home cook, as were both of my grandmothers.  I have fond memories of my mom’s Toll House cookies, her spaghetti sauce, and her wonderful meatloaf, which she made on top of the stove instead of baking it in the oven.  I
also loved all of the different goodies both of my grandmothers used to bake.  As a young girl, I don’t remember spending a lot of time in the kitchen helping out.  When I was a little older, I started making meals once in a while after my mom went to work for my dad, who had his own business at the time.  It wasn’t until I got married and started making meals for my husband that I really came into my own and discovered my love for cooking, especially baking.

I’m busy all the time, whether it’s getting a quilt finished for a gift, running errands, getting things done around the house or helping out a friend, so my style of cooking is usually quick and simple.  While it’s a lot of fun to fix fancy, complex dishes, when it comes right down to it, what I usually make is comfort food that I can fix in a hurry, but is packed with lots of flavor.  If I can get more than one meal out of a dish, even better!  I have a great time playing with recipes, tweaking ingredients, and I also enjoy developing my own recipes.  When I do follow a recipe, I rarely make it “as is” because it’s fun to put my own twist on things.  I enjoy trying lots of new dishes and I have a very bad habit of forgetting to make a note of where I found a really great recipe.  The running joke in my family is “don’t get used to this (fill in name of dish here) because we’ll never see it again”.

Here is one of my very favorite ways to prepare chicken when I’ve had one of those busy, on the go days.  It’s easy to make, and it proves that a recipe doesn’t have to be complicated or have a lot of ingredients to be delicious.   I always roast more than we need for that particular meal because the leftover chicken is great in quesadillas (recipe below), soup, or shredded and tossed into a nice crisp, cold salad on a hot summer day. The possibilities are endless.

Simple Oven Roasted Chicken

One large package of bone-in fryer chicken pieces, or you can make this recipe with a whole chicken
Extra virgin olive oil (my favorite is to use a garlic infused olive oil)
Your favorite spices or spice blend (here’s one of our faves)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.   Rinse and pat the chicken pieces dry.  Brush all over with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with your seasoning choice.  If you’re roasting a whole chicken, rinse and pat dry.  Brush outside with olive oil; rub some of the seasoning inside the cavity and sprinkle all over the outside.   Roast until internal temperature reaches 165°F (about an hour to an hour and a half for chicken pieces, or 1 ¾ to 2 hours for a 3 to 4 pound whole chicken).

Easy Chicken Quesadillas

2 cups leftover chicken from Simple Oven Roasted Chicken, shredded
one small can (4 ounces) fire-roasted, diced chilies
¼ to ½ teaspoon cumin (according to taste)
¼ to ½ teaspoon chili powder (according to taste)
enough softened butter to spread on tortillas
4 burrito sized flour tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese (I like a blend of Monterey Jack and Cheddar)
your favorite salsa
sour cream

Combine the chicken, chilies, cumin and chili powder in a microwave-safe dish.   Cover and microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time, until hot.   Lightly butter one side of each tortilla.  Now start heating up a skillet over medium-high heat (don’t add anything like butter or oil to it).  On one half of the non-buttered side of each tortilla, sprinkle some cheese, then some of the chicken mixture and top that with more cheese.  Now sprinkle a drop or two of water on the skillet...if the water "dances" around the skillet then it's hot enough.  Place quesadilla directly on heated skillet and cook until golden brown.  Flip and do the same for the other side.  Cut each into wedges and serve with your favorite salsa and sour cream, if desired.  I usually make these for a fun weekend lunch and serve along with some tortilla chips.   If I make them for dinner, I add Spanish rice and refried beans as sides for a complete meal!  Quick, easy and delicious!  Serves 4

No comments:

Post a Comment