CHEW THIS! Mona Brown’s Grand Champion Jade Express Chicken with Rice

Mona Brown and Inga Neal

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, September 21st 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Mona Brown’s Grand Champion Jade Express Chicken with Rice
Blaise Doubman

My friend Inga Neal, of “Temptations” fame, was kind enough to share with me her Mom’s famous recipe for zucchini bread that I shared with everyone in my last column. At the end of that column, I spilled a secret that Inga had also shared with me another recipe from her Mom, a dish that won Grand Champion in a contest through “The Courier-Times” years ago. The dish is for a chicken and vegetable dish, served with rice and sprinkled with cashews and let me tell you, it is absolutely fabulous and delicious! When sharing these recipes with me Inga shared that her Mom, Mona Brown, had owned and operated “Mona’s Little Shoppe” from 1970-1981. Inga worked at the shop with her Mom and the shop was a craft shop where tons of memories and conversations took place. Inga also shared that her and her Mom used to pick strawberries and black raspberries every year and they enjoyed making jams and jellies. I love hearing stories and memories that are food related and that can be passed down to other generations. Getting to know Inga and hearing about some of her history and passion for food, there is no doubt in my mind as to why she is so successful. Everything she does is out of passion and love.

When sharing this recipe with me, Inga also sent me the original published article. In the article Mona Brown talks about her love for cooking, especially cooking for crowds. This made me smile and think of Inga and not only her successful restaurant but her successful catering business. The article goes on to say that sometimes Mona substitutes the chicken in this recipe for beef and that as a time saver, she recommends chopping and preparing everything in advance before starting the recipe, as well as freezing the dish for a later time. The article concludes that she had plans of writing a “family cookbook”, joking that now since this recipe for chicken with rice had won, there would need to be an additional page added to the book. What I would like to know, is more about this “family cookbook” and where I could purchase one! Ha! In all seriousness though, I would like to thank Inga Neal for sharing her family memories and recipes with me, as well as a thank you to her Mom, Mona Brown. Mona is no longer with us, but I really believe she is smiling down at Inga and her family and is so proud of everything she has accomplished. Inga’s restaurant, Temptations”, is located at 2001 South Memorial Drive, New Castle and is open from 11-2, Monday through Friday.

Mona Brown’s Grand Champion Jade Express Chicken with Rice

This dish can be made ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and frozen. When ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven.

4 large chicken breasts
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup cashews
3 tablespoons salad oil
3 cups celery, sliced
1 large green pepper, chunked
13 ½ oz canned pineapple tidbits, drained, save juice
½ cup cooking sherry
1 cup natural soy sauce
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons corn starch
Prepared cooked rice, enough for 4-6 servings

Start by boning and skinning the chicken breasts. You can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. Cut each breast into ½-inch chunks.

In a large skillet or Wok, sauté the mushrooms in oil until brown.

Stir in the celery, green peppers and chicken. Cook this until chicken is cooked through and tender and then add the pineapple juice, cooking sherry, natural soy sauce, garlic salt and corn starch. Stir this mixture constantly until the mixture becomes thickened.

Fold in the pineapple and green onions. May be simmered 20-30 minutes.

Serve this over the rice and cover with cashews.

Ask and Answer: Several of you have written in about “Mona Brown’s Famous Zucchini Bread” and wondered if the recipe could be doubled or tripled and wondered if the bread could be frozen. Yes! The recipe can be easily doubled or tripled and when freezing the bread be sure to wrap first in plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil. The bread will keep frozen for 6 months.

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CHEW THIS! Chicken Parm Patty

Chicken Parm Patty

Chicken Parm Patty.JPG

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, June 2nd 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

A new twist on a new recipe…
Blaise Doubman

I love chicken parmesan! I must admit that for years I would turn my nose up at it and not even give it a second look. Why? I have no idea, because what is not to love? Chicken, tomato sauce and cheese served as a main dish individually or even placed on pasta! My brother, Damon, loves chicken parmesan and I must credit him for finally getting me to try it. Once I tried it, there was no turning back! He had converted me into a chicken parm lover! Over the years I have tried it individually with extra tomato gravy, on top of buttered pasta and even in between fresh brioche rolls and I have yet to find a way I do not love this dish. However, when I try to make it at home it is messy, time consuming and difficult.

In steps Rachael Ray! She has recently revitalized her show, “30 Minute Meals” and one of the first shows she filmed was all about making chicken parmesan easier for the home cook! Of course, I watched, and instantly loved her take on it! She took ground chicken, formed them into huge patties, baked them in the oven at a high temperature and then topped them with tomato sauce and shredded cheese. Genius! I took her basic recipe and made changes, decided to simplify things by using marinara sauce in a jar and left out some of the spices she used because I found them overwhelming when it came to the final dish. It turned out perfectly! This has become one of my favorite recipes and a recipe I go to when short on time because it is so easy, versatile and not to mention, delicious! I like serving this alongside a salad and garlic bread but feel free to serve as you desire. If the patties are to large for you or your family, feel free to make them any size you desire but be sure to adjust the cooking time.

Chicken Parm Patty

These patties cook in a high temperature oven, 500 degrees, so please be sure to make sure your oven is spotless before attempting this recipe. Otherwise, your kitchen will be filled with smoke. It may be a good idea to raise the kitchen windows and turn some fans on while these are baking, just in case of a smoky fog.

2 pounds ground chicken
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seed
Pinch red chili flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
Jar of favorite marinara sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Start by preheating your oven to 500 degrees F.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the ground chicken, salt, black pepper, breadcrumbs, milk, slightly beat egg, grated parmesan cheese, minced garlic, chopped parsley leaves, fennel seed, red chili flakes and olive oil.

Mix everything together and, using clean dry hands, divide the meat mixture into four sections.

Place each section onto the parchment lined baking sheets and flatten out each section to form four giant thin patties.

Bake, one baking sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 18 minutes.

Remove and top each patty with some of the marinara sauce and sprinkle each with the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Place back into the oven, to melt the cheese, for about 5 minutes.

Remove, place each patty on large serving plate and top with chopped parsley.

Serve hot alongside a salad and garlic bread.

Ask and Answer: A lot of people have wondered about the upcoming delivery changes with “The Courier-Times” and how my column will appear. After this printed column, my “CHEW THIS!” column will appear in the first and third Saturdays of the month, instead of Sundays. Hope you will follow me to Saturdays and thank you all for the continued dedication and support. I love sharing my life and recipes with you all and I love hearing your feedback.

The Best Chicken Salad

This is the best chicken salad! Perfect on buttery croissants. I like a rotisserie chicken for this but also try roasting 2 large chicken breasts, with the bone in and the skin on, in the oven at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. Before baking drizzle each with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

The Best Chicken Salad

3 cups cooked chopped chicken
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup white grapes, halved
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup diced celery

In a large bowl place the prepared chicken.

In a medium bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, fresh lemon juice, salt and black pepper until combined and smooth.

Add the prepared grapes, chopped pecans and diced celery to the prepared chicken and stir gently.

Pour over the dressing and stir gently. Taste for seasonings. Refrigerate. Serve.

CHEW THIS! Homemade Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Homemade Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, October 21st 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Chicken Nuggets are Dressed to Please!
Blaise Doubman

I love chicken nuggets and remember when I was about 12 years old winning a contest to see how many chicken nuggets I could eat! How many did I eat? I will not write about it here because I simply do not want to scare you but let me just say I ate away the competition! Ha! As I grew up and discovered what fast food chicken nuggets really were, not that edible, I decided to see if I could make my own! How hard could it be!? I tried using several cuts of chicken and types of chicken meat and decided that chicken breast was the easiest and tastiest.

When it came to the breading I tried several different “crumb” mixtures but decided I liked the simplicity and taste of the buttery RITZ cracker. When you start adding chicken seasoning, garlic, rosemary and additional kinds of peppers it really takes away from the flavors of the meat. I wanted something that reminded me of my childhood but was updated and at the same time very easy to prepare. Chicken breast, cut with kitchen shears instead of a knife, keeps the work clean and easier. I also prefer the taste of melted butter as a dredging instead of egg because after all, who doesn’t like butter? I really believe these may be the best chicken nuggets I have ever had and the homemade honey mustard dipping sauce that I share below really takes them over the top! Highly recommend that you try these!

Homemade Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

You can replace the RITZ crackers in this recipe with regular saltine crackers, but I must warn you that the color and taste will be different. The nuggets will not be as golden, and the taste will not be as buttery. This is the perfect recipe for chicken to get into the kitchen and help! Just be careful and watchful of the sharp kitchen shears.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
3 sleeves Ritz crackers, crushed fine

Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Cut the chicken breasts into large bite-size pieces. I find that using sharp kitchen shears is the easiest method. Place the bite-size pieces into a bowl.

In a large bowl, pour in the melted butter. Stir in the salt and black pepper.

In another large bowl, pour in the finely crushed Ritz cracker crumbs.

Take a handful of the chicken pieces and dip them into the melted butter mixture. Be sure to coat the chicken well. Shake off the excess butter and place into the crushed RITZ crackers. Be sure the chicken is well coated in this mixture too, followed by shaking off the excess here as well. Place the now coated chicken bites onto the prepared baking sheet.

Continue to do this until all the chicken is coated and on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.

Remove and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Serve alongside the honey mustard dipping sauce.

To make the honey mustard dipping sauce simply whisk together ¼ cup honey with ¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and a pinch of black pepper. If you would like more sauce than what is prepared, this recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Ask and Answer: A lot of local people write to me and wonder what my favorite pizza place is in the area. I love pizza and hate to single any one pizza place out, but I would have to say the “Royal Feast” at Pizza King is hard to beat! I also really enjoy Mancino’s and 1000 Degree Pizza as well. I have fond childhood memories of Pizza King so that also plays into my enjoyment.

CHEW THIS! Lemon and Garlic Baked Chicken Legs

Lemon and Garlic Baked Chicken Legs

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, October 7th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

TRAIL “blazing” onto a new and different website…
Blaise Doubman

Loyal readers, I am thrilled to announce that my social media problems are over! Now, someone run and knock wood for me! Ha! Seriously though, I am hoping that the problems I had in the past with my accounts being hacked are far behind me. I basically had to completely start over all of my social media accounts, change my phone number, change my email and transfer five years’ worth of work and recipes over to a new website. Talk about stressful! It was a challenging time, not to mention emotional but I did learn some lessons along the way. So, if you would like to follow my new website, called TRAIL BLAISE, please do so at http://trailblaise.com Also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all under the username: btrailblaise As always, I thank you for your continued dedication and support.

When I was thinking up a name, I said a silent prayer and told myself that whatever would come into my mind I would use. I had about forty minutes to decide on something, so it had to be fast. I closed my eyes, opened them and typed out “TRAIL BLAISE”. I knew this was it! I looked online to make sure it was not copywritten, it was not, and I immediately registered and bought the name. Some people may wonder where “Blaise the Baker” went and I always tell them that there will always be “Blaise the Baker”! There will always be “Blaise the Baker” cookbooks and recipes. For some people I will always be “Blaise the Baker” and that is fine! I am just no longer using the name in my social media life, but it will always be a part of me, partially because I have bought and owned the name since 2014! Ha!

My new website “TRAIL BLAISE” will combine all my worlds. “Blaise the Baker”, “CHEW THIS!”, along with many other new and exciting things! Speaking of new and exciting things let me tell you about my newest recipe! Lemon and Garlic Baked Chicken Legs are fabulously easy and extremely scrumptious! With only four ingredients, not counting salt and pepper, you are on your way to a healthy and delicious meal that the whole family will love! Try it tonight!

Lemon and Garlic Baked Chicken Legs

This dish needs to marinate for at least an hour but no longer than 6 hours. You can substitute the chicken legs for chicken thighs if you wish but be sure to adjust the cooking time. Do not worry about the lemon seeds falling into the marinate, they will slide right off the chicken when you move it from the dish to the baking sheet. This recipe can also be made using oranges in place of lemon for my recipe for “Orange and Garlic Baked Chicken Legs”.

13-16 chicken legs
6 lemons, cut in half
½ cup pure olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper

Place the chicken legs into a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Squeeze the prepared lemons all over the chicken, not worrying about the seeds and placing in the lemon rind in between the chicken legs.

Drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle with the minced garlic.

Sprinkle on the salt and black pepper. Remember, we are using a lot of salt and black pepper because this is a lot of meat to season. Be sure to season generously.

Using clean hands, move, roll and rub the chicken legs so that all of the meat gets covered by the marinate. Press everything down, arrange the lemon wedges between the chicken legs and cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

Place into the refrigerator for at least an hour but no longer than 6 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.

Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Remove the chicken legs from the marinate and place on baking sheet. Place into preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. I prefer these a little overbaked, it does something I like to the skin, so feel free to bake an additional 10-15 minutes longer than you may think you need.

Remove and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be kept, covered and chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This is delicious served cold as well.

Ask and Answer: I heard from a few people who made my “Fluffernutter Fudge” and said they loved it but wanted to know more about the marshmallows and how they were supposed to be in the fudge. If you go back and read my column I clearly state that the marshmallows are not to be melted. They are to stay whole. Melting the marshmallows into the fudge will not only ruin the looks of the overall finished product but ruin the taste and texture as well. It is important that the marshmallows stay whole. The fudge can also easily be doubled.