Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Feast: Cold Weather Comfort Food, Southern Style

Today, it's a balmy 24 degrees.
Seriously. We haven't been this cold in a long time. I think it got down to 14 or so last night. Makes me want to move to Antigua. I could go for a nice leisurely lounge on those crystal white beaches and soothing soak in the clear warm water right now....

....but since I'm back to reality for the moment, I've got to give my kiddos a stick-to-your-ribs-so-you-don't-freeze-to-death-in-these-arctic-conditions feast.

On days like today (as well as many other days when it's quite warmer), I make one of my favorite comfort foods. Good, old-fashioned chicken & pastry. Yum, yum, triple yum!
And we Lanfords all have a sweet tooth, so we'll finish it up with some peanut butter cookies. Truth be told, there is always some type of baked good in this house. I can't help myself. I try to use Splenda, but sometimes I feel that the result is just not the same. I still eat these sugary treats, I just limit myself to one ortwelve two.

Chicken & Pastry
About 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 medium carrots, sliced
5 stalks of celery, sliced
1 package of frozen thin pastry strips
salt & pepper to taste

I use a large pot, filled half-way with water. Trim celery tops (leaves & tops of stalk) and add to pot along with chicken. Salt & pepper, and a bit of garlic if you like. Boil chicken until done. Remove chicken from water and set aside. Remove celery leaves and discard.

To the chicken stock, add sliced carrots & celery. Add pastry strips slowly, one at a time, stirring often so they don't stick. Cover and boil for 35 minutes. Shred chicken while the pastry is cooking. When pastry is done, the broth will very thick and mostly absorbed. Add chicken back to pot and cook for another 10 minutes, or until heated through.
Salt & pepper it again, to taste.

Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup margarine, softened
1.5 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Hershey kisses - optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat peanut butter & margarine with electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugars, beat well. Add eggs, beat well. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add to butter mixture, beat well. Stir in vanilla.

I use a Pampered Chef medium cookie scoop, but you can also hand roll the cookies into balls, about 1 - 1.5" inches in diameter. Many recipes call to flatten the cookies before baking, but I found that this makes them a little more crumbly & dry. So, I flatten them after baking for a chewy, soft cookie. But feel free to flatten them now if you'd like, and make sure you space them about 2.5"-3" apart on a cookie sheet or baking stone. Bake for 9 minutes. When you take them out of the oven, use a small spatula or fork to flatten them out.
Once flat, add an unwrapped Hershey Kiss in the middle,
if you choose, and let cool before removing from the cookie sheet.


Melissa said...

Yummy! I can't wait until Brian and I move back to the Raleigh area and start showing up at your door step for Friday Feast (kids in tow I hope!)

Meg said...

I am so thrilled that you posted this chicken recipe! For the past 5 (plus!) years I've heard Kate talk about this and hadn't a clue. Its one of her favorite things. :) I'm going to have to give it a try. I love your Friday feasts!

Meg said...

Ok Skye, please tell what are pastry strips and what might they be called in the midwest? :)

Sip said...

guess what i'm havin for supper tonight.....

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