Well, I've been holding off on posting another recipe right after a recipe, because in no way is this a cooking blog! I'm more of a baker than a chef, if anything. And planning and cooking dinners aren't exactly my specialty.
However, no household projects have been done this week for me to blog about. Besides the laundry and bathrooms and dishes and endless picking up, but who really wants to read about the mundane?
So I'm gonna share my yummy chicken salad cream puffs. I've been on a chicken salad kick for the last couple of weeks. I made one batch that was too savory for me, but my hubby claimed to love it. He's so sweet like that.
My next batch was just about perfect. And he liked it, too. That's the one I'm sharing here. It's on deck to be made again for dinner tonight, as well, but with a few modifications...which I might as well share!
So this is more of a chicken salad saga than a recipe. And it might finally be out of my system for now.
boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
I like to buy the large bags of boneless skinless chicken at Sam's. I buy the 5 oz. portions rather than the whole breasts. They're just a better size for me to cook with. They get done quicker and 4 of them are usually a perfect size for a meal for my little family.
So I mostly thawed 4 of the chicken breast portions, then boiled it. There are countless methods for "perfect" boiled chicken. Google it and you'll see! So just use whatever method you like. Keep in mind that over-boiled chicken can get tough.
I like to scrape all the fat and bubbles off the chicken, first, then I chop it into pretty small squares. (For the baby to eat with us.) But I like to shred it sometimes, too. For shredded chicken, just take 2 forks to it (one to hold it still, one to pull the shreds off).
Add a few tablespoons of mayo to the chopped or shredded chicken. Enough to make it hold together. Too much means mayo overkill and not enough results in dry salad. The mayo will soak in and seem to disappear the longer it's mixed with the chicken. So tomorrow's leftovers may need a little refresher.
Toss in a handful of cranberries and about as many almonds. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Keep tasting it until it's to your liking!
Modification for tonight's chicken salad: fresh sliced grapes and fresh celery. I'm out of almonds, so none of those. And I'm kinda over the cranberries, so none of those, either. The fresh crunchiness of the grapes and celery are gonna be perfect!
Note: You'll want the chicken salad to be cold, so I recommend preparing the chicken (if not the whole mixure) a few hours before you want to use it so it can chill in the fridge.
Le Creme Puffs
(it just felt so French)
My favorite recipe for cream puffs is at my mom's house. I'm not sure why I haven't copied it down for my own collection, yet. But my mom wasn't home when I needed it, so I trolled allrecipes and found a good one! It looked pretty identical to mine/mom's/ours.
Here's the recipe I followed:
1/2 cup shortening
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1 cup sifted flour
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In medium saucepan, combine shortening, salt, and boiling water, and heat until entire mixture boils. Reduce heat, add flour all at once and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and add eggs, ONE AT A TIME, and beat thoroughly after each one. Continue beating until mixture is thick and shiny and breaks from spoon.
(I was doing the mixing by hand and it got LONG... I enlisted my hubby's help, but then neither of us could tell if or when it got thick and shiny and "broke" from the spoon. It was thicker and shinier before I kept beating it, I thought. Anyway, no matter, apparently.)
2. Pipe or spoon onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake 20 minutes more, or until golden and they sound hollow when tapped. Cool and fill.
(If you take them out too early, they'll fall flat. I baked mine in a muffin tin this time so they'd be consistent. But I should have greased the muffin tin, I guess. They were pretty sticky in there and they aren't usually so sticky on a cookie sheet.)
Yield: 12 large puffs
(For mini puffs, make smaller scoops, obviously. But also cook them less. Keep an eye on it. Small puffs are fun for appetizers and bite-sized desserts!)