Serious Smoked Chicken

My Smoker. Looks like a little fridge, right?
My Smoker. Looks like a little fridge, right?
Jon's Smoked Chicken
Jon’s Smoked Chicken

I use a small electric smoker.  Electric smokers may seem like cheating, but it sure is easier (better?) for ensuring the heat stays even. For smoking chicken, I use water in the pan, but beer can also be used.  I save the apple juice and apple wood chips for smoking pig.  Hickory is good with Chicken.

Keep your smoke in. . . don't open until done.
Keep your smoke in. . . don’t open until done.

The image on the right shows a few things.  First, it shows me opening the door which I normally DO NOT do.  There’s chicken which is being smoked, see the smoke?  Keep that smoke in.  The pan is visible with lots of drippings and the golden color of the birds indicates they are not ready.  When finished, they’ll be brown and so much more delicious.

A word about the rub.  It’s the spices you choose to put on.  Can be as simple as salt and pepper or a secret combination that no one really shares up as it’s a treasured familial secret. The rub isn’t really the flavorizer in this endeavor. — it is the smoke, time and low heat that is vital. I suggest you make your own or try Weber’s Beer Can Chicken as a good starter.  More here: http://www.weber.com/weber-nation/blog/making-your-own-bbq-rub

Note:  This will smell wonderful all day.  Anticipa. . .tion makes it taste so much the better when you serve it.

Optional – -you can smoke it for the day and then heat it back up in the oven just prior to serving.  I know a restaurant that actually drops their delicious smoked chicken in a fryer before serving, but that’s not really necessary for this recipe.

Suggestion –> Make sandwiches with the leftover chicken &remember what a good job you did “cooking all day”.

New England Toll House Muffins

If you like Toll House Cookies, you’ll love these muffins!  My girls loved muffins when they were growing up (still do!) so I was always trying something new for them to try. I picked up this little cookbooklet (is that a word??) once while vacationing in AZ & this was the first recipe I tried…..they loved it & so did I!  I still bake these, but not as often as my “girls” are now women and live on their own.

Aunt Fran’s Chicken & Rice

My husband’s aunt shared this recipe with me years ago.  It’s been a keeper ever since!  I can remember making it for nearly everyone we invited over early on in my marriage ……..everyone wanting the recipe before they left that night.  It made me feel good knowing my meal was well received.

Nutella Banana Bread

When my daughters played on the volleyball team in high school, we would occasionally have all-day tournaments, and the parents would provide food for the players to snack on during the day. I brought this banana bread swirled with rich, chocolatey Nutella and it disappeared in a flash! If you have a favorite banana bread recipe, you can substitute it for the basic recipe here, and use the same technique to incorporate the Nutella swirl.

 

Chicken Chili

When my daughter was in high school, she embarked on an overnight trip with members of her science class. With her oh-so-helpful nature, she volunteered me to provide a dinner for the trip. Thanks, Mom!  I’m certainly not intimidated by cooking, but I was intimidated by the limitations of providing a dish for this trip. It had to be easily stored and transported in a cooler, be pre-cooked so that it could be reheated with minimal kitchen equipment, and most importantly, appeal to high school students and their teachers, including some picky eaters!

This white chili was my choice, and it remains one of my go-to choices when I need to feed a crowd, with minimal fuss. With mild flavor, everyone likes it, and the dump-and-run cooking style makes good use of a slow cooker. It only gets better leftover, it’s easy to double the recipe for sharing, and it uses ingredients that I almost always have on hand. I’ve made it as an easy meal while on vacation, entered it into a chili cook-off (got 2nd place! I was robbed grrrr!), and served it to everyone from kids to gourmands. It’s great to customize with add-ins; spice it up with jalapeños, sprinkle on extra cheese or scoop it up with tortilla chips.

Chicken Tetrazini

There is nothing like comfort food, especially when it is prepared by someone else. When someone is hurting, or even when they’re happy, it’s a special blessing when a friend offers to bring over dinner. This is my go-to casserole for sharing with friends. It is such tasty comfort food, with ingredients that almost everyone likes. It is easy to double the recipe for sharing — one for me, and one for you. It can be prepared and served right away, or frozen and saved to serve later. This recipe is adapted from one in a cookbook that I received as a bridal shower gift more than twenty years ago. It is a community cookbook published by a church in the town where I attended high school. Seeing the recipes in it is like visiting with old friends.