Skillet Chicken and Rice

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into slices 1/2-inch thick and 2-3 inches long
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed well
3-4 cups chicken stock
1 cup frozen sweet peas

Cook the chicken: Season your sliced chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large (at least 12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes per side, getting a decent sear on both sides. It’s okay at this point if your chicken isn’t cooked all the way through.

Cook the onions: Remove chicken from the skillet and add onions and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, softening veggies. Add dried oregano and basil to the skillet and stir together.

Assemble the skillet and simmer: Stir in the rinsed white rice and nestle chicken pieces back in the skillet. Then add 3 cups of the chicken stock and stir gently to make sure chicken stock is evenly distributed. Bring to a simmer, turn heat down to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

Check the rice: After 15 minutes, check the skillet. If the rice is tender and the skillet is dry, then the dish is ready to serve. If the rice isn’t quite done and the skillet is dry, add another 1/2 cup of broth, re-cover the skillet, and continue to simmer for a few minutes. If the rice is cooked but there is still some stock in the skillet, uncover the pan and let the extra stock cook off for a few minutes.

When the rice seems just about done, add the frozen peas to the skillet. They will thaw quickly!

Source: Skillet Chicken and Rice Recipe | SimplyRecipes.com

Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies

3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
2 cups chopped pecans

Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Using a stand mixer on medium speed, beat butter until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugars and beat to combine, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each one, and the vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture gradually until just combined. Add the chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans, mixing until just combined.

For large cookies, drop a hefty 1/4 cup of dough onto the baking sheets for each cookie, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, then rotate sheets top to bottom and front to back. Bake for an additional 8 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely. For smaller cookies, use 2 tablespoons dough per cookie and bake for 15 to 18 minutes total, rotating the baking sheets midway through. Store in airtight containers at room temperature for several days. May be frozen.

Source: Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies – The Washington Post

Sausage Gravy

1 pound of your favorite, flavorful breakfast sausage meat (not links or patties)
1/3 cup flour
2 1/2-3 cups of whole milk

Brown your sausage in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once all the pink is gone and you’ve got a little bit of color on there, slowly sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly so the sausage gets evenly coated. Cook another minute, then slowly pour in your milk while stirring until you have a thick and luscious gravy. Give it a taste, doctor it with salt and pepper if needed, and serve with your favorite piping hot biscuits.

Source: This Three-Ingredient Sausage Gravy Will Improve Your Christmas Morning

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

6 slices bacon, chopped into 1″ pieces
3 tbsp. butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 c. heavy cream
1 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 lb. russet potatoes, rinsed and scrubbed clean
2 c. shredded cheddar
1/4 c. finely chopped chives
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, about 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
In another large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in flour and cook for another minute. Whisk in cream and chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Simmer until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Peel potatoes and thinly slice each potato crosswise into thin coins. (A mandolin would work great here.)
Spoon a thin layer of sauce into the bottom of a large casserole dish. Add a single layer of potatoes on top. Spoon more sauce over the potatoes and top with cheese and bacon. Repeat 3 to 4 times, or until the casserole dish is mostly full.
Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the potatoes are very tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Credit: Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes

Servings: 6
Total Time: 3 Hours 30 Minutes

3 pounds boneless beef chuck (well-marbled), cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
7 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups beef broth
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into one-inch chunks on a diagonal
1 pound small white boiling potatoes (baby yukons), cut in half
Fresh chopped parsley, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325°F and set a rack in the lower middle position.
Pat the beef dry and season with the salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Brown the meat in 3 batches, turning with tongs, for about 5 minutes per batch; add one tablespoon more oil for each batch. (To sear the meat properly, do not crowd the pan and let the meat develop a nice brown crust before turning with tongs.) Transfer the meat to a large plate and set aside.

Add the onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the brown bits from bottom of the pan, for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more. Add the beef with its juices back to the pan and sprinkle with the flour. Stir with wooden spoon until the flour is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine, beef broth, water, bay leaf, thyme, and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, transfer to the preheated oven, and braise for 2 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven and add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and place back in oven for about an hour more, or until the vegetables are cooked, the broth is thickened, and the meat is tender. Fish out the bay leaf and discard, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve the stew warm — or let it come to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator overnight or until ready to serve. This stew improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead. Reheat, covered, over medium heat or in a 350°F oven. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.

Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The stew can be frozen for up to 3 months. Just omit the potatoes because they don’t freeze well. If you’d like, boil some potatoes separately when you defrost the stew and either add them into the stew or serve them on the side. Before serving, defrost the stew in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat until hot.

Credit: Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes