Chicken Pilau “Perlo”

Chicken Pilau "Perlo" ~ A quintessential low country South Carolina dish. Chicken, rice, and sausage and a few pantry ingredients. There's a reason this simple, one pot dish has comforted families for ages! ~ The Way to His Heart

It’s the beginning of a new year and if you’re like me, you’re ready for a holiday detox. I’ve eaten so much. Between holiday dinners, parties, lots and lots of candies and cookies, and not to mention all of the times we are out. I need some clean eating. I’m just not entirely ready for that yet. You see, I’m also freezing. We’ve been having a very mild winter so far here in Maine until last week and my body will just never adapt to winters here. So, I wanted something warm and comforting. Something to put some meat on your bones. Granted, I don’t need help in that department. So what’s a girl to do when I’m up north and cold? Not a chili or a stew, but I looked back to South Carolina and a local favorite recipe.

Chicken Pilau, pronounced “perlo,” is a Georgetown County meal that is made with chicken, sausage and the ever present southern component, rice. It is very similar to it’s northern neighbor’s, Horry County, Chicken Bog. I also did love that name. I’ll be posting that on here soon as well. Living in both counties, these recipes were in almost every local family’s repertoire. If you ate at a friend’s house for dinner, you were bound to be offered Chicken Pilau or Chicken Bog. I remember the first time I encountered it and I couldn’t get over the name “bog” and couldn’t seem to enjoy it. But once I got over being a high schooler, which helps in life in so many ways, I really enjoyed this simple dish. In the end, it’s a wonderful mix of chicken, sausage and rice and has just the right amount of flavor. I honestly find that the leftovers are better than the first night. The rice really absorbs the flavors. Plus, leftover rice is always good!  While this may not be one of the nationally known, traditional Southern recipes you’ve heard about, it’s no secret to coastal South Carolina and should be given a chance in your kitchen. It’s become a quick favorite in my house as I’ve revisited this old recipe and shared it with my family.

Now, back to those resolutions. I’ve decided that I would eat healthier and get back on the wagon, but I am also going to cook some meals that I’ve been wanting to make and enjoy them. While this recipe isn’t “bad” others are but I am indulging. I am going to quit snacking and enjoy food. Only make something I’ve really wanted to try if it’s not in the “healthy” zone. I’m going to try and say, “good bye” to the quick craving fixes. That way, it’s a win win. I’ll still get to eat some indulgent food, but I’ll get back into the kitchen making new recipes or old recipes I haven’t made in years. I’m hoping this is a win win for you all as well. I’ve been neglecting this blog and I’m hoping that as my family finds their rhythm I can get back to posting. I’ve found that the cooking isn’t the problem, but taking pictures and publishing them. So, I hope you all don’t mind if they aren’t’ perfect, but I’m tired of not sharing some great meals with you all just because they aren’t the best pictures!

So, any resolutions for you all? Any anti-resolution folks out there? Any new goals for your kitchen or life in general? Share! I want to get this blog and other social media platforms going again. I miss the conversations! Happy New Year!

 

Chicken Pilau "Perlo" ~ A quintessential low country South Carolina dish. Chicken, rice, and sausage and a few pantry ingredients. There's a reason this simple, one pot dish has comforted families for ages! ~ The Way to His Heart

Chicken Pilau “Perlo”

Ingredients

  • 5lb chicken
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups uncooked long grained rice
  • 1 lb smoked sausage

Place chicken, after making sure you’ve removed the giblets, into a large pot or Dutch oven. Add water, celery, onion powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, 2 teaspoons of salt, black pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Once the water begins to boil, reduce the heat down to low, cover, and allow to simmer for 1 hour.

Remove chicken from Dutch oven and remove skin and pick meat from bones. Cut the chicken into small pieces and set aside.

Carefully, skim the surface of the liquid and remove the fat. Strain the liquid and reserve 4 cups. Set aside.

Slice sausage into 1″ pieces. Add the sausage to the Dutch oven and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. This just allows the sausage a chance to get slightly crispy. You can skip this part and add everything in all at once if you’d like. Add the reserved 4 cups of liquid, chicken, 1 teaspoon of salt, and rice and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.  Some stir their pilau a few times, but I set it and forget it. This insures the rice gets cooked to perfection!

Serve and enjoy!

Serves 6 to 8

The Way to His Heart

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cranberry Filling and Whipped Cream Frosting~ The Way to His Heart ~ A wonderful flavor combination that is healthier for you and makes for a beautiful dessert

 

I’ve been on a cranberry kick lately as you all have noticed. My daughter loves them now so it’s fun to experiment with different recipes. These particular cupcakes I’ve had saved since last year. I thought I would make them this fall but I never got around to it. I had envisioned these as the perfect different Thanksgiving dessert. Which, they are, but these also make a great December treat. You can still enjoy the festive cranberry and it will be seasonal and it’s nice to steer away from the typical chocolate, peppermint, and gingerbread that is all around.

I made these cupcakes for my daughter’s school teacher/staff luncheon. I knew there would be all sorts of treats and I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t be sending in something that would be similar to the others. What I also loved about these cupcakes is that they are basically sugar free, minus the maple syrup, they are nut free, and they are vegetarian. When bringing in food to a group of people you’re unsure about with dietary restrictions, it’s nice to hit a few on the list at least.

These cupcakes are delicious and were a big hit at the luncheon and at home. I was a little concerned that there wasn’t enough sweetness in the cupcakes, but with the filling and the whipped cream, they have a perfect balance. They are pretty easy to make and they will definitely catch everyone’s eye. How easy is a little cinnamon dusting and a cranberry for a garnish?

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cranberry Filling and Whipped Cream Frosting~ The Way to His Heart ~ A wonderful flavor combination that is healthier for you and makes for a beautiful dessert

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cranberry Filling and Whipped Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp maple syrup, divided
  • 1/2 cup 2 percent or whole milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Pre-heat oven to 375 F and line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.

In a bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup maple syrup, milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Divide batter in the muffin tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes until cupcakes spring back when pressed and have domed. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.

In a saucepan, combine cranberries with 1/2 cup maple syrup and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook until cranberries are soft and starting to break down, 4-5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with 1-2 Tablespoons water, stirring to dissolve starch. our into cranberry mixture and continue to cook until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and let cool.

To assemble, take a small knife or apple corer and cut out a small chunk in the center of each cupcakes. Spoon 1-2 Tablespoons of cranberry filling into the center. Finish filling cupcakes and set aside.

Once muffins are cool, beat heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks. Whisk in 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup. Spread or pipe the whipped cream onto the cupcakes and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and extra cranberries for garnish.

Yields 12 cupcakes

Nutritional Information

Per serving: Calories 442, Fat 25g, Protein 5g, Carbohydrates 52g, Fiber 1g, Sugar 28g

Source : Kiwi Magazine, December 2014

Colorful Crinkle Cookies

Colorful Crinkle Cookies ~ The Way to His Heart ~ Colorful and festive, this recipe makes 6 doz. perfect for cookie swaps and parties!

We are nearing the end of December and cookie making season and I’ve only made one batch so far this year! Granted, I’ll be making a bunch of candies this week and one more special batch of cookies for Santa. These cookies were a lot of fun to make since they were easy, although sticky to form into a ball. My daughter loves anything that requires food coloring which made it fun to make with her.

I chose to make these cookies this year to kind of steer away from the chocolate laden cookies. Now that she is in school and having lots of parties, I want to send in something sweet for the kids without being a complete mess and sugar high for them! These are pillowy and soft and have a nice, gentle flavor. The recipe also make a lot, 6 dozen, so they are great for cookie swaps and parties! Don’t worry though, the recipe and be halved easily.

Colorful Crinkle Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstartch
  • 2 boxes (18.25 oz. each) French vanilla cake mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 tsp red food coloring
  • 1/2 tsp green food coloring

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper

In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mixes, eggs, and melted butter. Beat with an electric mixer until thick and well blended.

Divide the batter into thirds. Stir the red food coloring into one third and the green into another third. Leave one third white. Working with one color of batter at a time, divide each into 24 balls about 1 1/2″ across. Roll the balls in the confectioners’ sugar mixture to coat. Transfer to a prepared cookie sheet, place the balls about 2″ apart. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Bake until the cookies are puffed and lightly browned around the edges, 9 to 10 minutes. Let cool for several minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.

Yields 6 dozen cookies.

Source: Parents Magazine, December 2013

Duchess Potatoes

Duchess Potatoes ~ The Way to His Heart ~ Turn simple mashed potatoes into more than just a side dish, but a centerpiece on your holiday table! These easy potatotes can be made in advance!

It’s that time of year again. When I’m going through the holiday dinner menu and trying to figure out how to make everyone’s favorite dishes, while still trying to switch things up enough for me. There are so many beloved recipes that it’s difficult to change them and still make everyone happy. So, I set out on this task while also looking for easy things to make. Lots of people make Christmas dinner difficult but I have other dinners I can do that with, Christmas is about trying to hang out with the kids and family as much as possible.

I found a few different potato recipes and I believe we have settled on these for our dinner. Either way, I wanted to share these with you because they are so elegant and will turn your regular mashed potatoes into more than just a side dish! These Duchess Potatoes are very rich, yes you have to add all of those egg yolks! I used golden potatoes so I had a more creamier flavor which was divine. The wonderful thing about these potatoes is they can be made in advance. Just pipe them the day or night before and put them in the refrigerator. When you are ready to bake, just brush the egg wash on and pop them in the oven. All of your real dirty work will be over by the time guests arrive!

*If you decide not to make these in advance, I still advise chilling the piped potatoes before applying the egg wash as it’s easier to do so.

Duchess Potatoes ~ The Way to His Heart ~ Turn simple mashed potatoes into more than just a side dish, but a centerpiece on your holiday table! These easy potatotes can be made in advance!

Duchess Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs Russet Potatoes, peeled and boiled until fork tender
  • 8 whole egg yolks
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp salt, more or less to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 whole egg

Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Lay boiled potatoes on a baking sheet and place into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until slightly dried on the surface.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and process through a ricer or food mill. Allow to cool in a bowl for about 5 minutes. Add egg yoks, butter, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and 3/4 cup cream. Stir with a spatula to combine. Taste and make sure the potatoes have been adequately salted.

Transfer to a large pastry bag and pipe through a large star tip in a circular/upward spiral motion.

Mae an egg wash by mixing 1 egg with 1/2 cup heavy cream. Lightly brush the piped potatoes with the egg wash. This part is easier if you chill the piped potatoes for half an hour or so beforehand.)

Bake at 375 until golden brown around the edges, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Source: The Pioneer Woman