RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

Thoughts on Food, Words from the Heart, 'The Little Winged Ones'….

Tag: celery

Chicken Cassoulet

It was a mix of rain and snow again today!  Just as my mini daffodils are starting to bloom.  T and I neither one could come up with something for dinner… this always puts us in the pantry and refrigerator to see what we have on hand.  We had several options but the one that we both agreed to was Chicken Cassoulet, and it would be a dinner that we could both work on.  I love it when this happens… it usually comes out pretty good.

The recipe came from my Mom and I am not sure where she got it… it is a keeper!   It was at Tanya, her dinner of pork shank with giant beans looked so good the other day and it made me realize it was time for some beans and then when I found the beans in the freezer… it was good for go!   Just a few difference from pork to chicken and such…


  •          8 bone-in-chicken thighs (about 2 pounds) (I used 4)
  •          ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  •          ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  •          2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  •          8 ounces chicken sausage or kielbasa, cut into 3/4 inch slices
  •          1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  •          1 celery rib, chopped (about ½ cup)
  •          2 carrots, sliced on a diagonal
  •          2 garlic cloves, chopped
  •          1 ½ cups chicken broth
  •          1 can diced tomatoes
  •          2 cups cooked cannellini beans, save some juice you may want to use some (I used about two cups of cannellini     beans that I had in the freezer that were already cooked, with a little of their juices)
  •          ½ teaspoon thyme
  •          ¼ cup chopped parsley
  •          ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
  •          ¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese

I had cooked my cannellini beans a while back and had frozen some in some of their juices so just needed to thaw them out with… my chicken, and kielbasa.  I would use them later that afternoon to put the dish together.

Season the chicken with some of the salt and pepper.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet… once hot enough add the chicken and cook until browned well and cook the other side, cooking until well browned.  Remove from skillet and add the kielbasa and cook stirring once in a while until well browned.  Reduce the heat and add the onion, celery and carrot, cook stirring often, cook until just softened.  Stir in the garlic and cook for about a minute.  Now stir in broth, making sure to scrape up any of the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Add tomato, cannellini beans, thyme, parsley, remaining salt and pepper: stir to mix well.  Now add the chicken and kielbasa.

Place the mix into a casserole dish.  Bake uncovered at 350˚ for 45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and top is slightly browned.  Next time I will bake with casserole lid on… I think it will help it from drying out some.  Our only complaint!  Once you have all of the mix in the casserole you can mix the breadcrumbs’ and Parmesan Cheese and spread over the top (before you bake…) I did not use breadcrumbs and I sprinkled the Parmesan Cheese on when I had plated the baked dish. 

We were both pleased with our effort and no decisions need be made on what we will have tomorrow night for dinner we have left-over’s and we all know that left-over’s are always better the second night….


Buffalo Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

I have been following Chelsea at Sprinkles of Parsley for some now.  She has incredible recipes that she shares (posts) and always has complete detailed recipes with pictures that showcase each step along the way from beginning to end.  In the last year she not only does her food blog she does a weekly food article for a local newspaper in her area.  Each week she shares a new recipe with complete details with all her readers.

For a beginning cook, this would be the place to recommend them start their cooking, there is no way that anyone could mess up on one of her recipes.  Whether her recipes are on her food blog, Sprinkles of Parsley or in her weekly recipe at the Southington Patch they are all winners, I have yet to read a posting she has made and not want to make the recipe/food she is sharing.

I had made the Roasted Brick Chicken last evening and was going to make an all in one salad with leftover chicken breasts today.  Then I got my email from my subscription to Chelsea blog Sprinkles of Parsley this a.m. (good timing!) and the recipe she is sharing this week at the Patch was Buffalo Chicken Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing: A Quick Weeknight Fix.

She could not have posted this at a better time, at least for me.  I had everything I needed and the all in one salad was now going to be Buffalo Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing.  It sure sounded good.  I will let you take the link to her article for the ingredients and the recipe how to, she does a better job than I do and she makes it all seem so easy.

I have to be honest with you, this is the best salad hands down I have had in a long time.   I love all salads, all kinds of salads and this one was full of flavor and the mix was perfect.  You will want to take your time eating this salad, let you pallet take in each of the textures, the flavors and let the fragrance lead with your taste buds.  Each and all combine to make this a salad to remember and one that will be a regular here in our house.

I did have to make a couple of adjustments, just because I had already cooked left over chicken,  (I did marinate it in the hot sauce for a while,) she marinated and grilled fresh chicken ~ I am sure it was delicious.  Next time I will be sure and use fresh chicken and marinate, I cannot imagine how it could be any better than what we had this evening!   I too added some English Cucumber; I had a partial one that needed to be used.

The pictures do not do it justice; this salad is the salad of all salads.  Perfect, you do not need to change a thing, you would not want to change a thing, you do not want to mess with perfection….



Basic Chicken Stock



I made the stock using up all the back, necks, bones and carcass bits that I had been saving in the freezer.  It made for a large pot of stock.  It made more than enough for several chicken soups, and then with a couple of quarts leftover.  I froze them in batches and some in cubes for future use.  My stock recipe is:

In large stock pot:

  • Chicken back and necks from about 8 chickens
  • Bones and carcass bits from the same
  • 4 Crushed Garlic Cloves
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 Large Carrots
  • 4 Parsnips
  • 4 stalks of Celery
  • 6 or so quarts of cold water enough to cover by an inch
  • Sea Salt (not much, just a smidgen)
  • Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup or so sage leaves
  • Couple of bay leaves
  • I have been known to throw into the stock pot anything that ‘needs’ to be used from the veggie drawers in the refrig: mushrooms and such.

You can brown this in a pan with a little oil before putting in stock pot.  Sometimes I do, but this time I wanted to boil it down a little to concentrate the flavor.  While it is simmering (light boil) partially covered, I skimmed off the scum once in awhile.  I strained twice and then degreased it the best I could and let it cool down before I put it in refrig to solidify the fat.  

Once I got all fat off the top, I kept out what I would be using for a pot of chicken soup I would be making today and froze the rest in several batches and cubes for future use.  I freeze it in small bowls and once frozen I then put in Food Saver bags and vacuum steal before putting back in freezer for future use.  It makes all the difference in the world, in flavor, freshness and no problem with freezer burn….

Harmony Soup

Harmony Soup

© 2009 ….RaeDi 

So you know right off, I am not being paid by Nuts Online.  What I claim is from my own perspective.  I was introduced to this site by a friend and then I ordered some of their products.  I cannot keep my mouth shut at this point about NUTS ONLINE.   The products sell themselves.  There is nothing NUTTY about this in the least, at least that I can see.

From this “The Hummers’ Critique Corner” I give Nuts Online a rating of five possible hummingbirds 

                                                 Rating of Five Hummingbirds

A friend had a  Christmas Open House one evening during the holidays and had a nice spread of holiday goodies for us to snack on.  She had set a beautiful buffet with an assortment of meats, cheeses and fruits, some wonderful little tarts (she used my pastry recipe I shared with her), cookies of all kinds, sugar cookies that were to pretty to eat and desserts including some home-made candies.  She promised she would give me a list of all new recipes after the holidays.

One thing she told me about and I wrote down was a website that her friend had brought to her attention, www.nutsonline.com.  I checked this site out once the holidays were over and I had things to the point of being able to breathe again.  I spent a whole afternoon my first time visiting this site.  Talk about a child in a candy store.  I wanted one of everything.   I too, knew that these products were top of the line.  I had eaten a sizable amount and variety of them at my friends’ party.  I told anyone who was eyeing me at the party that I was sampling the products, and I was all of them.  Once I realized that my list was like two pages long I decided to back off for a few days and come in with my brakes on, harder than it sounds.    I told myself I needed to take my time and pick a few well-chosen items for my first order.

That was not so easy.  In the end, I will admit my order had a dozen or so well-chosen items on it.  It took me several tries to get the list down to what I finally ordered.  I have a list of recipes that I have wanted to do from several foodies sites that I visit often.  Annie’s Eats, Pioneer Woman, Smitten Kitchen, Pat at Dancing in the Kitchen, Tartelette, Brown Eye Baker and the list goes on and on.   When I was studying Nuts Online products I wanted to put everything on the list all at one time.  If you take the time to go, you too may see how hard it is to decide what to buy on your first visit/order and save the rest for another time. 

I must have gone to their site a half-dozen times or so before I finally had the list ready to order.  As I said, I had known that all of their products are top of the line.  Usually when I  try to buy food products online I have a little more control of myself, the number one reason I am not sure if the product is what they claim and I do not want to be stuck with food products that I do not want to use and the money….I won’t go there again. 

I look forward to trying each product.  I chose a couple different dried fruits, a variety of nuts, their dried Porcini Mushrooms, Sun Dried Tomatoes, green tea powder, and a couple of their different flours.  I will definitely be using the Pistachio Flour and nuts soon.  When the box arrived I ripped it open like a child with a birthday present.  I was so impressed with each item I ordered.  They surpassed my expectations and more.  I will share with you each time I use a recipe that required a product from my new favorite online store.

The one thing I have used so far was the Organic Harmony Soup Blend. 

This is an amazing soup mix.  All organic:

Hard Red Winter Wheat, Pearled Barley, Pinto Beans, Red Kidney Beans, Spilt Green Peas, Red Rice, Navy Beans and organic Safflower Oil.

This dried soup mix cooked up into an incredible soup and we will be ordering more of this mix soon.  It made a very healthy dinner that we look forward to having again.   I should have taken a picture of the mix before I cooked them; they were beautiful mix of colors. 

Harmony Soup

Recipe from Nuts Online (I added the tomatoes and tomato powder)

  •  2 cups organic soup blend
  • 3 quarts of Chicken Broth (I had some in the freezer) water if using chicken or any kind of meat
  • 3 pound whole chicken (I made without chicken)
  • 1 Tbsp dry savory leaves (I added a little of oregano, thyme and bay leaves)
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt (I used No Salt Sodium-Free Salt to taste)
  • 1 ½ cups sliced carrots
  • 1 fresh chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 2~3 sliced cloves of garlic
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp of tomato powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric

Soak the soup blend overnight in 1 quart of water in the refrigerator.  Drain and discard water.

In a 6 quart pot, place chicken (if using or can be any kind of meat you like or not) and water…this is where I used my 3 quarts of chicken broth and soup blend.   

Add garlic, salt, turmeric, black pepper, savory leaves.  Cook for one hour or until the chicken is tender.  Remove the chicken so it can cool.   Cook for same amount of time if not using meat. 

Add the carrots, celery, onions and tomatoes and tomato powder.   Cook for 20/25 minutes or so while you are de-boning the chicken.  If using meat add it now and bring mixture to boil.  Remove and serve.

The soup was delicious without any meat in it.  I added the diced tomatoes and tomato powder to the recipe, I was wanting a tomato soup base for a while, it was great.  Next time I will probably make it without just to see the difference.  I am sure it will be just as good as this take, maybe I will make it with chicken or maybe not.  It’s great to have a product that you can basically do want you want and not spoil it.  I made some angel biscuits and salad to complete the meal.  We enjoyed this soup and will be doing it again soon. 

Let me know if you go to www.nutsonline.com.  I would love to hear what you think of their products.  I know the service is great and I could not believe how fast my shipment came….            




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