The Stew That Started it All

 

You might be wondering exactly how this meal time gathering came into being.  The truth is it happened because my parents are amazing people.  The type of people who you can’t always appreciate growing up, but as soon as you become a parent yourself, you get it, suddenly their awesomeness shines through.

So the Tuesday Table story starts simply with a bunch of hungry teenagers and my mama’s stew.

For three years my mom fed a small army of teenager’s lunch every school day.  Our school allowed us to leave during lunch hour and I lived very close to the school, so naturally I went home to eat.  At first just one of two friends would join me and before you knew it there would be up to eight of us clamoring at the table about our morning and devouring our food ( we always sat down at 11:11 A.M. too, how cool is that?!?).  Stew day was everyone’s favorite, and the turn out on that day was probably better than school attendance.

I know we always appreciated the food.  After a time the kids would start leaving their lunch money to help cover the costs and some parents even donated some things to help feed us when they found out what my mom was doing.  I also know that my mom enjoyed hearing all the gossip—I have also decided this was a professional interrogator move, plying us with food to make us talk.  But only looking back can a appreciate the massive undertaking feeding so many kids a real meal, and cleaning up after us truly was.  My mom might just be a Saint.

Now living in the house I grew up in, I hope that I am able to offer a similar experience for my daughter and her friends.  This house proves that good food brings people together and provide a little comfort in the day.

There are several variations to my mom’s stew, but beef was the popular favorite.  My personal favorite is a combination of pork and beef, and she also makes a great pork stew as well.   Please visit my recipe page to make this delicious stew for yourself, and no stew would be complete without biscuits, so you will find the recipe for those there as well.  Enjoy!

Our Favorite Beef Stew    Homemade Biscuits

How to stretch a chicken breast

So, have you ever come home only to find that you indeed still have to make dinner? You are exhausted and haven’t been shopping in a while.  As you are scanning your fridge and freezer you find one lonely chicken breast that didn’t make into dinner a couple nights ago.  You’ve had this happen right, it can’t just be me.  Well one tiny chicken breast really isn’t much for two people, especially when your husband is a trades-man and a farmer.  But with a little creativity we both managed to enjoy a pretty tasty meal, and feel satisfied on not a whole heck of a lot!

My trick?  I baked two large russet potatoes (in the microwave because lets face it, after 7 o’clock no body wants to wait more than 10 minutes for dinner in my house) and then loaded them with this quick chicken topping.

While my potatoes were cooking away, in a pan I started some butter added two slices of bacon I chopped up, while that was crisping I added a sliced onion from the garden and let that cook for a bit until the onions started to get soft.  Then I added a handful of frozen mushrooms (a freezer staple) and while those were warming up I chopped my lonely chicken breast into small bite sized bits.  I tossed those into the pan as well with some salt and pepper.  When the chicken was about done I added 3 Tablespoons of flour and a little more butter.  Stirred it all up and added enough chicken stock to make a gravy.  I then added about a teaspoon of Tarragon from my herb garden.

About the time this topping all came together the potatoes were done, a slice down the middle, a little salt and pepper (and just a tiny bit more butter), and BOOM! They were ready for the topping and dinner!

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Yep, I am new

Hello,

To anyone who is looking at this trying to figure out just what the heck I am doing, so am I!  I am trying to learn this new program, while wrestling a six month old and potty training an almost two year old.  So please hang in there with me!  I have lots of great stories in the works, I just have to figure out how to get them to you!

In the mean time, please enjoy the recipes I have managed to get posted, and look forward to tomorrow nights dinner update!

Farm related our dairy cow Sugar Dot is back home and expecting her calf any day now! So be preparing for adorable pictures and dairy recipes!

Fried Chicken Strip Meal

This meal is a snap to put together, in fact I put it together in less than 30 minutes with two babies crawling on me and before I picked my older daughter up from school.  By getting all the prep work done before pick up I was able to cook it up in a snap!

Here is what I did:

Chicken Strips:

About 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts

Buttermilk

1 Tablespoon honey

salt

pepper

Cajun seasoning (or hot sauce)

Pour buttermilk into a plastic food storage container (I love these, but you can use a 9×13 glass dish or whatever you like). You want it to be about 1-2 inches deep so it covers you chicken completely when you add it.  To the buttermilk add 1 big tablespoon of honey, about 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and about 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning.  You can add more if you like spicier chicken.  Stir this up until the honey is mostly dissolved.  Add your chicken strips, seal the lid and give a good shake so all the pieces are coated.

You can allow this to sit overnight, but allow at least 30 minutes.  Prepping before after-school pick up allowed this to sit about 3 hours in the fridge.

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Next you need the flour mixture:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Add all the ingredients together.  You will find that the cornstarch is the secret weapon to keep your fried chicken nice and crispy!  Place your lid on and give it a good shake to mix it all up.  Carefully open your lid and taste it.  Yes, stick your finger in the flour and  take a little taste.  Its the only way to truly know if you have added enough or too much seasoning!  Add more seasoning as you see fit, if you feel it is too salty or spicy, add a little more flour.   Now your friend chicken is prepped and waiting patiently for you to return home.

In the mean time, we still have some side dishes to get ready before running out the door.  First up:

Buttered Green Beans

I would like to make a note, we love our green beans cooked to death.  The more caramelized, soft and buttery they are the faster they disappear.  If you prefer a crisper bean, I would wait to start cooking them until you have chicken frying, but feel free to prep them ahead of time!

For our family of three and a half I used about a pound of green beans from our garden, trimmed and cut them into about 2 inch pieces.  You can use frozen beans with this method also and they turn out great.  If they thaw before you cook them, they will cook faster so keep an eye on them!

To your pound of green beans add about 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 3 Tablespoons butter and a splash of water.  Now your beans are ready to wait.

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Finally I prepped potatoes for good old mashed potatoes.

Mashed Potatoes

1 medium russet potato per person plus 1 extra for good measure

Peel, I use a Rada vegetable peeler

september23-088 rinse the dirt off and cut into about 2 inch pieces.  Cover with cold water and add about 2-3 teaspoons of salt.  I use a little less salt than when I am boiling them right away as they seem to absorb more salt sitting.

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When you are home from whatever activities filled the space between prepping your meal and eating it here is how I make it all come together.

In a medium cast iron pan (or any deep sided pan you have) add enough vegetable or other neutral oil to come only about 1/3 the way up the side.  You want enough space so as the oil gets hot it can splatter IN the pan not on you!  Turn your burner on to about medium heat.  At this time also turn on your potatoes to medium high and your beans to medium low.  Make sure both the potatoes and beans are covered.

Now the chicken.  Since you were super smart and used the handy food storage containers all you need to add is a cooling rack and you have your frying station set up!  The cooling rack is ideal because it keeps the flour coating from getting gummy while it waits its turn to enter the fryer.

I like to double dip my chicken so it has an extra crispy coating.  I simply take a few strips at a time out of their buttermilk bath and lay them in the flour. I then snap the lid on, give it a couple shakes and pull the strips out with a fork an rest on the rack.  When all the strips are done I repeat and let them sit until my oil is ready.  You can tell the oil is ready by sprinkling a drop or two of water (get your fingers damp and flick them at the pan) if it bubbles the oil is ready

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Add a few pieces at a time and allow to brown.  This will take anywhere from 3-4 minutes depending on how thick your strips are and how hot your oil is.  This is also a good time to set something like this up in your oven to keep the strips warm and crispy while the others cook:

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I use a cookie sheet and pretty much any oven proof rack I have, this one happens to be for a roast I believe, but I have only ever used it for holding fried things. You should also give your beans a stir, and take the lid off.  If you feel like they are cooking too much add a little water and turn the heat down.   Back to the chicken

september23-107 Now that your first side is golden and delicious, flip them over and give the other side another 3-4 minutes.  Then move to your oven rack.  I set my oven to 170’F, just enough to keep them warm. I usually cook more strips than this at a time, I just wanted you to be able to see what they should look like.

Once you get your second batch of chicken frying, your potatoes should be close to being done.  Check them with a fork, if it stick through easily turn them off and drain them.  If they need a couple more minutes check them again when you pull this round of chicken out.

When I drain my potatoes I put them back into their pot and add just enough milk that I can see it around them.  And I use my hand mixer to do the mashing.  They should look something like this:

You may need to add a little more milk to get the right fluffiness, just add small amounts at a time while you are mixing.

In the meantime the last of your chicken should be about done frying and ready to serve.  How handy is that, everything is done about the same time!  I always add a little extra butter to the beans and give it another stir before serving.

TADA!  All of your prepping paid off and all your meal components are done at the same time!  I hope you enjoy!

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Welcome!

Hello!  I am excited to share my farm and family with you.  Please allow me to give an introduction and a little history on the name The Tuesday Table.

For the last decade or so my parents have hosted a weekly dinner, as you guessed on Tuesday.  Everyone is invited.  Everyone- if you were to show up next Tuesday evening a table setting and food would appear for you. It is  not a quiet table, conversations fills the room and includes everyone and often travels in every direction.  This group of 7-12 (or more!) joins together regularly not only to share amazing food, but our lives as well.  School or work presentations are rehearsed, job advise is given, babies and mothers to be are fussed over and thanks is given.

Join us regularly and I will introduce you to all of these crazy characters that fill my life with joy, and hopefully you will feel as much apart of our family as they have become.  But for now lets talk FOOD!

Growing up we ate real food, all the time, way before it was trendy.  My freshman year of high school I was unaware you could purchase brownie mix in a box, I knew cake mix did but brownies in a box were a novelty.   Nearly everything we ate was from scratch.  We ate mostly the beef and lamb that came from our farm and local fresh or frozen produce, baked goods came from the oven.

Recently my husband and I literally bought the family farm and have been working on restoring it to its “Hay Day.”  Our goal is to bring as much from our farm to our table and the tables of others as we can.

So here I am sharing our home with you friend.  I hope you enjoy the food, fun and fellowship.

–Emily