Welcome to the Adair/Ferguson/Kramer/Dietz/Moore Non-traditional Family Cookbook

Hopefully we'll gather our favorite recipes here to share! Debbie and Brittany are fabulous bakers of some AMAZING desserts, cookies, and cakes, and Kat can't cook anything but Tumbleweed Chicken and Chicken Marsala Ravioli. Bryan's tacos are amazing...fresh and healthy. Ethan and Megan are awesome at making Asian dishes, and Ethan's chicken nuggets are to die for. Julie's speciality is healthy dishes like salmon and brussel sprouts. Bobby is our grillmaster, but says he can only make toast and oatmeal.

Tumbleweed Chicken is a wonderful recipe from a restaurant called Xena that was on Jollyville in the mid 1990s. It features a chicken breast wrapped around monterey jack cheese, bacon, jalapeños, and sun-dried tomatoes, then topped with a mild fresh green sauce, and topped with toasted pecans and red bell peppers. Xena would serve it with garlic mashed potatoes. An alternate preparation method is to cook the chicken breast on a George Foreman grill, slice sideways like a sandwich, then put the filling inside and grill until melted. Top with sauce and add pecans and bell peppers.

Tumbleweed Chicken

  • 1/2 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 5-6 sun-dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil), finely chopped 
  • 6 slices chopped bacon, cooked 
  • 1-2 fresh jalapeños, minced 
  • 5 large or 6 small skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 lb. additional Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • Toast pecans for 10-11 minutes at 350°F, then chop into small pieces and set aside
  • Diced bell peppers, pretty small, set aside

Mix filling ingredients and set aside. Pound chicken breasts to 1/4" thickness between pieces of waxed paper. Spread mixture on each piece, to edge of chicken. Roll jelly-roll style, starting from larger end. Place seam side down in baking dish. This part can be done in 1 - 2 hours in advance. Lay plastic wrap directly on top of chicken rolls to prevent skin from forming and refrigerate.

Bake at 350 degrees until done—40-45 minutes, depending on thickness and size of chicken. Using a meat thermometer helps. Top with additional cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes more. Top with Aguacate sauce, toasted pecan pieces, and red bell peppers.

Aguacate Sauce

  • 6 fresh small to medium tomatillos, husk removed and washed
  • pulp from 3 small avocados or 2 large avocados
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (more, less to taste) 
  • 1/2 of a fresh, small poblano pepper (more to taste) 
  • 4 large leaves fresh spinach 
  • 3/4 - 1 cup water 
  • 1 t. salt (to taste) 
  • 1 t. ground cumin (to taste) 
  • 1 t. vegetable base (Better than Bouillon works best...thicker and richer taste)

Place all ingredients in blender (smoother results than food processor). Blend until smooth and cilantro/spinach are small specks. This can be prepared a few hours in advance. Refrigerate. Great on mashed potatoes, plain chicken breast, as a dipping sauce. Yum!

This ravioli is adapted from a Williams-Sonoma recipe, and is wonderful with Alfredo sauce or with a little melted butter, Roma tomatoes, parmesan, and fresh cracked pepper.

Chicken Marsala Ravioli Filling

  • 4 chicken breasts, diced into 1" pieces
  • 1 small white onion, diced large
  • 8 baby carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • Marsala cooking wine
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese

PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE:  In a stainless pan (if possible), melt the butter over medium heat, then add the onion and turn down the heat a little. Cook the onion until it turns translucent. Be patient with this step—you want the onion to caramelize and brown bits to stick to the bottom of the pan. If one area starts to get brown bits, turn the pan to get brown bits evenly across the bottom. This extra step gives the filling a rich taste.

Add the carrots and celery, and cook until they're still a bright color but evenly cooked. Then add the chicken. You can cover the pan while it cooks, then stir occasionally. Cook until the chicken is cooked completely (firm when poked with the spatula). More brown bits? YOU BET! When everything is cooked through, add about 1/2-3/4 cup (more or less) of Marsala cooking wine to "de-glaze" the pan. This should release the caramelized bits and also make the pan easier to clean, voila! The chicken will simmer in the wine and eventually some will evaporate. The goal is to reduce the liquid and have a little sauce to keep it moist. If there is a lot of liquid, you can spoon some out and cook it down...sometimes the chicken will do that. 

Remove the chicken from the heat, and set aside. You can even refrigerate overnight.

When it's time to get the filling ready, either chop in a food process or use a hand chopper to chop finely. DO NOT put in a blender, or you will end up with marsala chicken mush (I did this once...not good!). Add 3/4 cup of good quality parmesan cheese (NOT Kraft powdered cheese!) and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly after adding salt and pepper, then taste. When you're satisfied with the taste, add the three egg yolks and mix with a fork.

Fresh Pasta

  • 2 cups regular flour
  • 2/3 cup eggs (3 extra large eggs)
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

PREPARE ABOUT 3 HOURS BEFORE DINNER:  Crack 3 eggs and whisk in a large glass measuring cup or bowl. Measure out 2/3 cup of egg mixture; if it's not 2/3 cup, add water. Set aside. Put 2 cups flour into a food processor, add the salt, then add the egg mixture, then add one more tablespoon of water. Pulse several times until the mixture looks grainy. Open the food processor and press the mixture...it should stick together. If not, add another teaspoon of water, pulse, and check again.

Remove the "grains" of pasta and put them on the counter. Use your hands to consolidate the grains into a large ball, then knead, folding after each knead. Put your weight into it, which will make it easier on your hands. Knead until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes to an hour (or more).  

Remove the pasta from the plastic wrap and roll into a thick log (haha, that's what she said). Then take all your angry feminism and twist off one third of the log. Put the rest back in the plastic wrap. Knead the ball, then roll flat with a rolling pin to a little less than 1/4". Pinch one end flat, then run it through pasta machine at the "1" setting. Fold both ends in toward the middle, flatten them, and run it through again. Then run it through settings 2 through 8. DO NOT GO ALL THE WAY TO 9, or it will be too thin. Cover your ravioli maker with a sheet of pasta, use the top part to press holes, fill with filling (a small cookie scoop works well), then cover with another sheet of pasta and use your fingers to gently press the pasta down, then use the wooden rolling pin to seal the edges, starting from the middle and working your way out to force any air out.

Remove the ravioli and place on a kitchen towel to dry a little.  If the ravioli are damp, they can stick to silicone baking sheets or plastic wrap or foil. The towel works best. Repeat with the other two balls of dough.

Start boiling your water about 30 minutes before guests arrive. Add salt and a little olive oil.

Alfredo Sauce

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic (jar works best)
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

PREPARE WHEN GUESTS ARRIVE:  In a medium saucepan, add the butter, whipping cream, and cream cheese. Cook over medium heat and whisk with a plastic whisk until melted. Add minced garlic, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking and whisk until smooth. Add the grated parmesan cheese.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Cover and set aside, or keep warm over the lowest heat on your smallest burner.

Putting it All Together!

Remember, this is good with Alfredo, or just plain with melted butter...both will use the same toppings, though.

  • Fresh basil...roll and cut in slivers
  • Roma tomatoes, diced in small pieces
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh ground pepper

The pasta will cook VERY fast.  It takes about 4-5 minutes to cook. It's best to remove with a slotted spoon because the pasta can be delicate. Place on the plate, ladle some sauce over it, add diced tomatoes, fresh basil, parmesan, and fresh ground pepper.  ENJOY!

An oldie but goodie...a classic that is yummy and quick.

Bobby's Toast

  • Bread
  • Butter

Place the bread in the toaster, choose the correct setting, and pull down the lever. When it pops up, put on a plate and spread butter on it.

Easy Crock-Pot shredded chicken breast recipe that makes low-fat chicken that you can use for many different dishes, like quesadillas, tacos, pasta. Use a larger Crock-Pot for more chicken and adjust ingredients as necessary; you just want the liquid to cover the chicken breasts. This is from memory, so next time I make it I'll actually measure the ingredients. I usually just toss whatever I find into the Crock-Pot.

Seasoned Shredded Chicken for Tacos & Pasta

Combine the following in the Crock-Pot:

  • 2-3 cups of free-range chicken broth
  • 28 oz can of petite diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen Organic)
  • Small can of Rotel diced green chiles and tomatoes (optional)
  • 1/2 of a white onion, diced in 1/2" pieces
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, diced in 1/2" pieces
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (jar), or 2-3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Bay leaf (optional)
  • 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp fresh ground pepper (or to taste)

After you like the taste, add the chicken breasts (avoids cross-contamination):

  • 4 chicken breasts (all-natural antibiotic-free preferred)

Cook from 6-10 hours, depending on the amount of time you have. I usually make a larger batch on a Sunday, so I cook longer. The longer the chicken cooks, the easier it is to shred. When complete, remove the chicken and place in a glass dish. Using two forks, shred the chicken. Reserve the liquid from the Crock-Pot for the next step.

Adding the Magic Ingredients

Sauté the following in about 1-2 Tbsp extra light olive oil in a stainless steel pan (if available):

  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic in water (jar kind or fresh)

Then add:

  • 10-12 baby carrots, sliced fairly thin (about 1/8")
  • Diced jalapeños if desired...maybe 1 or 2 medium

Sauté until the carrots are soft or desired tenderness over medium-high heat. Add the shredded chicken, and sauté. If you're using a stainless pan, you'll get browned bits sticking to the bottom...don't worry! This will give the chicken a wonderful flavor. Don't let it burn. You probably won't get this effect with a nonstick pan, but that's okay.

Now we're going to "de-glaze" the pan with two or three ladles of the liquid from the Crock-Pot. Stir the chicken until well-mixed. The acidic tomato juice will release the browned bits, and voila! Your pan will be back to normal. Cook until the tomato juice is incorporated into the chicken well. Remove from the heat.

You can use immediately, and refrigerate or freeze the rest.