Gold Star Moms and a Cookbook

Let’s talk about the real Gold Star community and not the current political nonsense. Just for the record when my son died in 2011 I wrote to the then President and the first lady. In my naivete, I thought the President might have some answers and the first lady, a mom like me, would offer some comforting words, but I got nothing. No personal response from those in the White House made me feel like my son’s life didn’t matter. So my advice, don’t listen to what either side is saying right now about Gold Star families. It’s all painful media hype.

Then there is Heather Kuhn. Heather was the Navy Gold Star Program Coordinator assigned to my area of the country. Coordinators assist families with benefit questions connecting them to valuable resources concerning bereavement and financial planning support. They also provide opportunities to celebrate our fallen service member through events connecting the Gold Star community. When Heather reached out about creating this cookbook I was all in.

It really wasn’t a tough choice picking a recipe that William liked best. I did think about his favorite Boston cream pie and even a couple of recipes that he created himself…”waffles supreme” and a sandwich he called “the American Hero”, but clearly this chicken dish was the one he asked for more than any other. He loved a little bit of chicken fried.

Heather writes

I believe we all can relate that when faced with loss and grief and mourning – which is not a phase or a stage, but rather a journey – many fond memories are often brought back with familiar sounds and comforting smells, and the tastes of the meals shared with those we have loved and lost, but cherish still.

I am grateful she was inspired to reach out to Gold Star families and compile a book filled with recipe favorites and memories of our fallen service members. This book is not for sale, but available for free electronically for those wishing to read and honor our fallen heroes.

never forget ❤

A Super Bowl of Mulligatawny Noodle Soup

Want to know what a no-brainer is? It’s me participating in the JSL Foods Fortune Noodle Blogger Recipe Challenge. Already a lover and consumer of Chef Yaki’s healthy wholesome products it just makes sense to be in the mix stirring the pot. Plus the challenge involves noodles and soup. After my husband and my children and my grandchildren…noodles and soup are next in line of things that I love.

Soup Time

Fortune Noodle products are developed with a focus on flavor, noodle texture, 4 simple ingredients and convenience. They are sure to inspire both authentic Asian and fusion recipes. Today, I am featuring a nutritious, winter-warmer-upper soup made easy with these versatile noodles.

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Indian in origin, Mulligatawny soup is a creamy chicken soup flavored with curry and apples. Traditionally it calls for rice, but I switch out the rice for wholesome udon noodles and boost the healthfulness and spice with a bit of turmeric. Husband, daughter and son-in-law approved I like to call it my Souper Bowl of soup.

This soup could not be easier to prepare. Simply chop, sauté and simmer and you will have the most delicious and healthy bowl of soup in about 20 minutes. Yes, you can use lite coconut milk, if you prefer, and yes I use leftover cooked chicken or pick the meat from a deli roasted chicken for extra easy prep.

Mulligatawny Noodle Soup

1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil

1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)

1 cup shredded carrots (2 carrots)

2 stalks celery, chopped (include the leaves)

1 (7.27 oz) package Fortune Udon Noodles Chicken

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2-3 cups diced cooked chicken

1 crisp apple, peeled and diced

4 cups (32 oz. carton) low sodium chicken broth

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or cilantro

2 green onions, thinly sliced

In a large pot or Dutch oven melt butter or coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery; stir and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until onions begin to soften. Stir in Fortune flavor packet, curry powder, turmeric and black pepper. Add chicken, apples and broth. Turn up heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Add udon noodles and coconut milk. Cook, stirring to separate noodles, for 3 to 4 minutes or until heated through. Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of herbs and green onions. Serves 6

For more product information and delicious healthy recipes check these out.

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All Fortune noodle products can be found in the produce department in the tofu section at Safeway and ShopRite grocery stores. Want a free package?

I encourage you to join the Fortune Noodle Club here www.jslfoods.com. As part of belonging, you will receive a coupon for a free package of Fortune Udon Noodles. That’s a Super Win!

A Little Bit of Chicken Fried at the World Food Championships

 

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It was 2008 when the Zac Brown Band came out with their hit “Chicken Fried”. The song was an instant Will Keys favorite with its uplifting country beat and lyrics of love for family, friends and the USA. I can still see him turn up the volume, hear him sing it out loud and flash that big smile of his. That song made him happy and inspired one of my best recipes, yet. Once again I am reminded that this blog is all about a celebration of his life, love and the healing power of food.

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Filled with self-doubt, but encouraged by my husband & daughter (#1 recipe tester…she has incredible taste buds) and supported by Team Saucy Mama, I ventured to the World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Alabama along with my long-time best friend and sous chef, Lynn Beamer. Never in a million did I think my signature dish, a little bit of chicken fried, would score a 99.625 out of a possible 100 points. It was the high score of the Recipe category and in spite of a few technical difficulties launched me into second place after three recipes and two rounds of cooking. Hats off to Team Canada who beat me by 1.2 points.

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WHOOSH ❤ Don’t you know that when I was accepting my Top 10 medal that Zac Brown Band song came blaring over the loud speaker. A Little Bit of Chicken Fried and a bear hug from above. Just like that William is up on that stage with me. It’s the most uncanny thing. I just believe and all the doubt washes away.  I will keep cooking because it keeps him close. Like the song says, “Feel the touch of a precious child And know a mother’s love”. He somehow never misses a beat when it comes to cheering me on.

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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

And now for the best fried chicken sandwich you will ever eat. Asian inspired and served on a steam bun, it’s all about the crispy well seasoned coating and the juicy flavorful chicken inside. I suggest using boneless chicken thighs, but you can substitute boneless breast, if you must. Top it with the most magical black garlic hoisin, spicy slaw and a crisp sweet potato pickle and call it a winner. Oh, goodness-there is bacon in the mix as well.

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Asian Fried Chicken Steam Bun with Spicy Gingered Slaw & Sweet Potato Pickle

2 cups tempura mix

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

2 tablespoons Saucy Mama Sweet Heat Marinade

6 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless

Lane’s BBQ Brisket Rub seasoning

peanut oil for frying

6 plain Asian steam buns

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1/4 cup Jelly Queens Black Garlic Rosemary Sauce

toasted sesame seeds

Gingered Slaw (recipe follows)

6 slices cooked crisp bacon

Sweet Potato Pickle (recipe follows)

fresh cilantro

Whisk tempura mix and salt on a plate. Whisk buttermilk, egg and marinade in a bowl. Season chicken thighs with brisket rub. Dredge chicken in dry tempura mix then drop in buttermilk mixture to coat. Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons of buttermilk mixture into remaining dry tempura mix and stir with a fork forming small clumps. Dredge chicken again in tempura mixture pressing so clumps adhere. Heat oil to 375F. in large skillet. Fry chicken until a deep golden brown on all sides and cooked to an internal temperature of 165F. on an instant read thermometer. Cook buns in steamer basket until soft and heated through, about 5 to 8 minutes. Open buns and spread inside with hoisin sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Top with gingered slaw, bacon, chicken, sweet potato pickle and cilantro. Close with wooden skewer.

Spicy Gingered Slaw

½ cup mayo

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon Saucy Mama Spicy Garlic Wing Sauce

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus additional for garnish

½ tablespoon packed grated fresh ginger

1 bag Mann’s broccoli slaw mix

½ teaspoon kosher salt

few grinds fresh black pepper

Whisk dressing ingredients; toss with broccoli slaw. Season with S&P

 

Sweet Potato Pickle

1 small red onion, sliced

1-cup Mann’s Sweet Potato Ribbons

1 star anise

5 peppercorns

½ cup water

½ cup white vinegar

1/3-cup sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Place vegetables in heat proof bowl. Add star anise and peppercorns. In small saucepan, bring remaining ingredients to a boil, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Pour hot mixture over vegetables; let stand until ready to use. Drain. Can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.

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Big shout out to my Team Saucy Mama. You ladies are my family and I love you to the moon and back. So blessed to have your support and encouragement. I also need to thank the Mann’s Company for their recipe contest that qualified me to get back to the WFC and for their amazing fresh cut vegetables that saved me so much time in the kitchen arena. I made it to the judges table with 1 second to spare in round one. WHEW!

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hugging the winningest sous chef of 2017

 Further thanks to Springer Mountain Farms and The Jelly Queens for sponsoring the Recipe category this year at the World Food Championships. Amazing products created with love and great care here in the USA make the best food.