Disney Dining – Homecomin’

Day two we elected to try one of the many new restaurants in Disney Springs, Homecomin’. The house specialties are moonshine and fried chicken. 

We decided to start with drinks and fried green tomatoes. The drinks arrived quickly, I had a Muleshine in respect of the specialty and my husband opted for the Basil Smash. Both were good drinks, but slightly sweet.

The fried green tomatoes were simply awesome with a salad of spinach, watercress, and arugula.

My husband and I split the hangar steak cooked medium rare with a side of Southern coke slaw. The steak was cooked perfectly and they split the plate for us (just nice). Good call by the chef, the menu said asparagus and there was none on the plate; it’s out of season and would not have been as good as the tender zucchini. The slaw was crisp and fresh, but with it being Southern slaw, I was expecting a hint if jalapeño; definitely good, but no heat at all.


My boys had two different fried chicken meals, the famous fried chicken and fried chicken with doughnuts. The seasoning was good, the skin was amazing, but the chicken itself was a touch on the dry side. The mashed potatoes were creamy and buttery. My son said that the doughnuts tasted as if they were fresh from the apple orchard. (If you are not from Michigan, that is high praise.)

So, in summary, it was a good option for our late lunch/early dinner, the ingredients were clearly fresh and high quality. It won’t make my list of favorites, but it’s certainly an alternative for classic Southern food at Disney.


Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is on the list of ultimate comfort foods in my opinion, my husband and I both have memories of the frozen variety from our youth. I recall thinking that they could have been better, my husband’s memories are less favorable; when I first made them several years ago, he was concerned for the outcome. I can no longer recall what, if any, modifications I made. My sister had given me a gift of a subscription of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, some recipes were good as written, others were simple and needed “tweaking”.

(I’ll offer a brief interlude of thanks here to my grandmother whose birthday would have been this past week. My mother has told me that she could also look a a recipe and fix it before making it. I was looking through a few of her recipes that I have of hers this week and I can see her notes on them, similar to my own. I didn’t recognize where the gift came from until my mother told me, and I would love to go back and thank her.)

Back to the pot pie…

As with many of my recipes, it is not difficult, but it does take a bit of time. I have used a variety of types of cooked chicken from leftovers as well as making chicken to use in the pot pies. Sunday I shredded a rotisserie chicken; your selection will modify the flavor slightly, but not negatively.

Before I started the pot pies, I made the Irish Beef Stew for Thursday’s dinner, as I haven’t made that previously I’ll have to taste it before I write about it.

My in-laws are wintering in Florida and my boys have explained that their absence does not mean that salads can be omitted from Sunday dinner so, I also made an Asian Spinach Salad with Orange and Avocado, the key is a very sweet orange. The ginger and shallot mix is not for the faint of heart (or those prone to heartburn); a ginger sesame dressing would stand in well.

I also wrapped up the meal with one of my favorite cakes. I like cakes a lot, but I’m not a particular fan of those that are covered in sticky sweet frosting. This is beyond simple and requires no frosting; the berries and and sugar form a perfect topping. My second reason for putting this high on the list is how easy it is; aside from softening the butter this goes from ingredients to the pan within 15 minutes. Last the raspberries always remind me of picking rasperries as a child, wandering through the brambles, trying to avoid the thorns;  the sweetness was always the perfect reward. Yesterday I made it with blackberries instead of raspberries; they just looked better when I was at the market.

Chicken Pot Pie

Prep 35 minutes ∙ Cook 45 minutes ∙ Makes 6 pies ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Everyday Food | October 2009


  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, medium, diced
  • 1 carrot, large, diced
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups chicken, cooked, cut into 1″ pieces or shredded (~1 pound)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1½ tsp thyme leaves, fresh, chopped
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg yolk


In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add onion and carrot and cook until onion softens, about 6 minutes. Add flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden, has a slightly nutty aroma, and is the texture of cooked oatmeal, about 5 minutes.

 Whisking constantly, add broth. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, about 8 minutes. Reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Stir in chicken, peas, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture among six 12-ounce baking dishes; refrigerate until room temperature, about 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll pastry to an 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 6 rounds, ½ inch larger than dishes; with the tip of a sharp knife, cut vents into pastry. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water; top potpies with pastry and brush with egg wash. Bake until pastry is deep golden and juices are bubbling, about 35 minutes.

Asian Spinach Salad with Orange and Avocado
Makes 4 servings ∙ Source Epicurious.com

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon (generous) Asian sesame oil
  • 1 navel orange
  • 6 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch wedges


Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set dressing aside.

Cut off peel and white pith from orange. Cut orange into 1/3-inch rounds; cut rounds crosswise in half. Add spinach to dressing; toss to coat. Add avocado and orange; toss gently.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Cook 25-30 minutes ∙ Makes Makes 6 Servings ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Gourmet | June 2009

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1½ Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk, well shaken
  • 1 cup raspberries, fresh (about 5 ounces)


Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9″ round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and ⅔ cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1½ tablespoons sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10-15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.


Delicious when served warm with vanilla ice cream

Moroccan Chicken Wednesday

Over the years I have had to travel for work and one of my favorite benefits of this travel has always been that I get to try new foods. It it one of the many things that encouraged me to expand my palate and my pantry. I haven’t travelled as much frequently, but this desire has stuck with me. As I mentioned in my previous post, I returned this week to preparing menus. Skimming through Epicurious (have you figured out it’s a favorite site of mine) I came across this recipe for Moroccan Chicken. Artichoke hearts are among my favorite ingredients so it landed on the menu. I made a few changes for our benefit (seasoning the meat, canned versus frozen artichokes, and extra garlic). 

It would have easily fed 8, in fact I had so much leftover I elected to share it at work today. Not only was it well received at home, but it was also thoroughly enjoyed there.

My husband called on the way home and asked if I was making a salad and if I needed bread, “No, but if you are stopping to get bread, pick up stuff for a salad.” I must commend him, not only did he pick up stuff, he did some quick research online and decided what would go with the dish. We ended up with an olive baguette and a salad with spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, chickpeas, carrots, dates (which he’d never tried before), shallot, goat cheese, and fattoush dressing. It rivaled his mother’s salads, it was delicious and a perfect complement to the stew. 

 Moroccan Chicken Stew with Artichoke Hearts and Carrots

Prep 45 mins ∙ Cook 30 mins ∙ Makes 6–8 ∙ Source Bonappetit.com


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, large, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans artichoke hearts
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled, sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Steamed couscous
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt & pepper



Lightly salt and thoroughly pepper the chicken.

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until tender and starting to caramelize, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and next 4 ingredients and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

 Add broth and lemon zest and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; stir in chicken, artichoke hearts, and carrots; simmer until vegetables are tender and chicken is just cooked through, 10–15 minutes.

 Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide couscous among shallow bowls; spoon stew over and garnish with parsley.

Middle Eastern Salad

Prep 10 mins ∙ Makes 4


  • 5 oz. mixed greens (i.e., spinach, arugula, and swiss chard)
  • ~1 cup shredded carrots
  • handful of mint leaves
  • ~1 cup chickpeas
  • ⅛ cup dates, diced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • fattoush dressing, to taste


Toss all ingredients together, serve with dressing.

Thanksgiving Leftovers – Round 3

Today was indeed leftovers… but they were hard to find in the final dish.

We eat dinner at around 6 on Thanksgiving, so we do have appetizers near the game. Each year I invite both family and friends; one of those friends brought a red pepper and fennel appetizer.

Not only beautiful they were also delicious (and she gave me the recipe!). She made two dozen, and although we had 20 people this was more than enough with the other appetizers and dinner on the way. She mentioned that she had used the leftovers in the past to make a pasta sauce and a soup. The pasta sauce idea stuck with me and we split the leftovers.

When I made my weekly menu, I knew I needed a protein (the men of my house insist); I decided on Caprese Chicken.

Today, I pulled the peppers out of the fridge with my chicken and set to prepping my dinner. I started by making a quick pesto (2 small packages of basil (3.4 ounces each) and 1 minced clove of garlic chopped in a food processor and then process in salt, pepper, and shredded parmesan, finishing with just enough olive oil to spread it). I spread this on my 4 chicken breasts and then baked it at 400 for 25 minutes. While it was baking, I boiled water for pappardelle pasta and set to work on peppers. I used 6 of peppers; my first task was peeling the peppers and then I chopped them before tossing them in a large skillet.

I heated them through while the pasta cooked to al dente. Just before the pasta was done I topped each of the chicken breasts with 2 large basil leaves, sliced plum tomatoes, and sliced fresh mozzarella and returned them to the oven for 5 minutes longer.

I then tossed the pasta directly in the sauce and served.

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Fennel

Makes 8 as a first course

  • 4 large red peppers
  • 2 small bulbs fennel
  • 1 x 14 oz (400 g) tin Italian plum tomatoes
  • 8 dessert spoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 rounded teaspoon mixed pepper berries
  • ¾ level teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • ½ level teaspoon fennel seeds
  • juice ½ lemon
  • finely chopped spring onion for garnish (optional)
  • sea salt


Slice each pepper in half lengthways, cutting right through the green stalk end and leaving it intact; though it won’t be eaten, it adds much to the look of the thing. Remove all the seeds.

Place the pepper halves on the baking sheet, then drain the tomatoes (you don’t need the juice), and divide them into eight equal portions, placing each portion inside a pepper half.

Now pare off any brownish bits of fennel with your sharpest knife and cut the bulbs first into quarters and then again into eighths, carefully keeping the layers attached to the root ends.

Now put them in a saucepan with a little salt, pour boiling water on them and blanch them for 5 minutes. Then drain them in a colander and, as soon as they’re cool enough to handle, arrange two slices in each pepper half.

Sprinkle 1 dessert spoon of olive oil over each one, using a brush to brush the oil round the edges and sides of the peppers.

Next, lightly crush the pepper berries, coriander and fennel seeds with a pestle and mortar or rolling pin and bowl, sprinkle these evenly all over the fennel and peppers, and finish off with a grinding of sea salt.

Then bake the peppers for about 1 hour on a high shelf in the oven until they are soft and the skin wrinkled and nicely tinged with brown.

After removing them from the oven, sprinkle the lemon juice all over, cool and serve garnished with a little finely chopped spring onion or as they are.


Cook 10 minutes ∙ Makes 4 ∙ Difficulty Easy


  • 2 cups basil leaves, fresh, packed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup Parmesan, freshly shredded
  • salt and black pepper, to taste


In a food processor, pulse the basil and garlic until roughly chopped. With the machine on, slowly pour in the oil until just blended. Stir in cheese, salt, and pepper and mix until just blended.

Caprese Chicken

Prep 5 ∙ Cook 30 ∙ Makes 4

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • ½ cup pesto
  • 8 basil leaves, large
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced (optional)
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced


Preheat oven to 400° F.

Place chicken in a medium sized baking dish and coat with pesto.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Remove from oven; top with basil, tomatoes, and cheese. Bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Braised Chicken

Thank goodness I decided not to forego this recipe just because I left the chicken in the freezer. After I discovered my error on Wednesday, I put the frozen chicken in the fridge and headed off for sushi. Although I considered another recipe for Friday, I really enjoy bone-in chicken and capers so I decided to move the dinner to Friday. I also had the fresh zucchini that I wanted to serve with it, and I had no interest in letting that go bad. 

With two active teenagers in the house there is rarely a free evening and Fridays are no exception. When I got home at five, I immediately got out my ingredients and after peeling the onion, I tossed it in the food processor to mince it. I then grabbed my cast iron skillet … (Quick comment: I love my cast iron skillets. Yes plural, I have 3! Critical for every cook is a least one, with about a 15″ diameter. Treat it correctly and you will be able to hand it down to future cooks.) … While the onion cooked I separated the chicken thighs and seasoned them with salt and pepper. When the onion is done and out of the skillet make sure to put the chicken in a single layer, starting skin side down; don’t move them too early, the skin will release easily from the bottome of the pan when it’s brown. 

I served it with a white rice, which I cooked briefly with a bit of olive oil and two cloves of minced garlic before I started to “sort of” follow the instructions on the package. I swapped the water for chicken broth and omitted the salt, but I kept the ratios the same. Ideally it would have been good to start this with about 35 minutes left on the chicken, but with karate on the schedule I simply left a timer set on the chicken so that my husband could turn it off. When I got back, I started the rice (as described) immediately, and then sliced the zucchini and yellow squash very thick, ~¾”. I brushed them with olive oil, salted and peppered them and put them on a sheet to broil. After I took the rice off of the heat (about 10 minutes left) I put the rolls in my small convection oven, turned the chicken back on to medium low, and then with 5 minutes left before the rice was ready to serve I broiled the zucchini. 

It came together exactly as I was hoping and would only be improved by skipping the delay.

 Braised Chicken with Capers and Parsley

prep 15 mins ∙ cook 1 hr 40 mins ∙ Serves 4-6 ∙ source Bon Appétit | September 2012

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 6 chicken thighs separated (about 2 pounds)
  • Kosher salt
  • pepper, freshly ground
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, minced, plus more for garnish
  • ⅓ cup capers
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • ⅓ cups white wine vinegar


Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Transfer onion to a bowl.

Add 2 Tbsp. oil to skillet and increase heat to medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, 10–12 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and drain excess fat from skillet.

Return onion to the skillet, with parsley and capers; cook for 1 minute. Stir in broth and vinegar. Place chicken on the top, skin side up and return any juices to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until meat is tender and falling off the bone, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a large platter. Serve with rice and sauce. Spoon sauce over chicken and rice; garnish with parsley.