Posted: December 8th, 2010 | Filed under: Entree | Tags: baked potato soup, Bennigan's baked potato soup, potato soup, ultimate baked potato soup | 3 Comments »
Now as most of you know, I married a picky eater. And part of that pickiness means that he doesn’t generally like eating soup — thats right, he doesn’t like to eat the soup, he likes to dip things in the soup (like sandwiches, or chips, or little toasts). But there are two soups that he really likes. One being the Bennigan’s Ultimate Baked Potato Soup. Now Bennigan’s closed most of their locations near us. So I went on a mission to recreate it, and according to Ryan — this soup matched up to his expectations. I like serving this with cheese, fresh chives, and crumbled bacon on top little mini toasts for dipping on a cold night.
Baked Potato Soup
3 lb all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
2 tbsp butter
1 c finely chopped yellow onions
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 can (14 1/2 oz) chicken broth
2 c whole milk
1 c heavy whipping cream
5 pieces thick cut bacon, baked until crsip, and crumbled
(use two slices for the topping, use three slices crumbled in the soup)
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
TOPPINGS: shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon & fresh chopped chives
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the potatoes until soft and cooked all the way through. Drain and set aside. Melt butter in a 4 to 6 quart pot over medium low heat. Stir in onions and garlic, cover and cook 10 minutes until soft, but not brown. Add 2/3 of the potatoes and mash with a potato masher. Add broth, milk, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to pot and add bacon reserved for soup. Season to taste before serving. Sprinkle each serving with toppings and serve with little toasts.
Posted: December 5th, 2010 | Filed under: Chicken, Entree | Tags: best chicken noodle soup, chicken and noodle soup, chicken noodle, home made chicken noodle | No Comments »
About a year ago I posted a recipe for a really tasty chicken noodle soup. (Yes, it is very very delicious.) But you see, I have this thing for thick noodles. I love them. I love udon noodles, I love dumplings, I love big fat thick almost chewy noodles. They are delicious. There is something about their girth that just makes my taste buds tingle and my mouth sing. Its kind of like when people have a cookie preference – chewy or crunchy. I go for chewy every time. I’m they same with my noodles. Something in me just loves a big fat thick noodle. So to improve my chicken noodle soup recipe, the noodle had to change. I did some searching around the internet, I scoured my many cookbooks. I consulted with other soup lovers. And then I made soup. Not just any soup. A comforting, its cold outside and I may (or may not) have the sniffles, and I want to cuddle on the couch and watch Pride and Prejudice kind of soup. The kind of soup that tastes like hugs would taste. (You know, if hugs were soup.) A nice break from Thanksgiving leftovers and Christmas party food. Eat by itself or indulge with a ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich for extra comfort.
Alyssa’s New and Improved Better Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole fryer chicken, cut up
4 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
½ medium yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
2 boxes of chicken broth
4 cups of water
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoons turmeric
¼ teaspoons white pepper (more To Taste)
¼ teaspoons ground thyme
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
16 ouncesReames Egg Noodles (I found them at Kroger)
3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
Cover chicken in 4 quarts water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove chicken from pot with a slotted spoon. With two forks, remove as much meat from the bones as you can, slightly shredding meat in the process.
Return the shredded chicken to the pot, and join it with the bouillon, water, and chicken stock.
Add the carrots and celery and onions, followed by the herbs and spices. Stir to combine and simmer for thirty minutes to meld flavors, until the carrots are soft and the onions are translucent.
Increase heat and add frozen egg noodles and chicken. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
Mix flour and a little water. Stir until smooth. Pour into soup, stir to combine, and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until broth thickens a bit.
Posted: October 26th, 2010 | Filed under: Entree | Tags: baked pasta, best stuffed shells, freezer meals, prosciutto stuffed shells, stuffed pasta, Stuffed shells | No Comments »
Its been a busy few days. Ryan came home from staff retreat, I worked a good bit, cleaned, and spent some quality time with my kitchen. I really like making time to spend in my kitchen. I think its a lot like making time for any other priority — friends, husband, community, family, etc. And I looooove spending extra time in the kitchen, trying out new recipes, making the apartment smell amazing. So so on the menu for today? Stuffed Shells.
These stuffed shells are not your standard back of the box recipe. They have red onion and prosciutto sauteed with garlic, a whole bunch of spinach and a little bit of cream cheese for extra creamy-ness.
I also love the fact that the dish makes the whole place smell amazingly mouth watering. Ryan even gave it the compliment of “I’d pay twenty bucks for this.” (Thats a great compliment from the very quiet husband.) He even cleaned his plate! (Another feat for the very quiet husband.)
1 box jumbo pasta shells
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 red onion, chopped
4 c spinach, shredded
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 c ricotta cheese
4 oz cream cheese
12 oz fresh mozzarella, chilled and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
5 cups of tomato sauce (I used a jarred spaghetti sauce)
Unsalted butter for dotting
Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese, and fresh basil
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, cook pasta shells for 10 minutes. Drain, and rinse. Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with oil and let cool. Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Cook red onion, garlic, and prosciutto until the prosciutto starts to caramelize. Add spinach, cook until tender and wilted, stir in vinegar, cook until evaporated. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in ricotta, cream cheese, mozzarella, and parmesan. Season to taste. Pour 2 1/2 cups of tomato sauce into the bottom of each of two 8×12 baking dishes. With a large piping bag pipe filling into each shell, about 32 in all. Pack shells into the baking dishes, cover with foil and freeze if desired. Preheat oven to 375F. Dot shells with butter. Bake, covered for 40 minutes. Uncover, and raise temperature to 450F. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes more. Heat remaining cup tomato sauce, serve with shells. Garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
Posted: June 3rd, 2010 | Filed under: Breakfast, Entree | Tags: breakfast quiche, breakfast/brunch, brunch dish, brunch entree, brunch quiche, herbed quiche, quiche, vegetable quiche | No Comments »
I love myself a great quiche… I do. It was one of the first “grown up” dishes I learned to make, thanks Mom! And I’ve always enjoyed making it – quick, easy, a crowd pleaser and you can throw in whatever you have on hand. How nice and versatile is that? So I had the pleasure to make breakfast for some amazing people the other morning and this was one of the main delights. I really loved the fact that I got to use fresh herbs cut from my patio, it made me feel so productive. I also love that I could prep almost everything the night before (crusts in the pie plates, veggies cut up, herbs shredded, bacon cooked and crumbled, cheese grated) so it made the morning super easy. And I have to say, I love how light and fluffy and fragrant and satisfying this quiche is. I think you’ll love it too.
Herb-y Brunch Quiche
1 round of pastry crust (use homemade or store bought roll out, both are acceptable)
1/3 c thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 c tomato, chopped
1 c spinach, shredded
1/2 c sharp white cheddar cheese
2 tbsp fresh chives, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh basil, roughly chopped
3 large eggs
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a buttered pie pan roll out crust and press edges. Sprinkle bacon, cheese, veggies, and herbs inside the crust. In a mixing bowl whisk together cream, eggs, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the crust. (You may also brush the edges of the crust with egg whites if you would like a little extra shine.) Bake for 30 min or until firm with browned edges. Take out of the oven, and let it rest for at least ten minutes before cutting into it. Enjoy with your favorite breakfast/brunch sides!
(Yes… the pictures have two… I doubled the recipe, and if you would like two quiches, you should double the recipe too!)
Posted: May 23rd, 2010 | Filed under: Entree | Tags: asparagus, asparagus entree, Asparagus tart, bacon and asparagus | 3 Comments »
Recently my sweet little sister and her best friend finished their finals and came and visited me! Very fun! Before they headed down sweet little sister had one request… that I cook dinner. Thats cool, I can handle that. I had been wanting to adapt a recipe… so this would be the perfect opportunity to demonstrate a really fun recipe for the girls that they could cook together in their new apartment together… Nice. Not to mention that the asparagus have been really pretty lately.
I love love asparagus. In fact, I have always liked asparagus, even since I was little. And my sweet husband has not always felt this way, until I converted him with fresh green delicious asparagus. (Not from a can.) And now he too loves it. Ariel is similar… (except for the can part) she just needed to grow into the idea of asparagus I think. And I’ll tell you this… she called me shortly after for the recipe so she could make this with friends. Yea! I personally wish I had known this recipe in college… it feels so grown up… “Asparagus tart”… yeah, tell your friends that you’re bringing that to the party, and they will be surprised. But what they don’t know is how easy it is.
I hope you try it out… and enjoy the flavors of spring/summer. And maybe brag a little to your friends that you can make an “asparagus tart.”
Adapted from delicious days.
1 bunch of organic green asparagus (I used about18 pieces)
2-3 slices of thick cup apple wood bacon
1 large red potato, sliced into 1/4 in slices
3-4 tbsp olive oil
Store bought pie crust (from the refrigerated section, I like Pilsbury)
1 – 2 c Sharp white cheddar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c heavy whipping cream
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a baking pan with a wire cooling rack on top, place your slices of bacon. Bake your bacon until crispy and delicious, about 20-30 min. Remove from the wire rack, drain the bacon and pat dry with paper towel.
Thinly slice potatoes and toss in a few spoons of olive oil. Bake potatoes in a layer on a baking sheet at 400 degrees F until soft in the middle, about 15 min.
Grease a tart pan (I used 9 inch rectangular form) with butter, arrange pie crust and form a small rim. Using a fork, stab little holes all over the arranged puff pastry. On top, add a layer of potato slices and sprinkle with grated cheese. Crumble the bacon on top of the cheese.
Combine eggs and cream in a bowl, season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and pour over the potato/cheese/bacon layer. Arrange asparagus spears equally across the tart. You may want to brush the tart edges with egg yolk to let it gain a nice golden color while baking.Bake at (350°F) in the preheated oven for about 30min or until edges are golden.
This pairs really well with a nice fresh lemon dressed mixed green salad and a big glass of iced tea.
Posted: May 5th, 2010 | Filed under: Entree | Tags: grown up peanut butter and jelly sandwich, peanut butter and jelly, sandwich | 2 Comments »
So sometimes you just want the great things that you ate as a kid. Elementary as they are, I often crave a pb&j sammy – and avoid making one because it is not full of healthy and good for you ingredients. (A real excuse right?) But the other night Ryan wasn’t home yet, and I was starving and there was the sliced sourdough… and the fresh strawberries… just sitting and staring at me… and so it was. My favorite kid sandwich sitting on a plate just a little warm from toasting the bread and gooey and fresh and dang delicious. Oh so delicious. So here it is, my more “grown up” version of PB&J. And so it is.
2 slices of soughdough bread toasted (with a little butter would be nice also)
A few sliced strawberries
A couple of spoonfuls of creamy peanut butter
A few spoonfuls of jam of choice (I prefer either red plum or strawberry)
On one piece of toasted bread spread the jam, on the other the peanut butter. On top of the peanut butter slice pile high those strawberries and put the jelly slice on top of the other slice sandwiching the strawberries in between. Cut in half and dig in friend. Enjoy every bite of goodness.
Posted: April 3rd, 2010 | Filed under: Chicken, Entree, Vegetables | Tags: Roasted chicken, roasted chicken with sourdough bread, roasted root vegetables | 3 Comments »
We really like roasted chicken. Our favorite is from this great little restaurant in Dallas called Toulouse. So I have been trying to recreate it ever since. And roasted chicken is simple, inexpensive, and versatile. And its heartwarming. I can’t explain how heartwarming it is to see the golden roasted bird coming out of the oven surrounded by tasty onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots, and sourdough bread. Dripping with juices and herby and warm and oh my goodness. I love a well roasted chicken. This is my favorite one so far. Everything was perfect and I took a hint from Martha Stewart (she recently had an article saying to toast crusty bread under the chicken. I took it a step farther and used a some delicious crusty sourdough chunks under the bird and scattered around with the veggies. Something beautiful happened. The chunks got nice and crunchy on top and soaked up all of the juicy goodness and oh my. Well, lets just say it was amazing. You will not regret this one…. and don’t be shocked if I keep toying with roasted chicken some more. I’m just enjoying this way too much.
Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables and Sourdough
1 3-4lb whole chicken, rinsed, dried, at room temperature
(Note, when I buy a chicken I buy it cleaned fully with no gibblets or neck, completely ready to go)
3 large carrots, peeled
1 lb red potatoes quartered
2 large yellow onions cut into wedges
1 large lemons cut in half
2 pieces of applewood smoked bacon
2 heads of garlic un-peeled and cut in half
1/2 loaf of crusty sourdough torn into large chunks
3 tbsp butter at room temperature
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
Fresh salt and ground pepper
Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow pan or dish place all your onions, carrots, potatoes, sourdough, and garlic. In the chicken, (yes, inside), line the cavity with bacon and put in the lemon halves. On the chicken, spread the butter and half of the herbs, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining herbs and salt and pepper on the veggies. Place the bird on top of the pan full of veggies and bread. Pop in the oven for an hour and a half. The skin should be a nice golden brown and the meat opaque all the way through. Let the chicken rest for atleast 5 to ten minutes before carving. Serve the chicken carved with a helping of veggies and sourdough with the pan juices spooned over. Enjoy!
Posted: April 2nd, 2010 | Filed under: Entree, Vegetables | Tags: broiled flank steak, cajun flank steak, cooked spinach, easy flank steak, excellent spinach, Flank steak, garlic spinach, spinach, steamed spinach | No Comments »
Like I mentioned in an earlier post we have been trying to make dinner at home more often on weeknights. And by make dinner I am excluding a box of mac and cheese, a bowl of cereal, or pasta with canned sauce with a little cheese on top. Not that these aren’t dinner. They are. But they don’t invoke a love for cooking in me, they don’t challenge me to try a new cut of meat or hone my skills. So here is a dinner that was made that I was completely delighted and pleased with. It was simple and did not break the bank and helped me build a little more confidence in buying meat again. (Have I explained that irrational fear to you yet? I’m not sure… so here it is. I have no confidence in cooking most meats. Veggies, breads, anything cakes or sugar, side dishes, casseroles, I have no problem making in a moments notice. However, picking a cut of meat (outside of a meat for burgers) I have a little bit of anxiety about. I think its because its more expensive and seems more easily destroyed in my kitchen. Its harder to fix and be okay with making a dry and flavorless steak or pork chop or loin that I spent more than ten dollars on that is now inedible than a bunch of asparagus that was slightly over cooked for four bucks. I think also that when you initially start out a little more nervous about something more likely you are to ruin it. But I’m working on it… don’t worry.)
So a seasoned flank steak and garlic spinach it is. With roasted potatoes (which I cannot ever stop making because I love them so much.) But Ryan loves spinach. Which is weird because it is hard to get him to eat leafy green things or green things in general most of the time. But he really likes spinach, which is A OK with me. And we aren’t talking about the sodium filled lump of green from a can. We are talking fresh baby spinach all nice and wilted with sauted spinach and a dash of red wine vinegar. Fresh and bright and super tender and tasty. And I’m not going to lie. I am proud of this steak. It was well seasoned, flavorful, and perfectly pink on the inside. (We are on the rare side of medium rare kind of people, but hey, you can change that with a little extra time if you so choose.) I made me want to buy flank steak again. And c’mon, I found the steak recipe in Cooking Light… it can’t be that terrible for me right? But seriously, it was delicious, and it made me so happy, and this will be showing up on the rotation again with a few new spins soon.
1 lb flank steak, trimmed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Preheat broiler. To prep steak leave it sitting at room temperature for 15min. combined salt and the next 8 ingredients, sprinkle on both sides of the steak. Place steak on broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 6min on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Cover and let rest 5min. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb fresh stemmed and shredded
1/4 c water
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and garlic, cook 1 min, stirring constantly. Add spinach and water and cook for 4 min or until tender. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar and remaining ingredients.
Posted: February 25th, 2010 | Filed under: Entree | Tags: apple cabbage coleslaw, apple cabbage slaw, bbq pulled pork, coleslaw, pulled pork, pulled pork sliders, sliders | 3 Comments »
So that party… well what is a party without something awesome in a mini size? Ok… so I guess I got that taken care of with the pies, but really, the more mini the merrier! (Not gonna lie… minis are also a great way to feed more with less… therefore spending less dough. Hey, in the economy you gotta be creative, right?) So sliders it was. And I love a good pulled pork, its easy, its so tasty, and it will convert anyone who wasn’t so sure about pork before.
Especially for a party I love anything that can be done in a crock pot and prepped right before serving. That way you aren’t spending all day messing with more than you need to. A good hostess is never a stressed hostess or a hostess that is stuck in a kitchen, making the crock pot/slow cooker every party’s best friend.
And I am not personally a fan of coleslaw. Never have been… probably never will be. (Please don’t send me your favorite aunt’s awesome family recipe that you just love. I don’t like it, I’m sorry… some people don’t like chocolate… now thats weird.) But I have wanted to try this slaw for a long time… its light, its fresh tasting, its perfect on a cute little pulled pork slider.
Thanks Aaron for slowly eating a slider for me… and Denise for making them all fit on the stands! You guys rock!
Pulled Pork Sliders
5 lb lean pork tenderloin
1 bottle favorite BBQ sauce
Fresh ground pepper
2 dozen dinner rolls or slider buns
4 tbsp butter
Bring meat to room temperature and pre-heat slow cooker on low. Season the pork with a good amount of salt and pepper. (Remember, to each there own, but don’t over do the salt, pork is already a little saltier, and flavor is key, so, just do us both a favor and go easy on the salt, ok?) Place into slow cooker with 1/3 of the bottle of BBQ sauce and enough water to cover the meat. Let cook on low for 6-8 hours. When ready remove from the crock pot and let the pork rest for about 15 min. With two forks aimed in opposite directions shred the pork. Cover in the remaining sauce. Take the buns and over a medium heat in a medium pan with a small pat of butter for every few buns heat the buns with the insides touching the warm butter until toasted.
Apple Cabbage Slaw
1 small head fresh green cabbage (shredded)
2 golden delicious or fuji apples (diced)
1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Whisk all ingredients except for first two together in a large mixing bowl. Toss the cabbage and apple with the liquid. Adjust to taste. (A little extra pepper is great here.)
To assemble: Place pork and slaw on buns and serve with laughs and smiles until all of had some and everyone is partied out.
Posted: February 3rd, 2010 | Filed under: Entree, Turkey | Tags: italian sausage lasagna, lasagna, lasagne, quick and easy lasagna, quick lasagna | 2 Comments »
Last night… we, along with millions of others watched a very big night in television history for us… the premiere of the final season of LOST. And a few friends came over to share in the excitement… So in a hurried preparation I threw together dinner with a few things I already had on hand.
We had dinner, we chatted about LOST theories, and were generally nerdy… but well fed nerds. Dinner was quick and easy and I would like think that if I was a cute little mom that I would happily make this for my hungry family often. Its slightly healthy (?) maybe… and really easy. And I’m going to say something that some of you may not like.. but you will just have to get over it. I so admire the people who labor over lasagna… boiling the noodles, simmering sauce for hours, with tomatoes from the garden in the back yard and fresh herbs hand picked and chopped to perfection. I do, I envy you and the time you have to do your homemade lasagna thing. But I do not happen to have this kind of time… and I personally really like the jar of pasta sauce. Its cheap, its ready, and man, it can be seriously tasty!
So here you go, my mamasagna…
1 pkg oven ready lasagna noodles
2 jars pasta sauce
3 c chopped baby spinach
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh ground salt
3 c mozzarella
2 lbs sweet italian turkey sausage
(I use sweet because we don’t do really spicy in the house… but I imagine spicy would be delicious.)
A little fresh ground parmesan
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a pan over medium high heat brown the turkey sausage until cooked all the way through. Set aside to rest before chopping into 1/2 inch pieces. In a small mixing bowl mix 1/2 c cheese, 1 c sauce, and the chopped spinach. Add in a few good grinds of salt and pepper. On the bottom of a 13×9″ casserole dish spread a few tablespoons of sauce. set your first layer of noodles down. Spread the spinach layer on the noodles. Cover with the next layer of lasagna noodles. Spread 1 c of sauce on top. Put your chopped sausage down with another 1/2 c of cheese. Layer another set of noodles. Pour another 1-2 c of sauce on top and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Bake for 45min or until bubbly and cooked all the way through.
(This also can be frozen for three months, defrosted overnight and cooked the same.)