Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Bad Day Soup" ~ or ~Tortilla Soup

"Bad Day" Tortilla Soup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

1/4 bunch cilantro, well washed (cut off the stems)
2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 small onion
4 oz can of green chilies
6 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of water
2 14.5 oz cans of tomatoes (at least one diced)
1 can of black beans drained and rinsed
1 can of corn drained and rinsed
1 Small can of chopped olives (OR lol a big can of whole.you decide!)
1 cup uncooked minute rice (about really it is up to you)
1 chicken bullion cube
1 tsp. ground cumin
1tsp. salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch (dissolved in a small amount of water to make it thicker)
1-2 cups cooked chicken or..lol (or I like 3 breasts or so)
Monterrey Jack cheese
1-2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
sour cream
(I even life some fresh chopped red onion as well)
(Corn tortillas about 10 cut into thin slices and fry them in
vegetable oil)
(When it comes to food I'm no minimalist, I include all the toppings on my plate, so I didn't list anything as optional because I believe it shouldn't be. But if you can't even read the ingredient with out your stomach flipping by all means don't include it. But you're missing out.)

Puree cilantro, garlic, onion, chilies and 1 can of tomatoes in a food processor.
Heat chicken stock and add pureed mixture along with cumin and salt and water.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 40 minutes.
Add the beans, the can of diced tomatoes, olives and the corn at this point :)
Stir dissolved cornstarch into stock. (Don't add if you like thinner soup, add more- which I did, if you like more)
Add the chicken & rice to the stock. Cook for about 25 more minutes.
Fry cut tortilla strips in oil in batches until crisp (I add a little salt as I fry them) drain well.
Garnish or top with shredded cheese, tortilla strips, avocado, sour cream and salsa and whatever else you prefer. I suggest going with a fresca type salsa.

The avocado and sour cream taste so creamy and cool with the warm soup then you have the creaminess of the cheese and the crunchiness of the tortilla strips and chunks of chicken and salsa. This soup is a melody of textures, temperatures and tastes - my bad days totally melt away in this soup along with the cheese~

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stuffed Mushrooms:

I made these for a fancy potluck dinner and they were delectable.
You need:
1 package cream cheese; softened
handful of green onions; finely sliced
1/4lb sausage, browned
1 tsp chopped garlic
hot sauce

Pull the stems out the mushrooms and chop them finely.
Heat a little butter in a frying pan and saute the chopped stems, onion and sausage with the garlic and pepper.
Once browned and nice put the mixture on a paper towel on a plate to cool.
Mix softened cream cheese with a shake of hot sauce and garlic powder if you want.
Once mushroomy mixture is cooler chuck it in the cream cheese and mix well.
Fill mushroom caps with cream cheese mixture.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400'f for 15-20 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and clear juices are visable.

You can thicken the mixture by adding some parmesan cheese if you like. I meant to but it turned out fine without.

Tip: Use a cookie scoop to get cheese mixture into mushrooms.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Eggnog Cream Pie

Eggnog cream pie

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, chilled, divided
1 tablespoon cold water
1 cup whole milk
1 cup eggnog
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus additional for garnish
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, plus additional for garnish
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons rum, brandy or whiskey (optional)

In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup of the flour and the salt. Add the chilled cubed butter. Use your hands or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until the butter pieces are slightly smaller than a pea and the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the water and gently stir the mixture together with your hands or a fork just until the mixture is moist but not sticky. If the mixture is too dry, add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
Alternatively, in a food processor combine 1 cup of the flour and the salt. Pulse to mix. Add the chilled cubed butter and pulse until the butter pieces are slightly smaller than a pea and the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the water and pulse until the mixture is moist but not sticky. If the mixture is too dry, add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and turn the dough onto it. Push the dough together to form a ball and wrap well in the plastic. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.
Heat the oven to 400 F.
Lightly dust the counter with flour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to about 1/8 -inch thickness. Transfer dough to a 9-inch pie plate and press it gently into the plate.
Trim the overhanging dough to about 1 inch all around the edge. Fold the overhang under itself so that it rests on the lip of the pie plate and decorate the edges as desired.
Use a fork to prick the bottom of the pie crust several times. Line the crust with a piece of foil large enough to hang over the edges. Fill the shell with enough baking weights or dried beans to cover the bottom and go halfway up the sides.
Bake the crust until pale golden brown, about 15 minutes, then remove the foil and baking weights and continue baking until deep golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Transfer the pie shell to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.
To make the filling
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk, eggnog and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks, remaining 1/4 cup of flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. When the milk and eggnog mixture is at a simmer, remove the pan from the heat.
While whisking, slowly pour about 1 cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture. Then pour the egg mixture into the pan with the remaining milk and eggnog.
Return the pan to a medium heat. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook the mixture until it thickens to consistency of a heavy pudding, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into the cooled pie shell and place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top, gently pressing so it touches the surface of the cream. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
Before serving the pie, whip the cream and liquor (if using) together until the cream holds stiff peaks. Remove the plastic wrap from the surface of the pie and evenly spread the whipped cream over the surface. If desired, lightly dust the top of the pie with cinnamon and nutmeg. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes 8 servings.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Baked Potato Soup!

It's that time of year for comfort foods. The air is crisp and the skies are getting crowded. Here's one of my many winter recipes.

Baked Potato Soup

The indredients are: 6 To 8 slices bacon
1 cup Diced yellow onions
2/3 cup Flour
6 cups Hot chicken stock
4-6 cup Diced -- peeled baked Potatoes (Yeah I said baked. MUCH better flavor)
2 cup Heavy cream
1/4 cup Chopped parsley
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp Dried basil
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Coarse black pepper
1 cup Grated Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Diced green onions -- white Part only
Additional chopped bacon -- Grated cheese and Chopped parsley for Garnish

I Fry bacon until crisp. Chop bacon and reserve drippings. Cook onions and garlic in remaining drippings over medium-high heat until transparent, about 3 minutes. Add flour, stirring to prevent lumps. Cook 3 - 5 minutes until mix just begins to run golden. Add chicken broth gradually, whisking to prevent lumps, until liquid thickens. Reduce heat to simmer and add potatoes, cream, chopped bacon, parsley, basil, salt, and black pepper. Simmer 10 minutes; DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL. Add grated cheese and green onions. Heat until cheese melts smoothly.

Garnish with chopped bacon, grated cheese and chopped parsley.

Try it in a bread bowl and let me know how ya like it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pork Chops with a twist

So last night, I defrosted some pork chops and went to get my can of chicken broth or cream of chicken (I have used both) and I didn't have either one!! (I know what is this world coming to?)
Anyway I had to cook them because I was not going to waste the $7 of meat. This was what I came up with.

4 pork chops
1 can of broccoli and cheddar soup
1 can of milk (I just filled the soup can with milk and poured it in)
1 cup of rice
some frozen broccoli (maybe 1/2 cup)

I put the soup and the milk together so it's mixed. Poured it into a 9x13 pan. Put the defrosted pork chops in there. Scattered the rice and frozen broccoli. And put enough water in there to cover the pork chops.

Put it in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes. Stirred it, making sure the broccoli was covered with water and put it back in for 10 more minutes.

It was sooooooo good. My hubby asked me to make it next week.

I went to take a picture and it was all gone. Someone (my hubby) had gone back for thirds!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Apple Streusel Muffins/Bread

My mother-in-law gave us a HUGE box of apples, so I am desperately trying to find ways to use them all. I found this really good recipe for apple bread/muffins.

I doubled this recipe because I was trying to use as many apples as possible. I also made some changes to it to make it more heart healthy. I used wheat flour for 1 cup of the flour needed, splenda for the sugar, half applesauce for the oil, and egg whites instead of eggs. It turned out SO good!

1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup apple, pared & shredded
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten

Streusel topping:

1/3 cup brown sugar
2 TB flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 TB butter


Chinese spare ribs:

Mmmmm! I made these a while ago but think I should share on here.

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 clove garlic minced
1/4tsp pepper
chunk of ginger
squirt of honey
squirt of hot sauce

Mix it all up and pour over meat - you could go as far as marninating it overnight.
Put meat and saucy juices in pan and bake at 400'f for 1 hour or BBQ the suckers.

Tom Venuto’s “pumpcakes” (pumpkin pancakes).

7.5 oz (212 g) of canned pumpkin
1/3 cup (27 g) oatmeal dry
1/3 cup (40 g) multigrain or whole wheat pancake mix
1 scoop (26 g) vanilla (or plain) protein powder
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
Sweetener (brown sugar, stevia or splenda): Optional
Yield: makes 2 large (5 inch wide) pancakes

Nutrition information for 2 pancakes, unsweetened
Calories: 507
Protein: 44.1 g.
Carbs: 69.7 g.
Fat: 5 g.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Stuffed Mushrooms

In the picture in the post below there's some stuffed mushrooms that are delicious and super easy. The recipe is here.

Stuart's Blackened Chicken Alfredo

chicken breasts
1 cup diced red pepper
1 cup chopped scallions
1 cup button mushrooms (sliced)
2 Tbsps. olive oil
buttersalt & pepper
Cajun spices to coat chicken
Pasta sauce

So all you have to do is cut the chicken up (I do one breast per person) and throw it in a ziplock bag with the cajun spices to coat the chicken. If you want more of a coating add more spices. I also like to use shrimp in place of the chicken.

Heat up a pan at about med-high and add about 4 tbls of butter to the pan. You may need to add more depending on how much chicken you are cooking.

After the chicken cooked set it aside and keep it warm.

Now it's time to cook the mushrooms. in a pan at medium heat add the olive oil, mushrooms and scallions.

Just sautee the mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste. I use an alfredo sause out of a jar, ragu works well.

While cooking everything else I have my pasta boiling.

After the pasta is done and the sauce has been heated serve and enjoy.