Thursday, March 23, 2017

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

We do love soup at my house! I try and plan soup at least once a week or so. We have many soups that we love, but this one is at the top of the list, especially for my husband!

Baked Potato Soup
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
7 cups milk
4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 green onions, chopped
1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
bacon crumbles

In a stock pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk, whisking constantly until thickened. Stir in potatoes and onions. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Mix in cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted.

Top with additional cheese, sour cream, green onions and bacon crumbles if desired.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Reubens for Dinner

When making my meal plan for the week, I try and take my schedule into consideration. It is easier to stick with a meal plan when I do that. On days that I have a lot going on I make sure that I have simple meals planned. Tonight, we had Reuben Sandwiches. If we have sandwiches for dinner I prefer them to be hot sandwiches and this is one of our favorites. Homemade Thousand Island  dressing makes this even better!

Thousand Island Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon white onion, finely minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Throughly mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

4 cups water
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
1 (5 3/4-ounce) package pad thai noodles (wide rice stick noodles)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 small hot red chiles, seeded and chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
lime wedges
Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add spinach and peas to pan; cook for 30 seconds. Remove vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl. Add noodles to pan; cook 3 minutes. Drain; add noodles to spinach mixture in bowl.
Heat canola oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and the next 5 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth to pan, and bring to a boil. Add coconut milk to pan; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken, onions, sugar, and fish sauce to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Pour chicken mixture over noodle mixture in bowl. Stir in cilantro and chiles. Serve with lime wedges.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Chicken Scampi

We love pasta here and my house! This dish is a favorite of mine, I love the lemon and garlic combo that this recipe has. If I had garlic bread it would have been a perfect meal!

Chicken Scampi

2 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks or left whole

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped scallions or onions
2 tablespoons parsley
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
Linguini cooked according to package directions
freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste

In a large skillet, add butter and oil over medium heat
Add scallions or onions, garlic,and pepper
Sauté for a few minutes until onions start to get soft
Add chicken, lemon juice, and parsley
Sauté for 7 to 10 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink
Add parmesan cheese to the linguini and mix well
Serve the chicken over the linguini and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Enchilada Soup

This is one of those super easy soups to throw together on a busy night. It is delicious and can be made in a matter of minutes with ingredients that I usually have on hand most of the time.

When I take food to someone in need, I try to give things that can be readily made into meals. Since all the ingredients are canned, this is an easy one to give. Tuck in a small recipe card and you are good to go!

Enchilada Soup

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, OR a can of Rotel
1 (15 oz) can sweet corn, drained
1 (12.5 oz) can chicken breast, drained
1 (10 oz) can of cream of chicken soup
1 (10 oz) can green enchilada sauce
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1 (1 oz) packet taco seasoning

Optional toppings:
chopped cilantro
shredded cheese
sour cream
jalapeño slices
tortilla chips

Mix all ingredients together and simmer until heated through.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Chicken Teriyaki over Rice

It has been a while since I have posted here, but I've missed it, so I am back! 

Tonight for dinner we had Chicken Teriyaki served over rice. When we started trying to eat healthier a couple of years ago, we decided to stop eating out so much. One of the first things that I did was to start looking for recipes that were similar to foods that we like to eat when we do go out. Some of the recipes found were okay, but needed to be tweaked here and there to meet the taste that we preferred. I do still enjoy the occasional Chinese delivery, but now if we are craving something specific I am more likely to prepare it at home rather than having it delivered. 

For this dish, I took a couple of chicken breasts and cubed them. The pieces were then cooked until browned and then I poured the teriyaki sauce over the chicken and let it simmer for a few minutes and then added the cornstarch/water combination. Chicken and sauce simmered until it was just thickened and then served over rice. Some sesame seeds were sprinkled over the top before serving.

Teriyaki Sauce

1/2 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1/3 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion,
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh, minced Ginger

1/4 Cup Cold Water
3 Tablespoons Cornstarch

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Frozen Biscuits Made from Scratch

It took me a long time to get to the point where I could consistently make what I consider to be be good biscuits. Some of the time they were really good and sometimes they weren't all that great. They still tasted better than canned biscuits though. 

I loved the convenience of buying the frozen biscuits, because I could pull out just a couple and bake as needed. After my biscuit baking skills improved, I still bought the frozen ones sometimes because of how quickly I could get breakfast on the table during the week.

I am not a morning person at all. Making biscuits from scratch could only happen on the weekends and during the week, breakfast needs to be as quick as possible. I finally got around to making a batch of biscuits, cutting them out and freezing them! Ahh, the best of both worlds, we can have scratch made buttermilk biscuits any day of the week. I can serve biscuits without having to be awake enough to make them.

After making my dough and rolling and cutting them out, I freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. When they are completely frozen I put them in a freezer bag.

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups self rising flour 
1/2 cup cold butter +2 Tbs of melted butter
1 cup cold buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour and the cold butter with a pastry knife or a fork until it is crumbly. Work quickly, because you want that butter to stay cold. Add the cold buttermilk and mix until dough forms. You may need to add just a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky.

Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and pat it down with your hands. Turning and folding the dough a couple of times, you want to make sure you do not overwork your dough. Pat it out again, until it about 1" thick and cut out your biscuits. Place cut out biscuits onto a cookie sheet with the sides touching.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and then remove from the oven. As soon as they come out of the oven, brush with the melted butter.

***I have found that if I put my flour in the food processor and cut in my butter and add the buttermilk, all in the food processor, that it is quicker. And working quicker in this case works better because everything stays cold. I also handle the dough a little less so the biscuits are a little more tender.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Creamy Onion Soup

 We are still kind of iced in, Kip did make it to work yesterday using my Jeep, but I am still staying at home. Cold weather is t he perfect time for soup, right? We love soup and eat it year round, but this ice, snowy weather calls for a nice bowl of  steamy soup. 

Since I haven't been about to get out to the grocery store, I have not been able to really follow the meal plan that I had for this week, so I am making meals with the ingredients that I have on hand.

Since I have quite a few onions, I decided to go with this creamy onion soup. It is a fairly simple soup, but full of flavor and perfect for the cold weather.

I don't think I had every had onion soup until after I had married Kip. We were on vacation and eating in a local restaurant. He was so excited when he saw it on the menu. That excitement turned to disappointment when the waitress set it down before him. Basically it was a few very stiff onions floating in some chicken broth. I decided to learn how to make it, and came up with this version after tweaking a few recipes.

This soup is great topped with croutons. I happened to have a little bit of Rosemary Bread left over for a dinner earlier in the week and used that to make my croutons.

Croutons are super easy, I cube my bread, mist with olive oil and pop into the oven until toasted.

Normally after misting the bread cubes with the olive oil I will add some salt and pepper but since this bread already had had rosemary in it, I left didn't add anything else.

Dinner is ready!!

Creamy Onion Soup

2 quarts beef broth
3 large onions, quartered and sliced
3 TBS corn starch
1/2 cup cold water
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese (cheddar will work too)
Salt and pepper to taste

Croutons (optional)
Shredded Colby-Jack

In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, bring beef broth to a boil. 

Place onions in boiling water, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.

Stir the cornstarch into 1/2 cup cold water to make a paste. Gently whisk this mixture into the simmering soup, being careful not to break the onions. Simmer 30 minutes more.

Stir in cream and cheese until cheese is melted and mixture is thoroughly heated.  

Serve hot, garnished with croutons, if desired.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Iced In...Comfort Foods

Do you have those foods that you make that immediately take you somewhere else? There are so many things that I make on a regular basis that remind me of the person that taught me to make the dish. My life has been blessed with many people that shared their love of cooking with me.

Pancakes and omelettes remind me of cooking with my Dad.

Gravy and biscuits, pasta salad, peanut butter cookies and vegetable soup take my back to my Mom's kitchen.

Fried Cornbread brings back my Mamaw.

Scrambled Eggs remind me of my cousin Iris and the summer she visited us for a while.

Dumplings remind me of my Granny and my great grandmother.

Several cakes I make, remind me of my friend Yvonne.

Jalapeno cornbread brings to mind my friend Allyson.

Pat taught me to make homemade pizza.

Some of these people are no longer here with me in this life, and several more are separated by many miles. Cooking is something that makes me happy and complete and I am so grateful for those that shared their skills and recipes with me.

But this post is about the picture above.

I ate a lot of meals of my Granny's house and she made so many good foods. My absolute favorite time to eat at her house was on Thursday nights. You see Friday was grocery day so on Thursday nights she would pull out all of the left overs and make a meal out of them. It was like a feast with the variety of foods! Some dishes only had a few spoons left, but it was still good. One of the favorites of mine was this simple dish of jumbo elbow macaroni and a jar of home canned tomatoes. 

So simple, just two ingredients.

When I made it in my kitchen last night I was immediately transported back, to me ten years old, in my Granny's kitchen. 

The reality though, my kitchen is about 175 miles from her kitchen, Granny lives in the world of her memories as Alzheimer's disease takes her present knowledge and leftover night at her house is a thing of the distant past. But last night my memories took me back there.

And now? There is a little girl in my life, that I am teaching to cook from my memories. And she knows that while cooking can be learned from a book or the internet, that there are many, many more things that can be learned by one person, passed on to another and then another connecting hearts across miles and generations.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Pizza Night

We really like pizza in our house and since it is one of the few things that will deliver where we live, on occasion, we will order out. The last time we did though, it was kind of expensive and really not that good***. And Kip and I like very different toppings on our pizzas.

I make different types of pizzas and rotate them through my meal plan but sometimes I like to just make the crust, pull out a jar of my pizza sauce and a bunch of toppings and we can just make whatever we want.

It helped that I had already chopped up a bunch of veggies for an omelette, so prep time was even quicker. Individual pizzas are a great way to use up small amounts of leftovers too. We were both happy with our own pizza and Kip didn't have to pick the tomatoes off his pizza and I didn't have to take off the olives and peppers. Other than making the crust and letting it rise, it was quicker than delivery and cheaper and tastier too.

***One of the great pluses to trying to give up eating out and saving money is that I have learned I can make replicas of most of our favorite restaurant foods now. Since I can make them cheaper than a night out, we are saving money. The only negative is that homemade foods taste better so eating out has kind of lost the appeal and if we do go out, I am a little disappointed. A girl needs a break from the kitchen on occasion! The plus side of that is we are not spending our eating out budget so it accumulates and we can afford to splurge for nicer meals out.