Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

February 13, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie – Mmmm

I randomly was craving a pot pie this week and what better time for it than Snowmageddon 2014! It’s cold outside and this was just what the doctor ordered.

To satisfy my need to make it have a "from scratch" taste, but without a lot of fuss, I took the best parts of two recipes to make an easy week-night meal that took just a bit of preparation! This looks like more steps than it actually is, I just separated some steps out for myself so I wouldn’t miss anything. I find that doing more prep work before I turn the stove on always helps me to keep "my cool" in the kitchen 🙂

Ingredients/Items Needed:

  • Pie Pan (I used ceramic, but you can use glass, aluminum, cast iron – whatever!)
  • 1 package Pillsbury pie crust from the refrigerated section (DO NOT PAR BAKE)
  • 1 can low-sodium chicken broth (I use Swansons)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 2 TBSP dried onion flakes (can use real onion, but my husband wont eat it – boo)
  • 1/3 C butter (i used unsalted)
  • 1/3 C AP flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt + extra as needed (I probably used a whole tsp of Kosher salt)
  • 1/4 tsp dried Thyme
  • 3 tsp Sherry Cooking Wine (I used Holland House, or you can also use regular Sherry)
  • 2 cups shredded boiled chicken (make ahead; can also used canned or rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 cups frozen vegetable mix (I used Trader Joe’s organic mix of corn, carrots, peas and green beans)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees (use your convection fan if you have it! no need to adjust the temperature)
  2. Get out all of your ingredients and measuring cups – line up on your clean counter top!
  3. Measure out broth & milk in a large measuring cup (together), set aside
  4. Measure out frozen veggies & chicken in a bowl together, set aside
  5. Melt butter in large pot or dutch oven over medium heat (I used my dutch oven)
  6. Once the butter is foamy, add in the dried onion. Whisk constantly to keep from burning. 1 minute or until turning golden.
  7. Add in flour and whisk frequently for about 3 minutes, or until golden. You want that roux to get a nutty flavor!
  8. Add in the milk & broth mixture. Whisk to combine and keep whisking frequently to keep from burning and from a layer of film forming on top.
  9. When it starts to thicken, add in the thyme, sherry, salt and pepper. When it is a good thickness (sticks to your spoon like gravy, but not too thick), taste it for any adjustments. Should be mmmmm.
  10. Stir in chicken and vegetable. Let cook for a minute or two while you are prepping your crust.
  11. Roll out the first pie crust on on the bottom of the dish. Don’t let any of that delicious crust go to waste! Ignore the directions to TRIM – boo! Poke with fork in a few places and on the side (optional). Let extra crust lay over the sides of the pie pan for now.
  12. Go back and taste your filling mixture. Add a little more salt if needed.
  13. Put pie filling into pie pan over the bottom crust layer. Top with the second pie crust. Tuck the edges under all the way around, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
  14. Cut four slices in the top of the pie crust as directed on the box.
  15. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or under golden brown and bubbling. (I only cooked for 20 mins on 400 with convection on).
  16. Let sit for 5 minutes, serve! Enjoy!

Voila! Happy Cooking!

Resources:

1. Pillsbury – http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/classic-chicken-pot-pie/1401d418-ac0b-4b50-ad09-c6f1243fb992

2. Cooks Illustrated (Members Only) – http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/1490-simple-chicken-pot-pie

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December 8, 2013

Londonbroil

Growing up, I remember loving “londonbroil”.  I didn’t know until today that despite what the Harris Teeter label says, Londonbroil is a cooking technique and not a cut of beef.  Here is a quick/easy recipe for Londonbroil and a video on how to slice the meat (MOST IMPORTANT THING!!)

Instructions:

  1. Marinate (several hours or several days) – I use a half bottle of Allegro from HT or Target
  2. Broil on High, 7-8 minutes each side to achieve Medium Rare (120 degrees)
    1. Move Rack to Top Position in Oven
    2. Don’t Pre-Heat
    3. Use Broiler Pan
  3. Remove from Oven & Tent with Foil.  Let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Slice at a 45 degree angle, against the grain (against the tendon fibers).   The fibers normally run longways down the meat.
  5. Serve!

I’ll follow up with pictures and “tweaking” after I make this tonight!

Resource: http://www.brunswickbeacon.com/content/what-best-way-cook-moist-tender-london-broil

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gY7mpnfrZ4

 

September 3, 2013

Spicy Turkey Meatloaf

I love cooks illustrated. It never fails me. Last night was no exception. This one is going to become a regular in the rotation.

Spicy Turkey Meatloaf w/Bacon!!

It was delicious. I followed the recipe at the link below, with the following modifications:

-Used all ground turkey
-Used panko bread crumbs
-Bloomed dried onion flakes & garlic powder in the microwave with 3tsp of EVOO for 30 seconds instead of sauteeing.
-For the sauce, I used 1/4 C Ketchup + 1/4 C Chili Garlic Sauce (looks like sirracha in a jar with pepper flakes).
-Cooked for 1 hr 15 mins (to 165 degrees per my meat thermometer).
-Served with salad & mashed potatoes!

Click here to view Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Brown Sugar – Ketchup Glaze at CooksIllustrated.com

Happy cooking!

December 16, 2012

Holiday Cookies: Oatmeal Pumpkin Pie

Many of you know that I am obsessed with RealSimple. I love their magazine, website and the little things they send me in the mail from time to time. A few weeks ago, I got a letter that had 4 different cookie recipes all using the same “cookie base”. I made the oatmeal pumpkin pie spice cookies!

http://www.realsimple.com/

For these, I made the dough yesterday, rolled it into logs, wrapped in wax paper and put in the fridge overnight. Today, all I had to do was cut, bake and enjoy!!

Note: I recommend under cooking these a bit. Oatmeal cookies seem to inevitably be crunchier than other cookies after they cool, even when they don’t look brown!

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December 16, 2012

Spicy Cheese Straws

Kirk and I LOVE cheese straws 🙂 I came across Smitten Kitchen’s blog post yesterday and decided I needed to give it a go. This is a great staple for all the Christmas parties going on right now!

Smitten Kitchen Blog: Cheese Straws

Results? Ah-mazing!! The recipe was relatively easy to follow and the straws turned out super delicious. I used a cookie gun (with star insert) instead of rolling the dough out like the recipe called for. If you have one, the gun makes it 10x faster and you can avoid the extra cleanup of the counter and your rolling pin.

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Cheese Straws

Recipe Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Blog, link provided above

3 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (mine was probably closer to 3 1/2)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (don’t skip this, affects flakiness)
1 1/2 cup flour, plus more for dusting if you’re not using a cookie gun
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you want them realllly spicy)
2 tablespoons half-and-half

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (don’t use pulse button, use regular button – works much better). Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.

3A. If using a cookie gun – fill dough into gun using a spoon and start piping away!  With the cookie sheet turned long ways, make 4-5 long strips of cheese straws.  Using a pastry cutter, pizza cutter or knife, cut into 3″ portions.  Turn all straws 45 degrees to the left so they aren’t touching.

3B.  If rolling out – On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8- by 10-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife (or a pizza or pastry wheel; both worked great), cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips, each 1/4- to 1/3-inch wide (dipping the knife in flour after every few inches ensures a clean cut). Gently transfer the strips to an ungreased cookie sheet (though I lined mine with parchment), leaving at least 1/4-inch between them. The dough may sag or may break occasionally in the transfer, but don’t be concerned — just do your best. The straws can be any length, from 2 to 10 inches.

4. Bake the straws on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the ends are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.

5. Serve at room temperature. Cheese straws will keep in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for two days. They will not last an hour at a party.

~~~~~~

Other than using the gun, I didn’t make any major tweaks. But here are some more specifics of what I did in case you are interested:

  • I doubled the recipe and my 11 cup food processor was able to handle it! It was close though 🙂
  • To bake, I did one batch on my baking stone and another using regular cookie sheets. The ones on the cookie sheets came out crunchier and spicer. Next time, I’ll only use the cookie sheets.
  • I used parchment paper to line the sheets, highly recommended!
  • If you use the cookie gun, make super long squiggle lines and then go back and cut them to your desired length. Mine were about 3″ inches each.
  • I’m not sure if it makes a difference if you use pre-shredded cheese or blocks. I shredded a block in the food processor using the shred blade and the cheese was great to work with. I have found that in many recipes pre-shredded cheese doesn’t blend as well.

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November 21, 2012

Turkey-Spinach Casserole w/Tortilla Chip Topping

This recipe was created one night when we were running low on groceries and I didn’t feel like going to the store – and now it is one of our favorites! You can even make it all using only one pot 🙂 I highly recommend using a dutch oven or a non-stick pot if you can.

Servings: 4-6
Time: 35-45 minutes

Ingredients:
· 1-1.5 LBS Ground Lean Turkey, Fresh or Frozen (we buy 93% lean from Costco, always have on hand in the freezer)
· 4 TBSP Taco Seasoning, or 1 Packet
· ¾ cup water
· 10 Cups Fresh Spinach, Cooked & Chopped (or 1 frozen package, thawed out and drained… we use fresh because we buy one of those huge containers, use however much you’d like)
· 1 TBSP unsalted butter & ¼ Cup Water
· 1-1.5 Cups Milk
· 2 TBSP unsalted butter
· 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
· 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
· ½ – 1 can green chiles
· Any other leftover things you want to throw in..
· ~1 cup crumbled tortilla chips (I use the crumbs at the bottom of the bag!!)
· Dutch Oven or Large Pot
· Casserole Dish
· Salt & pepper, to taste
· + optional, but recommended: Glass of wine & music to enjoy while cooking 🙂

Directions

Step 1 – Cook Spinach: Heat large burner to medium, preheat your pan. Melt 1 TBSP butter and add fresh spinach. Stir to combine. Add ¼ cup water and cover. Stir every few minutes to make sure the spinach is cooking down. Once wilted, press spinach on side of pot to separate out water. Drain and place spinach on cutting board. Quickly rinse pot and return to stove for re-heating (still over medium).

Step 2 – Cook Turkey: Add turkey to pot and mash with your wooden spoon to crumble. Cover with lid to cook faster. While cooking, chop spinach finely. Add to casserole dish and cover with foil. Return to stir turkey every few minutes until there is no more pink. Drain all liquid from pan into container (do not pour into your drain or directly into trash – HOT). Add taco seasoning and ¾ cup water, stir to combine. Cook/thicken until all water is gone. Pour turkey meat into casserole dish and cover with foil.

Step 3 – Make Roux / Cheese Sauce: Quickly rinse out pot (doesn’t have to be completely clean, all going in the same dish), return to stove (still over medium). Add 2 TBSP butter, melt. Once bubbling, add 2 TBSP flour and quickly combine. Cook until flour is browned, about 1 minute or so. Add milk (min 1 cup, increase by ½ cup for more sauciness) and stir to combine. Stir relatively frequently, sauce will thicken (about 5 minutes). You have now made the roux! It doesn’t have to be super thick, just enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add your cheese (you can choose how cheesy or what kinds of cheese, I normally use whatever I have leftover). Stir to combine. Add green chiles and any other vegetables or beans you have (I added a half can of black beans I had leftover last time). Taste and season with salt & pepper, if you’d like. Remember that you’ll have the taco seasoning for flavor too.

Step 4 – Combine All Ingredients: pour cheese over meat and spinach in dish, mix well to combine

Step 5 – Top with Crumbled Tortilla Chips (regular or any flavored kind)

Step 6 – SERVE Immediately! 🙂 If you’d like it hotter, you can certainly bake it too.

Tip, it tastes great with some Cholula on the side!

Happy Cooking!

November 21, 2012

Cookware Staples!

After much research and a few years of cooking under my belt, I have decided that the best “cookware set” is a compilation of pots of different brands. There are a few staples that are a must. There are three types of cookware that I use: Cast Iron, Non-Stick and Stainless Steel. Below I have listed the specific kinds that I have in my kitchen – I fully recommend all of them! There are plenty of great pots/pans out there though, so it all depends on what type of cooking you do most! I most frequently use http://www.amazon.com for reading reviews.

Cast Iron Staples:

o 12” Skillet by Lodge, Purchased at Crate & Barrel for $29.99 (also avail. at Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Target, etc.)
o Best Uses: Searing Chicken & Other Meats(& finishing in the oven), Browning Vegetables, Steaks, Deep Dish Pizza
o 6 Qt Enamel Coated Dutch Oven by Lodge, Purchased at Wal-Mart for $49.95 (also avail. at Home Good’s, etc.)
o Best Uses: Browning Meat, Boiling Noodles & Vegetables, Soups/Stews, Making 1 Pot Dishes & Finishing in Oven to Brown (i.e. Macaroni & Cheese, Casseroles, etc.), Roasting Whole Chicken, Deep Frying, etc.

Non-Stick Staples (cannot go in oven):

o 10” & 12” Skillet (Set of 2) by Calphalon, Purchased at Bed Bath & Beyond for $59.99 (less the 20% coupon!)
o Best Uses: Omelets, Grilled Sandwiches, Pancakes, General Purpose
o 11” Grill Pan by Calphalon, Purchased at Bed Bath & Beyond for $39.99 (less the 20% coupon!)
o Best Uses: Indoor Burgers, Panini’s (use with cast iron press), Kebobs, Bacon, Grilling Meats (won’t brown the same as in non-stick or cast iron).

Stainless Steel Staples:

o Set: 10″ fry pan, 1.5-qt. covered sauce pan, 3-qt. covered sauté pan (“chefs pan”), and an 8-qt. covered stock pot

What I have today: Cuisinart Tri Ply French Classic 11pc Set at Bed Bath & Beyond for $299.99 (less the 20% coupon)

What I want someday: All Clad 7pc Set at Bed Bath & Beyond for $699.99 (less the 20% coupon)

o Best Uses: Everyday cooking set for all other purposes. These can start on the stovetop and go into the oven (like cast iron)! These brown meat better than non-stick or enamel coated and heat quickly. The chef’s pan/sauté pan is the most important because of the flat sides – you can do a sauce, sauté, pan fry, etc. Use the big pot for boiling or for soups, especially ones that require an immersion blender.

These are just the ones that work best for me! If you have any recommendations, please leave in the comments section or email me and I’ll add it to the post!

Happy Cooking! 🙂

June 25, 2012

Jalapeno Popper Pizza on NY Style Crust

Kirk and I love pizza.  And when I say love, I mean L-O-V-E.  We can’t get enough of it!  My favorite pizza memory of all time is the first time I had REAL new york pizza.  It was an 18″ pepperoni that was delivered after a night out on the town (my first time in NY after turning 21) and the cheese was all melty and the crust was all bubbly.  I swear I’ve never had a pizza that tasted quite that good again.  So, now you can imagine my excitement when I open my new Cook’s Illustrated Cook Book and lo and behold, there it is on page 609!  New York-Style Thin-Crust Pizza.  I was already in love with my new cook book, but it definitely got bumped up a few notches after this find 🙂

Kirk recently stumbled upon a recipe for Jalapeno Popper Pizza on one of his favorite food blogs and posted it on my facebook page requesting an early birthday feast.  Light bulb!  Perfect time to try out the recipe for New York-Style crust.

So, we married the two recipes and voila!   Note, the dough recipe makes TWO crusts.  The pizza toppings below are also enough for two pizzas 🙂

Jalapeno Popper Pizza on New York-Style Thin-Crust Pizza (makes two 14″ pizzas)

Toppings

  • 1 block of cream cheese (regular, low-fat or neufchatel – I used the latter)
  • Double batch of: jalapeno ranch dressing
  • 4 jalapeno peppers, sliced and de-seeded (2 per pizza)
  • 8 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces and cooked (4 per pizza)
  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded (1 per pizza)
  • 2 cups cheddar, shredded (1 per pizza)

Dough Ingredients

  • 16.5 ounces bread flour (~3 cups, highly recommend using food scale)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1.5 cups ice water
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • *1/2 cup of corn meal or flour (I think corn meal worked better)

Steps for the whole process:  Feel free to substitute where needed.

1-2 Days Ahead

  1. Start pizza dough at least 24 hours in advance (required to sit overnight).
    1. In a large food processor fitted with a dough blade – pulse flour, sugar and yeast until combined, about 5 pulses.
    2. With food processor running, slowly add water; process until dough is just combined and do dry flour remains, about 10 seconds.  Be prepared to add 1 or 2 TBSP of extra water if needed.  Let dough sit for 10 minutes.
    3. Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears the sides of the bowl (30 to 60 seconds).  Transfer dough to lightly oiled counter and knead BRIEFLY by hand until smooth, about 1 minute.  Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl; cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a least 24 hours, or up to 3 days.
  2. Then, make DOUBLE BATCH of Jalapeno Ranch Dressing (1 night before, min) by blending the ingredients in a blender or food processor:
    1. 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 jalapenos (stemmed and seeded), 2 cloves garlic, 2 green onions, juice of 1 lime, 2 small handfuls cilantro, salt and pepper to taste
  3. Cut the bacon and cook until crispy.  Store in air-tight container or ziplock.
  4. If you are shredding your own cheese, you can also do that ahead of time!  I shredded a huge block of cheddar using my food processor shredding blade.  30 seconds, voila!

Day of:

  1. One hour before baking, adjust the oven rack to the upper-middle position (4-5 inches from broiler), place baking stone in oven and heat oven to 500 degrees.  This was too hot for my stone (smoked out my kitchen), so I turned it down to 450.  Still worked!
  2. Take the pizza dough out of the fridge.  Transfer dough to clean counter and divide in half.  With cupped palms, form each half into a smooth, tight ball.  Place balls of dough on a lightly greased baking sheet, spacing at least 3″ apart.  Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour.
  3. Take jalapeno ranch and cream cheese out of the fridge.  Measure out 15 tbsp of ranch (~ a little less than 1 cup) and then put in the whole block of cream cheese (slightly broken into chunks) into your blender or mini food processor.  Blend on high or pulse.  Put back in fridge until ready to assemble pizza.
  4. Chop jalapenos and set aside (remove seeds, will still be plenty hot).
  5. POUR GLASS OF WINE AND SIT DOWN!!   I used this time to hang out with our guests and enjoy an appetizer 🙂
  6. Once the dough has been out for an hour (or anytime after when you are ready), prep your counter or silicone baking mat with flour.  Then coat one of the dough balls generously with flour (keeping other ball covered with plastic).  Use fingertips to gently flatten dough into 8-inch disk, leaving 1 inch of outer edge slightly thicker than the center.  Using hands, gently stretch disk into 12-unch round, working along the edges and giving quarter turns.  FEEL FREE TO PICK UP AND GENTLY TOSS, PUTTING YOUR KNUCKLES UNDER THE DOUGH TO STRETCH.  Transfer to pizza peelcovered in corn-meal and stretch to 13 inches.
    1. You’ll notice the crust start to bubble as you are stretching the dough.  I guess that’s a sign that they got the recipe right!!
  7. Spread the 6-7 TBSP cream-cheese jalapeno ranch dressing over the dough.
  8. Sprinkle the jalapeno peppers, bacon, and cheeses onto the pizza.
  9. Bake in a preheated 500F oven until golden brown on top, about 5-10 minutes (closer to 12 minutes if you are baking at 450).
  10. Let cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before slicing and serving!
  11. Repeat steps 6-8 for second pizza!  Bake while enjoying the first one 🙂
  12. VOILA!

Happy Cooking!!  Please email me with any questions.  Reading the recipe is WAY better straight out of the book, I highly recommend buying a copy!

PS – I’m currently raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of a friend of mine.  If you like this recipe and would like to show your support by donating, here is my website!   http://pages.teamintraining.org/nc/nikesf12/lizhward

May 30, 2012

Healthier Chicken Parmesan

This morning Kirk told me he was craving chicken, so we pull one of our 2-packs of frozen chicken breasts out of the freezer and put it into the fridge for thawing (so much faster if you put it in a bowl of water!!).  We decided on Chicken Parmesan after work, but both of us wanted a slightly healthier version.  After some quick googling, here is what we came up with!

Original recipes:

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, thawed or fresh
  • 2.5 Tbsp dry non-fat buttermilk & 2/3 cup water (optional, but recommended)
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano, rounded
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil, rounded
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 4 slices of skim mozzarella
  • 4 tsp of shredded parmesan
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (~1/2 jar)
  • 1/2 pack of whole wheat pasta

Directions:

  1. Pound chicken breasts out on a cutting board to 1/4-1/2″ thickness.  To do this, place the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap and get out some aggression with your meat hammer 🙂  Don’t be shy!!  Trim any extra fat off with kitchen shears. Place in a shallow baking dish.
  2. Using a fork or whisk, mix 2.5 Tbsp of the dry buttermilk with 2/3 cup water.  Pour over the chicken and make sure it is well covered.  You can do this the night before or 30 minutes before cooking (I did the later bc I didn’t have the recipe picked out ahead of time).
  3. Fill a large pot with water and bring water to boil over high heat.  Add a tsp or two of salt to help get the water going (and to add flavor).  Cover with lid until boiling.
  4. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  5. In another shallow bowl or baking dish, mix the panko crumbs, basil, oregano and garlic powder.  Set aside. I used a 9×9 dish.
  6. In another shallow bowl or baking dish, whisk an egg with a fork and pour a little of the buttermilk mixture from the chicken dish into the egg (~ Tbsp or 2).  Don’t worry, we’re going to be dipping the raw egg in this mixture, so we’re not contaminating anything.
  7. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with pam.
  8. Set your prepping bowls & sheet in a row:  soaking chicken, egg wash, crumbs, baking sheet.
  9. Pull the chicken out, shake off a little, dip in egg wash (both sides), dip in crumbs and then put on sheet.  Spray with a little pam (very little, just makes it a tad crispy) and pop in the oven.  Set timer for 15 minutes.
  10. Add the pasta to the boiling water.  Cook however long you want!  I cooked my for quite a while and then just turned off the heat and let it sit in the hot water until I was ready to drain.
  11. Slice the mozzarella.  Not thick but not razor thin… totally up to you.  Thicker = more calories.  Get enough on there so it tastes delicious though 🙂
  12. Shred the parmesan.  Set aside.
  13. When the timer goes off, pull out the chicken and check it.  I used a thermometer and stuck it in the side to make sure it was 170 degrees.  You could also cut it or poke it to make sure the juices are running clear.
  14. Laddle a few spoonfuls of sauce on top of the chicken and then top with mozzarella and parmesan.  Turn the broiler on high and pop back in the oven with the door slightly ajar.
  15. Drain pasta and the dole out between two bowls (or more).  Heat 1 cup of marinara sauce int he microwave and then mix with the pasta in the bowls.  Pull out the chicken and place on top…. voila!  Optional:  slice the chicken into strips before putting on the individual dish.  Makes it much more manageable.

Enjoy!  Happy cooking!

PS – Kirk ate all of what I gave him, but I only ate half of mine.  Totally depends on how much your guests eat, but this recipe is made for 2-3 people.  If you are serving with salad or other side items, you could totally stretch it to at least 4 people.

March 6, 2012

If at first you don’t succeed….doctor it up!!

So, I made a new soup recipe on Friday night and was super stoked about it…. only to be underwhelmed (sorry Sami and Carp..).  It wasn’t horrible, and personally I thought it looked very pretty, but the taste was just off. It didn’t have any heartiness to it, and the finish was a little bland (albeit nice and spicy). Instead of tossing it out, Kirk and I decided we’d give it another go with a few tweaks!

Here is the original Roasted Red Pepper Soup recipe I made: http://whatsgabycooking.com/roasted-red-pepper-and-heirloom-tomato-soup-with-crab/

To doctor it up, I added some potatoes for heartiness and vegetable broth for flavor. Then I finished it with a little salt and soy milk. Voila! Nice smooth taste, still spicy and definitely more satisfying than the previous version. We omitted the crab this time too since it didn’t really do anything last time… and I used it all in the crab cakes I made last night 🙂 Much better use of the precious meat!

Recommended Recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Soup:

  • 1 lb russet potatoes, washed and cut into quarters (or smaller if using bigger potatoes)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth, or a mix of both which is what I did)
  • 3-4 roasted red peppers (either freshly roasted or from a jar)
  • 2 cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped (or use a garlic press)
  • 1 yellow onion chopped (or 1 TBSP onion powder or flakes)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp goat cheese (optional)
  • 3/4 cups of plain original soy milk (can sub. 2% milk, cream, condensed milk, or omit)
  • 2 tsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

1.  In a large pot, heat EVOO on medium.  Sautee garlic, onion and red pepper flakes until fragrant and soft (5 minutes), stirring every now and then to make sure it doesn’t burn.

2. Add the broth, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and salt into the pot.  Bring to a boil, cover and turn down to med-low for 15 minutes.  Using a fork, check to see if the potatoes are soft.  If so, you’re ready to puree the soup!

3. Lower your immersion blender below the liquid surface and blend away.  Or, if you are using a traditional blender – carefully pour the mixture into the blender and puree!

4. Add the milk (and cheese, if adding) and stir to combine.  Taste to see if you think it needs any adjustment.  Might need a dash of salt, more milk, garlic powder… just play around with it in small quantities if its not where you want it! 🙂

This soup pairs great with toasted Naan bread or toasted cheesy french bread.

Happy cooking!!