Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Smoked Chicken, Broccoli, and Black Bean Soup

I know we are coming out of soup season, but this is a great one to add to your repetoire. It is really delicious. It comes from a chef here at a local restaurant in La Jolla Cove, George's. It is very popular and after tasting the soup you may be able to see why it is a hot spot. Enjoy!

½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup diced carrots
½ cup diced onions
½ cup diced celery
1 cup broccoli stems, diced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried sweet basil
¼ cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock, hot
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon Tabasco
1 cup diced smoked chicken (recipe follows)
1 cup cooked black beans
1 cup broccoli florets
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with a small amount of warm water (optional)

In saucepan, add ¼ cup butter. Saute carrots, onion, celery, and broccoli stems for 5 minutes. Add thyme, oregano and basil; sauté 5 minutes more. Add wine and deglaze pan. Add hot chicken stock and reduce heat by 1/3. Add Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, smoked chicken, beans and broccoli florets. Simmer 5 minutes. Add cream, simmer 5 minutes more and season to taste (thicken with cornstarch if desired). Drop in remaining butter, piece by piece, stirring until melted and serve immediately.

Smoked Chicken:
On a covered grill, slightly smoke boneless chicken, cooking to medium rare (about 30 minutes). The chef at George’s uses applewood chips and does not allow the grill to become too hot.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Homemade PlayDough

This is similar to the recipe Hill used when we were in Utah. Gracie loved it and if some does find its way into her mouth, it won't make her sick. I highly reccommend it! Hours of play dough fun!

1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
1 c. water
1 tbsp. oil
2 tsp. cream of tartar
Food coloring by drops

1. Combine all ingredients in a pan and stir. Cook over low heat, stirring until a ball forms.
2. Add food coloring and mix thoroughly until desired color.
3. Cool on foil. Store in covered container

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mac & Peas

I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe. It was very easy to make and also very yummy to eat. It is an Italian family recipe from my friend Brooke. It is one of her favorites. Enjoy!

½ package frozen peas (16 oz. bag)
½ yellow onion peeled and sliced thinly in quarters
2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small can tomato paste (6 oz.)
2 large bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Pasta- small shells, ditali, or broken spaghetti

In a small pan sauté the sliced onion in olive oil until the onion is clear. Add the frozen peas and cook together with onion until peas are no longer forze. Empty the can of paste into pan with onion and peas, add 2 paste cans full of water also, and two bay leaves. Mix together well and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add more water if sauce becomes too thick. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 30 minutes.

Serve over “macaroni.” Serves four.

Upgrade: add grilled chicken breast, cut into several small pieces and mix in.

Chicken Spaghetti from The Pioneer Woman

This recipe comes directly from The Pioneer Woman Cooks! website. I fully credit her innovation and cooking skills, but I made this over the weekend and it was TO DIE FOR, and really very simple. Step by step instructions (with step by step pictures) can be found at the link above.

1 cut-up fryer OR 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-1lb. box of thin spaghetti
2 cans cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup (I prefer chicken)
1 onion
1 green bell pepper
1 (4oz.) jar diced pimentos, drained
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp. Lawry's season salt
ground black pepper
1/8-1/4 tsp. red cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Place chicken in large pot and cover with water, bring to boil and allow to boil for a few minutes, then simmer on med-low heat for 30-45 minutes. Remove chicken and reserve 2 cups of the chicken broth from the pot; set aside.
2. Add spaghetti to remaining broth in the pot and cook until al dente (do not overcook or the spaghetti will become mushy in the casserole). While spaghetti cooks, shred chicken breasts or pick the meat from the bones of the cut up fryer. You should have approx. 2 cups of chicken meat. Dice the onion and bell pepper very finely.
3. When the spaghetti is finished, drain in and place it in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken and cream of mushroom/chicken soup. Mix together then add the onion, bell pepper, diced pimentos and 2 cups of the shredded cheese.
4. Now add the Lawry's seasoned salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp is about right, especially if you're feeding this to kids). Taste the mixture and add salt if necessary. Now, add the reserved chicken broth one cup at a time until the mixture becomes stirrable, but NOT soupy (usually just under 2 cups). Place the mixture in a casserole dish (at least 9x13 size) and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and golden.

This makes a very FULL 9x13 pan of casserole, but it was gone in no time at our house. The boys loved it, too. They even ate the included veggies (dicing them finely is the trick). Enjoy!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Best Ever Tomato Soup

Best EVER tomato soup EVER! I wanted to make Ultimate Grilled Cheese sandwhiches with this but didn't have the time. Instead I just slapped some mayo and a slice of velveeta on some wheat bread and grilled it. It was FAB-U-LOUS dipped in this BEST EVER tomato soup.

3 Tbs. Olive Oil
2 Large Onions, diced small
5 cups diced and seeded tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup basil pesto
salt & pepper to taste
Fresh Parmesan cheese

Cook onions in oil over med-low heat until translucent.
Add tomatoes and allow to warm to a simmer.
Add chicken stock.
Bring to a simmer and allow to cook 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and add whipping cream and pesto.
Blend to desired consistency in blender.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Top with fresh parmesan cheese and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Abbi Penn.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Buttermilk Pancakes

*From my sister-in-law* These aren't thick, heavy, cake-like pancakes, they are light and delicious. Great for kids. The recipe is easier than I expected and not too hard to memorize b/c there's 1 of almost everything.

Whip the following with hand mixer in a large bowl:
-1 egg
-1 c. sour cream (can use Light)
-1 c. buttermilk (or 1 c. milk & 1 TB lemon juice)

Add the following and mix by hand:
-1 c. flour
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1 TB sugar
-1/2 tsp. salt

Drop batter 1/8 c. at a time onto greased griddle warmed to med-high heat. Cook until top bubbles, then flip and cook until done. Makes about 24 small pancakes.