Monday, October 25, 2010

Cream of Potato Soup

This soup has been a staple in my family for as long as I can remember. My grandma and mom used to make it for us to soothe an upset stomach or counter an oncoming cold. Now I make it as the ultimate comfort food. It's nothing like all of the Loaded Baked Potato soups out there. It's simple, quick and incredibly delicious. Enjoy!

Cream of Potato Soup

5-6 medium Russett potatoes, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup heavy cream, Half & Half or whole milk
1 Tbsp. butter
Garlic Salt
Onion Salt
Lemon Pepper
Mashed Potato Flakes (optional)

Place potatoes, celery and onions in a large pot and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the potatoes are tender enough to mash, about 20 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and mash the potatoes with a potato masher. At this point, if the soup seems too runny, you can either add mashed potato flakes or return the pot to low heat and let the soup thicken. I usually let it thicken for another 5-10 minutes over med-low heat. Turn the heat to low and add the cream, butter, salts and lemon pepper. All of this is done to taste, so keep tasting until it's just right!

Serve warm with bread and butter. You feel better already, don't you?

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce

These enchiladas remind me of my Arizona home. The sauce is not red enchilada sauce, rather a mixture of taco and tomato sauces. It's a delicious combination and a simple meal to throw together. Serve it up with this Spanish Rice and lots of sour cream and guacamole. You won't want to miss out on this favorite of ours!

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2-1/2 to 3 cups grated cheese (Colby Jack, Monterey Jack, Cheddar all work great)
24 corn tortillas
1-2 cups vegetable oil
2 small cans tomato sauce
1 bottle La Victoria Red Taco Sauce (I know this is sold in Utah and Arizona. It is a tomato-based taco sauce, not a chunky salsa in any way. One bottle is 15 ounces, and I prefer the mild flavor.)

1. Boil chicken breasts with celery, carrots, and onion for 30 minutes, or until chicken is done.
2. Take chicken out of broth and put on a plate to cool. Do not discard broth, reserve at least 2 cups of it for later.
3. While chicken is cooling, fill sauce pot up with 1 inch of oil and heat. Dip one corn tortilla in the oil at a time, softening it by submerging it for only a few seconds. You still want it pliable and definitely NOT crispy. Drain softened tortillas on paper towels.
4. In a medium bowl, mix the 2 cans of tomato sauce with the entire bottle of taco sauce. Combine well and set aside.
5. Begin shredding chicken into small pieces, getting rid of any fat, veins or gristle.
6. Put freshly shredded chicken in a large mixing bowl and combine with 2 cups of the grated cheese. Add 1 cup (or more) of the reserved broth to the chicken/cheese mixture and mix well. The mixture should be held together well but not soupy.
7. Preaheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
8. Spoon a little bit of chicken/cheese mixture into a tortilla. Roll up the tortilla and place it in the pan, edge down so the tortillas stay closed. Continue until the pan is full. If you have extra chicken/cheese, you can quickly make more tortillas or save it for tacos some other time!
9. Once the pan is full of enchiladas, pour the sauce over the tortillas, making sure to cover well.
10. Sprinkle remaining grated cheese over the enchiladas and bake for 30 minutes, uncovered. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, cilantro and/or Spanish Rice for a complete meal.

This recipe can easily be halved, or you can make the full meal and freeze half of it before baking.

Spanish Rice

This is my very favorite version of Spanish Rice. It can stand on its own as a main meal or serve as a side to any Mexican dish. The flavor is unique and better than any restaurant rice that's out there!

Spanish Rice

4-5 slices of bacon, uncooked
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup long grain white rice, uncooked
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
2 cups water

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until just before it turns crispy. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Do not drain the grease! Over med-high heat, add the rice, bell pepper and onion to the bacon grease and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the tomato sauce, water, and bacon (crumbled or cut) and bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and cover. Simmer 20-25 minutes over low heat until rice is done. 

We love to eat this with shredded cheese on top and sour cream on the side, or with Red Chicken Enchiladas. Delicious!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Marinated Cherry Tomato Salad

I have an over abundance of cherry tomatoes in my garden this year, so I decided to give this recipe a whirl. It was extra delicious and I loved every last drop.

4 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar (I used pear infused vinegar, which added a really yummy flavor, but used what you have.)
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar

In a small bowl or cup measure and mix together oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and sugar.
Pour dressing over cherry tomatoes in a serving dish and gently stir to coat. Chill for at least 2 hours. Gently stir from bottom to top, coating all tomatoes, before serving. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Potato Soup with Apples and Brie

It's not much to look at, but it's really yummy. Instead of pureeing mine, I smashed the apples with a potato masher and then some of the potatoes. I like some potato chunks in mine. I also served mine in these yummy bread bowls!

1 chopped onion
1/4 cup sliced leeks (whites only)
4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and quartered
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (or vegetarian to make it a vegetarian soup)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tea salt
1/4 dried thyme
3 cups fat-free evaporated milk (I used a mix of evaporated and regular)
6 small potatoes, peeled and sliced
4 ounces brie cheese, cut into small cubes

1. Spray a soup pot with cooking spray.
2. Add the onion, leeks and quartered apples.
3. Saute over medium heat until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, salt and thyme and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Remove bay leaf, turn off heat and set mixture aside.
7. While the broth mixture is cooking, combine the milk and potatoes in a separate saucepan.
8. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
9. Pour the potato mixture into the soup pot; stir to mix.
10. In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until smooth, adding pieces of brie cheese while pureeing.
11. Return the pureed batch to the soup pot and heat until warmed through.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Paula Deen's Jambalaya

I watched the Food Network last week, several days in a row, and got some great ideas from Paula Deen and Giada de Laurentiis. When I saw Paula make this dish, I knew I had to try it. It was so simple and quick and looked fabulous. I was not disappointed!

from Paula Deen 

Jambalaya mix (see recipe below)
2-1/2 cups water
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 pound fully cooked smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 to 3/4 pound medium, fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined

Jambalaya Mix:
1 cup long grain white rice
1 Tbsp. dried minced onion
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 Tbsp. beef bouillon granules
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper 
1/4 tsp. salt
1 bay leaf

In a dutch oven or large pot, combine mix, water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and smoked sausage. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce and let simmer 20 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until shrimp are pink.

*I used about 1/8 tsp. of cayenne pepper because we don't like it too spicy. You can use less or more, depending on how well you can handle the heat!
*I used the amount of sausage called for, but next time I'll just use the full 14oz. that comes in the package. We like meat at our house.
*My 2-year-old boys polished their bowls. It's always a bonus when a good meal is also kid-friendly.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Salad de Maison

My cousin prepared and served this salad at my baby shower in Arizona back in 2007. I am not kidding when I say that I have been thinking about it ever since! I finally decided to make it tonight and wow. WOW. This is so flavorful, and it's great as a side salad or main dish. The combination of lemon and garlic in the dressing reminds me a lot of Italy for some reason. That just tells you how incredible the flavor is! Enjoy!

Salad de Maison

Juice from 1 lemon (or 2 Tablespoons Pure Lemon Juice)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

Combine lemon juice, garlic, pepper and salt. Blend well, then add oil in a small stream, all the while blending rapidly with a fork, until all the oil has been added. (I used my Magic Bullet, or a food processor would also work). Let stand for 3 hours.

2 heads romaine lettuce
4-5 strips bacon
1 cup swiss cheese, coarsely shredded
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Cut bacon into 2-inch strips and cook in frying pan. Drain. Combine lettuce, tomatoes, swiss cheese, bacon, almonds and parmesan cheese together in a large salad bowl. Toss together with dressing. Garnish with croutons. Serve immediately.

Friday, January 8, 2010

White Bean Chicken Chili

This is a must try. It is really yummy and easy too. It is kind of like Taco Soup just a little more refined.

2 1/2 to 3 cups water
1tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. cumin seed - if you can't find it, just add more cumin
4 chicken breasts

Simmer above ingredients in soup pot for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked.

Saute together:

1 garlic clove
1 cup minced white onion

When chicken is done, take out and cut into bite size pieces. DO NOT THROW OUT WATER! Add the following to the pot of water including the juice of

2 cans white NOrthern beans (15 oz. cans)
2 cans white shoepeg corn
1 can diced green chilies (4 oz.) add more if you like it hot.
1 lime- juice it and put in pot- more if needed
1 tsp. ground cumin.

Heat, but don't boil. Serve over corn ships and grated jack cheese. Enjoy!