Friday, January 23, 2009

Tony Roma's Baked Potato Soup

I've kind of been on a soup kick lately, but I think it's time to kick the kick because we aren't even close to soup weather. It's in the 80's here today! Guess it's time to fire up the barbeque instead! So here is my last soup recipe for a while...

Tony Roma's Baked Potato Soup
(dont' know if this is REALLY the restaurants recipe--I copied it from my friend Allison)
2-3 medium potatoes, baked, peeled & diced
(bake at 400 degrees for about 1 hour)
3 Tblspn. butter
2 Tblspn. flour
4 c. chicken stock
3 c. water
1/4 c. cornstarch
1 1/2 c. instant mashed potatoes
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. basil
1/8 tsp. thyme
1 c. half-n-half
In large pot, melt butter and saute onions until tender and slightly brown.
Add flour to onions.
Add stock, water, cornstarch, mashed potatoes and spices.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and add half-n-half and diced baked potatoes.
Garnish with grated cheese, chopped bacon & diced green onions.

Beef Stroganoff

My mom doesn't love cooking like I do. In fact, she doesn't even LIKE to cook. She usually makes the simplest, easiest, fastest thing and eats only to survive. (sigh) I wish I was more like her...but instead, I love food. I don't mind the grocery shopping, I don't mind the prep work or the cooking, and I love the eating part of it all. That being said, there are still days when I need something simple, easy, & fast. So instead of looking through my recipes, I look to my mom. This is her recipe--the stroganoff I grew up on, and ironically, one of Marc's favorites.

Beef Stroganoff
(thanks Mom!)

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. beef boullion

Brown the beef and then add onions. Sprinkle garlic salt and dry mustard over meat. Then add in the mayo, sour cream and broth. Simmer until all mixed and heated through.

Serve over egg noodles or rice.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Coq au Vin

"Coq au Vin" is French for "rooster in wine." Well, there is no rooster in this, and there is no wine--it's chicken & broth--but that is the name it was given in the magazine and it sounds much fancier than "hearty slop", so I'll just stick with it. But whatever you call this, Marc LOVED it! Seriously loved it. But remember, he is a "meat and potatoes kind of guy" and if you add any type of cream sauce, he thinks he has died and gone to heaven. So this was a huge winner in his book--but we all liked it.

Coq au Vin
(Simple & Delicious, Jan/Feb 2007)
6 medium red potatoes, quartered
1/2 cup water
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted (does NOT taste like this soup at all--flavor is well masked by the thyme)
1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
1-1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms (I omitted)
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/3 cup chopped green onions

Place potatoes and water in a microwave-safe dish; cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Add carrots; cook 4 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender. Drain.
In a large bowl, combine the soup, wine or broth, bouillon, garlic, parsley, thyme and pepper.
Cut each chicken breast half into three pieces. Add the chicken, potato mixture, mushrooms, bacon and onions to soup mixture; stir to coat.
Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
Cover and bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until no longer pink.
Yield: 6 servings.

Corn Bisque with Rosemary and Bell Pepper

I have been in the mood for soup lately--something I learned to like later in life. In my quest for new soup recipes, one of my college roommates shared her favorite with me. It is now a favorite of mine (and Marc's), too!

Corn Bisque with Rosemary and Red Bell Pepper
(thanks Chelsea!)

4 T. (1/2 stick) butter
2 cups chopped onions
1/2 C. diced carrot
1/2 C. diced celery
7 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed, drained (about 42 ounces)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
6 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1 C. half and half
1 red bell pepper, chopped

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.
Add onions, carrot, and celery and sauté 3 minutes.
Add 5 1/2 cups corn, rosemary, and cayenne pepper and sauté 2 minutes.
Add stock, bring to boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender and liquid is slightly reduced, about 30 minutes.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to pot.
Mix in half and half and remaining 2 cups corn. S
eason to taste with salt and pepper.
Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium- high heat.
Add bell pepper and sauté until almost tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir bell pepper into soup (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Croissant and Chocolate Bread Pudding

Even though the holidays are over, we still crave chocolate around here. We had this on Monday night for FHE. It is great served warm, and of course, a la mode!

Croissant and Chocolate Bread Pudding
(Real Simple, Dec. 2008)

Unsalted butter for the baking dish, at room temperature
6 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 croissants, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 pound)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks
Heat oven to 375° F.
Butter an 8-inch square or other shallow 2-quart baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg.
Add the croissants and chocolate and mix to combine.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and bake until set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Make-Ahead Tip: Cut the croissants and chop the chocolate, then store them at room temperature in separate resealable plastic bags for up to 1 day.
Yield: Makes 8 servings

Chicken Lime (Tortilla) Soup

Chicken Lime (Tortilla) Soup
(thanks to my friend Allison Sovereign--I copied this recipe from her book when I visited her last year in AZ)

4 chicken breasts, cooked & cubed/shredded
1 onion, diced
16 oz. can of diced tomatoes
10 oz. can tomatoes with diced green chilis (RoTel)
8 c. water
3 (16 oz.) cans hominy, drained
6 chicken bouillion cubes
salt to taste
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Monterey Jack cheese
tortilla chips

Saute onion in a little butter.
Add the rest of ingredients & simmer for about an hour.
Serve over crushed chips, squeeze 1/2 lime over each bowl & top with cheese.
(the lime is a MUST--it makes the soup!)

To pre-cook chicken for any type of recipe: bring water to boil and put raw chicken breasts in water. Boil for 6 minutes. Turn off stove heat, cover pot and set timer for 12 minutes. Then drain and let chicken cool before handling.

Banana Oat Smoothie

A healthy start to the new year, and each new day...

Banana-Oat Smoothie
(MS EveryDay Food)
In a blender combine:
1/4 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 c. plain low-fat yogurt
1 banana, cut into thirds
1/2 c. fat-free milk
2 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Puree until smooth. Serve immediately. (Best if REALLY cold)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gnocchi with Sausage & Spinach

Gnocchi with Sausage & Spinach
(Real Simple, March 2007)

Two 9 oz. packages refrigerated gnocchi, or one 17.5 oz. package shelf-stable gnocchi
1 Tblspn. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 lb. Italian ground sausage
1 clove garlic, minced
One 5-oz bag baby spinach
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¾ c. grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnishing

Cook the gnocchi according to the package directions, reserving ¼ c. of the pasta water.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet and cook onion until softened, about 5 min.
Add the sausage and cook, crumbling it with a spoon, until browned (5-7 min.)
Add the garlic, spinach, salt & pepper and cook, tossing frequently, until spinach wilts.
Add the drained gnocchi, the reserved cooking liquid, and the Parmesan, and toss.Divide among individual bowls and sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.

A new year...a new system

I have tried a number of different ways to keep track of my "to try" recipes. So far, nothing has worked all that well. This year, I am trying something new......I bought a file box. A portable, cute file box.
I rip recipes out of magazines all the time and end up with an unsightly mess of papers. Today is the day to organize them in this box, in hopes of getting through even more new recipes this year. Once I get these organized, I will go through my email account where I have saved literally HUNDREDS of recipes and try to weed out what we really will try, print them off and add them to the box, too.
Wish me luck!

Monday, January 5, 2009

A look back at 2008

One of my goals for 2008 was to start a recipe blog. Thank goodness I can cross off at least ONE goal from my list! :) We tried a LOT of new recipes this past year, but only 109 made it to the blog--that's an average of 9 new recipes per month. Not bad. I just looked back to see what we have tried and liked and decided to pick my favorite from each category. Here are my top picks of 2008:

Appetizer: Cheesy Spinach Pinwheels
Artichokes: Hearty Greek Pasta
Beef: Cahoon's Crockpot Beef
Bread: Sweet Texan Cornbread
Breakfast: Early Riser Oven Omelet
Brunch: Veggie Pizza
Chicken & Entree: Baked Chicken Fajita Tostadas w/ Cilantro Lime Rice
Cookies: It's a tie! Coconut Sandwiches & Peppermint Chocolate Chunk cookies
Cream Cheese: Raspberry Cream Cheese Cake
Dessert: How do I choose just one? I had to pick 3!
Le Jour at la Nuit Hotel de Crillon
Black Bottom Macaroon
Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pie
Lime: Baked Lime Chicken
Pasta: Stove-top Macaroni and Cheese
(I already chose "Hearty Greek Pasta" for my artichoke pick!)
Pork: Baked Pork Chops
Salad: Out of This World Salad
Side: Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Soup: White Chicken Chili