April 25, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Not only do I love creamy soups, but I absolutely LOVE broccoli and cheese. Put the combination into a soupy mixture, and I'm there. This is one of the best broccoli cheese soups I've ever had. That may or may not be because it's homemade. {Einstein I love your version but real cheese does not taste or look like that} Anyway, I love this soup, and it's perfect for a rainy day like today. 

Broccoli Cheese Soup 
Serves 4
1 tablespoon melted butter                                              
1/2 medium chopped onion
1/4 cup melted butter                                                         
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk or heavy cream {Or half-and-half}                                         
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound fresh broccoli                                       
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg {Optional-Me and nutmeg are still trying to settle our differences}
8 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese {There is no real need for this much cheese, but if you want it, then pour it on in.            
salt and pepper

1. Saute the onion in the butter and set aside.  Cook the melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes – stir constantly and then add the milk or heavy cream.  Add the chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
 2. Add the broccoli and onions to the soup and cook over low heat for an additional 20-25 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Take 1/2 of the soup and puree it in a blender, then add it back to the pot with the remainder of the soup.  Stir in the cheese and nutmeg.
Homemade Croutons
Cut French bread or boule into 1/2-inch cubes.  Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan.  Add the bread cubes to the pan and sprinkle with salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently – 5 to 10 minutes or until nicely browned. Add more olive oil as needed.

April 23, 2011

Mom's Baked Chicken and Spinach Pasta

This recipe is so simple and has just the right amount of garlic flavor. I use store-bought minced garlic so I usually half the amount of garlic that any recipe calls for. Don't go overboard on the garlic because you will regret it. You don't want to scare people away with your dragon breath now do you?
Mom’s Baked Chicken and Spinach Pasta
1 lb. pasta (I used whole wheat shells)                               
1/4 cup olive oil

8 cloves garlic, minced                                         
1 tsp. salt

5 cups fresh spinach, chopped                                             
1/4 cup chicken broth

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.), diced      
2 cups mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Set a large pot of water to boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil, salt it and cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain.
2. While the pasta is cooking, set a large skillet over medium heat. Once it’s hot, heat the olive oil then add the chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides – about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and simmer with the chicken until it’s fragrant and begins to turn golden – about 3 minutes.
3. Add the salt, spinach and white wine to the skillet and cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes, or until the spinach begins to wilt. Toss the contents of the skillet with the pasta and place in a casserole dish. Cover with cheese and bake for 25 minutes.

April 21, 2011

Bacon-Broccoli Quiche

Quiche is one of those things that looks really difficult to make but actually isn't. (That is if you don't make your own pie crust and buy some from the grocery store.) This recipe is really tasty, and it involves a couple of my favorite ingredients...bacon and broccoli. Yummy.

One word of advice for quiche...It doesn't make a good leftover so try to eat it the same day you make it. Reheated cooked egg is just not ok. End of story.

Bacon-Broccoli Quiche

1 pkg. (15 oz.) refrigerated 9” pie crust dough           
10 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped                                         
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper                                              
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
10 eggs                                                                    
3 cups milk
1 pkg. (8 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese, 2 cups                   
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen broccoli florets, thawed                     
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley

1. Fit 1 sheet pie crush dough into each of 2 (9”) metal pie pans; flute edges.
2. Prick bottoms with fork; freeze until firm, 20 minutes. 
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In skillet over medium-high heat cook bacon until crisp, 6-8 minutes; drain on paper towels.  Discard all but 1 Tbsp. fat from skillet. 
4. Over medium-high heat cook onion, salt, pepper and nutmeg until softened, 4-5 minutes; remove from heat.
5. Beat eggs with milk; stir in cheese.  Toss broccoli with flour.  Place pans on baking sheet. 
6. Reserve 2 slices bacon; coarsely chop remaining bacon.  Divide chopped bacon, broccoli and onion mixture between crusts; pour egg mixture into crusts.  Bake 40 minutes or until set and golden.  Cool 15 minutes.  Crumble with remaining bacon.  Before serving top quiches with parsley and bacon.
7. To freeze, cool completely.  Wrap in plastic wrap and foil.  To reheat frozen quiche, thaw in refrigerator.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Remove foil and plastic wrap.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until heated through.

April 17, 2011

Slow Roasted Tomato and Basil Bisque

I'm not going to lie, but I'm really surprised I tried this recipe. I can't say I ever had tomato soup and grilled cheese growing up, but for some reason this sounded good. I guess my taste buds have grown up. Anyway, I found this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Back to Her Roots. It's a little time consuming because you have to roast the tomatoes but it's totally worth it. Nice and creamy. That's how I like things. 

Slow Roasted Tomato and Basil Bisque
Makes 4-1 1/2 c. servings

1 28 oz. can of HIGH-QUALITY Italian tomatoes {Cento Italian Style Peeled Tomatoes}
1 large bunch basil
 {I sprinkled in some dried basil because I can't seem to find fresh}
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 c. skim milk, scalded
 {I used 2% because I just can't imagine buying skim}
Salt and pepper

1.   Preheat oven to 300°. Pour whole tomatoes into a 9×13 baking dish. Slice tomatoes in half. Drizzle with 1/4 c. olive oil. Sprinkle with half basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes for 90 minutes until sauce is thickened.  In a blender, add tomatoes and sauce, remainder of basil and skim milk. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and small basil leaves for garnish. Perfect for grilled cheese dipping!

April 9, 2011

Best Alfredo Sauce

To be completely honest, I am OBSESSED with alfredo. I don't care if it's on pasta, pizza, or on my finger. I love it! Anyway, after trying several disappointing alfredo recipes that never seem to turn out just right, I finally found one that is flawless every time. It's creamy, thickens like it should and tastes great. Try it out! You won't be disappointed.

2 Tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups half-and-half
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. seasoning of your choice, (Italian, Sicilian, etc.)

1. Melt butter in medium pot over low heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in flour. Gradually whisk in half-and-half until smooth.
2. Bring to boil, whisking. {This is the key: Boil and Whisk} Cook, whisking, until beginning to thicken, 2-3 minutes. Stir in Parmesan, salt, seasoning and pepper.

Serve with 12 oz. of pasta or half the recipe to use for pizza sauce.

April 7, 2011

Creamy White Bean Chicken Chili

I got this recipe from A Bountiful Kitchen, and it is honestly one of my favorite things to make. It is so easy, has just the right amount of spice, and warms you right up on a snowy day like, well, today if you live in good old Utah. Anyway, you should totally try it because it'll make you incredibly happy and satisfied. Just sayin.
Creamy White Bean Chicken Chili
Slightly Adapted From A Bountiful Kitchen
1/2 Tbsp. oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced, or 1 tsp. garlic powder
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded 
2 cans Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 oz.) can chicken broth
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup half & half

1. Saute onion in oil under tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add chicken, beans, broth, chiles and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and half and half. Serve immediately.

*For a Slow Cooker version: Add all the ingredients, including a whole chicken breast, into a slow cooker and leave out the sour cream and half & half. Cook on high for 4 hours. When there are 30 minutes left, remove the chicken, shred it, and place back into the slow cooker. Stir in the sour cream and half and half and cook for the remaining 30 minutes.

Optional: Top with tortilla chips and cheese to make it extra tasty. Tostito's Hint of Lime are perfect with this.

Starting Fresh

So frankly, I thought this blog needed a little renovation. I wasn't loving the design, header, etc. so this is what I came up with. I have to say that I'm finally LOVING it. I'm going to start blogging more and make this blog more useful for everyone. I've added some pages that will be eventually be filled with all sorts of wonderful things. Stay tuned for some awesomeness that's about to happen! At least I hope so. :)

April 5, 2011

Thai Chicken Pizza

Since I decided to give this blog a makeover, I figured I should probably share the recipe for this wonderful pizza. This pizza has so much flavor! Don't worry about having all the ingredients for the peanut dipping sauce because they're just too expensive. You could easily buy some jarred peanut sauce and mix it with the rest of the ingredients. Improvise! It's what I do best.
Thai Chicken Pizza
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup peanut dipping sauce (below)

8 ounces mozzarella cheese


1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 475F.
Combine the chicken with the soy sauce, honey, and cornstarch and let marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Heat a nonstick frying pan over high heat. When hot, add the chicken pieces and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, until cooked through.
Prepare pizza dough and place on pan. Brush the olive oil all over the edges of the dough. Spread the peanut dipping sauce on the dough. Top with the mozzarella and cooked chicken. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven, top with cilantro and roasted peanuts.
Peanut Dipping Sauce
1 teaspoon cooking oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter

Heat the oil in small saucepan over medium-low heat. When the oil is just starting to get hot, add the garlic and ginger and fry for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the sweet chili sauce, hoisin sauce, water, and peanut butter and stir until smooth. Simmer until thickened. Let cool.

April 3, 2011

Oreo Cupcakes

So when I was browsing through Tastespotting the other day, I came upon this lovely recipe. These cupcakes looked so perfect that I just had to try them. Fortunately, I was invited to a bridal shower so I had a reason to make them. The good thing was they were really easy. Love it when things are easy.

Surprise in the bottom!
Oreo Cupcakes
1 Devil's Food cake mix 
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons Oreo cookies, finely crushed
15 Oreos for the top of each cupcake

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Twist Oreos in half and set aside the extra cookies for later. Place the side with cream filling in the bottom of each cupcake liner, cream-side facing up.
2. Prepare cake mix as instructed.
3. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until cupcakes are set and firm to the touch. Allow to cool in pans 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. 
4. For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks. Gently fold in the cookie crumbs with a spatula.
7. Scoop the mixture into a pastry bag and pipe on top of the cupcakes. Garnish with Oreo cookies.