Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kim's Chicken Tortilla Soup



I'd call this Six Can Soup, really.

Doesn't that sound more fun?

I think so!

My friend, Kim, is a great cook!

I always love to have dinner with her for two reasons.
  1. She makes it look "souper" easy (a little funny since she gave me the soup recipe!)
  2. It always tastes amazing.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, bothers her!

Well, I know that's not exactly true, because then she'd be a Saint.

She is a Saint, but not that kind of Saint!

But when things do bother her, she doesn't show it like I do!

She's raising three great boys and a husband

and they have a dog named Chief.

"Chief!"  That tells you Chief isn't a tea cup poodle -- Chief is big enough to count as one of the boys.

But I didn't include him!

Why did I tell you all of this?

Because when Kim cooks, it has to please!

She gave me this recipe almost a year ago.

Or at least when the weather was cooler and we were freezing together at the baseball fields.

I couldn't forget it -- it was so easy!

Put these ingredients on your next grocery list and you'll be wishin' you knew Kim too!

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 family size can Chicken and Rice soup
1 can tomatoes with green chilies
1 can ranch style beans
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of corn
1 can chicken*
see my note**

Place everything in a large sauce pan and heat thoroughly.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and a squeeze of lime, if you desire.

I served it with cornbread the first night and cheese quesadillas the second!

*I didn't buy canned chicken because I had cooked chicken breasts at home that I shredded and put in the soup.

**We like black beans a whole lot!  So I added a drained can to the soup mix.  It was great!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Crockpot Sweet-Heat Meat

I'd like to say "Beef" in the title,

or "pork."

or maybe even "chicken."

But because this is versatile, I just called it meat.

Doesn't sound appetizing, does it?

I know!

I'm not sure that I would have read much further than the title!

But I'm just saying, that if you'll give this a whirl, you'll be glad that you hung with me!

This can be as spicy as you want.

I like this recipe because it's kind of a sweet heat.

Because my girl cherub is a wimp when it comes to much spice, I kept it easy.

But I will say, I could have easily added an extra toss of the chipotle peppers!

Which!  Let me tell you my most exciting find on the grocery aisle this past shopping trip!

Normally, I have to buy a can of chipotle peppers.

Like this:



I pop the top, use what I need and freeze the rest until another recipe.

But then I found the peppers, chopped, in a jar . . . a small jar, but none-the-less, a jar!
That means I could just use what I need and store the rest in the refrigerator beside the mayonnaise and pickles!
This is GREAT!

I served this meat concoction twice:  once over cheese grits, which I really like, but my boy cherub only rated it a 6.5.  The second serving was over saffron rice with additional grilled onions and red peppers.  That was a hit with everyone!

Crockpot Sweet-Heat Meat

4-6 pounds of meat of your choice (roast, pork shoulder, chicken)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
chipotle peppers, chopped* (amount depends on desired heat)
4 TBSP brown sugar
24 ounces dr. pepper (I used a portion of a 2-liter and just guessed.  No measuring needed)
cornstarch, optional

Place meat in the crockpot, top with the onions, brown sugar, peppers, and pour the dr. pepper over the meat, careful not to over-fill the crockpot!

Allow to cook on low 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. 

Once the meat is done, use two forks to shred the meat.  Leave the meat in the juices and, using a slury of cornstarch and water, thicken the juice by pouring the mixed cornstarch into the meat and stirring well.  The heat from the crockpot will thicken the juice.

This is great to do if you want to serve the meat over rice or cheese grits or mashed potatoes.

OR!  You can leave the cornstarch mixture out and serve the shredded meat in flour tacos with all of the topping options!

*Chipotle peppers are very hot!  They are a smoked jalapeno, usually in an adobo sauce.  A little can go a long way.  I really like the flavor of these peppers!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Hosaf" (Dried Fruit Compote)



I've made reference to our trip last Summer to different European countries.

My prized souvenirs are cookbooks from each country.

I'm not sure, of the 4 cookbooks, which is my favorite, but I surely enjoy the one I purchased while in Greece.

I'll tell the quick story:

We were in an open air market in Greece, searching through antiques and junk.

Along the perimeter of where we were shopping were business.

In typical European fashion, outside one of the restaurants was a young man leaning against the doorframe, as if to summon customers into his restaurant.

When he heard our English, he asked where we were from, as he had studied in the States when he was in school.

That question led to a great conversation and he invited us into the restaurant which he and his mother owned. 

We sampled all sorts of incredible foods that afternoon and when I told him that I would love to have a cookbook because of the great experience we had just had, he showed me the cookbook that his mother had completed; both in Greek and English!

If you're ever in Athens, try Café Avissinia where Ketty and Nikolas are serving incredible Mediterranean food!

This dish, Nikolas served to us with Greek yogurt. 

I also like it with pork or chicken, or even stirred into oatmeal.

Hosaf

1 teacup*dried prunes
1 teacup unsalted, roasted almonds or walnuts**
1 teacup dried apricots, chopped
1 teacup raisins
1 teacup dried figs, chopped
1 teacup dried pineapple, chopped
6 whole star anise or 2 sticks cinnamon
2-3 teacups sugar

Place all of the ingredients, except for the sugar and spices, in a large bowl and cover with water and leave to soak 3-4 hours or overnight.

Pour the fruit and water into a large pan and add the star anise or the cinnamon sticks.  Bring the water to a bowl.  Add the sugar and continue to boil over high heat until the syrup thickens.  This does take awhile.  Stirring often so that the sugar does not burn.

Place the compote into a container and refrigerate.  Serve with yogurt, over pork, or in oatmeal.

*This is how Ketty has the recipe written.  I did use a teacup, because I have several.  However, I think what is important is that you keep the measurements equal.  So if you want to use a 1 cup measuring cup, great!  Or if you want a smaller amount, use a 1/2 cup measuring cup. 

**I used walnuts, as it's what I had on hand.  Whichever nut you use, I would suggest chopping them slightly.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Breast of Chicken with Cream

Hotel in Paris, France


The Summer of 2012, we took the family on a European vacation.

My souvenirs from the trip was a cookbook from each country that we visited.

It has been so fun to make some of the foods that we enjoyed while we were away!

Last week, I used the book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

I love this cookbook because it not only has recipes, but it gives the technical information about the dish or the style of cooking. 

It's very interesting to read!

For example, this dish, in French, is called Supremes de Volaille a Blanc.

Doesn't that sound much more interesting?

"Supremes" is a boneless piece of chicken breast.

If the wing is left on the breast, it then becomes a "cotelette."

The breast of a cooked chicken is not a "supreme" but a "blanc de poulet."

Can you believe that I learned all of this from this amazing cookbook?

It will not surprise you that Julia Child is one of the contributing authors for this book.

Which, another piece of information:  Did you know that Julia Child was born in California? 

Seriously! The girl wasn't even French!

Whether you say "Chicken with Cream" or "Supremes de Volaille a Blanc," it won't matter, but you will be saying "YUM!"

Breast of Chicken with Cream

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded out thin)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 oz butter
2 oz chicken broth
2 oz Madeira (I substituted additional chicken broth)
8 oz heavy cream
salt/pepper
lemon juice, as needed

Rub the chicken breasts with the 1/2 tsp. lemon juice and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Heat the 2 oz of butter in a large pan until it is foaming.  Quickly turn the chicken breasts in the butter, covering both sides.  Place a lid on the pan and allow the chicken to cook, 5-6 minutes.  Check for doneness.  Do not over-cook.

When the chicken is done, remove to a plate and keep warm.

To the pan, add the chicken broth/wine and boil down quickly over high heat until it is getting thick and syrups.  Stir in the cream and boil down again, over medium high heat until the cream has thickened slightly.

Taste the sauce; add salt/pepper and any lemon juice, if needed.

Return the chicken to the pan and ladle the sauce over the chicken.

Serve immediately with a risotto or rice.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Southwest Gravy over Green Chili Cornbread

I really should have planned better!

I made a menu and went to the store.

I planned for some new recipes.

Recipes from cookbooks that I bought while we were on our Summer vacation last year in Europe.

Exciting recipes!

Recipes that weren't cooked in the crockpot.

 . . . and there's the dilemma!

I worked all week!

I put everything in the freezer and revamped our weekly menu!

One night, I created this dinner sensation! 

It's a keeper in our family . . . maybe your family will like it too!

Southwest Gravy over Cornbread

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 can tomatoes with chilies
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 tsp. chili powder
cornbread mix
necessary ingredients for your cornbread mix
green chilies

Prepare your cornbread according to the package directions.  Add the desired amount of green chilies to the batter.  Place in the oven and cook according to directions while you cook the meat mixture.

Over medium high heat, cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink.  Drain off the fat.

To the meat, add the can of tomatoes with green chilies, drained black beans, and cheddar cheese soup.  Heat the meat mixture thoroughly.  Add water if you need to thin your mixture a bit.

Slice the cornbread and place in a bowl.  Ladle the gravy mixture over the cornbread.  Top with jalapenos and chopped onions if desired.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sticky Chicken

I wish I had a picture of this to post for you.

But I don't!

Here's our dilemma . . .

we want to eat Chinese food,

But we can't find a Chinese food place we like.

I'm not talking Pei Wei,

although, that's nice fru-fru Chinese food.

We just want noodles, rice, chicken, sauce.

That's it!

I make sticky rice at home occasionally.

It is a gluten rice that makes it sticky.

Get it!  "S.T.I.C.K.Y" rice?

You can take a smidge, smoosh it together into a little ball and it stays.

It's great for dipping in your Chinese sauce.

If you have Chinese sauce.

Which we don't always have.

So we use soy sauce.

But it's not the same.

We want Chinese sauce.

I found this recipe and made it.

I think I've solved our dilemma for Chinese food!
I'll make it at home and be very content!

I got this from a website, but I have absolutely no idea where it came from . . .that was many weeks ago!  I'm very sorry if it came from your site, but thank you, as it's delish!

Sticky Chicken

1/2 cup balsamic or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup  soy sauce (use gluten free if needed!)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. honey
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP ginger, optional
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin (partially frozen chicken is very easy to slice thin)
Combine all ingredients except the chicken in a shallow baking dish and stir until sugars dissolve. Add the chicken and turn to coat well. Cover the dish and chill 3 or more. 

When ready to cook, place the chicken and marinade in a large heavy nonstick skillet. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

Reduce heat to low, cover the skillet and simmer for 8-13 minutes, stirring the chicken occasionally. When the chicken is done, remove the meat to a bowl and keep warm.

Increase heat to medium and cook the marinade remaining in skillet until syrupy, stirring occasionally at first, then stirring constantly as the mixture starts to thicken, so that it will not burn.  This will take about 20 minutes or so, depending on how much marinade is in your pan.  Return the chicken to the skillet, coat it with the sauce, and serve sticky chicken immediately!

**While eating, my family decided that sauteed onion, blanched broccoli, and red peppers would be a great addition to this mixture.  Next time!