Soup for dinner

As I just wrote, fall is coming and comfort food is on the menu. This soup is one of our favorites and leftovers freeze well.

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in
  • olive oil
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock (I have homemade in the freezer and will use 1 container of store bought to stretch mine)
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seed and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inch size)
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese

Optional:

  • chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes or until done.  Let cool.  Remove skin and bones and chop meat.  Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat 3 TBs of olive oil.  Add chopped onions, celery and carrots and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.  Add garlic and stir in with veggies.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and cilantro (if desired).  Cut tortillas into strips and add.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chicken and check seasonings – add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips (if desired).

A freezer full of goodies!

Over the last few weeks we have been filling up our freezer with delicious meals.  It’s nice on winter weekends to cook a little extra and then be able to take a night off by eating from your freezer.  Right now I have the following to choose from:

Beef stew

  • 3 lbs beef (round or chuck – I used 1/2 and 1/2) cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup flour mixed with 1/2 tsp dry mustard, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper)
  • 6 – 8 strips of bacon
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
  • 1 oz brandy
  • 1 lb baby bello mushrooms
  • 1 can consomme
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 12 – 16 small white onions, peeled
  • 8 oz baby carrots
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 TB chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp thyme

Toss beef cubes with seasoned flour until well coated.  Cook bacon in a large pan until it begins to brown but is not crisp.  Chop bacon into 1 inch pieces and place in a heavy glass baking dish.  (I have an old one but one of the really pretty Le Creuset Dutch ovens has been on my wish list.)

Saute garlic and mushrooms in the bacon grease until garlic is browned and mushrooms are soft.  Put mushrooms in the casserole.  Add beef cubes and brown quickly on all sides – turn often.  You may have to do this in two batches.  Put meat in the casserole dish.  Add brandy, consomme and 1 cup of the red wine to the pan and bring to a boil.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to get all browned bits mixed in and pour liquid over ingredients in casserole.

Add onions, carrots and spices to casserole dish and pour remaining 1/2 cup of wine over top.  Bake covered at 300 for 2 hours.  Remove, cover and chill.  Remove from refrigerator 90 minutes before serving.  Let stand for 30 minutes and spoon liquid from bottom of container over meat.  Bake covered for 1 hour at 300 and serve hot.  (Remove bay leaf, peppercorns and cloves before serving.)  Serve with hard rolls or French bread and a green salad.

Chicken jambalaya

  • 8 pieces bacon chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken things, trimmed of fat and cut into approximately 1 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 TB vegetable oil
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 red pepper and 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 qts chicken stock
  • 1 28 oz can tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 12 oz diced ham (we used leftover Smithfield ham from Christmas)
  • 12 oz chicken andouille sausage, thinly sliced (we used Aidell’s)
  • 3 1/2 cups rice

Cook bacon in a large heavy pan over medium heat about 3 minutes.  As it starts to render the fat, increase heat to medium high and add chicken.  Cook, stirring until chicken browns (about 4 – 5 minutes).  Remove bacon and chicken to a plate using a slotted spoon.

Add oil to pan.  Add vegetables and cook, stirring about 3 minutes.  Add garlic, paprika, thyme, salt and peppers and stir in.  Add stock, tomatoes and paste.

Return chicken mixture to pan and add ham and sausage.  Bring to a simmer and add rice.  Stir and return to simmer.  Cook over low heat for about 20 minutes covered and then remove from heat and let stand covered for about 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and serve hot with hot sauce for those who like it.

Seafood gumbo

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped peppers (we used 1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green)
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic
  • 1 lb frozen okra
  • 1 lb diced Smithfield or country ham
  • 2 28 oz cans of tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 veal shank (have your butcher cut it into 4 pieces – use two and freeze two for another time)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels
  • 1 pounds claw crabmeat
  • 1 pints oysters with liquor
  • rice
  • File powder

Heat oil in a heavy pot until it is smoking hot.  (My husband does this step and he finds it is easier to make the roux in a smaller heavy pan and then pour it into the stock pot when the roux is finished.  It’s hard to keep whisking reaching down into a deep pot without burning yourself.)  Whisk in flour and stir constantly over high heat until mixture is reddish brown.  Do not burn.  Be patient – it will start to turn color.

When roux is browned, add onions, celery, peppers and garlic.  Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring.

Stir in okra, ham and tomatoes.  Mix well and simmer for about 10 minutes covered.  Add water, veal, seasonings and corn.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Remove veal shanks and bay leaves.

5 minutes before serving add the crab and the oysters (with the oyster liquor).  Simmer for 5 minutes until oysters begin to curl.  NOTE: You can add additional seafood if you want to serve more people.

Cook rice according to directions.  Serve by putting rice in bowl and spooning gumbo overtop.  Pass file powder.

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in
  • olive oil
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock (I have homemade in the freezer and will use 1 container of store bought to stretch mine)
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seed and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inch size)
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese

Optional:

  • chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes or until done.  Let cool.  Remove skin and bones and chop meat.  Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat 3 TBs of olive oil.  Add chopped onions, celery and carrots and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.  Add garlic and stir in with veggies.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and cilantro (if desired).  Cut tortillas into strips and add.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chicken and check seasonings – add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips (if desired).

Cinco de Mayo

Mexican isn’t my favorite cuisine but there are a few dishes that I make in this category that we both love.  We haven’t had chicken fajitas in a while and I love the fact that the marinade was made last night so the chicken could sit in it overnight and the leftover chicken will be delicious on Caesar Salad on Thursday.  It looked like rain was imminent so I cooked the vegetables inside.  Here is the recipe:

Chicken Fajitas

  • bone in chicken breasts (we feel that they stay juicier when grilled)
  • 6 TB olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine all marinade ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.  Pour over chicken and marinate overnight.  Grill for 5 minutes with the skin side down over direct heat and then 15 minutes other side over indirect.  Bring inside and cover with aluminum foil for a few minutes and they will be perfect.
  • 2 red peppers, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow onion, thick slices
  • canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried chipotle pepper
Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat.  Add canola oil and when oil is hot add vegetables and spices.  Cook, stirring regularly while the chicken cooks.  Don’t they look pretty?

Fajita veggies

Fajita veggies

  • Tortilla shells (1 -2 per person depending upon appetite)
  • sour cream (I use lowfat)
  • salsa
  • guacamole (optional – either store bought or see recipe previously blogged)
  • refried beans (optional)
Heat tortilla shells.  Distribute chicken, peppers and onions in shells and roll up.  Top with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.  Serve with refried beans as a side if desired.  (Also good with rice.)
Here are a few other Mexican options that are good for Cinqo de Mayo or any other time:

Steak Fajitas

  • 1 flank steak or skirt steak
  • 1/3 cup tequila
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients (except steak) and whisk together.  Pour over steak and marinate (at least 4 hours but up to overnight).

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Chicken Quesadillas

  • bone in chicken breasts, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 375 for about 40 -45 minutes.  Cooled and meat chopped
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped (I keep a jar of these in the fridge)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 – 2 TB red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • spinach
  • tomato, chopped
  • 6 ” tortillas
  • cheese (I’ve found a four cheese Mexican blend that is awesome)

In a heavy sauce pan heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add pepper, garlic and onion and saute until soft, 2- 4 minutes.  Add spinach and tomatoes and cook another 2 minutes.  Add chicken meat and cook until chicken is warm, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and combine with cheese in a glass bowl.  Spread filling over tortillas and top with another tortilla.  Brush with olive oil and bake at 425 for about 10 minutes until browned and hot.  Top with sour cream, salsa and avocado and enjoy.

Chipotle shrimp and black bean quesadilla

  • 3/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1  – 2 tsp pureed chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (if you are making for the first time, start with 1 tsp until you see how much heat you like)
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 6″ flour tortillas (or 2 larger ones and then cut the whole thing in half)
  • 1 additional TB of olive oil
  • sour cream (I use reduced fat)
  • salsa
  • 1 avocado, chopped

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil, butter, garlic and pureed chipotle.  Stir to combine for 1 minute.  Add shrimp and cook until just done.  Pour in beans and combine.  Remove from heat to a bowl and stir in cheese so it partially melts.

Divide filling between tortillas.  Top each with another tortilla and brush with olive oil.  Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes until top is golden brown and crispy.  Top with a dollop each of sour cream, salsa and chopped avocado (or guacamole).

Seviche

  • 1 1/2 lbs of shrimp, peeled and deveined and chopped into 5 pieces each
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 TB orange juice
  • 1 large garlic clove pressed
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 yellow pepper, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 TB minced red onion
  • 1 mango, peeled and finely chopped
Put shrimp in a large bowl with juices and garlic.  Add olive oil, peppers, cilantro and onion and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Add mango and refrigerate.  Serve with tortilla chips and plenty of napkins!

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in
  • olive oil
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock (I have homemade in the freezer and will use 1 container of store bought to stretch mine)
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seed and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inch size)
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese

Optional:

  • chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes or until done.  Let cool.  Remove skin and bones and chop meat.  Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat 3 TBs of olive oil.  Add chopped onions, celery and carrots and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.  Add garlic and stir in with veggies.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and cilantro (if desired).  Cut tortillas into strips and add.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chicken and check seasonings – add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips (if desired).

Chicken soup for a cold winter night

I usually roast chicken breasts and shred some of the meat to make this soup and use frozen chicken stock.  Since we roasted a chicken on Sunday, we made stock last night (truthfully, Keith did most of the work!) and I’m going to cut out the middle step and use leftover chicken and some of the fresh stock.  You could also buy a rotisserie chicken and shred the meat into the soup.  What a treat for another cold night with another possibility of snow.

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in
  • olive oil
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock (I have homemade in the freezer and will use 1 container of store bought to stretch mine)
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seed and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inch size)
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese

Optional:

  • chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes or until done.  Let cool.  Remove skin and bones and chop meat.  Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat 3 TBs of olive oil.  Add chopped onions, celery and carrots and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.  Add garlic and stir in with veggies.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and cilantro (if desired).  Cut tortillas into strips and add.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chicken and check seasonings – add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips (if desired).

The week in review

I am so sorry to have neglected my blog friends all week.  Things got a little crazy on several fronts but we still ate.  I even tried a few new things with mixed results.  Let me bring you up to date.

As I see recipes in magazines or in the newspaper that sound interesting I clip them out.  I used to then organize them in binders and use them for ideas.  Since I started blog, once I have made something and blogged it, I no longer need to keep the paper recipes that inspired it.  My pile of clippings was out of control so I thought it made more sense to organize them in folders by category (appetizers, soups, etc.).  That way when I want inspiration I can go to the folder and once I have used the inspiration, it can be discarded.  Going through all of those recipes got me interested in some experiments.  Here are the results:

Garlic and Rosemary pork

I love the flavors of garlic and rosemary together.  It is one of my favorite combinations for marinating and then grilling shrimp.  I found a recipe for pork and adapted a bit.  

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 7- 8  garlic cloves, chopped
  • large bunch of rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • lean pork tenderloin

Combine olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper and smear over pork.  Refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 400.  Wipe off the marinade.  Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil and sear pork until brown on all sides.  Place in oven and roast for about 20 minutes, checking temperature with a meat thermometer.  When temperature is 135, remove from oven.  Let rest for about 5 minutes and then slice.

This had a nice flavor and is a pretty healthy recipe but my husband’s comment was “It seems like it needs some sort of sauce”.  The bright side is the lean generation pork tenderloins come two to a package and I had frozen the other one.  I’ll make the Dijon pork with the sauce that he loves with the other one.  I give this a B-.

Sweet potato and goat cheese gratin

I was so excited to try this as it combines two flavors I love.  I remember making sweet potato and goat cheese ravioli when I took my pasta making class and loving it.  This didn’t work as well as I had hoped:

  • 1 TB butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle pepper
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 
  • 1/4 cup panko

Preheat oven to 275.  Lightly grease a 1 quart baking dish.  Melt butter, milk, honey, goat cheese and spices over low heat, stirring until smooth.  Line baking dish with one layer of sliced sweet potatoes, pour cheese mixture over top and then add another layer of potatoes.  Continue layering potatoes and cheese mixture for 4 or 5 layers.  Top with panko.  Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.  Remove foil and bake for another hour.  Serve.

This one sounded so promising but didn’t cut it.  And 2 hours is a long time to cook something!  Not a repeat, I give it a C-.

Artichoke dip

I had my book club over on Tuesday.  Our normal standard is that the hostess serves a savory snack and a sweet snack.  I wasn’t sure how many people were coming so I made a batch of brownies for the sweet.  In my appetizer inspiration folder were two different recipes for artichoke dip.  I love artichokes so I thought I would combine elements of each.  This turned out well.

  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 9 oz packages frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 8 oz package low fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • dash tabasco
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Saute shallots and garlic until shallots are soft (about 5 minutes).  Add artichokes and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add wine and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add spinach and cook for 1 minute.

In a bowl combine cream cheese, Gruyere, tabasco and lemon juice.  Add artichoke mixture and stir well to combine.  Place in a ceramic baking dish and top with panko and Parmesan.  (Can be made ahead and refrigerated to this point.)

Preheat oven to 400.  Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.  Serve with pita chips.

This was the winner of the experiments.  It has great flavor and since you can make it ahead of time and then reheat, this goes into the keeper pile.  I give this one the A.

Tuesday night we had the leftover Mexican chicken soup from the freezer before book club – that is one of my favorite soups.  

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in
  • olive oil
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock (I have homemade in the freezer and will use 1 container of store bought to stretch mine)
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seed and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inch size)
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese

Optional:

  • chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes or until done.  Let cool.  Remove skin and bones and chop meat.  Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat 3 TBs of olive oil.  Add chopped onions, celery and carrots and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.  Add garlic and stir in with veggies.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and cilantro (if desired).  Cut tortillas into strips and add.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chicken and check seasonings – add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips (if desired).

Wednesday night we had Keith’s favorite caramelized leek pizza.  

Pizza with Caramelized Leeks

  • 1 TB Butter
  • 5 – 6 Leeks, washed thoroughly and julienned
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup Light Jarlsberg cheese shredded
  • 1 prepared pizza crust
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Preheat oven to 450.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Melt butter and add leeks, water and sugar.  Boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered until leeks have browned (15 – 20 minutes).  Stir occasionally and watch to make sure that leeks don’t burn.  You want them browned and caramelized.  Add shallots and garlic and cook 3 – 5 minutes.

Top pizza crust with leek mixture.  Arrange tomatoes on pizza and sprinkle with cheese and thyme.  Bake on pizza stone about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and pizza is hot.

Thursday was our office Thanksgiving pot luck meal.  I had a couple of requests from co-workers to bring the cranberry apple crisp that I made last year again.  This is delicious and a great side/dessert for Thanksgiving.  It also worked out well because Samantha was able to help.  She made the topping and spread it out on top.  

Cranberry Apple Crisp

  • 2 cups raw cranberries
  • 3 cups sliced apples
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Topping

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Mix cranberries, apples and sugar together and place in a buttered 2 qt casserole (or double recipe in a 9 x 13 pan).  Melt butter and mix in topping ingredients and spread over fruit mixture.  Bake 1 hour at 350.  Can be made ahead.  (Leftovers are wonderful for breakfast or warmed with ice cream for dessert.)

Thursday night we had the crab cake casserole and broccoli:

Crab Cake Casserole

  • 1 lb lump or jumbo lump crabmeat
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs or panko
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TB mayonnaise
  • 2 TB melted butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Mix crabmeat with salt, pepper, dry mustard and Old Bay (mix gently so you don’t break up the lumps).  Add egg and stir.  Add bread crumbs, mayonnaise and melted butter and stir to combine.  Pour into a greased 1 1/2 qt casserole dish and top with Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. 
 
Samantha was once again very helpful in assembling.  
 
Now you are all caught up!  And I’m trying to decide what to make tonight!  

 

Mexican chicken soup

Since I had the chicken stock from last weekend, I was craving a chicken soup.  This is one of m favorites.  I ate this for dinner before going to my Thai cooking class where we made a Thai chicken soup.  I’m hoping one of the two knocks out the cold and cough I’ve had for the last week.  Told Christie if I’m cured, I won’t know which one to credit!  Both were good – will blog the Thai soup another night.  (I made this yesterday so dinner was done – it keeps well and is a great make-ahead!)

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in
  • olive oil
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock (I have homemade in the freezer and will use 1 container of store bought to stretch mine)
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seed and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inch size)
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese

Optional:

  • chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes or until done.  Let cool.  Remove skin and bones and chop meat.  Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat 3 TBs of olive oil.  Add chopped onions, celery and carrots and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.  Add garlic and stir in with veggies.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and cilantro (if desired).  Cut tortillas into strips and add.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chicken and check seasonings – add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips (if desired).

Soup and sandwiches updated

A friend hosted a gathering at her house last night.  It was a soup and panini party and it is a great way to entertain, especially in winter.  She had three different soups – Maryland crab soup, chicken chipotle chili (using your favorite bloggers recipe) and Brunswick stew.  She also had two panini presses and put out all sorts of delicious options so everyone could assemble their own panini.  In addition to standards like turkey, roast beef, ham and several types of cheese, she had fresh basil, cranberry sauce, roasted red peppers, avocado and roasted tomato and a variety of breads so we had the chance to get creative.  I opted for turkey, brie, fresh basil and avocado.

It was a fun party – everyone served themselves soup and assembled their sandwiches as they were ready which made for a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of opportunity to move around and chat with different people.  This would also be a good collaborative party with different people assigned to soup or sandwich fixings.  Here are a couple of soup recipes for inspiration.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

  • 4 oz pancetta, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 6 – 8 small potatoes, diced
  • 2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup clam juice
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 1 lb clam meat, fresh, frozen or canned
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika

In a stock pot or heavy sauce pan, cook the pancetta over medium heat until browned and crisp.  Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until soft.  Add celery and peppers and cook for 5 minutes.  Add potatoes and tomatoes and cook stirring.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft.

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in
  • olive oil
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock (I have homemade in the freezer and will use 1 container of store bought to stretch mine)
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seed and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inch size)
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese

Optional:

  • chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes or until done.  Let cool.  Remove skin and bones and chop meat.  Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat 3 TBs of olive oil.  Add chopped onions, celery and carrots and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.  Add garlic and stir in with veggies.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and cilantro (if desired).  Cut tortillas into strips and add.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chicken and check seasonings – add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips (if desired).

Chicken Chipotle chili

  • 3 TB canola oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small cubes
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 TB chili powder
  • 1 TB ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained of about 1/2 of liquid
  • 3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
  • 2 cans black beans

Heat oil in a heavy sauce pan and brown chicken cubes (about 5 minutes.)  Remove chicken and drain on paper towels.  Pour off fat leaving about 1 tablespoon in pan.  Add onions and brown about 4 – 5 minutes.  Return chicken to pan.

Stir together flour, chili powder, cumin and salt and sprinkle over onions and chicken.  Stir and cook about 1 minute.  Add stock, tomatoes and chipotles and simmer covered about 30 minutes.  Add black beans and cook another 10 minutes.

Let cool and then refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips.

The joy of leftovers

Today was the first day of my new job and after a long day of adjusting to being the new kid on the block, it was great to come home to a dinner that was already fixed.  I made this soup last week – it holds up very well and we still have more in the freezer.  If you missed it last week, here is the recipe.  It isn’t hard to make and is well worth the time investment.

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in
  • olive oil
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock (I have homemade in the freezer and will use 1 container of store bought to stretch mine)
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seed and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inch size)
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese

Optional:

  • chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes or until done.  Let cool.  Remove skin and bones and chop meat.  Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat 3 TBs of olive oil.  Add chopped onions, celery and carrots and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.  Add garlic and stir in with veggies.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and cilantro (if desired).  Cut tortillas into strips and add.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chicken and check seasonings – add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips (if desired).

Soup

This soup is one of my favorites and makes a nice big batch – leftovers!  My 5 year old helped with the assembly and decided she wanted to try a little bit.  She had 5 bites and gave me a big thumbs up.  Any time that I can get her to try something, it’s a bonus.  Here is the recipe:

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in
  • olive oil
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock (I have homemade in the freezer and will use 1 container of store bought to stretch mine)
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seed and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inch size)
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese

Optional:

  • chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes or until done.  Let cool.  Remove skin and bones and chop meat.  Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat 3 TBs of olive oil.  Add chopped onions, celery and carrots and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.  Add garlic and stir in with veggies.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and cilantro (if desired).  Cut tortillas into strips and add.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chicken and check seasonings – add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips (if desired).

Happy Halloween!

Sorry I did not get a chance to post this earlier.  While some holidays revolve around the dinner, Halloween is a holiday that makes it inconvenient to have dinner.  Dinner is during prime trick or treating time.  I made this soup yesterday and it was all set for me to enjoy quickly after trick or treating with my daughter.  (She went for the hot dog but said the soup looked delicious.)  Best of all, I have plenty so gave my mom a container as thanks for helping us out today and it’s back on the menu plan later this week.  You could also freeze it.

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in
  • olive oil
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock (I have homemade in the freezer and will use 1 container of store bought to stretch mine)
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seed and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inch size)
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese

Optional:

  • chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes or until done.  Let cool.  Remove skin and bones and chop meat.  Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat 3 TBs of olive oil.  Add chopped onions, celery and carrots and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.  Add garlic and stir in with veggies.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and cilantro (if desired).  Cut tortillas into strips and add.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chicken and check seasonings – add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips (if desired).

Since we had carrots and celery, we actually put the chicken skin and breast bones in a pot with a carrot, some celery, onion, thyme, salt, pepper and parsley and made a little bit of light chicken stock.  Getting ready for the next round of soup!