Monday, November 25, 2013

Potato and Corn Chowder

Potato and Corn Chowder
     Well it's only the end of November and the weather is feeling more like January. The temperature in the morning has been in the single digits and of course the wind has been doing its thing too. It was just too cold to take the dogs for their morning walk today. I opted to have them go outside in the backyard. Katie, my Sheltie, was not very happy about it. She loves her walks, but I know we would have frozen if we went. I worry about their poor paws when it is this cold.

     Since the weather has been so cold and miserable, I decided to make some soup for dinner. I sort of adapted this from a recipe in my Simple and Delicious magazine. I had to spice it up a bit so I added some red pepper flakes. Feel free to leave them out if you don't like it hot. You can adjust the intensity by just adding a shake or two of red pepper.

     The soup turned out nice and full bodied. It was very creamy and had nice chunks of potatoes with  just a hint of corn. It is similar to a Spicy Baked Potato soup that I make. (I'll have to share that recipe sometime soon.)

     This didn't take me very long to make. I made it on a Friday night after getting home from work. It probably took me about 45minutes to an hour to make. So not bad for a week night meal. Of course I doubled the recipe because one batch is never enough around here. Besides if there are any leftovers people like to have it for lunch the next day. I'm sure it would freeze well too. Just let it cool down before putting in a freezer container. When you want to eat again just thaw in the refrigerator.

     So here's the recipe. I hope you enjoy it.

Potato and Corn Chowder
1 T olive oil
1 small onion chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 C peeled, cubed potatoes
1/2 C shredded, peeled carrots
2 1/2 C water
2 t dried parsley flakes
2 t broth base
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 C frozen corn
2 C milk
3 T real bacon bits
1/2 C Velveeta cheese, cubed
Red pepper flakes (opt)

In a large soup pan put a tablespoon of olive oil and heat on medium. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender. Add the water, potatoes, carrots, parsley, broth base, salt, pepper and corn. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Stir in the milk and bacon bits. Bring it to a boil cooking until it starts to thicken up. Add the cheese and red pepper flakes. Stir until the cheese is melted. Serve.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chicken Lo Mein

Chicken Lo Mein
     Ooops! I said I was going to get this recipe posted on Wednesday and it just never happened. But here it is. Better a day late then not at all.

     I've just been so busy with the end of the trimester at school that I'm either correcting papers like a mad woman or entering data into the computer. I've been coming home exhausted which doesn't help since I'm running errands after work just about every night. Not to mention my attempts at trying to get to the gym 3 times a week to work out. Things just need to slow down some.

     Well at least this dish is quick and easy to make especially on a very hectic night. It doesn't take much time to make and I think that you could play with the ingredients a bit to make it the way you like.

     After I made this I thought that a can of mushrooms would be good in this. I also thought stir frying some carrots would be good too. I think you could mix it up with just about any kind of vegetable that you like or happen to have on hand.

     The original recipe called for lo mein noodles, which I didn't have so I used spaghetti noodles instead. It also called for fresh ginger root. I also did not have any of that either, so I just used some ground ginger. I used fresh pea pods instead of frozen and added some red onion to it too. Don't be afraid to mix it up a bit.

     Well here's the recipe I promised. Hope you enjoy it.

Chicken Lo Mein
8 oz spaghetti noodles
2 T oyster sauce
1/4 C soy sauce
1/2 C chicken broth
1 t cornstarch
Red pepper flakes
1 T olive oil
8 oz chicken breast, sliced thinly
1/2 t ginger
1 small onion, quartered and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, sliced (dark green parts reserved)
8 oz fresh pea pods
Sesame oil

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain, toss with a few dashes of sesame oil and set aside.
In a small bow, whisk the oyster sauce, soy sauce, chicken broth, cornstarch, and red pepper until smooth; set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Stir fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes or until almost cooked through. Add the ginger, onions, garlic, white and light green onion parts, and pea pods.
Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the onions are cooked to your preference, stirring frequently.
Whisk the sauce and add it to the pan, letting it boil for 1 minute before adding the noodles. Toss to coat. Top with dark green onion slices and serve.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie

My new favorite cookbook. Check out the author.
     I just got this new cookbook and I am loving it. I have tried a few recipes and they all have been very easy to make and they have all tasted absolutely fantastic. This cookbook happens to be one of the better cookbooks that I've gotten in the mail. I always seem to have everything that I need to make most of the recipes in here. They don't really call for any weird ingredients.

     I had to laugh at the last name of the author. Who knew we'd share the same last name. I hadn't noticed it at first then one day I went to grab it off the shelf and I noticed the name. Made me laugh.

     Anyways I made the recipe in here for Chicken Pot Pie. I cut the recipe in half and I used a store bought pie crust. I also used frozen corn instead of frozen peas and it turned out to be really tasty.

     I wish we would have let it cool a little longer once it came out of the oven like the recipe says. We were so hungry we dove in. If we would have let it cool a bit the center would have thickened up a bit so it wouldn't have oozed all over our plates. Never the less it was still yummy, I just don't have any real good pictures of it. I'll add one at the end, but it's just not the best.

     I thought that one could substitute turkey for the chicken, especially since Thanksgiving is just around the corner and there is always the question of what to do with the leftovers.

     Here's the recipe and remember I've cut the recipe in half to make one pot pie.

Chicken Pot Pie
1 C peeled and diced potatoes
3 carrots peeled and sliced
1/3 C chopped onion
1/2 C (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 C flour
3/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 T chicken soup base
1 1/2 C chicken broth
3/4 C milk
 2 C cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 C frozen corn
2 pie crusts

Preheat the oven to 350.
Boil the potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan over medium heat until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a large skillet, saute the onion and butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and chicken soup base until blended. Gradually stir in the broth and milk. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until thick. Add the chicken, corn, potatoes and carrots to the broth mixture. Remove from the heat.
Place one pie crust in a glass pie plate. Lightly press along sides to form the sides and bottom. Add the chicken mixture. Put the top crust on and crimp the edges of the top and bottom crusts together. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes. Once pie has cooled cut and serve.
Pie can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Chicken Pot Pie

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup
  Today I'm going to share my recipe for Broccoli Cheese soup. I don't know why I've never shared this recipe before, because I make it a lot during the cold winter months. I have also been know to make it in the summer on a rainy day too.

     I found a recipe for Broccoli Cheese soup on the internet that was suppose to taste just like the soup one would get from Panera Bread. Well I've always like the soups from Panera Bread and so I decide to give this recipe a try.

     Now of course I have changed a few things about the recipe, but it still tastes great. One of the things that I do is I use my salad shooter to shred the carrots and the broccoli. If you don't have a salad shooter you could grate the carrots and chop the broccoli nice and fine to get the same results. Or if you have a food processor you can use that and get the same results.

     When I make this soup I always double the recipe. Everyone at my house loves this soup and if I only made one batch I would not have enough. It keeps well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. I don't think it has ever lasted in the fridge longer than 3 days. It always gets eaten right away.

     Well here's the recipe I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
1 T butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 C melted butter
1/4 C flour
2 C half and half
2 C chicken broth
1/2 pound fresh broccoli
2  carrots, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 C Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Saute the onion in the tablespoon of melted butter. Set aside.Melt the 1/4 cup butter in a pan and add the flour and heat for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the half and half stirring constantly. This is called making a roux. It is important that you keep stirring so as to not get lumps. Add the chicken broth stirring the whole time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for about 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should start thickening as you cook it. Once the vegetables have cooked add the cheese and stir until well blended.   

Serves 4

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
     Saturday morning breakfasts on a cold, chilly day calls for something hot from the oven. So how about some Banana Chocolate Chip muffins? They smell wonderful and fill the kitchen with the smell of banana bread baking, except this individual servings with a little kick. It's got mini chocolate chips. YUM!

     These muffins are super moist and have a delicious banana taste. I opted to use my large muffin cups to make these so I only got 6 muffins, but they were really good. The directions that I am going to give are for 12 regular sized muffins. I had to bake the large ones just a bit longer to get the middles baked through.

     I was lucky to find this recipe on Mr. If you haven't visited this site you should really check it out. He has some really good breakfast ideas on here.  I like going there when I just need something different to make for breakfast and it has so many good ideas on it.

     So here's the recipe. I of course modified it a bit to put my own twist on it. Enjoy some muffins on a cold, chilly morning.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 C all purpose flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 egg
3 large bananas- mashed with 1 and 1/2 t lemon juice
1 t vanilla
3/4 C sugar
1/3 C butter softened
1/2 C mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 12 count muffin pan with cooking spray or use paper liners.
In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl lightly beat the egg. Add the mashed banana, lemon juice, vanilla, sugar and butter. Mix well until combined and smooth.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients mixing well. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling about 2/3 full.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. A toothpick should come out of the center of a muffin clean (no batter).

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Parmesan Potatoes

Parmesan Potatoes
     Today I'm going share one of my families favorite potato dishes, Parmesan potatoes. These potatoes are easy to make. You toss them in a ziploc bag with the seasoned cheese mix and pour them into a dish with melted butter. Then you pour some melted butter over the top and bake. You turned the potatoes once and that's it. The potatoes get this crispy, golden brown crust. They are delicious!

    I never have any leftovers when I make these. I have been making these for some time now, but I just don't know where I got the recipe. All I know is everyone likes them. They go great as a side with just about anything, chicken, pork, beef or even fish. It's just an excellent way to make potatoes. I like the ease of making making this dish. It doesn't take much skill or time. Just peel a few potatoes, cut them into chunks toss in a bag with seasoning and bake. Not much easier than that.

     So impress your friends and family and make these at your next meal.

Parmesan Potatoes
6 large potatoes
1/4 C flour
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/3 C melted butter

Peel potatoes. Half or quarter them. Shake potatoes in dry ingredients. Put some of the melted butter in a 9x13 pan, then put in the potatoes and dribble the rest of the melted butter over the top. Bake at 375 for 1 hour. Turn once half way through cook time.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Garlic Bread Pizza Dough with Homemade Pizza Sauce

Homemade Pizza
    Fridayor Saturday nights around here are usually pizza nights. I didn't feel like calling out for pizza so I decide to try making my own pizza crust and pizza sauce. I've tried a few different pizza crusts and they were just never very good until now.

    This crust is made in the bread machine. I love my bread machine! You just throw everything in, plug it in, press a few buttons and you are done. The machine does all the work for you. No kneading to checking the temperature of the water so the yeast won't die. If you don't have a bread machine, seriously you should consider getting one.

     Anyways this crust is a garlic flavored crust. It also has Parmesan cheese in it. It smells divine while baking and tastes even better. The crust has such a great texture. It's not doughy nor is it crispy. It has an almost bread like quality. I know that we will be making this crust again.


     I also experimented with making my own pizza sauce, because of course I never have pizza sauce on hand unless I specifically know I'm going to make pizza. This time I was making pizza on a whim, so I need pizza sauce without having to run out and get some.

     I just used a can of diced tomatoes, tomato paste and some seasoning and tada! I had pizza sauce. Of course I had to get the blender out to puree it in, but it worked great and it even tasted better.

     As far as toppings go, put anything you like on the pizza, just remember that pepperoni goes on top of the cheese. Also I found baking the crust on a cookie sheet to work the best. I tried it on a stone and not so good results. The center of the pizza was not cooke all the way through.

Garlic Bread Pizza Dough
1 1/4 C water
3 T vegetable oil
1 t salt
4 C all purpose flour
1/4 C grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 t garlic powder
2 T Italian seasoning
1 pkg of rapid rise yeast

Put all the ingredients in the bread machine pan in order. Make a little well in the flour for the yeast. Select the dough cycle on your machine and let it do it's thing.
Once it is done mixing remove from the pan onto a floured surface and knead it a few times. Divide into two even pieces and roll out each into a pizza. Once you have the desired size place it on your pizza pan or cookie sheet and add sauce and toppings. Bake at 400 for about 17 minutes.
Recipe from

Homemade Pizza Sauce
1-14 1/2 oz can of diced tomatoes
1- 6oz size can of tomato paste
1 t sugar
1t oregano
1 t basil
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour sauce on pizza crust and add your toppings.