Sunday, February 27, 2011

White Cheddar Chili

I adapted this recipe from one in a magazine ad for Kerrygold cheese.  It is the perfect thing to make with leftover turkey after Thanksgiving.  When I make it at other times, I simply use a rotisserie turkey breast from the grocery store. It is thick without being too cheesy and the creaminess cools off the spicy heat.  When I serve it to guests, someone always wants the recipe.  

2 Tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 shallots, chopped
1/2  or 1 small serrano  chili pepper, diced 
1 yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
3 Tbsp. cumin
freshly ground pepper
1 14 oz. can low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups whole milk
1 can chopped green chilies
2 cans creamed corn
2 cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
4 c. cooked turkey breast, cubed
3 c. aged white cheddar cheese, grated
salt if needed (wait to add salt until after adding the cheese which can be quite salty)
scallion, diced (for garnish only)

Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium-low heat.  Add garlic, peppers, shallots, cumin and ground pepper.  Saute for 5 minutes stirring often.  Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add milk and bring to a boil again.  Reduce heat to simmer and add diced chilies, beans and creamed corn.  Simmer 20 minutes.  Add turkey.  Bring to warm and just before serving stir in cheddar cheese until melted.  Garnish with chopped scallions if desired.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lentil Tomato Soup

This was one of my sons' first favorite soups.  I've even served it at casual fall dinner parties.  It is light, healthy and the finishing touch of vinegar adds so much taste.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
4 cups water
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 T. red wine vinegar

Place a large soup pot over medium heat and add oil, carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper and saute about 5 minutes stirring often.  Add garlic, bay leaf and thyme.  Continue cooking for 3 more minutes.  Add crushed tomatoes, water and lentils.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.  
Before serving, stir in vinegar. May need to add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from Lentil Soup in Everyday Food Magazine.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Silky Chocolate Fondue

When the first ruby red strawberries of  spring and summer appear in the grocery store, I have visions of  fun family chocolate fondue nights.  This recipe takes no time, can be made in advance and reheated which makes it very handy.  My husband prefers to dip bananas and my second son pineapple, but I am all about the strawberries.  Strawberries and chocolate seem like they were meant to be best friends.

1 cup cream
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
small pinch of kosher salt

Over medium-low heat put cream and chocolate chips in small saucepan.  Whisk constantly or the chocolate will harden.  When thoroughly melted, remove from heat and add corn syrup and salt.  Whisk until well-blended and glossy.
Serve warm.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Easiest Apple Pie

This is my go-to recipe for apple pie.  My Grandmother made the best pie and one day she dictated her un-written recipe to me over the phone.  I was surprised to find that I could make a pie to equal hers. 

Warning: I don't make my own pie dough. {Pie purists are gasping in horror!}  If that turns you off, please feel free to make your own.  My sister swears by Martha Stewart's Pate Brisee.  When you're done with that, come on back.  

I, on the other hand, absolutely love the Pillsbury pre-made pie crusts you simply unroll into the pie plate. No dirty food processor, no dusting of flour coating my work surface.  I even had one professed apple pie-loving man declare this was the best one he had ever had. That sealed the deal for me to release my former pie-crust-guilt.   My oldest son wants this pie as his birthday dessert instead of cake!  

1 box Pillsbury pie crusts, removed from box and let come to room temperature while preparing apples
6 large Granny Smith apples
2 smaller apples of a different type, I like McIntosh, Gala or Braeburn
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 cup sugar, divided plus more for sprinkling on top
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp.cinnamon
dash nutmeg
pinch salt 
2 Tbsp. cream, half and half or milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place large sheet pan in oven to preheat as well.
Wash, peel, core and slice apples.  Unroll one crust into bottom of pie plate.  I do not use a deep-dish pie pan.  If yours is deep-dish you need to roll the crust out to a slightly larger size.
Into the crust put flour and 1/4 cup sugar.  Mix together with fingers and distribute evenly over crust.
Pour in all sliced apples.  No need for arranging.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Top with another 1/4 cup sugar.   Dot with butter.  
Using a pastry brush or your fingertips, rub cream around the rim of the bottom pie crust.
Cover with the second pie crust and crimp edges well.
Brush top of pie crust with cream.  Sprinkle all over with sugar.  Cut 4-5 vents.
Place onto pre-heated sheet pan.  
Bake at 400 for 10 minutes.
Lower temp to 375 and continue baking for 50 minutes.  Pie will be lightly browned and juices should be bubbling. 


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Those of us from the upper Midwest are very familiar with Minnesota wild rice and probably have had several versions of chicken and wild rice soup.  My son loves this particular version so much he requested it for his birthday lunch this week.  I like to make it because I use store-bought rotisserie chicken which makes the cooking time even easier.  

1 rotisserie chicken, cooked meat removed and cubed
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
3 14. oz cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken and herb soup
freshly ground pepper

In a large soup pot combine celery, onion and wild rice and 2 cans of broth.  Season with freshly ground pepper.   Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 45 minutes.  Add cubed cooked chicken, another can of broth and cream soup.  Stir and warm for another 15 minutes.  This recipe has been adapted from Chicken and Wild Rice Soup recipe published in Midwest Living Magazine.

Come join Soup-a-Palooza with TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s BeansHip HostessPillsbury and Westminster Crackers

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tomato Rice Soup

This soup is surprisingly addictive despite its humble ingredients. The recipe comes from Grandma Ann who often made it for her four children years ago.  My whole family loves it and it makes enough for leftovers to go to school in lunch-boxes the next day.

3/4 cups brown rice
1/2 to 1 pound ground beef
4 stalks celery, diced
1/2 large red onion, diced
3 14. oz cans tomato sauce
2 T. beef base
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot boil rice in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, season ground beef with salt and pepper and brown in a skillet.  Set aside.
After rice has boiled for 20 minutes add 6 more cups of water, tomato sauce, celery, onion and beef base.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add browned beef.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
*May need to add more water the second day as soup thickens.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Leftover Lettuce Wraps

A new family favorite has been discovered.  It's ridiculously fast and easy.  

Here's all you need:
Leftover cooked meat (we've used chicken or pork), finely chopped
Bottle of favorite Asian style sauce (we use stir-fry or Pad Thai sauces)
Cooked rice (we use brown)
Head of lettuce (we use Red or Green Leaf), washed, dried but left  in whole leaves

Heat sauce in saucepan.  Add meat and rice.  Stir until warmed through and deliciously sticky.
Place a lettuce leaf on each plate.   Add a dollop of the rice mixture.  Roll up and enjoy!  Sometimes we serve with low-sodium soy sauce for dipping.

My kids love these and I love how they are eating greens, fiber and protein.
I can imagine using shrimp or beef as well and tossing in leftover cooked broccoli, peas or carrots as well.
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