Tuesday, November 11, 2014

North Woods Wild Rice & Chicken Soup

As I have mentioned before, I am a preschool director.  I am so blessed to work with 17 wonderful teachers and another great group of children's staff.  The teachers know I am a foodie so we are always talking food and recipes.  One of my newer teachers, Molly, shared this family favorite soup. Her family loves it and I knew mine would too.  Molly doubles it and usually adds a little extra cream cheese.  There are only three of us with the older two at college so I didn't double it.  We loved it!  It is a very hearty soup - kind of chowder like.  Mine did get a little thick so I added another cup of chicken broth.  Serve with crusty French bread and a salad!!

North Woods Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups chicken broth (or more if gets too thick)
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 cup Uncle Ben's Original Wild Rice, cooked
1 cup chicken, cooked and chopped
4 oz cream cheese

In a 4 qt Dutch oven, melt butter.  Add onion, celery and carrots, stirring over medium heat until carrots and celery are tender.  Stir in flour, salt and pepper.  Add broth all at once.  Cook and stir until bubbly.  Stir in evaporated milk, wild rice, cooked chicken and cream cheese.  Cook over medium heat until cream cheese is melted.  *Recipe can easily be doubled

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pressure Cooker - Potato and Corn Chowder

Most of you might not know but I love QVC.  I don't order daily but I do order regularly.  I find they have great products and great prices.

I recently ordered a pressure cooker from them.  I also ordered a cookbook - Comfortable Under Pressure by Meredith Laurence.  

I love the pressure cooker.  I am still figuring it out but I am loving it so far.  I have made a soup, a roast and veggies and potatoes.  I think the pressure cooker will be great for the holidays when I am using both ovens and possibly my Crock Pot too.

Everything has been yummy.  I am going to share the recipe for the soup - Potato and Corn Chowder. I thought this soup was fabulous!  I think you could totally adjust this soup to the stove top - maybe a little less liquid.  Pressure cookers are known for needing at least a cup of liquid or more.

Potato and Corn Chowder - for a Pressure Cooker - adapted from Meredith Laurence

8 strips bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely diced
3 carrots, finely diced
3 celery ribs, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups corn kernels, frozen or fresh (I used frozen)
3 cups small yellow potatoes, diced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp flour
2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 quart chicken stock/broth
1 cup half and half or heavy cream (I used cream)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I used a small amt of dried)

Preheat the pressure cooker using the BROWN setting.  If no brown setting or doing on a stove top, brown the bacon until crispy.  When crispy, remove bacon pieces with a slotted spoon.  Add onion, carrots, celery, peppers, garlic, corn and potatoes to the cooker.  Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes and then sprinkle with thyme, salt, cayenne, flour and pepper.  Stir well to distribute evenly over vegetables. Add the chicken stock and lock the lid in place.  Pressure cook on high six minutes.  Release the pressure with a quick release method and carefully remove the lid.  Stir the soup and use a potato masher to crush some of the potatoes.  Add the half and half or cream.  Season with more salt and pepper if needed.  Garnish with the reserved bacon pieces.  Serve with green salad and crusty bread.

TIP - if planning to serve right away, half and half works great.  If you want to re-heat the sopu for later on or plan on having leftovers, you might use cream instead.   Cream doesn't separate when it gets reheated.

Serves 6 - Quick and Easy

**There are no instructions for adapting to stove top.  I would brown bacon in a large stock pot like mentioned above.  Remove pieces and saute' veggies and corn til tender.  I might cook the potatoes separately and add them in. Add the chicken broth and spices and simmer.  I would add cream and simmer a bit longer

Printable Version

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bloomin' Baked Caramel Apples

While the girls were in town, we had eaten out a couple of times so we decided to cook dinner at home.  We had steak, cheesy potatoes, yummy garlic-cheese bread and roasted green beans.  We had eaten enough or had enough sugar so I decided to try a new Fall dessert.  I saw this one on Facebook too.  Facebook has lots of yummy recipes lately.  If I am on my phone, I usually just take a quick screen shot so I can refer to it later.  I followed the link to a fun blog - The Gunny Sack.

This was easy and fabulous.  The recipe call for two apples.  There were six of us sharing this dessert. I knew we didn't need a lot but I thought I better at least make three apples.  I just doubled the sauce that I put on top!!

I TOTALLY recommend visiting The Gunny Sack.  Tonia has great pictures and more detail regarding this recipe.  She has step by step pictures on cutting the apple, etc.

Please try this yummy FALL treat!!

Instead of adding the recipe to my blog, I am just going to direct you to The Gunny Sack.  She has fabulous details!

**I want to point out the yummy crusty sweetness that is baked in on the apple - see it on the left edge.  The entire apple was fabulous.... but my favorite part was the "crust" that was made from the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour mixture that is poured over the apple before baking - YUM!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was at a work party with my hubby a few weeks ago.  Susan and John are fabulous hosts.  They love to entertain.  They always have fabulous food and this time, they even had a magician!!

Susan had great side dishes and desserts.  I would love to have asked for all of her recipes but decided to just ask for her cookie recipe.  These cookies were large, slightly brown on the bottom and edges and soft in the middle and on top.  Her cookies looked way better than mine.  I will have to try to perfect them.  I think hers tasted better too.  Mine were way yummy and didn't last long but I will still have to work on it a little more.

Our two college age girls came home for Fall Break.  They are loving Baylor but it is SO nice to have them home.  We all love Fall in Nebraska!!  We shopped, we ate, we did the pumpkin patch, we watched Baylor football on tv, we ate more, we watched movies, we ate again......You get the idea.  I had four desserts made for them when they walked in the door.  I loving have some of their favorite treats.  Jenna brought a friend home so I had to make even more fun goodies.  So, I made these yummy cookies and I filled up our cookie jar.  They are gone!!  I cannot wait to try them again!!

One other thing, I don't normally make cookies where I have to refrigerate the dough.  I am usually in a hurry and don't want to take the time.  I think the refrigeration and then baking these gems at 400 made them unique to the chocolate chip cookie family!!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla (I use 2)
2 2/3 cups flour (I use 3)
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (I omit)

Cream butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
Stir in chips and walnuts.

Spoon dough and shape into balls.  (I flatten slightly).  Place in airtight container, separating layers with waxed paper.  Cover and refrigerate minimum of 12 hours or overnight (I only do overnight).

To bake, place dough on parchment paper-lined baking sheets (very important, do not omit).  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes (I do 7-8).  Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks; cool.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

*I wasn't sure which size cookie I wanted.  I made some with my medium cookie scoop and my large cookie scoop.  I just varied my cooking time.