Monday, October 20, 2014

Greek Chicken and Rice Soup


I know what you might be thinking. "Another soup recipe?" Yes. Another one. Trust me, this one is really good and very unique tasting.

We have a favorite Greek restaurant near us that we love to go to. The best thing to get is the soup. They give it to you as an appetizer in a teeny tiny cup. I'm exaggerating, but it is not a large portion. 

The only bad part is, you are allowed just this little cup. 

Soup in a bowl (or gallon bucket) is not an option.

That is, unless you make this at home. Which might I mention is very easy. This recipe has few ingredients and comes together pretty quickly. The broth is light, lemony and so delicious. I love how the rice soaks up the lemon flavored broth and makes the soup hearty.

Ingredients

2 chicken thighs (I use boneless and skinless)
2 teaspoons Greek seasoning, divided
1 Tablespoon olive oil
6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 lemons zest and juice removed
3 cups white rice, cooked

First, season the chicken thighs with 1 teaspoon of the Greek seasoning and some salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan. Then, brown the chicken on each side over medium heat.

Once the chicken is browned on both sides, add in the chicken broth, remaining Greek seasoning, and lemon juice. Let this simmer over medium high heat for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. 

Once the chicken is cooked, take it out of the pot and put it off to the side. Add in the lemon zest and rice. Then, turn the heat to low stirring occasionally. 

Shred the chicken into small pieces and add this back to the broth and rice mixture. Let this all cook together over low heat for another 5 minutes before serving. 

This is delicious with pita or any crusty bread to dip in the broth!



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Light Creamy Tomato Soup




My husband had requested a creamy tomato soup for dinner one night. I sifted through a few recipes I had on hand and my stomach churned at the choices.

It was potluck day at work. Which is code for I had eaten doughnuts, cake and far too many little smokies before a respectable hour of the day. A recipe with a whole cup of heavy cream did not seam like the proper atonement. 

Instead of finding new recipes and being productive with my time I looked at pinterest for the better part of the hour. Coincidentally I came across an ingredient exchange to make your recipes a touch lighter. I use evaporated milk all the time in cream soups, but I had never thought to add it to any others.

I tried this evaporated milk idea out with some smooth pasta sauce and it was just plain delicious. The soup was creamy with tons of flavor and great texture. And it has only three ingredients.

Jarred marinara sauce is pretty much the best thing ever for tomato recipes. Canned tomatoes often have a tin flavor that takes some time to cook out. This is not ideal when wanting a quick recipe. Marinara sauce seems to have that cooked all day taste making it perfect when you are whipping something up.

The ingredients may seem a bit odd, but just trust me. This is crazy delicious soup. 

Ingredients

1 24 ounce can pasta sauce ( I use Hunt's four cheese)
1 12 ounce can fat free evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine these three ingredients into a medium sauce pan. Heat this together for about ten to fifteen minutes. That's pretty much it.


I love to serve this with a good grilled cheese or some crusty bread and a sprinkle of cheese over the soup. 
I hope you try this out and love it!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Autum Pork Chops





Growing up I never had apples or any other fruit with meat. It was not a combination my dad enjoyed, so I never knew apples and pork were commonly friends. As an adult I have found I really love the crisp fruity flavor of apples and pork. 

This has quickly become a favorite dinner in our house. The pork is juicy, flavorful and cooks really quickly. The crispy potatoes add a nice starchy way to soak up the delicious sauce made by the pork and apples.  The sauce is made with apple cider, but it is not overly sweet by any means. It really just makes everything taste crisp and fall themed.

Ingredients

4 thinly sliced pork chops
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium apples, chopped (I used Gala Apples)
3 medium potatoes, chopped into small bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup apple cider

First, brown the pork chops over medium heat in a large skillet. Once both sides are browned, set them off to the side on a plate. 

Add in the butter, apples, and potatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Let all of this saute over medium heat until the potatoes are almost tender. By this point, your pan has developed some good yummy bits that will help us make our sauce.

Add the apple cider to the pan. With a spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan making sure to get all those yummy cooked on bits of pork, potato and apple. Let all of this simmer for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add the pork chops back in the last 3 or 4 minutes before serving to soak up some sauce.


I hope you take some times to enjoy a delicious meal with the tastes of fall!


Monday, October 6, 2014

Corn and Veggie Chowder



Soup is one of my favorite things in the whole word to have for lunch. It's just nice to have a hot bowl of tasty soup to break up your day. This soup has become one of my favorites as the temperatures have decreased a few degrees.

Corn and veggie chowder is a combination of sweet corn, crunchy broccoli and carrots with a delicious, rich, and cheesy broth. Sometimes cream based soups are just not my favorite since they have great texture, but very little flavor. This soup is super flavorful and much lighter than other cream soups since it uses evaporated milk instead of actual whipping cream.Try this out and you will love it!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
2 green onions, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 head of broccoli
2 ears of fresh corn or 16 ounces frozen corn
1 can evaporated milk
12 ounces milk
8 ounces Velveeta, cubed

First, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and sizzling, add in the green onions, carrots, broccoli and corn. If you are using frozen corn, thaw it and add it in with the milk instead of sauteing it. Otherwise the other veggies will steam and miss out on some tasty flavor opportunities. Season these veggies with some salt and pepper.

After the veggies have cooked for a few minutes they should be a bit tender and have light color on them. Then add in both milks and the Velveeta. Turn the heat down to low.

Let this whole mixture simmer for about 15 minutes over low heat stirring occasionally. I added another sprinkle of pepper to my soup for extra zip.

Corn and veggie chowder is delicious with a slice of toast or a warm sandwich. I hope you try this soon and love it!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cinnamon Spice Scones


Scones have been on the list of things I've been itching to make since receiving my handy food processor. The time just didn't feel right over the summer. Not to say that scones taste bad in warm weather, but they do go so nicely with a warm beverage like coffee or tea.

Scones are the delicious meeting point between pie crust, muffins and biscuits. It's really all about the butter. Just like pie crust, the butter imbeds itself in between the layers of flour. This makes the scones super flaky, crumby and just plain yummy.

I came across this simple recipe from moneysavingmom.com and decided it was time to try it out. They were indeed very easy and they came out perfect.

 Ingredients

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of butter, chopped into small cubes
1 egg, separated
3 Tablespoons honey 
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup milk
Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling over the top (optional)


In a food processor or large bowl, add the flour, baking soda and power, along with the salt, cinnamon, and butter. Then pulse until the butter is the size of small peas and is evenly distributed throughout the dry ingredients. 

If you are not working with a food processor, use either a sturdy fork or a pastry cutter to do the same thing. It should look like the photo above.


 Combine just the egg yolk, honey, vanilla and milk. Then add this to the mixture. The mixture looked a little dry for me, so I added another few Tablespoons of milk. Make sure you save the egg white to brush over the tops of the scones.


Squish all the dough together and place this on a well floured counter top. Roll this into a circle like shape that is 1/4 inch thick. Then cut this like you would a pizza. I made 8 scones from this.
 

Place the unbaked scones onto a greased cookie sheet. Brush with the egg white and sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar if you are using it. 
 

Bake the scones at 400 degrees for about ten minutes. These little beauties should be golden brown on the top and should be firm, not squishy when gently pressed.


Let the scones cool for about 15 minutes before eating them. Not only will they be far too hot, they will crumble really easily. I drizzled a glaze made with powdered sugar and vanilla over the top before we enjoyed them.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fresh Apple Cake


Colorado has some crazy weather. This year my classroom is outside in a mobile and I am even more aware of the changing forecast. With 35 creatures who are eager to announce the current weather conditions it is hard to miss. Not to mention the four minute passing period I am outside. 

Last week we experienced a cold front that brought snow to parts of the Mile High City. I decided my grocery list should be only pumpkin, apple and fall tasting things. Things to make apple cake, pumpkin parfaits and soup.

 The high for today was 85 degrees. 

Oops. 

Regardless, this cake is amazing. My lady friends who sampled it gave it "10 out of 10!" Not to mention, my husband says it is the best cake I have ever made. The cake itself is insanely moist with chunks of tasty apple all throughout. The frosting is almost caramel in flavor while the texture is similar to a German Chocolate Cake frosting but without the coconut.

Essentially this is like eating a nutty caramel apple inside a cake. You will love it regardless of the weather.

Ingredients

Cake
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 apples, peeled and chopped

Frosting
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chopped almonds


 Combine the oil, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Add in the eggs one at a time and stir until well mixed.


 Add the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in three increments alternating with one of the chopped apples. Essentially 1 cup dry ingredients, 1 chopped apple. Then repeat until you are finished. 


Pour this thick batter into a well greased 9 X 13 pan. Bake this off at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out almost clean.
 

Let the cake cool for at least 2 hours. 

For the frosting:
Cook the butter, sugar, and milk until it boils. Let this boil for about two minutes keeping a close eye on it. After two minutes take this off the heat and add the vanilla. Put the pan directly into a bowl of ice water to chill for about 5 minutes. Then whip this for about 3 minutes with an electric mixer. 

The frosting won't be super thick, but it will thicken as it cools and after you whip it a bit. Once the cake is cooled and the frosting is ready, spread this delicious layer of nutty sweetness over the cake.
 

 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Homemade Pizza


 

 Pizza is one of my very favorite foods. Hot, cold, the toppings make no difference, pizza is just delicious. I even love making my own pizza. It honestly takes about the same amount of time to make and bake as it would to order it from somewhere. 

 This recipe starts with my magic bread recipe that can be transformed into anything you like. Add some sauce, cheese and some toppings and you are ready for a delicious, ooey gooey pie. This pizza in particular is my husband's favorite. Topped with pepperoni, chicken and green chile this pizza is super tasty with a side of ranch dressing.

Ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water (room temperature)
1/2 cup marinara sauce
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
toppings of your choice



 
 First, combine the flour, salt, yeast and water in a large bowl.  This will look like a shaggy mess. Trust me, it will work. Cover the dough with plastic wrap overnight or at least for 12 hours. This is what the dough will look like.



Preheat your oven to 450 degrees for at least 30 minutes before you put the pizza in to create a nice and crispy crust.

 Sprinkle about 1/4 cup extra flour onto the counter and your rolling pin. Roll and stretch the dough until it is 1/4 inch thin and just barely fits onto a square cookie sheet. If you only have a rectangular cookie sheet, just shape it to fit the pan.


Spread the marinara sauce over the doughy crust.


Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the sauce. 


Add any toppings you like. If you are adding sliced veggies, make sure they are not too thin as they will get too toasty in the hot oven.


Bake the pizza for 20 to 30 minutes. The baking time will depend on how thin you roll the dough. Just check to see that the cheese is nicely golden brown and the crust should be completely solid on the bottom. 
 

Let the pizza cool for about 10 minutes before trying to cut it. The cheese will rip right off the pizza and you will most likely burn yourself. There's no need for such things during pizza time.

Enjoy!