Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I started making this soup with the immediate intention of thinking I would not like it. The only reason I even saved the recipe was because of my mom's love for it. After I finally added the last addition of the gross, plain, weird-textured corn tortillas to the soup, I tasted it. It turned out to be a nice and spicy soup with softened, much improved corn tortillas. Definitely not any other "make just to make your mother happy" recipe.

2 whole, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced white onion
1/2 cup diced green or red bell pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 ounce can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
32 ounces chicken stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 1/4 cups hot water, divided
2-15 ounce cans black beans, drained
3 tablespoons cornmeal
7 whole corn tortillas, cut into small strips

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Mix the cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt together. Rub the 2 chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, followed by the spice mix. Bake in oven 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. Shred and set aside.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add pepper and cook about 2 minutes more. Add the remaining spice mix, stir, add shredded chicken, stir. Add the Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, 4 cups water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, followed by a 45 minute uncovered simmer.
Mix together the cornmeal and remaining 1/4 cup of water. Add to soup and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
Add more seasonings if needed, then remove from heat and allow to sit 15-20 minutes before serving.
Add tortilla strips 5 minutes before serving.
Source: The Pioneer Woman

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chicken and Asparagus Risotto

This was not only the first risotto I had ever made, but this was also the first time I had tried risotto. I was skeptical at first about how it would turn out and whether I should make it or not, but it ended up to be well worth it. 

6 cups chicken broth
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 bunch asparagus, snapped
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Place the 6 cups of chicken broth in a pot over low heat. The broth needs to be warm when you add it to the risotto. 
Place the chicken in a large pot, cover in water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the chicken from the water and shred into small pieces. Set aside. 
Melt butter in a large pot until melted. Add the onion and garlic and saute until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook for about 4 minutes. Pour in the white wine and allow the rice to absorb it. Once absorbed, add 1/2 cup of the warmed chicken broth and allow the rice to absorb it. Repeat with the rest of the chicken broth until the rice is creamy and fluffy. 
While pouring in chicken broth, steam the asparagus by placing it in a pot with an inch of water. Place over medium-low heat and cover. Cook until bright green and slightly crunching. Remove from water and set aside. 
Add the Parmesan cheese to the rice mixture along with the asparagus and shredded chicken. Stir and serve immediately, salted and peppered. 
Source: adapted from Crepes of Wrath

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chicken Lo Mein

I made this on Thursday night, right after my spring break started. Thank goodness. It was a great start to the weekend and tasted super nice. I added a bunch of leftover spinach that we had as well as carrots and broccoli. I can't stand the strips of onion that are in some lo meins, so I gladly left those off.

Woo hoo!

1 lb Chinese egg noodles or spaghetti
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/8 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/8 cup sesame oil
1 bunch of broccoli, steamed
18 oz spinach
1/4 cup shredded carrots

Cook egg noodles according to package directions. Set aside.
Heat the canola oil in a large wok or frying pan. Add the chicken and cook until light brown. Add the onion and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes. 
Combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Pour this mixture into the frying pan with the chicken mixture and stir for 1 minute. Add the steamed broccoli, spinach, and carrots. Cook until the spinach is wilted and then add the cooked noodles. Stir until all the ingredients are combined.
Serve immediately.
Source: adapted from Crepes of Wrath


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tomato Soup with Garlic Basil Croutons

Celebrating π day with good soup. 
Maybe next year there will actually be pie. 

for the soup:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped white onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots
2 tablespoons minced garlic 
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 basil leaves
3 sun dried tomatoes
28 ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
14 ounces chicken broth

for the croutons:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups 1/2-inch bread cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil 

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, and shallots. Cook until tender, stirring frequently. Add the sugar, pepper, salt, and basil leaves. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the sun dried tomatoes, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the garlic basil croutons.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a small cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
Melt the olive and butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the bread cubes and toss until coated. Sprinkle with the dried basil and place evenly on prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes or until dry, crisp, and golden brown.
Once the soup has simmered for an hour, remove from heat, pour into a blender, and blend until smooth.
Garnish with the basil garlic croutons.
Source: Mini Baker

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Caprese Grilled Cheese

The salad in sandwich form. Even better!

6 slices bread
unsalted butter
3 tablespoons pesto
3 slices mozzarella cheese
1 large tomato, cut into 6 slices

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.
Spread a small amount of butter on the outside of each slice of bread. Spread the pesto on the inside. Place 1 mozzarella and 2 tomato slices on the insides.
Place the sandwich on the non-stick pan and cook until golden brown on each side.
Source: Closet Cooking

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Basic Bread

This bread is absolutely delicious. No questions asked. No persuasion needed. It's easy, doesn't call for a lot of ingredients, and isn't sticky or hard to work with as long as you have plenty of flour by your side.

The only part I do not like about making this bread is creating the steam right when you put the bread in the oven. Pouring water into the broiler tray just isn't enjoyable. I don't like the sound of the water when it hits  or how you have to close the oven door immediately afterwards. The last time I tried it I accidentally ended up pouring it all over the pizza stone, causing the loaf to become wet. Not fun.
The end result, however, is fabulous and definitely worth the trouble.  

3 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Place warm water in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add yeast and allow to dissolve for 5 minutes. It's okay if it doesn't all dissolve.
Add flour and salt all at once to the water and yeast. Mix with a dough hook until well combined. Cover with plastic and allow to rise for 2 hours.
Once the dough has risen, place on a floured surface. Dust with flour and form into 4 loaves. If not baking all of the loaves at once, refrigerate the rest at this point.
Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Place empty boiler tray in oven.
Place one loaf on a pizza stone, cover with towel, and let rest for 40 minutes. Then, dust with flour and slash a deep cross in the top of the loaf.
Put loaf in oven. Pour 1 cup of water into broiler tray and close quickly to trap the steam. Bake 30 minutes.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Marinara Sauce

Don't tone down the red pepper flakes. This sauce is just not the same without them.

28 oz can crushed tomatoes, undrained
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, finely minced

Combine all ingredients in a medium size saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for at least 30 minutes.
Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Source: Annie's Eats

Friday, March 2, 2012

Breakfast Potatoes

I originally made these for breakfast last Sunday and they were great in the morning alongside eggs and fruit. Later in the week we ate them with turkey burgers and they were equally as good then as they were on Sunday.

4 large potatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot 
1 jalapeno pepper 
2 cloves garlic 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to a boil.
Scrub the potatoes and dice into small pieces. Add potatoes to the boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes. Pour the water and potatoes into a strainer, rinse with cold water until the potatoes are cool and set aside.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Mince the shallot, jalapenos, and garlic and add to the skillet. Cook 5-10 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook untouched for about 10 minutes. Add the salt and pepper, cover, and cook until tender.
Source: Crepes of Wrath


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