Saturday, October 21, 2017

Loaded Beer Cheese Potato Soup #SoupSwappers

It is time for the October Soup Swap is here and I am the host this month! 

I selected the theme, "Soups from your State (Regional Soups)". I know there are so many types of soups or flavor combos unique to the different participants, and was excited to see what everyone came up with. 

I decided to make a variation of a beer cheese soup. Beer cheese is, not surprisingly, a popular soup in Wisconsin. It is frequently on restaurant menus using various types of local beers and cheeses.  The beer cheese combo isn't limited to soup in my neck of the woods. It is not uncommon to see if as a sauce for a burger or a dip. In Wisconsin, we are so luck to have a plethora of delicious local cheeses and beer right at our finger tips.  For this soup, I used Wisconsin's Spotted Cow and sharp cheddar from Steve's Cheese. I also decided to load this soup up and pair the beer cheese with a loaded baked potato. This soup is delicious and a perfect blend of a few of my favorite Wisco flavors. 

I am so excited to see what everyone else made from their regions! 



Ingredients

1 tsp olive oil
2 lb russet potato, peeled and chopped (set 1 cup aside)
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
2 stalks of celery,chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced 
4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup milk 
1 cup beer (I do not recommend using a dark beer)
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (plus extra for topping)
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled (plus extra for topping)
3 green onions sliced
Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper


Instructions

Saute potatoes (minus one reserved cup), carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in a soup pot. When vegetables begin to soften and onions become translucent add chicken broth and milk. Simmer till veggies are soft. Blend soup with an immersion blender or in a stand blender. You do not need to blend the soup, but it will result in a much thinner consistency.  Add the remaining potatoes to the blended soup. Add a the beer and cook till the potatoes are soft. Once the potatoes are soft stir in cheese and bacon.  Season with salt and pepper. Top with additional crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, sour cream, and sliced green onions.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan 10/8 - 10/14

Well I am a little late on my meal plan this week! I had a few exams last week and two over the weekend in my online courses and I was a bit behind to start my week.  This pas weekend we started by going for pizza and to the play Charlotte's Web with friends. On Saturday, I had barre class and after Kellen, Rowan and I bet our friends at a pumpkin festival for games, pumpkins and cookies. Afterwards, Rowan went for a nap and Kellen and I went to a local craft store for a Halloween slime making craft. Sidebar, how do you say Halloween? I say Haalloween and Kellen keeps correcting me and telling me to say Holloween. He is probably right.... Anyways, on Sunday, I went to another barre class and headed to kid's day at a local haunted house with my sister and friend Emily. The haunted house is for adults, but two days in October they cover up all the gory things and have kid volunteers scare the little ones with all the lights on- with a candy bag at the end! Kellen really enjoys it and it is fun to see all the kids volunteering and working hard to make sure it is fun for everyone coming for a scare. Afterwards we headed to my parent's for the Packer game.  That game was stressful, but thankfully the Packer's won with a minute left to play. 

This week we had swim on Monday and met a few friends for burgers at a place near by the pool. Rowan is enjoying class and is one of the younger kids so some of the skills are a little hard for him still, but he is getting comfortable blowing bubbles and laying on his back (this is very hit or miss for him). Next week the kids get a little playtime since it is his last lesson for the session.  This week for meals are a mix of going out and trying a few new recipes. I am especially excited to try Sarah's chicken stew on Friday! 

Have a great week everyone! 

Sunday: Spaghetti and Meat Sauce with Salad and Garlic Bread
Monday: Culver's after swim
Tuesday: Loaded Beer Cheese Potato Soup and Rolls
Wednesday: Brown Sugar Crockpot Pork Chops, Herbed Rice and Roasted Cauliflower
Thursday: Subs
Friday: Indian Spiced Chicken Stew with Potatoes
Saturday: Out after Pumpkin Patch

Monday, October 2, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan 10/1 - 10/7

Happy Monday!

This weekend Ron and I were lucky to have a break from our boys and they had a visit with my in-laws on Saturday night. Ron and I attended one of my former co-worker's wedding. Sunday we got to sleep in (which is not that late for us because our bodies are now wired to get up super early) and I went to a barre class. After barre, and while Ron was still sleeping, I grabbed brunch with my sister and a few girlfriends. I had a few delicious mimosas and a smoked salmon eggs benedict with a salsa verde- so delicious.  I also ran a bunch of errands and we were ready to hang out with the boys when they finally got home. There was no Packer game this Sunday so we relaxed and home and I made a pot of lasagna soup. 

Today I got to go with Kellen and his class to the planetarium! Opportunities like this make me feel fortunate to be able to take a break, work on my license and spend a little more time with my kids. Tonight we had Rowan's swim class and popped over to Culver's for burgers and custard.  Boys are currently in bed and Ron and I are watching the news coverage from Las Vegas feeling tremendously saddened by what happened. It made me hug my boys and husband tighter tonight. 

This week I have my usual classes and tutoring. I also have a few exams this week so it will be full! We are also going to see a local theater production of Charlotte's Web on Friday- I think Kellen will love the show! 

This is also, hopefully, the last week of this 80 degree weather in October trash......

Have a great week everyone! 

Sunday: Lasagna Soup
Monday: Out for Culver's
Tuesday: Grilled BBQ Chicken and Smoked Sausage, Mac and Cheese, Salad and Peas
Wednesday: Old-Fashioned Beef Stew and Crusty Bread
Thursday: French Onion Chicken and Rice Casserole with Green Beans
Friday: Out
Saturday: Pizza

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Warm Mediterranean Orzo Salad

It is no secret that I love olives and all things briny in flavor. Las week I made pesto marinated grilled pork chops and we needed a side dish to serve with our pork chops.  I had some feta to use and happened to have some orzo in our pantry. This is a very easy dish to make and since it is all made in the same pot that means minimal dishes!  This is not a vegetarian dish because I used chicken broth, but subbing in vegetable broth or stock out be delicious as well. 

School is going well! Thanks for your nice encouraging e-mails and messages!  I am approaching a few exams next week and this week have started tutoring in a high school personal financial literacy class and am enjoying being in the schools! I am hoping to be done with my program by fall (potentially summer) of 2018! 

This weekend we have a date night on Saturday and are attending a friends wedding! I am also planning a few barre classes and potentially bottomless mimosas to follow. Of course there will be some homework in there as well. One of my new favorite brunch places is The Cannery. I am obsessed with their smoked salmon eggs benedict with salsa verde....yum. 

Currently, Ron and I are watching the Packer/Bear game. The Pack is up by 14 points- Go Pack Go! We also started Homeland (and the new season of Survivor) this week and really like it so far- have you guys watched this series?


Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup uncooked orzo
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp pepper 
1/4 tsp onion powder 
1/2 tsp dried orgeano
1/2 cup halved kalmata olives
1 roasted red pepper, chopped 
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus a little extra for topping
1/3 cup halved tomatoes


Instructions

Heat olive oil in large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook about a minute. Add the orzo and stir to coat in the oil. Add pepper, onion powder and oregano and stir. Add the broth is a half cup as a time as each each half cup is absorbed.  and allow mixture to slightly simmer.  With the last half cup for broth add the olives, pepper, cheese and tomatoes. Cook till broth is absorbed and orzo is tender. If you need to add additional broth that is not a problem, but add slowly so there is not too much liquid.  Remove from heat and serve. Top with additional feta if desired. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Italian Sub Pasta Salad and a Life Update!

TGIF Everyone (do people still say that?)!

I am sharing a delicious pasta salad recipe because if you're experiencing the late September heat wave like Wisconsin is you can appreciate a cool dinner late in the season. 

I love cold Italian subs. Meaty and filling with crisp veggies and a zesty dressing....maybe add a few spicy peppers ass well- yum. This pasta salad is really easy and is a crowd  pleaser. The only thing that takes a little bit of time is the chopping, but it is worth the time! The dressing has a red wine vinegar and olive oil base and I dress it up with some oregano and a little garlic. I like to use a shaped pasta like radiatore (pictured below) because I feel that it grabs all the flavors and herbs in the nooks and crannies.  I like veggies in my pasta salad to balance the spice from the hard salami and zesty dressing and peppers. I like bell peppers, banana peppers, tomatoes, olives, and green onion. If my husband was not eating this I would certainly add some mushrooms as well! 

So what else is new in my world? Well, I left my job of about 7 years in August to return to school! I desperately needed more time with my children, and unfortunately those weren't options for me if I stayed at my former job.  I did a lot of thinking over the past 7 months, and after meeting with my licensing program, lots of talking with my family, and lots of personal contemplation- I left my job.  I enjoyed my previous job, but it wasn't my passion but I happened to be really good at it. I am currently taking classes to get my license to teach Social Studies. Since I already have a bachelor's in a related field I will not have to be in school for long. Right now I am taking classes and tutoring at my Alma Mater in Green Bay. Civics and history are a true passion of mine, and I am enjoying learning more. I am also looking forward to having summers and time during the holidays with my boys while having a challenging career.  This transition has given me a lot of perspective and I didn't realizing how much I was missing. I didn't realize how my life was comprised of going through the motions and rushing all day long.  

I will give you more updates on school as I chug along on this new adventure!


Ingredients

for dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano 
1 tsp basil 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 

Whisk together and set aside

1 lb shaped pasta, cooked according to package instructions
2 bell peppers (I used yellow and orange), chopped
1/3 cup sliced black olives
6 oz hard salami chopped
1/3 cup sliced green onions 
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved 
8 oz mozzarella petals, halved
1/2 cup chopped banana peppers


Instructions

In  large bowl, add pasta and all veggies, meat and cheese. Pour dressing over the top and stir gently to evenly mix all ingredients. 

Cover and store in the fridge about 30 minutes before serving. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Slowcooker Beefy Taco Noodle Soup

Hey everyone! 

Popping in to share a delicious weeknight soup with you! I am part of a soup swap and I have sadly had a mediocre showing with providing recipes, but this month the theme was "Quick Weeknight Soups". That is a theme I can get behind with school in full swing. This month Amy author of Amy's Cooking Adventures is our host and many thanks to her for organizing! Next month I am hosting so I had better get my butt in gear! 

I decided to make a slowcooker soup for the swap. My kids love tacos and I like to make different dishes using taco flavors because I know they will love it. I also added a few noodles because it is another food my children love! I added two different types of beans to make the soup even heartier. This soup is so easy and it is nice to get home and not worry about cooking dinner. 

We have had a few life changes I alluded to a few months ago and I will post more details on that later this week to give you guys an update! 

I also have to add it is ironic that I am sharing a soup today because it is 85 degrees today! However, this soup does not require your stove to simmer the soup so your house can stay cool!  


Ingredients

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 a medium onion, diced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed
1 (15 oz ) can pinto beans, rinsed 
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilis
1 can original Rotel
1 taco seasoning packet 
1 ranch seasoning packet
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
5 cups low sodium chicken broth 
2/3 cup frozen corn
2/3 cup uncooked elbow noodles

Grated cheese, sour cream and corn chips for toppings


Instructions

Brown ground beef with onion. Drain.

Add to the slowcooker, beef/onion mixture and all remaining ingredients with exception of corn and noodles. Cook on low 4-5 hours.  During the last 30 minutes of cooking add the corn and the noodles. Stir and replace the cover of the slowcooker. Cook till noodles are tender.  Salt to taste. 

Serve and garlic with cheese,  sour cream and corn chips

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan 6/25 - 7/1

Hello friends!

I have really been inconsistent lately and I have so many recipes to share with you I need to get blogging! The past few weeks have been crazy with work for Ron and I, but it seems that there is light at the end of the tunnel! I am so late with this meal plan, but I wanted to give you snap shot of our dinner table this week! 

This past weekend my co-worker had an apparel sale and we brought clothes ad hung out. Kellen got a little deep in the pool and I got to jump in after him- scary for both of us, but he was ready to get back in the next day. Later in the day we also sipped on ZIMA with Jolly Rancher (hello high school!). On Sunday, my sister, her boyfriend, my friend Emily and I went to see 47 Meters Down...... Oh. My.God. 90 minute anxiety attack.  

We have taken it a bit east this week because Ron has been slammed at work, but we are both really looking forward to a long weekend in Door County.  I love summer, but I always get a little sad because I wish we had more time to spend with the kids.  We got to have dinner with Ron's parents, sister, brother in law, and brother on Tuesday and that was awesome, as always, we have a lot of fun together. Pure Barre is doing a summer challenge and it has been a lot of fun. The goal is to do 40 classed in 60 days- whew! I am chugging along and hope I can get them all in! 

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday: Bacon Pierogie Bake and Salad
Monday: Tater Tot Casserole and Green Beans
Tuesday:  Out
Wednesday: Subs
Thursday:  Crockpot Italian Pork and Olives with Rice and Asparagus
Friday: Out for Pizza
Saturday: Grilled BBQ Chicken, Mac and Cheese and Peas