Saturday, October 30, 2010

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I apologize in advance for the so-so picture! This a great soup courtesy of Cooking Light. I love broccoli in any form, and I love cheese in any form so......I love this soup. I needed comfort food these past few weeks! As I have mentioned before, I work in politics (my other passion besides cooking and food- well horses too) and we are a few days out from our election (or should I say RE-election). Keep your fingers crossed for us, but I know we will come out on top. I try to keep these things separate from my blogging because this really is an outlet for me outside work. However, it has taken over recently- I haven't cooked since Monday! Enjoy the soup!!
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (16-ounce) package broccoli florets
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces light processed cheese, cubed (such as Velveeta Light)

Heat a large nonstick saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add broth and broccoli. Bring broccoli mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook 10 minutes. Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in pepper. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Place one-third of the soup in a blender or food processor (I used my immersion blender), and process until smooth. Return pureed soup mixture to pan.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

I love Shepherd's pie. It is really easy to make, and it makes awesome leftovers. I use to eat this dish as a child, but really fell in love with it after eating it in England about 15 years ago (they made it with lamb). I usually put a little cheese on top, but you don't have to some people like to make little designs with a fork on top so you get those nice little crisp edges. I also don't use canned veggies in this dish- granted it s easier- fresh is best. Enjoy!!!
1 1/4 lb ground beef (I use 90/10)
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, diced
3/4 cup fresh corn (about 2 cobs)
1 tsp ketchup
1 tsp A-1 steak sauce
1/3 cup water
1 tsp flour (I use gluten free)
2 Tbl butter
3 Tbl lite cream cheese
1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cheese, for the topping (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Boil the potatoes until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Remove potatoes from water and set aside. Brown beef in a large skillet. When meat is cooked add veggies. Allow the beef mixture to cook for about 5 minutes. While beef mixture is cooking, mix the water and four together in a small bowl. Add to beef mixture. Allow the beef to cook till all liquid has been absorbed. While beef mixture cooks add potatoes, cream cheese, butter, milk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a large bowl. Mash potatoes either by hand or with an electronic mixer. Set potatoes aside when complete. Once liquid has been absorbed from the beef. Add ketchup, A-1, and season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a circular Pyrex, or a medium size casserole dish. Top with potatoes and cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup with Sweet Potato and Parsnip

Yum. Yum. Yum. I love this soup. I also love immersion blenders. They make life so much easier. So worth the money- I bought mine for $30 at La Sur. Back to the soup, I wanted to make this soup for awhile now, but couldn't decide between squash and sweet potato. So I used both- why not? It turned out sweet, creamy, and yummy! Go Pack Go- Happy Sunday!
20 oz parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 large acorn squash, split and seeded
3 medium sweet potatoes
14 oz chicken broth
1/2 pint cream (I used lite)
1 cup water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Roast parsnips and squash till soft. The parsnips will cook fast, so be sure to take them out before the squash is finished. While squash and parsnips roast cook sweet potatoes in the microwave- about 12-15 minutes. Cut cooked potatoes in half and scoop the potatoes out of their skin and add them to a medium soup pot. Add parsnips, chicken broth, water, and spices (besides salt and pepper). When squash is done roasting remove from skin, and cut into pieces. Add squash to soup pot. Use immersion blender to puree soup until smooth. Add cream and puree with immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender- buy one. Just kidding, you can use a regular blender and it will do the trick. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot and garnish with sour cream or, in the case of the picture, greek yogurt.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Rice Casserole

A yummy casserole and crisp fall day go together like football and brats :). This is recipe is soooo good. It will certainly stay on our rotation as we start to go into winter. This recipe is from the Picky-Palate, and it's great! The Picky-Palate blog is wonderful- lots of original, easy, and family friendly recipes. Also, the recipes are pretty healthy, or can be modified to your health needs. Next time I make this I think I will thrown in some broccoli or chopped spinach. Enjoy!

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
½ lb diced ham
2 Cups cooked shredded chicken breast
4 Tablespoons butter
¼ Cup flour (I used gluten-free)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
14 oz can chicken broth
3 Cups cooked rice of choice (I used brown)
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 Cup shredded mozzarella or swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil into a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and bell pepper until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, ham and chicken. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Melt butter then stir in flour, salt and pepper until combined. Slowly stir in chicken broth until well combined. Stir in cooked rice then transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cover the dish with foil the last 10 minutes for oozing cheese.
6-8 servings

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mexican 7 Layer Dip

I made this after the last Packer home game for a snack for the hungry football goers. This is super easy and totally old school, but people always seem to love it. I like it when the beans are warm, so its best to put it together quickly right before you are going to serve it. Enjoy!
1 can refried beans (I like to use the original flavor or vegetarian)
1 small can green chilies, diced
1tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (Grate your own- it's just better)
3/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 cup guacamole
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese (Same deal as the cheddar- grate it!)
1 can black olives, sliced
1 cup pico de gallo

Heat refried beans into a small pan over medium-low heat. Add one can of drained and diced green chilies. Add a little bit of ground cumin. Mix well. Spread the warm beans on the bottom of a large plate. Add the cheddar cheese. Next, spread the sour cream on top. Spread the guacamole over the sour cream. Add a layer of monterey jack and sliced black olives.
Lastly, add Pico de Gallo. Serve with tortilla chips.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

This is one of my favorite dips ever. It goes great with chips, pitas, and veggies. It is also super easy, and always a great thing to bring to pot luck. Sometimes I like to throw in red bell peppers or jalapenos to spice things up. Enjoy!
8 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayo
1 14.5 oz can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Mix cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo in a large mixing bowl. Add artichokes, spinach, parmesan cheese, and garlic. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Spread into a pie pan, and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees till cheese is melted and sides begin to bubble.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Crockpot Little Smokies

This is probably the easiest appetizer ever. It's always well received at a party. Who can resist little sausages in BBQ?? Unless you are a vegetarian then I guess you get a pass. Try it for your next party and enjoy!
2 14 oz packages of little smokies
1 12 oz jar of grape jelly
1 12 oz bottle of chili sauce

Mix jelly and chili sauce together in crockpot. Add smokies and stir. Turn crockpot to high and till smokies are hot. Turn crockpot to warm once desired temperature has been reached.