Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Vegetable Bean Soup

Vegetable Bean Soup
Soup's on!  This is a soup that my mom used to make with her leftover spaghetti sauce.  You always knew that after a yummy pasta night, this would appear in the next few days!  It is one of my all time favorites.  Loaded with veggies, kidney beans, some rice and noodles.  Not much more to say about it but just grab a spoon and dig in!

Recipe Source:  Mom


I love receiving comments and since I'm on vacation this week, I will respond when I get back!
Vegetable Bean Soup Serves: 8-10 Calories: NA Prep Time to Table: 50 minutes
Recipe : Mom’s

-2 T butter
-2 T chopped onions
-2 T tomato paste
-2 quarts water
-1 can dark kidney beans undrained
-1 cup spaghetti sauce
-1 cup chopped celery
-1 cup chopped carrots
-1 diced large potato
-1/2 cup rice
-3/4 cup soup noodles (I break spaghetti)

1. Melt butter in soup pot, sauté onions until te
nder then add tomato paste and stir for 1 minute.
2. Add water and chopped veggies and simmer for 20 minutes
3. Add sauce and kidneys beans and simmer 10 minutes
4. Add rice and simmer 10 minutes
5. Add soup noodles and simmer until noodles are done


Monday, January 28, 2013

Chicken Fried Rice with Leeks/Cranberries

Chicken Fried Rice with Leeks and Cranberries
I'm always looking for ways to use chicken.  It is a main staple at the house and I was very curious when I came across this recipe - wasn't sure how it would taste but the combo of leeks and dried cranberries sounded interesting.  So one night after work, I gave it a try.  Prep time wasn't too long - just the slicing of leeks and dicing some boneless chicken thighs - I substituted the rice by using pre-made Uncle Ben's brown rice (2 packets).  It needed to be chilled so I just kept them in the fridge after getting my groceries.

Speaking of leeks - do you know how to clean them?  I cut off the very green top part and the root.  Then I slice in half long way and run water between the layers and drain or pat dry.  This will remove girt that sometimes gathers in-between.

Recipe Source:  Adapted from Cooking Light

The DIY Guy and I both really liked this - the unique flavor of the leeks (kinda oniony/garlic like) and the dried cranberries gave it a sweet-savory taste.


I enjoy getting your comments but am currently on vacation and will respond when I return.
Chicken Fried Rice with Leeks/Cranberries Serves: 4 Calories: 452 Prep Time to Table: 30 minutes
Recipe : Adapted from Cooking Light

 -2T olive oil
-sea salt
 -1/2 lb boneless chicken thighs, diced
-2 cups leeks, thinly sliced
-1/4 t fresh pepper
-2 packets Uncle Ben’s long grain brown rice (chilled)
-1 cup dried cranberries
-1/2 t dry sage spice
-1/4 cup dry white wine

1. In a large skillet heat one T of oil until hot over med high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with some salt and sauté for 3 minutes in skillet until browned – stir occasionally then remove chicken from pan.
 2. Add leeks, black pepper and a little salt to the pan and sauté about 4 minutes until they are tender and golden – remove and add to the chicken.
3. Add remaining 1 T of oil and add chilled rice – first stir to coat oil on rice then flatten out in pan and cook for 2 minutes without stirring. Stir again, then cook another 2 minutes with stirring.
4. Stir in remaining ingredients and stir constantly and cook until wine is evaporated.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Club Night

Our book club met this week and we discussed The Girls from Ames - well it wasn't much of a discussion - as we went around the table, no one really liked it.  That was a first - usually someone in the group likes it - especially the person who picked it!  Some of the stories about the girls were interesting but we all thought it would have made a better article than a book.  Sorry, hope I'm not offending anyone who loved it - just didn't hold our interest.  But it was interesting that these women have been friends for 40 years.   One of the quotes from the book was "you can make new friends, but you can't make old ones."  True...

It is always fun to get together with the other gals and Sue had a nice themed Valentine table and treats.

She made up some cute Valentine bags for us with some nice goodies

Dessert was a cake made with lemon curd and fluffy frosting - very good!  All made from scratch.

Claudia has picked our next book and I have heard rave reviews...I've read rumors that it might also be made into a movie.  I can't wait to start it!

I love reading your comments but am on vacation and will response when I get back...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wild Rice and Chicken Soup

Wild Rice and Chicken Soup
Tonight I'm sharing a tasty and quick wild rice soup.  This recipe caught my eye in a Midwest Living magazine due the QUICK part being a package of quick-cooking long grain and wild rice (I used Uncle Bens).  Another bonus the flavor packet really gave a nice seasoning to the soup.  And as you know (well, if you live in the frozen tundra) a nice, warm bowl of soup really hits the spot these last few days when the temps for a HIGH were -2 on Monday and not much warmer since!  I think you will like how easy this is to make!

Recipe Source:  Adapted from Midwest Living

The original recipe called for chopped cooked turkey but I had some leftover chicken to use up.  Either way would be just fine!


Wild Rice and Chicken Soup Serves: 6 Calories: 348 Prep Time to Table: 45 minutes
Recipe : adapted from Midwest Living Feb 2008

-1 6.2 oz quick cooking long grain and wild rice
-1T butter
-1T olive oil
 -5 oz shiitake mushrooms (remove stems) and slice
-1 cup chopped celery
-28 oz chicken broth
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-2 cups chopped chicken, cooked
-1 cup whipping cream

1. Prepare the rice packet as directed but don’t use the butter.
2. Melt butter and heat olive oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and celery and sauté about 5 minutes until soft. Stir occasionally.
3. Add broth and pepper, bring to boil, turn to simmer, cover for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in rice, chicken and cream (I preheat a bit).
5. Heat through and serve


Monday, January 21, 2013

Tiramisu Cream Puffs

Tiramisu Cream Puffs
Last Friday I met daughter #2 in Minneapolis for a quick lunch and to catch up on life.  She suggested a place downtown called Spoonriver that is located by the Guthrie Theater.  This place is know for using organic food, local growers and fresh ingredients... they did not disappoint.  Danielle had the Cafe Brenda Burger made out of veggies, nuts and rice.  I had a fresh green spring salad with herb goat cheese and a small cup of butternut squash soup.  Everything was very tasty!  We decided to take a look at the dessert tray and I told Danielle she would pick out what she wanted - I only wanted a bite.  She settled on a cream puff with tiramisu filling and I ended up having about half!  It was soooo good and I really wanted to create my own version.

It was a first for me making cream puffs.  These aren't hard to do - don't be scared away!  I also needed to come up with a filling with no eggs.  Traditional tiramisu has uncooked eggs and that is something I did not want to deal with.  I came up with a light, fluffy filling with a bit of Kahlua (you could use strong coffee if not a fan of alcohol).  And to top it off is a chocolately ganache with a bit of more of Kahlua.  The combination of all three really melded together nicely!

My taste tester was blown away and has already eaten 4 in 2 days!  I was very pleased too with the results and now thinking of new fillings to try.... stop by another time to see what I come up with next!

Recipe Source:  Original
(printable recipe)

I'm still by no means an expert with my new camera.  I took the picture above in natural light and the one below in a light box.  Either way, don't they look yummy!

Next time I hope both the girls can meet me!

Another cream puff recipe you might enjoy.  Strawberry Cream Puffs

Tiramisu Cream Puffs Serves: 10 Calories: NA
Recipe : Original

-1 cup water
-1/2 cup butter
-1/4 tsp salt
 -1 cup flour
-4 eggs Filling:
-8 oz mascarpone cheese
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-3 T Kahlua (or 3 T strong coffee)
-1 cup heavy cream
-1/4 cup powdered sugar

-1/2 cup whipping cream
-2 T Kahlua (or strong coffee)
-1 T light corn syrup
-6 oz (bittersweet or semisweet ; combination works too)

For puffs: bring the water, salt and butter to a rolling boil then add flour in all at once and stir until a smooth ball. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes. Add eggs one and time and beat by hand until each is mixed well and final product is shiny. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and scoop ¼ cups of dough on sheets. Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes. Tops should be golden brown. Remove from oven and place on wire rack. Make a small slit with a sharp knife to let steam escape. Cool completely, cut tops off and remove webbing on the inside.

For filling: beat mascarpone until smooth in a medium bowl then add in Kahlua and vanilla. In another bowl whip cream and add 1 T of sugar at a time until soft peaks form. Fold in mascarpone mixture. Fill cream puffs and replace tops. For ganache: in small saucepan, bring cream, Kahlua and corn syrup to a simmer. Pour over the chocolate that has been chopped. Whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until desired consistency and drizzle or frost cream puffs. Cream puffs must be stored in refrigerator or served immediately.

Notes: strong coffee is a good substitute if you prefer not to use liquor

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thai Chicken Pizza

Thai Chicken pizza
As you know if it's Friday it must be pizza night here!  I'm always looking for some new ways to make it and recently met a new blogger on-line who suggested that I give this a try.  I am so glad I did - it has some wonderful flavors and one that I will be keeping in the rotation.  I did tweak it a bit so if you like to see Cindy's version, click here.  My tweak was not pre-baking the dough for a bit (it will make sense as you read my recipe).

Recipe Source:  Adapted from Everyday Insanity

Dough Recipe 

I also had some fun with my new camera before I went to any classes... still lots to learn.

The ingredients

The recipe called for red peppers but I forgot to buy so I used what I had on hand:


Time to eat!


If you have a non-traditional pizza for me to try - send it my way!!

 -Pizza dough (I make mine but only need half to make this)
 -3 T olive oil, divided
-1/4 cup sliced red onions
-1/3 green onion, white and green parts roughly chopped
-1/4 cup red pepper, diced -1 cup chicken, roasted or sauteed and diced
-1/3 cup carrots, shredded (I buy pre-shredded in bag)
-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
 -1/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
-1/4 cup sweet Chili Sauce
-1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
-1/3 cup bean sprouts (fresh if you can find)

1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees with a baking stone on middle rack – let stone heat up for at least 30 minutes before adding pizza
2. Heat 1 T olive oil in a small pan over medium high, add red onion and saute – onion should not brown but be very soft. Remove from heat.
3. Stretch the dough into a 12” circle and place on a pizza paddle that has corn meal on it (for easy sliding onto your stone)
4. Combine chicken with the remaining 2 T of olive oil and place as first ingredient on pizza. Next add red onion, green onions, red pepper, carrots, peanuts, cheese ending with the chili sauce.
5. Slide onto stone and bake until the crust is done (a nice brown) about 12-14 minutes.
6. Remove then add cilantro and sprouts immediately
7. Enjoy – if desired you could combine some hot sauce with the sweet chili sauce.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

John's Lucky (2)7 Chili Revisited

Enjoy this chili that is full of flavor
Today we are revisiting the DIY guy's award winning chili.  Back on November 30, 2011 he made this (researched the recipe and made it all by himself) for a chili cook-off at work and won!  He was pretty excited...  So I was thinking a couple Saturdays ago I would make it as we were preparing to watch the Vikings vs Packers in Wild Card action!  It was kind of last minute decision so we called up another couple to come over for the game.  I ran to the store, bought all the ingredients and thought to myself, great I have 3 hours before company comes - the chili needs to cook for 2 hours - no problem.  Well, what I didn't realize is how long the prep would be to get it on the stove and this time I wanted to take some pictures as I went.  I just made it before the clock ran out!

This recipe (here) differs from the original by one tweak.  We substituted brown sugar in place of the white.  I don't know if you could tell a big difference, but the chili turned out great, another winner...  The Vikings on the other hand - not.  One can only ponder what next year will bring!

Here's the line-up

Browning the meat

Adding everything else

There - simmer for two hours and you are ready to go!