Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In the kitchen with...

Tonight, we dine on what else is new? I never realized until I starting blogging about my cooking how many different types of soup I make and how much I LOVE a homemade soup. And how much I dislike soup from a can. The slippery *schlop* sound it makes as it comes out of the can, and how it still looks like the shape of the can when you get it in the pot? No thanks. I will eat a lot of different things if I've had my hand in the preparation and it turns out my critics are the same. If I want to hear an end to the "I don't like soup" cries at dinner, then I have to think ahead, pull out the mini aprons and get them in the kitchen. Suddenly tears turn into triumphs. "mmn-this is SO good!"
Tonight's triumph, a twist on a classic:

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

All the goodness and homey flavor in a pot rather than a shell. Try'll love it:

Tenderflake frozen puff pastry shells
1tbsp butter
3/4 lb chicken breast -cubed
1 8oz can chicken broth
1tsp chicken soup base
1/8 tsp thyme
2 tbsp fresh parsley or 3/4 tbsp dry
2 cups chopped veggies (whatever you like, this time I used carrots because it's what I had)
Cubed, peeled potatoes
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup instant mashed potatoes for thickening

Cook puff pastry according to package directions ( buy extra because people will want them!)
Boil potatoes until fork tender but not too soft
Melt butter in stock pot over medium heat. Stir in cubed chicken, and cook. About 10 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside.
Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and whisk in soup base, thyme, parsley and chopped veggies.
Whisk in instant potatoes. Cook until thickened. About 10 minutes.
Stir in cooked chicken, and potatoes, and cream. Simmer until hot.
Ladle into serving bowls, serve with puff pastry.

This makes enough to feed me two bowls, my sous-chef two bowls, each of the critics, with a generous helping left over for lunches the next day.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Schwack Of Chili

Mmm. I LOVE chili. This is amazing, because as a youngster, the idea of chili really made me turn up my nose. There is something about one-pot suppers from m childhood that I just couldn't fathom. Why did everything have to be mixed together? Tuna casserole, Shepherd's Pie, Lasagna, Stews, Soups, you name it, I didn't like it. Now that I am a stay-at-home chef taking care of 3 little critics and tending to the critics every need, including loads of laundry and following behind tidying, the idea of tidying my own mess in the kitchen is sometimes less than appealing...enter the one pot dish. It's fabulous. Everything working together, cooking deliciously all day, making my house smell like dinner all day, and very minimal's just music to my ears, mind, body, soul! Now, whenever I see a cooking show that boasts a one-pot meal, I'm all ears. My mom was a genius! My critics turn up their noses at the idea sometimes too, but there are a few that I can win them over with...and chili is one of them. My oldest critic is a lover of beans, and so chili is very high up on her list of favorites. My chili is a meat and beans with little signs of fact, the only veggie is onion and then the tomato sauce it cooks in. It tastes SO delicious and I serve it by itself, or over fries or baked potatoes. mmm-mmm-good. I believe that's someone else's slogan, but I'm going to steal it for this chili. A little cheese on top, a little corn chips and I'm set.

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 c. red kidney beans
12 oz tomato sauce
1 cup tomato juice
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
salt & pepper

Brown the beef with the diced onion, throw everything into the slow-cooker and cook on low all day. Serve with sour cream, grated cheese, corn chips, or over fries or baked potatoes.
Add Italian sausage if desired to mix it up a bit.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Some Like it Hot

Today's meal is somewhat of an oldie, in that I've cooked it a number of times before, but it's fairly knew to my repertoire of recipes. I always like to recreate foods that I've had a restaurants, so I can have those yummy meals at a fraction of the yummy price. So tonight, we dine on Blackened Chicken Pasta. The chicken is a bit spicy, so the critics only have a small portion, but the sous-chef and I love it. It's great over salad or pasta, but we opted for some carbs today. I've always like the idea of blackened chicken over a creamy alfredo pasta. A little hot and cool at the same time, but never knew how easy it was to make, until I found this recipe:

Cook cubed chicken breast in skillet in olive oil until no longer pink
Cook pasta according to package directions
Add blackened chicken spices to the pan until evenly coated

Drain pasta and coat with favorite alfredo sauce (I use the PC Roasted Garlic Alfredo)
Dish out and serve blackened chicken overtop

Blackened Chicken Spice Mix
2 tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic or onion powder

I mix all the spices together but keep the ketchup separate. Coat chicken with ketchup first and then add the other spices so they stick to the chicken better. A couple quick turns of the pan until the chicken gets a little 'blackened' and you're good to go.