Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

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So I have a kid living with me who does not love vegetables.  Am I the only one?  The odd thing is though, when I make chicken pot pie, he will eat every single bite and go for seconds!  That at least gives me something to work with since I'm a huge proponent of trying to get them to "eat the rainbow."  Well on the particular day I made this soup, we found out on the morning news that we were going to be in for some nasty weather later in the evening.   My kids decided that the evening meal needed to be some type of soup - their favorite rainy day food genre.  When prompted on the kind of soup they wanted, my vege-phobe suggested, "make something new."  Oh gosh... now the pressure is back on me!  So this is what we came up with. šŸ˜€

We have a little joke between me and kids.  When something is extraordinarily good (like Nutty Bars that I can't stay away from if they are in the house somewhere), I'll say "They are from the Devil!" So when I tasted the soup at the end and rolled my eyes ".... Mmmm," my little girl said "Is it from the Devil?"  HaHa!!!  šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚  Yes, it was that good.  Mr. I-don't-like-veggies ate three bowls of it, and both of them took leftovers in a thermos to school the next day for lunch.  Needless to say, this easy soup recipe will definitely be on the list of rainy day favorites for us! 

Ingredients:
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced (~ 2 stalks)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sherry (early) + 1/4 cup sherry (later)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed red potatoes
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 3 cups cooked chicken
    • I used a rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas
Step-by-step photos:
Melt 4 Tbsp butter over medium-high heat.
4 Tbsp butter
Add 1 medium diced onion.  *I keep chopped onions, celery, peppers in the freezer for really quick meal prep.  
1 medium onion, diced
Add 3 medium carrots, diced.
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
Add 1 cup diced celery.  This is about 2 stalks.  
1 cup diced celery (mine were from the freezer)
Saute 6-7 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.
Fun Fact:  A french culinary term for a medley of diced onions, carrots and celery is a Mirepoix (pronounced meer-pwah).

Now add in the 4 large cloves of minced garlic, and saute an additional 2-3 minutes until fragrant.  
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
Stir in 1/3 cup flour and saute for 1-2 minutes until the "roux" has developed a faint color.
1/3 cup flour
Deglaze the pot with 1/2 cup of sherry.  Don't worry if it all becomes a blob.  
1/2 cup sherry
Now slowly whisk in 3 cups of chicken stock and 2 cups of milk, stirring as you go to make it smooth.
3 cups chicken stock
Whisk to make smooth

2 cups milk
Add in 2 1/2 cups cubed red potatoes.
*The reason I chose red potatoes is that they hold their shape during cooking and won't mush up once they get tender.
2 1/2 cups cubed red potatoes
Now let's add our seasonings:  1 tsp poultry seasoning, 2 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 2 Tbsp dried parsley, and 1/2 tsp dried dill.
1 tsp poultry seasoning
2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp restaurant style black pepper
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried dill
Bring the soup to a simmer (NOT boil), stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking or scorching on the bottom of the pot.  Continue on simmer until the potatoes are fork tender (about 10-15 minutes).  

Once the potatoes are fork tender, add in the 3 cups of cooked chicken.  We didn't want to add it before now because we wanted to avoid it:  a) drying out, and b) shredding.
3 cups cooked rotisserie chicken 
Now add the 1 cup frozen corn and 1 cup frozen peas.  
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
After adding the peas, adjust any seasonings and remove from heat.  Stir in 1/4 cup sherry to finish the soup.
1/4 cup sherry
Mmmmmmm!!!!
Serve immediately with some warm tender Black Pepper Cheddar Bay Biscuits, bread sticks, French bread, or crackers.   Mmmmmmm!  
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I hope you enjoyed this easy and delicious family friendly recipe!  Here are some others I think you'll enjoy:
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Written Method:

Melt 4 Tbsp butter over medium-high heat.

Add 1 medium diced onion.  *I keep chopped onions, celery, peppers in the freezer for really quick meal prep.  

Add 3 medium carrots, diced.

Add 1 cup diced celery.  This is about 2 stalks.  

Saute 6-7 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.

Now add in the 4 large cloves of minced garlic, and saute an additional 2-3 minutes until fragrant.  

Stir in 1/3 cup flour and saute for 1-2 minutes until the "roux" has developed a faint color.

Deglaze the pot with 1/2 cup of sherry.  Don't worry if it all becomes a blob.  

Now slowly whisk in 3 cups of chicken stock and 2 cups of milk, stirring as you go to make it smooth.

Add in 2 1/2 cups cubed red potatoes.

Now let's add our seasonings:  1 tsp poultry seasoning, 2 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 2 Tbsp dried parsley, and 1/2 tsp dried dill.

Bring the soup to a simmer (NOT boil), stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking or scorching on the bottom of the pot.  Continue on simmer until the potatoes are fork tender (about 10-15 minutes).  

Once the potatoes are fork tender, add in the 3 cups of cooked chicken.  We didn't want to add it before now because we wanted to avoid it:  a) drying out, and b) shredding.

Now add the 1 cup frozen corn and 1 cup frozen peas.  

After adding the peas, adjust any seasonings and remove from heat.  Stir in 1/4 cup sherry to finish the soup.

Serve immediately with some warm tender Black Pepper Cheddar Bay Biscuits, bread sticks, French bread, or crackers.   Mmmmmmm!  

Monday, April 17, 2017

Spicy Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash

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My family has always LOVED a good breakfast potato hash!  I mean, what's not to love with onions, potatoes, sausage and good seasonings for breakfast, right?!  But we all know that white potatoes are not the healthiest for us... so I decided to make a spicy version of a healthier sweet potato hash that would be somewhere between familiar, exotic, and WOW!  Sweet potatoes rank #1 on the chart of healthy veggies.  They are a complex carbohydrate that won't spike your blood sugar and they are loaded with antioxidants.  As a bonus, this is Paleo friendly... if you're into that sort of thing.

menumusings.comThis hash is super easy to throw together in the morning and is just perfect for those leftover roasted sweet potatoes you have in the fridge from last night's dinner.  Use your favorite sausage or turkey sausage and "bam," breakfast is made!  - and don't most of us have a great little black iron skillet in the bottom of a drawer somewhere that needs some love?


Ingredients:  (for 2 servings)
This is sort of a throw-it-all-in-there recipe.  Not an exact measurement recipe.  So you'll have to forgive the lack of specific measurements.  Have more peeps... use more stuff.
  • Half link of andouille sausage
  • handful of chopped onions 
  • Water as needed (maybe 1/2 cup)
  • Leftover roasted sweet potato slices (about 1 cup or so)
  • 1 tsp Sambal Oelek (spicy Thai chili paste)
  • 1 or 2 large eggs
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro, rough chopped
  • crushed red pepper flakes

Step-by-step photos:
There really is no trick to making a hash.  So I'm going to "pretend" I did something spectacular here. Pull out your (fully cooked) meat of choice.  I used a jalapeƱo green onion flavored andouille sausage.  Chorizo would work great.  If you don't have a black iron skillet, use something heavy so you can get some good color on all of this.

I'm not going to add ANY extra oil in this recipe.  Stick with me here.  Cook the sausage until it's on it's way to getting brown, but not dry.  Just a little color.  
about 6" of smoked sausage
Add in a good handful of chopped onions.  I always keep a bag of chopped onions in the freezer for fast meal prep.  As an additional perk, the frozen onions break down faster than the fresh ones.  
~ 1/3 cup onion
Since I'm not adding any oil to sautĆ© the onions, I'm going to deglaze the pan with a couple ounces of water.  As the water cooks out, I kept adding a couple ounces at a time until my onions were nice and soft and translucent.
Add water to the pan to help the onions cook without having to add oil
When the onions are mostly cooked, add in about 1 - 1 1/2 cup leftover roasted sweet potatoes. (These were straight from the fridge and had been roasted with EVOO, salt and pepper.)  If you need to use raw potatoes, you could peel, cut, and microwave them until fairly tender. before adding them. *Don't forget to adjust the seasonings.
leftover roasted sweet potatoes, seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.
To get this spicy party started (on top of my jalapeƱo sausage),  I'm going to add 1 tsp of the Thai chili paste Sambal Oelek.  You can add a different hot sauce if you'd prefer, but I like the flavors and acidity in this one a great deal.  Look for it in the Asian isle of your supermarket.  
1 tsp Sambal Oelek
When things are pretty much all cooked and seasoned to my liking, I'm going to add the finishing touches.  First, make a hole (or two) in the hash, and break your egg(s) right into the skillet very gently being careful not to break the yolk.  
1 or 2 large eggs cooking right in the middle of the hash
While we wait for the egg white(s) to set, sprinkle the top of the hash with some fresh parsley and crushed red pepper flakes.  Turn off the heat when the egg white is set and the yolk is still soft and runny.  The richness of the yolk complements the starchy potatoes and the spicy sausage.  The fresh herbs bring a bright, fresh element to the dish. *Of course, if you'd like yours cooked longer, by all means, go ahead.
fresh parsley to garnish
Now go out and have breakfast on the back porch and watch the world wake up.  With this hearty and healthy breakfast, you will be ready to go out and conquer whatever the day will bring!

I hope you've enjoyed this awesome (and healthy) breakfast recipe!  Scroll all the way down for the written method.

Here are some bonus recipes for you:
Hoisin Beef with Rice Noodles - picky teenager approved!  Do a fun "toppings" bar and let them add their own.
menumusings.com
One Pot Skillet Lasagna - because there's nothing better than an easy and delicious one-dish meals on busy work nights!

menumusings.com
Beefy Crunch Wrap Supremes - move over Taco Bell.  These are super simple to make at YOUR OWN house!  Watch the teenagers pile in!
menumusing.com
BLT Buffalo Chicken Wrap - Make good use of those leftover chicken tenders that your kiddos tend to have.  LOL
menumusings.com
Tiramisu - have dessert, too!  (But this one comes with portion control.  Thank goodness.)
menumusings.com

Written Method
  • There really is no trick to making a hash.  So I'm going to "pretend" I did something spectacular here. Pull out your meat of choice.  I used a jalapeƱo green onion flavored andouille sausage.  Chorizo would work great.  If you don't have a black iron skillet, use something heavy so you can get some good color on all of this.
  • I'm not going to add ANY extra oil in this recipe.  Cook the sausage until it's on it's way to getting brown, but not dry.  Just a little color.  
  • Add in a good handful of chopped onions.  I always keep a bag of chopped onions in the freezer for fast meal prep.  As an additional perk, the frozen onions break down faster than the fresh ones.  
  • Since I'm not adding any oil to sautĆ© the onions, I'm going to deglaze the pan with a couple ounces of water.  As the water cooks out, I kept adding a couple ounces at a time until my onions were nice and soft and translucent.
  • When the onions are mostly cooked, add in about 1 - 1 1/2 cup leftover roasted sweet potatoes. (These were straight from the fridge and had been roasted with EVOO, salt and pepper.)  If you need to use raw potatoes, you could peel, cut, and microwave them until fairly tender. before adding them. *Don't forget to adjust the seasonings.
  • To get this spicy party started, add 1 tsp of the Thai chili paste Sambal Oelek.  You can add a different hot sauce if you'd prefer, but I like the flavors and acidity in this one a great deal. 
  • When things are pretty much all cooked and seasoned to my liking, I'm going to add the finishing touches.  First, make a hole (or two) in the hash, and break your egg(s) right into the skillet very gently being careful not to break the yolk.  
  • While we wait for the egg white(s) to set, sprinkle the top of the hash with some fresh parsley and crushed red pepper flakes.  Turn off the heat when the egg white is set and the yolk is still soft and runny.  The richness of the yolk complements the starchy potatoes and the spicy sausage.
  • Now go out and have breakfast on the back porch and watch the world wake up.  With this hearty and healthy breakfast, you will be ready to go out and conquer whatever the day will bring!  

Saturday, April 15, 2017

5-Ingredient Berry Crisp Dump Cake

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So yes, there are absolutely a ton of ways to make make cobblers, crisps, buckles, Brown Betty's and the like.  Maybe they've been so popular for a gazillion years because they are super comforting, super versatile, require few ingredients, and above all, super easy!  I mean let's face it, if you can just dump a few pantry ingredients together and throw the dish in the oven while dinner is being made and have something that warms everyone's hearts like this... then what's not to love?

menumusings.comThis recipe is no exception.  You can use the frozen fruit of your choice to whip up something so homey and comforting that even the most novice of cooks will appear to be a seasoned baker.  This berry crisp dump cake is just perfect for times when you have unexpected guests, occasions when you need to bring a dish over for someone, or just a super easy weeknight dessert for the people you cherish the most - your family. 


Ingredients:  
  • Nonstick cooking spray for casserole dish
  • 24 oz frozen mixed berries
    • or fruit of your choice
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup (16 Tbsp) melted butter 
  • 1/3 cup rolled or quick oats
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans


Step-by-Step Photos:
This takes such little time to prep that you should go ahead and preheat the oven immediately to 350F.  

Begin by spraying a 9"x13" casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.  
9"x13" casserole dish.  Nonstick cooking spray.
Dump in your frozen berries of choice.
24oz frozen berries or fruit of your choice

Evenly distribute the contents of 1 box of yellow cake mix over the top of the berries.
1 box yellow cake mix
In a small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup rolled oats and 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans.
1/3 cup rolled or quick oats

1/3 cup chopped pecans 
Add the oat/nut mixture to the top of the cake mix.
Oats/nuts
Top the oat/nut mixture with 1 cup melted butter, distributed evenly.
1 cup (16 Tbsp) melted butter
Now our little crisp is ready to pop into our preheated 350F oven until the filling is firm and the topping is golden brown and delicious!  Depending on your oven, this may take anywhere from about 55 min - 70 min or so. 
Berry crisp dump cake after baking
After removing the crisp from the oven, allow it to sit about five minutes or so while you find something lovely to serve it with - like vanilla ice cream, or whipped topping.  :)

I personally think this is a dessert best served warm.  Mmmm.
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5-Ingredient Berry Crisp Dump Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream
I hope you've enjoyed this super easy and delicious recipe!  Scroll down for the written directions and some more great recipes.  

Here are some bonus recipes:
Easy Cajun Chicken Pasta Bake - Great for a crowd (or a house full of teenagers and their friends).  Good way to stretch your budget!
menumusings.com
Easy Cajun Chicken Pasta Bake
Crawfish Fritters with Spicy Remoulade Sauce - Fun little pub-style appetizer for your gathering of friends that will be snapped up in a flash!
menumusings.com
Crawfish Fritters with Spicy Remoulade Sauce
Creole Red Snapper - Moist, flavorful, and super easy for your favorite catch of the day!  (Grouper or halibut would be great options for this as well.)
menumusings.com
Creole Red Snapper
Brady's Brussels Sprouts Hash - A fantastic and flavorful sautĆ© of Brussels Sprouts as a new side dish you'll fall in love with!
menumusings.com
Brady's Brussels Sprouts Hash
Spicy Fried Cauliflower Bites - These spicy little nuggets will make you forget you're eating veggies!
menumusings.com
Spicy Fried Cauliflower Bites
Written Method:
menumusings.com
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.  
  • Spray a 9"x13" casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.  
  • Dump in your frozen berries of choice.
  • Evenly distribute the contents of 1 box of yellow cake mix over the top of the berries.
  • In a small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup rolled oats and 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans.
  • Add the oat/nut mixture to the top of the cake mix.
  • Top the oat/nut mixture with 1 cup melted butter, distributed evenly.
  • Bake at 350F until the filling is firm and the topping is golden brown and delicious!  Depending on your oven, this may take anywhere from about 55 min - 70 min or so. 
  • After removing the crisp from the oven, allow it to sit about five minutes or so while you find something lovely to serve it with - like vanilla ice cream, or whipped topping.  :) 

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