Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cream of Asparagus Soup

I found a soup that was a winner with the entire family! This Cream of Aspargus soup was easy to make but it had a lot of steps and ended up dirtying up way too many pots and pans. I'm not sure how I would condense it down to less pot and pans and have it taste as good though. I was so happy when I saw the kids eating this green soup without so much as a complaint! Since my four year olds are baulking at the mention of vegetables lately, I'm getting creative! Halfway through Izzie mentioned that her dinner didn't have "any" vegetables in it. I told her that it was green because I pureed the asparagus. She just shrugged and said, "I like asparagus this way!" 

 Cream of Asparagus Soup with Grilled Chicken

1 soup pot
1 saute pan with high edges
1 grill pan
1 cookie sheet
immersion blender (or regular blender)

1 pint of mushrooms
1 pint of heavy cream
bacon grease
salt & pepper
parmesan cheese
handful of pine nuts
2 chicken breasts
1 bushel of asparagus
2 tbsp of butter
1 tsp of tarragon
1 tsp of thyme
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 quart of chicken stock

Mince your mushrooms up finely. Set aside. Put asparagus on cookie sheet and roast them at 425 for about 12 minutes. (You could skip this step, but I think it brings out the flavor of the asparagus.) Chop onion and garlic and put in them in the soup pot with the butter. Cook on medium stirring often to soften onions. Add seasonings (tarragon, thyme, salt and pepper.)

Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in a dry saute pan. Remove to a bowl and set aside. (At this point you could cook your chicken in the saute pan to save dirtying your grill pan, but I like the grill pan.) If you are not cooking your chicken in the saute pan, put the bacon grease and mushrooms in. Stir until mushrooms are caramelized. Add heavy cream, salt and pepper. Stir on medium-high until cream thickens. Set aside.

Take your now cooked asparagus and put them in your soup pot. Add chicken broth. With an immersion blender, blend until asparagus breaks down completely. It's pretty fibrous, so it takes awhile. When it is done, pour the cream of mushroom soup that you made into the soup pot. Stir to incorporate. Add parmesan cheese to taste. Serve with the grilled chicken and pine nuts.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Autumn Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

 Autumn Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Autumn Salad

I was looking some light and refreshing dinners/lunches and came across this salad that looked so yummy! Full of a bunch of my favorite things I knew this salad would be a hit with the entire family. Sure enough, my daughter Maddie ate and entire salad bowl of this and asked for more. Izzie isn't feeling well today, so she just wanted a small cup of my chicken noodle soup to sip on during dinner time. I'm not putting down amounts, just put ratios of what you like. This is a chop salad, so all the ingredients should be roughly the same size. My husband who also liked the salad suggested apples instead of pears next time. They'd give a bit more crunch.

Autumn Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

romaine lettuce
feta cheese
bacon, cooked
pear or apple
leftover poached chicken

Chop everything into close to equal sizes and toss with Poppy Seed Dressing (below.)

Poppy Seed Dressing
1 tsp mustard
1 cup of olive oil
3-4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1.5 tbsp poppy seeds

In a medium size bowl put 1 tsp of mustard. Drizzle in an equal amount of oil and start to whisk. When completely combined slowly, slowly drizzle in more oil as you whisk. When about half the oil is whisked in drizzle in sugar, maple syrup and apple cider viengar and salt. Continue drizzling the oil until it is gone. Stir in poppy seeds and taste. Adjust as necessary for seasonings.

Friday, March 9, 2012

BeeSting Panini

I came across this recipe while looking for some fun lunch ideas and it intrigued me enough that I had to make my own version of the sandwich. It's called a BeeSting Panini because it has honey and red pepper flakes. I love the salty/sweet/spicy combo of this sandwich, and I've already made two of them! I simplified down the original recipe which can be found on the Grilled Cheese Social Blog.

Bee Sting Panini

two slices of ciabata bread (or other crusty bread)
enough pepperoni to make a nice layer in your sandwich
a few slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
local, raw honey
4-5 basil leaves
pinch of red pepper flakes

Drizzle honey on each side of your ciabata bread. Chiffonad your basil and put it down on top of the honey. Layer in pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.Close sandwich and spread outside of bread with butter. Sprinkle hot pepper flakes in the butter and grill in a panini press until bread is crispy and cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sausage and Potatoes in the Oven

I'm pretty excited about tonight's yummy dinner. Mostly because I'm not in a cooking mood lately and this was easy. I do this on the stove top often, but this is the first time I've done it in the oven. Same amount of chopping, but instead of having to babysit the stove, the oven did the work.

Sausage & Potatoes in the Oven

1 sausage
1 bell pepper
1 big potato
2 carrots
1/2 yellow onion
2 slices of bacon
1 garlic clove
pinch of fennel
salt & pepper
1/2 cup beef stock
splash of balsamic vinegar
1/2 stick of butter

Chop your bell pepper, carrots and potato into bit size pieces. Same thing with the onion. Slice your sausage into 1/2 inch disks. Throw all of that into a nice baking dish (I love this stoneware from Pampered Chef!) Cut bacon into small pieces and place all around the top. Grate your garlic into the dish, sprinkle with salt, pepper and fennel. Add the beef broth and balsamic vinegar. Cube butter and dot it across the top. Cover and bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. Uncover and bake at 400 for 15 minutes to get some carmelization.

You could also add cabbage to this dish, or other root vegetables that you have on hand.
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