Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chicken Torilla Soup

This soup has such an intense flavor the picture does not do it justice! Last year my daughter came over to make a Chicken Tortilla Soup that her friend had made just a few days before. He had told her that his family always makes this soup and it is the best. So she memorized everything he added to the soup and could not wait to share this recipe with me. Especially once she tasted it and it was so good! When we were finished making the soup, we all sat down and with every bite each one of us kept saying how good it was. If you are used to the creamy version that Max & Erma sells, just stir sour cream into your soup and you get a creamy base with wonderful chunks of chicken, tomato, corn, carrots and celery. This recipe can be easily be cut in half; just put the whole can a corn in. You can also save time by using the tomatoes that include Jalapeno peppers or hot chilis. I have done both of these and the soup is still wonderful. The full recipe will easily feed eight to ten. When I half the recipe I get five servings.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
8-10 servings
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
2 lbs chicken, chunked
1 can corn, drained
2 lg cans chicken broth
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic
2 tbsp cumin
2 tsp chili pepper
1 tbsp lemon pepper
Hot sauce, to taste
¼ flour

Cook onion, celery and carrots in a little oil and butter until tender. Add chicken and cook through. Add corn, broth, tomatoes, peppers, and spices. Bring to boil and then turn down to a simmer for ½ hour. You can adjust spices to taste. I sometimes add a little more cumin and lemon pepper. You can add hot sauce and chili pepper to add more heat. Mix ¼ cup flour with water for a thickener. Add to soup and bring to a boil. Serve with cheese, sour cream, green onion and crispy tortillas.

Crispy tortillas: cut tortillas into thin strips. Spray with cooking oil and lightly salt. Cook at 350 for 5 minutes until crispy. Watch these, they will burn easily.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

It started snowing here again this week and I have been freezing. Last night I planned out a menu for the week so that I could do some productive grocery shopping this week instead of willy-nilly shopping and having anything in the house to eat. I think we will have quite a few good meals this week with many new recipes that I have not tried before.

The soup recipe in this post was given to me by my sister-in-law Dodie. She actually sent me eight recipes and I am dying to try them all. This soup was so quick and easy to make. As it was cooking it smelled incredible in here and Baylee kept asking when it would be done. The soup is very thick with the first several bites picking up the Italian sausage and as you continue to eat it, the flavors of the tomato, beans, spinach start to come out. I put some of the leftovers in the freezer to see how it freezes. We loved this and TJ has already planned to have it for lunch tomorrow.

Pasta e Fagioli
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
46 oz chicken broth
10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup uncooked bow tie pasta
1 15 oz can of cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
Parmesan Cheese

Brown sausage, drain fat. Add onion and garlic and saute for 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with their liquid and break them up with a spoon. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add in spinach, uncooked pasta, and beans. Simmer for 15 minutes as pasta cooks. Serve with Parmesan cheese on top.

Print recipe


Monday, January 3, 2011

Palmiers - French Pastry

This is a recipe we found last school year when my daughter had to cook a french dessert and take it to school for French class. We looked for something easy that everyone would like. This is basically sugar and pastry, how can you go wrong? This is a flaky little cookie that is baked at a high temperature and the sugar caramelizes. She just recently made these cookies again and it took just minutes to prepare the cookies and cut them out. When you cut the cookie they will be pretty tightly rolled. Leave them tight, and as they cook they will spread out. I have seen these with Cinnamon Sugar and also as a savory appetizer with sun-dried tomatoes and Brie cheese. By the way if your smoke detector is close to your kitchen, it may go off! I think it is due to the heat when you have to flip the cookies over, truly there is no smoke! Our detector went off with each batch!

First thaw the puff pastry, then spread sugar out on counter.
Press the pastry flat on top of the sugar and
work the sugar into both sides of the pastry.

Start to fold in the pastry toward the center from the left
and right side of the dough. Keep folding each side
in until they meet in the middle.

Then fold it over itself.

There should be six layers.

Slice into 3/8 inch wedges and place on a cookie
sheet with parchment paper. The paper is
a MUST! Make sure they are spaced out.
They will spread.

The cookies do need to be flipped half way
though baking. Look how delicious!

By Ina Garten
2 cups sugar
1/8 tsp Kosher Salt
1 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Preheat over to 450 degrees F.
Combine the sugar and kosher salt. Pour 1 cup of the sugar/salt mixture on a flat surface such as wooden board or marble. Unfold the puff pastry onto the sugar and pour 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture on top, spreading it evenly on the puff pastry. This is not about sprinkling, it's about an even covering of sugar. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it's 13 by 13-inches square and the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry on top and bottom. Fold the sides of the square towards the center so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold 1 half over the other half as though closing a book. You will have 6 layers. Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices and place the slices, cut side up, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place the second sheet of pastry on the sugared board, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar mixture, and continue as above. (There will be quite a bit of sugar left over on the board.) Slice and arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment.
Bake the cookies for 6 minutes until caramelized and brown on the bottom, then turn with a spatula and bake another 3 to 5 minutes, until caramelized on the other side. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New York City

OK, I am playing catch-up with my pictures! These are from November when me and my husband went to New York for our 25th Wedding Anniversary. It was our first time to New York and we were a little intimidated by the city. We arrived on a Thursday and during the transportation from the Airport to the Hilton Newark Penn Station in New Jersey, the driver suggested a pizza place not far from the hotel that served New York Pizza. It was called Queen Pizza and the pizza was sooooo good. It was very thin and the sauce was perfect. I wish we took a picture of the pizza, we were so hungry, we just dug in immediately!

The hotel was hooked to Penn Station so it was a snap to hop on the PATH train and head into the city. It took about 15 minutes and we would be at the World Trade Center station. We could also transfer halfway through the ride to another train and it would take us to Times Square, so it was nice to stay away from the city but have easy access by the train. The hotel was not fancy but very affordable! We could hear the traffic outside but we were so exhausted every night we fell right to sleep, without using the earplugs the hotel supplies.

Once we got into the city, we mostly walked. We wanted to see all of the quaint side streets and little shops. We walked through Soho, TriBeCa, Greenwich, Central Park, down by World Trade Center, and Battery Park. We also loved walking through China Town and Little Italy.

One of our favorite sites was Top of the Rock. I thought it would be an expensive ride to the top of the building to look out at the city in one direction. Well I was wrong! Once you get to the top, you can walk all the way around the building and see every side of the city!....... and then go up another level......walk all the way around again .......and then go up again and then again!!!!! At the top there are no glass panels, like the lower levels, so you can get some pretty nice pictures. I think I have about 40!

Can you tell, we had awesome weather for November! Another favorite was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was beautiful!

We went to Times Square twice, once during the day and once at night. Actually at night we only stayed about a half hour and we saw enough! Police cars lined two blocks and it was super crowded, so we booked out of there. It was cool to be there but maybe not on a Friday night.

We did not go out to the Statue of Liberty but we did walk along the water at Battery Park and got a great view of Lady Liberty. We will see her next time!

My husband saw the Doughnut Plant on TV so we searched it out and had their fabulous doughnuts. We were starving when we got there and had to wait over a half hour in line to get the doughnuts. Due to the lack of food and waiting in the long line, we kept drowling over the list of fresh doughnuts and ended up getting two doughnuts each. Unfortunately we ate all of them lickety split! They were the most fabulous doughnuts ever but we were not hungry for the rest of the day. We walked to China Town and Little Italy right after getting the doughnuts and I was a little disappointed because the food in Little Italy looked amazing. I loved how all of the restaurants had the sidewalk tables open and people were enjoying their lunch outside. The food looked and smelled wonderful......but I was full of doughnuts! Eating in Little Italy is on my list for next time!

We did have some excellent food during our trip. This was a seafood dish from a Portuguese / Spanish restaurant called Iberia Restaurant. It is on Ferry St in Newark New Jersey. The sauce was so buttery and the Lobster, Scallops, and Shrimp were to die for!

Several nights we went to a little bar near the Hotel called MMM Bellos Pub. They have great Portuguese specials, the picture below is their version of Picadinho. My husband loved it.

We are looking forward to our next trip to New York. We are pretty sure we will go back in the spring.