Shrimp, Potato & Corn Chowder

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So here in KC, the weather was surprisingly warm in February, and now in March – its damn cold again. That stupid groundhog. It snowed all day last Saturday and today high of 30! Ack. When its cold like this, I crave a big bowl of comforting soup. SOOOUUUPP! I wanted to try a new recipe and found one for corn, potato & shrimp chowder. The recipe I saw was a bit too simple for me – but it needed more of a punch with herbs, spices & additional ingredients. So I added a bunch of flare and made it my own. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. I really was impressed. It is one of the best soups I’ve ever made & puts some restaurant soups to shame. Of course I’m biased, but really – it’s good.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp (I prefer raw but you can buy pre-cooked – just aren’t as flavorful when you can season/cook yourself)
  • 8 medium size yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 can corn (15 oz approx)
  • 1 can white clam sauce (10 oz approx) – can use clam juice but I prefer white clam sauce
  • 4 strips cooked bacon cut into small crumbles/pieces
  • 2 leeks – cleaned and chopped into small pieces (1/2 inch)
  • 1 fennel bulb – cleaned and chopped into small pieces (approx 1/2 inch)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp old bay seasoning (divided)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped (or about 1 tbsp pre-chopped/prepared garlic)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • plenty of salt & pepper
  • Bread (optional) for serving

Directions:

  1. Bring 2 tbsp of olive oil to medium high heat in a dutch oven/soup pot
  2. Pat shrimp dry w/ paper towel – place into oil in pan
  3. Sprinkle 2 pinches of salt, 2 pinches of pepper and 1 tsp old bay seasoning onto shrimp
  4. Cook shrimp until just curling and pink and firming up, do not overcook – they will continue to cook once you put them in the soup a bit
  5. When shrimp are done – set on plate w/ paper towel to rest
  6. In same pot, melt 3 tbsp butter
  7. Add fennel, leeks, cayenne, thyme other tsp of old bay, and garlic
  8. Sautee until vegetables are very soft – about 7-8 minutes
  9. While vegetables are cooking, cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes (you can do this earlier, but you’ll need to place them in a bowl of salted water so they don’t oxidize)
  10. Once vegetables are soft and cooked down, add flour and cook for about 1 minute.
  11. Add clam sauce, milk, chicken broth & potatoes
  12. Bring to boil
  13. Reduce heat, cover and simmer on medium to medium low (every stove is different) – ensure pot is actually simmering, but not boiling. Stir about every 4 minutes
  14. Simmer/cook for about 20 minutes – until potatoes are soft
  15. Once potatoes are soft – add in corn, bacon and shrimp. Turn heat to medium (if not already there) and leave for 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  16. Add in parsley and lemon juice.
  17. Stir well and serve HOT (with bread as you choose).

**Reheating tip: We remove the shrimp (if we don’t eat them all) and store them separately from the soup in the fridge. When reheating the soup on the stove or microwave…heat thoroughly, then add in shrimp and heat for maybe 30 seconds to a minute – so the shrimp don’t get rubbery and overcooked during reheating.

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chopped fennel & leeks


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cooking shrimp in seasonings & oil


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shrimp resting after cooking


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adding butter to pan once shrimp pulled out


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Cooking fennel, leeks & spices in butter


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adding flour to vegetables


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added clam sauce, milk, stock & potatoes


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Once potatoes are done – added corn & bacon


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Post corn & bacon – add shrimp. Cook 5 more minutes!


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FINALE! 

Made-to-order Chicken Pot Pie

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I love chicken pot pie. LOVE. This dish is so comforting. Creamy herbaceous gravy with chicken, peas, carrots, celery, onion…and BISCUITS. I approach chicken pot pie a bit differently – thanks to inspiration from my mother-in-law (insert my shout-out to Martha).

I personally love to have leftovers after most meals. Many dishes are actually better the next day, I love having meals to take to work for lunch, its very convenient – and cheaper than eating out. The problem w/ regular chicken pot-pies (in my opinion) is  at the intersection of leftovers and the pie crust. The crust does not reheat well – it gets all soggy and bleh. This is my approach to having chicken pot pie that is AMAZINGly delicious with plenty for leftovers without the soggy crust. These pot-pies become ‘made to order’ which is actually really easy and kinda’ like magic. Ta-da!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can grands biscuits – bake according to package directions
  • 1 rotisserie chicken – about 2.5 cups shredded chicken
  • 1.5 cup frozen peas
  • 1 can of corn
  • 4 small carrots – peeled and chopped into discs
  • 2 celery ribs – medium dice
  • 1 small onion – medium dice
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp dried ground sage
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • salt and pepper

*You can use a bag of frozen veggies if you wish (peas/carrots/corn), but be sure to let them thaw so the water from the veggies doesn’t water down your dish. You’ll skip step 4 and just add the thawed veggies at step 9.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Thaw peas almost completely in the microwave – you don’t want them to be mushy, they can still be a bit cold as they will heat through in the sauce
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  3. In large deep skillet melt 4 tbsp butter over medium to medium/high heat
  4. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic and all herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme) and sauté for a few minutes until onions begin to turn translucent.
  5. Add flour and cook/stir for about 3 minutes
  6. Add chicken broth slowly, bit by bit and stir until the sauce begins to thicken.
  7. Cook for about 3 more minutes
  8. Add cream and continue to stir until thick and bubbly – again about 3 more minutes
  9. Add in chicken, peas and corn
  10. Add 3 pinches of salt and 2 pinches of pepper (more or less – whatever you prefer)
  11. Cook until bubbly again and heated through
  12. Spoon into baking dish.
    • This is where the magic happens. Only spoon in as much as you need for this serving for you/family/friends. I did about 5 large serving spoon-fulls for me, my husband and my son into a medium size dish.
    • The remaining chicken mixture you can put into a tupperware dish and refrigerate for leftovers
  13. Cut the biscuits in half and place them on top of the chicken mixture. You can tear up biscuits and fill in the empty spaces as needed.
    • Save other biscuits for future servings. DO NOT put biscuits in the fridge. Keep them in a Ziploc bag or tupperware container at room temperature.
  14. Bake for 15 minutes
  15. Remove from oven and serve!
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Biscuits – baked and ready to go!

 

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shredded rotisserie chicken

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Cooking onion, celery, carrots, garlic & herbs

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adding flour

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adding chicken broth

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adding heavy whipping cream

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stirring until bubbly

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added chicken, corn and peas

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stirring until heated through

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in baking dish

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added biscuits on top – ready to cook!

For leftovers (made to order!):

  • Put however much chicken mixture you want into a baking dish – based on how many people you are serving
  • Cut biscuits in half and place on top of chicken mixture
  • Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until mixture is bubbly and biscuits are hot on top

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Mexican Street Corn Soup

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I’m back! Having a kid = no time to cook, let alone time to blog if I happen to actually cook something. For you ladies who somehow make the whole full-time job, blog, kid or even MULTIPLE kid thing happen successfully – hats off to you. Cocktails on me. If you follow me or know me, I have not been focused on the blog for a while but going to try to get back into it in 2017.

I feel so much better when I cook for either myself, my family or my friends. I like to turn on the tunes, grab a glass of wine and just chop and simmer. Breathe and chill. My hope for 2017 is to do Sunday meal prepping so I’m cooking and then I’ll also have quicker ‘heat up’ meals since we try to be around the dinner table at 5:30 or so. Wish me luck.

Without further adieu – here is the recipe for Mexican Street Corn Soup – a few variations included. Apologies here for limited pictures. Not fully back on my blog/capture images game. Get more wine and use your imagination – or message me. 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oiil
  • 6 ears of corn – with the corn cut off the cob
    • I couldn’t find much fresh corn in the winter so I did 3 cobs and 2 cans of corn OR you could do 4 entire cans of corn if you can’t find fresh corn
    • If you use canned corn, drain WELL and pat dry with paper towel. Or you can do this earlier in the day and leave the corn out on paper towels for a couple of hours to dry out a bit.
  • 1 medium carrot peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery rib peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 chopped yellow or white onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder + 1 tsp for garnish (can add more as you wish)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro – divided
  • 1 avocado chopped (optional)
  • 1 immersion blender or food processor
  • 1 fine mesh sieve or strainer

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in non-stick stock pot over medium to medium-high heat
  2. Add in onion, celery, carrot and corn kernels (cut from cob or from can), chili powder, cumin, salt & pepper (I did about 3 pinches of salt and 1 pinch of black pepper)
  3. Saute until onions begin to look translucent and the corn begins to stick to the pan and get brown in spots. Took me about 10-13 or so minutes
  4. Add garlic and cook about 2 more minutes
  5. Remove 1 cup of corn mixture and set aside
  6. Add chicken broth and corn cobs (no more than 6 cobs) to the pot.
  7. Simmer 30 minutes on low
  8. With tongs remove the corn cobs and throw away
  9. Add in cup of sour cream and 3/4 cup of queso fresco. Stir well to combine.
  10. In batches (I had to do 2 batches), blend the soup with your food processor or blender.
    • After processing, I ran/pushed half of the blended soup through a sieve. I don’t like super thick soups and the corn kernel skins were getting stuck in my teeth when I tasted so I strained it to ensure it wasn’t too gunky.
  11. Put all soup back into the pot and heat to medium
  12. Add corn mixture from earlier when you removed it prior to adding chicken broth (step 5)
  13. Add in 1 tbsp (half) of the cilantro and lime juice – stir well
  14. Pour soup into bowls
  15. Garnish with lime zest, cilantro, queso fresco, chili powder.
  16. Add avocado if you wish.
  17. ENJOY!
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Step 6 – adding broth & cobs to then simmer

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Queso fresco, chopped cilantro & lime

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Finished soup bowls – ready for my belly!

Formerly Trendy Pasta

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This pasta is delicious. I mean its FREAKING good. Just believe me. I call it ‘Formerly Trendy’ pasta since its got all the major food trends that struck it hot for a short time recently: kale, bacon, butternut squash – all things that made it into a lot of new dishes and on many restaurant menus in the past two years. But…trendy or not, these ingredients are some of my favorite (minus kale which I can only eat cooked or chopped into tiny bits – I think it tastes like tree leaves might taste).

The pasta is sweet, savory, smokey, creamy, and has a tiny bit of spice from the red pepper flakes. It is one of my favorites. It reheats SO well. This recipe makes about 8 healthy portions. My mother was in town helping me with the new baby as I head back to work part-time…and we nibbled on it for lunch and dinner for a couple of days. No-one ever was tired of the pasta – which means its pretty damn good. 🙂 Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 package uncooked ziti (short tube-shaped pasta)or other short tubed pasta of your preference
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 8 bacon slices
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided in half
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine squash and 1 tbps olive oil in a large bowl  or in a Ziploc bag with 1/2 tsp salt and the 1 tbsp black pepper; toss well. Arrange squash mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with tin foil (or can use cooking spray). Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until squash is tender.

3. On another baking sheet with foil, lay the bacon flat and cook for 20-30 minutes (cooking times will vary greatly based on the thickness of the bacon). Flip the bacon every 5 minutes to ensure its fully cooked and not burnt.

4. While the butternut squash and bacon are in the oven cooking, place the chopped onion in a saute pan on the stovetop. When the bacon is done cooking, pour off about 2 tbsp of the bacon drippings into the pan with the onion.

5. Cook pasta 7 minutes or until almost al dente. Add kale to pot of pasta (with water) during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta mixture into colander and then pour into large mixing bowl.

6. Pull butternut squash from oven and place into bowl with pasta mixture.

7. Pull bacon from the pan and place onto paper towels to dry and crisp. Once crispy and dried – chop into small 1/2 inch pieces and place into bowl with butternut squash and pasta.

8. Turn the onion/bacon drippings (grease) pan to medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until onion is translucent. When completely cooked, pour into bowl with pasta/kale/butternut squash/bacon.

9. Combine 1/4 cup broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Bring the remaining 1 3/4 cups of the chicken broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Add flour/broth mixture to the boiling broth. Then add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to the broth. Cook and whisk 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir/whisk in 1 cup of light sour cream. Then stir in 1 cup of the cheese – continue to stir until melted.

10. Combine squash, bacon, pasta/kale mixture, cooked onion mixture, and cream/cheese sauce in a large bowl; toss gently. Coat a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray; then pour in the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the pasta. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned.

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Chopping kale – keeping the stems out of the chopped mixture

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Butternut squash in oven to roast

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Raw bacon entering oven to cook

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Cooked butternut squash

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Cooked pasta & chopped kale mixture

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Cooked mixture of pasta/kale in big mixing bowl

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Added butternut squash to pasta mix in large mixing bowl

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Cooking onion in bacon drippings

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Final cooked onion/bacon drippings/red pepper flakes added to large mixing bowl

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Cooked bacon resting on paper towels

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Chopped bacon added to mixing bowl

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Cooking the cheese sauce

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Final mixture of all elements: kale/pasta, bacon, squash, onion, cheese/cream sauce

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Pasta dish entering oven

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Final product – YUMMO!

 

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

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This soup is so comforting and delish. As new parents we are ALL about meal prep…IE: what can we make a lot of and toss in the freezer for quick meals on week nights? Soup is an amazing option for lunches, dinners, period. Its my new favorite food!

Before my husband heads to work he pulls a mason jar of soup out of the freezer and places in the fridge. When home – pour it into a pot on the stove, heat it up and eat. Voila! Its much better for you and comes with much less guilt than ordering a pizza or hitting the BK drive-thru when exhausted after a long day and sleepless night before. We also made it over the Christmas holiday with my family and it was a big hit.

This soup is SO easy to make and I know you’ll love it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup uncooked wild rice blend
  • 1 cup chopped yellow or white onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into 1 tbsp chunks
  • 2 clove minced garlic
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp of each dried thyme, marjoram, sage and rosemary
  • 1 rotisserie chicken – shredded (or you can shred chicken breasts or chicken thighs on your own)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare rice according to directions listed on package.
  2. As the is rice cooking, in a large pot, melt 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté until slightly tender, about 5 minutes
  3. Add in garlic and sauté another minute or so
  4. Add chicken broth, thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  5. Meanwhile reduce heat to low and add cooked rice.
  6. Add shredded chicken to soup. Keep on low temperature.
  7. In a separate medium saucepan (you can just rinse/wipe the rice pan), you will start the roux by melting the remaining 6 Tbsp butter over medium heat.
  8. Whisk in flour and cook 1 1/2 minutes, whisking constantly. Then, while whisking vigorously, slowly pour milk into butter/flour mixture.
  9. Stir this roux constantly until it thickens. Add the roux/milk mixture to soup/broth mixture in pot and cook about 5 minutes longer, or until soup is thickened (you can simmer the soup for a longer period of time if you want the rice to soften more, just cover with lid first and stir occasionally. **I don’t use all the roux every time, pour in as much as you like or don’t like to satisfy the texture you prefer — up to you!
  10. Stir in heavy cream and serve warm.
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Carrots, celery, & onion chopped

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The wild rice blend we used

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Rotisserie chicken shredded

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Cooked wild rice

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Broth poured into cooked vegetable mix

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butter and flour – ready for roux

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roux (milk mixture)

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Soup mix after roux is added

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Final product once all ingredients included

Thai shrimp soup

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So… I’m a bad friend. I should’ve called, texted, anything. Blogger fail. I took a major break while pregnant. Yeah-that is actually a great excuse right? I was growing a human! I had a great pregnancy. I am a lucky gal and my most memorable symptom was that  was SUPER tired and I didn’t have any energy to do anything let alone come home and cook. I either did not have the appetite of a 300 lb truck driver (as everyone says you will) or I required food ASAP (like ‘bring me food and no-one dies’ type of hunger) so it was beyond hard to plan ahead for blog posts — since god only knows what mood I would be in that day when it came to meals. Honestly we are probably Papa Murphys best customers after that bun in the oven. Now after giving birth to my first child (Little Samuel) I am back, cooking again and now blogging again! Yay for all of us!

It’s winter here in KC and it’s starting to get cold. I love cold days as it gives me hope the planet may not be completely destroyed by global warming and because I love soup. I’ll be posting many of my soup recipes – but so far this is my favorite. It’s the right balance of tangy, savory and has a bit of spice. I hope you enjoy it!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 stalk lemongrass

8 kafir lime leaves

1 lb raw peeled and deveined shrimp

4 tbsp red curry paste

2 cans (12 oz) unsweetened coconut milk

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp minced ginger

1 diced onion (white or yellow)

1 diced red pepper

3 tbsp chopper cilantro

1 cup basmati rice

2 tbsp butter

1 Iime juiced

salt

pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  • Peel the outer stalks off the lemongrass. Only use the inner stalks. With the flat side of a kitchen knife smash the lemon grass a bit (similarly to smashing garlic) to release the oils and aroma.
  • In a small sauce pan pour in coconut milk, smashed lemongrass stalks and the lime leaves. Turn to low and simmer for the entire time you arw cooking. You can even start this process earlier to infuse more flavor into your coconut base. Remember to stir occasionally while you proceed with the following steps.

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  • Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside.

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  • Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper.
  • In a large stock pot on medium/low heat add butter and half of garlic and begin to simmer. Add shrimp for 2-3 minutes until they are just turning pink. Remove from heat immediately and set aside. Do not cook any longer. Shrimp get overlooked and rubbery real fast — they will bring up to temperature when you add them back to the hot soup.

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  • Turn heat on stock pot to medium and add in remainder of garlic, onion and red pepper. Simmer until cooked and soft. Add in ginger and stir another 1 minute or so.

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  • Whisk in red curry paste.

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  • Remove coconut milk from stove and strain off lemongrass and lime leaves. Toss aside an only use the infused milk.

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  • Whisk in the coconut milk infusion into the red curry paste mixture in the pot.
  • Whisk in the vegetable or chicken stock to the pot.

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  • Bring heat up to boil the soup- then once it reaches a boiling point reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add in lime juice, rice and shrimp. Stir until the ingredients are all warmed to temperature.
  • Taste and add salt or pepper as you wish.
  • Stir in chipped cilantro and serve immediately.

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**if you plan to reheat leftovers, I would reserve some raw shrimp and only cook what you plan to eat at each meal. Then when you plan to eat the leftovers, cook the shrimp, heat up the soup, and then toss in the shrimp at the end once the soup is hot. This keeps the shrimp from getting chewy if they sit in the broth and hen get reheated that way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EASY Pesto Bruschetta Chicken

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YUMMO!

This chicken is so easy. Like SO easy and really yummy. I can’t really say much else. I cooked this with roasted cauliflower and balsamic glaze – which you can make yourself by reducing balsamic vinegar, but I buy it in bulk since I use it so often. You can buy it at most grocery stores already ‘glazed’ up with all the work done for you!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Two chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup pesto sauce (purchased or made from scratch. Here is my pesto sauce recipe.)
  • 1/2 cup sliced tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes b/c that’s what was in my pantry)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Your choice of vegetable side

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut any excess fat off of chicken
  3. Cover each chicken breast with plastic wrap and pound until they are thin and the same thickness.
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper lightly on both sides of the chicken breast
  5. Heat olive oil to medium heat
  6. Place chicken breast in the pan and sear for about 2 minutes on each side.
  7. Remove from heat
  8. Spray a small glass or metal baking dish with non-stick spray or oil
  9. In the pan, place both chicken breasts.
  10. Top each chicken breast with 1/2 cup of pesto. Spread out across the breast evenly.
  11. Cover with foil and place in oven for 25 minutes
  12. Uncover and bake for another 5 minutes
  13. Check temperature of chicken, it should be at 165 when using a thermometer.
  14. When complete, pull from oven. Sprinkle each chicken breast with half of the cheese.
  15. Uncover. Place back in oven on low broil for about 1-2 minutes until cheese is brown and melted. Keep your eye on the chicken as you don’t want to broil too long and dry out the chicken.
  16. Pull from oven and let rest for a few minutes.
  17. Plate and top with tomatoes, then drizzle with balsamic glaze.
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Chicken searing in pan

 

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Chicken in pan, covered in pesto

 

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Chicken baked in pesto for 25 minutes

 

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Chicken post-cheese broil

 

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Final product – served with roasted cauliflower