Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Still Soup Week: Tortilla Soup!

Ok, so I'm a little late for Soup Week, but we are actually having our first soup weather, and I made this last week so it should qualify! It's kind of a combo of a Burch family recipe (from Aunt Cathy via one of Darrell's newsletters I think) and a Williams-Sonoma recipe.

6 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 small tomatoes, diced (or 1 can diced)
1 jalapeno, seeded, and finely choopped
2 Tblsp. olive oil
1 chicken breast
2 cans chicken broth
2 Tblsp. oregano
1 Tblsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 cup water
tortilla chips, sour cream, avocado, grated cheese, cilantro

Saute first four ingredients in olive oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Boil for 1 hour. Remove chicken from bone and cut up into bite-size pieces. To serve, put broke up tortilla chips on bottom of individual servings. Top with cilantro, grated cheese, sour cream and avocado.

I've also made this with leftover turkey or chicken bones... cover with water and boil for a while to get your own broth. Good way to eke another meal out of a roast chicken/turkey.

photo credit: williams-sonoma.com

online cooking group - week two: butternut squash soup

i used a combination of this recipe (from the barefoot contessa) and general tips from my sister-in-law christine to create this delicious butternut squash soup. my ingredients are going to be a little all over the place, so this might be a good recipe for someone who likes to wing it, not for someone who needs to follow exact directions (the ina garten recipe might be better for you). i will do my best though...

2 T olive oil
2 large onions
2 butternut squash
2 apples (i had gala on hand...)
1 T thyme (or seasoning of your choice)
salt and pepper, to taste
about 2-4 cups water (or chicken stock)
heavy cream or half and half (i didn't have either, so i just stirred in a little extra sour cream to each bowl when i served it to make it creamier)
optional: honey, spinach, bacon, sour cream, lemon
Warm the olive oil, onions and thyme in a large stockpot uncovered over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pot.
Peel the squash, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into chunks. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut into chunks. (next time i might try baking the squash and then scooping it out, as i found it a little hard to peel it... turned out fine, though, so either way).

Add the squash, apples, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash and apples are very soft. Process the soup through the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Here I also threw in a few handfuls of spinach. (I find soup is an excellent way to get vegetables in my kids). Christine usually serves it with spinach on top, but i knew my kids wouldn't go for that, so i thought i would try this out.
Pour the soup back into the pot. Add enough chicken stock or water to make the soup the consistency you like; it should be slightly sweet and quite thick. Here i would have liked to add some half and half or heavy cream, but didn't have either. I did add a bit of honey and some lemon juice. then seasoned it with salt and lots of pepper (pete added even more pepper when it was served... it really is good if you make it peppery). then i served it with a little sour cream and bacon pieces on top.

my whole family loved it. we had a decent amount leftover, but who doesn't love something easy for lunch the next day? i made little chicken salad sandwiches to go with it, which my kids always love, thus i found it to be a relatively easy and all around pleasing meal. any time you don't have to convince your kids to take "a few more bites" i would say it is a success.

so, i am going to make this week "soup week" on pots and peter pans and encourage everyone to share a favorite soup recipe. you don't have to make it this week if you don't want to and don't feel like you can't share just because you don't have pictures. throw down the recipe and be done. that is all the inspiration the rest of us need.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cranberry Carrot Scones

Since Emily took such a lovely photo, here is the recipe I used. It is from this very fun food blog: check out her bread pudding recipes...they look amazing! I substituted orange flavored dried cranberries for the golden raisins to fit in with our "C" themed day and wheat germ for the ground walnuts so I could give them to Kateri who hasn't tried nuts yet, but the ground walnut idea sounds delicious, as does the glaze, which I left out. I just brushed the tops with milk and sprinkled them with a little raw sugar instead. I apologize for the fact that I can never seem to follow a recipe in its entirety...I hope my posts aren't too confusing!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


emily is out at "legally blonde"....the broadway version, and i am home with the kids (who are all now sleeping). i figured i would check if any new recipes had been posted, but sadly, it was still just "macaroni salad" (no offense sara, but i was hoping for "beer marinated prime rib").....which got me thinking, why don't i contribute. so, here it is.....

it is tough to get it right, so i have taken some pictures to provide some instructions (i realize my pictures aren't slanted or with a nice lens or on a rustic table, but i did my best......actually, i just took them and called them "my best" so i wouldn't have to figure out how to take nicer ones). in any event, here you go.

Step 1: get a Corona.....hopefully from the fridge unless you are my crazy CIA neighbor that doesn't wear a shirt and drinks natural light "lukewarm" all day long


Step 2: using your wedding ring, position your finger like so:

Step 3: grab hold of the bottle cap by wrapping your fingers over the top of the bottle.....like so.....

Step 4: push upwards with your knuckles while firmly gripping the bottle cap between your ring and your ring finger....don't be a pansy, it hurts a little, but if you do it 4-5 times per night, your fingers gets used to it....or it gets numb from too much alcohol, but either way, it feels fine.....like so....

Step 5: throw the bottle cap into a jar for your wife's arts and crafts project that you have no idea what she is using them for, yet you will probably think it is really creative and cool when she is done. and then enjoy a nice drink of ice cold beer. feel free to shave as well, i just didn't think it was necessary for this posting.......like so......

Step 6: go sit on the couch and think about how you should really finish the book you have been reading for the past 3 months......and then, after 15 seconds of thought, pick up the remote and turn on sportscenter.....nothing could possibly happen in sports on a tuesday night, but who knows, maybe there are some good highlights that you missed the last 3 times you watched sportscenter since last night.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Macaroni Salad

I know it's strange that all I ever post on here is pasta dishes, but I guess we eat a lot of pasta. At least the kids love it. This is a great summer one, and it goes so well with any grilled meat - chicken, steak, ribs, whatevah. Once again, credit to Everyday Food.

Serves 4

* 1 cup (4 ounces) elbow macaroni
* 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
* 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
* 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
* 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
* Coarse salt and ground pepper


1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook elbow macaroni according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cucumber, celery, dill, and lemon juice. Drain pasta, and rinse with cold water; add to bowl with mayonnaise mixture. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Serve, or refrigerate, covered, up to 1 day.