Monday, December 10, 2012

Creamy Southwestern Taco Soup

This has become a staple in our house.   I have seen it on pinterest and other sites and then Morgan's 4th grade teacher posted it on her Facebook page.  Once we started making it, we haven't stopped.  It's cold here today so I already know what I am making for dinner.  This is quick and easy and you can adjust the heat to your preferences. 

Creamy Southwestern Taco Soup
Makes 8 cups 
  • 1 pound regular ground beef (we use ground venison - could also be done with ground chicken or turkey)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cans tomatoes and green chilies (rotel) (~2 cups) (We use mild for the kid's sake!)
  • 2 cans chicken broth (~3.5 cups) (I use chicken or beef, whatever I have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pkg cream cheese (8 oz) cut into chunks

Brown ground beef with onions and garlic in a soup pot. Add cumin and chili powder and cook a couple minutes before adding tomatoes and green chilies. Bring to a lively simmer before adding in broth and cream. Bring to a rolling boil and add cream cheese and stir occasionally until the cream cheese melts. Serve with fresh cilantro and avocado if desired. (We usually skip this and just dig in.)  You could also serve with a dollop of sour cream.    

Monday, November 19, 2012

Spicy White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Dip

My love of food blogs and my love of soup is no surprise to anyone who knows me even slightly.  I obsess over new recipes and read food blogs as a form of entertainment.  And food magazines and cooking shows...  it never ends.  Hopefully the people I cook for benefit some from my obsession.  One of my favorite blogs is The Comfort of Cooking.  You can subscribe to her blog and get emails any time she updates it.  And she's on Facebook too!  Lately my obsession is with dip. I recently posted our latest favorite Double Bacon Cheeseburger Dip.  You really, really need to try it if you have not.  So recently I saw a post for Spicy White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Dip on... you guessed it, The Comfort of Cooking!  It was quick and easy and so good.  And even better the second day.  Morgan helped out and had fun putting in all the spices.  And she loves using the food processor.  She said if her plans to be a marine biologist change that she might consider becoming a chef.  Either one would be fine with Mom!  I just pray she makes good grades and gets good scholarships!  

Spicy White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Makes 8 servings

1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup chopped roasted red peppers, pat dry
¼ cup cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Place the beans, red peppers, cream cheese, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and vinegar in a food processor. Pulse until smooth and adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve as is or refrigerate until later.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Chicken

Are there any other words that could make your mouth water more than Cheese Stuffed Bacon?   I think not.  This ended up being a really great recipe.  I pieced it together from some things found off Pinterest.  Of course!   It's really good.  Family loved it.  It is easy.  What else could you ask for??

Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pound bacon
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
garlic pepper

Lay the chicken breasts out on wax paper and flatten out with a heavy skillet or mallet.  Lay strips of bacon down and place the chicken breast on top of the bacon.   Season chicken breasts with garlic pepper and salt. 

Cut cream cheese into 12 equal squares.  Place three squares on each chicken breast and top with 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar.  Roll chicken up and wrap with 3 pieces of bacon.  Two width wise and one length wise.  Secure with toothpicks and place seam side down in baking dish. 

Bake at 400 for 45 minutes turning over half way through baking time.  Then turn on the broiler and crisp up bacon on both sides.  Watch closely.  Will only need a few minutes.

You could really stuff these with anything.  Any kind of cheese, spinach, nuts...  Use your imagination.  The cheese was nice and gooey and rich.  We served it with mashed cauliflower.  Even the 12 year old ate it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I am not a German food lover particularly.  I don't care much for kraut or any kind of sausage.  But I do like some schnitzel.   And Jagerschnitzel is right up my ally.  I could just eat the sauce alone and be happy.  But since the people I feed seem to think that meat needs to be a part of every meal, I go ahead and give them some schnitzel to go with the Jager (or Hunter) sauce.  This uses a lot of pans and dishes and isn't very quick.  But it's worth it.  It is good stuff!

Jagerschnitzel (Hunter Sauce)

1 1/2 pounds of pork loin, cut into 6 ounce portions (true schnitzel is usually veal... but I am poor!)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp paprika
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons mustard (I use dijon, but plain yellow works just as well)
1 1/2 cups crushed saltine crackers
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 pound bacon, diced
1 diced onion (yellow or red)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup red wine
Olive oil, for frying
2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 250 (to keep meat warm as you cook it). 

Pound pork slices between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper to 1/4 inch thickness.  In shallow bowls (I use pie plates) mix together 3/4 cup flour with salt, pepper, garlic and paprika.  In another shallow bowl combine mik, egg and mustard.  In a third bowl combine cracker and panko crumbs.  Dredge pork slices in flour, then in egg wash adn finaly in crumbs. 

In medium saute pan over medium heat cook the bacon until crispy.  Remove from pan to drain on paper towels.  In same pan with bacon fat cook onions for about three minutes or until starting to soften.  Add mushrooms and continue cooking until mushrooms start to soften and release their liquid.  Stir in 1/4 cup flour and cook to make a roux until light brown.  Add wine and cook for about 3 minutes, reducing by 1/3 then add stock.  Continue cooking to reduce by 1/3 again.  Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Heat 1/4 ince oil in thick pan or cast iron skillet.  Cook pork evenly on both sides.  About 5 minutes on the first side and 3 to 4 minutes on the second.  Remove to a platter when done adn keep warm in the oven.  You will need to cook pork in batches until all done. 

Add butter to mushroom sauce, stirring until melted. 

To serve, cover pork with sauce and sprinkle with chopped bacon.

I serve with German style fried potatoes.  Basically I just cut potatoes into small squares and fry along with some onions.  Season with salt and pepper. 

(Recipe from Guy Fieri from the Food Network)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bacon Double Cheeseburger Dip

Bacon Double Cheese Burger Dip

Servings: makes 8+ servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

• 1 pound ground beef
• 12 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
• 1 large onion, diced
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
• 1 cup sour cream
• 1 cup mayonnaise
• 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
• 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
• 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 4 tablespoon ketchup

1. Cook the ground beef in a pan over medium heat, set it aside and drain the grease from the pan.
2. Cook the bacon in the pan until crispy, about 6-10 minutes, set aside and drain all but a tablespoon of the grease.  (Honestly, I left ALL the grease!)  And the longer cooked, the better.  That carmelized flavor really gives it an extra special shot of delcious!
3. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
5. Mix the ground beef, bacon, onions and garlic, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, mozzarella, cheddar, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup and pour it into a baking dish.
6. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the top starts turning a light golden brown and then sides are bubbling, about 20-30 minutes.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
The sauce was a little thin at first. I would add more flour.  I had to cook it for quite awhile to get it to thicken up.   And the next time I have more time I am going to make it with chicken breasts instead of the rotisserie chicken.  It could be quite a beautiful casserole to entertain with. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mac and Cheese with Pancetta

This came from a September 2008 Bon Appetit magazine.  The absolute best mac and cheese I have ever put in my mouth.  It takes a while to make and you feel like you use every pan in the kitchen but it is so worth it!  My mom doesn't even like mac and cheese and she requests this one!

Mac and Cheese with Pancetta

•8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided
•4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon), coarsely chopped
•1 cup finely chopped onion
•3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
•1 garlic clove, minced
•1/4 cup all purpose flour
•3 1/2 cups (or more) whole milk
•2 1/2 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
•1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
•1 8- to 8.8-ounce container mascarpone cheese
•1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
•1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
•1 pound orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) or large elbow macaroni


•Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta; sauté until crisp, about 6 minutes. Add onion; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add crushed red pepper and garlic; stir 1 minute. Stir in 3 tablespoons butter; allow to melt, then add flour and stir 1 minute. Gradually whisk in 3 1/2 cups milk; simmer until thick enough to coat spoon thickly, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in cheeses. Whisk in more milk by 1/4 cupfuls until sauce is thick but pourable. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill uncovered until cool; cover and chill. Rewarm, stirring over medium heat.

•Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add panko and stir until very light golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

•Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain well. Return pasta to pot. Add warm cheese sauce; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over. Bake mac and cheese until heated through and topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Cream of Asparagus Soup
1 lb fresh asparagus
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper (do not leave out... gives a great flavor)
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups chicken stock  (or 4 cups chicken broth and no water)
2 cups water
1/2 cup half and half
Goat cheese crumbles (optional)

Wash asparagus.  Remove and discard bottom part of stems.  Cut into 1-2 inch pieces.

Melt butter in soup pot.  Add onion and garlic and saute until softened.  Add red pepper, salt and pepper. Add flour and cook for about two minutes.  Slowly add chicken stock and water or broth.  Mix well.   Add asparagus.  Bring to boil.  Simmer 20 minutes or until asparagus is soft and tender. 

Use immersion blender or put in batches in regular blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  (Be sure to vent if you use your regular blender or food processor.) If you were going to strain the soup, this would be the point you would strain it. Add whipping cream and stir to combine.  Heat through, top with goat cheese crumbles, if desired, and serve.

As a followup - I have made it multiple times now. If you have a mighty powerful blender like our VitaMixer, you can put the soup in the blender and it comes out perfectly.   If you just have a plain old blender or use an immersion blender, then you will have to strain the soup.  I have a fancy french metal strainer that works perfectly but it takes a while and it's messy.  I love the Vitamixer.  That thing could blend rocks!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cheesy Slow Cooker Potato Soup

Cheesy Slow Cooker Potato Soup


4 slices of bacon
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
5 cups diced, peeled russet potatoes (about 5 medium)
1 medium stalk of celery, chopped (1/2 cup) - I hate celery but I used a little...
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups half and half
8 ounces (2 cups) grated cheddar cheese (I probably used more than that... I like cheese)


In skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, turning occasionally, until browned and crispy.  Remove from skillet, reserving fat in skillet.  Drain bacon on paper towel and set aside for use later.  In same skillet, cook onion in bacon fat over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender.

Spray 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.  In cooker, mix onion, potatoes, celery, broth, salt and pepper.  Cover; cook on low heat setting 6 - 7 hours.

In small bowl, beat flour and half and half with wire whisk until well blended.  Stir into soup.  Increase heat setting to High.  Cover, cook about 30 minutes longer or until thickened.  (At this point I used my immersion blender to blend up the potatoes and make them less chunky.  You could also put some in batches into a blender and reincorporate back into soup.  Or you can just leave it chunky.)  Stir in cheese until well melted.  Crumble bacon and sprinkle over soup.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cheeseburger Soup

I found this on the Taste of Home website.  My 11 year old loved it.  A definite keeper!

Cheeseburger Soup

6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 small carrot, grated
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper (I omitted this)
2 Tablespoons chopped seeded jalapeno
3 cups water
2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules (I used beef base)
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms (I used a full pound)
2 Tablespoons butter
5 cups milk, divided
6 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 package (16 ounces) Velveeta cheese, cubed
Crumbled cooked bacon

In a dutch oven, combine first 9 ingredients; bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook beef and mushrooms in butter over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Add to soup.  Stir in 4 cups of milk; heat through.

In a small bowl combine flour and remaining milk until smooth.  gradually stir into soup.  Bring to boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.   Reduce heat, stir in cheese until melted.  Garnish with bacon. 

Yield:  14 servings (about 3 1/2 quarts)