Monday, December 12, 2016

Chicken With Mushrooms and Pesto over Penne

Chicken with Mushrooms and Pesto over Penne
Honestly, there is nothing very pretty about a photo of this dish, but the flavors were amazing.  Rarely can we go wrong with pasta in our house but this one really garnered a lot of approval.  Personally, I could just eat the pesto sauce with a spoon so if you have time to make your own fresh pesto it really is worth that extra step.  It takes no time to throw those few ingredients in the food processor.
  • 2 Tablespoons of EVOO
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes - based on your level of desired heat
  • 12 ounces of sliced mushrooms
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup basil pesto (I made fresh but you can use store bought if you absolutely must)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or more if needed
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • freshly grated Parmesan for topping
 Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and sun dried tomatoes and red pepper flakes.  Saute for a couple of minutes and add mushrooms.  Add salt.  Saute until chicken is cooked through and mushrooms are soft and have released their liquid.  Add garlic, pesto and milk.  Bring to a quick boil and then reduce to a simmer, stirring until everything is well combined.

While chicken is cooking, prepare pasta according to package directions.  Serve chicken over pasta.  Top with Parmesan, extra pesto or fresh basil.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Guinness Axis Stew with Herb Cheddar Dumplings

Living in the Hill County we eat a lot of venison.  I do not buy beef.  Ever.  I have no need for it.  We have a family of hunters and our freezers stay stocked.  Even though I do not eat a lot of meat, this is is something that I could eat fairly often.  It was tender and so flavorful.  Everyone who had it loved it.  We will definitely be having it again very soon!  You could very easily make this stew with beef as well.  The original recipe called for beef.  So, by all means, cow away if that is what you have or all you can get. Either way you will be happy with this stew.  Perfect for a long, cold, winter day!  We ate it so quickly that I failed to get a photo.  It is a very attractive dish with the dumplings all over the top.  I will update the next time I make it.  

Guinness Axis Stew with Herb Cheddar Dumplings

  • 2 pounds stew meat (axis, been, whatever you can get)
  • 1/2 pound bacon, chopped
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 bottle Guinness Stout
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
  • 1 pound of mushrooms, sliced (I used combination of white and cremini)
  • 1 1/4 cups self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (I used rosemary and thyme)
  • 1/4 cup cold shortening
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup milk
Cook the bacon in a dutch over or other heavy pot (needs to have a lid) over medium heat.  Remove bacon to paper towels to drain, reserving bacon fat in the pot.  Season stew meat with salt and pepper and add to pot and cook until browned on all sides.  Remove stew meat to plate.  Add onions and carrots to pot and cook until soft and fragrant.  Add in garlic and cook for another minute.  Add tomato paste and stir to combine.  Add the Guinness and Worcestershire, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, bring to a simmer.  Add the stew meat back to the pot along with the beef stock.  Add bay leaves and thyme bundle.  Bring to a simmer and cover.  Cook for 1/2 hours.

Add the parsnips and simmer for another half hour or until they are tender.  Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs.  Add mushrooms and the reserved bacon and cook for another 10 minutes with the pot uncovered.

For the dumplings, stir together flour, herbs and garlic powder.  Cut in the shortening until combined.  Add the cheese, stir to combine.  Add milk and stir until it is all combined.  Make small balls with the dough and drop on to the top of the stew in the pot. They will grow as they cook so leave room in between them.  Cover and cook for another 25 - 30 minutes or until the dumplings are firm and cooked through.  

Adapted from Host The Toast.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Chile Relleno Soup

Every time I think I couldn't possibly find another soup recipe I am wrong.  Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.  I had chicken that needed to be used and some poblano peppers I had roasted when I made the Roasted Poblano and Chicken Corn Chowder a couple of weeks ago.  Add some cheese... and!!  Spicy, yummy, deliciousness.  I am hungry right now thinking about it.  And it is only 9:47 am!  Please make this.  Soon.  And call me. So I can come have some!

Chile Relleno Soup
  • 5 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped (see instructions below)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite size pieces (I used white but normally love dark)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 3 cups grated cheese, plus more cheese for topping (I used a combination of jalepeno jack and sharp cheddar.  I think any melting cheese would be great.  I am going to try some cotija  the next time I make it.)
Roasting peppers:  There are a couple of ways to do this.  If you have a gas grill, just grill them on all sides.  If you don't want to fire up the grill, put them under the broiler on high and turn until they are nice and charred.  Then put them in a paper bag, plastic zipper bag or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.  Let them sweat until cool enough to handle.  The peel the blistered skins off and discard the stems and seeds.  Chop.  I usually do 5-6 at a time to make it worth it.  I just freeze anything I don't use that day.  I love to have them handy.  Poblanos are my favorite!

For the soup:  Melt the butter in your soup pot and add onions.  Saute until translucent and add garlic and poblanos.  Add cumin and stir until combined and you can smell it.  (The only better smell than cumin and peppers is onions and bacon!)  

Add stock and season with salt and pepper.  Add chicken and bring to a boil. Simmer until the chicken is done.  I really like to add my chicken in whole pieces and cook and then remove it and chop it.  You can do either way.  I used chicken breasts in this one but next time I will probably use thighs.  I like dark meat better and feel like it has more flavor.  After the chicken is done add the cream cheese and whisk until it is melted.  Add your 3 cups of grated cheese and stir continuously until it is all melty and wonderful.  You can stop here and serve it and eat it... but taking the next step will take your soup to the next level.  So if you have time and want to make the presentation, then do it.   Ladle your soup into oven proof bowls.   Top with more grated cheese and put under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and starts to get those amazing brown specks.  Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle the bowl and then eat it up!!  The angels will be singing... well, maybe not, but if the angels could eat this soup, they might sing... They should!

Adapted from ASweetLife|The Diabetes Magazine.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Chili Enchilada Soup

Living in southern Texas gives you the opportunity to eat  a whole bunch of Mexican food.  It is absolutely one of my favorites.  Something about the spices... cumin, especially just screams "comfort food" to me.  I am not a fan of some traditional Mexican fare such as enchiladas, but this soup is just a big bowl of comfort.  It completely hit the spot this weekend when Texas had to prove that winter does exist.  I would prefer to fast forward to summer, but I will still eat this soup.  Even in 100 degrees! 

Chili Enchilada Soup
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 pound ground meat (I use venison, but turkey or beef would work)
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon each:  cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup medium salsa
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can mild red enchilada sauce (or hot if you like a hotter soup)
  • 1 cup turkey or chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated jalapeno or pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup milk (or more)
  • tortilla chips, sour cream, diced avocado for toppings
Heat EVOO in soup pot over medium heat.  Brown meat with onion until meat is browned, add garlic and red bell pepper.  Add seasonings and stir to combine well.  Add flour and cook until flour is combined.  Add beans, salsa, enchilada sauce and stock.  Combine cornstarch with water until dissolved and add to pot.  Bring to a boil, the simmer gently for about 15 minutes.  Turn down heat and add in cream cheese.  Stir to melt.  Then add cheddar and jack cheese and stir to melt.  Add milk to get desired consistency of soup.  Less for thicker, chili consistency, or more if thinner soup is desired.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Serve with chips, sour cream and avocado or even more cheese.  

I am hungry just thinking about it!!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Roasted Poblano Chicken Corn Chowder

Roasted poblanos are amazing.  Not too spicy, but they pack just enough heat to make everything insanely delicious.  My absolute all time favorite soup is my Roasted Poblano and Cheddar.  I could eat it every day.  Seriously.  Every day.  I want to put roasted poblanos in everything.  So I combined my love of a good chowder with a couple of roasted poblanos.  It's amazing.  Perfect for a cold winter night.  Or any night!   Since I was roasting poblanos anyway, I went ahead and roasted 6.  Now I have enough for two more batches of soup in the freezer. 

Roasted Poblano Chicken Corn Chowder

  • 2 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you could use breasts but I am not a fan of white meat)
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled, diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups frozen corn
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (plus more for topping)
  • shredded cheese for topping

Cook bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat until crispy, remove to paper towel, leaving the rendered fat in the pot.  Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and stir until fragrant.  Add chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir until all seasonings are fully combined with the onions and garlic.  Be careful not to burn garlic.

Add broth to pot and put in chicken thighs (just leave them whole, no need to cut up) and add potatoes and poblanos.    Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook gently until chicken is done and potatoes are soft.   Remove chicken thighs to a plate and cool slightly.   Add frozen corn to pot and return to a boil.  Whisk half and half and flour in a measuring cup or small bowl until flour is combined.  Add to pot slowly and cook until the mixture is slightly thickened.  Chop chicken and return to pot along with reserved bacon.  Mix in sour cream.  Add white pepper and stir to combine.  Adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Serve in bowls topped with shredded cheese and sour cream.