Friday, January 6, 2017

Chicken Noodle Soup

This weekend is going to bring the coldest temperatures we've had all year here in South Louisiana.  Plus it's raining.  Gross.  This weather definitely calls for a big pot of soup.  Chicken noodle soup might be the mother of all comfort foods.  It's like a nice warm hug for your insides.



CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

2 boneless chicken breasts, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped (or a handful of baby carrots)
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cups egg noodles (or broken spaghetti)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt/pepper
2 TBS oil


Season the diced chicken with salt and pepper.  Brown the chicken in the oil over medium-high heat in a big pot.  Once the chicken is browned, remove it to a plate and set it aside.


Add the onion, celery and carrots to the pot and saute for 10 minutes.



Season with salt and pepper.  Add the broth and water.


Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium, cover the pot and let cook 20 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste the broth to see if you need to add more salt or pepper.


Next, add the chicken (If you add it earlier it will get tough and stringy).


Then add the noodles.  Stir.  Bring back to a boil and cook until the noodles are tender, about 10 minutes or so.



Finish the soup by adding the chopped fresh parsley.



This soup is easy to make and so yummy!  It is perfect on a cold, rainy night.  Stay warm and happy cooking!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Roasted Cabbage

Happy New Year!  I hope this year treats you well.  To ensure health and wealth for my family every year, I cook black eyed peas and cabbage on New Year's Day.  It's a Louisiana tradition.

I'm not the biggest fan of smothered cabbage, so I like to roast it.  It's quick, easy and really tasty.  Keep this recipe in mind because it makes a great side dish any time of year.

ROASTED CABBAGE

1 head of cabbage
Oil (vegetable or canola)
Salt/pepper
Onion powder
Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove the outer layer of cabbage leaves.  Rinse the head of cabbage and dry it with a paper towel.  Cut it in half, then cut each half in quarters (giving you 8 wedges).  I only needed 4 wedges.  Just cut as many as you need, wrap leftover cabbage in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge.



Line a baking sheet with foil.  Drizzle a little oil on the foil.  Place cabbage wedges onto foil lined baking sheet.  Drizzle each wedge with some oil then season with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder.



Bake for 20 minutes.



This is such an easy recipe.  The cabbage comes out tender and slightly sweet with crunchy ends that are just delicious.  If you think you don't like cabbage, try it this way.  It just might change your mind.  I even got my Pickiest Eater Ever Son to try it and he said, and I quote, "Hmm not bad".  High praise from him.  Wishing you health and wealth in 2017.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Elf Hats

Christmas is just a few days away and I have been super busy getting things ready.  Kind of like an elf,  Let's see, I'm short, have a deep affinity for Christmas cookies and sing Christmas carols year round...maybe I am an elf?

Here is a quick, adorable elf-themed treat you can make in no time.  It only has three ingredients!



 ELF HATS

Bugles
White almond bark
M&Ms (the Christmas green and red ones)

Melt the almond bark according to package directions (I used a small double boiler but you can do it in the microwave).

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper (or a silicon mat).

Find a Bugle with a nice open end (some can be closed flat, you don't want to use those).


Dip the open end of the Bugle into the melted almond bark.


Insert an M&M halfway into the almond bark (so it sticks out a little).


Place on the lined cookie sheet.


Chill in the fridge for a few minutes to let the almond bark set up and harden.


That's it!  Look how cute these are!


The mix of sweet and salty is so yummy.  Wouldn't these look cute set out on a pretty plate at a Christmas party?  That's exactly what I'm going to do for the family party I'm having tomorrow.  Still have lot's to do so gotta go!  Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

December is upon us and I am in full holiday mode.  We got our Christmas tree, decorated the house inside and out, and set the date for our work and family parties.  Since I've had Christmas on the brain, I've been thinking a lot about the foods we like to eat this time of year.  Cookies, pies, tarts and cake fill my dreams (Seriously, I had a dream about baking the other night.  I was covered in flour and the desserts kept jumping out of the oven.  Anyway...)  

Today, I thought I'd bake a pound cake.  It's been unseasonably cold (for South Louisiana, that is) so I actually wanted to heat up my kitchen for a change.  This recipe is a great introduction to making homemade cakes because it's very forgiving.  You don't need cake flour, it calls for regular old all-purpose.  Plus, you bake it in a regular loaf pan, which most people have hiding in a cabinet somewhere.  Or, if you're baking for a crowd, you can easily double the recipe and bake it in a Bundt or tube pan.



*Note:  To soften the butter and cream cheese leave them out on the counter for an hour or so.  Also leave the eggs out (in the shells).  Taking the chill off the eggs will yield a better cake.

CREAM CHEESE POUND CAKE

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 oz (half a block) cream cheese, softened 
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat softened butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for at least 1 minute.


Gradually add the sugar, beating well after each addition.


Once all the sugar has been added, continue to mix for 5 minutes more.  This ensures that the sugar is fully dissolved into the butter, which makes for a better consistency.  Look how fluffy it is.


Next, add the softened cream cheese and vanilla extract.  Beat 1 minute.



Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.


It should look much lighter and flufflier.


In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  I use a whisk to combine.


Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat 1 minute (start on low then switch to medium speed) or until well blended.




Grease and flour a loaf pan.  I rub it well with vegetable shortening and sprinkle flour all over it.  Then dump out any excess flour.


Spread the batter into the greased and floured loaf pan.


Try to spread it out evenly.


Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until golden brown.


Let sit for 10 minutes, then use a butter knife to loosen from the sides of the pan.  Gently remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely on a rack.


This cake is so yummy.  It's got a great crust on the outside, but it's soft on the inside.  It's not too sweet, either.  Perfect with a cup of coffee!




This would be great served with a scoop of ice cream on top. some fresh fruit, or some chocolate sauce.  You could doll it up for a special occasion or eat it plain any old day of the week (which is what I plan to do right now).  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mexican Lasagna

Thanksgiving is just days away!  I'm super psyched!  I can't wait to spend time with the family and eat lots of food.  Lots.  But there will be leftovers ('cause I always make too much).  One of my favorite things about this holiday is the leftover turkey.  I like to get creative in how I use it up.  I make turkey gumbo, turkey pasta and this turkey Mexican lasagna.  It's a great way to completely transform your leftovers into a delicious new dish.




MEXICAN LASAGNA

2 TBS oil
1/2 an onion, chopped
1/2 a bell pepper, chopped
2 cups leftover turkey, shredded or chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1 can black beans
1 can refried beans
1 cup chunky salsa
1 cup salsa verde (or green enchilada sauce)
1 package taco seasoning mix
2 cups shredded colby jack cheese (or cheddar)
18 corn tortilla
1 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix shredded turkey with taco seasoning


Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium high heat.  Saute the onion and bell pepper in the oil until slightly softened, about 5-7 minutes.



Spread a very thin layer of chunky salsa on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.


Dip 6 corn tortillas in chicken broth and layer them in the baking dish.




Top with half of the refried beans.



Then top with half the black beans.


Then half the chunky salsa.


Then half the salsa verde.


Spread it out to completely.


Next, add half the seasoned turkey.


Then, half the sauteed onion and bell pepper.



Sprinkle on half the shredded cheese.



Repeat all the layers except the cheese (save the cheese for the end).

Add one final layer of tortillas (dipped in chicken broth).

 


Then add the other half of the cheese.


Finally, sprinkle on the chopped green onions.


Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake 5 minutes more.




Let sit 10 minutes before cutting and serving with a dollop of sour cream and more salsa.


This is awesome!  Everyone loved it!  I was stuffed but kept eating it.  Really delicious!  It's a great way to use leftover turkey (or chicken).  Give this a try, you won't regret it and Happy Thanksgiving!