Monthly Archives: January 2014

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

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I had celery, carrots, and chicken in the house so I decided to whip up some soup with some spices from the cabinet. It turned out hearty and savory with Scott’s seal of approval. I just had to add way more water than I previously thought necessary because simmering for a long period of time tends to make it evaporate. haha.

Anywho, this soup is perfect for a sick day. Not only is it hydrating,  but it has enough spice to clear up the sinuses. It is loaded with flavor, yet is lean because I only used 1 boneless skinless chicken breast.  The ingredient that I think really makes this chicken soup is the type of stock I use, and I am about to give it some unsolicited praise. Korr’s homestyle stock comes in a pack of 4 small gel packs so it is easy to store and also is rated high in by  consumer report for real chicken flavor. Basically, it is as close in deliciousness to real chicken stock as you can get, maybe even better.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes             Cook time: 2 1/2 hours                  Serves: 4

IMG_1214IMG_1230Ingredients:

  • 2 small onions
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 container chicken stock
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup dry pasta, any type you prefer
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, makes it spicy)
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric

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^Just look at all that flavor!

Directions:

  1. Dice carrots, onions, and celery and saute in olive oil on medium heat in non stick pan until onions translucent, about 20 minutes. Stir every minute or so.
  2. Add garlic, salt, parsley, pepper, cayenne IMG_1261pepper, ground sage, and tumeric to pan and saute 5-10 more minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Cook pasta according to box, drain, set aside in bowl. Boil chicken until 160 degrees Fahrenheit  inside, about 15 minutes. Dice chicken, put in bowl with pasta and put in refrigerator.IMG_1245
  4. Add chicken stock gel to 2 cups of water. Microwave on high 2 minutes. Stir and add to soup pot along with saute mixture. Add 4 more cups of water and simmer on low for 2 hours.
  5. 10 minutes before serving add noodles and chicken. Just enough time for it to heat up but not over-cook.  Serve with crackers or bread. Yum!

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake

I Didn’t Know I Liked Pound Cake

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

IMG_2666I seriously didn’t think I liked pound cake until my mother in-law made Grammie’s pound cake recipe for my husband’s (then boyfriend’s) birthday.  Chocolate has always been in first place for me, but one piece of this cake changed everything.  It is so moist and rich and really I could go on and on.  This is also my husband’s favorite dessert of ALL TIME.   Of course I love to make it for him (and myself), but it is not the healthiest, so I only make it when we have the opportunity to share.  It is so much fun to see the delighted smiles of others after just one bite, and inevitably someone always seems to want the recipe.  Therefore; I bestow upon you the recipe to the most delicious dessert on the planet.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup butter (I use earth balance, it has less saturated fat than butter)
8 oz cream cheese
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
3 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 cup powdered Sugar
1 container of cream cheese icing

Directions:

1. Beat butter and cream cheese 3 minutes in a stand mixer (or use hand mixer)

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2. Gradually add sugar, beat 5 minutes (no less!)

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3. Add eggs one at a time, add vanilla, and slowly add flour and salt, beating on low until just blended. (The batter tastes AMAZING)

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4. Grease pan, coat greased-pan with powdered sugar. Pour sugar on bottom and shake pan.

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5. Pour mixture in bunt pan and put in COLD oven on upper rack. Put another pan of water on lower rack (keeps cake really moist). Turn oven on to 325 and bake for about 80 (plus 10 minutes depending on how fast your oven heats up). Cake is finished when light brown top.

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6. Dump cake out of bunt pan onto plate within 5 minutes to prevent sides from sticking, then let cool completely on uncovered plate, about  2 hours.

7. Microwave cream cheese icing 15+ seconds, mix icing with knife until smooth and slightly runny, then pour over top of cake letting it run down the sides.

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake

For easy printing:

I Didn't Know I Liked Pound Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cup butter (I use earth balance, it has less saturated fat than butter)
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cup all purpose flour
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ cup powdered Sugar
  • 1 container of cream cheese icing
Instructions
  1. Beat butter and cream cheese 3 minutes in a stand mixer (or use hand mixer)
  2. Gradually add sugar, beat 5 minutes (no less!)
  3. Add eggs one at a time, add vanilla, and slowly add flour and salt, beating on low until just blended. (The batter tastes AMAZING)
  4. Grease pan, coat greased-pan with powdered sugar. Pour sugar on bottom and shake pan.
  5. Pour mixture in bunt pan and put in COLD oven on upper rack. Put another pan of water on lower rack (keeps cake really moist). Turn oven on to 325 and bake for about 70 minutes (plus or minus 10 minutes depending on how fast your oven heats up). Cake is finished when light brown on top.
  6. Dump cake out of bunt pan onto plate within 5 minutes to prevent sides from sticking, then let cool completely on uncovered plate, about 2 hours.
  7. Microwave cream cheese icing 15+ seconds, mix icing with knife until smooth and slightly runny, then pour over top of cake letting it run down the sides.

 

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Berry Oatmeal

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This morning turned out to be ‘berry’ blue.   On a cold rainy day, there is nothing better than a warm creamy bowl of oatmeal.  This oatmeal is so good, it is like eating cobbler for breakfast, thanks to one very important ingredient, blueberry jam! It really kicks the flavor up a notch by saturating every bite with blueberry flavor.  Using other combinations of fruit and jam such as raspberry, strawberry, or peach is really good too!  I also use original Almond Breeze milk because it is a little sweet and makes the oatmeal creamy. My dad and I picked the blueberries last summer and froze them.  It is really easy and it is like having fresh blue berries all year-long. Just pick, rinse in cold water, de-stem, set out to dry completely on paper towels, spread out berries on cookie sheet and freeze, transfer frozen berries to freezer bags getting out as much air as possible.  They will be good in the freezer for up to 4 years.

IMG_1169IMG_1173Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp blueberry jam
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar (optional)

 

 

 

Directions:

  1. Mix oatmeal, blueberries, milk, and jam.
  2. Microwave 1 minute, stir, microwave 1 more minute. You can add more or less milk or microwave time depending on your preference
  3. Stir in vanilla and sprinkle brown sugar on top. Simple!

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Venison Gnocchi Casserole

 

IMG_1147Over the holidays, I had the opportunity to watch some cooking shows, and one episode had me craving some good ol’ hearty chicken noodle soup.  I went off to the store and bought my celery and carrots and was mentally drooling over the idea of a warm soup with crusty bread for dinner.  I told my husband my exciting dinner scheme, and he said “no way, I had it for lunch at work yesterday, I would love some spaghetti though,” with a big charming smile. Normally that smile wins me over, but he literally wants to eat spaghetti once a week and then have the left overs for another half a week. The man seriously loves spaghetti.  I decided to create a casserole that would satisfy both of our cravings, Venison Gnocchi Casserole, complete with spaghetti sauce, potato dumplings, carrots, and celery.

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IMG_1111First, I gathered my fresh ingredients, and boiled the potatoes while simmering diced onion,celery, carrots, garlic, and fresh herbs in olive oil and wine until the onions looked translucent and the whole house smelled wonderfully delicious. I usually use what ever wine I have on hand . If it tastes good to me when I have a glass, I may as well use it in my cookin’ too. In this recipe I used a mildly sweet white wine.

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Then, I made the gnocchi, which is not for the faint of heart because it takes a bit more time than simply boiling some noodles. I first fell in love with the wonderful little delicate dumplings in Italy on a study abroad back in high school.  I was told it was too complicated to make and was best left to the experts.  That did not deter me.  After a few trails and errors, I have found a recipe that takes my taste buds back to Italy. It turns out, it is fairly simple; only four ingredients.  You just have to have the proportions right and enough time to make it.

Here is a link to the gnocchi recipe all by it self so you can make it for other dishes. It is the perfect side, and is especially great with pesto.

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IMG_1145Then mix it all together with some spaghetti sauce,  browned deer meat, and cheese, then bake.   This casserole turned out to have a taste factor on a whole other level of yum, full of complex favors and textures.  I guess it is fitting that this is my first recipe on my blog, because it is pretty epic. Kindo thought it smelled good too.

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Venison Gnocchi Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup wine
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano (substitute 1 tsp. dried)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil (substitute 1 tsp. dried)
  • ½ cup carrots
  • ¼ lb. ground deer (or meat of your choice)
  • 1 cup spaghetti or tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • For the gnocchi
  • 1lb. potatoes ( about 3 small/medium or 2 large potatoes)
  • egg white
  • 1 tsp. salt (optional)
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut potatoes in halves and boil until soft when poked with fork, about 20-30 minutes. Be careful not to over boil as to make the potatoes full of water. This will make the dough very sticky later and trying to compensate with more flour will just make them too dense. Set potatoes aside in bowl to cool. Keep the pot of boiling water on the stove for later use. Take skins off and mash thoroughly.
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, dice carrots, celery, and onion. Mince basil, oregano, and garlic. Sauté on medium heat in olive oil, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or until it starts to brown and oil burns off. Then add wine and simmer on low until onions translucent and liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes.
  4. Pour celery/carrot/onion mixture in separate bowl and saute ground venison until brown throughout. *
  5. To make the gnocchi, first get that pot of potato water boiling again. Then put mashed potatoes in mound and pour egg on it. Mix in with hands and then knead in salt and flour, adding a little bit at a time, knead thoroughly. Dough should feel slightly sticky.
  6. Separate dough into 5 handfuls and roll each into long ropes, about 1 inch diameter. You may need up to ¼ cup more flour, to dust your hands and the dough, while rolling out.
  7. Cut the dough ropes into ½ inch pieces. To prevent the dough from sticking to the knife, coat knife with a little olive oil. Optionally, you many press a fork coated in oil in the side to make indentations to help it hold sauce and make it pretty, but I did not for this recipe.
  8. Drop about 20 of the dumplings into the boiling water, crowding will make them stick. When it floats to the top, about 1 minute, it is done! Remove from water with slotted spoon into empty bowl. Repeat until all dumplings are boiled, then pour off any remaining water from bowl of dumplings. Mix in sautéed veggies, ground meat, ½ cup mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, and spaghetti sauce then pour in casserole dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  9. Bake in covered casserole dish for 20 minutes. Uncover and broil until cheese starts to brown on top. Broiling should only take a couple of minutes (2-3) so watch the dish the entire time so it does not burn.
  10. Serve with fresh basil garnish and rolls. Enjoy!

 

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*Note-I actually browned a whole pound of deer meat and mixed with a whole jar of spaghetti sauce then just froze the extra not used in the casserole for an easy future meal of spaghetti.