Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Copy Cat Panera Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

So at work yesterday my friend Courtney was eating broccoli and cheddar Panera soup they serve in the cafeteria.  It looked delish and I was inspired instead of having a big bowl of pasta on my day off like usual to make some soups.  So I made this copy cat Panera Broccoli and Cheddar Soup.  The recipe came from a website I found on Pinterest, but I changed it just slightly, as always.  It really wasn't to unhealthy as I subbed fat free half and half for the full fat version.  You could also used reduced fat cheddar cheese.  I served this soup with some fresh cheese on top and with a petite loaf of crusty french bread (it truthfully wasn't as crusted as I had hoped more of a sandwich french bread but that's neither here nor there).  Steve and I both have a love for broccoli, but if you don't you'll still love this soup.  Steve always says the more broccoli the better, and I agree!!  Creamy and cheesy and SOOOO easy to make.  Prep time was hard to calculate b/c I was simultaneously making a chicken pot pie soup but I'd say total prep time was 15 minutes and total cook time about 50 minutes but that's mostly just simmering. 

Copy Cat Panera Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of fat free half and half 
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3 heads of broccoli, just florets cut up
  • 1 cup of carrots in julienne style (I used baby carrots and just like match sticked 'em up its what I had in the fridge.  You could easily just buy the matchstick carrots and use a cup)
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese
  1.  Heat butter on medium to med low heat.  I used a dutch oven.  When melted add onions and garlic and simmer until soft and fragrant about 7 minutes or so.  Do not have the pan to hot you do not want them to burn just to soften. 
  2.   Once softened add four, simmer this roux for about 2-3 minutes stirring so it does not burn to bottom of pan will sort of be a sticky glob.
  3.   Slowly add the two cup of half and half letting bubble and thicken before adding more and stiring very frequently.  Once you add all the half and half add the stock same way slowly.  
  4.   Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg stir and simmer for 20 minutes on med low.  Stir frequently.
  5.   Add broccoli and carrots simmer covered for another 25-30 minutes.  Stir frequently.
  6.   Use immersion blender or regular blender or food processer (immersion blender is the best) and blend until all large chunks of brocolli are gone and soup is smooth.  
  7.   Stir in cheddar cheese in a figure 8 motion.   Serve sprinkled with some extra chedder cheese (8 oz was the whole bag so I had some random shredded mexican cheese I sprinkled on top and Jackson who I tricked into eating this soup even though he says he always hates broccoli which hes never had!! He loved it and even when I told him it was broccoli he had another two bites!!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Double Baked Brie

For Thanksgiving this year I was both having some pregnancy cravings and also wanting to try out some new recipes and food adventures.  I settled on baked brie and something "fallish"  You can check out my Pumpkin Bacon and Goat Cheese Crisps which I will include a link once I blog it.  I don't know why I have been craving brie, so odd but anyways decided to make two different kinds of stuffed baked brie.  Both were amazing but one was certainly more of a winner than the other.  The winner of the two was my Fig and Caramelized Onion Baked Brie with a very close second place was my Pepper Jelly Baked Brie.  These apps looked so fancy smancy and were sooooo easy to make.  I served them with home made french bread chips and I will tell ya how I made those too.  I haven't stopped thinking about this brie since I made it!  Even my cousin Nikki who is super picky approved of the brie and took home the what little was left for a snack later!!  Highly recommend making these for Christmas  or another get together!!  I made the chips and caramelized the onions ahead of time and then just assembled at my moms house.

Crispy French Bread Chips
  • 1 french bread baguette day old is best so its easier to slice
  • about a cup of olive oil (I didn't measure just kept adding more if I needed it) seasoned with pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley
  1.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2.  Very carefully thinly slice the french bread with a sharp knife very thin like if you imagined the width of a bagel chip that thin.
  3. Take each piece of bread and dip it into the olive oil spice mixture.  You will have to stir the oil mix frequently because the spices will settle in the bottom. Lay flat on foil lined baking sheet.  I had to use two sheets and do these in two batches.
  4.  Bake for about 15 minutes or so until crispy and golden brown do not over cook.  Let cool on cookie sheet and serve with baked brie. 
Fig and Caramelized Onion Baked Brie

  • 1 wheel of brie
  • 3 large sweet onions sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • fig preserves
  • 1 package of Crescent rolls
  1.  Caramelize the onions by throwing them butter and sugar into a pan and cooking on low to med low heat for about an hour ,stir frequently.  When they are golden brown, gooey, and no longer look like onions but a little brown sticky pile your done!!  Let cool to room temp (I made them the day before put 'em in the fridge then took them out to bring 'em to room temp the day I was using them)
  2. When you are ready to assemble preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil spray with a little cooking spray where you will place the brie.   Open the crescent rolls.  There will be essentially 2 sheets of dough.  Take the first try to use your finger to smooth out seams so they dont fall apart while baking and lie flat on the foil.  
  3. Place Brie wheel in center.  Top with heft amt of fig preserves and then with a plop of the caramelized onions.
  4. Take the second sheet of crescent roll and place on top of the brie tucking it down around the sides.  
  5. Take the bottom crescent roll and pull up over the top around the sides to seal it.  Mine didnt come out to pretty but it was sealed.  All that matters.
  6. Bake on 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown, I just watched it till it looked like the crescent rolls were nice and brown and removed.
  7. Let sit for about 10 minutes then serve with pie server and have people pile it onto the french bread chips.  Enjoy!
Pepper Jelly Baked Brie 

Follow all the steps above.....omit onions and fig preserves.  Use Pepper Jelly in place of fig.  Roll up just like above and bake just like above!!!  Enjoy!!

Singapore Noodles w/ Shrimp & Shiitake Mushrooms

I originally got this recipe from the show the Chew.  Obviously I added some things and changed some things but not my orginal idea!  We had my best friend Irene and her son Andrew (who is to young to eat this but probably would have loved it too).  Dish was a hit and left overs were just as good.  Although I don't know if my co workers were happy with me for re heating shrimp at work, its sort of an unwritten NO NO.  Makes the whole unit smell like fish!!!
Any who delicious and healthy meal and took about 15 minutes from start to finish!!  You could add any protien or any veggies that you want!!  This meal felt like Chinese take out however you did not feel like you needed a nap or ate a pound of bricks after!!

Singapore Noodles w/ Shrimp & Shiitake Mushrooms

  • 3 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 cup onion (diced
  • 4 large cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger minced
  • 1 tsp resh hot red chili (I used a green Serrano b/c I couldnt find a red pepper)  Also I used the whole pepper instead of a a tsp and it wasn't that spicy at all!!
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp Thai or Vietnamese Fish Sauce
  • 1 pound of fresh uncooked medium size deveined and peeled shrimp
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 8 oz containers of shitake mushrooms sliced
  • 3 heads of baby bok choy (or regular bok choy just happened to be what I had) chopped
  • 1 cup of shredded carrots
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 head of scallions sliced thin on an angle
  • 1 red pepper sliced very thin
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces of Cellophane Rice Noodles (vermicelli type, softened per package instructions)
  1.  I used my Wok.  Heat to medium high heat and add Sesame Oil.  When oil is almost smoking add the onions, garlic, and ginger.  Saute for 3-4 mins.
  2. Turn heat down to medium and add the fresh Chili
  3. After about two minutes add all the veggies.  Cook for another two minutes then add the curry powder, fish sauce, and soy sauce..
  4. After two more minutes add the shrimp cook for 3-4 minutes until just pink and not to curled.  Do not over cook the shrimp.  Season with salt and pepper generously.  
  5. Toss with the noodles and scallions to combine.  Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Grammy's Meatloaf

I really never even had a meatloaf that I enjoyed until I was about 20 years old.  Actually I'm not sure I gave it a fair chance, I think I hated the idea of a loaf of meat, yuck.  Just has a yucky sound to eat.  I used to work at this restaurant that had the best meatloaf!!  After that I thought ok so maybe I've really just been missing out.  Steve loves meatloaf and so years back had mentioned I wanted to make a meatloaf and my mom mentioned that she had my Grammy's delicious recipe.  All she had to do was mention bacon and I was sold!!!  What could be better than a large loaf of meat but its beauty wrapped in bacon then drenched in a delicious sauce???  Ok until tonight had only made it once again years ago.  Jack ate meatloaf at his Nana's house the other night and from what I'm told he ate the entire helping (for those of you that know Jack know he doesn't eat a whole portion of anything especially any meat product).  Jackson requested meatloaf yesterday and so I promised I'd make it today.  He also requested mashed potatoes and corn (which I won't include the recipe for because its just your basic mashed taters and some frozen super sweet corn).  I know everyones got their own meatloaf family recipe and everyone likes it different ways.  I typically like mine with some ketchup however the sauce on this a combo of creamy soup mixed with tomato soup takes over that sweet salty ketchup flavor with a rich delicious sauce.  Make sure you see the after thought.  Blogged before we ate and then published after we ate.....so just a small after thought.

Again anything wrapped in bacon is a winner in my book....so here's the winner meatloaf recipe.

Grammy's Meatloaf

  • 1-1.5 lbs of ground beef, turkey, or chicken.  I used 85% lean ground beef, which beef has been wigging me out since I've been preggo so hopefully I can stomach this.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of oatmeal ( I didn't have any and didn't want to spend anymore money than I needed to so I subbed a cup of seasoned bread crumbs)  If you use oatmeal it will lack seasoning so adjust accordingly and also last time I made it with oatmeal I ground it up in the food processor to make it smoother.
  • 1/2 white onion thinly sliced
  • 6-8 slices of bacon ( I used this like super thick cut stuff we had left over from breakfast that was on sale)
  • salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, italian seasoning (I only used a tiny bit of this b/c I did use pre seasoned bread crumbs but if you use the oatmeal use more!!) And I just used as much of these as I felt necessary  I did not measure
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 oz package of mushrooms
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Mix together meat, egg, breadcrumbs, and seasoning until well blended.  Form into a loaf and put in a pan (I  do not use a loaf pan because you need to have room to dump the sauce in I used like a square baking dish.
  3. I forget how I did this last time but then take the onions which i cut the slices in half and sort of straddled the meatloaf with the onions all down the top.  Then wrap in bacon tucking the slices down and under the loaf.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes take out of oven and drain bacon grease.
  5. Mix together soups and mushrooms.  I seasoned this with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Original recipe had no seasoning here but I season at every step!!
  6. Pour over the loaf and back again for 45 minutes.  Slice and enjoy!!!  Ours actually cooked for another almost hour as at the 45 minute it was only at about 140 degrees about med rare and ground beef has been freaking me out so we turned the stove up to 400 degrees and cooked an extra 15 minutes or so.

After thought --- so last time I made this I remember loving the bacon.  This time maybe it was because I already ate bacon for breakfast or maybe just wasn't the craving of the moment...but Steve and I both decided the bacon didn't do much.  It was the sauce, the onions, and the mushrooms that really made this meatloaf amazing.  I think to save some calories and fat next time I'd leave off the bacon.  Jack ate his whole serving....amazing I've never seen him eat that much!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Grilled Yummy Sunday Dinner

Tonight Steve and I were really feeling like doing some grilling.  We bought some of our favorites sweet potatoes, rib eye steaks, and asparagus.  We had no plan for them and came up with a last minute one that was amazing!!!  Steve came up with the great idea to cook the sweet potatoes on the grill in a foil packet, which I sometimes don't like because they don't get crispy, however not true with this recipe they were  crispy and soooo amazing!!!  They truly had the taste of the fall with the flare and taste the grill adds to everything.  Steak and asparagus were also great and super easy to measuring or prep for any of them!!!

Fall Foil Grilled Sweet Potatoes

  • two sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 2 heaping tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 2 dashes of cinnamon
  • 2 dashes of sage
  • 2 dashes of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp of salted butter

  1. Make two large pieces of foil on the counter, put one sweet potato in each.  Each sweet potato will cook separately.  
  2. I mixed the spices in two small dishes because 1/2 of each spice goes in each packet.  So in each small bowl mix 1 tbsp brown sugar I used a heaping one, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1 dash of sage, cinnamon and cayenne in each bowl.  
  3. Sprinkle 1/2 of the spices and sugar mix on each pile.
  4. Slice each tbsp of butter up into little pieces and put a tbsp on each of the two piles.  
  5. Top with a second piece of foil and curl up and seal the edges to make two packets
  6. Have your husband grill them on about 350 degrees cook for 15 minutes, flip them and cook for another 15-20 minutes.  
  7. Be careful opening them they were really hot but so delicious enjoy.

On the steaks we rubbed and seasoned them heavily with kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika on both sides.  Then cooked perfectly by Steve to a medium rare...well they were more rare but they were heated all the way through and perfect.  Jackson even loved them!

The asparagus I cut of the ends to one bunch.  Covered a baking sheet with foil.  I preheated the oven to 450.  I covered the asparagus with a light drizzle of olive oil then seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley.  I cooked for three minutes, flipped then cooked another three minutes.  I plated the asparagus and then topped with some freshly grated parmesan cheese which lightly melts waiting for you to eat it!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mediterranean Chicken over Egg Noodles

So the other night I was far to lazy to go to the store...and we had so much left over food in the house.  But totally random stuff. I knew we had like 6 red peppers, some baby spinach, and cherry tomatoes that were all going to go bad.  I used my imagination and came up with this amazing dish.  It was a huge hit (among the adults) the kids had mac and cheese or something.  Steve even texted me the next day to say how he couldnt stop thinking about how good dinner was the night before.  My favorite meals are when I throw random stuff together....this was an easy make with not many ingredients!

  • 4 chicken breasts ( I used left over stuff so I used two chicken breasts and about 4 boneless skinless thighs we had left over) chopped up into small pieces just slightly larger than bite sized.
  • 2 cups of flour seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, and paprika.
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 4 red peppers 
  • olive oil for drizzle and for cooking (i never measure this)
  • feta cheese to sprinkle on top you dont need a ton we just set it out as we were serving
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes washed and cut in half
  • 1/2 white onion minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 cup of white wine.
  • 2 cans of low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 package of egg noodles 
yikes i made this so long ago I can't remember what I did but I can guess!!  I may have to make this again. 
I'm assuming I floured the chicken and browned it in olive oil on med to med high heat removed from pan.  Then added garlic and onion to the dirty pan simmering until soft.  I then must have added  2tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of flour to make a roux.   I'm pretty sure I deglazed the pan scraping up all the yummys on the bottom with the white wine.   slowly added the chicken stock to make a nice thick sauce.  Add the tomatoes and red peppers cut up and let simmer in sauce.  Throw the chicken back in let simmer for about 15-20 mins on medium low then fold in the spinach. 
Cook egg noodles according to package directions.  Serve chicken mixture over egg noodles sprinkle with feta.

Sorry this post is so messy....made this so long ago and realized I left it in draft form on my blog.  Might as well publish it!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Blackened Salmon & Mango Cucumber Salsa

So recently I've been trying to think of new things to cook for dinner.  My blogging has been lacking lately and so I decided to make something new and blog about it.  I've made salmon once before, and really really want to like it.  It's so healthy and I feel like so many people who have good taste eat it...why don't we eat it???  I feel like we eat so much chicken and pork we need a little variety in our lives. 

Today I went up the fish counter and told the guy I wanted to buy some salmon...I'm ummm slow when it comes to fish and like don't understand why theres five different kinds of salmon all sort of look the same all different prices.  I told him what I was making and he led me towards a peice of salmon that was about .92 lbs he said would be enough for two of us.  Also it had skin.  I know on tv they cook with the skin and sometimes they eat it...what fish skins can you eat? I got all nervous about the skin and the nice fish guy cut it off for me phew!!

I was nervous after the last salmon I made years ago to make it again, because although we loved the spinach salad with the last salmon we both sort of thought it was just alright.  This dish was awesome, fresh, spicy and sweet!!!  I got the idea of this recipe from Skinnytaste.com however of course I can not stick to a recipe haha and added my own flare!!!  This serves two and you will have some salsa left over which I did intentionally because I think I'll grill some chicken tomorrow and throw the salsa over it to bring to work.  I served this dish with some really crispy roasted potatoes.

Blackened Salmon & Mango Cucumber Salsa

Mango Cucumber Salsa:

  • 2 ripe mango's peeled and diced
  • 1/4 red onion minced (I just eye balled it after all cucumber and mango were in so it wasn't to oniony)
  • 1 large cucumber skinned and then seeds scooped out diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1.5 tsp of honey (I only added this because I used two VERY large cloves of garlic and it was a bit over kill so I had to sweeten it up a bit....I wouldn't have used this if I didn't use so much garlic, taste the salsa before you sweeten it!!)
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • juice of 1 lime

  1. Mix all ingredients together.  BAM.  Done.  I let this sit for a couple hours before serving to let the flavors melt together. 
Blackened Salmon:

  • about a 1 lb. of salmon fillet skin off (or if you know what to do with the skin go for it....it was perfect the way I made it so I'll stick with no skin for now
  • 1 tbsp of chili powder (you could use cayenne if you want it spicer...I wanted to tone it down so followed a recommendation from the website and subbed chili powder.
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1.  Mix together all spices in a flat dish.  I took the whole large piece of salmon and cooked it all as one big piece.   Heat a cast iron skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil on medium heat.  
  2. Lay the salmon down in the spices on both sides cover and pressing down to adhere spices to salmon.
  3. When pan hot place in pan.  Set timer for three minutes, flip and cook for three minutes on the other side.  One of my largest fears is salmon over cooked because I really only like salmon raw.  This cooking time was perfect!!!  
  4. Cut in half and top with Mango Cucumber Salsa.  Enjoy!!

Crispy Roasted Potato Perfection 
  • 5 or 6 small red potatoes cut in 6's if large and 4ths if small
  • bowl of warm water
  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  1. Soak potatoes after cut up in warm salted water with kosher salt for about 20-40 minutes.  This helps take out some of the starch of the potato and make it crispier.  Dry completely.  I took each piece and squeezed in paper towel to make sure all water was removed.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Throw potatoes in a deep roasting dish and toss all ingredients together.
  4. Cook on 350 for about 15-20 minutes until fork tender.  Remove from oven.  If all oil is dried up add some more.
  5. Increase oven temp to 475 degrees.  Once heated to the new temp place potatoes in oven cook about 30-40 minutes using a metal spatula to scrape bottom and flip half way through.  These potatoes were AMAZING!!  Perfectly crispy and crunchy on the outside and perfectly soft and potatoey on the inside....sooo yummy and lightly seasoned so you could really taste the freshness of the potato.  I didn't really have any good pics of the potatoes!!  Sorry you'll have to use your imagination.