My daughters and I are all on the same page when it comes to our taste in movies. We love spending a Saturday or Sunday afternoon having lunch at the mall and catching a good flick. One of our favorite lunch spots is a place with amazing Tortilla Soup ~ loaded with chicken in a spicy broth and topped with crispy tortilla strips. We all get a bowl and share an appetizer so we still have room for the *required* movie popcorn. Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup is everything I love about the restaurant version but thicker and includes garbanzo beans, chipotle pepper for heat and smoky flavor and even more cheesy goodness. If you like a spicy, cheesy soup this is it.
This time last year I resolved (in a post no less) to stop wasting food. It’s so darn expensive, right? I created Fiesta Chicken and Rice making good use of some pantry items that were well, just hangin’ around. I tried to keep it up, but alas, fell in to my old ways buying willy-nilly (is that still a term?) , the result of which was just too.much.food. So I’m tackling this resolution again and I hope you’ll join with me. Kitchen comrades in arms, if you will. A quick inventory here revealed five cans of Great Northern beans (there must have been one heck of a sale), a couple of cans of crushed tomatoes, two tubes of tomato paste, four large containers of chicken stock, an almost empty jar of Nutella (oops), four packages of Uncle Ben’s 90 second brown rice, three cans of artichokes, a jar of pesto and way more I won’t bore you with. Between the pantry and refrigerator, I had all the ingredients for this Tomato White Bean Soup. . . minus the Nutella (which makes a mighty fine dessert all by itself). You know what they say ~ “happiness is hot soup on a cold day”.
Happy 2017! What did you do for New Year’s Eve? We ended up at a local restaurant for dinner and while I don’t want to turn the first post of the year into complaining (which I guess I am), the quality of the food was really disappointing. We had a good time, but it just goes to show you our own kitchens can turn out even better meals than restaurants sometimes. Easy Spicy Beef Chili is a recipe I’ve been making for such a long time I don’t even look at a recipe any more. I’ve tweaked it over the years until it’s about as close to perfection as a bowl of chili can be. Once fall hits, it’s always in the dinner rotation. It’s a quick but hearty and warming weeknight dinner; perfect for football gatherings as well. The additional of three everyday ‘secret ingredients’ make it so good it almost takes its own victory lap.
Baby it’s cold outside! Did you catch my post the other day for French Onion Soup? We’re in the middle of a deep freeze right now ~ a Polar Vortex. I don’t know what the question is, but soup is the only answer. On top of temps that include a wind chill factor, Sunday we got 12″ of heavy, wet snow. It was the perfect day to stay home, cook, catch up on some reading and even watch a little bit of the football game. Monday brought the reality of digging out and thankfully my husband was up to the task because I was ready to just pull the covers over my head and wait for spring. No really. Smoked Salmon Chowder ~ thick, hearty, loaded with smoky salmon flavor and tender, bite-size pieces of potato ~ just what we needed. You can eat it without good bread, but really. . .why would you want to?
Whenever my daughter saw French Onion Soup on the menu, she ordered it. She was completely unaware, but it usually made my husband cringe. As young children, we encouraged them to order for themselves in restaurants. Served us right, I guess because although she professed to love French Onion Soup, she really only liked the soup-soaked bread topped with all that cheese. Who could blame her?
My husband is always on the hunt for what he calls a “good bar burger”. It’s become almost a hobby for him, scouting out the best one. They need to be at least 1/3 pound of juicy beef, melted Swiss cheese and grilled onions all on a sesame seed bun, served with fries (preferably hand-cut). He adds a squeeze of mustard and it’s all washed down with a cold beer. The latest place was a total dive with a sign outside that said ‘no biker colors allowed’. Hmmm. It was cold and rainy that day so when I saw Roasted Cauliflower Soup on a handwritten menu, I decided to skip the burger and give it a try. This creamy, cheesy, hearty soup (chowder?) with bits of roasted cauliflower didn’t disappoint. I guess it’s true what they say ~ you can’t judge a book by its cover. . .
My husband isn’t always on board new recipes. He likes a traditional meal the way he’s been eating it for years “(insert sigh). So when he asked what’s for dinner, I reluctantly told him Chicken Enchilada Soup in the way you may tell a toddler he has to get a shot because in his food world there are very specific rules: Chicken Soup should only have a clear broth and lots of noodles, carrots and celery. Enchiladas should only be filled with beef and ‘other stuff’, rolled up with sauce and cheese on top. I offered to make him a hamburger instead, but he soldiered up and ladled a bowl of this 20 Minute Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup. I watched astonished as he ate his soup along with a flour tortilla . . one bowl. . . and then another. He liked it.
Do you remember outdoor drive-in movies? I used to love going when I was a little girl. We’d always wear our pajamas to the drive-in and pop our own popcorn before we left. Years later we took our kids a few times before drive-ins became extinct. Last Friday night our neighbors hosted their last outdoor movie night of the season in their backyard ~ like a drive-in, but with chairs instead of cars. There’s usually about 20 or so people, an oldie-but-a-goodie mindless sort of movie, plenty of food to eat before the movie starts and even popcorn and candy during the movie. These people know how to do movies right! It started out as a beautiful evening, but got cold quickly and even the bonfire and the pot of spicy Homemade Chili I contributed didn’t provide as much warmth as we needed. The next day as I wondered why on earth I ate so much and was still trying to get rid of the chill I felt, Spicy Tomato Lentil DETOX Soup was born. . .
It’s been raining here for several days ~ ugh ~ and the forecast is for several more days of heavy rain. I shouldn’t complain (though obviously I am) because thank God there aren’t experiencing hurricanes or flooding in these parts. Still, it’s bone-chilling leaving me with
little no desire to go to the grocery store, but on the upside, it does bring out my creativity ~ as in what can I make with what’s already here? The idea for this Minestrone Italian Sausage Soup recipe is part freezer, part pantry, part end of the year garden. It’s hearty and packed with veggies in a rich, tomatoey broth, enhanced with the flavor of sweet Italian sausage and a downpour (you’ll excuse the pun) of grated parmesan raining down on each bowl.
I try to make a weekly trip to the farmer’s market from the time it opens in the spring until the last vegetables are sold in the fall. I love supporting local farmers selling fresh fruits and vegetables, watching the produce change as summer melds into fall and I enjoy the sense of community the farmer’s market brings. This Easy Corn Chowder is a great example of what a trip can yield. Here in the Midwest, there’s still plenty of sweet corn at the farmer’s market and all the roadside stands. Buy some sweet corn before summer’s over. It’s so delicious grilled in the husk with melted butter (doesn’t that make everything better?) or try this Easy Corn Chowder. It’s delicious summer farm freshness in a one-pot meal.