Monday, July 5, 2010

Artichoke Dip

Lest you think all I make are yummy soups, I'll have you know I do have a large repertoire of recipes. I only recently (I know I'm way behind in the foody scene) fell in love with artichoke dip.

I mean REALLY in love!

I am always watching my calories so I only make it when we have special guests. Thank you John and Sarah for giving me the opportunity to indulge myself!

Artichoke Dip

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a small baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, garlic, basil, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

As I've said before, we travel frequently and therefore visit many restaurants on the road. Thankfully, my children have pretty much outgrown many fast food restaurants. They will never outgrow the Olive Garden!

I usually get the soup and salad combo - always watching my calories it seems. Once the girls and I tasted this soup, I knew I had to recreate it at home. It is pure comfort food - creamy chicken soup with soft pillows of potato dumplings also known as gnocchi.

Chicken Gnocchi Soup
Adapted from CopyKat Recipes

1 cup chicken breasts, cooked and diced
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 quart half and half
1 14 ounce can chicken broth
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup carrots, finely shredded
1 cup onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin oil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound potato gnocchi

Sauté the onion and garlic in the butter, when the onion becomes translucent, add the flour, and make a roux, let the butter and flour mixture cook for about a minute before adding 1 quart of half and half.

Cook gnocchi according to package directions.

Into the roux add in the carrots, celery, and chicken. Once the mixture becomes thick add the chicken broth. Once the mixture thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi, spinach, and seasonings.

Simmer 10-15 minutes and correct the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup

What DO you do when you have a veggie in the fridge that the children don't like? Why make it a soup! The flavors of the soup may make the vegetable more palatable. It has to be healthier to turn it into a soup than pouring processed cheese all over the dreaded veggie like many parents do.

I had intended for a head of cauliflower to be used for a chopped salad when we had guests recently but forgot about it for several days. This soup was a huge hit - seconds and all!

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup

Adapted from Group Recipes

1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets
4 cloves garlic, chopped (next time I'll use the whole head)
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 small carrots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. thyme leaves, dried
1 tsp. basil, dried
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. butter (I use Smart Balance 50/50 Blend)
2 cups milk
1 tbsp. flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss together cauliflower, garlic and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into a baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is just starting to brown. (Will be somewhat crisp-tender)

Meanwhile, heat the other tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add celery, onion and carrot and saute until onion is translucent, about 15 minutes.

When cauliflower is ready, add to the skillet along with chicken stock and seasonings; bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer another 15 minutes.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk flour into the milk and add slowly to the butter, whisking constantly. Increase heat and bring to a boil, whisking until thick. Add cheese, simmer until melted. Remove from heat and pour into the cauliflower mixture.

Simmer another 10 minutes, mashing cauliflower slightly if desired.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spicy Cheeseburger Soup

Total and complete comfort food! Frugal too. It helps that my family loves this soup!

When I find ground beef on sale, I buy as much as my freezer can take. I bring it home, season it liberally with garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and cook it until all the pink is gone. I freeze it in 1 pound (precooked weight) bags. So many dinners at my fingertips with frozen cooked ground beef!

This favorite comes together in no time!

Spicy Cheeseburger Soup

Adapted from Taste of Home

4 cups water
2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
4 small carrots, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
3 cups milk,
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 T butter or margarine
2 c sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)

In a Dutch oven, combine the first nine ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.

Stir in beef

Melt butter in another pan. Add four and stir for a minute or two. Add milk and stir until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; stir in cheese until melted. Add cayenne if desired.
Top with bacon just before serving.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatball Soup

We joke around here that I can turn anything into a soup. My girls (15 & 17) have been bugging me to make a spaghetti and meatball soup and here it is!

This one not only looks good but it tastes good. After dinner tonight they were fighting over whether or not it belongs in the top three of my soup creations!

Spaghetti and Meatball Soup

3 T vegetable oil
1 lg. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 - 1 t hot pepper flakes
6 c beef broth
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 c red wine, dry (I used Marsala)
1 lg. green pepper, coarsely chopped
2 c green beans, trimmed and snapped into bite-sized pieces
3-4 carrots, sliced
1 t oregano, dried
1 T basil, dried
frozen meatballs, cooked (no time to make my own today!)
1/4 lb spaghetti, broken into bite-sized pieces
Parmesan cheese, shredded

In Dutch oven, cook onion with red pepper flakes in hot oil until softened. Add crushed garlic and cook until fragrant. Add next 8 ingredients and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are softened.

About 10 minutes before serving, add cooked meatballs and pasta. Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Enchilada Soup

Not the most appetizing looking soups but I guarantee it's good!

We travel a LOT! When I'm driving to various destinations, I really don't have much of an appetite (sad I know) so I tend to stick to soup and salad on the road. I love to experiment with soups I've discovered on the road and adapt them to my family's tastes. This one is a winner with everyone!

Enchilada Soup

Adapted from Chili's Copycat Recipe

1 T vegetable oil
2 c diced or shredded cooked chicken
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
4 c chicken broth
1 c masa harina
2 c water
1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 10 oz can enchilada sauce
1 15 oz can black beans
1 15 1/4 oz can corn
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t thyme, dried
16 oz Velvetta cheese, cubed
handful of fresh chopped cilantro

In Dutch oven, soften onion in oil, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add chicken broth.

Combine masa harina with water and whisk until blended. Add to Dutch oven.

Add chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, chipotle peppers, and seasonings. Simmer about 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

Add cheese and stir until melted. Add cilantro and serve.

Optional garnishes:

Crushed tortilla chips
Shredded cheese
Pico De Gallo

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cream Cheese Chicken Soup

I've had a terrible, no good, rotten cold for the last few days. What better comfort is there when not feeling well than a bowl of chicken soup?

Cream Cheese Chicken Soup

Adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

2 cups chicken, cooked and diced
1 large onion, finely diced
1-2 Tablespoons butter
4-5 reg carrots, diced
5-6 cups chicken broth
4-5 potatoes, finely diced
1 t marjoram, dried
1 t basil, dried
1/2 - 1 t garlic powder
1/2 - 1 t cayenne pepper (or to taste)
4 T margarine or butter
4 T flour
2 cups milk
12 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature

Saute onion in 1-2 T butter. Put onion in Dutch oven and add chicken broth, carrots, and potatoes. Add more broth if needed to cover vegetables. Add seasonings and bring to a boil, then simmer until veggies are tender (about ten minutes). Add cooked chicken.

Melt 4 T butter with flour. Stir for one to two minutes. Add milk all at once. Stir until thick and bubbly. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add cheese sauce to soup pot and stir until fully incorporated.

Season with salt and pepper.

Viola! Perfect comfort food!