Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Creamy Chicken Soup

And now, the recipe you've all been waiting for!!! Or not. But it's really yummy, so check it out anyway, won't ya? :)

This recipe is from Sandra Lee on the Food Network and I am typing it in verbatim. I will list the changes I made at the end.


1 store-bought roasted chicken
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
4 - 14oz. cans low-sodium chicken broth
2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup with roasted garlic
2 tsp. fines herbs*
salt & pepper
2 cups egg noodles, cooked

Remove the skin from the chicken and shred the meat from the bone. Put the chicken into a slow cooker along with the onions, celery, and carrots. Stir in broth, mushroom soup, and fines herbs and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 8-9 hours.

When soup is finished, stir in egg noodles. Adjust seasonings and serve.

*Fines herbs are a classic blend of herbs that usually consists of chervil, parsley, chives, and tarragon. Fines herbs can be found pre-blended in the spice section of the grocery store.

I made 2 cups of rice in my rice cooker and added it in about half-way through the cooking time, instead of using egg noodles. I did not have Fines herbs so I used a 1/2 tsp. of tarragon and 1/2 tsp. of parsley (which I had in my cabinet), plus 2 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. of pepper. I did not use roasted garlic mushroom soup so I added 1 tsp. of garlic powder as well. Also, I did not use 4 cans of chicken broth, I added 1 tsp. of chicken bouillon per cup of water to equal the amount of broth. At the end of the cooking time it tasted great, but I wanted it to be creamier so I made a roux with butter and flour (3 tbsp. each) and that thickened it right up! I served it with warm cornbread - yummmmmm!!!

On a completely different note, I got The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook from my library today and I can't put it down! I love this cookbook! I know that some of you follow her blog, but for some reason I never checked it out. I will become a follower now though! Her style of writing is clear and funny and makes you instantly want to be her friend. Also, her photographs are just awesome. I also recently read Confections Of A Closet Master Baker which is by Gesine Bullock-Prado , the sister of one of my favorite actresses Sandra Bullock (While You Were Sleeping, Speed, The Blind Side). Her book was more of a biography on how she became a baker, but also full of yummy sounding recipes that I photo-copied and can't wait to try. And now I can go to bed happy because I got to share two of my favorite things with all of you - food and books!

Happy eating!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cajun Chicken Sandwiches

Tonight I will be making cajun chicken sandwiches for dinner. I'll be sprinkling some chicken breasts that I have pounded thin with cajun seasonings and cook them in olive oil in a skillet. I will serve them on kaiser rolls with mayo, lettuce, and tomato with a side of macaroni and cheese. Easy and yummy! If I pound a thick breast very thin then I can get two sandwiches out of one breast and that means leftovers! I could slice some cold chicken into strips to top a salad for lunch, or dice it up and freeze it and use it in quesadillas in the future. I make my own cajun seasoning using a recipe from All Recipes (click on the link above) because it is so easy.

Tomorrow I will be making the Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup *NEW RECIPE* so be sure to check back for the recipe. I just KNOW this one will be delicious!

Happy eating!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Beef & Rice Fiesta Casserole

Coconuts are available at my local grocery store, year-round, for only $2. Good to know! The one I bought said that it was E-Z Open and had a scored line around it where, after draining out the milk inside by poking holes in the "eyes", you just tap it with a hammer and it breaks open. Wrong! I had to whack a screwdriver with a hammer really hard against that score to get the thing to open! Then you have to pry out the meat inside which was no picnic either. I am never volunteering to do anything with coconuts again. :)

Boy, I am really behind on posting meals, but I have not done anything new lately so I haven't felt inspired to post. Tonight we are having Beef & Rice Fiesta casserole, which is a recipe I got from my brother. Last night we had Dirty Rice and the night before that we had Chicken Kievs and the night before that we had Spaghetti. See? Nothing exciting. The meal plan for next week is Creamy Chicken Rice Soup (NEW), Pork Roast, Nachos, Salisbury Steak, and Cajun Chicken Sandwiches.

Kathy from Two Hands Full Of Daisies asked if there was another way to cook the Sausage, Sauerkraut and Potatoes from my last post instead of using a pressure cooker and I would suggest a slow cooker. If you try it, please let me know how it works out for you! Also, Cynthia from Crumbs In The Minivan asked if I had a substitute for the sauerkraut in the same meal and I have been thinking about it, but nothing really comes to me. Does anyone else out there have any ideas for her?

Happy eating!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sausage, Sauerkraut & Potatoes

Hello everyone! I can't believe it has been almost a week since I last posted. Whoops!

Today I took my daughter sledding after lunch and we had a blast! The sun is shining and it is just over 32 degrees, so the weather was perfect. The hill is in the park down the block (not too far to walk) and is steep enough and high enough to be fun, but not to steep or high to make climbing back up difficult. We were the only ones there and stayed for an hour. I thought I would be bored or freezing, but she was so cute about it all that she made me laugh and I even went down a couple of times with her, which she thought was hysterical. And seeing us both on the sled probably was pretty funny for anyone driving by who saw us. :)

Tonight for dinner I am going to make smoked sausage, sauerkraut and potatoes in my pressure cooker. This is only one of two meals (beef stew is the other) that I use the pressure cooker to make - I really should find more uses for the thing. It is a newer model that has a crappy knob on top for adjusting the steam. My mom had a really old one with a weight on top that would jiggle, but my dad won't give it to me because he uses it to make this meal himself. You can find my recipe here.

Last night I made cheeseburger meatloaf and tater tots; the night before that I made pepperoni pan pizzas. Tomorrow I will be making pork chops and spanish rice. I have been working on my grocery list already because I am going to be volunteering in my daughter's classroom tomorrow, so the meal plan for the next week is this: Porcupine Meatballs with Egg Noodles, Beef & Rice Fiesta Casserole, Chicken Kievs and Mashed Potatoes, Dirty Rice, Spaghetti with Garlic Toast, and a frozen pizza (always). Nothing fancy, but good warm meals for these cold January days.

If any of you are looking for something to do while you are trapped indoors by the cold weather, please go check out the book club I am in by clicking the link at the top right of this page. For the month of January we are reading Bittersweet Country by Elaine Long. I am on chapter 7 and it is a really good book! Next month we will be reading Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult; sure to be a great read too.

My daughter's class is having a Luau party next week and I (stupidly) volunteered to bring anything that was needed and the teacher asked me to bring a fresh, cut coconut. Where the heck am I gonna find a fresh coconut in Chicago in January?! And how the heck am I gonna cut one open?! Yikes. I was mumbling about my stupidity and my daughter overheard me and said "One of the boys brought a coconut to class for Secret Sack last week" (don't ask), but she can't remember his name. I am all set to call this kids mother and ask where she got it - as soon as I find out who he is. Again, wish me luck!

Happy eating!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's A Snow Day! Potato Corn Chowder & Chili Casserole

Okay, it isn't an official snow day; school IS open today (God only knows why), but I called my daughter in absent. I am NOT driving anywhere today. If she was taking her SAT's I'd take her, but this is half-day kindergarten. We have about 2 inches of snow on the ground now and it is supposed to keep snowing continuously until tomorrow morning and leave us with 10-13 inches! I am sure the streets are okay now, but what will they be like later when I would go to pick her up? I'll do some reading work with her here at home, thank you very much.

The last few dinner nights have not been exciting. On Sunday we ordered a capricciosa pizza, which is like bruschetta topping on a pizza crust covered with mozzarella cheese - it is SO good! On Monday night I made a frozen Tombstone Supreme pizza (yeah, we love pizza), and on Tuesday I made egg & cheese sandwiches.

Last night I made potato corn chowder and it was great! I think I got the recipe from Rachel Ray magazine, but I am not sure. The use of butter and heavy cream makes me think of Paula Deen, so maybe it's her recipe. Anyway, here it is:


1/4 cup butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 3lb. bag red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 - 14.5oz. cans chicken broth
1 - 10oz. bag frozen corn, thawed
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. minced fresh thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 - 5oz. package shredded Swiss cheese
bread bowls, optional
garnish: fresh thyme sprig

In a large dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; cook for 6-8 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add potatoes, broth, and corn; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Add cream, thyme, salt, and pepper; simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Add cheese, stirring until melted. Serve soup in bread bowls, and garnish with thyme sprig if desired.

Yum, yum, yum! It was delicious and perfect on a cold day, I only wish I'd thought to make some rolls to go with it. Oh well.

Tonight we are going to have Chili Casserole, I got this recipe from Tried & True Cooking With Heidi. She always has lots of quick and easy (and delicious) recipes on her blog. Go check it out if you haven't already! Here is her recipe:


1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 pkt. chili seasoning
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 cans pinto beans, drained
1 can sliced olives, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup Frito corn chips

Brown ground beef and drain off fat. Add onion, chili seasoning, tomato sauce, and water. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. In a 2 quart casserole dish layer half the meat, beans, olives, and cheese. Repeat the layers ending with the corn chips and cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove cover and bake for 5 minutes more or until crispy on top.

I will be using black beans instead of pinto, and a tablespoon or two of chili powder instead of the packet (because I forgot to buy one). I will also make some cornbread to go along with this tonight.

Well, I am going to go get some housework done and then bundle us up and shovel some snow! Have a great day!

Happy eating!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lots Of Good Things

The meatballs were good! Not as good as homemade, but good for only $5, plus I still have half the bag left. On Thursday we had Tombstone Garlic Bread Cheese frozen pizza, my daughter's favorite. On New Year's Day we had BLT's for dinner. I also made a Taco Dip and Lemon Chiffon Pie from Taste The Joy that day. My taco dip recipe is very basic: mix 8oz. cream cheese and 1 cup of sour cream with 1/2 packet of taco seasonings; spread in bottom of 9x9 dish. Top with 1 can chili, then with 1 package shredded cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted. When it is done you can top it with chopped tomato, olives and green onion if you want to be fancy. :)

Yesterday morning I was in the mood to make cookies and I couldn't decide which to make so I made 3 kinds: Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Oatmeal, and Sugar Cookies. My daughter was a great little helper, she is getting so much better at listening and had a lot of fun putting sprinkles on the Sugar Cookies. After standing in the kitchen for so long I was tired so we went out to dinner. We used a gift card we got for Christmas to Outback Steakhouse - yum! I had the BBQ ribs and they were falling off the bone - so good!

The menu plan for this week is Shepherds Pie, Egg & Cheese Sandwiches, Potato Corn Chowder, Chili Casserole, Grilled Cheese & Soup, and (another) frozen pizza. I don't know what I'll be making tonight yet. I want to get the tree down today, it is bugging me. I took all the other Christmas decorations down 2 days after Christmas. I am not good with clutter. The outdoor lights can stay up until the next warm day I am available to take them down, but the indoor stuff has got to go. Anyone else anxious to get their house back to normal or am I the only one with OCD? :)

Happy eating!