Family Recipe: Chicken Fajitas Soup!

This Recipe is easy and tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 t. avocado oil
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced.
  • 1 lb. cooked chicken, cut into bite size pieces (leftover rotisserie chicken is great for this)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (about 14.5 ounces)
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained (about 14.5 ounces)
  • 1 packet fajitas seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 c. uncooked rice

Toppings: Crispy Jalepenos, cheddar cheese, avocado

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, saute onions in oil until translucent.
  2. Add garlic, stirring often. Cook until fragrant (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add in peppers, celery, carrots, and can of tomatoes. Cook over medium until celery is tender (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add remaining ingredients and cook over low, stirring occasionally for 30-45 minutes, or until rice is cooked.

This recipes serves 8-10. It freezes well.

Substitutions/tips:

  • This can be made with beef instead using cooked chopped beef and beef stock in place of chicken.
  • Or make it vegetarian omitting meat and substituting veggie stock.
  • If you have an abundance of fresh tomatoes, substitute 5 tomatoes (peeled and chopped) in place of the can of tomatoes.

Recipe: Roasted Onion and Caramelized Onion Bisque

I saw a video online someplace (I want to say Facebook, but it could have been on Reddit too), and it showed how to make tomato bisque using freshly roasted tomatoes.

I was excited to try it since we’ve been getting tons of big tomatoes in our CSA box over the past two weeks and I had them sitting on the counter.

This recipe is simple, but it does involve a few steps and does take some time.

It’s worth it in my opinion.

Roasted Onion and Caramelized Onion Bisque

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 8-10 Tomatoes, tops cut off. If the tomatoes are not a uniform size, cut them in half /into large uniform hunks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can (approx 16 oz) chicken or veggie stock
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon each: Basil, Rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup half and half
  • dash red pepper flakes (optional)
caramelized onions…. mmmmm

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees. Place tomatoes/tomato hunks on an oiled-up baking sheet. Brush tomatoes with oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  2. Roast tomatoes for 35-45 minutes.
  3. While tomatoes are roasting, melt butter in a stockpot, and over medium/low heat saute onions. in the last 10 minutes of cooking the onions, add the garlic and stir frequently to keep from burning. You will need to stir frequently.
  4. Place tomatoes in with onions, and add stock, and all herbs/seasonings, EXCEPT the bay leaf and red pepper.
  5. Using an emersion blender, blend soup until it’s smooth.
  6. Now that soup is smooth, add bay leaf and simmer for 30-45 minutes on low.
  7. Add half and half, stir well, add red pepper if desired.
  8. Serve topped with croutons.
This is what roasted tomatoes look like in a lonely stockpot.

Note: If you don’t have an emersion blender, pour tomatoes and onions into a blender and pulse until smooth.

This recipe does not make a ton of soup, as most of my soup recipes do. This recipe takes time, but it’s so good. It’s worth the time and effort for sure.

I recommend my 4-way grilled cheese to go with this soup too!

4/12/2021: Weekly Meal Plan!

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The CSA emails us in advance to give us a heads up as to what may be in our boxes on Monday, so that’s helped me be able to meal prep and write up this post last night.. But I went to bed early and forgot to hit POST.

I picked up a full order from Dream Dinners on Friday afternoon, and I’ve got three DD meals planned for this week. I’m working through the freezer too, and I’m planning on making vegetable soup with some homemade stock in the freezer and some freshly frozen veggies. I freeze fresh veggies towards the end of the week so that we have room in the fridge for all of the new CSA goodies.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. I spend about an hour on Monday afternoon cleaning and prepping veggies for the rest of the week.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: The little kiddo and I usually have something quick and filling, lately it’s been sandwiches on croissants, and strawberry yogurt.  Big kid takes his lunch to school.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Roasted loaded cauliflower, Salad, Garlic Baguettes
  • Monday:  Orange ginger chicken, rice, roasted veggies
  • Tuesday:   Vegetable Soup and Cheddar Biscuits
  • Wednesday:  Meal o’ Snacks!
  • Thursday: Chicken tikka Masala, rice, salad or veggies
  • Friday:  Pizza/Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner (Pancakes, Eggs, Fruit)

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Recipe: Beef Stew

Thick, rich, and ready to get in my belly!

I love a good, hearty beef stew. It can take a little effort, but oh, man is it worth it.

I made this last week, and I started off by looking at How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, which is a great cookbook if you are looking for something beyond the basics of Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens. Each recipe has tons of variations and substitution suggestions to make each dish your own.

This recipe is an amalgamation of Mr. Bittman’s recipe and several additions that give a rich, thick, hearty stew.

Ingredients

  • 2.5-3 pounds of beef stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 T. cooking oil (I used avocado)
  • 2T butter
  • 2 sweet onions, chopped
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
  • 1/2t. dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2c red wine
  • 2T. Tomato Paste
  • 3T. All-purpose flour

Directions

  1.  In a large stockpot, heat oil, and cook the beef in batches to brown. If your pot is large, there may not be a need to cook in batches.
  2. After the beef is browned, add the onions, and cook until clear and tender.
  3. Sprinkle flour over the meat and onions, and stir to combine.
  4. Brown the flour gently, this may take a few minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning. the flour will stick to the meat and onions- this is ok. While string, you may notice the flour forming a paste that browns- this is what you want.
  5. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  6. Add beef stock and thyme, and stir to combine and continue to stir as the mixture thickens.
  7. As the stock thickens, add wine, tomato paste. Allow the stew to cook on low for 20-30 minutes.
  8. Add potatoes and carrots and cook soup on low for 20-30 minutes with the lid on the stockpot.
  9. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  10. Continue to simmer as desired, if you want thinner stew, add more stock. If you like a thicker stew, remove the lid and allow the stew to simmer for 10-20 minutes until the stew reaches your desired thickness.

Some notes: I add wine and tomato paste because the acid in both helps break down the collagen in the meat, making it more tender, and giving the stew broth a more luscious mouthfeel. You can do without one or the other if you prefer.

I don’t like peas, so I omit them from my stew. If you like them, add 1/2-1 cup frozen peas about 10 minutes before serving. This keeps them from getting mushy or falling apart.

If you like more of a French-style beef stew, add 1/2-1 cup chopped mushrooms when you add the other veggies.

This recipe makes about 8-10 servings of stew. I like to serve the stew with crusty french bread, or sourdough toast, and of course SALAD. I like a peppery arugula (or rocket) salad with beets, goat cheese, and a simple vinaigrette. That combination really pairs well with the richness of the stew.

And of course, this stew freezes well and tastes better the next day.

Family Recipe: Potato Cheese Soup

When I was a kid there was a local restaurant called Piret’s. They served delicious, fresh French food that was unpretentious. One of my favorite dishes to order was their Potato Cheese Soup. They published a cookbook, which my mom bought, and while she cooked a lot of things from the cookbook, the one that was most often made was their Potato Cheese Soup. In fact, to this day when you place the book on the counter, it opens to that recipe.

Today I present my take on Potato Cheese Soup. It’s easy to make, it’s filling, and it tastes sooooo good. Like most soups, it’s better the next day. It freezes well.

You can make it vegetarian by using veggie broth/stock. I do not recommend making it with non-dairy cheese (sorry vegans). You can make it Gluten Free by using GF 1-for-1 flour.

Potato Cheese Soup

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 cups chicken broth or stock (I recommend using stock-homemade is best, but I’m being extra)
  • 2 large yellow or sweet onions, peeled and diced
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, divided in half
  • 1/4 cup white wine (dry- don’t use sweet or cooking wine)
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tablespoons AP flour
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 4 cups cheese (I like medium cheddar, but you could use colby, or a sharper cheddar)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large stockpot, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter and saute onions until clear and slightly browned.
  2. Add potatoes and cook for 5-10 minutes until potatoes are slightly translucent.
  3. Deglaze the pan with white wine, make sure to scrape off all the yummy brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add all of the chicken broth/stock and bay leaves. Cover pot and cook on low for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through.
  5. In a smaller pot, melt remaining 2 T. of butter. Sprinkle melted butter with AP flour and stir until a paste forms over a low heat. The paste should brown slightly- DON’T BURN IT!
  6. Pour milk into the flour/butter paste and whisk briskly. You do not want lumps. Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens. This may take a few minutes. As the mixture thickens and there are no lumps, add the cheese slowly, about 1/2 cup at a time, until it is incorporated/melted into the sauce. Once the sauce with complete, remove from heat.
  7. Add the cheese sauce to the soup mixture slowly, stirring constantly. Once it is fully mixed, remove the bay leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. This step is optional but recommended. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender (like this one) puree the soup. Put back on the heat, and allow to simmer without the lid for another 20-30 minutes. This will give the soup some time to thicken up.
  9. Serve Soup hot with crusty French bread. Resist the urge not to eat it all in one sitting.

Makes 6-8 Servings

Recipe: Hearty Veggie Soup

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This soup is vegan and high in protein!

I made this last month while it was cold and rainy. I keep forgetting to post this recipe. It’s so tasty. And easy. The leftovers (if there are any) freezes well.

 

It’s vegan and gluten-free as is, but you can make changes and use bone broth if you want, or even add meat of your choices I think kielbasa pieces would be really great in this soup!

I used Right Rice in this recipe in place of regular white rice. What I like about Right Rice is that it’s made from Lentil Flour, Chickpea Flour, and Rice Flour.  Those ingredients mean that this “rice” is high on protein! The “rice” thickens up the soup for sure.

 

AAVS2954.JPGI found Right Rice at Grocery Outlet, but you can also order it on Amazon.  You can substitute canned chopped tomatoes for fresh tomatoes- Use what you have on hand.

Hearty Veggie Soup

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup bell pepper, diced (I used green)
  • 2 T. cooking oil (your choice)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green or yellow zucchini (whatever is in season or you have on hand)
  • 2 quarts veggie stock
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (you can also use a large can of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 14oz.-ish can of tomato sauce
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 2 cups Right Rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 T. Penzeys Forward Spice Blend
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large, heavy-bottom stockpot, heat oil.
  2. Saute carrots, celery, bell pepper, and onions until onions are soft and clear, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and spices. Cook on low for 20-30 minutes, or until right rice is done and soup has thickened up.
  5. Soup can simmer on low as long as you like. I let it simmer on low for about 45 minutes.
  6. Serve with bread and butter and salad.

IMG_9957.JPGForward Seasoning blend contains extra bold black pepper, onion, paprika, garlic, turmeric, spice extractives (including oleoresin of celery, rosemary, black pepper, thyme, basil and paprika).

Keeping Sickness at Bay & $5 off Mucinex Coupon!

I haven’t been posting a lot of coupons lately. Either they are low value, or they aren’t for products that I think y’all would like. But, check out what popped up in my inbox this morning: Mucinex $5 OFF Coupon here.

A lot of people are battling the winter ickiness, and that includes mucus (eww). When you join Mucus Fighters Plus, Mucinex® will email you an exclusive $5 coupon and other special offers, plus tips for putting mucus in its place.

Here are a few tips to keep sickness at bay:

  1. Wash your paws! Seriously. Soap, warm water, 30 seconds of vigorous rubbing, rinse, dry. Sing Happy Birthday or count to time yourself.
  2. Throw away your used paper towels, used tissues, and put dirty dishes that have come into contact with your mouth into the sink. Don’t leave your germs around to share. In this case, sharing isn’t caring.
  3. If someone in your home is sick, wipe down surfaces they touch one a day (or more frequently). We use Clorox wipes. you can also use Lysol Spray.
  4. Change out your toothbrush! Bacteria can live on your toothbrush. Change it out once you are feeling better.
  5. If you don’t feel well, it’s ok to take it easy. Skip non-essential obligations. Your friends and family will thank you for not spreading illness.
  6. To piggyback on #5- REST. It helps you get well faster. Sleep. Take a shower. Read a book. Have a low key movie night with the kids and serve a dinner of snacks on a blanket in the living room.

Talkback: What are your tips to recovering from the winter sickies?

Veggie Soup Recipe- 2/4/2020 is National Soup Day!

cooking--3.jpgI received an email from Olive Garden this morning telling me tomorrow is National Soup Day. WOOO! In the mood for their Zuppa Toscana? Here is my copycat recipe.

I had planned to make veggie soup this week, it’s a perfect way to use up all the bits and bobs of veggies you have hanging around your kitchen.

Here is my No Fail, Easy Peasy Vegetable Soup Recipe. It’s Vegan and Vegetarian as is.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts Veggie Stock
  • 2 c. onions, diced
  • 1 c. celery, chopped
  • 1 c. carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 Bell peppers, chopped (your choice of color)
  • 2 T. grapeseed oil or your favorite cooking oil
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 large can (approx. 28 ounce) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2T. Mural of Flavor
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 1-2 yellow crookneck squash or zucchini with skin on, cut into bite-size pieces

 

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, saute onion, carrots, bell peppers, and celery until veggies are soft and onions are clear (about 20 minutes).
  2. Add garlic, cook 5-10 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add Veggie Stock, Tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, herbs, and simmer on medium/low for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Add squash/zucchini and continue to simmer for 10-20 minutes.
  5. Serve with bread (I like Beer Bread). Top with Nutritional Yeast or cheese of your choice.

Feel free to substitute in veggies in the amounts that you have. This recipe is just a guide! Other veggies that go great in soup: potatoes, cabbage, green beans, turnips (cook just like potatoes), kale, and spinach.

Leafy greens are added to the soup about 10-15 minutes before serving. Potatoes and turnips should be peeled, chopped and added during step 3.

Harvest Veggie Ravioli Soup

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All Great Soups start with simple flavors!

Last month I posted a Ravioli soup recipe, but this one is a lot different, as it is mostly a veggie soup, and the cheese ravioli was added as an after thought.

This soup is easy to make, tasty, and you can add in whatever kind of pasta you like: filled pasta like ravioli, or simple pasta. This is a perfect dish for potlucks, and you can use vegan ravioli or gluten free pasta, depending on the dietary concerns of family or guests.

Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts Veggie Stock
  • 2 c. onions, diced
  • 1 c. celery, chopped
  • 1 c. carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 T. Butter (or grapeseed oil if vegan)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2T. Mural of Flavor
  • 1 yellow crookneck squash or zucchini with skin on, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 package filled pasta, or 2 cups pasta (uncooked)

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, saute onion, carrots, and celery until veggies are soft and onions are clear (about 20 minutes).
  2. Add garlic, cook 5-10 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add Veggie Stock, Tomato paste, herbs, and simmer on medium/low for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Add squash/zucchini and continue to simmer for 10-20 minutes. Add pasta and cook for the amount of time indicated on the package (usually 6-10 minutes).
  5. Serve topped with parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (if vegan).

 

If you wanted to add extra veggies, here are a few that are tasty in a soup that should be added at the same time as the squash/zucchini:

  • Fresh Green Beans, ends removed, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Canned chopped salt-free tomatoes, drained
  • Bell peppers, de-seeded, chopped
  • Cabbage, roughly chopped
  • small potatoes, peeled, cut into bite-size pieces

 

Quick & Easy Meal: Ravioli Soup

cooking-1.jpgThis recipe is super easy, you can add meat (like in the picture) if you like, or keep it meat-free and add some extra vegetables.

I try to have the ingredients for this soup on-hand. It’s quick and perfect for when you want a hearty bowl of soup in a hurry.

Ravioli Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 c. each: chopped carrots, celery
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 14.5 ounces (or so) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1-quart vegetable stock
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 T. Mural of Flavor
  • 1 9oz. package of Ravioli (I Like 4 cheese)
  • 1/2 c. good quality parmesan cheese, divided

Directions:

  1. In a stockpot, heat olive oil and saute all of the veggies for about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Lower the heat to medium/low, add tomatoes, tomato paste, and veggie stock.
  3. Simmer on medium/low for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Add ravioli and cook 8-10 minutes, until ravioli are cooked.
  5. Ladle into 4 bowls, top with cheese and serve with a green salad.

It’s that easy!

Substitutions-

  • Add 1/2 lb. of protein- your choice. I like cooked, crumbled Italian sausage. Meatballs or  Italian sausage sliced into rounds work great too. Add into the soup after step 2.
  • Use ravioli with meat if you prefer.
  • Use Gluten-free ravioli if you need to.
  • If you want more veggies in your soup, add 3-4 cups of fresh spinach when you add in the ravioli.