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!

Dream Dinners: Coupon Code $99 off Your First Order!

Dream Dinners is hooking new clients up with an incredible offer! If you’ve never heard of Dream Dinners, check out my post here.

Right now, you can save $99 off your first month’s order when you use coupon Code “REFER99“.  When you check out, use Coupon Refer99 at check out and enter my name  (Abby Hewes) and email (akeen02037@gmail.com) in the how did you hear about us when creating your new profile.

This offer is only valid for new guests. This offer is good for a Standard order and can only be used one time per customer, per household.

A standard order is at least 12 small meals (feeds 2-3 people) or 6 large meals (feeds 4-6 people).

I love Dream Dinners because it’s a great way to save time and still serve the fam a tasty healthy meal. We order 12 small meals each month and serve 2-3 a week. Between Dream Dinners, and our CSA box, our grocery budget is under control, and we aren’t eating out multiple times per week. Because we’ve been home 24/7 for the past year, our grocery budget has gone up, but we are not eating out often. Whenever we get the urge to eat out, I grab a Dream Dinner meal from the freezer, and in less than an hour, we are eating gooood.

There are Dream Dinners locations in 22 states, find your closest location here.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Bisque (GF, Vegan)

This recipe is super simple, and I’ve included some steps to shave off more time to get the soup in your belly faster!

Butternut Squash Bisque

Ingredients

  • 1 T. Avocado Oil
  • 1/2 Large onion, diced
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed (You can save time by buying it in the frozen foods section)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Quart Vegetable Stock
  • 2 cups Hazelnut Milk
  • 1t. Rubbed Sage
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, heat oil. Add onions, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until clear and fragrant.
  2. Add squash and carrot. Cook approx 10 minutes until softened.
  3. Add vegetable stock, and simmer until veggies are tender/soft.
  4. Remove from heat, add hazelnut milk.
  5. Blend soup with a stick blender until smooth.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve this luscious, velvety soup with hot, crusty bread and a crisp green salad.  It freezes well, in case of leftovers.

Meal Prep and Menu Planning Made Easy With Dream Dinners!

My girl Brooke hooked me with Dream Dinners recently. Most of you know that I am a huge proponent of meal prep and menu planning. I also recognize that not everyone has the time to spare a few hours each week prepping veggies, marinating meats, preparing sauces and bagging it all up to cook later.

And when you don’t have time to shop or do prep work, you lean on fast food or take out. Once in a while, it’s ok, but any more than that and it’s not healthy or good for your pocketbook.

Enter Dream Dinners! For less than the price of take out or a drive-through visit for the fam, and in 30 minutes or less, you will have a tasty, hot, fresh homecooked meal! I’ve reviewed Meal Kits in the past, and there are a lot of inherent problems with fresh and frozen food being mailed to you. Frozen cucumbers, smashed produce… You don’t have these issues with Dream Dinners. This is one of the reasons that Dream Dinners is better.

A few other reasons Dream Dinners is superior:

Dream Dinners is less expensive than other Meal Kit Programs.  That’s a plus in my book!

With locations all over San Diego County (and nationwide), you order online and pick it up at your local Dream Dinner Location. Pop your trunk, and the lovely Dream Dinners employee will place your food in the trunk. You are all set to go!

Chicago style chicken with roasted red potatoes

Your meals are prepped locally in store just for you! No squished produce, accidentally frozen ingredients, or worse (and this was a big fear for me) having to rearrange your entire day so you are home when the Fed-ex guy delivers your meal kit box so the food doesn’t sit on your patio. Here in San Diego, it’s hot and sunny frequently, and that means food sitting out (even in a sealed box with dry ice) might go bad or be unsafe to eat.

Lasagna Soup & Garlic Bread

I’m hosting a Facebook Party to share my love of Dream Dinners. If you are interested in joining and taking advantage of some great deals, Message me on Facebook and I’ll add you.

If you don’t have Facebook, you can visit the Dream Dinners Website and you can take advantage of the great deal going on!

Right now when you use the coupon code 15OFF, you save $15 on the $99 Starter kit- It’s a great deal.

To take advantage of this deal, make sure to use the drop-down box and type in my email: akeen02037@gmail.com to take advantage of this sweet Deal!

And with locations all over San Diego and the US, you can order meals, pick them up and have one less thing to worry about! I plan on buying meals each month, so we are eating well on those nights when I would rather play legos or Playmobils with the kids, or go for a walk to the park.

Talk Back: Which Dream Dinners Entree has you interested? Menu for February is here

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.

Recipe: Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may remember that I posted pics of my soup extravaganza on Saturday.
I made two batches of soup: one of potato cheese soup (recipe here), and today’s recipe: broccoli cheese soup!

I’ve been told it tastes like Panera’s, but I’ve never had their broccoli cheese soup. I’ll take it as a compliment.

I added a little cooked, puréed cauliflower to the white sauce to give it a little more body. Also, it’s great for adding a little extra veggies to the soup!

Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup

Ingredients

  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup celery
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 2 cups onions
  • 1 T. Garlic, minced
  • 4 T. Butter, divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 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 cups cauliflower, steamed and pureed (I used my immersion blender)
  • 2t. dry mustard
  • Dash Cayenne pepper
  • 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 carrots and celery, cook for another 5-10 minutes, until veggies are soft.
  3. Add all of the chicken broth/stock, broccoli, and bay leaves. Cover pot and cook on low for 10-20 minutes.
  4. In a smaller pot, melt the remaining 2 T. of butter. Sprinkle melted butter with AP flour and stir until paste forms over low heat. The paste should brown slightly- DON’T BURN IT!
  5. 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.
  6. Mix in cooked/pureed cauliflower to the cheese sauce.
  7. Add the cheese sauce to the soup mixture slowly, stirring constantly. Once it is fully mixed, remove the bay leaves, season dry mustard, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
  8. Simmer soup for another 5-10 minutes, allowing spices and flavors to meld.
  9. Serve Soup hot with crusty French bread. Resist the urge not to eat it all in one sitting.

This recipe makes about 10-12 servings of soup. It can be frozen. And it makes a great gift!

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

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