Potato Soup with Bacon

Potato Soup with Bacon

Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

5-6 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
5 slices bacon
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 (14 oz) can chicken stock
1/4 – 1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Sharp cheddar for topping, shredded

Preparation:

1. Place chopped potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water, salt and boil until potatoes break apart easily when stuck with a fork. Drain and set aside.

2. In the same pan, cook bacon until crisp. Place cooked bacon on a paper towel to drain.

3. Drain bacon fat, leaving about 3 tbs of fat in the pot. Cook onions and garlic in pot until translucent. Add wine, making sure to stir to get the bits off the bottom of the pot. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates.

4. Remove pot from heat. Add potatoes and mash. Add stock and cream and stir. If it’s not soupy enough, add more cream or water. Season with pepper and red pepper flakes (if desired). Return to heat until heated through. Chop/crumble bacon. Serve soup in bowls with cheese and bacon on top.

Recipe is an original.

I ended up with a very large bag of potatoes in my kitchen and my first thought was to make soup! Potato soup was always one of my favorite things my mom would make growing up and I wanted to try to make my own. This was an experiment that turned out well. I just added stuff as I went along and it worked! The soup was nice and rich and still tasted like potatoes. This would also be good with sour cream, scallions and all kinds of things as a topping. My mom also told me her technique for making this, which I will try next time. She boils the onions with the potatoes and makes sure the potatoes are barely covered with water. Then she uses the water instead of stock and doesn’t have to drain the potatoes. She said to keep checking on the water level to make sure the potatoes don’t burn. I will definitely try this the next time I make soup, which may be soon since I have so many potatoes! I am very proud of this recipe and I definitely recommend giving it a try!

Taco!

Curry Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

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Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

3-4 lbs butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 cups chicken stock
2 Macintosh apples
1 yellow onion
3/4 tsp curry powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

For Topping:

Scallions, white and green parts chopped
Cashews, chopped
Toasted sweetened coconut
Bananas, diced

Preparation:

1. Coat inside of squash, apples and onions in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. On a cookie sheet lined with foil, place squash inside facing down and scatter apples and onions around. Roast for 40 minutes at 425 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Scoop out insides of squash.

2. Heat chicken stock in a pot. Add vegetables to stock. Use immersion blender until smooth.

3. Add curry, salt, pepper and cinnamon and stir. Heat through. Serve hot with toppings.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten at FoodNetwork.com

I decided to buy a butternut squash a few days ago and see what I could do with it. Adam’s mom told me about roasting them and using them in soup so I did some research and found Ina Garten’s recipe online. It. Is. Amazing. The soup was the perfect consistency and so easy to do with the immersion blender. The flavors were excellent. The onion and curry gave a nice spice while the apples and squash and cinnamon gave it a good sweet flavors. The toppings were an excellent idea. I was thinking of ignoring them but when I read the reviews of the recipe I knew I needed to try them. The reviewers were right. The onions give flavor and crunch, along with the cashews. The coconut adds a little more sweet and the banana gives a smooth texture and a taste that goes well with curry. Overall this was an excellent dish that I will certainly be making again. Especially because it gives a good serving of vegetables in a tasty way! Keep in mind that butternut squash are ridiculously difficult to cut. But it’s worth it. You can also peel and slice the squash and roast them along with the apples and onions. I found just slicing them in half and scooping out the insides to be pretty easy. Definitely give this one a try!

Taco!

PS: I’m now using Instagram and tend to post pictures of my food in process. Feel free to follow me at srice22.

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Pat’s King of Steaks: A Review

Pat's Philly Cheesesteak

Where: Pat’s King of Steaks (1237 Passyunk Ave, Philly)
What: Cheesesteaks
Cost: $10 per person
Number of People: 5
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Adam and I are in Philadelphia for Passover and its tradition to go to Pat’s for Passover. As long as you’re not eating Kosher, of course. I was leery about cheesesteaks because traditionally they’re made with Cheese Wiz and my experience with Cheese Wiz has never been good. But I was definitely moved to team Cheese Wiz. We walked up and the line was ridiculous but it only took about 15 minutes. We realized why when we got there and they were practically throwing cheesesteaks at us. We ordered and two seconds later we had a cheesesteak. It was stressful but we soon didn’t care because we were chowing down on amazing cheesesteaks. Cheap bread, cheap meat, cheap cheese with some onions and mushrooms turned out to be a delicious meal. Fast food at its best!

A few things you need to know. They only take cash and you definitely want to have your money ready. There are specific ways to order. To get a mushroom cheesesteak with wiz and onions you would say mushroom cheese wiz wit. Wit-out for no onions, mushroom pepper cheese to add sweet peppers and of course you can add different kinds of cheese but that’s sacrilegious.

If you’re in Philly you should definitely head to Pat’s.

Quinoa Mac and Cheese with Chicken

Quinoa Mac and Cheese with Chicken

Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups uncooked quinoa
1 chicken breast
garlic powder
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
2 tbs flour
1 1/2 cups milk, divided
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mild cheese such as chevre (goat cheese) or Queso Fresco

Preparation:

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and season with garlic powder, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook in oil until cooked through.

2. Heat 1/2 cup milk and flour, whisking until combined. Add the rest of the milk and a dash of red pepper and stir with spatula. Bring to a boil and stir for an additional minute.

3. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Add quinoa and chicken and stir.

4. Put in casserole dish and place under broiler for about 2-3 minutes. Allow to set for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.

More quinoa! It was a quinoa kind of day. This was delicious! Definitely make sure you have enough cheese and keep stirring the milk mixture so it doesn’t curdle. I used what I had so I used Queso Fresco left over from Carnitas Night. Seasoning the chicken was also great because it gave it a great flavor. I’m also a lazy bum and I don’t like waiting for chicken to cook so I cut it up and then cook. It was delicious and easy. And apparently relatively good for me. Yay!

Taco!

Beef Carnitas Tacos

Beef Carnitas Taco

Serves: 8
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6-8 hours

Ingredients:

2-3 lbs beef (Boston butt/shoulder)
1 yellow onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tbs cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs agave (or honey)
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbs orange juice
1/2 cup BBQ sauce

Preparation:

1. Combine all ingredients except meat in a crock pot and stir. Add meat and cook for 6-8 hours. Turn meat half way through cooking.

2. Take meat out of crock pot and shred. Return to juices and let soak before serving.

3. Serve hot with tortillas, sour cream, Steph’s Guacamole, cheese and everything else!

Recipe adapted from Life as a Plate.

Another “because I have stuff for it” meal. Boston butts are not usually in my grocery store and not only did they have it this week but it was also on sale! I’ve already made BBQ and wanted to try something different and I also had avocados so ta da, Carnitas! I found this recipe online and it’s very good. It’s not too spicy, which is good for me but you could certainly add more chili powder or even some peppers for some more heat. I served it with store-bought tortillas, cilantro-lime rice (I added cilantro and lime juice to rice when it was almost done cooking), homemade guacamole and sour cream. I also found Queso Fresco and it was a great addition. I do love Carnitas and this fed my craving while using what I had in the house and feeding me for at least a week!

Taco!

Fresh Vegetable Marinara

Fresh Vegetable Marinara

Serves: A lot
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 yellow squash, diced
1 green squash, diced
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 yellow onions, chopped
5 small cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, sliced or diced
1/4 cup basil, chopped
Salt

Preparation:

1. Heat onions and garlic until softened, not browned. Add other vegetables, basil and salt and cook until softened.

2. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about one hour, stirring occasionally. Add to pasta, chicken, whatever you want!

Recipe is an original.

So I had a ton of vegetables in the refrigerator and am trying to heat more of them. I also wanted to make my own marinara. And so we have vegetable marinara. I couldn’t find a straight recipe online for this so hopefully it’s helpful. It’s a great way to get fresh veggies in a tasty form. I used my cast iron dutch oven for this. You definitely want something that is very deep. It makes A LOT of sauce.

Taco!

Mommy’s Meatloaf

Mommy's Meatloaf

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef (or half beef, half pork)
1/2 onion
1 egg
1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained with the juice reserved
1/2 – 1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 block cheddar cheese, cubed
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs catsup
1 tsp ground mustard
Water
Salt and Pepper

Preparation:

1. Beat egg and add drained tomatoes. Add bread crumbs, salt and pepper,  and cheese and mix. Add meat and mix with your hands. Don’t mix the meat too much. Form into a loaf shape in a glass pan.

2. To make sauce: Combine juice from tomatoes, brown sugar, catsup, water if needed, and ground mustard. Heat in a sauce pan until thickened. Taste and season as necessary.

3. Bake meatloaf on 350 degrees for one hour.

Recipe from my mother!

I was always puzzled by people who talked down to meatloaf. The meatloaf I always ate growing up was delicious and something to look forward to. This probably has a lot to do with the chunks of cheese and wonderful consistency of Mommy’s meatloaf, but I have to say my favorite part has always been the sauce. A sweet, tangy tomato sauce that goes perfectly on meatloaf. I sigh thinking about its awesomeness. This was definitely one of my favorites growing up and I’m excited to be able to make it myself now and share it with you!

Taco!

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Cook If I Want To

That’s right. It’s my birthday and so I have to cook up a storm and have people over. Then, of course, go to the midnight showing of The Hunger Games. I decided to make an appetizer spread and have my guests bring the drinks. Here’s the menu:

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip
Meatballs with BBQ Sauce and Garlic Basil Aioli
Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Herbs and Goat Cheese
Homemade Pico de Gallo with chips

There are several recipes involved here so I’ll give them to you individually as well as let you know what I did in advance, etc. Here we go. It’s party time!

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip with Garlic Butter Crostini

Hot Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Serves: 10-12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 (10 0z) package frozen spinach (make sure it’s not in sauce), thawed
2 (14 oz) cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped in food processor
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup parmesan, grated

Preparation:

1. Grease a casserole dish (recommend a 2 oz dish). Combine ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Pour ingredients in casserole dish and top with extra cheese.

2. Bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

3. Serve with crostinis. To make crostinis, combine 1 stick butter and 4 garlic cloves in a food processor. Cut a french loaf into slices on an angle. Spread garlic butter on crostinis and bake at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes. Allow to cool. Crostini’s can be made in advance.

Recipe from Paula Deen at FoodNetwork.com.

Meatballs with BBQ Sauce and Garlic Basil Aioli

Meatballs with BBQ Sauce and Garlic Basil Aioli

Serves: Makes 40 meatballs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: About 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Meatballs

1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb ground beef
1 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
3 eggs
2 cups chicken stock
2 onions
3 cloves garlic
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil

BBQ Sauce

1 cup catsup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 tbs light brown sugar
2 1/2 tbs sugar
1/4 tbs pepper
1/4 tbs garlic powder
1/4 tbs ground mustard
1/2 tbs Worcestershire sauce

Basil Garlic Aioli

2/3 cup mayonaise
4 garlic cloves, chopped
5-6 basil leaves, chopped
3 tbs olive oil
Salt

Preparation:

1. Make BBQ Sauce and aioli in advance. To make BBQ Sauce, combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour or until thickened. To make aioli, combine ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and pulse. While machine is running, slowly add olive oil.

2. To make meatballs, brown onions and add garlic. Remove from heat once browned and allow to cool.

3. Combine ingredient except chicken stock in a bowl. Mix together with your hands. Heat olive oil and make a tester patty. When tester patty is tasty, make balls (or patties) and cook in batches.

3. Brown meatballs on all sides. Then add a splash (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup) chicken stock and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

4. Drain on paper towels and serve.

Meatball recipe adapted from Anne Burrell’s Cook Like a Rock Star, BBQ Sauce from the Neely’s at FoodNetwork.com and Garlic Basil Aioli from Bobby Flay at FoodNetwork.com.

Homemade Pico de Gallo

Homemade Pico de Gallo

Serves: 10-12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0!

Ingredients:

3 large beefsteak tomatoes, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 cups cilantro, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
Salt to taste

Preparation:

1. Combine all ingredients and mix. Refrigerate for about an hour or more before serving. Serve chilled with tortilla chips.

Recipe is an original.

The important part of this recipe is to remember to make the salsa and onion in big chunks. At least, that’s the way I like it. Nothing beats fresh pico de gallo.

Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Herbs

See my previous post for the recipe on these. They are divine!

It was a fantastic party and the food turned out well. It was definitely a lot to make and it took all day but it was worth it. The Bacon Wrapped Dates get better every time I make them and I find they do not take long at all and they need a good stuffing of goat cheese to make sure it all doesn’t melt out. The Spinach Artichoke Dip is a dish I’ve been making for years and it is always a crowd pleaser, plus it is so incredibly easy. The meatballs turned out pretty well. I found it was much easier to cook them as patties and I ended up doing that because I was running out of time. They were very moist and it seems essential to use fresh rosemary. That made all the difference. And of course there’s the Pico de Gallo. That’s another dish I’ve been making forever and it is always delicious and simple. It was a great party and a great birthday!

Vegetable Stir Fry with Noodles

Vegetable Stir Fry with Noodles

Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, diced
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 packages instant ramen noodles
1 tbs Chinese Five Spice
Pinch red pepper flakes
Peanut oil
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine
Honey, to taste

Preparation:

1.  Heat peanut oil in a large skillet. When oil is hot, add onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and season with Chinese Five Spice and red pepper flakes. Saute until desired texture.

2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Disgard spice packet. Drain noodles if necessary.

3. To make sauce, whisk soy sauce, rice wine and honey. When vegetables are close to being done, add noodles and sauce and toss to coat. Cook for about 2 minutes more. Serve hot!

Recipe is an original.

So I needed to make something for dinner because my pasta leftover from the other night were only going to go so far and I needed something different. I had veggies and actually intended on adding chicken to this but forgot to take it out of the freezer to thaw so I went vegetarian tonight!  I also didn’t want to have to wait for rice to cook nor deal with the mess that comes with cooking rice so I decided on some noodles. I had made a sauce recipe before that was basically soy sauce and honey so I made a rendition of that and just added ingredients until it tasted right. And then we have what you see here!  It was incredibly easy and tasty. You can use whatever veggies you like. I definitely recommend adding the red pepper flakes to combat all the salty and sweet from the sauce. And Chinese Five Spice is just awesome.

Taco!

 

Spaghetti with Corn, Popped Tomatoes, Bacon and Arugula

Spaghetti with Corn, Popped Tomatoes, Bacon and Arugula

Serves 4 to 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 mnutes

Ingredients:

1 box long pasta (I used thick spaghetti)
1/4 lb bacon, cut into 1/4 in strips
Olive oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
3 ears of corn (or 1/2 bag frozen)
1 1/2 cups baby arugula
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup parmesan

Preparation:

1. Boil water for pasta. Salt generously. Heat olive oil in a pan and add bacon, garlic and red pepper when oil is hot.

2. After garlic browns (2-3 minutes) remove from pot and disgard. Add tomatoes and toss to coat. Add salt and chicken stock and place on medium heat. Cook tomatoes until they pop (8-10 minutes). Add corn.

3. Add pasta to boiling water and cook as directed, subtracting one minute from cooking time. Drain pasta. Add to veggies and toss.

4. Remove pan from heat and add arugula and drizzle with olive oil. Top with parmesan. Serve hot!

Recipe adapted from Anne Burell’s Cook Like a Rock Star.

This was a great recipe that was very easy and tasty. I had always been under the impression that pasta had to have some kind of sauce on it and I love that the sauce on this recipe is bacon fat, olive oil and cooking juices. It was very clean and fresh with a nice bite. Plus it looked pretty. I will definitely keep this on hand for when I need a tasty, easy meal. Also, sorry about the long absence. It was Spring Break last week and I did nothing but sleep and watch Food Network. Woohoo!

Taco!