Sunday, November 20, 2011

The New Recipes We've Tried Recently

I haven't been very adventurous in the kitchen lately. In an effort to save money for our trip to Disneyland we ate a lot of cereal for dinner and things like grilled cheese, quesadillas etc. It worked. We saved a lot of money eating that way, but the family (well Paul) was beginning to revolt.

Would you think less of me if I told you that I really enjoyed my break from cooking? I freely admit that I get tired of putting a lot of money and effort forth when undoubtedly 50% of the family turn their nose up at what I have prepared! Oh well. The glory days have ended.

Even though I took "time off" I managed to try a few new things.

Baked Potato Soup Recipe

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Yield: six 8-oz portions

4 large Russet Potatoes (peeled and small diced)
4 medium Red Potatoes (small diced)
6 oz (2 large stalks) Celery (small diced)
6 oz (1 large or 2 small) Carrots (peeled and small diced)
I medium yellow Onion (small diced)
2 oz unsalted Butter
1 lb. bacon (rough chopped) (*tip: place slices of bacon in the freezer to make it easier to cut. Will slip less)
16 oz Chicken stock or vegetable stock
32 oz Heavy Whipping Cream
2 oz Flour
1 oz vegetable oil
Salt/pepper to taste
*Small dice is ¼ In. x ¼ In.

Garnish with these items If desired:
Chives (chopped)
Bacon Bits
Sour Cream
Cheddar and Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)

1.Place stock pot, (6-8 quart pot) over medium heat. Add the vegetable oil, butter and bacon. Start rendering the bacon (process of releasing the fat through cooking). The bacon will start to release its fat. Do not allow it to burn.
2.Cook bacon until crispy, remove and set aside on a paper towel; leaving the fat from the bacon in the pan. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Traditionally these 3 items are called the MIREPOIX. Sweat the mirepoix until the onions turn translucent. Add potatoes and cook for 4 minutes. Add the flour to make roux. Cook roux until blond in color, (about 5 to 7 minutes), while stirring constantly. Add chicken stock and half of the bacon back into the pan. (Reserve the rest of the bacon for garnish.) Season with salt and pepper.
3.Turn the heat to medium high, bring the soup up to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and tender. Mash some of the potatoes for thicker, creamier texture. Add whipping cream and simmer for 5 minutes.
4.You can adjust the thickness by adding water or stock for a thinner soup. It should have a creamy consistency. Adjust your seasonings.
5.Garnish with your desired toppings.

This recipe is disgusting in it's fat content but really really good in flavor. It is suppose to be a copy of the loaded baked potato soup that we got at the Carnation cafe in Disneyland. I needed to let the soup cook longer than the instructions said. Since I followed the directions it wasn't as creamy and mooshy but the flavor was still really good. I don't know if I will ever make this again since my dad was just diagnosed with type two diabetes and high cholesterol (yes that means I'm at risk) but it was fun to try once. There is something about cooking bacon in butter and oil, then using those dripping IN the soup that just doesn't sit well with me LOL!

I recently made my regular potato soup recipe (which isn't exactly healthy) and added the sour cream and topped it with bacon. It was close enough that I don't imagine I will ever need to saute'  veggies in bacon fat again. 

Did you know that we like to fly Delta just because they give you Biscoff cookies? Okay so that isn't entirely true but it certainly is a lovely perk. We really enjoy those crisp, cinnamony, delectable little cookies.

When I saw this recipe on Picky Palate I knew I HAD to try it. One problem. Where can I get the cookies? I know you can order them from Amazon but that seemed silly. I put the recipe on the back burner for a while.

One day Paul and I were at IKEA and I was starving so I picked up a small box of cookies. (I wish I had a picture of them.) Anyway I started eating them in the car and realized they tasted just like Biscoff cookies! They were thin, almost like a wafer but other than that they were really close. I saved most of the box and tried this recipe shortly after. It was so good. Paul didn't love the white chocolate but I certainly did. Yum!

Biscoff Crunch White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Biscoff Crunch White Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
20 finely ground Biscoff Cookies (I just eyeballed the cookies since mine were different)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
20 crushed Biscoff Cookies (coarsely chopped for an added crunch)
2 cups white chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper.
2. In a stand or electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and creamy. Add eggs then vanilla until well combined.
3. In a large bowl add the flour, ground Biscoff Cookies, baking soda and salt. Mix to combine then slowly add to wet ingredients until just combined. Add coarsely chopped Biscoff cookies and white chips until just combined.
4. With a medium cookies scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes until edges start to turn golden brown. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Serve with a tall glass of milk. Makes 3 dozen cookies

Isn't the paper plate classy? 

Before Disneyland I was sick. Soup sounded so good to me. Really, really good. I had everything for this recipe that also popped up on Picky Palate except the mustard. (Yes I am obsessed with Picky Palate. Almost everything she posts looks really good to me. She could probably classify me as one her top blog stalkers!) We all know mustard is cheap so this was the perfect soup to try. 

I think I loved it but then again I was really congested so I didn't have all my taste buds working the way they should have been. (The reason I am second guessing myself is my friend tried it and she said her family thought it was okay. Hmmm.) Everyone in my family ate it but I was the one that enjoyed it the most. Watch out family. If I cook something, anything, and we have leftover rice I will probably make this. It's not a fancy meal but it's really fast and it's great, total feel good, comfort food. 

Classic Chicken and Rice Soup
Classic Chicken and Rice Soup

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
7 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked white rice
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1. Heat oil in large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add onions, and cook stirring until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add celery and carrots, cooking and stirring until tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken, chicken broth, rice, Dijon, salt, pepper and parsley. Stir and reduce heat to low. Let simmer until ready to serve.
Makes 8 servings

This last recipe saw a picture of it on Pinterest. I LOVE a good hearty classic beef stew. The picture on this one was gorgeous. I practically started salivating at first glance.

Classic Beef Stew



  1. Coat the beef in the flour. Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meat, a few pieces at a time, adding more oil as necessary. Transfer to a heavy casserole or a heavy, covered saucepan or Dutch oven. 
  2. Add the onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and coat the onions; transfer to the casserole. Pour the wine into the skillet and scrape up any browned bits; add to the casserole. Stir in the broth, salt, thyme, and bay leaf.
  3. Cook the casserole in a 325° F oven for 4 hours, or in the saucepan or Dutch oven on the stovetop over low heat for about 2 1/2 hours. In either case, stir occasionally and add up to 1 cup of additional beef broth if necessary. Add the potatoes and carrots during the last hour of cooking, and the peas just before serving.                               

My stew doesn't look anything like their stew. I liked it more than anyone else in the family but it was waaaay to thyme'y for my taste. If I do make it again I will not use as much thyme. I may not even use thyme. I don't have anything against thyme, but I didn't care for it in this recipe.

There you go. All the new recipes for the last couple of months. I need to find something to try for November soon. Very soon. 

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