Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Turkey Wild Rice Soup



This is one of the most beloved soups in this frigid region I live in. With good reason, it's so good.

Minnesota might be known as the state of 10,000 lakes but it is also a large producer of Wild Rice. 

Wild Rice, Minnesota's State Grain, is almost as old as history itself. This highly nutritious grain is not actually rice, but an annual water-grass seed, "zizania aquatica". Naturally abundant in the cold rivers and lakes of Minnesota and Canada, wild rice was the staple in the diet of the Chippewa and Sioux Indians, native to this region.

And, that folks has given us the beautiful recipe shown here. Wild rice is nutty and slightly chewy combined in this super creamy, flavorful soup that is chock full of carrots, celery and turkey (or traditionally chicken) meat. 

This version is super easy because it's mainly made in the slow cooker. You come home to this soup and you know you're going to have an awesome, comforting meal. 

This soup freezes and reheats beautifully, so be sure to portion and freeze some for a really quick meal another day.



Come on...you know you want to make this....


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Country Fried Chicken


I love a really good, crispy piece of fried chicken. 

That crunch, and then the juicy, plump, seasoned meat. Being able to pick it up and eat it with your fingers, it's food manna.

I have a confession though...

I hate, absolutely hate to make fried chicken. 

Yep-I said it and it's out there now. Mainly because I despise making a mess of my stove and the surrounding counters and floor. That's why in the past my poor family only got this dish homemade about 1-2 times a year. Seriously. Oh and of course there's the "fry" factor also, I just don't fry anything hardly anymore.

But, this time I think I did it right, because there really was minimal mess! 

And the chicken had a beautiful color and crunch and really was probably the best fried chicken I've ever made. 


Fried chicken evokes many emotions and memories for me. My paternal grandmother was from the South and she made awesome fried chicken, but as a child what I loved even more was the leftover gravy she served me the next morning over toast. It's one of my first really good food memories. 

So in my mind, I have always had a pretty high standard set when it came to fried chicken and the resulting gravy. And...I think I may have finally met it!

This chicken is soaked in a spicy buttermilk, shaken in a paper bag with a flour/cornstarch mixture and then fried in shortening before baking in a low oven. Awesome, really awesome.

Use a whole cut up chicken, or like me, a package of chicken thighs. (It's what I had-and they were the best!) I fried them in a heavy cast iron pan, it was perfect, and only used about 1/4" depth of hot shortening, so these weren't deep fried, but they were crispy and crunchy none the less.


Give this one a try, I think you'll make it 4-6 times a year, or more!


Oh, and be sure and make the gravy to serve over those buttery mashed potatoes!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

TBT-Salisbury Steak


It's a TBT, otherwise known as Throwback Thursday! 

I don't know about you, but I remember the iconic TV dinners, and this is a classic one. 

Updated, it's leaner, more flavorful, and it really is a quick weeknight meal. 

But, hey! I wouldn't mind having this meal with company either, it's that good'


My family loves this meal...

Who wouldn't love a delicious seasoned patty, covered in a luscious onion gravy WITH mashed potatoes of course?!

And no, there isn't a can of soup used here folks.



Okay, let's do this!

Friday, November 14, 2014

One Pot Wonder with Kale Pesto


These recipes flooded Pinterest this summer and I was so intrigued, I just had to try it!

To be honest...

I was blown a w a y!

Seriously.

Not only did this totally "work", it was delicious, hearty and the most awesome....

Really fast!

Also, think leftovers, like Thanksgiving! this would be a perfect way to use that leftover turkey!


I even used a whole grain pasta, and it was PERFECTLY cooked. The veggies were crisp tender and it just made a stellar bowl of pasta.

On this, my first attempt, I did brown and crumble two Italian sausages in the pot first, but this would have been delicious without it as well.

The broth leached the starches out of the pasta and made a silky sauce that coated everything nicely. The nice thing about all of the one pot dishes out there, yes-they're made in one pot, you can literally clean out your frig and pantry. 

Use a lonely pepper, carrots, celery, a leftover half onion, those 6 slices of pepperoni or ham, that one chicken leg (pull the meat off first), a half can of black olives and on and on....


I also didn't add any salt, by using a regular broth, not low sodium, this was seasoned in the salt category perfectly, and my pesto added that nice punch of brightness!


INGREDIENTS:
12 ounces linguine/Spaghetti pasta-I broke mine in half
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid 
1 medium sweet onion, cut in 1/2 and sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (use regular broth and NOT low sodium)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
~~~~~~~~~~
Above is the basic recipe- now this is where you can be creative

Preheat pot over medium heat-cook and crumble 2-3 Italian sausage links, then proceed
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
4-6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
Fresh basil
Spinach
Kale
1 chicken Breast, cubed (raw)
2 carrots, sliced thinly
Celery, sliced
Mushrooms
Zucchini
Pesto
And so on....

Parmesan cheese for garnish


DIRECTIONS:
Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a large stock pre heated pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil.

Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10-12 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – I left about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as much as you like, this helps to make it saucy!

Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed. Add pesto and stir pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot evenly throughout the pasta as you are serving. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.





Enjoy! 

 This recipe is shared on My Link Parties. Also shared on http:// www.thecountrycook.net and http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/ and http://www.foodiefriendsfridaydailydish.com/






Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Easy White Chicken Chili


With Fall firmly entrenched, the cooler winds blowing all the colored leaves around, it's finally time for long awaited comfort foods.

This recipe is one of my family's favorites. It's hearty, yet light-crazy huh?! Full of flavor, making you think it simmered all day long....

WRONG!

This is a really quick cooking version of what is generally considered an all day chili. Cause you know sometimes you just didn't have time to put it together in the slow cooker and when you get home you still want a good chicken chili!

Well, here ya go! 


One of the secrets to this being so fast is using cooked chicken. BUT-you can always poach the chicken in the beginning and that would help flavor the broth!

Also-what gives this soup body and an awesome flavor is.....Masa Flour. 

Yep, corn masa flour. The kind that's in the Hispanic section of any grocery store and it's pretty inexpensive. It's not just for tortillas, tamales and such. It's a great addition to soups, stews, chili's and even pizza dough! So it's a smart addition to any pantry (I actually store mine in the freezer).

I love items that can be used in so many applications, I'm kinda weird like that...

Anyway, make this and top it as your heart desires.


Try my easy recipe, I think you'll love this too!



Ingredients
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts or 3 cups of cooked chicken, shredded
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes (1 if using Knorr brand-which I prefer)
1 tbsn canola or vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, undrained
1 (15-ounce) can light red kidney beans, undrained
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilis, undrained 
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 cup corn masa flour

Instructions
Heat a large stockpot over medium, add in oil.
Saute onions until translucent, add in garlic and saute 1 minute more. 
Add chicken stock, bouillon and water and bring to a quick simmer. If you're using raw chicken, now would be the time to add it and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove chicken and when cool enough to handle shred with two forks and then add back to the liquid.
Add beans, green chilis, dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir until well-combined. 
Sprinkle masa flour over the top and using a whisk or fork, gently whisk into the chili. Simmer for another 10 minutes to fully develop flavors and incorporate masa flour. 
Serve with your toppings of choice-cheese, diced tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, etc.



This recipe is adapted from:Robyn at Add A Pinch


Enjoy! This recipe is shared on My Link Parties. Also shared on http:// www.thecountrycook.net and http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/ and http://www.foodiefriendsfridaydailydish.com/








Monday, October 27, 2014

Tex Mex Lasagna



In a nod to my roots, we love "mexican or Tex-mex" food. Although Mexican food is centuries old, Tex-Mex is relatively young at only 150 years old.....

They are both full of more similarities than differences and therefore most people think of them as the same or alike.

My mother was born in northern New Mexico and has lots of relatives in the area. She is of Greek-Spanish-Irish descent. The influence of Spanish cooking on that part of America has evolved into some of the most beloved "mexican" recipes shared today. 

One of the staples in her family was a big ol pot of beans. 

Not just any beans, either, but true Chile Beans, the kind my grandmother and her mother made. 

Dried pinto beans cleaned and sorted, soaked and cooked with spices, onions and garlic. They are a staple in our home. I always make a big pot and the leftovers make so many different dishes, including the one here.



This lasagna is hearty, and full of the Tex-mex flavors we all love. 

Relatively easy to make, there's no noodles after all, it's still cheesy and just darn good!

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups red or enchilada sauce
1 lb. cooked taco seasoned meat-your choice, mine was lean turkey
3 cups cooked pinto beans-or 2 cans, hopefully seasoned
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped fine
8-8" flour tortillas, cut up into 8ths
2 cups shredded cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non stick spray. Ladle in 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce and spread.
Scatter tortillas to cover and spread the the meat to cover all the tortillas. Cover with 1/2 cup of the cheese.
If you're using canned beans, rinse and drain. In a saute pan, heat 1tbsn of oil and saute the onions and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Add in the chili powder and cumin. Saute for another 3 minutes. Add in the beans and cook for 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
Scatter another layer of the the tortillas over all and spread the beans over this. Sprinkle another cup of cheese over the beans. 
Scatter the rest of the tortillas over this, and pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over all. 
Sprinkle the rest of the cheese to cover all the sauce and cover with foil, tightly. 
Bake in a preheated 350f oven for 25-30 minutes. Uncover, be careful, it's hot! Bake for another 10 minutes. 
Let rest for 15 minutes, in order to cut exact squares. 
Serve with sour cream, avocados, tomatoes and more cheese. 





Enjoy!










  This recipe is shared on My Link Parties. Also shared on http:// www.thecountrycook.net and http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/ and http://www.foodiefriendsfridaydailydish.com/