Archive | December, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

29 Dec

Today was the third time my friend and I have had a “soup making day.” It actually works out pretty slick. Four kinds of soup made in four hours (and four hours of girl talk!) And then divided into single-serving tupperware bowls for weeks worth of frozen meals! So easy to grab one as I walk out the door (also means I can hit the snooze button one more time in the morning!)

We have the process down to a science. Three pots of simmering soup on the stove and one doing its thang in the crock-pot!

Soup galore!

Today’s soups were chicken tortilla, spinach and tortellini, lasagna, and red lentil stew. All of them were mighty tasty!

The hubby and I sampled the chicken tortilla soup for supper tonight. And dang was it good!

Start by sauteing onion, green pepper, red pepper, and garlic.

Add in the black beans and shredded chicken (we took the easy route and used rotisserie chicken that we seasoned with cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder.)

In goes one can of rotel tomatoes and green chilies!

And our impromptu addition, a can of corn! Seemed fitting for tortilla soup. And the yellow added lots of eye-appeal!

Chicken broth and water were added. And then left to simmer for 45 minutes!

And now for the fun part, the garnishes. There are about a million different things that can be added to this soup! Shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, pico de gallo, cilantro. Okay so maybe not a million, but take your pick! Each bowl can taste a little different than the one before.

I chose cheese, sour cream, and pico de gallo!


Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup diced onion

1 green pepper, diced

1 red pepper, diced

3 cloves of garlic minced

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies

1 can corn

32 ounces low sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups hot water

3 tablespoons cornmeal

5 whole corn tortillas, cut into 2-3 inch strips (We didn’t add these since we were both freezing the soup. Instead we plan to crush tortilla chips and add them right before eating.)


Shred rotisserie chicken into a medium sized bowl. Add cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. Mix until all of the chicken is evenly coated with the seasonings. Set  bowl aside.

In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil. Add onion, peppers, and garlic and saute for a few minutes. Stir in chicken, black beans, rotel tomatoes, corn, tomato paste. Pour in chicken broth and hot water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into soup and let simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 15-20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving add tortilla strips.

Ladle into bowls and garnish as desired!


Source: Pioneer Woman


Swedish Nuts–best christmas present ever!

27 Dec

After an eleven day hiatus, iii’mmm bbbaaaccckkk!!! Hopefully I can get back into the blogging swing now that the holiday chaos is over!! Love the holidays, but this year I was ready for them to be over. So nice to finally sit my butt on the couch again! And not have a shopping and to-do list ten feet long!

At Christmas a couple of years ago, my grandma had brought a bowl full of sugar-coated pecans. And I sat perched next to that bowl the entire night. Apparently I raved enough about how good they were because now I get a zip-lock baggie full every year for Christmas! Best present ever!! And yes, I did snack on them while I opened the rest of my presents!

They are delicious by the hand-full, but also amazing on salads. Love the extra little sugary-crunch!

Notice the bowl is a little sparse. Oops! Actually had a hard time finding a small enough bowl for the photo-op. But all I have to say, is you’re lucky I got a picture before I ate ’em all!

Swedish Nuts

1 pound pecans

2 egg whites, beaten stiff

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold in the sugar and salt. Fold in the pecans.

Melt 1/2 cup butter on a jelly roll pan. Add the nut mixture. Roast at 325 degrees for thirty minutes, tossing every ten minutes. Bake until they are light brown. Remove from the oven and immediately separate the nuts as needed.


Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

16 Dec

I’ve seen these cookies on cookie platters for years, but have always passed them up. Instead I grab for the sugar cookies that have been frosted so pretty and the soft and chewy peanut butter blossoms (notice I said “and” not “or.” That’s because I eat both. And then some.)

 A few days ago a patient brought a heaping plate of Christmas cookies into the clinic and everyone was going absolutely crazy over the Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. Out of the many, many cookies, the chocolate crinkle was the cookie of choice for many of the nurses! When there was only one left I decided to grab it to find out what all of the craze was about!

And now I totally understand. Pretty much taste like a dense fudgey brownie rolled in a ball! Why, oh why, did I wait so long to try these!

Weirdly enough, that evening as I was doing my nightly blog reading, Iowa Girl Eats had just written a post about these being her favorite Christmas cookies! When I read that the cookie dough had to chill over night, I flipped back my warm, cozy blankets and went straight to the kitchen. I had to stir ’em up that evening so I could bake ’em the next morning! Which meant, cookies for breakfast! YUM!

Love how each cookie looks a little different! Little pieces of artwork! Almost too pretty to eat!

Sometimes they don’t crack and crinkle the prettiest. But thankfully they still taste just as good!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1/2 cup cocoa

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup powdered sugar

In a medium sized bowl, mix together cocoa, sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until mixture is smooth. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix into wet ingredients in 3 batches, mixing until just combined in between each batch. Cover the dough and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop out 1 tablespoon dough and roll it into a ball. Roll in powdered sugar. Place on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Source: Iowa Girl Eats

Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers

8 Dec

I’ve always loved a good ‘ol juicy burger! It was one of the things I missed most while I was a vegetarian for a year. While veggie burgers are good, they just aren’t quit the same! And when I decided to start eating meat again, I had a burger three nights in a row! I just couldn’t get enough of the beef!

Well, this is a healthified burger! Lower in fat and calories! But you will never know it! Because the taste of these burgers is simply amazing! The feta, onions, garlic, and oregano will shock your taste buds!

It was a little too chilly outside for me to grill, so I threw ’em in a frying pan instead. Worked perfect! And much warmer!


Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

salt and pepper

1 box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon grill seasoning

4 ounces crumbled feta

1 1/3 pounds lean ground turkey

Heat oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Saute onion with salt and pepper until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add in garlic and saute an additional minute. Remove to a plate to cool.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together spinach, oregano, grill seasoning, feta, and ground turkey. Stir in cooled onion and garlic.

Form into four patties. Grill on high for five minutes per side, or until cooked through.

Source: Iowa Girl Eats

Field Trip: Pizza Luce

5 Dec

About a month ago Zach and I started having  date nights a couple times a month! The only rule is, we have to go a new place every time. There are so many fun, little restaurants around us to try that it seems like a waste to always go to the same ones!

We ventured to Pizza Luce for our last date! A phenomenal Minnesota based restaurant.

The restaurant has a fun, contemporary, and energetic atmosphere! Would be a really fun place to go with a group of friends on a Friday night for drinks!

Drinks, please! Love hitting up happy hour specials! Beer for him and wine for her!

We aren’t usually ones to get appetizers, but happy hour also included half price appetizers! Can’t pass up a $3 appetizer! Especially garlic toast loaded with cheese! I would have been totally fine with having a plate of this bread for my meal! I am a huge sucker for anything cheesy!

Zach and I each picked out a pizza to share! He picked “The Wrangler.” It was topped with BBQ chicken, banana peppers, red onion, mushrooms, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses on a barbecue-red sauce. Zach is a huge barbeque addict so I wasn’t surprised by this choice.

I picked the Pizza Lupe. Totally fitting, being that my high school spanish class name was Lupe! It was a Mexican inspired pizza with black bean salsa, fresh pico de gallo, cheddar cheese, green onion, and seasoned beef.  Served with shredded lettuce and a side of sour cream. Pretty much a taco on homemade pizza crust! Yum!

If you don’t live in Minnesota and can’t make it to a Pizza Luce, you should at least take a look at their menu for some fun homemade pizza topping combinations! I can’t wait to make a baked potato pizza!

Roasted Tomato and Pasta Soup

4 Dec

Roasted Tomato and Pasta Soup

1 pound ripe Italian plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and quartered lengthwise

1 large red onion, quartered

2 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/4 quarts vegetable stock

A good pinch of sugar

1 cup small pasta shapes

fresh basil leaves, to garnish


Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread out the tomatoes, red pepper, onion, and garlic on a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are soft and charred, turning them halfway through cooking.

Tip the vegetables into a food processor. Add about 1 cup of the stock. Process until pureed. Scrape into a strainer placed over a large saucepan and press the puree through into the pan.

Add the remaining stock, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta and simmer for seven to eight minutes, or according to the directions on the package until al dente.
Serve hot in warm soup bowls, garnished with fresh basil.

Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, and Toffee Cookies

2 Dec

Some days I’m just in the mood for a big, huge, ginormous scoop of cookie dough! And Wednesday was one of those days! The only problem was deciding what kind to make. Kind of felt like peanut butter. Toffee sounded good. And the bag of mini chocolate chips was calling my name. Couldn’t pick just one, so I just threw ’em all in a bowl!

I’m a little surprised that I had some dough left to actually bake some cookies! But I’m sure glad I saved a little! The dough was good, but the cookies are even better!

Crispy on the outside! Soft and chewy on the inside! And a little sprinkle of sugar on top!

Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, and Toffee Cookies

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup peanut butter

1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup toffee bits

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream together shortening, peanut butter and brown sugar. Add milk and vanilla. Add egg and mix just until blended. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Stir in toffee bits and mini chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for two to three hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough into one inch ball. Place on cookie sheet about two inches apart. Bake for four minutes. Remove from oven. Slightly flatten each cookie with the bottom of a drinking glass. Sprinkle with sugar. Return to the oven for an additional four to five minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing to wire cooling racks.