Tag Archives: food

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

I know, I know soup season has run its course and you might be wondering why this is being introduced now. I totally get it. So, allow me to explain…

Last night, after a particularly draining day at work, I was putting together dinner and thinking how thankful I was that I had meals already assembled in the freezer that could be pulled and quickly warmed on nights when there isn’t enough time or energy for much more than on-couch zombie status. Last night was one such night and those smothered burritos were exactly the answer!

Every so often I take a chunk of a day and do freezer meal prep. I’ve read lots of how-to for this type of thing and I do it slightly differently….but that’s another lengthy post for another long and rainy day.

Soooo….lemme talk about this homemade cream of mushroom soup and the why for now.  I’ve only ever really known cream of mushroom soup (C.O.M.S.) to be used as an ingredient in another meal or side-dish (casseroles, sauces, etc.) and haven’t ever felt enticed to warm up a bowl to be eaten soup-style. Maybe it’s the way it sort of blobs out of the can all unappealing or the voice in the back of my head questioning all those ingredients I don’t know how to pronounce (which often = chemicals). But despite the unappealing entrance into my world from the can or the wide array of chemicals often found in canned soups in general, there’s no denying the magical power of C.O.M.S. in recipes so now I just make it myself. Not only do I know <and get to control> what’s in it, the texture and flavor of this homemade rendition is so, so much better than that from a can.

Because homemade soup can be a somewhat messy situation, and because I bust this out with a particular line-up of freezer cooking, I typically make C.O.M.S. in a big batch but I’ll post the ingredient break-down for both a single and quadruple batch (not that you couldn’t do the simple math, but because I love ya and will save your effort for something else).

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

Ingredients (Single):                                                  Ingredients (Quadruple Batch):
2 large cloves garlic, minced                                      8 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped                                                   4 cups onion, chopped
1/2 cup mushroom, chopped                                      2 cups mushroom, chopped
1/4 cup oil/butter (about half of each)                      1 cup butter/oil
1/4 cup flour                                                                   1 cup flour
1/4 cup stock                                                                   3 cups stock
Note: I use homemade chicken stock, but vegetable stock and/or store bought works too!
1 cup milk                                                                       4 cups milk
Salt & Pepper to taste                                                    Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions:
1. Start by prepping all your veggies – wash and chop.
2. Warm butter/oil in sauce pan (I like to use my Le Creuset soup pot, but any ol’ pot will do for this job.
3. Saute garlic and onion until just before soft, then add mushrooms and continue cooking a couple more minutes
4. Create a roux by adding the flour to the pan. Stir to combine well and continue to cook for a minute to eliminate that raw flour taste.
5. Slowly add stock, whisking until all ingredients are well combined.
6. Once the liquid thickens, add milk
7. Salt and Pepper to taste

Few Considerations:
1. This rendition will be chunkier than the canned variety. Pending your preference, you can run an immersion blender through your pot until you have the consistency you prefer. I leave as is, but that’s just me!
2. If the soup is too thick for your preference and cooking purposes, add more stock/milk
3. I use this recipe as an ingredient in other dishes and eating soup-style. I also portion and freeze for later. Do know that freezing won’t leave you with the same creamy texture as fresh out of the pot though. Use this option for future casserole assembly.

That’s it! Fresh ingredients. Not difficult at all. Totally worth it!

-H


Mama Said, “Don’t play with your food”

After a blustery weekend in Colorado, I’m quite thrilled with the sun making an appearance today. In celebration of the return of warmer weather I thought I’d share with you this character I found in my ‘power foods’ salad the other night:

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I got to the bottom of the pile of shredded brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and cabbage tossed with a poppy seed dressing (it’s a salad kit from Costco – I’ll tell you more about it another time because it’s worth a try, for sure) to find this little guy looking back up at me.

Unsure how the stars all aligned in such a way to pull this off, but here you have it.

I like to believe that many things, especially those which are quite unique, are a sign; a communication from above, but I just can’t put my finger on what this one could possibly mean.

Let’s consider it a sign of good things to come – for me and for you. I hope you are having a fabulous week! The weekend is in sight!
H


Crab Salad

I stumbled across this incredibly fresh looking crab salad recipe on the Skinnytaste.com website.

I couldn’t wait to try it – and then try it again with my own modifications (recipe below) – and then share with you all!

After a couple rounds I’ve decided I love it AND the flavors are so wonderfully intense that a little goes a long way (when I used as a lettuce salad topping I could only eat about half). I’d recommend serving this on little buttery crackers as an appetizer or finger food for parties. It’s easy to make and comes together quickly but is also totally fancy and people will be in awe of your over-the-top party food!

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Ingredients:
8 oz lump crab meat (REAL crab, not Krab with a “K”)
1 avocado, chopped into smallish pieces
3 T finely chopped red onion
Juice of 1 lime
2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro
4 finely chopped cherry or grape tomatoes
2 T mayo (more or less depending on the volume of all your other ingredients, you want everything just very lightly coated – you may also sub olive oil for mayo as the original recipe suggests)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
*Note: If you are serving on crackers as an appetizer, you want everything chopped very small so as to allow you to get a bit of all that goodness in each cracker serving. If you want to swing for the fences and eat this over lettuce as a meal, feel free to chop the ingredients larger.

Instructions:
-add all ingredients to a bowl, minus mayo, and toss to combine
-add enough mayo to lightly cover everything and gently toss
-taste and adjust any flavors according to your preference
-top crackers with crab salad mixture and serve cold

 


Roasted Parmesan Asparagus

Asparagus is a perfect springtime veggie, and being ‘in season’ it can often be found in grocery stores for ridiculously low prices.

With Easter dinner right around the corner, here’s a simple side dish that’s a wonderful compliment to any main dish offering.

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Ingredients:
-1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
-Olive oil
-Garlic powder
-Salt
-Black pepper
-Finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions:
-Place asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil (you want all spears to have a light coat of oil)
-Season with garlic, salt and pepper (to your taste preferences) and toss to distribute seasonings
-Place in 400 degree oven for 10-15 min
-Remove from oven, stir and sprinkle with cheese
-Return to oven for 5-10 minutes
-Serve hot

I hope this holiday weekend finds you renewed with the promises that come from our RISEN Savior!

H


Chicken -n- Stuff Salad

Remember that chicken I suggested you make, shred and freeze in individual portions, in this post? Well, thaw out a bag because I’ve got a quick, simple and healthy salad that’s just perfect for mixing up your lunch time routine!

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Ingredients:
-Chicken (previously cooked and shredded)
-Romaine Lettuce
-Red Onion
-Feta Cheese Crumbles
-Toasted Almond Slices
-Craisins
-Avocado
-Balsamic Vinaigrette (I sometimes make my own, but have found some I like just as well without preservatives in the cooler section in the produce department, next to the prepped salads. That’s what I used in this one!)

Instructions:
Chop and assemble all ingredients (amounts according to your liking) on a plate and drizzle with dressing.

Seriously, super easy.

I like to prep 2 salads at a time, leaving a second in the fridge to grab-and-go on a busy work day.

As the weather gets nicer, I am reminded that it’s about time to start transitioning away from hearty, heavy meals to lighter, fresher varieties. This one certainly fits that bill!

Enjoy!
H

 

 


Frugal Friday: Shredded Chicken

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a frugal Friday tip. A recent sale on chicken sparked my memory and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share with you all.

Bone-in, skin-on chicken periodically goes on sale for an unbelievable price. At my local grocery store, 88 cents per pound simply can’t be passed up.

Thing is, I don’t cook bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts all that often. So, I got creative with how to make the most of this sale…AND it’s super simple.

Stock up on several packages of the chicken breasts at the store. Then, cut the skins off and toss them in the crock pot. Once the chicken is cooked through, shred (if you have a stand mixer, a super quick and simple way to shred is to throw the cooked chicken in and let the mixer roll), portion into containers, and toss in the freezer!

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It’s an excellent way to take advantage of an awesome deal PLUS you will have cooked, shredded chicken in the freezer for the many meals calling for this ingredient….chicken salad, tacos, enchiladas, pasta, salad topper, sandwiches…the list goes on and on!

Do yourself a favor – take advantage of this tip. You will be thrilled that you did, especially when you’re in a pinch for a quick dinner!


Baked Potato Wedges

 

There are about a million different ways to make potatoes; ranging from few ingredients, little time and super easy to…well…everything opposite of that.

Here is a basic (i.e. few ingredients, little time, super easy) potato recipe that can be served just like this OR dressed up with lots of different toppings, dipping sauces, etc.

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Ingredients:
-Large baking (russet) potatoes, peeled, cut into wedges
-Cooking oil (I used avocado oil because it withstands higher baking temps without damaging the oil, but you use what you have on hand)
-Seasoned Salt
-Pepper

Instructions:
-If you have time, allow your potato wedges to soak in cold water for a bit. 30 minutes is ideal, but you can skip this step all together if time just doesn’t permit. Soaking will help pull out some of the starch and allow your wedges to get crispier when baking.
-Heat oven to 425 degrees
-Drain wedges (if you soaked them first) and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel
-Place wedges into a bowl or baggie and drizzle with cooking oil (how much you need depends on how many wedges are in play here, but you want them to be lightly coated)
-Add seasoned salt and pepper (again, amount of each depends on number of wedges AND your personal preference)
-Toss together, then place on a baking sheet
-Cook until wedges are golden brown, approximately 30 minutes, turning part way through cooking

It’s a simple recipe and it pairs well with mostly all meat dishes BUT if you want to change this up from side-dish to appetizer or snack, pile up wedges when they are done cooking, top with lots of cheese and put back under the broiler to melt. Then you can finish topping with whatever other ingredients trip your trigger: sour cream, guac, tomatoes, salsa, bacon, shredded chicken, ground beef…OR…you could make one of a million sauces for dipping…OR…the possibilities are really endless…

 


Slow Roasted Beef with Gravy

Sunday is the perfect day to slow cook something delicious in the oven, especially during cold weather season.

The oven warms the house. Delicious aromas fill the air. And when it’s all said and done, you have a hardy meal to sit down to and enjoy.

Yesterday I prepared a beef roast with gravy. Just a few easy steps and allow the oven to do the heavy lifting for you.

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Ingredients:
-1-2 lb beef roast, cut into large chunks (I used bottom round, but recommend you use whatever is on sale)
-2 T olive oil
-1 med onion, chopped
-2 large cloves garlic, minced
-2 cups beef broth
-2 T whole wheat flour
-3/4 cup milk
-salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:
-heat olive oil in dutch oven, add onions and garlic, cook until soft
-move onions to the side, add beef and brown on both sides
-pour in beef broth
-pop in 300 degree oven for 2’ish hours
-remove from oven, scoop beef chunks out of liquid and set aside
-return dutch oven to hot burner and bring liquid to a boil
-whisk together flour and milk, and slowly add to boiling liquid, stirring constantly
-allow mixture to thicken, add salt and pepper to taste, then return beef to dutch oven
-drop heat to low, cover and finish cooking while you prepare the other side dishes for this meal

That’s it! I’m guessing my actual time commitment to this dish was about 25 minutes, total, including the bits of clean-up I did for the initial and then finishing prep work.

Wishing you a wonderful week!
Happy Monday!
H


Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry

Fresh, lean meat.

Fresh, healthy veggies.

That’s what this dish is all about…

It’s also about being quick and simple, making it perfect for a busy work-week or an evening you are just short on time.
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Ingredients:
3/4 C soy sauce
1/2 C sesame oil
1 T honey
1 tsp corn starch
Olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger, minced
1 large head broccoli, florets separated
1 large chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces

Instructions:
-combine soy sauce, sesame oil, honey & corn starch. Whisk together & set aside
-heat oil in wok, add garlic & ginger, cook 30 seconds
-add broccoli, cook until just short of desired crispness, remove from wok
-add more oil to wok, add chicken & cook until no longer pink
-scoot chicken to side of wok, give soy sauce mixure another quick stir, add to wok
-allow sauce to heat & thicken slightly
-return broccoli to wok, stir to combine all ingredients & re-warm broccoli
-taste and add salt/pepper, as desired
-serve over rice

You might also consider serving this alongside some yummy cheese wontons – especially if you have some already assembled in your freezer- recipe here:
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Enjoy!
H

 

 

 

 

 

 


White Chicken Chili

There’s lots and lots of snow happening in my neck of the woods. Nineteen inches and counting. Just when I never thought it possible, we got a snow day from work! Woo Hoo!

So, I’m snuggled up inside with a hot cup of coffee and dreaming about soup. This one, in particular…

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It’s a white chili made with chicken and topped with cheese and tortilla strips. Mmmm…

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
1 tsp cumin seed
4 chicken breast halves
1 tsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped
2 (9 0z) packages frozen white corn (thawed)
2 (4.5 oz) cans chopped green chiles, undrained
2 (15.5 oz) cans white beans, undrained
1 tsp cumin
1 lime, juiced
Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
Tortilla Chips

Instructions:
-Combine water, lemon-pepper & cumin seed and bring to a boil
-Add chicken, cover, simmer 20-30 minutes (until chicken is cooked through)
-In medium skillet, heat olive oil & cook garlic for about 1 min
-Add onions and cook until soft
-Remove chicken from cooking liquid (don’t toss your liquid, you need this!), shred and return to pot
-Add onion and garlic as well as corn, chiles, cumin and lime juice to pot
-Bring to boil, then add beans and cook until heated through
-Ladle soup into bowls, top with cheese and tortilla chips & serve

It’s the perfect way to warm-up and re-fuel after battling drifts of snow. It’s also perfect if you have no intention of leaving the confines of your house and dealing with snow in any way…so…really, perfection all around!

Stay safe & warm out there, my friends!
H