Friday, January 29, 2010

Soup's On: Asian Seafood Soup

For previous bowls of soup in my series of Soup's On, click:

“Soup is to the meal, what the hostess' smile of welcome is to the party. A prelude to the goodness to come.” ~ Louis P. De Gouy, The Soup Book (1949)

I am excited for the weekend!!!! It's my Dad's birthday so I'm cooking my parents a big special dinner with some of his favorite foods. I can't wait to show you the menu next week & if all goes well, there will be 4 new recipes to share!!!!!!

Until then...I made this soup Monday evening for dinner & continued to have it the next 3 days for lunch! Since I've made a life change by going on the treadmill on my lunch hour, leaving my evenings free for family time, this healthy but filling soup was exactly what I wanted & needed. Not only was my frequent seafood urge met but so was my desire for pasta, but without the guilt, since I used whole grain spaghetti. I really enjoyed this!


{ Click Here to Print Recipe }

1 tsp canola oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups thinly sliced Napa (Chinese) cabbage
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
6 oz small shrimp, peeled & deveined
6 oz bay or sea scallops
3 tblsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tblsp rice-wine vinegar, or distilled white vinegar
8 oz Chinese wheat noodles, or linguine
2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
*See notes for additional ingredients

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic & stir until golden, about 1 minute. Add cabbage & 1/4 cup of the broth.

Bring to a simmer & cook until the cabbage is wilted, about 1 minute. Add the remaining broth, shrimp, scallops, soy sauce & vinegar. Return to a simmer & cook until the shrimp & scallops are opaque in the center, about 1 minute. This is where I added the chili garlic sauce & some red pepper flakes.

Meanwhile, cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water just until tender, 2 to 5 minutes. If using linguine, cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander & divide among 4 large soup bowls.

Ladle the soup over the noodles & sprinkle with scallions.

{ Food for Thought }

While this was simmering I took a taste & thought it needed something. I added a couple of swirls of Asian garlic chili sauce, as well as some red pepper flakes. The chili sauce added the flavor it needed along with a hint of sweetness to bring it all together. It was like night & day so I highly recommend this. I also used whole grain spaghetti to keep this healthy. Have all your ingredients ready so that the shrimp & scallops do not overcook. Take this off the heat as soon as it's done.

This will give you about 6 good bowls of soup. At first I was concerned about my noodles soaking up too much liquid if I added them to the leftover soup. I took a chance anyway & it was more than fine. I had this as lunch for 3 days straight & it tasted as good as the day before. I only recommend adding the scallions right before serving.

{ Have a Great Weekend Everyone }

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip

I've made this dip a couple of times since December & thought it would be a perfect time to post for the big football weekend coming up. I have tried other versions that are baked & found them to be on the dry side. I love that this one gets all saucy & cooks in a crockpot while I get to do other things!

The pictures don't do it justice but it smells & tastes delicious!!! This dip is a must have at any party or gathering where no one's counting calories!!!!


{ Click Here to Print Recipe }

3 large or 5 small chicken breasts
1 8oz package of room temp. cream cheese
24 oz ranch dressing
8 oz hot sauce (Texas Pete)

Boil the chicken until cooked. In a crackpot melt cream cheese with ranch dressing & hot sauce. When chicken is done, shred & put into the crockpot with the melted cheese mixture. Cook on low & stir occasionally for about an hour. Serve with Fritos, Scoops or fresh bread.

{ Food for Thought }

I recommend starting with 18oz ranch & then tasting to see if you'd like more. And just a reminder because I had to learn the hard way - try to get a bottle of hot sauce that has an opening which allows you to pour rather than just dash the sauce out. Otherwise, you'll be there forever.

If you like this then you may just like one of my favorite dips of all time & the reason I will never buy store bought onion dip again:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Soup's On: Tuscan Spinach, Bean & Sausage

For the 1st bowl of 12 in the series of Soup's On, click:

“Good manners: The noise you don't make when you're eating soup.” ~ Bennett Cerf, humorist, publisher

This soup was easy to make for a weeknight meal after a long day of work. And it was not only hearty but fairly healthy! I looked at a few sausage packages to compare calories & fat & the one below was what I went with. Next time I will try the freshly prepared chicken sausage but they didn't have any available.


{ Click Here to Print Recipe }

1 link hot Italian-style turkey sausage
1 19 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 14 oz can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz frozen cut-leaf spinach or fresh
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tblsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring sausage & 1/4 inch water to a simmer in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, until water evaporates, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to cook until the sausage is browned on all sides, about 4 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board; when cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

Combine the sausage, beans, broth, garlic, spinach & marjoram in a medium saucepan.

Cover & cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Season with salt & pepper. Stir in cheese just before serving.

{ Food for Thought }

I used the fresh spinach I had on hand instead of frozen & just added it in along with the broth & garlic. You can substitute any kind of sausage you prefer from the many variations on the market. Just be sure to look at the calories if you want to keep this soup healthy. I opted for a chicken sausage because it was half the fat of the turkey sausage freshly prepared at my grocer.

Although better than the traditional, the turkey sausage was still very high in cals & fat. The recipe as stated above will yield about (4) 1 1/2 cup servings. I would still use 2 links instead of just 1 to make it more filling.

And if you can't make soup to keep warm, blanket yourself with one tired little boy & one sweet large bulldog.

 {  Linking Deliciously to Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays  }

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Breakfast Potato Skins

My best friend Jennifer & her family visited from NY this weekend. We had a blast eating lunch at a tiki bar on the lake, watching the kids play & visiting Animal Kingdom. I would share with you some pics but I don't even think I got one picture of her & I together. It's sad actually. I guess I'm a better foodie than a friend since I got pictures of breakfast I made one morning. I really enjoyed having a full house & spending a couple of hours in the kitchen each morning being the short order cook.

Oh, here's a great one of The Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom. We stood there trying to capture as many of the over 300 animals carved into this tree. It's beautiful. You need to double click to really appreciate!

{ Tree of Life in Animal Kingdom }

Back to the breakfast. I cannot wait to make these breakfast potato skins again & again & again. I have been wanting to ever since I had them at a restaurant once & thought maybe I could do better at home. I am a stickler for every bite having a bit of goodness & I think some restaurants just forget that.

These were easy, fun to make & just downright delicious. What's better than eggs, potatoes, cheese & bacon together ????? Aside from the bacon, these are healthy if you cook your eggs in cooking spray & have a gentle hand with the cheese. And you can always use turkey bacon.


{ Printable Recipe Here }

4 baked potatoes such as Idaho
6-7 eggs (you may have a little leftover)
Salt & Pepper
Shredded cheese, such as Colby Jack (about 1 cup)
Bacon, cooked & crumbled
Sour cream, reduced fat
Fresh chives, chopped

Pierce potatoes with a fork in several spots. Bake them in microwave in 5 minute intervals until fork tender. 4 potatoes roughly take 12-15 minutes. I like to rotate mine as well & turn them over halfway through cooking time to ensure even doneness.

Set potatoes aside to cool slightly. Preheat oven to 375.

Cut potatoes in half length-wise. Leaving ¼” wall, scoop out pulp & reserve for another use. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes just until the shells crisp up a bit. While they are cooking, scramble eggs just until set. They will cook further in oven. Season with a little salt & pepper.

Sprinkle a little cheese in the bottom of the potatoes.

Divide scrambled eggs between all. Then add more cheese on top as well as crumbled bacon.

Heat in oven just cheese is melted & bacon is warmed through. Serve with sour cream & chives.

No food for thought today. These are too easy. Just use whatever cheese makes you happy & enjoy!!!!!!

And if you want something just as easy but even healthier, what about a ham burrito without the burrito?

{ I created these by cooking up some Virginia baked ham fresh from the deli & rolling it around some sauteed onions with a scrambled egg & a little cheese }

Can't wait to be by to see what everyone has been up to. I have been MIA for a few days & starting to have blogger withdrawal.

Oh, see this car? It's also a boat. No joke. As we sat eating lunch by the lake, this was in the water. We thought it was just a boat that looked like a car on the top but then it rolled onto land & drove up to park.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Soup's On: Mamma Leone's Chicken Soup

Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished & stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance & cheer? Who warms you in the winter & cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table & impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don't catch steak hanging around when you're poor & sick, do you?  ~ Judith Martin (Miss Manners)

It's finally cold here in FL & I need a change, a reason to commit to a delicious project. So, welcome to the 1st bowl of Soup's On.

In the weeks of Winter to come, I will be posting 12 delicious, heart warming soups that will not only feed  you but soothe you from the inside out.

This first one is very special. It's Chronicle of a Mommy's Dad's favorite soup. It originated from a popular 1906 NY (my hometown) restaurant called Mamma Leone's in the theatre district. It's no longer open but one of their coveted recipes was this Italian soup. A deli in Oregon was serving it up one day to Kacey's Dad. He loved it so much they told him he could find it online. He did & has been making it ever since.

What I LOVE most about this soup, aside from it being delicious, is that it tastes like it would be bad for you with all the lovely creaminess, but it's not. The fat free evaporated milk & flour make it thick & creamy without the guilt. I dined on this for 3 days straight. And I wasn't even a soup person. Until now!!!!


{ Click Here for Printable Recipe }

1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp kosher salt plus extra for chicken breasts
1/2 tsp black pepper plus extra for chicken breasts
1 tblsp vegetable oil
4 tsp butter
1 medium onion diced
3 stalks celery diced
1 tblsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 heaping tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 cup all purpose flour plus 2 tblsp
8 cups fat free chicken broth
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup fat free evaporated milk
2 cups thinly sliced spinach

Preheat oven to 375. Season chicken breasts with salt & pepper to taste & place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven & cool. Dice & set aside.

While chicken is cooking, heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add butter & melt. Sauté the onions & celery until translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add the garlic, tarragon, oregano, paprika & remaining 2 tsps salt & ½ tsp pepper.

Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes. Add the flour & stir until well combined. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth & bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes & evaporated milk. Reduce heat & simmer for 20 minutes. Add chicken & simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in spinach just before you’re ready to serve.

{ Food for Thought }

I don’t recommend substituting regular paprika for the sweet Hungarian as it really contributes to the overall taste of this soup. I loved the diced tomatoes in this & recommend increasing by 50% but no more than that. I also shredded my chicken out of personal preference. Lastly, I left the baby spinach whole & didn’t bother slicing it.

A little tip: to keep the top layer from becoming gelatinous while in the fridge, place a piece of saran wrap directly on top of the soup before covering as you normally would. This also works on gravies, puddings, etc.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chicken, Arugula & Provolone Pressed Sammy

Like most foodies, I love kitchen gadgets & appliances but there are some that just take up more room more than they add worth. One is the Panini press. Maybe I feel this way because I have a George Foreman & it's worked beautifully for pressing & warming sandwiches through. Whatever you have or don't have, making warm melty sandwiches at home is a breeze.

This is a classic combo & one that we really enjoyed. I am falling more in love with Cuban bread because it is perfect for these sandwiches although you can use what you prefer, like Ciabatta or Sourdough. I am even going to start keeping pre-measured sections of bread in my freezer so they're sandwich ready!

{ Cuban bread will press down even thinner than sandwich shown above which was with French Bread}


{ Click for Printable Recipe }

4 chicken breast halves boneless & skinless
1 tblsp olive oil
1 tsp sage
1 tsp rosemary or thyme
Salt & Pepper
4 pieces of crusty bread like Cuban, about 6” long
1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
2 cups arugula washed & dried
8 pieces prosciutto thinly sliced
8 pieces Provolone cheese thinly sliced

Brush chicken breasts lightly with oil. Sprinkle chicken with sage, rosemary, salt & pepper. Grill chicken breasts over charcoal grill or under broiler until firm to the touch. Transfer to plate & let cool slightly.

While chicken is cooking, cut each sandwich loaf without cutting all the way through. This will keep your sandwich from falling apart when it’s being pressed & warmed through. Hollow out the
loaf by removing just some of the bread inside.

Sprinkle bottom of each piece with vinaigrette. Divide arugula among each loaf. Layer 2 slices of prosciutto on each.

Add 2 slices of cheese. Slice each chicken breast half crosswise into diagonal slices & place on top of cheese.

Drizzle more vinaigrette over chicken. With either a Panini press, George Foreman grill or a stovetop pan, press the sandwich until warmed through & cheese is melted. {Not shown below. This is before sandwich is pressed}

{Food for Thought}

I love Cuban bread from the grocery bakery for sandwiches like this. It's crusty & warms perfectly without becoming too hard. The arugula, prosciutto & herbs are a classic combo but you can also use spinach & any other type of herb you're fond of. I am not even a big Rosemary fan so I used Thyme instead. Prosciutto is an Italian type of ham you ask for at the deli. It's saltiness adds so much flavor to a sandwich like this.

If you're using your stovetop you can lightly butter your pan & just use low heat with something heavy to press the sandwich down.

And for one of our most favorite sandwich meals ever:

 {  Linking Deliciously to Blessed with Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays  }

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Brandied Shrimp

Oh Brandy, she's a fine girl. And this, is a fine dish!!!!!!!

This recipe came out of a new Latin cookbook given to me by this woman who has quickly become one of my favorite people in the world. And I am thrilled that 2010 may bring with it our first meeting where I promise to cook for her whatever she wants!!!!!!!!!!!

As for favorite foods, shrimp is at the top of my list. They're light & healthy & with just a few ingredients you can always turn them into something amazing!!!!! This recipe was for a main course with the shrimp served over rice but I decided to serve them alone as an appetizer for Christmas. I was almost going to make these again before posting because of my horrible plating skills.


Printable Recipe Here }

2 tblsp unsalted butter
1 tblsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined, tail on
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp Tabasco (or more to taste)
1 tsp oregano
Salt & Pepper
½ cup ketchup
2 tblsp brandy
3 tblsp chopped fresh parsley

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic & cook, stirring often, until it’s fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the shrimp, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, oregano & salt & pepper & let the mixture simmer until shrimp are partially cooked through, about 1 minute.

Stir in the ketchup & simmer until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Add the brandy & parsley, stirring to combine. Remove from heat & serve.

{Food for Thought}

Whenever serving shrimp as an appetizer like this, I always leave the tails on. They make for easily handled finger food. I used fresh parsley since I had it on hand but if you want to use dried then remember the 1/3 rule. When substituting dried for fresh always use 1/3 of the amount of fresh. So, if needing 3 tblsp of fresh you would use 1 tsp of driedm since there are 3 tsp in 1 tblsp.

And if you love shrimp like I do, you'll love these:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fresh Raspberry Sour Cream Crumb Cake

That's fresh, as opposed to old & stale, which really wouldn't flow too well in the title. Anyhoo, this was one of those "gotta make it soon" recipes even though I am not a huge sweets eater. I figured I'd make it & then pawn it off on my wonderful co-workers as well as my parents who came over for dessert on Sunday. It was so light & not very sweet at all. Perfect for a holiday & even better for a brunch or Bunko or something with all the ladies. It was even better the next day, served at room temp!!!!!

Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma


Printable Recipe Here

For the crumb topping:
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
• Grated zest of 1 lemon
• 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the cake:
• 1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1⁄4 tsp. baking soda
• 1⁄4 tsp. salt
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup sour cream
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 2 cups fresh raspberries
• 2 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease & flour a 10-inch round springform pan.

To make the crumb topping, in a small bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar & lemon zest. Add the melted butter & stir with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

To make the cake, in a bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda & salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream & vanilla until well blended. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture & add the sour cream mixture.

Beat until smooth & fluffy, about 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan & spread evenly. Cover evenly with the raspberries. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the berries.

Bake until the topping is golden brown & a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 38 to 42 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack & let cool for 20 minutes. Remove the sides of the springform pan.

Dust the cake with the confectioners' sugar & serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges. Makes one 10-inch cake.

{Food for Thought}

It was done at 40 minutes but I wanted the top to be a little more golden so I put it under the broiler for just 1 1/2 minutes, watching it the whole time. This cake was even better the next day. To be safe I stored it in the fridge but then took it out & served it at room temp. Also, I added more raspberries then what you see in the picture above. There was hardly any empty spaces once I was done.

Courtesy of My Kitchen

{ Linking Deliciously to Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays
and Wordful Wednesdays at Seven Clown Circus }

Monday, January 4, 2010

Wine, Dine, Peace of Mind ~ 2009

Happy New Year everyone! 

For the past 6 months I have shared less personal pictures & info with my recipe posts because I simply have had less time for posting. I also know we all have a place to go after this one so I've tried to make for brief posts. But I do miss sharing the woman behind the apron & I have to remind myself this is my blog, an expression of me not just eating but living & loving as well.

So let me catch up on what I have been missing & then we'll move on.

It's been a good year. We've.....

Become friends with neighbors...

And closer with existing friends.

Exchanged numerous gifts in the mail with a blogger friend turned real life & forever friend.

Shared with others the joy of a quaint town in which we love.

Did some window shopping.

Watched our newest addition to the family slowly outweigh our most precious member of the family...

And not so patiently waited for these two to simply co-exist.

Visited some really cool restaurants I can cross off my list.

Shared, for the 10th year, the very same birthday with best friend Tammy

Rented a river cabana at an awesome little spot...

Had an amateur but successful & fun photo shoot 

And happens MORE than you think....

Endured many flops in the kitchen, even if they are pretty flops.

Happy New Year everyone!!!!!! Being here is always a joy & a big part of my life. Thank you for not only letting me share myself but also letting me in to your life.

Coming Soon :  Brandied Shrimp, Grilled Chicken Provo Arugula Panini, Coconut Shrimp, Buffalo Chicken Dip & How I Got My Woman Card Back!