Monday, February 27, 2012

Fun name to say, delicious soup to eat! My whole family liked this hearty soup. It is the perfect thing to make for chilly winter night. I served it with a green salad and some homemade french bread : sliced very thin, brushed with olive oil and garlic, and toasted in the oven. I used 2 heaping t. of curry powder, not knowing if the flavor would be too overpowering, but next time I'll go ahead and use 3 full t. Very fulfilling and delicious!


2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 apple, cored, peeled, and chopped
1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast (I used 2 c. rotisserie)
1/2 c. flour
2 to 3 t. curry powder
5 c. chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
salt and pepper
2 c. hot cooked rice

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, green pepper, apple, and chicken (unless using rotisserie like me...if so, add chicken with the broth in next step). Saute for about 15 minutes. Turn the heat to low.

2. In small bowl, mix the flour and curry powder. Add the mixture to the pot, then stir and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth (rotisserie chicken now if you are using it) and tomatoes. Partially cover the pot and simmer the soup for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

3. To serve, place about 1/4 c. of rice in a bowl and ladle the soup over the rice. Makes about 8 cups.

Source: Family Fun magazine


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I made wontons for the first time today, Valentine's Day. My original intention was to make Italian-flavored ravioli shaped like hearts for the kids' lunch, inspired by this post at Weelicious. However, today I was feeling like Chinese-flavored wontons might go over better, especially if I gave the kids some noodles to go with them.

Weelicious also had a recipe for chinese flavored filling, so I adapted her recipe just a tad, and this filling turned out great! Luckily, I had everything on hand, and this was really simple. I used rotisserie chicken because I usually have some in the freezer in one-cup batches to grab for quick meals), but you could use any chicken or pork. Leaving out the meat entirely and adding more veggies is another option, which I'll definitely be experimenting with. My whole family loves wonton and pot stickers (which as far as I can tell are just fried wonton), so this will be a great for nights that we crave Chinese food and I want something a bit healthier.


1 c. shredded rotissiere chicken
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped carrot
1 T. soy sauce
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic
1 T. sesame oil
Wonton wrappers

1. Put all ingredients except wonton wrappers into a food processor and pulse until until pureed (I used my magic bullet, in batches).

2. Put a teaspoon of filling on a single wonton wrapper, and use your fingertip dipped in water to moisten the edges. Fold over into a triangle and press edges together.

3. Place 4 or 5 wontons into a pot of boiling water for two minutes, remove with a slotted spoon, and lay on a plate without letting their edges touch. Serve immediately (although I like them cold, too). If desired dip into a sauce made with soy sauce and a touch of sesame oil.

4. These are good to made ahead and freeze, as well. Just follow steps one and two, place wontons on a baking sheet, freeze until solid and then move to a bag or container to keep in the freezer. Take out as many as needed when you want to eat some wonton, and then go ahead with step number three. No need to defrost.

Here are our wontons from today's "Chinese Valentine" inspired lunch. I cut the wrappers into hearts using a cookie cutter and sealed two of them together with filling inside for each heart. We also had noodles, heart jello, applesauce, and fresh snow peas. :)

Here I used the rest of the wonton filling to make regular triangles to freeze. I found that making four at a time, with a cup of water and dry cloth nearby, made the work pretty easy and quick. The wonton are in the freezer ready for us to use later.

Inspired by:

Brothy Black Bean Soup

Monday, February 13, 2012

I call this 'brothy' black bean soup because I am still searching for the perfect 'thick' black bean soup. So whenever I find that elusive recipe, I'll be able to distinguish between them by name. I LOVE the flavors in this recipe, and brothy is NOT a bad thing at all...sipping it from a small cup is just as good as eating it from a bowl. It is good plain, or with a bit of sour cream and cilantro on top. I'll make this soup often!

Brothy Black Bean Soup

2 T. olive oil
1 c. finely chopped onion
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground coriander
3 c. vegetable stock
1/2 c. fresh orange juice (I did happen to squeeze some oranges, but I'm sure ready-made juice would be fine)
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (or used precooked black beans, 2 c.)
1/4 t. pepper
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat, and add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Add the cumin and coriander, stir for about 30 seconds.

Stir in all the remaining ingredients, except the salt. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Transfer 1 c. (or more) of the beans and liquid to a blender and puree until smooth. Sitr the pureed mixture into the soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve with sour cream and fresh cilantro, if desired.

Source: A Beautiful Bowl of Soup by Paulette Mitchell

Unstuffed Zucchini Sausage Casserole

Saturday, February 4, 2012

This makes a really great supper all by itself. We usually enjoy it on a hot summer night with tomatoes and zucchini picked straight from the garden, but when a craving hits, veggies from the grocery store will do. ;) I use ground turkey instead of sausage, and I spice the meat up while it cooks with red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and garlic. The dish is good with or without the cheese (did I just say that???). Make a big bowl of fruit for everyone to dip into for dessert, and you'll have a fulfilling, taste-filled meal!

Unstuffed Zucchini Sausage Casserole-4kowboys

1 medium zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. of spicy sausage (as mentioned above: I use ground turkey and spice it up)
3 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 medium yellow or red onion, chopped fine
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup shredded fresh basil leaves, chopped
fresh oregano, thyme, sage, etc. to your taste (I would recommend 1/2 tsp. each fresh) (optional)
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Cook and crumble sausage in large skillet until cooked through. Set aside. Add oil to pan. Add potatoes, onion, garlic, green pepper, zucchini, salt and pepper and saute until onions are clear and potatoes are browning on all sides. Add sausage and tomatoes to pan. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft and cooked through, about 20-25 mintues. Turn off stove and add cheese to top, recover and let melt

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