Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Warm and Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

We often eat this at restaurants but it is so easy to make at home.   I adapted this from a crock pot recipe.  You can certainly make it in the crock pot but it doesn't take long to do it on the stove top/oven.  I made it in less than an hour after work. 

Warm and Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip
  • 2 10 ounce packages of frozen spinach (I use Bird's Eye), thaw and squeeze out excess water
  • 2 14 ounce cans of artichoke hearts,drained and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounce cream cheese, cubed
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Tortilla chips, pita chips, vegetables
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute onion in olive oil until translucent and starting to brown in a large oven safe skillet or sauce pan.  Add garlic and saute for another minute until fragrant.  Add spinach and artichokes and combine well.  Add sour cream, mayonnaise, cheeses, milk, balsamic and stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper and taste to adjust seasoning. 

Transfer pan to 350 oven and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly and all cheeses are melted.  Serve with your choice of dippers.  We love tortilla chips.

Adapted from damndelicious.

Beef and Broccoli

I am blessed to have a child who loves vegetables.  Broccoli (or trees as she called them when she was small) has always been one of her favorites.  Her first choice every time we eat Chinese is Beef and Broccoli.  This week we made it at home in just half an hour.  She was happy to help and happy to eat it.  This will be one of those recipes she will be making on her own in no time.  

Beef and Broccoli

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1/2 cup water, plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1.5 lb boneless round steak cut into thin 3-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 4 bunches of broccoli crowns cut into florets
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • hot cooked rice
Blanch broccoli in boiling water for about 4-5 minutes or until it is bright green.  (You could also steam it in a steamer or the microwave for a few minutes.) 

While broccoli is cooking, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons water and garlic powder in a bowl and whisk until smooth.  Add beef strips and stir to coat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir fry beef until it is done to your liking.  Remove and keep warm.  Heat remaining tablespoon of oil and stir fry broccoli until is is starting to brown around the edges and is done to your preference.  Should not be mushy.  Should be tender crisp.  Return beef to pan.

Whisk soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and remaining cornstarch and water until smooth; add to the pan. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Serve over rice.  (Brown or white.)  Serves 4.

We like to make extra rice and then make fried rice the following night out of the leftovers.  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Creamy Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese

This is absolutely my newest, favorite tomato soup recipe.  I have been trying for years to perfect one.  I have found some that come close, but have never been able to make one that I found really hit the spot with me.  I finished this pot in less than 24 hours.  I did share a small bowl with an elderly friend, but I had to pull out all the altruism that I could muster to do so.  I really wanted to be selfish with this one.  Amazingly this recipe has no sugar or butter.  The creaminess comes from the delicious goat cheese.  If you can find it fresh, you absolutely need to go that route.  I use fresh when I can get it but buy it in bulk at Sam's Club when I can't get it fresh.  I can eat it on anything... crackers, chips, dips, nachos, soups, casseroles... I really like goat cheese.  Can you tell?  So when you see my going in to a local business and coming out with a sandwich bag full of white substance... I have not gone to the dark side.  I am simply feeding my goat cheese addiction!

Creamy Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can (28-ounce) diced tomatoes, un-drained (use San Marzano if at all possible.  They are the best canned tomatoes that you can purchase.  It really, really makes a difference!)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • Bunch of large fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 water
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Melt the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent and the garlic tender, but not browned. Add the salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

Add the tomatoes, along with their liquid and bring the mixture to a slow simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the milk and goat cheese and continue cooking until the cheese has melted. Add the basil (saving a small amount for garnish) and stir until wilted.

Using a hand-held immersion blender (or conventional blender), puree the mixture until smooth. Add the water to thin slightly and stir in the pine nuts and keep warm until served. Sprinkle with reserved basil before serving.

The recipe makes about 4 cups of soup.  For me that is basically two meals worth!  I normally just have soup as my meal.  I love this stuff!!  I was almost sad when I finished if off today at lunch.  However, I have a plan to make my Mexican Corn Soup this evening so I will have to take solace in that.  And make another pot of tomato later in the week which I get my next goat cheese hook up!

Adapted from My Gourmet Connection.

Potato, Squash and Goat Cheese Casserole

I have recently located a source for fresh goat cheese within my community.  I was already an admitted goat cheese addict, but now that I can get it fresh, my addiction is at an entirely new level!  I also have a local source for fresh, home grown crooked neck yellow squash.  Now I have been able to combine these into the most delicious casserole.  For me, it is a meal on its own.  For the family, I made a roasted chicken to serve along side the casserole.   My 13 year old isn't such a fan of goat cheese and didn't care for this... but the adults loved it.  I have a tiny bit left over which just may be my dinner tonight... I also made the most delicious Creamy Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese which I will post next.  It is absolutely my favorite tomato soup recipe to date.  And we all know I make a lot of soup!!

Potato, Squash and Goat Cheese Casserole

  • 2 medium yellow squash, about 1/2 pound
  • 2 small to medium russet potatoes, about 1 pound
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 6 ounces goat cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil.
Use a mandoline slicer or chef's knife to slice the squash and potatoes into very, very thin slices, 1/8-inch or less. Toss the sliced vegetables with the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl. (A mandoline is really the best choice to get really thin, even slices.  It makes a big difference in cooking time.)

Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish then season with salt and pepper. Top with half of the goat cheese, scattered evenly in large chunks. Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other 1/2 of the goat cheese. 

Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper.
Pour the milk over the entire dish. Top with the Parmesan cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until the top browns. 

Adapted from Simple Recipes.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Butch's Famous Tuna Noodle Casserole

April 4th would have been Butch Drimmel's birthday.  We all miss him so much.  Tonight I am making his famous Tuna Noodle Casserole for his daughter, April, and some friends.  I can never make it without thinking about all of the fun and laughter and great times we all had together over the years.   We cooked many a meal together with Butch in our kitchen.  Daddy and Butch together were a force of nature.  Always picking on someone.  I miss them both so very much.  Stupid Cancer.  I love the thought of Daddy and Butch sitting on Heaven's front porch drinking coffee and giving everyone a hard time.  I hope they will see us celebrating them tonight.  And hope that they are happy with the lives their daughters are now living.  

I am going to post this recipe exactly as Butch posted it in the cookbook we published in honor of his late wife Jean.  However, he made some alterations to the recipe when he served it as do I

Butch's Tuna Noodle Casserole

  • 6 ounces medium egg noodles
  • 7 ounces canned tuna
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped pimento
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 1/2 ounce can cream of celery soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 ounces sharp American cheese, grated
Cook and drain noodles.  Combine with tuna, mayonnaise, celery, onion, green pepper and pimento.  Salt to taste.

Blend soup and milk.  Heat through.  Stir in grated cheese.  Heat and stir until cheese melts.  Add to noodle mixture.  Put in 2 quart casserole and bake, uncovered, at 425ยบ for 20 minutes.

If you double this recipe, it makes one 9x13 pan.

Butch's modifications:  Butch left out the onion, celery, green pepper and pimento when he made the casserole.  His family didn't care for those vegetables.  In addition, he took plain Lay's Potato Chips and crumbled them up and put them on top of each serving of the casserole.  It is so amazingly good.  Salty, crunchy, creamy goodness!

Tammi's modifications:  We love onion, so I leave it in.  And since you all well know by now that I think celery is the evil spawn of the devil, I completely leave out the celery and I use cream of mushroom soup in place of the cream of celery.   I also add either frozen or canned peas when I make it for our family.  We like the extra sweetness of peas.  And I use sharp cheddar cheese always.  I am not a fan of American cheese. It just doesn't have much flavor to me.  And you MUST add the Lay's Potato Chips.  Be sure to use the original, thin ones.  It is just not tuna noodle without them.

I actually made a triple batch for tonight.  Two pans the way April likes them to take to her house and then one pan with onions and peas for our house.  I will just have to pretend that there is no celery in there! 
Happy Birthday Butchy!  We love you and miss you very much!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Potato Cream Cheese Soup

Today you get two soup recipes... Mostly because I am hungry right now.   Knowing that I made this one last night is almost enough to make me get out in the cold and drive home to get a bowl.  Should have brought some with me!   I have already posted my Roasted Jalapeno creation from yesterday.  I had it for lunch yesterday and finished off one bowl for dinner.  I knew I would still be hungry so I also made a batch of my new favorite potato soup.  This one is so easy and simple.  I have made it 3 times in the past two weeks.  I am going to start buying the cream cheese with the extra protein in it and use it to try to help my protein intake.  As you may have noticed most of my soups do not have meat in them.  I do use chicken or turkey stock and I try to make my own stock as much as possible.  I am not a vegetarian.  I just don't really care to eat meat.  This recipe comes together easily and has just a few ingredients.  It is my go-to comfort food during this cold weather that will not go away.  

Potato Cream Cheese Soup

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 ounces of cream cheese, cubed (Or one container of extra protein cream cheese - they are 7 ounces)

Put potatoes, broth and seasonings in soup pot and bring to boil.  Boil over medium heat until potatoes are soft and tender.  Mash some of the potatoes to release the starchiness.  Reduce heat.  Stir in cream cheese and stir occasionally until cheese melts.  Serve immediately.  

You can top with some shredded cheddar cheese and some chives or even bacon if you wish.  I like it just as it is.  Nice, creamy and warm.  It fills me up and makes me happy.  Soup=happiness in my world. 

Roasted Jalapeno Soup

I know that most people probably wonder how I can eat soup every day.  My own family even questions my strange tastes.  However, it does not keep them from at least sampling my latest creation.   I love soup.  And there are just so many different varieties that I never get tired.  I have some staples that I make over and over and then I have these every once in a while special treats.  This one is going to be one of those.  It doesn't make a big pot.  In fact, I made one pot yesterday and it was gone by the end of the day.  And I can assure you that I ate most all of it.  Sorry, I am not sorry...  

Roasted Jalapeno Soup
  • 4 green jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped (roughly 2 carrots)
  • 1/2 cup onion, peeled and chopped (roughly 1 small onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour (4 Tablespoons)
  • 2 1/2 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or milk
  • Salt and pepper
Preheat broiler.  Cut jalapenos in half, remove seeds and membranes.  Broil for 4-6 minutes, keeping an eye on the peppers pretty closely.  (Don't get busy doing the rest of the prep and forget them... they will be charred to a crisp quickly!)  Once they start to darken and start getting soft, remove from oven and let cool slightly.  The skins will easily peel off where the charred spots are.  Chop them into small pieces once cool enough to handle easily.  (P.S.  I use gloves for all of this process.  I don't like hot pepper fingers at all.)

In your soup pot heat the olive oil and add the carrots, onion and garlic.  Cook until they start to soften.  Then add the butter.  Once butter has melted, stir in flour and keep stirring for a couple of minutes.  Slowly add stock and stir until smooth.  Add the jalapenos.  Bring to a boil, add cream and then lower heat and simmer until soup has thickened.  Will only take about 5 minutes or so.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Puree using an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and then back to pot.   

It is different than most of the soups I make.  It only makes about 2 cups and it is super creamy even though it only has half a cup of cream in it.  It has a really good flavor.  Slightly spicy but nothing over the top.  I obviously eat as a meal but it would be a wonderful first course for a nice Mexican style dinner.  

Adapted from Chocolate Moosey.