Loaded Potato Soup

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I got my first cold of the season this week, so I was really grateful when I felt well enough to be up and cooking for my family again last night. I had plenty of organic russet potatoes in the pantry and homemade chicken stock taking up space in my freezer;  and even though it’s not exactly cold and gloomy here – it is dark and rainy! I pinned this recipe from The Pioneer Woman and went with it because she rarely steers me wrong.

Verdict: This was really tasty and the whole family enjoyed it – even my picky daughter! I served this with Parmesan garlic bread because what is soup with out some extra carbs for dunking? ( I will share that new recipe with you all soon). I will make this again and it makes a big batch and would be perfect for potlucks or to split and bring to a family in need. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Perfect Potato Soup – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 6 slices Thin Bacon, Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 whole Carrots, Scrubbed Clean And Diced
  • 3 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 6 whole Small Russet Potatoes, Peeled And Diced
  • 8 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  •  Black Pepper To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Fresh Chives or parsley
  • 1 cup Grated Cheddar

Directions –

Add bacon pieces to a soup pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the pot.

Return the hot to medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.

Pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender. Whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove half to 2/3 the soup and blend in a blender/food process until completely smooth. Pour it back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Let it heat back up as you taste for seasonings, adding more of what it needs. Stir in cream, then stir in parsley, reserving a little for garnish.

Serve in bowls garnished with chives, grated cheese and crisp bacon pieces.

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Super Simple Chili

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I was hesitant to try this one because there are so few ingredients, but all the reviews reassured me that this would be worth making. I decided that it wouldn’t be seasoned enough for my taste so I added a few extras to bump up the flavor. I used one pound each of ground beef and pork, sauteed onion and garlic with the meat, added a six-ounce can of tomato paste along with the tomato sauce. I also had a couple of cups of homemade chicken stock that I didn’t want to waste, so I used that instead of water to loosen the chili up. I didn’t modify the spices (although I should have – there still wasn’t much flavor in this). This is not a “soupy” chili at all but it would be perfect for hot dogs, hamburgers or nachos. Overall, this was as I had predicted – too bland for my tastes! Although, it’s a good jumping off point for those who like to tweak recipes anyway. Thanks for stopping by!

**Click the link for the original recipe.

Super Simple Chili – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • homemade chicken stock for thinning, or water
  • 1 – 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 – 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • Shredded Cheddar, for serving
  • Chopped onions, for serving

Directions –


Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic and onion. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off the excess fat, and then pour in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add 1/2 cup water or stock at a time as needed. Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with shredded Cheddar and chopped onions.

Tequila Lime Chicken

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Sorry for the radio silence! We recently came back home from our two-week long trip to California. I am really glad to be home again and I’m sure my kitchen missed me as much as I missed it. My husband sustained himself on one meal a day (not home cooked), and these goodies that I made for him before I left! What would he do without me? 😉 Since I’ve been back home, I have tried several new and successful recipes which I will share with you in the next few weeks.

Anyway, on to the recipe! This marinade gives the chicken amazing flavor and it’s a new family favorite. I used chicken thighs and served these tacos with pico de gallo, my fave Mexican rice and refried (in bacon grease!) pinto beans with lots of Monterey Jack cheese. I will make this again and again! Thanks for reading, enjoy 🙂

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Tequila Lime Chicken – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (*I used grapeseed*)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced
  • 1/2 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (*If you have a few more pieces, this makes plenty of marinade*)
  • Corn tortillas
  • Monterey jack cheese
  • pico de gallo

Directions –

Slice open the limes and squeeze the juice into a food processor or blender. Add the tequila, olive oil, salt, garlic, jalapenos and cilantro. Blend the mixture until totally combined. Add the chicken to a large plastic bag and pour in the lime-tequila mixture. Seal the bag and marinate in the fridge for several hours or overnight.

Remove the chicken from the bag and grill it over medium-high heat. Rotate the chicken 45-degrees on both sides to create nice grill marks, and continue grilling until the chicken is cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serve with corn tortillas, fresh pico de gallo, beans and rice.

PW’s Baked Ziti

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I don’t normally make a meal for someone when I haven’t made it before, but PW has yet to steer me wrong; so I went for it. I also don’t get many chances to make meals like this, (the hubbs doesn’t like baked pasta dishes!), so when a friend from home group was scheduled for surgery, I thought that this would be a comforting meal for her and her family. This pasta is rich and filling and what you see in the picture is only half of what the recipe makes! I don’t think a 13 x 9 baking dish could have contained it all – so if you have a lasagna pan, you might want to use it!  Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Baked Pasta – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 can (28 Ounce Can) Whole Tomatoes, With Juice
  • 2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Tomato Sauce Or Marinara Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  •  Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces, weight Ziti Or Mostaciolli, Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
  • 1 tub (15 Ounce) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 1-1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 whole Egg
  • Fresh Minced Parsley

Directions –

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften. Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.

Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. After that time, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).

Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps.) Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.

Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

 

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Every once in a while I make something that isn’t worth making again, and this is a good example. It was bland and I forgot that I really don’t like the texture of wilted spinach – it grosses me out! I bet the hot spinach artichoke dip on the previous post would be amazing poured over pasta. I meant to try it; but when I make the dip, it’s meant for an appetizer and not an experiment 😉 If I ever do I’ll be sure to post about how it turned out. Thanks for reading!

Spinach Artichoke Pasta – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 2 bags Baby Spinach
  • 2 cans Artichoke Hearts, Drained And Halved
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour
  • 3 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1-1/2 cup Mozzarella Or Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth (less Or More)
  • 12 ounces, weight Penne, Cooked Until Al Dente
  • 1/2 cup Seasoned Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Crushed Red Pepper, To Taste

Directions –

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot or skillet. Add garlic and throw in the spinach. Stir it around until it’s wilted, about 1 minute. Remove spinach from heat and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons butter to the same pot and raise the heat to high. Throw in the halved artichokes and stir it around until they get a little color, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the artichokes from the pot and set them aside.

Reduce the heat to low. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the pot. When melted, sprinkle in flour and whisk until it’s combined. Pour in milk and whisk to combine. Let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until starting to thicken. Add Parmesan, Mozzarella/Monterey Jack, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir to melt, and if it’s overly thick, splash in chicken broth.

Add artichokes and pasta, tossing gently to combine. Gently fold in spinach, then pour the pasta into a serving bowl. Sprinkle the top with crushed red pepper flakes and plenty of Panko breadcrumbs for crunch.