Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Panera Copycat Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I usually think it's a crime to cook dinner on a Friday night, but I had lot's of leftover broccoli from the week that I couldn't bare to see go to waste, so I made broccoli cheddar soup.  I avoid all broccoli soups that call for Velveeta cheese in them.  What is that stuff anyway?  I used a copycat Panera Bread recipe and it's so good.  Definitely worth the 30 minutes I spent in the kitchen on a Friday evening.  A few children in my family think if they see anything green in their food, it will kill them.  I'm happy to report that it did not kill anyone and was enjoyed by most.  

Panera Copycat Broccoli Cheddar Soup

1/2  cup butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup  chopped carrots ( I used baby carrots)
4 cups chopped broccoli
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
few drops of hot pepper sauce
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups cream or half and half
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/4 cup cornstarch, whisked into 1/2 cup cold water or cold broth
2 cups (about 8 oz)  grated sharp cheddar cheese

Melt butter in large stockpot. Add onions and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add carrots and broccoli cook for additional 3-4 minutes, season with salt, pepper, paprika and hot pepper sauce.  Pour chicken broth and cream into vegetable mixture. Add one teaspoon mustard, whisk until smooth.
Simmer over medium-low heat.
In a small bowl or cup, whisk the cold water or broth together with the cornstarch until smooth. Pour into the stockpot with the vegetable mixture. Whisk until smooth. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Add cheese and cook just until cheese is melted. Reduce heat until ready to serve.
Serves 4 as a main course

-Sharp or extra sharp cheese is best for this recipe.
-If you want to make a heartier soup,  cook a couple of chicken breast halves and shred or chop before adding to the finished soup.

Recipe Source:  A Bountiful Kitchen

{cooks note}
We didn't have any leftovers, so I would double this the next time I make it.  I also shredded my carrots.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Coconut Granola

We love granola in our family.  We like to add it to yogurt and fruit, eat it plain or as a bowl of cereal.  I only made one batch since it was my first time trying it out, and it was gone the next day.  I will most definitely triple it the next time I make it.  I used chopped, toasted almonds found in the bulk section at Winco instead of the slivered almonds, and I used vanilla bean paste instead of coconut extract.  This granola is crunchy, packed with coconut flavor and easy to make.

Coconut Granola

Yield: About 5 cups - 10 servings

  • 3 cups rolled oats (don't use quick oats)
  • 1 cup slivered almonds (I used a scant cup)
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss together oats, almonds, and coconut, set aside. In a separate microwave safe mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, honey, coconut oil and salt and heat in microwave on HIGH power 1 minute stirring once halfway through heating. Stir in coconut extract and pour mixture over oats and toss until evenly coated (it will seem dry at first, just keep tossing).
  • Spread oat covered mixture in an even layer into a rimmed, Silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 45 - 55 minutes , stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely (it will harden as it cools). Store in an airtight container.
  • Recipe Source:  Slightly adapted from Cooking Classy

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chicken Mango Salsa Soup

I found this soup a while ago on the 71 toes blog.  It looked fast and easy, so I wanted to give it a try.  Plus, this month the Mango salsa is on coupon at Costco.  I thought a few of my kids would turn their noses at this soup, but as we began to eat, it was silent.  It was either two things:  my kids were starving, or they really liked the soup.  I think it was both.  I started out halving the recipe, but quickly got everything out and made the whole thing.  We had two extra people over for dinner and we had a good amount of leftovers.  Perfect for a few lunches over the next couple of days.  I bought a rotisserie chicken at Costco and added black beans. Great soup to serve a large crowd.   

Chicken Mango Salsa Soup
recipe from 71 Toes

1 jar Mango Peach Salsa (from Costco)
1/2 jar Jack’s Special Salsa (also from Costco, but I used regular salsa when I made it and it worked just fine)
1/4 c. olive oil

Simmer for 10 minutes, then add:

1 1/4 tsp. cumin
2 1/2 qts (80 oz) chicken stock or broth
5-6 chicken breasts chopped up (or rotisserie works great)

Add one large package of frozen corn close to when you want to serve soup so it doesn’t overcook (equivalent of about 3 cans of corn drained)

Bring all ingredients to a low boil, stirring as it heats up.  Simmer for a few minutes before serving.

Serve with any variety of these:  

shredded cheese, small tortilla strips, sour cream, avocado chunks, chopped cilantro, black beans 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Tacos

I have been wanting to try these tacos out for a really long time now and have put them on the menu for a couple of weeks, but by the time I went to make them, I was out of a few of the ingredients.  I finally made them on Monday, and they were a huge hit.  Every one of my children loved them and even had seconds!  This meal is incredibly healthy and so satisfying.  The quinoa needs to be thoroughly rinsed before cooking; otherwise, it might have a really bitter taste to it.  I cooked mine in chicken broth to help add some flavor.  I cooked 2 cups quinoa in 4 cups of chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Make it a few hours or days ahead of time, so it is cooled by the time you need to use it.  I wasn't sure how many tacos this would make, so I made 1 1/2 times the recipe.  It made more than enough.  I bought fresh corn tortillas at the tortilla factory that we used the same day, and the next day for lunch we had it with flour tortillas.  I like it with both, but is much easier for kids to eat if you use flour.   If you use corn, I recommend heating them up on a skillet to somewhat harden the shell (not crunchy).  That way, they don't become soft and the tacos filling doesn't fall through the tortilla.  I also added diced radishes because I love the flavor they add.  Enjoy!

Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Tacos
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5) oz can diced tomatoes with green chilis, undrained
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Serve with:
  • corn or wheat tortillas
  • chopped lettuce
  • Monterey Jack, cheddar or a combination
  • diced avocados
  • diced tomatoes
  • hot sauce
  • diced radishes
  • Heat olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium high heat. Once hot, add onion and saute until golden and tender, about 3 minutes. Add in garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. Stir in broth, diced tomatoes, cooked quinoa, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, coriander and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat, cover saucepan with lid and simmer about 20 minutes, until mixture has thickened.
  • Stir in corn and black beans and simmer, uncovered 5 - 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in lime juice and cilantro. Serve warm over tortillas with desired toppings.
Source:  Cooking Classy (adapted slightly)

**I know you can barely see any of the filling in the tacos.  I got carried away with the lettuce and other toppings and didn't care by that point because my baby was crying in the background begging to be fed.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Coconut Vanilla Granola

I am always looking for recipes to use or incorporate coconut oil in, so when I came across this one I made it right away.  The great thing about granola is you can add and take away what you don't like.  I added sunflower seeds and used the roasted chopped almonds from Winco instead of the sliced.   I am not a dried fruit in my granola kind of girl, but if that suits your fancy, go for it.  This granola is by far my favorite one out there.  Your house will smell amazing and that touch of nutmeg makes it feel instantly like Fall.  

Coconut Vanilla Granola
adapted slightly from Table for Two

4 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 T. vanilla extract
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine the oats, walnuts, shredded coconut, almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste.  Pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and stir until well combined.  Spread evenly on the lined baking sheets and bake for 30-45 minutes or until lightly golden.  Stir every 10 minutes to make sure you get even baking and to avoid burning.  Cool completely and store in air tight containers.

**I baked mine for 35 minutes.

{cooks note}
I purchase my coconut oil from Costco because it is much cheaper than buying it anywhere else.  I also bought 100% pure maple syrup from Costco.  If you do not have vanilla bean paste, you do not want to skip it.  Purchase some here.  You will not be disappointed.  I go through this stuff way too fast.  I usually only use it in recipes where you will actually see the speckles of bean.  

I am obviously no good at taking pictures, but I included this one because it gives you a closer look at what the granola looks like.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

Hello?  Anybody out there?  I'm pretty sure I forgot how to blog.  Everything needs updated.  I'm actually scared to even look at my archives and see the pictures I took.  Yikes!  I'm not bringing this thing back from the dead yet.  Maybe a recipe here and there.  We'll see.

 I thought this would be the easiest way to post the recipe for the picture I put on Instagram today.  These cookies have become a favorite of mine recently.  I have been sifting through and organizing all of my recipes and I found this one I had typed out years ago.  Not sure the source, but it's a good one.  I noticed that in a previous post I said chocolate chip cookies with pudding were "fine".  I take that back.  THESE chocolate chip cookies with pudding are great! It all depends on the recipe.  I add m&m's to most of my chocolate chip cookies because everything is better with an m&m.  Am I right?

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

1 cup shortening and 1c butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
Add 1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp salt
2 tsp soda
5 1/4 c flour
package instant vanilla pudding
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup mini m&m's
Sea salt
Cream shortening/butter and sugars together.  Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.  Mix in the salt, soda and flour until just combined.  Add the pudding until combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips and mini m&m's.  Lightly sprinkle with sea salt just before baking.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Best if they are lightly golden on the bottom and slightly underdone on the top.   

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Leave of absence

I had plans to start posting recipes again, but this week things have changed for our family.  Go here to read more about it.