Monthly Archives: January 2014

Healing Chicken Soup

Healing Chicken Soup

It was a rough few days several weeks ago when our kids got sick. There are so many people getting sick or the flu or whatever contagious junk is spreading around. It’s a rough year for the sickies! I’m very glad that we are feeling back to normal!

This isn’t my typical recipe with all the before and during pictures. I had a touch of something and couldn’t get it all together. Thankfully I was feeling better shortly afterwards and thought, this might be helpful to anyone is the same situation as me!

Crock pot Chicken Soup with Rice. Its a mouthful so I’m calling it Healing Chicken Soup. Since I made it to heal my poor sick family.

I made this soup to be mild but hearty. I know everyone has a favorite chicken soup recipe but I like to make mine this way.

Healing Chicken Soup

2-3 chicken breast, preferably bone-in
salt and pepper
2 TBL olive oil
3 stalk celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 whole onion, chopped
48 oz chicken stock
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 cups rice
4 cups water

Start by roasting the chicken breast in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of chicken breast. Let cool and cut meat off bones, leaving meat as whole as possible. Bones can make more stock later on!
Place chicken, all veggies, stock, thyme and salt and pepper in crock pot on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8.
When almost ready to eat, cook rice in water. Take chicken out of broth and shred and return to crock pot. To serve, put soup in bowl and add a scoop of rice on top. Store leftover separately and rice won’t get mushy.

Healing Chicken Soup

You end up with a simple, delicious broth soup that has lots of chicken flavor and not too salty or heavy like many canned varieties.

It was so enticing, Calvin couldn’t help himself from a carrot or two!

Healing Chicken Soup

And when I tried to run him off to finish photographing, he threw a huge tantrum!

Healing Chicken Soup

But we ate lunch and he was much better! Although I don’t have a picture to prove it! We went out side a few days later and here he is all smiles.

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Healing Chicken Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2-3 chicken breast, preferably bone-in
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 3 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 48 oz chicken stock
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 cups rice
  • 4 cups water
Instructions
  1. Start by roasting the chicken breast in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of chicken breast. Let cool and cut meat off bones, leaving meat as whole as possible. Bones can make more stock later on!
  2. Place chicken, all veggies, stock, thyme and salt and pepper in crock pot on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8.
  3. When almost ready to eat, cook rice in water. Take chicken out of broth and shred and return to crock pot. To serve, put soup in bowl and add a scoop of rice on top. Store leftover separately and rice won't get mushy.

 

Hope you can keep this around whenever you need it, and I pray that’s not anytime soon!

Please let me know what you think about the Healing Chicken Soup. I love to read any and all comments!

 

Brunch egg sandwich

Brunch egg sandwich

So I’m not the breakfast chef in our family. It’s my husband and he takes it seriously. Pancakes, breakfast burritos, eggs and bacon, potato hashbrowns, whatever it is, he does it well! We love having breakfast together as a family and how could you not when you have a menu like that? So after church yesterday morning, we decided on brunch instead of lunch. And I was so glad!

I am the first to admit, I will screw up eggs. It doesn’t take much to go from fluffy scrambled eggs to crispy bottoms and brown edges. Oops! Plus he has had so much practice making 2 over-easy eggs for his own breakfast for years, that I shouldn’t even try to attempt it! So a sunny side up egg? I don’t even try!

He made these delicious egg sandwiches. We have had them before but man, they were really just so good this time! And fairly easy to whip together, especially since it was just 2 but it would still be easy for a few more. No drive thrus for us this morning!

Here’s how they went down:

2 English muffins
2 eggs
1 TBL butter
2 pieces bacon
1/4 cup shredded cheese
Handful spinach, chopped
1/2 tomato, sliced
1 TBL mayo
1 or 2 dash of hot sauce
Salt and pepper

Start by frying the bacon in a large pan. We used one that has a wide surface area and has a lid (to be used later). Remove from pan to a paper towel lined plate. Drain off all but a teaspoon or less of fat. Crack the eggs over the drippings and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium low heat and cover with lid to help cook the egg yolk through. These only need to cook for 1-2 minutes and then the goodness comes!

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While the eggs cook, put the English muffins in to toast and stir together the mayo and hot sauce in a small bowl. We also cut up the butter into 4 pieces (1 for each English muffin half) and put on a warm plate to soften.

Next, remove lid and break bacon in 2 pieces. Place on top of egg in x pattern and sprinkle half the cheese on each. Cover with lid again for 1 more minute.

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Butter each english muffin half when they are done toasting and spread with mayo mixture. Assemble as follows: Egg and bacon on English muffin, spinach, tomato, then top of bun. Sandwich complete and ready to eat! We baked some sweet potato tater tots (Alexis brand) just to finish it off, yum!

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Brunch egg sandwich
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 English muffins
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBL butter
  • 2 pieces bacon
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese
  • Handful spinach, chopped
  • ½ tomato, sliced
  • 1 TBL mayo
  • 1 or 2 dash of hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Start by frying the bacon in a large pan. We used one that has a wide surface area and has a lid (to be used later). Remove from pan to a paper towel lined plate. Drain off all but a teaspoon or less of fat.
  2. Crack the eggs over the drippings and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium low heat and cover with lid to help cook the egg yolk through, 1-2 minutes.
  3. While the eggs cook, put the English muffins in to toast and stir together the mayo and hot sauce in a small bowl. Set aside butter but into 4 pieces (1 for each English muffin half) and put on a warm plate to soften.
  4. Next, remove lid and break bacon in 2 pieces. Place on top of egg in x pattern and sprinkle half the cheese on each. Cover with lid again for 1 more minute.
  5. Butter each english muffin half when they are done toasting and spread with mayo mixture. Assemble as follows: Egg and bacon on English muffin, spinach, tomato, then top of bun. Sandwich complete and ready to eat!

 

Please let me know what you think about the Brunch Egg Sandwich! I would love to hear your comments.

Strip Steak with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

Strip Steak with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

In an effort to post more efficiently, I tried a new method: iPad photos only. I don’t think it is an “everytime” kind of method but I wanted to see if the process was streamlined at all. My dslr camera is still my preferred photo taker (imagine that!) but sometimes I would like to do something super fast and that way ain’t it! So bear with the less clear photos and know this is not the norm!

So this dinner is something that is slightly more difficult for a 3 and 1 year old to eat so the hubby and I ate this meal after the babies had already eaten. Although both of them did ask to try some bites so maybe I should have just made it for all of us!

I tried to cook and time myself to give an approximate time frame but I had to delay things since we had a later arrival home than what I originally anticipated. That being said, I would guess you could do this whole meal in 60 minutes. I will post the recipes separately to make them easier to follow but none of them really have to be babysat individually for a long length of time.

Regardless, here they are. We really love this kind of meal, colorful, flavorful and not terribly difficult.

Strip Steak Ingredients

NY strip steak with red wine reduction

2-3 Steaks, about 1/2 in. in width, a little less than 2 pounds total
1 TBL olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TBL butter
1/2 cup red wine
2 TBL half and half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take steaks out to rest and start their marinade. Blot dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Place in plastic zip top bag and drizzle olive oil and soy sauce. Set aside to rest for 20-30 minutes.

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When ready to cook, heat on high heat, a large skillet big enough to hold all the steaks without over crowding. Place in the hot pan the steaks for 2 minutes per side, only turning once.

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Remove from heat and place on a sheet pan and finish in oven for 5-10 minutes depending on how you like your steak’s done-ness. Remove from oven and let rest uncovered for 10 minutes.

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We like a medium steak so I believe I had them in a total of 7 minutes. Use a digital thermometer to make sure the inside temperature is exact. Mine read 130 degrees and rested up to about 137. Here is a good table for temperature and done ness: http://www.thestayathomechef.com/2013/02/new-york-strip-steak-topped-with-garlic.html
While steaks are in oven, pour red wine in pan with stuck on bits, scraping up to remove bits from bottom.

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Let wine reduce by half and add half and half. Stir to incorporate. Let warm through for another minute and add butter.

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Remove from pan and serve along side of steaks

NY strip steak with red wine reduction
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2-3 Steaks, about ½ in. in width,a little less than 2 pounds total
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 TBL butter
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 TBL half and half
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take steaks out to rest and start their marinade. Blot dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Place in plastic zip top bag and drizzle olive oil and soy sauce. Set aside to rest for 20-30 minutes.
  2. When ready to cook, heat on high heat, a large skillet big enough to hold all the steaks without over crowding. Place in the hot pan the steaks for 2 minutes per side, only turning once.
  3. Remove from heat and place on a sheet pan and finish in oven for 5-10 minutes depending on how you like your steak's done-ness. Remove from oven and let rest uncovered for 10 minutes.
  4. While steaks are in oven, pour red wine in pan with stuck on bits, scraping up to remove bits from bottom.
  5. Let wine reduce by half and add half and half. Stir to incorporate. Let warm through for another minute and add butter.
  6. Remove from pan and serve along side of steaks.

 

Sweet Potato Mash with Rosemary

Sweet Potatoes (3 Large)
1/2 cup half and half
salt and pepper
3 TBL butter
1 TBL chopped fresh rosemary

Clean and peel the sweet potatoes.

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Cube into 1 inch pieces and steam for 15 minutes on stove, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

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Remove from heat and mash with half and half, butter, 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper, each and rosemary. (I usually put this in the oven to stay warm while I finish the rest of the meal.)

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Sweet Potato Mash with Rosemary
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 servings
 
Ingredients
  • Sweet Potatoes (3 Large)
  • ½ cup half and half
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 TBL butter
  • 1 TBL chopped fresh rosemary
Instructions
  1. Clean and peel the sweet potatoes.
  2. Cube into 1 inch pieces and steam for 15 minutes on stove, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. Remove from heat and mash with half and half, butter, ½ tsp of salt and pepper, each and rosemary. (I usually put this in the oven to stay warm while I finish the rest of the meal.)

Sauteed Spinach with Mushrooms and Onions

(I actually adapted this recipe:
http://healthyfortwo.com/2012/01/10/quick-sauted-spinach/)

1 TBL olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 pound baby spinach
salt and pepper

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and saute the onions and mushrooms until softened, about 6 minutes.

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Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

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Add spinach and stir until all leaves are starting to wilt and soften.

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This should only take a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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Sauteed Spinach with Mushrooms and Onions
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and saute the onions and mushrooms until softened, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add spinach and stir until all leaves are starting to wilt and soften.
  4. This should only take a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

The finished plate:

Steak with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

I hope if you make even one for these recipes, please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to know what you think!

Breakfast Strata

End of Christmas Break & Breakfast Strata

I hadn’t really intended on taking a month off of posting but things just kept happening (sound familiar?!) So at the end of the year, I thought, I’ll just start things back up when I can make the time again. Sooo that’s what I’ve done!

We had a fabulous Christmas and New Years. It was just awesome! Since we didn’t go home to Dallas this year, everyone came to us and you might think having houseguests for 2 weeks is tough but I really enjoyed it!

I spent a little time on Christmas Eve morning making this Breakfast Strata. We had a ham for dinner a night or two before and I was hoping to use some of the leftovers for this. It cooked while we opened presents and drank coffee (expect the kids!) and played with all the new present. It worked out perfectly!

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The beauty of this recipe is if you have a specific ingredient you want to use or don’t have you can make the filling different. If you want to use goat cheese, just swap it out. Combonations that also might work: Sausage and mushrooms; spinach and fontina cheese; or roasted red peppers and parmesan. Whatever you would like! My only suggestion would be to keep it under 3 flavorful ingredients.

Breakfast Strata

1 large loaf of French or Italian Bread (the big fluffy kind), sliced 1/2″ thick
1 stick of unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 lb. red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
salt and pepper
3 shallots or 1/2 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBL fresh rosemary, minced
1 lb ham, diced
1 cup dry white wine
12 oz monterey jack cheese, shredded
12 eggs
3 cups half and half
3 TBL minced fresh parsley

Breakfast Strata Breakfast Strata
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread the bread out on 2 baking sheets and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. I switched and turned them halfway through the cooking time.

Breakfast Strata

Let bread cool and spread butter on one side of each slice, using 3-4 TBL of butter.

Breakfast Strata

Meanwhile, boil potatoes in water and 1/2 tsp salt over high heat. Cook until just slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the potatoes.

Breakfast Strata Breakfast Strata

Melt 3 TBL butter in a skillet over medium heat and add potatoes. Cook until beginning to brown about 7 minutes.

Breakfast Strata

Stir in the onion and cook 2 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Breakfast Strata

Transfer to a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add ham and stir together.

Breakfast StrataBreakfast Strata

Add wine to skillet and simmer until very reduced, about 5 minutes, take off of heat to cool.

Breakfast Strata

Butter a 9x13inch pan (I had a slightly larger one)and place half of slices in the bottom in a single layer, with butter side up.

Breakfast Strata Breakfast Strata

Sprinkle half of the ham and potato mixture and 1/3 of cheese over the bread slices. Repeat with remaining bread slices, ham and potatoes and another 1/3 of cheese.

Breakfast Strata Breakfast Strata

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until combined then whisk in reduced wine, half and half, parlsey, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Breakfast Strata Breakfast Strata

Pour egg mixture evenly over all and sprinkle remainder of cheese on top.

Breakfast Strata

Wrap the strata with plastic wrap, very tightly. Weigh the strata down with a few sugar boxes or heavy books. (These beignet mix boxes are the perfect size and pretty heavy.) Refrigerate for 8-24 hours.

Breakfast Strata Breakfast Strata

When ready to cook, unwrap the dish and let sit out on counter for 15-20 minutes. Bake uncovered for 1 hour and 20 minutes in 325 degree oven. Strata should puff slightly and pull away from sides. Cool for 5-10 minutes.

Breakfast Strata

Also, this is a great breakfast-for-dinner item as well! Its delicious for either!

End of Christmas Break & Breakfast Strata
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large loaf of French or Italian Bread (the big fluffy kind), sliced ½" thick
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, divided
  • 1½ lb. red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 shallots or ½ onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 TBL fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 lb ham, diced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 12 oz monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 12 eggs
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 3 TBL minced fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread the bread out on 2 baking sheets and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. I switched and turned them halfway through the cooking time.
  2. Let bread cool and spread butter on one side of each slice, using 3-4 TBL of butter.
  3. Meanwhile, boil potatoes in water and ½ tsp salt over high heat. Cook until just slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the potatoes.
  4. Melt 3 TBL butter in a skillet over medium heat and add potatoes. Cook until beginning to brown about 7 minutes.
  5. Stir in the onion and cook 2 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  6. Transfer to a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add ham and stir together.
  7. Add wine to skillet and simmer until very reduced, about 5 minutes, take off of heat to cool.
  8. Butter a 9x13 inch pan (I had a slightly larger one)and place half of slices in the bottom in a single layer, with butter side up.
  9. Sprinkle half of the ham and potato mixture and ⅓ of cheese over the bread slices. Repeat with remaining bread slices, ham and potatoes and another ⅓ of cheese.
  10. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until combined then whisk in reduced wine, half and half, parsley, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper.
  11. Pour egg mixture evenly over all and sprinkle remainder of cheese on top.
  12. Wrap the strata with plastic wrap, very tightly. Weigh the strata down with a few sugar boxes or heavy books. Refrigerate for 8-24 hours.
  13. When ready to cook, unwrap the dish and let sit out on counter for 15-20 minutes. Bake uncovered for 1 hour and 20 minutes in 325 degree oven. Strata should puff slightly and pull away from sides. Cool for 5-10 minutes.

 

Please let me know what you think of the Breakfast Strata (or any other dish!) I would love to know hear your comments!