Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mexican Chicken Soup

This is my second Barefoot Bloggers post, and I'm so glad that I joined! I tend to get stuck in a rut for our dinners, and this gives me the motivation to try a new recipe at least every two weeks. I'm at my parents' house today, home for thanksgiving, so I made this soup for us for lunch. My mom loves chicken tortilla soup, and she was not disappointed with this recipe.


4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas

For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.

Isn't my mom's big copper pot pretty?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cranberry Maple Walnut Cupcakes

I made 4 dozen cupcakes this weekend for Phillip's family Thanksgiving party. The other 3 dozen were not new flavors, so I just took pictures of this new recipe.

Cranberry Maple Walnut Cake

1 yellow cake mix, prepared according to directions
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup Craisens
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Bake according to box directions

Cranberry Sauce

1 bag fresh cranberries
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar

Bring cranberries and water to a boil, add sugar. Simmer until craberries "pop" and are soft. Puree in food processor or blender. If the sauce is too thin, add some cornstarch to thicken.

Maple Buttercream

2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 pound confectioner's sugar
4 Tbsp maple syrup

Cream butter. Add confectioner's sugar slowly. Add maple syrup. If frosting is too think, thin with a few Tbsp of milk.

I cut a small sone out of the top of the cupcake and filled it with the cranberry sauce, then topped it with the buttercream.

Source: Inspired by Beantown Baker

Monday, November 17, 2008

Herb Roasted Onions

I've just recently joined a blogging event group, the Barefoot Bloggers! Every two weeks, one member chooses a recipe from the great Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa), and we all cook/bake it. This is my first entry, and they were so good. They fit in perfectly with Phillip & my new healthy eating plan.


2 red onions
1 yellow onion
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the stem end of each onion and carefully slice off the brown part of the root end, leaving the root intact. Peel the onion. Stand each onion root end up on a cutting board and cut the onion in wedges through the root. Place the wedges in a bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the onions and toss well.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a sheet pan, reserving the vinaigrette that remains in the bowl. Bake the onions for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender and browned. Toss the onions once during cooking. Remove from the oven, and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Phillip & I are trying to lose a little weight before we go to Mexico over New Years, so I'll be posting some lighter recipes on here for a while. I loved these, they were so filling that I actually couldn't finish it all. Phillip thought that it could have used a little more meat, which is easy to fix next time.


4 small acorn squash, 1 to 1 1/4 pounds each
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups cooked rice *
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, completely thawed, drained and chopped
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
Generous pinch kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut 1-inch off the top of each acorn squash and scoop out the seeds. If necessary in order for the squash to sit upright, cut off a small portion of the bottom. Put 1 of the 4 pieces of butter in the cavity of each squash. Set squash on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, brown the ground pork until no longer pink. Remove the meat from the pan, add the olive oil and saute the onion, celery, and carrot until they begin to soften, approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine.

Return the pork to the pan along with the cooked rice, spinach, pine nuts, oregano and salt and pepper, to taste. Stirring constantly, heat mixture thoroughly, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Divide the mixture evenly among the squash, top each squash with its lid and bake for 1 hour or until the squash is tender. Serve immediately.

* I used Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild Read Rice, which made it really easy, just zap it!
**I also halved the recipe and only used one acorn squash, because I could only find really large ones

Source: Alton Brown, Food Network

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cupcake Pops

This is my first attempt at Bakerella's cupcake pops. They have red velvet cake inside, and they are yummy!! I think that I'll take these to Phillip's cousin's 13th birthday party later this week.

Harvest Celebration Sugar Cookies

This weekend I made some sugar cookies for Phillip's family to celebrate the end of the harvest. I think that they're pretty cute!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Seafood Lasagna Rolls

I adapted this recipe from Annie's Eats shrimp lasagna rolls. My family loves crab, so I added canned crab. These are great to serve for a crowd, you can prepare it ahead of time and pop it in the oven. The fact that they are individually served makes it a great recipe for entertaining.
Seafood Lasagna Rolls

6 lasagna noodles
1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
¾ lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can lump crab meat
15 oz. ricotta cheese
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
2-3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
pinch of nutmeg
1 ¾ cups marinara sauce, divided
shredded mozzarella cheese, for topping

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the lasagna noodles and cook until partially tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp to the skillet; season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic to the pan as well and sauté until shrimp are cooked, about 4 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool. Coarsely chop the cooled shrimp and place in a bowl with 1 cup of ricotta cheese, the Parmesan, crab, egg, basil, salt and pepper to taste, and the nutmeg. Stir to combine.

In another bowl, combine 1 ½ cups of marinara sauce with remaining ricotta, to taste. Stir until smooth.

In an 8×8” baking dish, spread the remaining ¼ cup of marinara sauce so it covers the bottom. Lay lasagna noodles out on a work surface. Divide the shrimp mixture evenly between the noodles and spread over the full length of each. Roll up and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Spoon the creamy marinara sauce over the top. Top with shredded mozzarella.

Bake until lasagna rolls are heated through and cheese begins to brown, about 25 minutes.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cream Soda Cupcakes

Happy Birthday to Rusty! These are for him, they're just yellow cake and buttercream frosting with cream soda extract added. Super yummy!