Buffalo Chicken Soup (with a little bit of cheese)

photo(1)As soon as the first little bit of cold spell hit TX I decided it was soup cooking time. I had found this recipe on http://www.howsweeteats.com a while ago and I have been wanting to try it. I modified mine a little bit, but the results were fantastic. I made it and Phoebe, Drake, Morgan, and I all ate it with enough left overs for Phoebe to take it to work the next two days and I was eating it for lunch. So simple and so satisfying, especially now that the weather seems to have turned cold.

Buffalo Chicken Soup

  • 1 rotisserie chicken shredded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Wing sauce
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • sliced green onions, avocado, and cilantro for topping

In a sauce pan, saute your onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes. Then in your large pot add in stock, buffalo sauce, onions and garlic, and chicken. Bring to a simmer and then grate in the cheese stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring every so often.

Serve soup and top with avocado, cilantro, and green onions.

It is hearty enough that you can make a big bowl full for dinner or you can make a smaller bowl and serve it with grilled cheese (this is what I did for Phoebe and Drake). I loved this soup. It is one of my favorite new recipes that I have tried over the past few weeks. Really easy and yummy! Enjoy.

Tis the Season to Crock Pot – Salsa Chicken Chili

Crockpot Salsa ChickenWell, I have officially started my new job and with DFW traffic I am clocking 12+hour days. Having time to cook extravagant meals and enjoy grocery shopping is a thing of the past. But, I have rediscovered my love of the crockpot. There is nothing better right now than walking into my house after work and having dinner ready and a yummy smell greeting me as I walk through the door.

So I want to share a new favorite of mine. Blake wants to add it to the list of regulars. Only 6 ingredients less than 5 minutes to throw together, I am in love.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken Chili

  • 1 package reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 jar of salsa (your choice I used restaurant style tostitos)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 package chicken breasts
  • 1 package taco seasoning

Throw it all in the crockpot except for the cream cheese. Turn it on low and let it sit all day. When you get home, shred the chicken and add the cream cheese. Turn it up to high and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Give it a good stir, maybe sprinkle a little cheese on top and enjoy!

Canning your own Jelly at home

I recently got a new job and decided to ride out my two weeks notice at home in TN with my family. With this new position I won’t have the freedom to travel like I did in my old job so I wanted to come home and spend a week with my family before my start date.

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While I was at home I got the opportunity to learn how to “jar homemade jelly” from my grandparents. My grandfather has always gardened, and has been “jarring” as long as I’ve been alive. So I figured while I had some free time I should learn how to pick up the life skill in case I ever need to know down the road.

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We made scuppernong jelly. I drilled my grandfather for another name for a scuppernong. I said “okay, that is the southern name for them, what is the actual name?” He claims that they are actually called scuppernongs. Anyway, they are a member of the grape family and are basically tangy grapes.

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For your safety’s sake, I don’t think I’ll walk you through step by step the jarring process. I don’t want you to get burnt by boiling water, or improperly seal something and get sick because I am not thorough enough with my instructions. But it was a wonderful learning experience and I enjoyed getting to spend some quality time out at my grandparents.

Jalapeno Beer Cheese Soup

Jalapeno Beer Cheese Soup

I found the original of this recipe on Pinterest. I did a little bit of modification to make it easier to make. It was absolutely delicious, not at all healthy, but really great comfort food for a cold day. It was pretty simple to make. I used my food processor for all the chopping, which made things easier. I was hoping it would make enough for me to eat and have left overs, but the smell while it was cooking with the beer and the cheese was so fragrant that all the roommates wanted to try it. Once they tried it they didn’t stop at just trying, everyone had to have a bowl full and by the end of the night it was completely gone.

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Ingredients
    • 1 package of bacon (get the thick sliced kind, you’ll be glad you spent the extra money)
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 3 jalapeno peppers, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1 bottle ale (I used Shock Top)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • cayenne to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
First step is to cook the bacon, let it cool, and crumble it. Then reserve 1-2 tablespoons of the grease in the pan.
Then saute the onion and jalapeno in the bacon grease until tender (5-10 minutes). Then transfer everything over to your pot. Pour in the beer and chicken broth, add the garlic, thyme, butter, add the bacon, cream, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, but hold the cheese. Bring everything to a simmer. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add the cheese. Don’t bring it back to a boil with the cheese in it. Just stir it and let all the cheese melt into the soup. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Garnish it with a little bit of cheese, jalapeno slices, and bacon. Enjoy!

A couple of things I noticed on making this. Mine didn’t look a pretty as the pinterest picture I saw. It also was very thick, not so much a soup more like a chowder. I don’t know why this happened. It still tasted amazing, it just wasn’t as pretty as the original. I did take out some steps to make it easier. I don’t have a lot of patience for lots of different pans, so if you can garnish it to still make it look appealing this is the way to go. Easy and delicious. I will definitely make it again, it is just a guilty pleasure since beer, cheese, and bacon aren’t exactly diet foods.

S’more Cupcakes

Today I was planning on going to Baylor for the TCU game, but this morning Bertha decided to have a dead battery. Unfortunately, I am parked under the car port where it is virtually impossible to jump my car. So I’m going to have to deal with figuring out how to install my own car battery tomorrow. So instead of going to the game I decided to have a baking day. I absolutely hate baking because it requires attention to detail and precision which I things I like to avoid on the weekends. But I found a picture of s’more cupcakes on Pinterest this week and I decided I had to attempt them for myself.

S'more cupcakes

The original recipe for the cupcakes I found on http://www.livingeventfully.com/ – I made a couple of modifications so below is my take on her WONDERFUL recipe. Warning: these cupcakes are rich. You need to make sure you have milk handy. But they are absolutely delicious.

S’more Cupcakes
yields :: 36

For the graham cracker crust:
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 and a half sticks of butter
1 and a half bags of milk chocolate chips

For the cake:
2 cups sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup plus 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

For the frosting:
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
½ tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Start with your crust. You are going to mix the butter, graham crackers, salt, and sugar together. Then spoon them into your cupcake wrappers. This is going to be the bottom of your cupcake. Pop them into the oven for 5-7 minutes until they look like they are “set”. Leave the oven on, you are going to need it again.

While your graham crackers are baking melt your chocolate chips in the microwave. You don’t want them to burn so melt them for 45 seconds, stir them up so they start to look smooth. You may need additional time, just be careful not to over do it. Once your crust is done spoon the chocolate into blobs on top of the graham cracker crust.

Next mix your cake batter. Here is where my recipe really strays from hers. I didn’t have the patience for sifting and all of that. So just mix all your ingredients together with the exception of the boiling water. Bring your water to a boil and then add it and use your electric mixer to mix them up. It is going to be a really runny batter. Don’t worry. It will turn out super moist and you’ll love it. Spoon your batter over the graham cracker/chocolate goodness that is waiting.

Let it cook for around 18-20 minutes. It won’t take longer than 20 minutes. So set your timer and just trust that they are done.

Icing time!

Let them cool and go ahead and start working on your icing. This recipe is not for the faint of heart. It is quite the undertaking, especially the icing. Combine your egg whites, cream of tarter, sugar and vanilla into a bowl on top of a double boiler. I didn’t have a double boiler so I had to ghetto rig two pots… while feverishly whisking… safe to say it probably wasn’t the safest move on my part. You are supposed to whisk until it reaches 160 degrees. Well again, I didn’t have a thermometer and I am not one for details so I just did it until it “felt right” – I’ll let you know if I get food poisoning later.
I would say I whisked over the heat for around 7-10 minutes until the liquid started to look frothy and had changed colors. It was evident all the sugar had dissolved and it was starting to get foamy. Then I transferred the mixture to a metal bowl and used my electric mixer with the whisker utensils.

You’ve got to be patient. I had to whisk that stuff for probably 10 minutes for it to get stiff. At about 5 minutes as my arm was aching I threw in an extra pinch of tarter but with some patience it finally stiffened up.

I dumped my icing into a plastic bag and cut off the corner to ice the cupcakes.

First Attempt...Little CrispyI was determined to get that toasted look on them so Morgan and I first attempted to use lighters to toast them. This proved to be ineffective, painful, and time consuming. So despite the original recipe’s advice I decided to pop them back in the oven on broil – if I had a kitchen torch I would have used it, but I don’t know many normal people that actually have those laying around.

The broiler worked like a charm. You’ve just got to really watch them – seriously.

Don’t look away. Just sit at the oven watching them. If not you’ll turn back around and they will be totally charred.
Once you are done with the browning pour a big glass of milk and enjoy. These are out of this world good. Special thanks to Morgs. Couldn’t of done all that whisking without you!

Broiled Perfection

Bonafide Chef!

Well, recently I announced the blog was going Paleo. After two recipes I’ve been pretty mum for the past few weeks. That’s largely because I don’t want to post recipes that aren’t yummy and as my taste buds are adjusting to the culture shock that is Paleo nothing has really been wetting my whistle lately. The things that have been appetizing aren’t really recipes that would be ground breaking for you all. Like grilled chicken breasts, sauteed squash, etc. basic stuff. 

I’ll get back on trying to find some yummy new Paleo recipes to post but today I wanted to share some excitement in my life that was pre-paleo. At the end of the summer I got bored one day and entered a recipe contest from the National Board of Pork also known as Pork Be Inspired. I received an email last week that my recipe won the GRAND PRIZE a $3,000 American Express gift card! 

My recipe was for pulled pork eggs benedict with a spicy BBQ hollandaise sauce. Yes, it is award winning and perfect for brunch! Here is their announcement Image

Paleo Avocado Chicken Salad

So, I just got back from a nice extended stay with my family in TN. While I was up there I convinced my dad that I couldn’t live without a 4 cup food processor. So this food processor has been my saving grace on this Paleo diet. It grinds up nuts for me to use on faux chicken tenders, lets me make dressings, chops up all my veggies. It is awesome! So my most recent Paleo recipe was an avocado chicken salad. I’ve never really cared much for chicken salads but I decided to give this a shot as a solid lunch meal. I love it! It really turned out awesome. You have to play with it a little bit to get it to your liking but I’ll give you the basics and you can add and substitute as you go. You can also add more sea salt than I am allowed to add which I think would make a big difference. But that is because I am addicted to salt.

Ingredients:

  • The breast meat off of a rotisserie chicken (no skin!)
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 red onion
  • half a bunch of green onions
  • 1 lemon or lime
  • Pepper
  • Sea salt

Directions:

Shred up your chicken breast in a bowl. Then add in the avocado. In a food processor finely chop up all the other ingredients except for the lemon, pepper, and lime. Then dump the chopped veggies into the bowl. Then you add salt and pepper and lemon juice until it tastes just the way you like it. I put mine in a lettuce wrap instead of on toast or bread, but I think it would be pretty fantastic on top of toast. I also think it would be pretty fantastic by itself. I made this yesterday and it is still green. I was afraid the avocado would start to turn brown, but so far that hasn’t been an issue and we are past the 24 hour marker. Maybe the other ingredients or the lime are helping.

If you like avocados, you won’t ever go back to making chicken salad the other way. This is so much healthier than loading up the mayo and it tastes so much more fresh.

 

Paleo Zucchini Pesto Pasta

For my first Paleo recipe I decided to cook a faux pasta using zucchini and then create a Paleo approved pesto. I was happy with the way it turned out. Obviously, it doesn’t taste like actual pasta, but it was close enough. I threw some pecan crusted oven baked chicken tenders on top and it was so filling that I couldn’t finish the whole thing.

For the pesto:

  • Pine Nuts
  • Olive Oil
  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Sea Salt

I mixed all the above ingredients in my food processor and then put them in a container to store in my fridge. I went really easy on the olive oil because the pine nuts kind of give off their own oil. So I would advise you only use a tsp to T of olive oil. I loaded in lots of fresh basil and it gave it a nice kick.

For the Zucchini:

All you need is one zucchini and a grater. I used the grater that you would use to cut thin slices of cheese and ran my zucchini down it to make sort of wide noodle looking slices. Then I put a little bit of sea salt and pepper on them and just a quick dash of olive oil. I sauteed them until they looked/tasted the texture of al dente pasta. I then added in my pesto and sauteed them for another few minutes. Plated them and enjoyed!

Going Primal…

So, I’ve got bad news…The blog is going Paleo for the next 8 weeks. Some of you are saying, “What’s Paleo?” Paleo is a diet that is all about “clean eating”. Paleo is short for Paleolithic which basically means no processed foods. No dairy, no bread, no sugar…pretty much no yummy foods.

Paleo goes hand in hand with the crossfit training I’ve been doing for the past 7 months and while I have boycotted the diet so far I decided to give it a two month trial to see if it makes a difference. Blake is doing a Go Ruck challenge in October and I decided that I would help be his clean eating accountability partner while he trains.

While I am having to forgo my love of cheese, anything friend, and sweets (including my diet cokes) I refuse to let this diet rob me of my love for cooking. So over the next two months my recipes are going to be taking a significantly healthier turn, but hopefully they will stay just as tasty. They may not all knock your socks off like some of my earlier recipes, but keep in mind I don’t have a ton to work with. There is only so much you can do with meat, veggies, and olive oil.

I’ll assess the progress at the end of two months and then slowly start working some of those yummier foods back into my diet and cooking regimen. My first Paleo dish to share with you is Paleo Pesto Pasta with Pecan Crusted Oven baked Chicken Tenders. I’ll have it posted soon!  Maybe these recipes will inspire you to do some clean eating of your own!

Buffalo Chicken “Cigars”

When I lived in Waco I used to go to this place called Sam’s on the Square. All my Baylor friends know that Sam’s was known for their purple margaritas, but they also had decent food. One of the things I used to order there was called the Cuban Cigar. They were like flautas meet egg rolls with queso dip instead of soy sauce.

Using that as my inspiration I decided to make Buffalo Chicken Cigars this week. I used filo dough that you can find in the fridges at the grocery store. I used 2 sheets per roll and I think that was sufficient. These turned out as a great dish to serve as an appetizer or for lunch. I served mine with Ranch. I had one and Ashleigh and Daniel gobbled down the remaining 3. They were really easy to make too, only 5 ingredients.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • The breast meat off of one rotisserie chicken
  • 8 sheets of Filo Dough
  • 1/2 bottle of Franks Hot Sauce
  • Garlic Powder
  • 2 Cups Cheddar Cheese

Directions:

Set your oven to 350. Pull the rotisserie chicken off the bone and mix the shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, cheese and a few shakes of garlic powder in a bowl. Spread out the sheets of filo dough (you will use two sheets per roll). At the end of the sheet place a line of the chicken mixture (about a cup worth of stuffing).  Then roll them up tightly and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle cheese on top of them and bake them until they are golden brown around 15-20 minutes.

Remove them from the oven and cut them in half. Then serve them with ranch dressing. Enjoy!