Monday, January 17, 2011

Christina's Cream of Mushroom Soup

During this wretched weather, soup is one of my favorite foods to eat.  This recipe is great not only because it is abundant in mushrooms (unlike other recipes), but it is also healthier than your usual recipe.  With that said, it tastes amazing!  The minimal ingredients and short cook time make this cream of mushroom soup fun, easy and positively delicious!

Ingredients
1 16oz (large) package of fresh cremini mushrooms
2 32 oz box chicken broth
1/2 medium onion
3 tbs salt
3 tbs pepper
3 tbs nutmeg
4 tbs butter
3 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 pint half & half
3/4 cup white flour (optional)

Steps
1. Finely chop the onion and sautee it with butter on medium heat
2. Immediately following, use a damp paper towel to clean off any dirt from the mushrooms
**Be sure not to rinse them because they easily absorb excess water
3. Cut the mushrooms in large bite sizes and stir them with the onions
4. Stir frequently and add the dry seasonings to the mushrooms. Allow the mushrooms to sautee for seven minutes
5. Add the chicken broth along with the worcestershire sauce 
6. Add the half and half slowly while stirring the soup with a whisk so that it doesn't curdle 
7. Allow the soup to cook for another ten minutes on medium low 
8. If you prefer the consistency of the broth to be thicker, slowly add parts of the flour and stir the soup
9. Let it sit for a few minutes on low/simmering heat.  
Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

I made this dish to remind me of the hot meals my mother used to cook during the winter seasons.  It definitely fulfilled its duty.  This is a great dish to make for those vegetable and meat lovers who are near and dear to you and your kitchen.
Ingredients:
-1 head of cabbage
-1 lb ground sirloin beef
-3 tbs room temperature butter
-2 tbs all spice seasoning
-1/4 cup white/brown rice
-1/4 cup lemon juice
 -salt
-pepper

Steps:
1. Wash the cabbage and place it in a pot of boiling water
2. Let the cabbage boil for three minutes 
3. Delicately separate each layer of cabbage to cook on it's own for a minute
 4. Place each layer of cabbage onto a separate plate to cool down
 5. Continue doing this until you've reached the smallest part of the cabbage
 6. While the cabbage cools off, mix the dry ingredients with the ground beef evenly.  Use as much or little of salt and pepper as you prefer
7. Lay out a layer of cabbage and cut a triangular piece out of the bottom to remove the hard center.
8. Place an oval mold of meat along the center line. Fold the cabbage parallel to the center line and place each piece evenly along a deep pot
 9. Peel and smash 8 cloves of garlic with salt added ( if you don't have a masher, you can dice the garlic finely on a cutting board
 10. Fill the pot with water so that it barely covers the cabbage rolls.
 11. Evenly distribute the garlic and lemon juice atop and around the cabbage rolls
 12. Cook the rolls on medium heat for 20 minutes

Serve hot and Enjoy!












Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pasta con verdure e pollo

Last night I had a difficult time figuring out what to cook that included the three main food groups (grain, produce, poultry).  I came up with this fun, easy and positively delicious recipe as if I pulled it out of a magic hat!  Some of the best recipes are born that way.  Too bad the title isn't as good as it tastes.

Ingredients: 
-2 large pieces chicken breast
-1 small package of cut or whole crimini mushrooms
-1 zucchini
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-4 cups chicken broth
-1 cup dry white wine
-salt
-pepper
-2tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 tsp Italian seasoning
-1/4 cup white flour
-wax paper

Steps:
1. If the chicken is not already clean out of the package, rinse it and cut off excess fat with a small knife
=Caution: dealing with raw chicken can spread harmful bacteria.  Be sure to wash hands and surfaces that come in contact with the chicken before touching anything else!
2. Place the chicken and chicken broth into a deep surface pan
3. Cut a piece of wax paper to completely cover the pan (make sure to mold the paper around the pieces of chicken to create a barrier)
4. While the chicken is cooking, dice the onions and garlic finely
5. Wash the zucchini thoroughly to remove sand from the skin (a vegetable scrubbing brush will work)
6. Use a damp paper towel or regular clean towel to wipe off any dirt from the mushrooms
**Rinsing the mushrooms in water will cause them to absorb unwanted water
7. Dice the mushrooms and zucchini into even bite-sized cuts
 8. Pour extra virgin olive oil into a large pan and place the onions and garlic atop
**Place them in at the same time to keep the garlic from burning
9. Let the garlic and onion cook on medium until they are lightly golden (stir frequently)
10. Place the mushrooms and zucchini in the pan and let them cook until they're soft
**Don't let them get too soft, but you shouldn't hear a crunch if you bite into them
 11. Pour white wine into the vegetable pan, then add the seasonings
 12. Boil half a pot of water for the pasta
 13. Once the vegetables have absorbed the wine and seasoning for several minutes, check on the chicken
 14. If the chicken is still pink on top, let it cook until it is completely white from center to surface
 15. By now, the water in the pot should be boiling. Add the pasta along with 2 tbs salt and 1/2 tsp olive oil and cook for as long as necessary (thin pasta usually takes about 8 minutes to be al dente)
**Al Dente is Italian for rice or pasta having a slight bite
***The extra virgin olive oil is meant to keep the pasta from sticking together

 16. Place the chicken in a separate bowl and pour the remaining broth into the vegetable pan.  Change heat to low
 17. As the sauce simmers, slowly add the flour while stirring so that it doesn't clump together (this thickens the sauce, if you want the consistency to be thicker, simply add more flour)
 18. Once the pasta is finished, strain the pasta and place a small mound in a bowl
 19. Cut the chicken in slices and place along the pasta with the vegetable sauce

Enjoy!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hearty Homemade Chicken Soup

In the midst of this wretched cold weather, only a few things can make the lack of feeling in the finger tips and a runny nose seem like a good thing; homemade chicken soup!
This recipe is great because there are so many ways to tweak it to fit your tastes.  If you want to add bay leafs, add them!  Pre-made chicken broth? Go ahead! (But be warned, you probably won't get the same tasty results). Either way, this recipe is fun, easy and positively delicious!

DISCLAIMER: Pictures are not as clear due to the fact that I had to use a laptop webcam, I apologize.

Ingredients:

- 1 whole chicken
- 6 long carrots (you can use baby carrots)
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 onion
- 1 bag Lipton chicken noodle soup
- 3 zucchini
- 1 cinnamon stick (2 tbs cinnamon powder will do)
- 2 tbs salt
- 1 tbs pepper
- Water

Steps:


1. Wash the chicken thoroughly and place it in a large pot
2. Cut onion in half and place over chicken along with cinnamon, Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup packet, salt and pepper
3. Fill 3/4 of the pot with water
4. Cook on medium heat for 45 minutes
5. Thoroughly wash carrots, celery, zucchini (scrub zucchini with a vegetable brush to remove sand
6. Cut off the ends of each vegetable
7. Dice the vegetable in bite-size pieces and layer them in bowl in this order: zucchini on bottom, then celery, then carrots. (This is so that you can put each vegetable in at a time.  They require different times to cook). Set aside
8. Remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool off on a large baking sheet
9. Strain the broth into another pot to remove excess onion, chicken pieces
10. Strip the chicken of the meat and shred them into thick chunks. Set aside
11. Carefully add the carrots and let them cook for five minutes, then add the rest of the vegetables
12. Let the soup cook on a medium-low heat so that it simmers for another fifteen minutes without the vegetables getting too soft.

ENJOY!