Saturday, September 29, 2012

Creamy Veggie Soup

Have you ever tried broccoli cheddar soup? Well it might be one of my favorites. Looking to incorporate some more nutrients and vegetables, I made a creamy vegetable soup that is inspired by broccoli cheddar. It is creamy and cheesy but since there are so many vegetables, it is hearty and a little more healthy.

Recipe yields 8-10 servings

2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 medium carrots
3 celery stalks
1 medium yellow onion
2 russet potatoes
6 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp fresh black pepper
1 cup milk
1 large head of broccoli
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Cut carrots, celery and onion to a small chop.

In a large pot, melt butter and add carrots, celery and onion. Coat vegetables with the melted butter and then cover. Allow vegetables to steam for 8 minutes until tender.

While vegetables are steaming, cut potatoes into 1/2" cubes.

Add potatoes and chicken stock to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and allow to cook until potatoes are tender.

Cut broccoli heads and stems into bite sized pieces.

In a small cup, add water and flour and stir to avoid clumps. Add to the pot to help thicken the soup. Add milk and broccoli to the pot.

Cook on medium heat until broccoli is tender.

Add cheese to the soup and stir until it has melted.

Serve with bread or crackers. Enjoy!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Super Packed Snack Bars

I don't know about you, but I am a snacker. I cannot make it through the day without a few snacks along the way. One of my go-to's are oatmeal snack bars. I like to trick myself into believing that since they are oatmeal, they must be good for you. Below is my version of a great snack bar, but feel free to switch and swap out whichever ingredients/flavors you crave to make these your own. Have fun with them. Share them. I am sure it will be no time before you are getting requests to make them again!

Recipe yields about 12 snack bars

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup quick oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
14 oz (1 can) sweetened condensed milk (creates a gooey caramel layer, yum!)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees and set a rack in the middle of the oven. Place your butter in a bowl and melt in the microwave until liquid. Coat the bottom and sides of the pan with all the butter.

On top of the butter, create a layer of oats.

Sprinkle a layer of flaked coconut on top of the oats.

Top the coconut with a layer of chocolate chips and then a layer of peanut butter chips.

Pour the condensend milk atop the layer of peanut butter chips.

Sprinkle the chopped walnuts across the top to create the final layer. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

When you remove from the oven, allow to completely cool (about 45-60 minutes). I threw mine in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to speed up the process. Once it is cool, you can cut your tray into bars.

Serve anywhere, anytime. Store any extra bars in an airtight container for up to one week. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

San Antonio: Days 2 & 3

Here are a few foodie highlights from the rest of my trip to San Antonio. Beware of food envy! Enjoy!

Ácenar (On the Riverwalk) - They describe their food as 'hotmex' and all I have to say is it couldn't be a more appropriate term.

Alambres (Beef skewers with chimi-churri salsa)

Crepas de Huitlacoche (Mushroom crepe in poblano sauce)

Duck Tinga Chalupas

Spicy Shrimp with Cilantro Rice and Corn Pico

Pork Tenderloin with Mole Sauce

Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse with Bananas

Crepa de Cajeta (Caramel Crepe with Mexican Ice Cream)

Houston Street Bistro - San Antonio Texas - A small, cosy bistro that names each item on the menu after a theatre play, musician or movie. Think Hello Dolly, Bye Bye Birdie and Mozart.

Fried Zucchini 

Salad Nicoise

Grilled Trout with Lump Crab Meat

Pan Seared with Trout with Shrimp

Three Layer Chocolate Cake

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

San Antonio: Day 1

This week my posts are going to be a little different. I am in San Antonio on a business trip for a few days so I am going to document the places I go and what I eat along the way. Hope you enjoy!

I started my day by visiting The Alamo!

For lunch, I had a big bowl of Cajun Jumbo Soup for lunch. It was packed with chicken, sausage, shrimp, rice and peppers and it was delicious!

For dinner, we went to Luke on The Riverwalk.

The Riverwalk is an outdoor area that is home to many shops and restaurants. It has events, carnivals and even boat rides down the river.

Here are a few of the things we ordered at Luke:

BBQ Grilled Shrimp over Jalapeño Cheddar Grits

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Crab Studded Potatoes

Scallops with Parsley Hollandaise over Corn, Mushroom and Sweet Onion Medley

Finally, we topped it off with Chocolate Hazelnut Pot de Creme

That is all for my first day in San Antonio. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chicken Francaise per Request

Today's post is dedicated to Phil Rivelli, who has requested I make chicken francaise being that it is his favorite dish. In my opinion, this is a classic that needs no introduction, so I hope you enjoy my take on it. Get better soon, Phil!

Recipe yields 6-8 servings

12 chicken breast cutlets
2 large eggs
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup white wine
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
Lemon slices, for garnish
Parsley, for garnish


Place your flour in one medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together your eggs and water to create an egg wash.

One piece at a time, season the chicken cutlets with salt and then dredge in the flour, being sure to cover all sides in flour. Once coated in flour, dip into the egg mixture. Repeat this process until all chicken is coated first with the flour and then with the egg wash. In a large pan, add butter and oil. (Note - you will likely not be able to fit all 12 pieces of chicken in your one pan, so split up your butter and oil accordingly.) Once butter is melted and hot, place chicken in the pan and cook 4-5 minutes per side.

Remove chicken from pan and place on a towel lined plate. Cover with foil to keep warm. Without cleaning the pan, add your chicken broth, lemon juice and white wine. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. You want the sauce to reduce by about half and become a little thicker.

While the sauce was cooking, I prepared my lemon slices for garnish. I added the ends to the sauce to give it a stronger lemon flavor. This is completely optional, but I like a nice lemon flavor to mine and this trick got the job done.

Once sauce has reduced, lower heat to a simmer and add your cooked chicken back to the pan. All of the chicken will not fit at the same time, so fit as much as you can and allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes and then remove to a serving dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken until all pieces have had time to simmer in the sauce.

Remove chicken to a serving dish and pour sauce on top. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and thinly sliced lemons. Serve with rice, pasta, veggies, etc. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Every Sunday morning I stop at the bakery and pick myself up a lemon poppy seed muffin for breakfast. It is my snack while I am preparing Sunday dinner. I have tried to make these muffins in the past, but nothing ever compares to the one from the bakery, so I surrender and just buy one each week. Well today, all that has changed. I have finally figured out how to get the light, moist interior I crave, with all the flavor I could ever ask for. After research and plenty of trial and error, I honestly believe I have the most perfect lemon poppy seed muffin recipe there is. Try it out and let me know if you agree!

Recipe yields 12 muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp poppy seeds (make sure they are fresh or you will have a bitter flavor!)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon (zest and juice)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and set a rack in the lower-middle area of the oven. In a large mixing bowl, mix together sugar and lemon zest. Use your fingers to squish the lemon zest into the sugar until fragrant.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the mixture. Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl, add melted butter, vanilla extract, lemon juice, eggs and sour cream. Whisk together until all ingredients are combined.

Now it is time for your dry ingredients to meet your wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry and use a spatula to combine. Go around the bowl 3-4 times to mix the ingredients together but do not over mix! It is alright if there are still lumps of batter.

Now add your poppy seeds and mix those into the batter.

Using a scoop or a spoon, evenly distribute the batter among the muffin tin. Be sure you use muffin liners or generously coat the muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Bake muffins for 18-20 minutes. You should be able to cleanly remove a toothpick from the center of the muffin when it is done.

Place tray on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from their tin and allow them to remain cooling on the wire rack until warm

These muffins are best served warm, so once they are cool enough to handle dig in and enjoy!