Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Best Thing I Have Ever Made (and a tasty soup)

This dish was made for Dranksgiving (Thanksgiving Eve).  I thought bringing a delicious fall soup would be fitting--so I made Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Red Pepper puree.  This soup is delicious--you taste fall in every bite.  As for the red pepper puree--it is probably the best thing I have ever made.  It should be drizzled on the top of the soup, so try not to eat it  by the spoonful.  The soup comes from Epicurious and the puree from the Splendid Table.

4 lb butternut squash (about 2 of them) cut into 1 inch cubes and peeled
5 1/2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
4 cloves of garlic chopped
2 small onions chopped
3 tsp fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste

4 red bell peppers
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste

Directions for the Soup
1)  Combine squash, broth, garlic, onions and thyme in a large soup pot.  Bring to a boil.  Turn down and simmer for about 1-2 hours.  Squash will be tender.
2)  Transfer the mixture into a food processor.  You may have to do it in batches.  Blend until smooth.  Simmer the soup until you are ready to serve it.  Add salt & pepper to taste.
3) Serve with the puree drizzled over the top.

Directions for Puree
1) Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Cover a pan in tin foil and place the red peppers on the foil.  Once the oven is preheated, put the peppers in for about 40 minutes.  Turn ever 10 minutes or so.  The peppers are done when they have black spots and collapse.  Leave the liquid from the roasted peppers in the tin foil.
2)  Let the peppers cool.  Once you can handle them, peel and seed them.  Put the peppers in a food processor, add the olive oil, and the leftover liquid.  Once blended, taste and add salt as needed. 

Other Uses for the Puree
* Toss with any sort of pasta, quinoa, rice or cous cous.
* Use it on a panini sandwich
* Dip your meat in it
* Dip roasted veggies in it
* Use it as a spread for crostini

Monday, November 15, 2010

I love this soup--Rocco's Tortilla soup.

This recipe is out of Rocco DiSpirito's cookbook Now Eat This.  I have modified it quite a bit to my liking, but the concept is the same.  You can control the level of spice by choosing what salsa to add.  You can also skip the adobo chilis.  This recipe can be made using chicken, turkey (leftover from Thanksgiving, perhaps?), or black beans.

Soup Ingredients
32 oz of chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups of shredded chicken, turkey or a can of black beans (meat can be from a rotisserie chicken, cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, leftover turkey)
1 cup of salsa, spice level of your choice (I recommend a nicer salsa--not the Tostitos brand)
2 minced adobo chilis in adobo sauce
1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 can of corn
1 green pepper (optional)
1 red pepper (optional)

bunch of fresh cilantro
plain greek yogurt or sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese
tortillas cut into narrow strips about three inches long

1) Add broth, tomatoes, chilies, peppers, corn and salsa into a large pot.  Bring to a boil, and turn down to medium low heat.  Add meat or beans and simmer for about 8 minutes.

2)  Serve in soup bowls and top with fresh cilantro, yogurt, tortilla strips and shredded cheddar cheese.

-I often make chicken stock out of a fryer and then shred and freeze the meat to use later in soups
-You can fry the tortillas in vegetable oil to make them crispy and then put them in the soup.  I skipped that step in favor of time.
-Use avocado instead of the yogurt or sour cream.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Southwest Lasagna

This recipe is inspired by my friend Leanne.  She told me about it one night, and I decided to try a version of my own.  I was a little unsure of a few things--so I got a few suggestions from my mom as well.  The flavor was great.  It was easy to make.  The only thing that went wrong was the lasagna sort of fell apart on my plate.  Suggestions anyone?  I also had way too much filling for my two quart casserole pan, so I froze the rest of it.  This recipe either calls for a bigger casserole dish or halfing the recipe (unless you want to freeze it like I did).

4 whole wheat tortillas
1 can of enchilada sauce
1 lb. of ground beef or turkey
1 yellow onion chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 packet of taco mix
1 can of corn (drained very well)
1 can of tomatoes (drained very well)
1 bunch of cilantro chopped
1 can of chopped chilis
8 oz of cheddar cheese or the Mexican blend
Handful of chopped olives for the top

1) In a frying pain, brown ground beef.  When close to done, add chopped green pepper and onion. Then follow instruction on the taco mix packet.  Drain the grease.  Transfer to a large bowl.
2)  Add the corn, chilis, tomatoes and chopped cilantro to the the bowl and mix well with the ground beef mixture.  Set aside.
3) Use cooking spray or butter to grease the sides of the casserole dish.  Pour enchilada sauce into a bowl.  Cut the tortillas into strips about 1 1/2 inches side.  Dip in the enchilada sauce and cover the bottom of the pan.  Add a layer of the ground beef and then cover with cheese.  Cover the mixture with layers of tortilla strips dipped in enchilada sauce.  Repeat this step until the pan is full.  The last layer should be tortilla strips, cheese and olives if you would like to add them.
4) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and cook for 30 minutes.  The cheese should be melted and the lasagna bubbling.

* Make this vegetarian by adding black beans instead of meat.
*This dish should freeze well.
*This dish can be made the night before, refrigerated and popped in the oven for a quick dinner.   

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Good news from my kitchen!

My cousin gave me her hand-me-down 11-cup Cuisinart food processor that was apparently broken (it works!).  I am so excited to use it.  There are so many things I have wanted to try that require a food processor and now I own one.  Thanks Sarah! You're the best.