Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stuffed Pepper Soup

I am so DELIGHTED to be finally sharing this recipe! Stuffed Pepper Soup is a staple in my kitchen and in my family but it's been so HOT outside that I haven't been able to make it until now! Lucky for me, North Florida has a lovely fall season and I finally got to bust out this classic :) As I said, I've been eating this meal as long as I can remember. My mom is not a huge fan of cooking but she LOVES making this, and everyone loves eating it. The French bread and butter is an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY. The soup is just not the same without it. Don't skip that step. It really doesn't get much more simple than this! So few ingredient, but so much flavor, it amazes me really. The beef, peppers, and tomato flavors blend beautifully together with just one standard seasoning - salt. That's it, but I promise the basic ingredients come together in a wonderful way.

Featured in La Petite Fashionista Magazine!

Stuffed Pepper Soup
Makes 4 Servings
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/2 cup rice
1/4 cup water
1 egg
46 fl oz tomato juice
46 fl oz water
3 green bell peppers
1 loaf French bread
1/4 cup butter
Salt to taste

1. Mix tomato juice and water in a large pot and turn heat to high. Mix ground beef, rice, water, and egg in a large bowl.

2. Slice off the top third of two of the bell peppers. Cut around and discard the stems. Discard any seeds. Tightly pack meat mixture in the hollowed out bell peppers.

3. Cut the remaining bell pepper and top pieces into 1 1/2 inch cubes, discarding stems and seeds. Form the remaining meat mixture into meatballs 2 inches in diameter.

4. Add stuffed peppers, meatballs, and pepper chunks to the pot. When the pot comes to a boil, cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Add salt to taste. Serve with sliced French bread and butter. 

Mix the tomato juice and water in a large pot and turn the heat to high. To make your life easy simply pour the tomato juice in, fill the tomato juice container with water, add that to the pot, and mix!

Mix the ground beef, rice, water, and egg. Simple ingredients.

Slice the top third off of two bell peppers. The larger bases will hold some of the stuffing! Discard any seeds and stems. Don't waste the pepper pieces around the stems though!

All clean.

Tightly pack the meat mixture in the hallowed out bell peppers and add them to the pot.

Chop up the other bell pepper, discarding the stems and seeds like before.

Form the remaining meat mixture into 2 inch meatballs and add all meatballs and peppers to the pot!

When the pot comes to a boil, cover and simmer on low for an hour and a half. This is another one of those meals that makes your house smell scrumptious!

Salt to taste and serve with French bread and butter. This recipe is perfect for feeding large groups of people! Depending on the size of your pot, you could fill it with more stuffed peppers and meatballs for a larger crowd. I've even had two pots going on the stove at the same time for large groups! It's definitely hungry-man approved - my boyfriend puts in requests for this soup! The flavor tastes as if you put 49189173679 times more effort into the recipe than you really did, which is always good! Enjoy this easy and hearty family recipe :)

Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Soup

Well this soup just screams "Fall" doesn't it? With the classic pumpkin pie spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice, and two staples of the holidays - pumpkin and sweet potatoes, this soup makes your kitchen smell like November and December. The soup has a slight sweetness from the brown sugar, but it's not like you're eating pumpkin pie soup. The brown sugar simple highlights the other spicy fall flavors in the soup. I chose not to puree the sweet potatoes because I liked the idea of a sweeter version of a chunky potato soup, but you could puree the soup if you like. Enjoy the fall flavors and subtle sweetness of this festive holiday soup :)

Featured in La Petite Fashionista Magazine!

Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Soup
Makes 3 servings
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

1 large sweet potato
15 oz pumpkin puree
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice

1. Mix pumpkin puree and vegetable broth in a large pot. Turn the heat to high.

2. Peel sweet potato and chop into 1 inch cubes.

3. Add sweet potatoes and spices to the pot. When the soup comes to a boil, turn the heat to low and simmer covered for an hour or until the potatoes are tender. Turn the heat off and mix in the heavy cream. Enjoy!

Whisk the pumpkin puree into the vegetable broth and turn the heat to high.

Peel one large sweet potato and cut it into one inch cubes.

Add the potatoes and spices to the pot! Get ready for your kitchen to start smelling like fall...

Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover for 1 hour. The potatoes will get nice and tender!

Turn the heat off and mix in the heavy cream. Mmm so luscious and warm.

I really enjoy how familiar all of these ingredients are, yet I've never tried them put together in this way before! I'll be honest, I'd been dreaming about this soup but wasn't quite sure what to expect of the final result. I'm quite pleased with the blend of sweet and savory that I achieved :) Just enough sweetness to highlight the savory/spicy fall flavors without being overwhelming. If you are in the mood for something outside the box yet familiar, try some Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Soup! 

White Chili

There's something about a big bowl of chili that warms your soul (and your hands holding the bowl) on a cold fall or winter day. That's all I want when it's cold outside really - soup! I love me some classic chili w/ beef and a tomato base, but I decided to try something a little different for this recipe. The hearty veggies and beans are all still there, but beef is swapped for chicken and the broth is chicken stock and heavy cream (YUM). The cream gives this a wonderful richness that you wouldn't normally expect for chili, but if you're being health conscious, you could skip it I suppose.  And did I mention this recipe is SO simple? Cozy up on the couch with a throw blanket and a big bowl of White Chili and prepare for comfort.

Featured in La Petite Fashionista Magazine!

White Chili
Makes 4 servings
Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients  (( Healthier Ingredient Substitutions ))
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 orange bell pepper
1 white onion
8 3/4 oz corn
31.6 oz great northern beans
9 oz chopped green chiles
32 oz unsalted chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream   (( skip the cream ))
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp butter   (( 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil ))
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste

1. Dice onion and bell pepper. Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot. Sauté diced onion and bell pepper for 2 minutes. Mince garlic and add to pot, sautéing for another minute.

2. Add chicken broth, heavy cream, corn, beans, chiles, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and salt to the pot and turn heat to high. When the soup comes to a boil, turn the heat to low and simmer uncovered for an hour, stirring occasionally. Enjoy!

Chop the pepper and onion and mince the garlic! The rest of the veggies are canned, so no prep required!

Shred two fully cooked chicken breasts. Using a cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is a fantastic shortcut here!

Saute the chopped onion and pepper in butter over medium heat in a large pot. Add the garlic and saute for another minute.

Add all other ingredients besides the heavy cream and turn the heat to high. When the chili comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour. Please ignore the amount of liquid in this picture - I've edited the recipe slightly since these pictures were taken!

Mmmm the luscious creamy goodness. This recipe is so hearty and the cream adds a rich element to the broth.

Loaded with hearty veggies and shredded chicken, this chili is definitely satisfying. And you know what I think would make it even better? Some cornbread. MMM! Definitely serving it with a side of cornbread in the future!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Do roasted garlic scented candles exist? They should. My house smelled absolutely DIVINE when I was roasting the garlic for the recipe. It uses a whole head of garlic! Mmmm :) Yup, garlic makes me smile. OK, enough gushing. I've made a lot of hummus lately! It's incredibly easy - the hardest part of this recipe is cutting the head of garlic in half. I had no trouble finding tahini (a sesame seed paste) in my grocery store. Once you have a container of tahini in your fridge, just buy canned chick peas whenever you want hummus! Of course hummus as a dip is a delicious snack, but I also like spreading it on sandwiches or Pita Melts instead of other condiments! This dish has such a rich flavor from the roasted garlic, and it's healthy! Yum.

Roasted Garlic Hummus
Makes 1 1/2 cups
Inactive time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

1 can chickpeas (15 oz)
1 head of garlic
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (+ more for drizzling)
1 Tbsp tahini
1/2 cup water
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt

1. Peel off the first few layers of skin and cut the top half off of the head of garlic. Drizzle exposed cloves with 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes at 400 degrees F.

2. Let the head of garlic cool for 5 minutes. Squeeze the cloves out of the skin and into the food processor. Drain the liquid from the can of chickpeas and add all ingredients to the food processor. 

3. Blend until smooth (this might require scraping down the sides and blending a few times). Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with pitas or crackers or spread on a sandwich or pita melt. Enjoy!

Yes that's right, a WHOLE head of garlic goes into this hummus. Don't be scared though! The roasting mellows out the strong raw garlic flavor. Roasted garlic is much more mild and rich. Mmmmm

Drizzle the cloves with a Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes at 400 degrees F. One of my favorite cooking fragrances that fills the house, right up there with chocolate chip cookies, is roasted garlic. Mmm garlic <3

 The cloves will get sweeter and soft and mild. That's why the whole head of garlic isn't overwhelming in this recipe - the roasting. The difference in flavor before and after is amazing. I love some raw garlic in my life too, but for this recipe, roasting is the way to go.

Drain the chick peas and throw everything in the food processor! The garlic cloves can be squeezed right out of the skin. You might need to scrape the sides of the food processor down and blend a few times to get it smooth. 

I'm sure I've gushed about how much I love garlic enough, but I can't help it. It's the Greek side of me. But trust me when I say this hummus is amazing. Serve with pitas or crackers or spread it on your favorite sandwich, wrap, or melt. So healthy and so tasty!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Alfredo Sauce

Want to know when my boyfriend stole my heart? It was when he made me this Alfredo sauce for our first Valentines day together :P Really though, I was all his long before this Alfredo, but it didn't hurt at all. The way to a man or woman's heart is through his or her stomach, and you can't help but fall in love with whoever puts this plate in front of you. The ingredients for Alfredo sauce crack me up! Butter, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese. I really don't think it gets any better than that!

Alfredo sauce
Makes 3-4 servings (enough for about half a box of fettuccine)
Total time: 12 minutes

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Parmesan
A sprinkle of pepper

1. Melt half a stick of butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Pour in heavy cream and turn heat to  medium. Bring cream and butter to a boil.

2. Add parmesan cheese to cream mixture. Reduce heat to low and whisk for 2-3 minutes until the cheese gets incorporated with the liquid. Add a little sprinkle of pepper and serve over fettuccine. Enjoy!  

*Jaw drops* Look at these heavenly ingredients! Oh, and some pasta with it too. 

Melt half a stick of butter (I know) over medium low heat.

Whisk in the heavy cream, turn the heat to medium, and bring to a boil.

Add the Parmesan cheese and whisk for 2 or 3 minutes, until the cheese is incorporated. It will be very thick and cheesy!

Well talk about rich. This sauce is LUSCIOUS and lovely. And how could it not be with such decadent ingredients?! It's also oh so simple to make. It's practically just prepare some pasta, whisk sauce for a few minutes, and voila!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Spicy Chicken Stir Fry

 This stir fry recipe is VERY versatile. The sauce has a great mixture of flavors that would taste great on whatever vegetables and meat you wanted to use! Salty soy sauce, rich sesame oil, some zesty lime juice, a kick from red pepper flakes, garlic, and ginger. You really can taste each element individually. Once the sauce is done, switch up the veggies and meat as you like! I'm in LOVE water chestnuts and bell peppers so they always make it into my stir fry. Go with whatever you're in the mood for and whatever is fresh!  

Spicy Chicken Stir Fry
Makes 4 servings
Total Time: 35 minutes

1 1/2 cups rice (brown rice if you'd like)
3 cups water
2 tsp chicken bouillon 
3 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 chicken breast
1 bell pepper
1/2 onion
1 head broccoli
8 oz water chestnuts

1. Mix water, rice, and chicken bouillon in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook covered for 20 minutes.

2. While rice is cooking, chop florets off broccoli head and set aside. Slice bell pepper, onion, and chicken breast. Slice skin off ginger and grate. Chop garlic.

3. Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, garlic, ginger, lime juice, red pepper flakes, chicken, bell pepper, onion, and water chestnuts. Set aside.

4. Bring a pot of a few cups of water to a boil and add broccoli florets. Cook for 2 minutes and strain. Return pot to the stove and turn heat to medium high (or use a wok instead if you have one!).

5. Add strained broccoli and chicken and vegetable mixture to the pot and cook until chicken is fully cooked, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Serve with fluffed rice and enjoy!

First, get the rice set up because it takes a while to cook. Bring rice, water, and chicken bouillon to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 20 minutes. Chop the florets off the broccoli and set  aside. These will have to cook for a few minutes before getting stir fried with everything else! 

Slice the skin off of the ginger before you grate it.

Mmm is smells delightful!

Slice up the veggies and chicken! 

Mix together everything but the broccoli and (obviously) the rice mixture.

Bring a few cups of water to a boil in a pot and cook the broccoli for two minutes. Strain the broccoli and return the pot to the stove on medium high. 

Return the broccoli to the pot along with the chicken and veggie mixture. Stir constantly and cook until the chicken is done! About 5 minutes. By this time the rice will be about done!

Serve stir fried veggies and meat over the fluffed rice and enjoy! Switch it up with steak instead of chicken and use your favorite vegetables. The spicy sauce will season your favorite stir fry ingredients beautifully!

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