Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup

One day I just had to have chicken enchiladas but didn't have time to assemble all of it so I thought if I put it all in the crock pot and served it with tortilla chips it would be almost as good. My family thinks it is great and we hope you will too.

2 cups chicken, cooked and cut into chunks
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can black beans
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 quart chicken broth
2 large chopped tomatoes OR 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 oz. canned diced green chilies
1 cup cream or whole milk ( I prefer cream ;)
2 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped finely
4 tablespoons butter
Into a large soup pot, maybe a 4 quart, saute the onion in the butter. When the onion is tender add the garlic, give it a stir then add the chicken broth right away. (If you want to use a crock pot this is when you start dumping everything into the crock then cook on high 4 hours just before serving add the cream and cheese.)

Add the beans, chicken, tomatoes, chilies,
stir,cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the cream and cheese.

Stir until combined.
This is even better the next day.
Now some tips:
I keep leftover cooked chicken in the freezer in 2 cup portions for soups or foldover sandwiches.

Green chilies come in 4 oz. cans so freeze the other 2 oz. for next time.
I also keep shredded cheese in the freezer, especially the types I use for soup or other meals.
I really like glass containers but will use zip bags when I run out of glass.
If you have ideas for making meal prep easier please share them, I'm always on the look out for ways to make better meals faster.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Creamy Cole Slaw With a Kick

My neighbor gave some horseradish starts to me last year, so as I dig these tough roots from the ground my mind whirls around how to incorporate the pungent flavor into more of our meals. This savory cole slaw was where I started, my daughter gave me the original recipe and I didn't deviate much from it.
1 pound shredded green cabbage
2 peeled, shredded carrots
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 cup mayo ( I used Vegeniase)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons freshly grated horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Sometimes I add other shredded or chopped veggies like zucchini, yellow squash,or turnip.
Stir together the mayo, sugar, vinegar, horseradish, salt and pepper.
Taste it, in case it needs more salt.
Toss together the cabbage, onion and carrot in a large bowl.
Toss the cabbage with the dressing, chill and enjoy.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Apple Cider Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze-Wow

Apple cider, caramel and a rich pound cake, how can you go wrong?
I first made this pound cake last year and have since reduced the fat and sugar slightly and played with the flour a bit by substituting some whole grain for some of the white. I would not call this healthy but not as bad as it was.
We are blessed to live near a small apple orchard which makes the best cider I have ever had, it has just the right blend of sweet and tart apples. Fresh and local, good mix.
This recipe makes 2 loaves and lots of happy people. Great served with hot or cold cider or a rich, steamy cup of coffee.
1 cup softened, unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup white flour ( I used spelt but all purpose is good too)
1 cup whole spelt (or wheat) flour
1 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated has the best flavor)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup fresh apple cider
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk or put 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in a cup measure and add fresh milk until you have 1/4 cup
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour 2 loaf pans.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, beating well after each one. Add applesauce and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients alternately with the cider in thirds.Pour into the pans and bake 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let cool in pans for 10 minutes then turn onto cooling racks.
While cooling make the glaze because it seeps in best if the cakes are still warm.
In a small, heavy bottom sauce pan, stir together all the glaze ingredients
and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.
Boil 6 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 185F, stirring occasionally.As it boils it will darken and become less frothy and more syrupy.
Place cake on a serving plate and prick with a fork so the glaze will absorb into the cake. Mmmm.
Slowly, so it doesn't just run off, pour hot glaze over cake allowing it to drip over the sides.
Allow to cool before covering. This freezes very well if you can get it there.
I took this to an evening celebration this week, a setting sun, guitar music, a shofar, sweet treats, children playing and later a bonfire and even more to look forward to!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Caramel Glazed Pear Cake-Yum!

This is one of the first things I make when the pears are ripe, the caramel glaze cools to a texture akin to maple candy and is perfect for the tender pears inside.
 I took this to a gathering last week and didn't even have crumbs left on the plate. Pears have to be my favorite fruit, well, right after berries of any kind, and melon.
I baked this one in 2 9inch cake pans but usually make it in a bundt pan which is quite pretty with the glaze drizzled down the sides, either way your family or friends will love it!
4 ripe pears ( 3 cups peeled and diced)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup oil ( I used 3/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce)
3 cups flour ( I used 1 1/2 whole spelt and 1 1/2 white spelt but all purpose does the job)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
Butter and flour a bundt pan or 2 9inch round cake pans.
Toss diced pears in the 1 tablespoon sugar and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and oil until light and smooth.
Combine the flour, salt and soda in a small bowl and add to the egg mixture. Add the vanilla.
Gently fold in the pears and pecans.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 350F for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center (or thick part if you used a bundt) comes out clean.
 Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove to a cooling rack or serving plate.
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (only the real deal )
1/4 cup heavy cream
Stir all three ingredients together in a small, heavy bottom pan over medium heat.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly 2 1/2 minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved.
 Prick top of cake with a fork so the glaze will seep down in. Slowly, so it doesn't just run off, drizzle the warm glaze over the cake.
Spread around with a spatula or the back of a spoon if you need to but only while it is very warm otherwise you will see spoon marks.
A damp napkin will take the dribbles off on the side I spilled but leave the puddle all around for over the top
yumminess. As the caramel cools it will lighten in color and take on that firm crusty texture.
Perfect alone, with a scoop of ice cream or a splash of cream. Don't forget the coffee!