Southwestern Corn

Southwestern Corn

Ok, so this was a bit of a disaster when I first made it, but I adjusted the recipe. It was way too spicy the first time – too much cayenne. It had a little kick to it when I first tasted it, which was fine. But then I let the sauce sit in the fridge for a few hours and the cayenne flavor really came out – too much. You can also make the sauce to put on corn on  the cob and roll the cob in the cheese.

Ingredients

½ cup mayonnaise
1 small pinch cayenne (the first time, I used ¼ tsp – too much!)
2 tsp cumin
¾ tsp paprika
½ tsp chili powder (not in my original attempt – didn’t have any)
2 cups corn off the cob (recommend using fresh or frozen, not canned)
½ cotija cheese, grated

Instructions

Combine mayo, cayenne, cumin, paprika, and chili powder and set aside. Grill the corn inside aluminum foil (if you don’t have access to a grill, you can roast it in the oven. You can also grill the corn on the cob and strip it off.) Transfer corn to a medium serving dish. Add the mayo mixture and stir to combine. Top with the cheese.

Mashed Potato Casserole

Mashed Potato Casserole

Someone gave me a recipe for a twice baked potato casserole. I liked the concept of a twice baked potato casserole because you don’t have to fool with re-stuffing the potato skins. I was planning to make that, but I didn’t have the right potatoes. Plus, that recipe didn’t have cream cheese, and I decided that was necessary! We had this on Easter, and not much was left over.

Ingredients

5 lbs of potatoes, peeled
1 – 8oz. package cream cheese, softened
7 slices of bacon, cooked & crumbled
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided into ¼ and ½ cups
¼ cup heavy cream
1 stick butter

Instructions

Boil the potatoes until fully cooked. Drain and transfer to the casserole dish. Add the stick of butter to the potatoes. Use beaters from a hand mixer to mash the potatoes.

Add cream cheese and heavy cream. Use the hand mixer on a low setting to blend everything together.

Add the bacon and ½ cup of the cheddar cheese. Blend again. You can add more cheese if you don’t think it’s cheesy enough. Taste and see if you think some salt needs to be added. The bacon is already salty, but I think I added maybe a pinch of salt.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the casserole and bake at 350° until it’s warm, the cheese is melted, and the sides look a little bubbly.

Breakfast Minis

IMG_4792This recipe uses the Tastefully Simple silicone bar pan. You can also use a regular muffin tin, but silicone muffin cups would be better because the ingredients won’t stick.

These are great to pack in your lunchbox and reheat once you get to the office!

Recipe makes about 12.

Ingredients

4-6 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled
5 eggs
3 cups hash browns
½ cup shredded cheddar
½ cup shredded mozzarella
¼ tsp salt

Instructions

Mix all of the ingredients well. Press firmly into the compartments of the bar pan. Fill the unused compartments of the bar pan with water. Bake at 375 until the hash browns are crispy on top.

Improvised Two Bean Soup – Saved from Disaster

photo-feb-17-4-59-25-pmI ended concocting this yesterday when I needed something to bring to an event. I made potato salad, but I didn’t like how it tasted. It ended up turning out fine, but I needed to get something else together in case the potato salad was a total fail. It seemed like my normally stockpiled pantry and fridge were empty, and almost every measuring cup or spoon I owned was in the dishwasher. So WTF do I make?

I basically had to come up with something with all of the ingredients I always keep a ton of: diced tomatoes, beans, stock, and onions. Chili wasn’t an option because all of my meat was frozen and I didn’t have time for anything to defrost.

I diced an onion and started cooking it in the dutch oven. I realized I was smart enough to freeze chipotles in adobo, so I chopped up a bunch of that and tossed it in. I added the tomatoes (28oz can), black beans, and pinto beans. I also added 1 box of beef stock. Ideally I would’ve wanted a third kind of bean, but didn’t have it. I also seasoned it with a bunch of salt and some Tastefully Simple Wahoo! Chili Seasoning (probably about 1-2 tbsp of the chili seasoning).

The soup was looking really sad. It needed more beans, but I didn’t have any. This is when I slap realized my knife skills were kind of bad on that onion. I wanted to thicken it. I grabbed the masa harina from the pantry. I would’ve liked to have used beer for this next part, but we didn’t have any. I was also not wasting any of my good wine on this! Grabbed some vodka and made a slurry with about 2/3 cup masa harina (1/3 was the only measuring cup not in the dishwasher). I stirred it into the soup, brought it to a boil, and reduced it.

It was starting to look better, but still looked sad. I decided to get the immersion blender and puree it. It was starting to look pretty good! I adjusted the seasoning, added corn, and just let it simmer for a bit, stirring occasionally. At some point I added about 2 cups of cheddar cheese and probably 8 shakes of Worcestershire. I kept tasting it and it actually tasted good. Yay!

I didn’t really think about how I was going to transport it. I don’t have a portable Crock Pot. I ladled the soup into gallon freezer bags (I made sure they were the ones that can also go in the microwave), put the bags into the crock pot, and taped the lid shut. Not ideal, but it worked!

Everyone really liked the soup, and I didn’t have much at all to bring home.

I did not add an actual recipe for this because of all of the troubleshooting I went through to make it happen, and also because I wasn’t measuring much of anything.

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Cold, cold day today, and I spent several hours outside at the barn this afternoon. Soup was definitely a good choice to help me warm up when I got home.

Ingredients

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp Tastefully Simple Wahoo! chili seasoning
1 jalapeno
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 chipotle pepper in adobo + about 2tsp of the sauce
28oz can diced tomatoes
3 cups frozen corn
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup masa harina
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Monterey jack cheese
Tortilla strips (store bought or homemade)
Salt

Instructions

Dice onion and jalapeño (after removing seeds). Mince garlic. Rough chop chili. Don’t worry too much about having perfect knife skills because you’re just going to puree it all later.

Boil chicken breasts in a medium pot. Salt the water! Set the chicken aside when finished.

Melt butter in a dutch oven (or other large pot) over medium heat. Cook onions, jalapeño, garlic, & chipotle+sauce until the onions are translucent.

Add tomatoes and chili seasoning. Cook for a few minutes, then add chicken stock.

Use an immersion blender to puree everything in the pot. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender. Just be careful because hot/steamy stuff + blenders aren’t always a good combo.

Add the masa harina. Use the immersion blender to get rid of any chunks that form. This is a good time to taste it and add salt. Don’t worry if you think it’s too spicy right now. The cream will take care of that later. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Add the corn. (Get the tortilla strips in the oven now if you’re making them)

Pull or shred the chicken. I use the stand mixer for this. Toss the chicken in and use the beater on speed 2 for about 30-45 seconds. I always cover it with a towel because sometimes pieces like to fly out. You can also pull it with a fork instead.

Add the chicken to the soup. Stir in the heavy cream. Taste again, and add more salt if needed. Let it cook on low for about 10 more minutes.

Serve and garnish with the cheese and tortilla strips.

Tortilla Strips

Use a pizza cutter to cut tortillas into strips. I cut small tortillas into quarters, then cut into strips. You have two options – fry until golden, or bake. I baked these since they were going in soup. Coat in olive oil, season with salt. Line up the strips on a baking sheet and bake on 350 until golden.

Red Wine Onion Soup

fullsizeoutput_bd1Whenever I eat a dish I love at a restaurant, I love the challenge of trying to make it home. There’s a local restaurant near us that has this amazing red wine onion soup. This soup is so good that my wife, who used to be a french onion soup hater, orders it every time we go to this place. So naturally I needed to try to replicate it. I got close to the real deal. I want to try it with a higher ratio of wine to beef stock, but I haven’t had a chance yet.

Ingredients
1 large vidalia onion, thinly sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
1 bottle red wine
3 cups beef stock
4 tsp worcestershire
3 tbsp Maggi liquid seasoning (This can be hard to find. Just use a little more Worcestershire if you can’t find it.)
¾ tsp thyme, or 4 sprigs fresh
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt
Stale French bread
Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced
Asiago cheese, thinly sliced

Makes 4-6+ servings, depending on the size of your soup crocks.

Instructions

Heat butter in dutch oven. Add garlic, onions, & thyme. Add some salt (cuple of pinches). Cover to cook, stir occasionally. Cook until onions are soft. When the onions are soft, uncover and cook until golden.

Deglaze with wine. After you’ve deglazed, just pour the rest in. Add beef stock, more salt, bay leaves, worcestershire, and Maggi.

Bring to boil. Reduce and simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste a few times and salt until it tates salty enough.

Preheat broiler.

Cut bread into cubes. Put 4 cubes into each bowl (or more, depending on size of soup crocks. I used Le Creuset mini cocottes. The bread in these filled about 1/2 of each.)

Ladle soup into bowls. Let the bread absorb broth for a few seconds and add more soup if needed.

Top with alternating layers of gruyere and asiago. (2 layers of each)

Place the bowls onto a sheet pan. Broil until it’s melty and a little golden.