April 21, 2014

Cheesy Cauliflower Soup Recipe from Colleen

I am not a cauliflower fan.  In fact it is one of the very few foods I pass up (believe me, I don't pass much on food, in fact at the moment I can think of only 4 veggies I don't like;  beets, eggplant, chick peas and cauliflower).
So, I was more than skeptical when my cute friend Colleen told me about this recipe.  We were at lunch with another fun friend and neighbor (Brittany) and we had a conversation about the surprising deliciousness of cauliflower soup.  I was skeptical. Very skeptical.
Well Colleen promised to give us the recipe and Brittany promised to  make it and send some to me.
And....I WAS STUNNED BY THIS SOUP!  It is rich and creamy and cheesy and without an overpowering cauliflower taste.  Excellent soup!
It's quick to make, and I must tell you that my husband, who does love cauliflower, is so in love with it and says it's his favorite soup ever  (and he is a die hard fan of clam chowder, so this is really saying something!
I've made the soup twice.  After making the recipe the first time I learned to dice up the onion and celery instead of chopping it, and to mash up the cauliflower before adding the sauce-lol.
Give this soup a try-you may die of happiness!

CHEESY CAULIFLOWER SOUP

1 c. diced onion
1 c. diced celery
1 small head of cauliflower, cleaned and cut into florets
3/4 c. butter
3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
more shredded cheese for topping if desired

In a larger stock pot place the diced onion, celery and cauliflower.  Add enough water to cover the veggies.  On medium high heat bring the water to a boil, cover and cook until veggies are tender (this took about 10-12 min for me (I live in a high altitude city).  Drain most of the water, and mash up the cauliflower (I use a potato masher).

While the vegetables are cooking, in a large sauce pan melt the butter, add the flour and whisk until smooth.  Add the 1/2 & 1/2, milk, and the salt and pepper  Cook on medium high heat until it becomes thickened (this took 15 minutes for me) add the cheese and stir until melted and completely incorporated.  Pour over the cooked vegetables, stir and heat until desired temp (I didn't have to heat it after I had it mixed together-it was perfect).


Now just serve it up!  I did sprinkle a little more shredded cheese on each bowl of soup, I love cheesy goodness!




April 17, 2014

Colleen's Chicken Pasta Salad with Grapes

I have a great friend who has THE BEST recipes, and she has been willing to share some of them with me. In fact, I've gotten so many good recipes from her that I have to set up her only section of recipe deliciousness here in the blog!  This is a recipe she brought to a party and I definitely fell in love with it. I've made it several times now and it's always a hit!
Thank you Colleen for making me happy!


CHICKEN PASTA SALAD 

1 ( 16 oz.) box bow tie pasta
2 c. cooked chicken, chopped 
(or 1 (10 oz.)can chicken, drained and chopped)
4 celery stocks, and chopped
1 ½ Tbsp. sweet onion, finely diced
1-2 bunches red grapes, sliced in 1/2 
1 (8 oz.)can sliced water chestnuts, drained and cut in half
1 ( 8 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, drained
2 Fuji apples, peeled and chopped

Cook the pasta as directed on the package, until just al dente.  Rinse under cold water until pasta has cooled to room temp.
In a large mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients, mix salad dressing, pour over salad and stir well.  
Chill for a minimum of 4 hours.

Dressing
1 (16oz.)bottle coleslaw dressing
1 cup mayonnaise

Whisk together until well incorporated.
Note:  The first time I made this recipe, I used the Kraft Coleslaw dressing and I really didn't care for it at all.  Since then I've been using Hidden Valley Ranch coleslaw and I love it.


As you can see in the photo's, I sliced my grapes into quarters because they were huge!




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April 2, 2014

CROCK POT SWEET GARLIC CHICKEN


This is a really great crock pot recipe! Serve over rice, baked potatoes, pasta or wrapped in a tortilla! 

CROCK POT SWEET GARLIC CHICKEN

4-6 chicken breasts (frozen or thawed)
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
2/3 c. vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1/4 c. lemon-lime soda
2-3 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. corn starch
2 Tbsp. water
3-4 green onions, chopped for garnish (optional)

Spray a 5 or 6 quart crock pot with non stick spray (or line it with those AMAZING crock pot liners you can buy).

Put the chicken in the bottom of the crockpot.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the brown sugar, vinegar, soda, garlic, soy sauce and pepper.  Mix well.

Pour over the chicken, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.

When done, remove the chicken to a large plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Pour the sauce from the crock pot into a medium size sauce pan.  
Bring sauce to a boil. 
Mix together the water and cornstarch. While sauce is boiling slowly whisk in the cornstarch mix, and continue whisking until the sauce has thickened, usually 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a couple of minutes (remember that the sauce will continue to thicken while it cools).
  
Pour the sauce over individual servings of the chicken or you can mix all the chicken into the sauce-however you like it!
  
Enjoy!



February 4, 2014

Cranberry Apple Crumble

This recipe is so good.  And it is easy to assemble.



CRANBERRY APPLE CRUMBLE

FILLING:
3 c. peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples (3-4 apples)
2 c. fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries
1 tsp. finely minced orange zet
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. butter
3/4 c. white sugar

Preheat over to 350 degrees
In a large mixing bowl toss together the apples, cranberried, orange zest and salt.
Lightly butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with the 1 tsp. butter.
Transfer the apple mix to the baking dish and sprinkle the 3/4 c. sugar over the top.

CRUMBLE TOPPING
1 c. butter (2 sticks), melted
1 tsp. salt
1 c. light brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. rolled oats
2/3 c. flour

Combine all the topping ingredients in medium mixing bowl and mix very well with a fork.  Or you can use a food processor, simply pulse until everything is combined.
Spoon the crumbly topping over the fruit, and bake for 45 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is golden brown.
Serve warm.  Add some vanilla ice cream with each piece-delish!




Note:  The original recipes suggests trying this dish using other fruits such as pears and blueberries or peaches and blackberries.  I'm sure your favorite combinations of fruit will work perfectly with this dish.

This dish can also be made a day ahead.  Simply prepare and store in the fridge until ready too bake.