Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hand Mashed Pinto Beans with Cheese

I first want to thank Art for guest writing on the blog.  The "pizza" was great!  Having someone fix a meal for me was even greater!  I have a wonderful husband! 

Supper last night was a hodge-podge of my favorite Mexican food on multi-grain tortillas.  We had guacamole (avocados, lemon juice, onion, garlic, and salt), sour cream, salsa, and home-made refried beans.

I have mentioned my craving for refried beans in a previous post (one of the few pregnancy cravings I have experienced repeatedly).  Since they still sound so good, I decided to make my favorite version.  These home-made mashed beans from Bon Appetit are magnitudes better than the canned stuff.  They don't even taste like the same thing.  The amazing flavor and texture are well worth the extra effort.  Though not quite as easy as opening a can, they are pretty simple to make.  I soak and drain the beans before proceeding with the recipe.  I use canola oil and Monterrey Jack cheese- though, I'm sure queso fresco or even cheddar would be great in this dish.   

Jacob has never liked canned refried beans, so I wasn't sure how he would like these.  I set aside a small bowl of un-mashed beans for him to eat.  He ate these and a tortilla with mashed beans, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream.  I think he is learning to love a spicy, gross mixture, just like his daddy.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chez Schumpeter's Creative Destruction in the Kitchen: Thin Crust Pesto Mini-Pizzas

Guest post by Art Carden

I am very, very fortunate that I get to enjoy the meals Shannon writes about here.  Periodically, I will try my own hand in the kitchen (like here and here).  I did that before lunch today by making a couple of thin crust mini pesto pizzas using some of the stuff we have lying around.

A bit of back story is in order first.  Shannon makes absolutely amazing pizzas--I mean pizzas that will reaffirm your belief in the goodness and benevolence of almighty God.  To accompany dinner on Thursday, she also made a bunch of homemade naan, which we finished earlier today.  She also makes tortilla chips by cutting up tortillas and baking them.

I was thinking last night that the naan would make a great base or crust for a mini-pizza, like you might do with an English muffin (when combined with scrambled eggs and a bit of cheddar cheese, the naan also makes a great ersatz breakfast burrito, as I discovered this morning).  After polishing off the naan at lunch, I got an idea based on how Shannon does pizza, naan, and chips as well as memories of Saint Louis-style thin-crust pizza from our years in the Gateway City.  Those were inspired by wistful yearnings for the beef noodle soup at St. Lous Bubble Tea and Wong's Wok (which has apparently relocated)--yearnings which were in turn inspired by the fact that it's freezing and snowy in Memphis.

But I digress.  I decided to make thin crust pesto mini-pizzas using wheat tortillas.

It was pretty simple: I laid a couple of tortillas on our fancy-pantsy Pampered Chef cooking stone (the large one) smeared them with some of the pesto left over from Sunday and some tomato paste, sprinkled them with cheese, and put them in the oven.  The cheese was a combination of the Parmesan cheese Shannon gets at Sam's Club (which is amazing) and "Great Value" Monterey Jack (which was the only almost-flavorless white cheese we had in the house; I would've used mozzarella had it been available).

The resulting mini-pizzas were quite good.  For a crispier crust I would've baked the tortillas before applying the pesto/cheese/etc.  I also made the mistake of opening a can of tomatoes before I knew I would be using them.  I didn't, so they're now in a container in the fridge.  I judge the experiment a success, and like any pizza, these could be topped with anything.  Anything, that is, except chorizo, because as Brad DeLong reminds us, that would be crazy.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Field Trip and Honeyed Tofu on Soba

This afternoon, Jacob and I took an exciting food field trip to the International Grocery on Cleveland.  This is a mainly Asian food grocery store that also offers a good amount of Latino foods.   I had never taken Jacob to this store, and buying ingredients for tonight's supper was a great excuse to go.  (I am still striving to shop for groceries once a week, but I could not find udon or tofu at Walmart to use in tofu on udon noodles.)  

The International Grocery has aisle after aisle of foods I have never tried- from exotic produce to frozen desserts to parts of pork I wasn't aware were edible.  I love looking at everything and imagining what it could be used to create.  

Jacob loved looking at the live fish in the seafood section.  This place is a regular aquarium compared to most grocery stores' meager tank full of lobsters.  Here, crabs and crawfish are crawling around in huge boxes.  Tilapia and catfish swim around waiting to be grabbed for supper.  The store's huge tank full of black eels will probably be involved in my next nightmare.   Eughgh!

But, all of these exciting distractions did not make us forget our reason for the trip.  We needed tofu and udon noodles.  Compared to Kroger, the tofu selection was huge and cheap.  I found what I wanted and moved on to noodles.

An entire aisle is devoted to noodles!  Maybe there were too many noodles- in the midst of all of those strangely marked bags, I could not find udon.  I settled for a bag of soba noodles and went to check-out.

Our dinner turned out tasty.  The soba (buckwheat flour noodles) were a fine substitute for the udon (wheat flour noodles).   The sauce of honey, soy sauce, rice-wine vinegar, spicy mustard, and orange juice went really well with the tofu, mushrooms, and soba.  I did not enjoy the texture of the cucumber.  When tossed with the hot noodles, the cucumber became kind of slimy and mushy.  But, it was easy to pick out and I picked it all out before refigerating the leftovers. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna

Yesterday, I made a lasagna.  Lasagna is a dish of which we hardly ever tire- we ate it for supper last night, lunch today, and supper tonight.  I used lean ground beef and maybe half of a 15oz container of part skim ricotta (the recipe calls for an entire container).  I also used thin slices of fresh mozzarella, peeled zucchini slices, and cooked frozen spinach.
This is such a versitile dish- use beef, sausage, tofu or no meat and throw in lots of vegetables. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Steak, Balsmic Mushrooms, Spinach Rice, and Green Beans

Last night, my plan was to make Brazilian-style beef stroganoff.  Brazilian beef stroganoff is a little different from American: in addition to cream, the sauce has tomatoes, and the beef is filet mignon or some other "high end" cut.  (Filet mignon is to Brazilians what cube steak is to Americans.)  At the last minute, I could not bring myself to dice a perfectly good steak into pieces and then drench it in sauce.  Maybe if I lived in Brazil and had cheap steak-a-plenty, then I could use precious cuts of beef in such a manner without reservation. 

Instead, I made broiled steaks.  I sprinkled both sides with salt and pepper, placed them in a cast iron skillet, and broiled the steaks in the oven.  This is a really easy way to cook great steaks. 

I broiled Art's for about 6 minutes for medium-rare and Jacob and mine for about 9 minutes for medium-well (they were about 1 inch thick).  As soon as I took each steak out of the oven, I put a very small pat of butter on top.  The butter melts into a delicious sauce for the steak. 

The mushrooms I would have used in the stroganoff were transformed into balsmic mushrooms.  These came together so easily and were perfect with the steaks. 

We also had leftover spinach rice that I made a few nights ago.  I made this loosely based on a recipe in The Essential Vegatarian Cookbook published by Whitecap Books. 

1 cup long grain brown rice
2 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
2 Tab olive oil
1 large onion, diced
10oz frozen, chopped spinach, thawed

Combine rice, chicken broth, salt and pepper in a rice cooker or saucepan.  Cook according to package directions.
Heat oil in a small pan.  Add onion and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Stir in spinach, reduce heat and cook, covered, until hot for 5-10 minutes.  Add spinach mixture to rice. 

Before cooking the steaks, I roasted green beans in the oven with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

We all enjoyed this meal, but Jacob especially seemed to enjoy it.  He ate a ton of steak and spinach rice.  I think his full belly helped him sleep well last night- he slept until 7:00am!  (This is amazing since he normally wakes up by 5:30.)  Maybe we should have steak every night...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pesto Pasta

Tonight, I made a super easy supper.  I cooked and drained some whole wheat rotini pasta.  I stirred in several tablespoonfuls of sun-dried tomato pesto and chopped fresh mozzarella.  The cheese melted to a pleasing stringiness and each spiral shaped pasta held the perfect amount of pesto. 
This was one of the easiest suppers I have prepared in a long time- maybe ever.  The amount of time from filling a pot with water to siting down to eat was, at most, fifteen minutes. And, everybody enjoyed the meal. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rotini with Piquant Tomato and Chicken Sauce, Peach Pie and Ice Cream

The pasta I made for dinner tonight is from the Food and Wine Books Pasta book.  It is a boldly flavored sauce that pairs well with chicken.  The sauce gets its boldness from red wine and anchovies- two ingredients with which I do not often cook.  Anchovies add a salty, but not fishy, flavor. 

The recipe calls for cavatappi (corkscrew) pasta, but I used rotini.  While chopping the cooked chicken, I decided it was too much chicken for the amount of sauce.  So, I did not add all of it back to the sauce.  I put the excess chicken in the freezer for another use- like a recipe that calls for cooked chicken. 
We all enjoyed the pasta.

1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 tsp dried rosemary
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
1/2 tsp dried red-pepper flakes
1 3lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I used chicken breasts only)
3 1/2 cups canned tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 Tab red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 lb rotini
Grated Parmesan cheese

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat.  Add the rosemary, galic, anchovies, and red-peper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the chicken and turn to coat.
Add the tomatoes, wine, chicken broth, vinegar, and salt.  Simmer the chicken, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender, about 45 minutes.  Remove the chicken.  Continue simmering the sauce until thickened, about 30 minutes longer.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the skin and bones and cut it into bite-size pieces.  Return the chicken to the sauce.
Cook the rotini according to the package directions for al dente.  Drain and return to the hot pot.  Add the sauce and toss.  Serve with Parmesan cheese. 

I also made a peach pie.  I served it with vanilla bean ice cream.  Apparently, Jacob enjoyed too much pasta and left no room for pie.  I was shocked.  He has never turned down anything involving ice cream.  Yet, tonight he was perfectly content playing while we enjoyed our (delicious!) pie.  I was planning to take a picture of him devouring the pie.  Instead, this is what I got:  

I made my own recipe using less sugar than usual and a bag of frozen peach slices.  This tasted like summer. 

4 cups peach slices (I used frozen peaches, thawed at room temperature for about 1 hour.)
2 Tab flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (almond is also really good, if you have any on hand)
dash of cinnamon

Pie crust (top and bottom)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Sprinkle peaches with flour and toss to coat.  Stir in remaining ingredients until well combined. 
Spread peaches in pie crust and top with crust.  Pierce air vents in top crust.
Bake pie 45-50 minutes.  Let cool slightly before serving.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Spinach Pie, Buttermilk Biscuits, and Smoothies

We had a semi brunch for supper tonight. I made a spinach pie based on a recipe I found in one of my newest cookbooks- Whole Foods for the Whole Family. I also made buttermilk biscuits from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. To finish off the meal, we had smoothies made with frozen strawberries, peaches, and pineapple; pineapple and orange juices; and plain yogurt.

Jacob devoured his smoothie and ate all but two bites of his slice of spinach pie. His crumbled his biscuit and scattered it all over the dining room floor. He never has been a big fan of biscuits.

Spinach Pie Ingredients
1 lb fresh spinach
3 green onions, white parts only, diced
drizzle of olive oil
1 cup cubed cheddar cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
dash of salt and pepper
dash of garlic powder

9" pie crust

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add spinach and onion to pan. Cover and heat until spinach is wilted. Drain spinach and allow to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, mix together spinach and remaining ingredients (except the pie crust, of course). Spread in pie shell. Bake 20 minutes.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Crock Pot Greek Stuffed Peppers

For supper tonight, we ate Greek stuffed peppers with salad (Jacob had peas) and bread. This is such an easy dish. I put it together in about 15 minutes.

Red, yellow, or orange bell peppers are stuffed with a mixture of cannellini beans, couscous, feta, garlic, and scallions. Then, they are cooked in a crock pot until tender.

Art and I loved the peppers. Jacob did not seem to enjoy his. We didn't mind finishing his pepper.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings

Treebeard's has a great chicken and dumplings recipe that includes flavorful chicken, delicious buttermilk dumplings, a creamy sauce, and just enough vegetables to balance the indulgence.

The recipe takes a while to prepare, but it can be made in stages. The cookbook recommends making the broth and chicken the day before you plan to use it. I'm sure you could save some time by using canned stock and a store-bought rotisserie chicken, but this version is really good!

I made a few changes to the recipe by omitting out some shortening, butter, and sugar. Here is the version I made last night:

Stock Ingredients
2 quarts water
3 stalks celery, chopped
3/4 medium onion, quartered
1 1/2 carrots, chopped (I use a couple of hand-fulls of baby carrots and don't chop them.)
3 lb chicken, cut in half
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Place water, seasonings, and vegetables in a pot and bring to a boil. Add chicken and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside to cool. Strain broth and discard vegetables. Set broth aside. Remove skin and debone chicken. Chop into 1" pieces.

Dumpling Ingredients
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 Tab butter
1/4 cup + 2 Tab buttermilk

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter. Add buttermilk and mix with a fork until all dry ingredients are moist. If mixture seems too dry, add another teaspoon buttermilk. Turn out onto floured surface and kneed 4 or 5 times. Roll out mixture and cut into 1/4" squares. (I use a pizza cutter.) Sprinkle with flour and set aside.

Chicken and Dumplings Ingredients
4 Tab butter
1/4 cup flour
Reserved broth
1 1/2 stalks celery, chopped
3/4 medium onion, diced
3 cups carrots, diced
1 cup frozen peas

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until mixture is gently bubbling and smooth, but not brown. Set aside.
Bring broth to a boil and add celery and onions. Cook for 5 minutes. Add carrots and cook until carrots are tender. Add dumplings and cook until dumplings float. Add roux slowly while stirring until mixture has the consistency of gravy. Add chicken and peas and heat through until peas are cooked and chicken is hot.

Friday, January 15, 2010

An Analysis of Milk: Organic vs Conventional

Most doctors recommend a child Jacob's age (17 months) drink 16-24 ounces of whole milk a day. I heard a lot of vague hints about the dangers in conventional milk, so, starting with his first cup, I decided to give Jacob only organic milk.

Based on the sheer volume of milk he consumes daily, I reasoned that even trace amounts of harmful stuff could potentially do him harm. I wasn't sure what specific type of harm, but it would be bad. This potential fate was not worth risking, so I willingly shelled out almost $7 a gallon for organic milk.

However, each time I pay for this pricey milk, a little part of me questions the worth of the expense. Is that $3 gallon of conventional milk really going to harm my child? Is the extra $4 a gallon for organic a wise investment?

After buying organic milk for over five months, the time came for me research this question for myself: Specifically, how is organic milk superior to conventional? I did some (not so highly scientific) Internet research on the subject and compiled some information that I believe to be factual.

Organic milk has a longer shelf life than conventional milk because of differences in pasteurization processes. Organic milk contains less bacteria than most conventional milk because it undergoes ultrahigh temperature (UHT) processing.
While interesting, this fact alone does not convince me to keep paying for organic milk. I've drank conventional milk for years and never gotten sick from any bacteria lurking around after traditional pasteurization (that I know of, anyway).

Organic milk comes from cows that are not given antibiotics. This is good since we are constantly warned about overexposure and resistance to antibiotics.
But, I also found that dairy farmers are strongly encouraged to limit their use of antibiotics on dairy cows by the FDA. Furthermore, the presence of antibiotics in milk violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. (I read this in a article published by the Journal of Dairy Science. I tried to read the actual act and find this rule myself, but gave up.)
This leads me to believe that any amounts of antibiotics found in conventional milk will be statistically insignificant, and therefore, most likely harmless.

Synthetic Growth Hormones
Organic milk comes from cows that are not given rBGH. According to Wikipedia- a highly scientific source, I know- several studies of the hormone have revealed its association with increased risk for pervasive cancer.
The thought of this potential carcinogen being in my baby's milk is enough to make me pay for organic milk- no matter the cost.
But, I have also found that most dairies in the US now no longer use this hormone. (Here is a list of the biggest US Dairies that do not use rBGH.) So, most convential milk is rBGH free.

Based on the above findings, I perceive very little difference in organic and conventional milk. Therefore, continuing to pay extra for organic milk is a waste of resources. The next gallon I buy will be conventional.
Obviously, my family's health is important to me. If any of you have any more information on the subject, please share it!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


For supper tonight we had veggie pizza. I made dough for the crust, and spread it with sauce made of tomato paste, canned tomatoes, garlic, and oregano all heated together and processed in the blender until smooth.
The toppings I used are as follows:
-fresh mozzarella
-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
-grated zucchini
-diced cherry tomatoes
-torn baby spinach
-crushed red pepper flakes
-black pepper
-home roasted red and yellow bell peppers (These are easy to make. Place pepper on a broiler rack under a hot broiler for about 6 minutes, turning occasionally. Let cool and remove skin.)

We all loved this meal. And, we ate a decent variety of veggies.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Super Food Chili

I recently found a fun blog about cooking with a crock pot- The author has blogged about many interesting crock pot meals. While scrolling though them, I was drawn to one for sweet potato chili. Perhaps the unexpected combination of ingredients attracted my attention: sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, kidney beans, and orange juice are a few of the super foods included in the chili.

As promised on the blog, the flavors blended beautifully in this unusual soup. It was spicy and satisfying. I served grated Cheddar and cornbread on the side. I will be making this again.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Salmon, Asparagus, and Twice Baked Potatoes

Last week, I bought a container of mayonnaise to make pimento cheese for lunch. We rarely use mayo for anything other than this (delicious) purpose and it ends up sitting in our refrigerator until it goes bad. Determined to not let this happen, I started brainstorming ways to use the mayonnaise.
In my Treebeard's cookbook, I found a recipe for salmon basted in a mayonnaise based dressing. In previous experiences, salmon cooked with mayo was deliciously moist, so I thought I'd give this version a try.

1 1/4 lb salmon filet, skin removed
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 small tomato, diced
Cooking spray

Preheat boiler.
In a small bowl, combine mayo, milk, dill and lemon pepper. Brush over salmon. Broil salmon on broiler pan coated with cooking spray for 6-8 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork. Brush again with mayo mixture immediately after removing from oven. Add diced tomato to mayo mixture and serve alongside salmon.

We really enjoyed this salmon. Art liked it even better than the baked salmon I made several weeks ago. The diced tomatoes tossed with the mayonnaise mixture really complemented the fish.

To accompany the salmon, I made roasted asparagus and twice baked potatoes. I wanted to make the potatoes somewhat healthy, so I created my own filling. While I did not use butter or sour cream, I did use cheese and bacon. We enjoyed the potatoes, but both agreed they could use a little more flavor- maybe a touch of butter mixed in would do the trick.

3 Russet potatoes, baked and cooled slightly
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 Tablespoon milk
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup grated Cheddar
black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Halve the baked potatoes and scoop out the flesh. Arrange the skins on a greased baking sheet.
In a bowl, combine potato flesh and remaining ingredients. Gently mash together until combined. Fill each potato skin with mashed potatoes. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Meatless Spaghetti and a Plan for Next Week

Today was the last day of our planned meals. I made spaghetti for dinner. This was a huge hit, as spaghetti always is around here.


1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can tomato paste
30 oz petite diced tomatoes
dash of pepper
dash of oregano
dash of crushed red pepper flakes

Heat oil over medium high heat in a large pot. Saute onions in oil until tender. Stir in garlic and tomato paste. Stir for 1 minute. Stir in remaining ingredients. Reduce heat and partially cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.
Serve over whole wheat pasta with shredded Parmesan cheese.

What a great week of low stress dinners! Tomorrow, we will go grocery shopping for another week's worth of food.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Last night, I made a chicken cordon bleu recipe I found in a Taste of Home cookbook given to me by Art's grandmother. We loved the combination of chicken, ham, and Swiss cheese.

Since the flavor is what we most enjoyed, I would like to experiment with different variations of this dish. I'm not convinced flattening the chicken and rolling it with the ham and cheese is necessary. And, the corn flake coating called for in the recipe does not seem to add much to the dish in terms of flavor- I did use bran flakes, so maybe that is the problem.

But, this recipe is relatively healthy in comparison with other cordon bleu recipes I have seen because the chicken in baked instead of fried in fat.

I served the chicken with two easy sides from the freezer: yeast rolls and steamed green beans.

This week of pre-planned meals has gone so well, I'm already excited about repeating the experiment next week. I have a few suppers in mind already...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Big Game

Tonight, The University of Alabama is playing Texas in the national championship game. No pre-championship dinner would be complete without full fan attire and several renditions of "Yea Alabama!," the Bama fight song. (Jacob clapped and danced every time- I have never seen Art so proud of his son.)
For dinner, we ate leftover soup, freshly prepared guacamole, and homemade tortilla chips.
Now, our stomachs are full, Jacob is sound asleep, Bama is winning, and Art and I are ecstatic. Roll Tide!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Homemade Tortilla Chips

We have survived day three of a week of preplanned meals and avoiding the grocery store. So far, the plan has been a success. I have loved not going shopping and not worrying about what to make for dinner each night. We all seem to be enjoying the meals I planned.

Today, I almost went to Kroger and ruined everything. I was craving refried beans- we did not have any at home. Somehow, I managed to stay strong and suppress the craving. (Knowing that I would have to confess my failing on this blog was good incentive.)

Art, Jacob, and I spent a fun afternoon at The Children's Museum. Coming home to the smell of chicken tortilla soup cooking in the crock-pot was so satisfying.

I did make some tortilla chips to eat with the soup. These chips are healthier than traditional store bought tortilla chips because they are baked with no oil and contain just a little salt. They are easy and cheap to make. They are great crumbled in soup or with salsa.

corn tortillas, cut into wedges (I stack them and use a pizza cutter to make quick work of this.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange tortilla wedges in a single layer on a stone or baking sheet. Bake until crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sauteed Greens

Tonight for supper I made sauteed greens to accompany our oven barbecued brisket and potato salad. The brisket and potato salad were excellent. The greens were one of the worst things I have ever made.

I can think of no adequate description for how disgusting this dish tasted. Art's suggestion is "gross-buckets." We both love greens. These ingredients just do not compliment one another. They sound good on paper, but they do not taste good.

Plan for the Week

I must confess that over the course of a week (sometimes day) I waste a great deal of my time and Jacob's time by repeatedly going to the grocery store. Making a list and buying groceries for one or two meals seems so much easier than taking time to plan and shop for the entire week. Occasionally, I do try to plan ahead, but I always forget something crucial and end up back at the store.
This week, I am determined to make only one grocery trip. I planned our meals for the week and made a (huge) list. This afternoon, Jacob and I made a two and a half hour time investment at Sam's and Walmart- these store are adjacent to one another so I count this as one trip. We bought everything we need to make the following meals for the following nights:
Monday- Oven Barbecue Brisket, Potato Salad, Sauteed Greens
Tuesday- Leftovers
Wednesday- Chicken Tortilla Soup and Home-made Tortilla Chips
Thursday- Leftovers
Friday- Chicken Cordon Bleu, Yeast Rolls, Frozen Veggie
Saturday- leftovers
Sunday- Spaghetti
I promise to let you know how this goes. If any of you have tips on remembering everything from the store, please share!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Easy Chicken and Rice Soup

We returned home from a fun holiday visit to Alabama. We were all so glad to be home with our own beds, toys, and routines.

For our first supper at home, I made chicken and rice soup. I made a version of a recipe my cousin gave my mom many years ago.

This soup has been a favorite ever since we started making it. I almost always make this soup when I take food to friends. I once won 3rd place in a soup cook-off with the recipe.

The original recipe calls for half and half- I usually substitute with 2% milk. (Half and half is really good in the soup, but using 2% cuts fat, calories, and cholesterol without much sacrifice.) The original recipe also calls for minute rice. I use short grain brown rice and increase the cooking time from 30 minutes to 45 minutes.

2 chicken breast halves, cooked and diced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
30oz chicken broth
4 cups water
4 Tablespoons butter
2 cups rice
1 pint milk or half and half
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in pot and simmer 45 minutes, or until rice is cooked.