Monday, November 28, 2016

Slow Cooker Turkey Tortilla Soup


It's Sunday, it's raining, and I'm so done with the Turkey!

Today's recipe, Slow Cooker Turkey Tortilla Soup, is the perfect dish for using up your leftover turkey meat from Thanksgiving.  I'm getting a little tired of it so I decided that today was the day to use up all the rest of in a fantastic soup. 

You must be saying that tortilla soup is usually made with chicken, but both chicken and turkey are mild enough in flavors that you can substitute either.  And why not?  Turkey is a great protein in a hot bowl of soup.  So if you don't feel like making my Turkey and Wild Rice Soup, this spicy and hearty Latin flavored soup might tickle your fancy!


Most of the ingredients are pantry items which I pretty much keep on stock all the time.  It's as simple as chopping some onion, and then dumping all the ingredients (except the cooked turkey) in the slow cooker and turn it on.  You add the turkey about 45 minutes prior to eating to warm it through. 

There you have it!  A warming soup for a cold day.  One's that's easy to make and has great flavor.


Slow Cooker Turkey Tortilla Soup

Serves 4

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 15 oz can sweet corn, drained
1 4 oz can diced green chiles
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ancho chili powder
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cups of chopped cooked turkey
1 1/2 Tbls Wondra (for thickening)
Toppings:  Crumbled tortilla chips, sour cream, avocados, cotija cheese

Add all ingredients to a slow cooker with the exception of the turkey and Wondra. Cook on low 6-7 hours or on high 3-4. 45 minutes prior to serving add the chopped turkey and the Wondra. Stir to combine and turn the heat to high. Cook on high 45 minutes. Serve in bowls with added toppings if desired. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Tablescapes and Helping Tips Cheat Sheets


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I wanted to bring you some Thanksgiving inspiration for your table this year. Along with a couple of Cheat Sheets that I created.

First up is the tablescape.  I'm all about a well dressed table.  I just love decorating and changing up the table to create a theme or just enhance a mood.  MGG can attest to that as I have a spare closet full of various, dishes, tablecloths, napkins, and serving pieces!  It's a problem.  Along with cookbooks.  But that's a story for another day!

Each year I change the mood of my Thanksgiving table.  Last year I went with a frosty winter theme filled with the colors of silver, greys, and mercury glass with touches of orange pumpkins. 

The focal point was a beautiful mercury glass apothecary jar I used as a vase to hold off white hydrangeas, surrounded by silver candlesticks which held white tapers.  Orange pumpkins that hold side dishes are displayed.  I also found a wonderful glass pumpkin that I picked up which added more sparkle.  Add in some smoky grey wine glasses and the table is ready for the food.

The place settings started with silver chargers, followed by white dinner plates, and then a favorite salad plate that have deep oranges and rusts with a pumpkin motif.  Add in some southern styled silverware and a fluffy white napkin and you are set for a simple yet elegant dinner.

This year I changed the mood by going will deep fall colors such as copper, rust, deep oranges, creams, and silver/mercury glass. I also added a pop of green to bring in the outdoor feeling inside.  The textures are different as well, with silk, glass, wood, and ceramics.

I used the same mercury glass apothecary jar as a vase.  This time I found some muted green hydrangeas which gave the table a pop of color.  Surrounded by silver candlesticks with cream tapers and cream mini pumpkins.  The runner is copper silk with a nice sequin accent. 

For the place setting I used wood chargers to give the table an earthy feel.  Cream dinner plates topped with a salad plate that displays fall leaves in deep reds and rusts.  Top that with a lidded cream colored pumpkin bowl.  Gold crinkle glasses frame each plate along with clear wine glass goblets to give a more substantial feeling.

Dinner is served!

I hope you enjoyed the tablescapes and found some inspiration for your own table.  Now I've would like to share with you 2 cheat sheets that I created for Thanksgiving, and beyond.



Have a wonderful, peaceful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Jack Daniel's Whiskey Marinated Flank Steak


It's almost Turkey time and I've just finished planning my menu. 

I know, I'm a little slow.  I'm not usually this way (honest!) but with our recent tropical vacation, time just got away from me and before you new it Thanksgiving was 2 weeks away.

I always plan a new tablescape for the big day.  It was so much fun shopping for new pieces to change up my table this year.  I'll share that with you in my next post.  With the table all set then came the food planning.  Oh boy, for whatever reason this was a tough one this year.  I always make our traditional family favorites but try to add 1 or 2 new side dishes.  I was looking at the menu and saw that everything is starchy or carbs.  Time for something green.  Well, I finally settled on 2 new dishes that I think will be outstanding.  I'm glad that part is done!  Phew...I was getting anxious there for a minute (which is something that we should NOT be doing!).  But, with some needed research this morning I knocked out the menu, made my grocery list, and even planned some new "after" Thanksgiving recipes to make this year.

Today, however, I thought I'd mix it up.  When all of us are thinking turkey, turkey, turkey, how about some beef?  Maybe an easy Jack Daniels Whiskey Marinated Flank Steak?  Oh yes, it sounds good, tastes wonderful, and is easy to make.  We need that now before the marathon cooking starts!

Jack Daniels Whiskey Marinated Flank Steak

You have to try this marinade.  Like now. 

It gives your beef the best flavor!  Dare I say it makes it beefier?  Well it sure seems that way.  There's nothing better than a grilled steak with a side of potatoes.  I cooked a wonderful flank steak, but this marinade will work on whatever your favorite cut of beef is.  The hardest part is waiting for the meat to finish marinating, (about 2 hours) then it's a quick grill, slice and your done!  Boy, my mouth is watering just re-living the flavors of this steak.  With added whiskey, apple juice, Worcestershire sauce for that added umph...and a little hot sauce, WOW!

This is great for dinner with potatoes and a salad.  It's also great turned into sandwiches the next day.  Any way you slice it this Jack Daniels Whiskey Marinated Flank Steak is worth making.


Jack Daniel's Whiskey Marinated Flank Steak

Servings 4-6                                  

3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups apple juice
1/4 cup whiskey (optional)
1 T whole grain mustard
1 T olive oil
2 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce (I used Tabasco)
1flank steak (about 1 1/2 pounds)

In a ziploc bag add all the ingredients except the steak.  Stir until mixed thoroughly.  Add the steak, seal and marinate for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Remove the steak from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium high heat, or an indoor grill pan. If using the outdoor grill oil the grates with olive oil.

Remove steak from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Add the steak to the grill and cook about 4 minutes on each side until desired doneness. Remove steak to a cutting board and allow to stand for 5 minutes before cutting. Slice steak diagonally across the grain into thin strips.  Serve.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

6 Irresistible Pumpkin Recipes


We're celebrating the wonderful pumpkin today! 

I love pumpkins and can hardly wait for October to roll around each year so I can bake (and cook) with pumpkin. 

If you love pumpkin too then this post is for you!  I'm sharing with you 6 of my favorite pumpkin dishes today.  These are the ones I gravitate to each year.  I hope you enjoy them and find one that becomes a favorite of yours as well.

Enjoy your pumpkins!

Pumpkin Citrus Crescent Rolls

Pumpkin Cobbler

Pumpkin Pie with Orange Marmalade

Layered Pumpkin Bread

Spicy Pumpkin Fool

Low Carb Pumpkin Pancakes

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Fall baking: Pumpkin Citrus Crescent Rolls


October started off with a bang.  Fall baking and fall flavors were in so on my mind.  I made this delicious Bakery Style Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake and then bang...vacation time took over.  Not just any vacation, but a tropical one.  Hot, humid, tropical weather, which put me right back in the summer mood.

Well, we're back and we had a fantastic time, but it's taken me a little kick in the butt to get back in the fall flavor swing...until today that is.  We took this week trying to slowly get back into the swing of everyday life, work etc.  It's been rough as I'm still dreaming of the islands.  Last Friday night we decided to go out for a bit and walk around the mall.  I knew I had to stop in my favorite store, Williams-Sonoma, and pick up a jar of Pecan Pumpkin Butter by Muirhead.  Yum! It's full of all natural ingredients such as Pumpkin, sugar, lemon juice, pecans, spices and it tastes so good.  Definitely something to purchase if you get the chance

So I had in mind using this as an ingredient in a mixture to spread on to some crescent rolls.  A new recipe was born!  Pumpkin Citrus Crescent Rolls are on the menu for breakfast today.  Taking a cue from my favorite pumpkin pie I whipped up a filling of pumpkin butter, orange marmalade for a citrus zing, and some vanilla.  Put it all in a ready to bake crescent roll dough and you have the best breakfast, or snack, or dessert you will even want on a fall day.

The pumpkin lends the earthiness, and the citrus lightens it up a bit, making this a comfort food treat that will have your house smelling wonderful and your tummy saying "MMMnnn!"  Done in 20 minutes, so this is easy to whip up when you are short on time.  We just loved this recipe which was evident by the 3 rolls I inhaled in 30 seconds and the fight over the remaining rolls with my love, MGG.  Haha!  I think more of these rolls will be made

Note:  You can use whatever pumpkin butter you like best.

Pumpkin Citrus Crescent Rolls

Yield: 8 rolls

1 can of crescent rolls (such as Pillsbury)
2 T pumpkin butter
1 T orange marmalade
1/2 tsp vanilla
Garnish:  ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl add pumpkin butter, orange marmalade, and vanilla.  Stir until mixed well.

Remove crescent dough from the can and unroll.  Separate into 8 individual triangles and place the rolls on a working surface.

Smear pumpkin mixture on one side of each triangle with about 1 tsp of mixture.  (Putting too much will cause the mixture to ooze out when baking.)  Starting at the large end roll dough toward small point until a crescent is formed.  Place on a baking sheet.  Continue until all dough is rolled in crescents. 

Sprinkle a little fresh ground nutmeg over the tops.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 11-13 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Italian Style Roasted Chicken and Orzo Soup


About a week ago I brought you a recipe for Mediterranean Chicken Salad in which I roasted the chicken breasts.  I actually roasted 5 bone-in chicken breasts to use for various dishes, but today's recipe, Italian Style Roasted Chicken and Orzo Soup, was the main inspiration. 

You see, we had a taste of fall weather around here.  Finally! It was cloudy and cool, even a little rain.  So even when we get a hint of a change in the weather I think of comfort food, particularly soup.  So roasted chicken breasts it is.  All for one of the most comforting Italian style soups!  I have the BEST recipe for roasted chicken breasts that you must try.  You can find the recipe here

Roasting chicken for this soup gives it a deeper flavor and keeps the chicken moist and tender.  You can of course skip the roasted chicken and use a rotisserie chicken instead and it will work just fine.  But why not roast up from chicken to use in several dishes for the week?  The addition of orzo pasta, along with some Italian spices makes this chicken soup something a little more special.  The dried herbs give it a little zip and the fresh basil at the end gives the soup a brightness you can't beat. 

Italian Style Roasted Chicken and Orzo Soup is comfort food at it's best.  It's family and kid friendly and perfect for a weekend meal.  Serve up a hot bowl of soups with my Simple Garlic Cheese Bread and a simple Italian salad for a great meal.


Italian Style Roasted Chicken and Orzo Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups carrots, diced
2 cups celery, diced
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lb roasted chicken breasts, skin removed and shredded or cut into chunks
10 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup whole wheat orzo
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black ground pepper 
Garnish:  fresh basil leaves, torn or left whole

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, add butter to hot pan.  Add onions and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.  Add the carrots, celery, Italian seasoning, and oregano and saute for another 5-8 minutes.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.  Add roasted chicken breasts and the orzo.  Cook for 10 minutes until orzo is tender and chicken has warmed.  Season with salt and pepper. 

To serve:  Ladle warm soup into individual bowls and add basil. 

Note:  Recipe for roasted chicken breasts:  Roasting 101: Chicken Breasts or use a rotisserie chicken about 2 - 2 1/2 cups.


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