Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Potato Soup Revisited

The weather around here has finally been getting warmer and I am very excited for summer and the cookouts that go along with that. So you're probably wondering why I am posting a soup recipe.... Really I just had a craving for potato soup.

A while back I posted a recipe for Potato Soup that was pretty good. But today I decided to see if I could tweak the recipe to come up with a new and better flavor. I think I really hit the mark with this one. The flavor was perfect.

Potato Soup

5-6 russet potatoes, cut into bite size chunks
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup celery, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp dry thyme
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp oregano
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cups milk divided
3 tbsp flour
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Boil the potatoes for about 8-10 minutes. While the potatoes are boiling heat the oil and butter in a stock pot over medium heat.

Chop the vegetables and drop into the hot oil/butter. Cook the vegetables until the onions are translucent (about 3-4 minutes).

When the potatoes are done remove from heat, drain the water, and put back into the pan. Lightly mash the potatoes so some are mashed and some are left intact.

When the vegetables are translucent, add the spices then the white wine. Let the wine cook down for 1 minute.

Next add the chicken broth and potatoes and bring to a simmer.

Combine 1/4 cup of milk with 3 tbsp flour, mixing well to make sure there are no lumps. Add to the simmering broth.

Next add the milk and shredded cheese.

Let everything simmer for a few minutes, taste testing to see if you need any more salt or pepper.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's hoagy time again!

One of my favorite Italian dishes is Chicken Parmesan. I love the combination of crispy crust, salty Parmesan cheese, and tangy tomato sauce. It's only natural that I would figure out a way to put it on a hoagy roll. But in all honesty, tonight's dinner sort of came together by accident. I desperately need to do a large grocery trip but I was trying to figure out a way to make dinner with out going to the store tonight. So putting together the last 2 hoagy rolls, 1 1/2 chicken breasts, and left over sauce from the pizza I made on Sunday I came up with these Garlic Chicken Parmesan Hoagies. The best part about this dinner is that it came together in under 30 minutes!

Garlic Chicken Parmesan Hoagies


2 hoagy rolls
1 1/2 chicken breasts (about 1/2 pound)
1 egg, whisked
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used plain because that's all that I had but Italian work)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, enough to coat the bottom of a pan
1/2 cup marinara sauce
Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese for topping

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. When the oven is ready put the hoagy rolls in (bottom open side up top open side down) Set a timer and take them out after 8 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a pan. Cut the chicken into bite size chunks. In a bowl combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Dip the bite size chicken chunks in the egg, then the bread crumb mixture, then put in the hot skillet. Cook the chicken 2 1/2 minutes on both sides (it will cook really quickly since pieces are so small but check one to make sure it's not pink inside before taking out of skillet). While the chicken is cooking heat the marinara sauce in the microwave.

When the chicken is done, assemble the hoagies in the following order: sauce, chicken, a little more sauce, then cheese. Put back in the oven and cook for a few minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Maiden Voyages

Treat #2 for the World Champions!

The competition that the girls won at worlds was the choreography competition. For this competition each dance school comes up with an original story that is read before the dance begins. Then, the dance should tell the story through both traditional Irish dancing techniques as well as original choreography. The story that our choreography tells is called 'Maiden Voyages'. It tells a tale of young Irish girls who have to leave Ireland and travel to America because their families have no money. Once they arrive in America they start out working as maids and eventually rise to become part of the middle class of America.

So, long story short, I tried to make these cookies look like little ships to represent the story. I was going to pipe milk chocolate on the cookies to look like wood planks, but it was 80 degrees here and we had not yet turned on our air conditioning, so that didn't go so well. To make these ships I used round cookie cutters and then cut the circles in half. When the cookies were finished, but still warm, I stuck a toothpick in them with papers I cut to look like sails. The girls seemed pretty excited when they saw the cookies, so I think I got my point across, even if they weren't as "ship like" as I had hoped.

Brownie Roll Out Cookies
(Source: Smitten Kitchen)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup lightly salted butter, softened (Deb note: I don’t really see “lightly salted” much these days, so I used one stick salted, one stick unsalted)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used the “good” stuff–Droste or Galler–but I can assure you that my mother only used Hershey’s growing up, so your choice)

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (It does disappear once baked, though, so don’t overly fret if they go into the oven looking white.) Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies) until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Taking on the World....

That's what a group of dancers from McGing (the school where I teach Irish dancing) did just 2 weeks ago. The World championships for Irish dancing are held every year during Easter week and this year, for the first time ever, they were held in the United States. Also, for the first time, a group of dancers from our school won FIRST PLACE!! Our junior choreography team took first place. We also had a soloist take first in the under 21 competition. Needless to say, it's a pretty exciting time at our dance studio.

To celebrate their win the choreography team is having a party/lock-in at the dance studio tonight and I thought it was a great excuse to bake something cute. I decided to make sugar cookies with a world on them. Turns out, making world cookies with royal icing takes a royal amount of time. I wound up doing half royal icing worlds and half buttercream "1's". I think they turned out pretty well, but I wish they were a little smoother. Next time I will use a smaller piping tip for the outline, I think it will be easier to work with. I'm also making another treat which I will update later today.

Sugar Cookies
(source: Good Things Catered)

1 1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp lemon zest
5 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Powdered sugar, for rolling

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Cream butter and sugars in a mixer for 5 minutes.
-Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly.
-Add vanilla, almond, and lemon zest.
-Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt a little at a time.
-Do not over mix, this process should take about one minute.
-Chill dough for up to a week in the fridge, or roll out and cut right away.
-Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake cookies for 7-8 minutes.
-Wait until cookies are cooled before icing.

Royal Icing
(Source: Annie's Eats, she has great instructions for working with the royal icing)

Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chicken Philly Take Two

Jesse is not a huge fan of leftovers. Usually he'll only eat left over soups and chili, anything else he turns his nose up at... that is unless I can come up with a creative way to disguise the leftovers and turn them into a new meal! That's exactly what I did tonight. I made this pasta with leftover chicken philly filling (say that 3 times fast). I love it when dinner is these is easy and TASTY! Here's what I did....

1. Heat leftover filling in skillet with 1 clove of garlic (pressed), pinch of red pepper flakes, pinch of thyme, pinch of cayenne pepper and pinch of paprika.
2. Add 1/2 cup white wine and reduce by half.
3. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and a 1/4 cup half and half (and a little parmesan cheese because I was feeling cheesy)
4. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
5. Toss with pasta and serve!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Chicken Philly Hoagy

This post has moved to the Sunny Side :) Click the link for the recipe, I promise it's worth it!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Do these look familiar to you?

Every so often a recipe or idea makes it's way around the food blog world. This is one of those ideas. I'm sure you've already seen it on other food blogs but I just had to give it a try because it is too darn cute! And, I wanted to make something fun to celebrate. I finished my first quarter of nursing school!! And I am *hopefully* going to be getting straight A's! So these are celebratory cupcakes.

It's hard to really cite one source for this idea because I have literally seen it everywhere so I will just link the website that pushed me over the edge today, Beantown Baker. I used the filling and ganache recipe found on her blog but I used a different recipe for the cupcakes.

Hostess Fake Out Cupcakes

Source: Hershey's, This is a recipe I have actually made quite a few times but surprisingly I have never blogged! I think this recipe is a great staple for any kitchen. For these cupcakes I cut this recipe in half.

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3.Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.


Source: Beantown Baker

2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine filling ingredients with a pinch of salt in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with a handheld electric mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled. Reserve 1/2 cup of the filling to use for piping the swirls on top of the cupcakes at the end.

Chocolate Ganache
Source: Beantown Baker

1/4 cup cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

In a small saucepan, heat cream until steaming. Remove from the heat, add chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir until smooth. Transfer the frosting to a small bowl and dip the top of each cupcake to thoroughly coat.


Cut a hole in the top of the cooled cupcakes (about the size of a quarter). Remove that part of the cupcake. I cut the top off of each "hole" to put over top of the filling once piped and set aside.

Fill the hole in the top of each cupcake with the filling. Then put the hole top over the filling.

Dip the top of each cupcake in the chocolate ganache. Put the cupcakes in the fridge for about 5 minutes to set the ganache.

Pipe the swirls on top of the ganache. Then put back in the fridge to set again for 10-15 minutes.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

This post has moved to the Sunny Side :) Click the link for the recipe, I promise it's worth it!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tasty Pizza Dough

Tonight I went back to an old favorite recipe. We had BBQ chicken calzones. They are always a favorite in our house because they are tasty, fast and easy. Tonight I managed to make them even easier with a new dough recipe. The pizza dough recipes I have used in the past have always required a long rising time, 90 minutes usually. This dough simply rests for 15 minutes (just enough time to make the filling!) and then it's ready to go. The 12 ounce dough recipe made 2 good size calzones, but they are on the thin side so if you like yours thicker (crustier) go for the 1 pound recipe.

Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough
(Source: As found onAmber's Delectable Delights)

To make 12 ounces dough:
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 package quick-rising yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons), such as Fleischmann's RapidRise
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2-2/3 cup hot water (120-130°F)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

To make 1 pound dough:
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 package quick-rising yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons), such as Fleischmann's RapidRise
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup hot water (120-130°F)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. With the motor running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water; if too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Process until the dough forms a ball, then process for 1 minute to knead.
2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.
3. Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the lowest oven rack;preheat oven to 500°F or highest setting. Roll and top the pizza as desired(we suggest a 13-inch circle) and bake the pizza until the bottom is crisp and golden, 10 to 14 minutes. *For calzones I split the dough in half and rolled them out into 2 flat cirlces. I put the filling on half of one of the dough circles and then folded the other half over. Then I pinched the edges all the way around. Keep an eye on the baking time. I would recommend 7-10 minutes. Serve immediately

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Garlic Knots

It has been months since I first saw this recipe on Amber's blog. I knew right away that I wanted to try them but, as per usual, life got in the way. Finally, last week I was on spring break from dance and I had a free evening to make them. They were well worth the wait. I really really liked the flavor and texture of these rolls and Jesse liked that they weren't too "yeasty" (his words). I also didn't think they were too difficult to put together. Amber has excellent step by step pictures for making the knots.

The only thing I would do differently next time would be to make them smaller. They were more like sandwich buns than rolls. Which actually I guess worked out in my favor, because for lunch the next day I sliced the roll in half and made an over-medium egg topped it with colby jack cheese then toasted it in the toaster over. Yum!

Also, please excuse the less than perfect pictures. It was too dark to take pictures right when I took them out of the oven and they sort of wrinkled up and lost their knot shape when I stored them over night in a ziplock bag.

Soft Garlic Knots
(As found on Amber's Delectable Delights, adapted from King Arthur)


3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
2-4 cloves peeled, garlic
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon Pizza Seasoning or Italian seasoning, optional


1. For the dough - In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the dry ingredients together then add the olive oil, milk and water. Using the paddle attachment or dough hook, mix and knead to form smooth, elastic dough, adding additional water or flour as needed. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, until it’s doubled in bulk.
2. Divide the dough into 8 pieces (Next time I will probably do 10-12 so they won't be so big), and roll each into a rope about 10 inches long; tie each rope into a knot. (Step by step pictures on Amber's blog) Place the knots on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes to about an hour, until very puffy looking.
3. To make glaze - Unpeel garlic cloves. Chop the garlic in a food processor (or you can use a garlic press), with the melted butter.
4. To bake - Bake the knots in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes. They should be set, but only very lightly browned. Remove the knots from the oven, and brush or drizzle them with the seasoned butter. (You can reheat the butter briefly in the microwave, if it’s solidified).

Here is a pic of my DELICIOUS breakfast sandwich!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Perfect Dessert

A giant chocolate chip cookie with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top. The combination of sweet, smooth, cold, and chocolate. Yum. There is really not much else I can say about it.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

(As found on Annie's Eats)

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm

1 cup brown sugar, packed

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven 325°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside. With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.

Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull apart into two equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball. Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy (approximately 11-14 minutes). Do not overbake.

Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

(Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebowitz)

1 cup milk

A pinch of salt

3/4 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean

5 egg yolks

2 cup heavy cream

A few drops of vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk with the tip of a paring knife. Add the bean pod to the milk.

2. Stir together the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually add some of the warmed milk, stirring constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.

3. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Rinse the vanilla bean and put it back into the custard and cream to continue steeping. Chill thoroughly, then remove the vanilla bean and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.