Roasted Squash & Chicken Soup

Depending on what part of the country you live in, basically anywhere but Arizona (where it is already 90-degrees outside), you’ll find this recipe keeping you warm and full!  There are many flavors in this dish that work wonderfully together.  Pair a bowlful with a great piece of crusty bread and butter.  Dinner done!  …yes, it’s still fantastic in sunny AZ..

The Starting Lineup

1 pckg chicken breasts or tenderloins
•4 cups chicken stock/broth
•1 pckg 1/3 light cream cheese (cubed)
•1 can diced tomatoes (plain, undrained)
•1 can black beans (low sodium, rinsed)
•1 cup corn**
•1 butternut squash (roasted; keep the seeds and set aside)
•1 yellow onion (chopped)
•2 stalks celery (leaves included)
•1 carrot (chopped)
•2 cloves garlic (minced)
•1 small can chipotle chili in adobo
•3 tsp+ cumin
•Sea or Kosher salt/Pepper
•E.V. Olive oil
•nonstick spray
•Light sour cream

*you can use either a heavy bottom dutch oven on a simmer or a crockpot. I opted for crockpot so I could walk away for longer 😉

Line a large pot or crockpot with nonstick.  Add the chicken with the can of undrained tomatoes and about a cup of chicken broth.  Cover and turn on low.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise.  Squash can be a bit thick skinned and seem difficult to cut, so keep your patience and be safe with that knife!  Place on foil covered baking sheet (I sprayed nonstick on foil) and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over both pieces.  Liberally sprinkle salt, pepper and a tsp of cumin on each.  Place in oven for 40 min till soft and a bit caramelized.

Meanwhile, chop your onion, celery, carrot & garlic.  Heat a pan & a tbsp of oil to med high heat.  Add in the onion, celery & carrot with a tsp of cumin & salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for about 5-10minutes till tender and turn pan down to low.  Add the garlic and cook 30-60 seconds.  Remove from heat.

Around now your squash should be about done.  Remove from oven and let cool to touch.

Once cooled, cut or peel the rind off the squash leaving as much flesh intact as possible.  Cut the squash into rough bite size pieces.  Add around 1/2-2/3 of squash to a food processor, leaving remaining 1/2-1/3
of cut pieces aside.  Add the veggie mix from pan into the food processor along with one chipotle chili and about a tbsp sauce from can. *I like to add at least 2 chilis, but I like it spicy.  If you don’t like any heat, then omit all chilis 🙂 Reserve the rest of can for later.

Blend till smooth..add 1/2 cup chicken broth if needed to thin. (A blender would work also, just make sure the ingredients are not too hot…better yet, if you have an immersion blender use that in main pan!).

**Corn, extra step, I either roast my corn or pan fry it in same pan as I cooked above veggies in to give it a char.  Not necessary, but I like it for color and extra taste.

Rinse black beans.

Now add the corn, black beans, the set aside cut squash pieces and the veggie purée you made to the pot with chicken.  Add the remaining chicken broth to your taste.  Cover and let continue to cook.  If in a crockpot, allow 4-6 hours on high or 8+ on low.

About a good hour or so before you’re ready to eat, add the cubed cream cheese to pot and allow to cook down and melt.

GARNISH

*I like to roast the squash seeds just like you would with pumpkin seeds. Olive oil & sea salt.  Sprinkle over soup & chipotle cream.

*Chipotle Cream: Mix 1/2 cup of your sour cream with a tbsp+ of the reserved chipotle chili sauce.  I shake mine in a cooking squeeze bottle and drizzle over.  A big dollop of the chipotle cream would be just as good too! 🙂

*If you don’t have carrots, add a tsp or two of sugar added to onion, celery mix.

*In the crockpot on low (from when I originally added the chicken), I had it on for around 8 hours.

*I shred the chicken a bit with two forks in pot before serving.

Any other questions (hoping I forgot nothing!!) please ask 🙂

Guinness Corned Beef Sliders

Growing up I was quite fond of St. Paddy’s Day.  The corned beef and cabbage part, I was not.  Since being on my own, I created something along the lines of the traditional American-Irish meal.  However, mine is better.  At least to me.  It is also a crockpot meal, so you can be at work during the day and when you return home all you need to do is eat & have a green beer. 🍀🍻

The Starting Lineup

  • 3lb+ corned beef
  • 2 small yellow onions, quartered
  • 2 carrots, quartered
  • 1 bottle of Guinness 
  • 1-2 cups water 
  • KerryGold Dubliner cheese, sliced
  • Bakery slider rolls/potato buns
  • *I like too add spicy mustard to my finished sliders.


In a large crockpot, spray with non-stick and place in your cut veggies.  They’ll act as a rack for the brisket.

Layer your corned beef over top.  Typically, it will either have the seasoning already on it or you just cut open and sprinkle the attached packet over top the meat. (In a crockpot I like to trim off some of the fat before cooking it.  Normally fat is a great thing for flavor, but a crockpot makes meats so tender due to its long cook-time).. Add in the 2cups water and the Guinness over top.

Whelp!  That’s it for the meat!  Cover that baby up and let it cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for about 5-6.

Dinner time!!!!  Serve how you please, but I like to halve potato rolls and place on a lined baking sheet.  Brush halved buns lightly with a bit of olive oil, butter or non-stick spray.  Place under the ovens broiler for just a couple minutes till golden.  Meanwhile, slice up that Irish KerryGold cheese!

Assemble the tender, hot corned beef over the toasted bun bottom and top with a slice of cheese or two and the bun top!  Serve with a cold Guinness and repeat! 

Caprese Green Beans

We ate pizza late last night, so I “worked out” today.  That being said, I figured maybe a healthier dish was in order for this evening.  After my 3-minute jog and jumping jack, I was craving an Italian’ish marinated fish.  That, of course, must be paired with rice & veggies.  It seems to be almost a rule.

Given what I already had in my fridge, I thought that this would be a great and fun flavored side dish!  The only thing I would add in, if it was just me at dinner, would be torn FRESH basil (given the definition of ‘caprese’).  Unfortunately, my husband isn’t the biggest fan of uncooked basil and dried is just a no-no in this dish to me.  *I will be doing so once he’s on a rail road trip though! 😉 

The kids loved this and the colors are beautiful!!  

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 package of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 8oz container of mozzarella 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • Sea salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh basil leaves, rough chopped (optional)



Trim and rinse your green beans.



Prepare a large pot of water to a boil, salt well.  Add in the green beans and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Drain and set aside.



In a large pan, heat 1 Tbsp of EVOO and the garlic to a medium heat.  Add in the cherry tomatoes, salt & pepper.

Cook, while stirring, about 2-3 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 more minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan that the tomatoes were cooked in, add in 1 Tbsp EVOO and heat to med-medhigh.  Place in the par-cooked green beans and cook for about 2 minutes, season with more salt & pepper.



Once the green beans are cooked till soft yet crisp, pour into a serving dish.  Add the garlic tomatoes and drippings to the green beans and top with the mozzarella.  Season with more salt & pepper. *garnish with chopped fresh basil.  Enjoy!!!



Chicken Piccata

This is SUCH an easy meal.  So easy in fact, that my husband went into the garage to work on his motorcycle knowing I was just starting an ‘easy’ dinner.  He maybe had picked up a wrench before I was sweetly telling (yelling from across the yard) him to come back inside.  And dang was it good!!  Prep, cooking, eating & cleanup in an hour…score!

The Starting Lineup

•1-2 thick chicken breast (butterflied lengthwise to make 2 thinner breast)
•1 lb Fettuccine Noodles
•1 cup heavy cream
•1 cup chicken stock (broth)
•1 cup dry white wine (I.e. Pinot Grigio)
•2 Lemons
•2-3 Tbsp capers
•2 Tbsp butter
•1/2 cup flour
•1/2 cup italian breadcrumbs (optional, you can just use extra flour if you don’t have)
•Italian Flat Leaf parsley, fresh

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper (prefer Kosher salt)

To start, fill a large pot with water for the fettuccine noodles.  Also, have a large pan warming to a med-high heat with the butter and a couple tablespoons of EVOO.

After chicken breasts are butterflied, generously salt and pepper each side and then dredge the seasoned cutlets in the flour/breadcrumb mix. When pan is to temp, add the chicken cutlets and cook about 3-4 minutes each side (don’t touch while cooking) Once browned on each side, transfer to a clean plate and set aside. *Meanwhile cook noodles to package directions/drain. Chicken Piccata

In the same pan that the chicken was cooked in (now turned to med-low), add in the wine & chicken stock while stirring up the brown bits on pan bottom.  Let this sauce reduce by about half.  Squeeze the juice of 2 lemons in (no seeds please!).  Next, add the heavy cream, capers and more salt & pepper to taste. Sauce will thicken to a light & creamy consistency (<– do those two words go together??)… continue to stir.

Plate the noodles and sliced chicken breast. Drizzle the pan sauce over both and top with the chopped parsley.  Enjoy!!

Had a great time….

For anyone interested in my foodie creations, I’m sorry I’ve given you just short of nothing the last 2 weeks.  I have been to Oklahoma, driven through the panhandle of Texas, the mountains of Albuquerque, the desert oasis of Arizona and then all back again to my lovely home in Granbury…all the while with two toddlers.  Yes, joyous times!!  However, I am very glad and grateful we could see our family & friends.  Sincerely.  …but next time they can come to us! 😉

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