Tag Archives: winter

Pozole Verde de Pollo

I’mmm baack….with my awesome “Spanglish” in the kitchen!  Which, more often than not, means that something yummy is cooking up!  So today, mi amigos, I bring you a Carly rendition of pozole (or posole, depending what side of the tracks you’re on)!

In translation, pozole means “hominy”, which is basically a large, soft corn kernel.  This hominy is then stewed with a meat, peppers, and broth and served with various toppings for your taste bud’s enjoyment.

Now, typically, I like to make the rojo (red) version with seared pork chunks, but today I went out of my comfort zone and opted for verde (green) and chicken!  I must say, though quite different flavor profiles, this one is equally amazing!  A bit tart from the tomatillos, but the charred peppers and garlic yield that smokiness you want and they both pair wonderfully with the slightly salty broth and tender shredded chicken.

In closing, winter is not yet over (but please hurry up) and we still crave that bowl of warm soup on a cold day.  So next Domingo (that’s Sunday to my non Spanglish friends), try out this pot of yumminess!  It will not disappoint!

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb tomatillos, husked, rinsed & halved
  • 4 poblano/Anaheim chiles (you can mix and match if desired)
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 6 cloves garlic, in skins
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, with stems
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2+ teaspoons cumin
  • 2+ teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2-3 lbs chicken thighs, boneless/skinless, cut into rough chunks
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth/stock
  • 28oz can white hominy, drained
  • 4-8oz can chopped green chilies, drained

Garnish ideas

  • Radishes, thinly cut into matchsticks or sliced
  • Avocado, sliced or 1/2″ chunks
  • Cabbage, shredded
  • Mexican crema/ sour cream
  • Pickled onions
  • Lime wedges
  • Peppitas, toasted
  • Tortillas, warmed

Verde Sauce

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with the tomatillos (cut side down) and also place the poblano/Anaheim and jalapeno peppers along with the whole garlic cloves (still in husks) beside them.

Place your baking sheet on top rack, 6-8″ from the broiler and turn the warm oven to HI Broil.  Watch closely with oven door cracked, but allow the tomatillos to brown and soften and the peppers to bubble up and char, turning with tongs as needed.  Remove and place all of the charred peppers in a large zip lock gallon bag.  Close and allow peppers to steam for 15-20 minutes.  Once time is up, peel off the pepper’s skin and stems and scrape out the seeds from each.  You can also squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skin.

In a blender, combine 1/2 cup of chicken broth with the now roasted tomatillos (and any sheet pan juices left behind), steamed chilies and peppers, garlic cloves, cilantro, cumin,  Mexican oregano, lime juice and a pinch each of salt and pepper.  *If you like a thin broth, you can now strain this through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and discard any extra skins/seeds.  However, I like the rustic’ness of it all and do not strain.

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In a large Dutch oven pot (with lid), heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat.  Add in the cut up chicken thighs and sear and brown all sides; also add in the diced onion.

Once seared, pour the remaining chicken broth over the browned poultry to deglaze the pan; scrape up all of the brown bits on bottom of pan with a wooden spoon.  Flavor right there!

Next, pour in the Verde sauce you made in your blender along with the drained hominy and green chilies (I also like to add another teaspoon or so of cumin and Mexican oregano here again).  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, drop way down to a simmer and cover.  Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 hours.  Slightly shred chicken chunks, if desired.

Serve

Ladle into bowls and top with your desired garnishes, serve with warm tortillas.  Enjoy!

PozoleVerde2

 

Chowder Fries

Besides the scents, visuals and tastes of pumpkin, nothing says Fall more than a warm bowl of soup!  Especially a creamy bowl of New England’s favorite, the clam chowder!  Now yes, I know I live in the south, but I’ve had reoccurring dreams of visiting the east coast to watch the leaves change while sipping on hot cider and bobbing for apples.  Maybe sneak in a visit to ‘creepy’ Salem too…basically every east coast Fall cliché IS on my bucket-list.  One day….

So for now, I light a spiced candle and get out my candy apple red Dutch oven to reinvent the classic into our family favorite, Chowder Fries!  …quick toying with me Fall and just get here already!!

*You can absolutely use vegetable broth instead, but I find that the chicken stock brings a richer flavor.

The Starting Lineup

  • French fries (frozen or scratch made), Old Bay seasoning optional for tossing with
  • 5 Strips bacon, diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried/ or ground thyme
  • 3 Tbsp flour, all-purpose
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock/ or vegetable broth
  • 1 10oz can clams, juices reserved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Flat leaf parsley (chopped) or green onions (sliced), garnish

Chowder2

Heat a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven to med-high heat and add in the olive oil and bacon and cook until crispy.  Transfer the crisped bacon to a paper towel lined dish and set aside.  Keep the bacon grease in the pot.

Next, melt the butter into that bacon grease and then add in the onions, stirring often, followed by the garlic.  Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent and finally sprinkle in the thyme and stir together.

*Meanwhile, if making a bag of frozen fries, preheat the oven and line a baking tray with parchment or foil for easy cleanup.  Whether frozen or not, I like to lightly coat my fries in a bit of oil and dusting of cornstarch, toss together.  This creates a great crispy exterior!

To the sautéed butter, onions and garlic, whisk in the flour for about 1 minute till everything ‘clumps up’ and is lightly browned.  To that, slowly whisk in the chicken stock/ or broth, milk, the juice from the clams and toss in the bay leaf.  After a couple minutes of whisking to incorporate, stir in the diced potatoes.

Bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes; potatoes are tender.

**Fry or bake your fries during this time.

Once time is up, stir in the half & half, the clams and add in your salt & pepper to taste (I am pretty heavy-handed with that myself).

If eating family style, season the French fries with salt or even better, Old Bay, and transfer to a serving platter.  Ladle the warm and creamy clam chowder over top the hot fries and top with the crisp bacon crumbles and parsley and/or scallions!  Sooooo good!  Enjoy!

Chowder1

 

 

 

Smokey Gnocchi Toscana 

Who doesn’t love Olive Garden’s famous “Zuppa Toscana”?  It’s a delicious blend of sausage, kale and potatoes in a creamy broth…my only small problem with the soup (more so my family’s problem) is it will not fill my hearty boys and husband’s appetite up!  Nope, soup in general just won’t cut it!

Now since I was craving a big bowl of Toscana comfort, I had to figure out a way to change it into something a bit more substantial if it were to be mine.  I have to say, it came pretty easy to me..thank goodness.  How about we make the broth into a rich, more flavor packed cheese sauce and amp up the potato texture by using those fluffy pillows from heaven, otherwise known as gnocchi.  Hey, gnocchi’s are in fact made from potato flour..I do have a little bit of genius left in me.  My boys tend to suck it out of me at times.  I also made sure it was chocked full of (not too) spicy sausage and healthy kale.  Yep, with all those Italian flavors going on, even my boys will slurp up the greens!

Last, but not least, I topped it all off with some crispy, crumbled bacon for another layer of smokey flavor…drooling…

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb Hot Italian Sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 package Gnocchi 
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4+ cups Kale (a Kale/Spinach blend would work too)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 heaping Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk, plus more to thin cheese sauce if needed
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided 1:1
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided 1:1
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • A pinch each of salt and pepper
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and chopped for garnish


First and ALWAYS foremost is prepping your ingredients to have at the ready!!  Chop and mince the garlic and shred the cheese if it hasn’t already been done for you.  I’ll be taking sous chef applications soon 😉

Now onto the cooking part my multi-tasking friends!  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and on a foil lined baking sheet, lay out the bacon and cook till slightly crisp (about 15 minutes, rotating once in the oven).  Remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.

Keep the oven on, but drop the temperature to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, bring a large stockpot of salted water up to a boil (for the Gnocchi) and in a separate large pan, heat up the olive oil to medium heat and begin browning the sausage, chopping up with a spoon as you go.

Water boiling: add in Gnocchi and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until they float to the top.  Drain and set aside.

Sausage: once cooked through and slightly crumbled, remove from pan and drain the grease slightly.  *leave about a tablespoon of grease please.

In the same pan that the sausage cooked in add in the onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes.  Add in the kale and garlic and allow to wilt down.  Once quickly wilted, add the sausage back in along with the Gnocchi.  Remove from heat.

Pesto cheese sauce: in a medium sauce pan melt the butter and then whisk in the flour till it makes a rue (paste).  Now you will whisk in the milk for about 3 minutes till starts to thicken.  Add in the pesto, 1/2 of each the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and a pinch of salt and pepper.  *It may get a little thick here, so just thin by whisking another couple tablespoons of milk in at a time until you reach your desired consistency.



You’re at the finish line now!  In a 9×13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray, spoon in the Gnocchi, sausage and kale mix.  Pour that super cheesy pesto sauce ALL over and top with the remaining cheeses.  Cover with foil and place in the 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.  

Bump up the oven to 425 degrees and pull the foil off, allowing to bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the cheesy top gets nice and brown.  Remove from oven and relish in the “it smells soooooo good in here” praises!  Make sure to top it all off with the crumbled bacon..NEVER forget the bacon!  *Let rest for 5 minutes before serving..remember it’s going to be hot!  

Serve with a simple salad, warm bread sticks and you have yourself a hit!  

Blackberry Cobbler

In the world of easy (yet impressive) desserts, the cobbler may just take the…umm..cake??.  You know what I mean.  It’s so delicious, so easy and insanely comforting.  

On these chilly winter nights, it’s so simple to whisk together a few on hand ingredients, fresh OR even frozen fruit and pop into the oven.  Besides baking time, this MAY take you all of 10 minutes to prepare..c’mon, you know you can handle that!  Finally, if you’re like myself, you’ll pour yourself a big old glass of spiked sweet tea along with this cobbler ala-mode-style and sit on your porch taking in the southern cool night..

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 4 cups blackberries 
  • 2 cups sugar, divided 1:1
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Pinch of salt  

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place the stick of butter into a 9×13 rectangular baking dish.  While the oven is STILL preheating, transfer the dish to the oven, swirling it around once it starts to melt (watching so as not to burn).

In a large bowl, combine the lemon zest and 1 cup of the sugar with the fruit. Toss to coat and set aside.  *If using frozen fruit, allow to defrost, drain and pat dry any excess water.

Next, remember to watch your baking dish and the melting butter, whisk together the flour, remaining cup of sugar, baking powder, vanilla/almond extract, milk and a pinch of salt in a separate large bowl. 

Remove the preheated buttered baking dish from the oven and pour in your batter.  Top, fairly evenly, with the sugared blackberries overtop of the batter.  *The batter will rise and bake around the fruit.

Place back in the oven and cook for 50-60 minutes until a beautiful, slightly crunchy golden brown color is achieved. I prefer to bake mine a little on the longer side as I love the crunchy bits on the edges.
Once time is up, remove from oven and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, enjoy!! 

Guinness Irish Beef Stew

After a long summer, which seemed to extend into our Fall..dang it was unusually warm..we finally have that chilly, rainy day.  I’m sure sooner than later I’ll be far over having to get bundled up, but as of now bring on the fireplace, snuggly blankets and movies!

After a long day of said movies on the couch, I apparently get pretty hungry (hard work right?) and crave a big ol bowl of comfort to keep the day going.  Well, this does the trick!

This rich and flavorful stew will thicken as you cook (hence the quick flour step you’ll see below), so please take that extra minute to sear the meat and saute the vegetables for that added creaminess and flavor!  You can of course cook this all in a Dutch oven on your stove top, it will be done a bit quicker if so, but I just love my slowcooker and the ease of walking away ALL day..errr…laying on the couch.

The Starting Lineup 

  • 2lbs stew meat
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Canola oil
  • 1 bottle Guinness beer
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsely, chopped
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Garnish

  • Real deal mashed potatoes
  • Flat leaf parsely, chopped
  • Lots of Guiness!  


Begin by heating 2 Tbsps of canola oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed pan, while spraying your slowcooker with non-stick spray.

The oil will take a few minutes to heat up, so meanwhile cut and chop up those veggies and herbs.  

Also, in a gallon size ziplock bag or large bowl, coat the beef stew meat with the flour and salt and pepper to taste.


Next, add the flour-coated meat to the hot pot and sear all sides.  You will need to do this in about 4 batches as you do not want to overcrowd the pot.  That will steam the meat instead of giving it that nice crusty sear.  *Please KEEP the remaining Tbsp or 2 of seasoned flour thats leftover from the meat/ziplock bag. Once each batch as finished searing, transfer to the slowcooker.  *You will likely need to add another Tbsp of canola oil in between batches.

Now that the meat is done and in the slowcooker, toss the cut carrots and onion into the still hot pan with again, another tbsp of oil if needed.  Saute the vegetables for 5 minutes and then add in the garlic for 1 minute.  NOW, after you’ve swirled that garlic around a bit, pour in the leftover seasoned flour from the ziplock bag that the meat was in.  Toss to coat and pour all of this mixture into the slowcooker with the seared meat.



Along with the vegetables and meat, pour in the Guinness beer, beef broth, tomato paste, thyme, chopped parsely and bay leaf(s).  Stir and cover, set to low for 8 hours.  About 30-60 minutes prior to time, add in the frozen peas.  Recover and allow to cook.


Now that it’s close to dinner time, prepare your yummy mashed potatoes (I was gluttaonous and used a stick of butter, half-in-half and a head of roasted garlic..yummmmm!!).  

Serve a large ladle of the rich stew over your creamy mashed taters, top with a pinch more of fresh parsely, salt and pepper and a nice cold Guinness!  Enjoy!!

Italian Sausage and Gnocchi Soup (slowcooker)

It’s beginning to (finally) feel a lot more like Fall around these parts!  Goodness, the weather’s been in the 90’s, in November, in Texas!  Though the lone star state definitely has its fair share of warm weather..it usually doesn’t last THIS long.  So when we finally dropped temp and it was a cool 60 degree high, you know I just had to bust out my slowcooker for a warm soup dinner!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 package Italian sausage (if links, remove from casing)
  • 1 package gnocchi
  • 2 cans diced Italian style tomatoes
  • 1 80z block cream cheese, cubed
  • 32oz chicken broth (4 cups)
  • 1 bag spinach leaves
  • 1 zucchini, sliced & quartered
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 

Begin by simply spraying your crockpot with a bit of non-stick spray, followed by the rinsing and chopping of your vegetables and heating a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Once the pan is nice and hot, add in the Italian sausage.  After it is about halfway cooked through you can then add in the chopped red bell pepper, onion and garlic.  Allow the sausage to cook the all of the way through and the peppers and onion to soften.

Now you can either drain the grease from the sausage mixture or just use a slotted spoon (Like I did) and scoop the cooked sausage and vegetables straight into the crockpot.

Pour in the two cans of Italian-style diced tomatoes, chicken broth, the sliced zucchini, spinach leaves and cubed cream cheese.  *The spinach may seem like there’s no way it can fit, trust me…it will wilt pretty darn quick!    Cover and turn on low..you can now step away for 6-7 hours.  Yes!!

The hour before you’re planning on eating, add in the gnocchi.  That last hour will soften and cook it for you.  No need to boil it separately first!  Score!

See how simple all of that was?  It’s done!  Serve this creamy, flavorful, hearty soup alongside a piece of buttered crusty bread and you have yourself a meal!  Finish with a snuggly blanket on the couch ;).

Creamy Tortellini & Sausage Stew (crockpot)

This is an all-time favorite recipe in my home on these chilly Fall (& winter) days.  Now I cannot take credit for this classic crockpot meal delight, but it is SO easy, SO yummy and SO filling that if I can even reach just one person who has yet to taste this…my job is done.  I’m happily passing the torch along from whomever made up this genius and simple meal!

Besides cooking the sausage beforehand (for texture and sanitary reasons ;), this is a “throw it all in one pot” meal and walk out the door.  You’re family will absolutely think you’re something brilliant!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb Italian sausage (cooked)
  • 1 bag frozen cheese tortellinis, aboubt 1lb
  • 32oz box of chicken broth
  • 2 cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 block cream cheese, 8oz, cubed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 bag spinach leaves, about 8oz

Garnish (optional)

  • Parmesan Cheese (shredded/grated)
  • Pesto Sauce   

Starting off with the sausage…now to each their own here, but in my home we prefer ours cooked and sliced.  This way adds a bit more texture and bite to the stew.  Alternatively, you can absolutely remove the sausage from the casing and cook as you would ground beef.  The flavor will be the exact same..promise. 

   That all being said, I seared each side of the italian sausage hot links for a few minutes per side.  I then took them off the heat to a cutting board and allowed to cool down (rest) for about 5 minutes before slicing up. 

 Next, coat your crockpot with non-stick spray (optional) and then lay the sliced onions on the bottom.  Follow that with the rest of the ingredients.  Layer the frozen tortellinis, cooked sausage, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, cubed cream cheese and then the spinach leaves.   

         Stir together as well as you can (uncooked spinach can be a pain) then cover, set to low and allow the flavors to meld together for about 5 hours.  Remember, this is a crockpot, so if it is cooking away even longer on low, it is No.Big.Deal!!

Once you’re meal is ready, I like to top each bowl with a bit of shredded parmesan cheese and serve with crusty bread and butter.  Enjoy! 

 *At times I will put just half of the bag of spinach in at first and then a couple of hours in I’ll stir in the rest (so it all fits)!.

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