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Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts tagged ‘can freeze’

I had been in search of the perfect Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe for a while, so was so excited when my mother-in-law Patsy  told me about this one that she found.  It’s straightforward but is a little time consuming, so I would call this a “weekend” or “special occasion” soup – not one I’d whip up all the time during the week.  It’s a hit with kids and always fun for people to add their own toppings.  This is the perfect soup to keep you warm during the cold winter months.  Enjoy!

Tortilla Soup

Recipe slightly adapted from the one on food site Chow.com, which was adapted from the Neiman Marcus Cookbook.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Total cooking time: 2 hours

Serves: 8-12 people

“There are a lot of ingredients in this soup, but each one plays a part in its big flavor. To make it, first soften vegetables including onion, carrot, and bell pepper in a pot, then add dry spices to bring out their flavors. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, and tortillas, then let the mixture simmer until everything melds and the tortillas disintegrate to make a thick and hearty soup. Finally, throw in shredded chicken and garnish with fried tortilla strips, or if you want to skip frying the strips, just use regular crushed-up tortilla chips.

For a thicker soup, use 10 corn tortillas rather than 8.”

INGREDIENTS

For the soup:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, medium dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and medium dice (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium celery stalk, medium dice (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, medium dice (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you want a spicy soup!)
  • 8 cups (2 quarts) stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 8 to 10 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For the tortilla strips:

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To finish:

  • 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 16 ounces) (Note: I use chicken from 1 rotisserie chicken to save time!)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or more if you want a richer soup)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Optional garnishes:

  • Shredded Monterey Jack or Mexican blend cheese
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Sour cream
INSTRUCTIONS
For the soup:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and bell pepper and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, oregano, paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, water, tomatoes, and measured salt and pepper, stir to combine, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, add the tortillas, and stir to combine. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tortillas have disintegrated and the soup has thickened, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the tortilla strips.

For the tortilla strips:

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking (about 350°F on a deep-frying/candy thermometer), about 6 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, stack the tortillas on a cutting board. Cut the stack in half, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips; set aside. Line a baking sheet with paper towels; set aside.
  3. When the oil is ready, add a handful of the tortilla strips and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to the prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips; set aside.

To finish:

  1. When the soup is ready, add the chicken and cream and stir to combine. Simmer until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  2. Serve the soup topped with the tortilla strips, passing any desired garnishes on the side.
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This is one of my favorite, easy soups that I make regularly.  You could easily double the recipe and freeze extra into gallon ziplock freezer bags for future dinners.  This is a great vegetarian dinner (since you get protein from the lentils) served with a toasted baguette or rice.  My whole family loves this!

Lentil Kale Soup

Recipe inspired by one that I saw on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Mother’s Group.

Lentil and Kale Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, finely sliced
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups dry lentils (I prefer red)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 bunches of kale (or spinach), chopped roughly

Directions:

In a large pot, sauté the onions and carrot in the oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until onions turn clear.  Add the garlic and sauté.  Add the lentils and brown for 5 minutes (be careful not to burn the onions and garlic).  Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and salt.

Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until lentils are soft, about 45 minutes (less for red lentils). Remove bay leaves.  Throw in kale (or spinach), cover and simmer until greens are soft (about 10 more minutes).  Remove from heat, let cool slightly, and purée in blender before serving.

Great for the whole family.  Add more salt for adults when serving.

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My mother-in-law “Cille” made this for our family when she was visiting and we loved it.  It’s healthy and tasty, it’s a meal in and of itself, it doesn’t make a huge mess in your kitchen, it can be made ahead (I love this!), and you can easily freeze extras for a future dinner.  She used to make this all the time for her four hungry boys growing up (they loved this in high school).  I thought I would take a crack at updating this classic.  For the bell peppers, I substitute yellow and orange peppers for the traditional green peppers (I still make a green one for my husband who is nostalgic!)  Instead of hamburger meat, I use ground bison (it’s healthier and I think tastes so much better).  Instead of white rice, I use farro (it has a nice chewy texture and is fiber rich and is full of minerals) and you can also use pearl barley (also a great source of fiber and can lower cholesterol) or just brown rice.

Meat Stuffed Bell Peppers

Adapted from my mother-in-law Cille’s recipe and one from Emeril Lagasse.

Meat Stuffed Peppers

Serves 6.

Ingredients:

6 bell peppers (try a mix of colors), tops cut away and seeds removed

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1 pound ground Bison meat (can substitute turkey)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 cups cooked farro or pearl barley (or brown rice)

8-ounce can tomato sauce (Muir Glen Organic)

shredded cheese (mozzarella or cheddar)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the peppers until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on paper towels.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the bison meat, garlic, parsley, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes. Cook until the meat is browned, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon to break up the lumps, about 5 minutes. Pour off any excess fat. Add the farro or barley and tomato sauce and stir well. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Pour enough water into a baking dish to just cover the bottom, about 1/8-inch deep. Stuff the bell peppers with the rice mixture and place in the baking dish. Top each pepper with plenty of shredded cheese. Bake until the peppers are very tender and the filling is heated through, 30-35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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My friend Leanne introduced me to her favorite lentil soup from this Canadian cookbook.  I’ve tweaked it and it has become one of our family’s favorites.  The bright lemony taste balances well with the earthy, starchy taste of the lentils.  I could eat this once a week!  Sometimes I make twice the recipe and freeze the extra in gallon ziplock freezer bags.

Lemon Lentil Soup

Recipe adapted from Canadian cookbook Company’s Coming (May 16, 2008).

Lemon Lentil Soup

Serves 6.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cups chopped onion

2 cups chopped carrots

2 ½ teaspoons oregano

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

12 cups chicken stock

3 cups dried red split lentils

4 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)

Directions:

Heat olive oil in Le Creuset on medium-high. Add onion and carrots. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until onion starts to brown.

Add oregano, garlic, rosemary, salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often.

Add chicken stock and lentils. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are very soft.

Discard bay leaves. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top individual bowls of soup with fresh parsley, if desired.

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My friend Sarah told me about this healthy breakfast sausage recipe that she makes for her family.  It’s great!  Next time I think I will make it with “dark” ground turkey (available at the meat counter at Whole Foods) since it is a bit more flavorful and less dry.  Mix this up the night before and it will brighten your Saturday or Sunday morning!  Note: I did use a pinch of Herbs de Provence, plus a little extra fennel seed, plus a bit of fresh rosemary.  Also, you can grind the spices in a mini prep processor or I have an extra coffee grinder that I dedicate to grinding nuts and spices only, and that worked well for this.

Turkey Sausage Patties

Recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog Goop.

Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties

“Sausage patties are one of the easiest things to make and are so much healthier and tastier than the scary processed options. Here I use a salt that I get at Borough Market in London that’s mixed with herbs de Provençe. If you can’t find it, simply use a pinch of herbs de Provençe, a little extra fennel seed and maybe a bit of rosemary.”

Serves: 4
Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • pinch of hot chili flakes
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of herbs de Provençe salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons real Vermont maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

1. Using a mortar and pestle, Flavor Shaker (gotta love Jamie Oliver) or mini food processor, bash the fennel seeds, chili, cayenne, salts and black pepper together. Combine this spice mixture with the sage, turkey and maple syrup in a bowl until thoroughly combined.

2. Form the mixture into 12 small, thin patties. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Cook the sausages for about a minute and a half on each side, pressing down with your spatula to really brown them and keep them thin. Serve warm.

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