Golden Chicken, Mushroom & Rice Soup

It was cold and snowy today – perfect for a good bowl of this golden, delicious soup. Based on recipe from Southern Living, my version is much quicker, uses basmati rice and is a bit spicier.  It’s rather closer to Mulligatawny Soup, so you can add a squeeze of fresh lemon when serving if you like.

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tsp garlic, minced
7 cups chicken broth
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into 1″ pieces (or 3 cups rotisserie chicken cut into bite-sized pieces)
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1⁄2 tsp ground cumin
1⁄4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1⁄2 tsp Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup basmati rice (any rice would probably be fine.)
fresh lemon wedges (optional)

Directions

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.

Add onion, celery, mushrooms and minced garlic. Cook for 4-5 minutes until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally.

Add everything else and bring just to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes until chicken and rice are both cooked.  (Note: If using rotisserie chicken, just add it for the last 5 minutes of cooking.)  Check seasonings and if you wish, serve with a wedge of lemon.

To make a vegan version of this, replace the chicken and butter with a can or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained and a bit more olive oil.  Swap out the chicken stock for veggie stock. 

Cranberry Jalapeno Dip

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Image courtesy of Joanna Kosinska – Unsplash

Someone brought this dip to Thanksgiving and we all loved it.  So I found a recipe and made it for a get-together with friends last night.  It is crazy easy, looks pretty on a plate and is difficult to leave alone!  (Based on a recipe from SnackinginSneakers.com but with a few changes.) Quite a few recipes called for twice as much sugar but this one was sweet enough.

Ingredients

12 oz fresh cranberries (one bag)
1 large jalapeno, quartered and chopped with stem, seeds and ribs removed
4 medium green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch of Kosher Salt

Two 14 oz. pkgs cream cheese or vegan cream cheese

Add cranberries, jalapeno and green onions to a food processor. Buzz a couple of times until you no longer see large chunks of  cranberries.

Add everything else and buzz for 30 more seconds. Turn out into a medium bowl and stir gently for a few minutes until sugar is dissolved.

Let sit for 30 minutes. Dump into a strainer and let excess liquid drain away for 5 minutes or so. It doesn’t need to be completely dry – just don’t want liquid running all over the serving platter.

Open foil surrounding each brick of cheese and slice horizontally into two thin layers. (You may not need all of it depending on the size of your platter.)

On a large white platter, arrange cheese to form a long, flat rectangle in the center. Neaten up the corners and edges and smooth the top with a knife. (You can stop at this point, cover the platter with cream cheese and hold it until you’re ready to serve.)

To serve, scoop the cranberry mix over the center top of the cheese and gently nudge it so it just sort of spills over the edges of the cheese. If you’ve saved a couple of cranberries and some Cilantro, you can add a few to the top.

If you’ve dashed off from home and left those behind, it’s still very festive looking.

Serve with a nice wheat cracker.

Also fantastic with leftover chicken or turkey in a sandwich.

The Best Green Beans Thomas Has Ever Eaten.

My brother-in-law Thomas has fallen hard – for the green beans I made for Thanksgiving.  When someone declares that they are the best green beans he has ever eaten, you know something’s gone right.

So Thomas – this recipe is for you!

Ingredients

3 lbs. of fresh green beans, stems removed and broken into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 large onions, sliced into thin wedges
1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic (add more if you really love garlic)
5 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Butter (I used vegan butter and it was delicious.)
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot and add onions. Saute for at least 8-10 minutes until they are completely softened and starting to brown up. Clear a space in the middle, add a little more oil and let it warm up a bit. Add the garlic and saute it for a minute of so. Blend with the rest of the onions and cook a couple of minutes more.

While the onions are cooking heat a small pan over medium heat and add almonds. Toast and stir them for several minutes until you start to see little brown marks and they smell thoroughly cooked. Pay attention and keep them moving as they can burn easily. Remove from heat to a small bowl.

At the same time, start a large pot of water boiling with a big pinch of salt.

Add green beans and cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll want to watch for the beans to start to darken up a bit, and check with a fork to see when they’re just about fork tender. Once they are done, drain them and add them to the onion/garlic mixture. Add in the almonds, butter, salt and pepper and toss gently to combine.

Check seasonings and serve immediately.  Serves a large group.

Po’ Boys for a Crowd

how-to-make-a-po-boyThere was Moon over Bourbon Street at our house recently, and we served Po’ Boys for a crowd.

Making Po’ Boys is quite easy, and they are so tasty! We offered a choice of beef brisket or Cajun Roasted Cauliflower for fillings, along with fresh, sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, Remoulade Sauce or Mayo and hot sauce on a split french roll.

We served the Beef Brisket in one 1/2 catering tray, and the roasted Cauliflower in another 1/2 catering tray. Both trays fit in one large tray, with 1/2″ of water in the bottom to keep them warm, with two tins of chafing dish fuel.

Each Beef Brisket 1/2 catering tray makes 16 – 24 sandwiches, depending on how much brisket people use. The Cauliflower is probably the same.

For each half tray, you’ll need

5 lbs. of sliced beef brisket (We used 2 packages of beef brisket from Costco.)
10 cups cauliflower florets, seasoned and roasted
3-4 sliced tomatoes
3-4 cups shredded tomatoes
Remoulade Sauce or Mayonnaise
Hot Sauce
18 French Rolls (Again, we used the french rolls from Costco.)

To heat the brisket, just add two packages (5 lbs.) of brisket to a 1/2 catering tray and add 1/2 cup water. Seal tightly with aluminum foil and bake at least 30 minutes. We warmed out trays up ahead of time and kept them in a warming oven.

For a vegan version, make only the Cajun Roasted Cauliflower, and serve with Remoulade Sauce or vegan mayo.

To serve, we kept a little sign by all the Po’ Boy fixings and let our guests assemble them. People loved them!

Remoulade Sauce

We served Po’ Boys for our Halloween get-together with a choice of beef brisket, or Cajun Roasted Cauliflower. Super easy and delish, especially with this Remoulade Sauce from Emeril’s Louisiana Real and Rustic Cookbook – though Remoulade is most often served with shrimp.

It makes quite a bit, but to be on the safe side I doubled the recipe.

Ingredients
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp prepared horseradish
3 Tbsp whole grain or Creole Mustard
3 Tbsp prepared yellow mustard
3 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper.

Buzz all in a blender or food processor until quite smooth. Keeps in a jar in the fridge for several days.

Delish!

Cajun-Roasted Cauliflower

cauliflowerFor a recent party, we served Po’Boys and for my vegan friends I made them with Cajun-roasted Cauliflower. It was crazy easy and makes a wonderful sandwich.

4 cups cauliflower florets
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Emeril’s Rustic Rub (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix oil and Rub in a large bowl. If you like things really spicy add 1/2 tsp more of Rub, but generally 1 tsp Rub is plenty.

Add cauliflower and toss well to coat. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake 25 – 30 minutes tossing occasionally. You want the edges of the cauliflower to start browning up. Serve immediately.

Emeril’s Rustic Rub (From Louisiana Real and Rustic Cookbook)

8 Tbsp paprika
3 Tbsp cayenne pepper
6 Tbsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp onion powder
2 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
2 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme

Blend well and store in an airtight jar. Will keep for a couple of months.

Tex-Mex Black Bean, Roasted Pepper and Rice Supper

A great vegetarian skillet supper that was simple, delicious and hearty. I didn’t really have anything much in mind for supper tonight and threw something together from what I had in the pantry and fridge. Maya loved it and I’d definitely make it again.

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp crushed Garlic
1 bag frozen fajita peppers from Trader Joe’s, or 2 fresh peppers cored and sliced into 1/4″ strips
2 Tbsp taco seasoning mix  (I used McCormicks.)
1 can black beans, drained but not rinsed
1/4 cup salsa
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cups cooked rice
1 cup Mexican or cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a skillet and saute onions until softened. Add garlic and saute for a few minutes. Add frozen fajita peppers and taco seasoning mix and saute until the liquid from the frozen peppers is mostly gone. Add the black beans, salt and pepper and the salsa. (You can add a little water if anything is sticking to the bottom of the skillet.) Cook for another 5-6 minutes stirring occasionally until the black beans are warmed through. Dump in the rice and fold the bean mixture and rice together, cooking for a few minutes until the rice is warmed. Sprinkle the cheese on top, remove from the heat and cover for a couple of minutes.

Serve hot with a simple arugula salad. Yum!

Leave off the cheese for a vegan version.