Category Archives: Vegetables

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

My wife came home from work the other day, and I always pose the question, ‘what did you eat for lunch today?’. Often times she brings in my leftovers from the previous day, however I know that she is not one that favors the whole idea of leftovers, unlike myself who can manage to eat leftovers the following day for lunch, and heck for dinner for that matter, and repeat.  When she had mentioned she had chicken pot pie soup, I was a bit intrigued. For one, I have never thought of combining those ingredients into a soup, but I sure do love chicken pot pie, and turkey pot pie for that matter.  Chicken pot pie just screams comfort food to me, and as she said her cafeteria’s version was really horrible, I decided to up the ante and give her my take on chicken pot pie soup. Trust me, she loved it, and so did I.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 whole leek, thinly sliced, washed
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 3 medium sized yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 1 pint half and half
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 sage leaves
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste

I know, it sounds like a lot, and it is, but this will feed a very hungry family, for a few days, and it goes great during these early, cold fall days we have been having in Wisconsin.

Start by heating your oven to 425 degrees. Add the chicken to a baking tray, and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Roast the chicken until it registers 165 degrees, then remove and let it cool.

During this time, prepare all of your ingredients.

To a large stock pot, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the olive oil, then toss in your leek, carrot, celery, garlic, and onion. Give a good stir, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the flour, and give another good stir, making sure to get all of the vegetables coated in the flour. Cook for a few minutes, then add in the half and half. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken. I love this process.

During this time, remove the crispy skin from the chicken pieces and nibble on them if you want. Otherwise, call your kids into the kitchen and have them snack on it.

Remove the chicken from the bone, and coarsely  chop into bite sized pieces.

Add in the chicken, and  the corn cob that you removed the corn from.  Add in the potatoes as well.

How to make chicken pot pie soup

Next add in the chicken stock, give a good stir and season with a pinch or two of salt and cracked black pepper.  Stir, and bring to a simmer.

Once the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes or so, add in the fresh herbs, making sure you tie them together. This is referred to as a bouquet garni.  Toss in the corn and peas as well. Reduce the heat to low.

During this time, cut your puff pastry into circles, as many as you desire, and lightly brush with egg wash. Cook according to the directions.

Once the puff pastry is cooked, remove from the oven and set aside.

Now the fun part, to eat.

Remove the bouqet garni from the soup, along with the corn cob, and discard.

Taste, and season with any salt and pepper.

Ladle the chicken pot pie soup into your soup bowl, and top each bowl with the puff pastry.

This chicken pot pie soup is flipping awesome. It’s everything you want in a bite of food, and is thinner in consistency, making this soup something to be reckoned with. AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE PUFF PASTRY TOPPING! I could probably eat a whole sheet of those.

Give this recipe a shot if you are looking for some truly comforting soup. Hope you enjoy! By the way, if you don’t have puff pastry, go ahead and top with some cooked pie dough or something other.

 

Renaissance Faire Style Mushrooms

Not too far from Milwaukee, there is a annual summer-time event called the Bristol Renaissance Faire. It’s a good time to be had by all. It’s been years since I have last went, but I recall it rather clearly. I remember the people dressed in costume, the shops, the activities, and their food. So my coworkers and I got to talking as the faire recently ended, and one coworker kept describing their mushrooms and how awesome they were. I was set out to make those, as I knew I would be putting them on pretty much anything, and that was the truth. These mushrooms are perfect in texture, and have a great garlic and onion flavor.

Renaissance Faire Style Mushrooms

Let’s get started.

  • 32 ounces of button and cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimmed
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 whole onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 sprigs thyme

This is really super simple, and one that goes pretty much the majority of the day.

Add the mushrooms to a large pot. Cover with water and the beef stock. Add a plate to the top, one that will fit, to make sure the mushrooms get a nice soaking until you are ready to add the remaining ingredients.

Next, heat a large skillet on medium heat.  Add the butter, and let it melt. Toss in the onions, garlic, and cracked black pepper. Give it a nice toss. Let this cook on medium heat, stirring along the way, just until the onions begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

Remove the plate from the mushrooms, and add the onion mixture to the pot. Add in the salt, and white wine.  Stir. Cover, and bring to a simmer, and cook for about 8 hours. Yes, 8 hours. About 6 hours in, remove the cover, bring the heat to medium, and add the sprigs of thyme.

How to make Renaissance Faire Style Mushrooms

The broth will reduce a bit, and that’s what you want, but you will still have plenty of broth. It’s yummy. I could just eat that by itself.

When you are ready to serve, ladle these in a bowl, or serve them as I did on top of mashed potatoes. Did I say that might be my favorite new combination? Mushrooms and mashed potatoes?

These mushrooms are addicting. They are super tender and just have an awesome taste. I mean you can’t go wrong with garlic, onion, butter, and wine.  It makes quiet a bit, so reduce how many ounces of mushrooms you want to make.

When I was cooking these, I thought that you could probably get away with these by making them in a slow cooker.  I hope you enjoy!

 

Chinese Beef and Broccoli

Our vegetable garden is really starting to take off and as I have mentioned in the past, we are picking bowls of a variety of tomatoes on a daily basis, along with fresh herbs, and recently we harvested our broccoli. My wife and I did not plant broccoli last year, but a few years ago we did, and to this day we admit that was probably the best broccoli we had ever tasted. That was no joke. So when I saw the heads of broccoli, I got pretty darn excited, I’ll admit that. As I wanted to simply lightly steam the heads of broccoli, I decided to go a different route and bust out a classic Chinese beef and broccoli, only because my sister-n-law had mentioned it and it was stuck in my head.

Chinese Beef and Broccoli Recipe

This recipe is super easy to make, and granted it uses a couple of ingredients that you may, or may not have (but probably should), and it is just packed with good old comfort.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb flank steak, 1/4 inch thick slides
  • 1 head of broccoli, trimmed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups iced water
  • Cooked rice
  • 4 tbsp canola oil

For the Beef Marinade:

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tbsp sherry cooking wine
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Start by adding your sliced beef to a bowl. Mix the marinade and pour over the beef, and give it a good toss. Marinade for at least one hour in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to make the Chinese beef and broccoli, remove the marinated beef from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Bring the water to a simmer, and toss in the broccoli florets. Cook for about 3 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon into a bowl of iced water.  Once cooled, drain the broccoli and set to the side.

Next heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of oil, then toss in the beef, stirring along the way. Cook for about 5 minutes until the beef has some great color, then remove the beef onto a plate.

How to make Chinese Beef and Broccoli

Wipe out the skillet, and add the additional two tablespoons of oil, bringing to medium-high heat. Add the sauce, and give it a good stir. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the broccoli, and return the beef to the skillet. Cook for a few minutes until everything is warmed through and the sauce has slightly thickened.

Did I mention I love corn starch, especially when making a great sauce?

When you are ready to place, add cooked rice to the bottom of bowl, and ladle on the Chinese beef and broccoli, ensuring you get plenty of that great flavored sauce.

This was a real winner and it was a perfect use of that broccoli, and again, some of the best broccoli we have had this year. Hope you enjoy!

Bruschetta

We are up to our ears with fresh tomatoes, and that is never a bad thing. What I love about planting tomatoes, is really the excitement I see when I bring a large bowl into the kitchen and watching my wife’s expression. See, she is really the one who loves tomatoes. I stepped in my grandfather’s shoes where I’m not the biggest fan, but I do eat them. It took me years to actually love eating tomatoes, and when I say that, I mean in my late twenties when my wife and I were together. She is the one who gave me the nudge, and I probably started to really enjoy them when she turned me on to serving sliced tomatoes with a bit of soy sauce, and cracked black pepper, along with rice. With that said, we are sitting on a load of tomatoes, and it has been my goal to create recipes with them. That’s where bruschetta comes into play.

Bruschetta Recipe

I know people who simply love bruschetta, pronounced as Brusketta, and it is some of the simplest and pure things to make. Perfect for this time of year when you have an abundance of tomatoes. You can go as far as you want when making bruschetta, but to me, it’s the simple route. Tomatoes, a bit of basil, garlic, salt, and pepper, all topped on a crostini.

I am not adding amounts here as you basically want to have a substantial amount of tomatoes on each crostini. You could make 3 or you can make 20 if you know what I am saying. I fed a party of 8 adults and used about 12 small tomatoes, and 5 leaves of fresh garden basil.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Italian loaf of bread, sliced into 1 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 12 whole medium sized tomatoes, diced, seeds removed
  • 5 leaves of fresh basil, torn
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, optional

Start by heating a skillet on low heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and garlic. Melt and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. The goal is to infuse the butter and oil with great garlic flavor. Now you can skip this step if you want, and simply rub some of the toasted bread with fresh garlic, but I really enjoy the butter and oil combination, with just a hint of great garlic.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To a parchment lined baking sheet, add the sliced bread. Brush both sides with the garlic butter and oil mixture. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese. Place in the oven and toast for about 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.

How to make bruschetta

During this time, quarter the tomatoes, and then chop into a small dice. Add the tomatoes to a bowl, and add in the torn basil, not chopped basil. Season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper, and stir. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about one hour.

You will notice juices extract from the tomatoes. That’s fine. Reserve that if you want and use it in some sauce, or bloody mary’s. Your call.

Take a crostini, and using a slotted spoon, add the tomato and basil mixture on the top of each crostini.

Plate and serve.

The result is nothing more that pure greatness. It’s simple. It’s fresh, and delicious, and you get everything you could ever want in fresh garden ingredients. Are you a fan of brushcetta? Do you ever change it up from the basics? Hope you enjoy!