Thursday, March 10, 2011

Have a Soup-er day.

The weather lately has been really cold.  It was especially windy and rainy today.  Soup to the rescue!  I threw together this easy soup that tastes pretty fantastic.

6oz Fully-cooked Chicken Sausage Meat.  Italian-y flavors would probably be best. Find them at Trader Joe's
1 large carrot, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
4 cups of broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 can cannellini beans
cooked orecchiette or similar pasta.  About 1 cup, cooked.
2 tbsp butter
olive oil
dried thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano
salt and pepper

Melt the butter and add the Chopped Chicken meat.  Brown about 2 minutes, then add the carrot, celery and yellow onion.  Cook until the onion is transparent.  Add the broth, tomato, beans and olive oil, herbs and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.  Let it go about 20 minutes.  Add the pasta when you're ready to eat.  This soup tastes great reheated.

I got rave reviews from Zach.  Make it!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hello, gorgeous!

Last night I returned from my surprise trip to Pittsburgh.  Spending time with family and old friends always inspires me to do new things and continue to do things that I love.  It's like anti-depressants except it requires 4 plane rides and a $40 dollar cab ride home.

So today when I woke up and I wasn't scheduled for work, I got moving as soon as I could.

One of the first things I needed to do was go shopping.  Thankfully it was a gorgeous day, and I walked to Safeway.

I wanted to give frozen yogurt another try so I bought blueberries and a tub of Fage 2%.  So this is the recipe I came up with:

3 cups Fage 2% strained Greek yogurt
approx 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup blueberries.  Mine were fresh but you're freezing this so why not use frozen?
1/2 cup black raspberries.  They're a bit easier to find frozen.
honey and/or agave nectar to taste.

I threw this in my ice cream maker and went to town.  My first impressions are that it really is much creamier than the other version, but I think I like the texture of the low-fat regular yogurt I used the first time.  I like ice-y ice cream, and the first was more like soft-serve.  This is more like slow-churned ice cream.  It has a higher fat content but is nowhere near the fat content of ice cream.  I love the gorgeous pinkish purple color it came out to be after I mixed it.  It could really use some cookie pieces or graham crackers on top, but I don't have any.  Should be great for breakfast.  Balloon had some, she approves.  As soon as she realized I was eating one of her favorites, she raced over to try to steal my bowl!  She was pleased to finish it up when all the berries were gone.

The second thing I tried today was some crusty French bread. Using the easiest recipe I could find on Google, I made my first loaf in forever.  The only changes I made were to add some dry milk and also to use quick rise yeast instead of regular.  I find almost no difference, except for speed (for pizza dough, that is).  Do as the recipe suggests and spray some water during the baking of your loaf.  The crust will come out thick and delicious.  

It sure looks professional, but I haven't tried it I'm off do do that.  I'll  let you know!

Addendum:  Not the loftiest bread I've ever eaten, maybe a bit heavy. Maybe I should have let it rise a lot longer? Didn't stop me from eating about 1/5 of the loaf immedately.  Olive oil + oregano + sea salt makes a fabulous dip.  This bread will definitely keep me trying new stuff.

3/10:  Makes decent (albeit small) toast.