October 29, 2010

Tomato Tortellini Soup

It's been a while since I've posted a soup recipe - but don't think we haven't been enjoying warm, comforting meals. I have a lot of soup recipes lined up to share with you. They are all winners, trust me.

This recipe for Tomato Tortellini Soup caught my eye as I was searching for meals that included bok choy. Y'all, the organic farm that we have our CSA box through must be lovers of bok choy. We seriously get it every.single.week. I kid you not. I made a tofu stir-fry a couple weeks ago that used up some bok choy, but I wanted to branch out from stir-fries. Bok choy is so much more than that! 

The original recipe called for sun-dried tomatoes. Well, being the frugal person that I am, I just used canned, diced tomatoes. It was perfect. That's the great thing about cooking in your own kitchen - you can swap out ingredients to your liking (or what you have on-hand!).

Tomato Tortellini Soup
Adapted from: Sun-Dried Tomato Tortellini Soup, Cooking Light

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) sliced carrot
2/3 cup sliced celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
3 cups fresh cheese tortellini (about 12 ounces)
1 cup chopped bok choy

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add broth and next 5 ingredients (through bay leaf); bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 2 minutes. Add pasta and bok choy; simmer 7 minutes or until pasta is done. Discard bay leaf.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

October 27, 2010

Herb-Roasted Onions

I am a firm believer that you can toss any vegetable into the oven, and it will be amazing.

Broccoli? Yes!
Cauliflower? Yes!
Brussels Sprouts? Yes!
Onions? You better believe it!

I know I've talked about my love for CSA programs on Twitter - have I mentioned it on here? Well, my husband and I recently joined a CSA program, and we are up to our eyeballs in vegetables. And I am loving every second of it.

Last week, we had an abundance of onions. I already had two soup recipes picked out that included the addition of onion, so I was looking for a completely different way to eat them.

Enter Ina Garten's Herb-Roasted Onions. I cannot put into words how savory the mustard and garlic tastes after heating up in the oven. It's not an overwhelming sauce for the onions - just a nice little coating for a pop of flavor. 

Along with the onions, I also roasted some cauliflower and carrots. For those, I just coated them with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper - bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Herb-Roasted Onions
Source: Ina Garten

3 onions (red or yellow)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon minced thyme leaves - you can also use dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves - again, you can use dried parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the stem end of each onion and carefully slice off the brown part of the root end, leaving the root intact. Peel the onion. Stand each onion root end up on a cutting board and cut the onion in wedges through the root. Place the wedges in a bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the onions and toss well.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a sheet pan, reserving the vinaigrette that remains in the bowl. Bake the onions for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender and browned. Toss the onions once during cooking. Remove from the oven, and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste and serve warm or at room temperature. 

Yield: 3-4 servings

October 20, 2010

Pecan Sandies

I had been wanting to make cookies that felt like autumn. While I'm loving pumpkin right now, I wanted to steer clear of that route. When I came across this recipe for Pecan Sandies on Brown Eyed Baker, I knew this was my winner.

Please know that I truly love chocolate. But the simplicity of this cookie can't be beat. With the only add-in being pecans, you get to focus on that particular flavor. The brown sugar gives this a deep, rich flavor - which pairs quite well with a warm mug of coffee. Seriously, heaven.

I don't know how many times my husband proclaimed that these were his "favorite cookies...ever." It brought a smile to my face. Needless to say, the cookie itself brought an even bigger smile to my face. Try this. NOW!

Pecan Sandies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour - I used whole wheat
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and salt until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour, beating just until combined. Fold in the pecans.

Roll the dough into 1½-inch balls (or use a medium-size cookie scoop) and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart. With wax paper or parchment paper, flatten each cookie slightly by placing paper on the cookie and pushing with your hand. The paper will prevent your hands from sticking to the cookie!

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown. Do NOT over-bake. They will harden as they cool - so stick to the lower amount of time. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.

Yield: About 1 dozen

October 15, 2010

How to: Cut Honeydew

So I realize that we're heading into fall in full-force right now, but I have a step-by-step tutorial that I really want to share with you.

I love melons. I think that you get a lot of bang for your buck when you buy them. There was a watermelon that I bought this past summer, and while my husband and I ate it every day, it still lasted us for 10 days. I followed Iowa Girl Eats' suggestion on how to cut a watermelon, and it was extremely helpful.

Today I thought I'd share with you how to cut honeydew...by far my favorite melon!

Start by slicing it in half and scooping out the seeds.

Then slice into wedges and cut off the skin.

Finally cut into your desired size of pieces. One inch cubes are my favorite.

Pretty simple, huh?

October 14, 2010

Slow Cooker Recipes

A very, very dear friend of mine is getting married next week. I'll be flying back to Nebraska to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, and I am very excited to help her celebrate her special day!

I have raved about how much I love my slow cooker on this blog numerous times, so you know how excited I was to hear that she received one at a bridal shower a few weeks ago. She is going to love the simplicity of using a slow cooker, and the great meals she'll be able to make. 

In honor of her latest kitchen appliance, I thought I'd do a little recipe round-up of all the slow cooker meals I've shared on Ice Cream & Wine. These meals are healthy and prove that you don't have to sacrifice flavor and nutrition when using your slow cooker!

*Please remember that most of these photos were taken with a super old camera and in the middle of winter in a gray, gloomy Baltimore. I'm thinking about making all these again (and soon!), so I can update the photos!

Eggplant Curry
Chicken Cacciatore
Honey Glazed Chicken
Pineapple Chicken
Salsa Chicken
Spicy BBQ Chicken
Turkey Supper Potluck

I hope you'll be able to enjoy these great recipes now that fall is here!

October 12, 2010

Sausage Cabbage & Apple Soup


I adore soup. And in all honesty, I could eat soup for every meal. It's so warm and comforting, and it really makes my heart happy.

Last year my mother gave me a Taste of Home Heartwarming Soups magazine - boasting over 350 recipes. No matter how many times I've read it, I keep going back for more. Looking at soup recipes just never gets old.

This recipe immediately caught my attention because of the addition of apples. Apples in soup? It won me over. This is a perfect treat for these fall months, and a very simple recipe to follow. I made a few changes - which I'll note below. You must try it!

Sausage Cabbage & Apple Soup
Adapted from: Taste of Home Heartwarming Soups (submitted by M. Wolff, Indiana)

3 cups coleslaw mix - I just used plain cabbage
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds - I omitted this, not a fan!
2 tablespoons butter
1 carton (32 oz.) chicken broth - I used low sodium
12 oz. fully cooked chicken sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium unpeeled Granny Smith apples, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt 

In a stockpot, saute cabbage, carrots, onion, celery (and caraway seeds, if using) in butter for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Yield: 6 servings

October 8, 2010

Nut Butter Carrot Fries

I used to always buy the bags of baby carrots. Until I realized one day that it is much cheaper to buy regular carrots. You know, the carrots that look like they were literally just pulled from the ground. You know, the kind that you would imagine rabbits eating. Yes, those.

So we've been buying those carrots recently, and I find peeling them rather fun. I know, I have an odd obsession/liking toward kitchen gadgets. 

The problem: we're up to our eyeballs in carrots. We can only eat so many atop salads and dipped in hummus.

So when I heard that you could slice carrots, lather them in nut butter and bake in the oven to turn into fries, I was rather intrigued. 

My curiosity always gets the best of me when it comes to food, so I had to try these out. And now, I'm rather addicted!

Nut Butter Carrot Fries
Source: Oh She Glows and Meals & Miles

3 medium carrots - sliced into thin strips
2 tablespoons nut butter (I just used all-natural peanut butter)
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the nut butter, oil and salt. Add sliced carrots and toss to coat. 

Place in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes - you can flip them halfway through to prevent burning.

October 6, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Now I know I can't speak for everyone, but it seems that most people enjoy the changing of seasons from summer to fall. I know I do!

Fall can tease us - bringing cooler weather one week, only to be followed by hot 90 degree weather the next. So when the true fall season sets in, I rejoice! But how does one know?

I look to Starbucks to give me this information. When a Pumpkin Spice Latte lands on their menu, I declare it fall! But this little, addictive drink can be rather expensive. At least to me and my husband. Oh, I didn't tell you one of us is in graduate school at a top institution and the other is unemployed?! Such a perfect match, we are!

But I digress. When I found this recipe for a homemade pumpkin spice latte, well, I knew immediately that I wanted to make it. I bypassed the step that said to mix well in a blender, as I really didn't feel like dirtying the blender and then having to wash it. Yes, I am lazy. Yes, we don't have a dishwasher.

So I actually ended up with a pumpkin spice cafe au lait. Which was still incredibly delicious. If you want the frothy texture, be sure to blend this bad boy up. To get this recipe, please check out the link below!

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Source: Peas and Thank You - please check out this blog - amazing!

October 5, 2010

Boudin: San Francisco

One reason (among many) I was so looking forward to moving to California was the food. California is known for hip and trendy restaurants, great farmers' markets, fresh seafood, and...good wine. Wait, what? Y'all, don't even try and tell me that wine isn't a food group, ok?!

Anyway, my husband and I moved to, what we believe to be, the best part of California: the San Francisco Bay Area. It is perfection, really. And we're enjoying every minute of it. 

We made it up to the city (SF) last weekend with friends. It was decided that Boudin would be our destination for dinner that evening at Fisherman's Wharf. I had heard great things about Boudin's sourdough bread bowls from my husband, who was able to enjoy them on a trip out to the area last year.

I had also heard great things about their clam chowder. Um, excuse me?

Sure, I've posted fish recipes on here. Sure, I'll try various types of fish. Lobster, crab, clams? Er...

I so desperately wanted to order the tomato soup as I nervously stood in line at Boudin. But peer pressure sunk in, folks. Fine - I'll try the clam chowder!  

Dare I say I enjoyed it? No - I don't think I'll publicly admit that. That's a rather big commitment.

So I'll say this: it was actually pretty good. Of course, when I chomped down on an actual piece of clam, it was a little seafood-y. But, I ate it. A lot of it.

And the bread bowl? Oh, friends, the bread bowl! Carbs are truly a wonderful thing, and the bread bowl did not disappoint!

Boudin has several locations in San Francisco. If you're ever visiting the city, definitely check it out!

October 4, 2010

Menu: October 4-8

Hey, all - I hope you had a great weekend! Mine was great...minus the fact that we dealt with a sad Stanford football loss on Saturday. Who would have thought I'd be so upset over a game that didn't involve my beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers?! Pure craziness. However, we went to the local farmers market for this first time, and it was glorious. Definitely a good weekend!

Here's the menu for the week. I haven't finalized our vegetable side dishes yet and for good reason. 

WE JOINED A CSA PROGRAM! We'll find out tonight what produce we'll get, and then we'll be picking up the box tomorrow - I am so darn excited!

Monday: Chicken Sausage Cabbage Soup
Tuesday: Soup Leftovers
Wednesday: Bean Tacos
Thursday: Vegetable Pasta
Friday: Pasta Leftovers/Pizza

October 1, 2010

Lemon Mahi Mahi

I love me some good mahi mahi.

And here's a fun fact about mahi: my husband actually caught a mahi back in May! We were on a sailing trip down in The Bahamas with some of our friends, and Evan caught my favorite fish. I mean, life is just great. 

Reel it in.

Here's the beauty!

So now whenever we enjoy the gloriousness that is mahi mahi, I always think back on our sailing trip. Don't you just love how food can do that? 

Here's a super easy way to cook mahi - just lemon, thyme and olive oil. Enjoy!

Lemon Mahi Mahi
Adapted from: Running Mama Cooks 

2 mahi mahi fillets
2 lemons (one sliced, one for the juice and zest)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place the slices from one lemon in a baking dish, covering the bottom. Season fillets with salt and pepper, then place on top of sliced lemons.

Drizzle with the juice of one lemon, zest and olive oil. Sprinkle with thyme. Cover with lid or foil and bake for 16-20 minutes - until fish flakes easily with a fork.