Categories
Dinner Kid Friendly MettleFork Kitchen

Chicken and cheese tortellini soup

Tonights meal was a really quick and easy meal I’d love to share with you all.  I had stocked up on some fresh pasta from the Tesco because all of their pasta variations looked great. My original plan was to just throw some Alfredo sauce on top because my husband had asked for a quick and simple pasta.  If you’ve gotten to know me, then you know I rarely do quick and simple.  If you’ve been reading you are well aware I’m on a soup kick and I’m trying to work out recipes for my upcoming cookbook.  I’ll let you know now, this one is definitely making a feature.  Since this wasn’t my original plan I had to run out to the store and grab some chicken.  I was sooo close to grabbing some breasts to cook and dice up and then I saw it,  the last roasted rotisserie chicken in the store.  I took it a sig that this was destiny.  By using the rotisserie chicken, the flavor would be so much better and the cook time so much quicker.  I grabbed it and some extra broth and made my way back home.

The base of this recipe started with mirepoix which is the french version of the trinity – Carrot, Celery and Onions.  I sautéed that first before adding in the remaining ingredients.  All in all start to finish this recipe only took me about 30 minutes with minimal dishes. I know, I know I said I rarely do quick and simple which was not my initial plan.  I however, could not have asked for a better soup with so much flavor bursting from each spoonful in such little time.  The carrots were supple, the tortellini was fresh and cooked to perfection.  The chicken was so tender it literally fell off the bone as I was preparing it.  When it all came together it was holy matrimony. As an added bonus I had 2/3 of a whole chicken left for a second meal.  My only regret in making this recipe was not making a bigger pot so feel free to double it.

Chicken and Cheese Tortellini Soup

2 cups Roasted Chicken                      3 cups mirepoix – (carrots, onion, celery)

32oz chicken broth                              1 Tbsp butter
1 pkg cheese tortellini                         3 cloves of garlic minced
4-5 fresh basil leaves                           2 Tbsp Tuscan seasoning (if available)
2 cups of water
 
In a large stockpot melt 1 Tbsp of butter and add mirepoix.  Saute mirepoix for 4-5 minutes until it the onions and celery start to become translucent and slightly caramelized.  Next add the minced garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes be sure it doesn’t start to burn.  Then add in the chicken broth and allow it to come to a rolling boil.  Add chicken and basil allow to cook for 5 minutes.  Next add 2 cups of water and 2 Tbsp of Tuscan seasoning.  Add tortellini and allow to cook until pasta doubles in size and floats about 5-6 minutes.
 

  • You can substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth and remove the meat to make it vegetarian friendly.
  • If Tuscan spice isn’t available mix equal parts – 1Tbsp of basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley then add 1 tsp of salt, black pepper, garlic powder and lemon pepper and onion salt.

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Categories
Dinner MettleFork Kitchen

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone.  I’m not sure about everyone else but this past year has been a complete whirlwind for me.  The New Year reminds me that so many wonderful things can happen in such a short time.  This past year I finished my Master’s Degree and welcomed a new baby girl into my family.  As if that wasn’t exciting enough,  I decided to start my food blog and ended the year by moving across the pond to England.  What!  When I look back at those major events and the not so major events, I’m amazed by what I was able to accomplish.  I hope 2018 brings many more personal victories for not only myself but for you, my readers.

Categories
Dinner Kid Friendly MettleFork Kitchen

Carrot and Basil Soup

In this issue of the soup chronicles, I wanted to try something different.  I’m not completely sure what inspired me to try and make carrot soup other than the fact my husband loves carrot juice.  I figured If I made it and he loved it, it was a win.  Little did I know it was like the championship game victory with play by play action.
When I first started with the idea of the carrot soup I had no intentions of adding basil…in fact I had no direction at all.  I bought 1 package of carrots and well that was that. Ha!  How naive was I to think all I needed was carrots and broth.  I started by peeling my carrots and slicing them into medallions to boil.  I figured it would cook much faster this way.  I was right only I didn’t have enough carrots…I send husband back to the store to buy more.

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1 inch thick cut medallions

Next is where the tricky part came in.  With the carrots all boiled and soft how was I to make them into a creamy soup?  Due to our move and the uncertainty of living arrangements, I left most of my electrical appliances in storage in the states.  That meant I had no blender or hand mixer…what the what?  Panic began to set in because I had no idea how I was going to make a creamy soup.  What I did next was out of pure desperation.  I grabbed my potato masher.
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I mashed and mashed and mashed… still not smooth

I continued to mash those potatoes thinking of all the gadgets I had in my half unpacked house that could help me make it smooth.  My mind wandered to the soup maker I had seen at the local Tesco and how I should have just bought it, then I dawned on me.  I had mailed my mini ninja from my office before I left.  I started tearing through boxes and I found it!  I was saved…well kind of.  The ninja only held about 3-4 cups of the carrots at a time.  I had to scoop, blend, pour back in the pot and then scoop again.  It was a process y’all.  Little did I know, this whole ordeal turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  I was able to get the soup to the creamy and smooth consistency it should be with a few chunks of carrot here and there.  To be honest, it worked out for the best because it added a layer of texture that would not have been there if it were completely smooth.  I’m glad I was able to work pull off this soup because it was AMAZING!!!  My 7 month old gobbled this soup right up and it was the perfect consistency for her. I even used the fresh basil from my basil plant.  Here is the finished product and recipe below (minus the crazy kinks).
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Carrot Basil Soup

3lbs carrots                                                                       2 Tbsp fresh parsley (finely chopped)

1/4 cup heavy cream                                                       2 Tbsp fresh basil (finely chopped)

32 oz. chicken broth or vegetable broth                     2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp butter                                                                    1 Tbsp sugar

Peel and chop carrots into 1 inch medallions and add to stockpot and boil until soft.  Drain carrots and add to blender.  Puree until smooth or desired consistency is reached.  Add 1 Tbsp of butter to stockpot and melt then add carrots into pot. Let cook 5-10 minutes.  Add salt, sugar and 1/4 cup of heavy cream and stir.  Add basil and parsley and cook additional 10 minutes.

Makes 6-8 Servings.

*Add additional basil to taste – (I like a lot of basil)
**To make completely vegetarian friendly substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth**

Categories
MettleFork Kitchen

Mini breakfast quiches

This morning I was off the hook for cooking breakfast.  Everyone had grabbed a bowl of cereal.  Don’t you just love mornings like that? Sleeping in,  cartoons and cereal that’s what Saturday mornings are made of.  I, however was not in the mood for a bowl of cereal.  I just completed a trip to the grocery store, so my fridge is packed full of fresh vegetables ready to use. I must admit  cereal was definitely the quicker option but mini quiches was the funner one.   They are a cuter version of an omelete or loaded scrabble eggs.  Besides I wanted to channel my inner chef lol.
In case you are interested,  here’s how I made them.  First,  I gave a though chop to my veggies. This morning I chose tomatoes,  mushrooms and some cilantro.

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Chopped vegetables

Next crack 6 eggs and season with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to taste and add 2Tbsp of milk. I personally don’t even use enough to actually measure.
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Eggs before the beating

Now it’s time to start assembling the mini quiches.
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Place the vegetables in the muffin tins

It’s almost time to pop them in the oven.  I’ve preheated the oven to 350° and once the oven is ready I’ll pop them in.
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Fill each cup evenly and bake for 25 minutes

Once they are done,  pull them out the oven and remove them from the muffin tin.  They are ready to eat with your favorite topping. I loved the sour cream and picante salsa combo.

I certainly enjoyed making these mini quiches this morning.  Its something I’ve been wanting to make for quite some time. They are great to make ahead of time and just grab for a quick breakfast. Cereal was definitely not missed today.
Enjoy!

Categories
Uncategorized

Beating Beets

Yesterday I cooked something I’ve never cooked before.  In fact out of all the vegetables, it was 1 of 3 I steered clear of : Radishes, Cauliflower (which I now love) and Beets. I was shopping for dinner and I came across the beets only this time they were spiralized.  How can you resist spiral veggies?  I went for it and threw them in my cart besides, they were only $2 so it wouldn’t be too much of a waste if I hated them.
I got home with literally no direction for cooking these beets.  I tasted a piece…. blaaah just as I remembered not so tasty.  Should I make a beet salad, cook them, throw them out?  I decided to roast them and drizzle them with balsamic reduction based on a recipe I found.
I had to get a little creative with the rest of dinner.  I cooked some corn on the cob and cut the kernels off (something I’ve been dying to do).  Then I added the corn (about 1.5 cups) to a pan of sauteed onions and got a nice char on them.  Next I added some diced red pepper and let it cook.  Then I added shrimp and minced garlic.  I added about 2 Tbsp of chopped cilantro and lastly two handfuls of baby spinach leaves. Once that cooked down I added in the roasted beets.  I splashed a little more balsamic reduction over the plate and voila! I had created a new meal. My husband thoroughly enjoyed it as did I, beets and all.
Here’s a picture of the finished product.
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I beat my fear of beets!

Categories
Uncategorized

Poached

Eggs Benedict has to be one of my favs for breakfast.  I thought making breakfast was easy, you know scramble some eggs, fry some bacon, flip a few pancakes – Voila!  I’ve always been able to cook exactly what I wanted to eat.  This held true until the morning I decided making Eggs Benedict would be a good idea.  I knew the basic composition of Eggs Benedict and I also knew that the eggs were poached.  Perhaps the reason I ordered them so much when I ate out is because I didn’t know how to poach an egg.   So there I stood in my kitchen, master plan in mind with no place to start.
Google!  It’s so much faster than a cook book.  I googled “how to poach an egg”  and what do you know instructions came up.  I clicked through a few links to find the easiest method.  I mean let’s be honest here I’m a novice at this egg poaching thing, why would I try to do it like a pro.  So the instructions were to fill a pan with water, bring it to a semi boil and then swirl it around with a whisk. Once the water is going at a good rate, you gently lay the cracked egg in the middle of the swirl.  The idea is that the swirl will prevent the egg white from spreading.  Cover the skillet for 5-6 minutes and you are done.  Let me just say, the directions are nothing like real life Lol.  I successfully poached two eggs and made my Eggs Benedict but I immediately went on the search for an egg poaching gadget.
For my Eggs Benedict dish I toasted an English Muffin, sautéed asparagus, cherry tomatoes, garlic and mushrooms in a skillet.  I topped the english muffin with prosciutto then the poached egg.  Next I layered the sautéed vegetables, a sour cream sauce and finished with minced cilantro.  I will post the recipe and all ingredients in the recipe section.  This is a dish I definitely will make again and again until it is absolute perfection.  And now I can have Eggs Benedict whenever I’d like.
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Categories
Dinner

Tried something new

Chicken is one of the most versatile of the meats just about anything goes with chicken.  I’ve cut a good portion of red meat out of my diet so that leaves a lot of chicken…A Lot. Those of you that have done the same I’m sure you can relate.  Tonight I decided to try a new recipe and see if i could put a spin on the old chicken wing.  On the menu is Garlic Parmesan Chicken, Sauteed Kale and Red Pepper and Basil Quinoa.
 
I started with chicken wings and marinated them in a spice rub which included oregano, cumin, garlic powder, salt, onion powder and smoked paprika. The original recipe did not call for onion powder or paprika but i can’t cook chicken without it.  After allowing the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes I cooked it for 35 minutes at 400°
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While the chicken was cooking i started a pan with some EVOO and minced garlic then added my chopped kale. I allowed that to wilt and sautee then I  added 1/4 cup of vegetable both to give it flavor. I also cooked the quinoa in a separate pot. I like the brand far east when I’m not making it from scratch.
For the coating i mixed EVOO, basil, salt garlic powder and grated parmesean cheese. It was a little thick so i spooned some of the fat from the chicken in it.
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Next i coated the chicken with the parmesean mixture.
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Dinner was ready to be served and all i had to do was plate it.   This is my biggest weakness – plate presentation. I have it my best shot,  let me know what you think.  Be sure to look out for the full recipe in my featured recipes next week. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did.