Monday, December 30, 2013

(Veggie Loaded) Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Today, all I could think about is WARMTH. I stuck close to the space heater in my office for even the slightest bit of comfort. These negative temperatures are rough on an outdoors person like myself. When we head to the Rose Bowl on Wednesday (woo!) I will be soaking up the sun as much as possible.

Tonight was the perfect soup night. One of my absolute favorites is broccoli cheddar but I normally only eat it as a treat since it's pretty calorie dense. I took it upon myself to make a version that provides a good dose of veggies with less of the "bad for you" ingredients like cream and cheese. The outcome was strikingly similar to what I'm used to. Served piping hot in a bread bowl, this recipe is a great snowy-day recipe and very family friendly!



1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft, about 3 minutes.

2. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until flour is slightly golden.



3. Whisk in half-and-half and chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.


4. Add shredded carrot and broccoli florets and simmer an additional 10 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.




5. Transfer mixture (carefully!) to a blender and process until smooth, about 15 seconds. (You could also use an emersion blender here as well if you don't want to deal with transferring the hot liquid.)
6. Pour blended soup back into the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cheese. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve.





(Veggie Loaded) Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Serves 6

All you need:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups fat free half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock
4 carrots, shredded (a little over 1 cup)
1 large head broccoli, cut into small florets
4 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish

All you do:
1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft, about 3 minutes.
2. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until flour is slightly golden.
3. Whisk in half-and-half and chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
4. Add shredded carrot and broccoli florets and simmer an additional 10 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
5. Transfer mixture (carefully!) to a blender and process until smooth, about 15 seconds. (You could also use an emersion blender here as well if you don't want to deal with transferring the hot liquid.)
6. Pour blended soup back into the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cheese. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve.




Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sweet Corn Risotto with Smoky Bacon

Risotto is one of my favorite side dishes. This one is particularly satisfying because it contains sweet and salty components. I first tried a version of this when I met Giada DeLaurentis at a special event. Ever since then I've been wanting to try making it myself and seeing if I could get the flavor right. Paired with a leafy green salad, this is a perfect light meal (which is needed after a long holiday week of several sweets and treats)!



1. Heat chicken stock in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.

2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Add rice and toast for 1 minute. 

4. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed.


5. Turn heat to medium. Add chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, until all the stock has been used and/or the rice is slightly tender. (This should take 25-30 minutes.) 

6. Meanwhile, cook bacon and crumble. (I do mine on a plate in the microwave for 4-5 minutes covered with paper towel.)


7. Add cheese, corn, bacon and fresh parsley to the rice. Stir to combine.


8. Add herbs de provence and stir again. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve. 





Sweet Corn Risotto with Smoky Bacon 
Serves 10

All you need:
5 cups chicken stock 
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 slices smoky bacon (I got mine from the meat counter, but any variety will do)
3/4 cup corn kernels (use fresh if it's in season; frozen works too)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

All you do:
1. Heat chicken stock in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.

2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Add rice and toast for 1 minute. 

4. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed.

5. Turn heat to medium. Add chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, until all the stock has been used and/or the rice is slightly tender. (This should take 25-30 minutes.) 

6. Meanwhile, cook bacon and crumble. (I do mine on a plate in the microwave for 4-5 minutes covered with paper towel.)

7. Add cheese, corn, bacon and fresh parsley to the rice. Stir to combine.

8. Add herbs de provence and stir again. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve. 



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Grandma Link's Cinnamon Rolls

Being home for Christmas brings back all kinds of food memories for me. Whether it was walking into my Grandma Heringhausen's house and smelling the standing rib roast or walking into my Grandpa Hetzner's house and smelling the pies baking, each memory is so special.



This year my mom decided we should make my great-grandma's cinnamon rolls for our Christmas brunch. This recipe turned out great and it was fun thinking about how many times she had eaten them growing up. Wash these down with a big glass of milk!

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Combine roll mix and sugar in a medium bowl.



3. Add hot water, butter and egg and stir to combine.



4. Place dough on a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.


5. Let dough rest for an additional 5 minutes.



6. Meanwhile, combine cinnamon filling ingredients.



7. Roll out dough into a 15x10 rectangle. Sprinkle with cinnamon filling and roll up (jelly roll style).




8. Cut roll into 12 slices and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.


9. When the rolls bake, combine the cream cheese icing ingredients.






10. Spread icing over the hot rolls and transfer to a platter. Enjoy!



Grandma Link’s Cinnamon Rolls
Serves 12

All you need:
Dough
1 box Hot Roll mix
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
All purpose flour, as needed (to handle dough)

Cinnamon Filling
¾ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
½ cup unsalted butter, softened

Cream Cheese Icing
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces cream cheese
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon half-and-half
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Combine roll mix and sugar in a medium bowl.
3. Add hot water, butter and egg and stir to combine.
4. Place dough on a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
5. Let dough rest for an additional 5 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, combine cinnamon filling ingredients.
7. Roll out dough into a 15x10 rectangle. Sprinkle with cinnamon and roll up (jelly roll style).
8. Cut roll into 12 slices and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
9. When the rolls bake, combine the cream cheese icing ingredients.
10. Spread icing over the hot rolls and transfer to a platter. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Jen's Kickin' Three-Bean Chili

This past Friday, Josh and I attended a holiday beer and wine tasting. While there, one of the vendors asked if I liked spicy food which lead to me buying a bottle of ghost chili beer! I first saw ghost chilies on an episode of Man vs. Food and all I could think of is how painful the host looked as he tried to down just 6 chicken wings! For those of you who have never tried them, these peppers are 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce, so use them sparingly (when I took one sip of this beer I starting sneezing like crazy!). In this recipe, I just used the one bottle of beer and it ended up being the perfect amount of spice. If you can't find the ghost chili beer, use 1 bottle of regular beer and a good amount of your favorite hot sauce. This dish is perfect topped with a large dollop of light sour cream.

                                                




1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly softened. Season with salt and pepper.


2. Add celery and carrot and cook 2 minutes longer.


3. Add red and green pepper and cook 1 minute longer; season again with salt and pepper.



4. Stir in ground beef and cook until no longer pink.


5. Add spices and ghost chili beer and stir to combine.



6. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and reduce heat to medium-low.


7. Stir in beans.



8. Add cornmeal and sugar. Cover pot and simmer 2-4 hours. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve.



Jen's Kickin' Three-Bean Chili 
Serves 8-10

All you need:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, sliced thin
2 carrots, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 pound 93% lean ground beef
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 (12 oz.) bottle ghost chili beer
1 (28 oz.) can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chiles
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can butter beans, rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, rinsed
3 tablespoons corn meal
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt & pepper, to taste

All you do:
1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly softened. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add celery and carrot and cook 2 minutes longer.
3. Add red and green pepper and cook 1 minute longer; season again with salt and pepper.
4. Stir in ground beef and cook until no longer pink.
5. Add spices and ghost chili beer and stir to combine.
6. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and reduce heat to medium-low.
7. Stir in beans.
8. Add cornmeal and sugar. Cover pot and simmer 2-4 hours. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve.