Chicken and Brown rice soup with veggies. Perfect for both summer and winter, always nourishing, always comforting, makes a body feel better when well and when sick. Be it ever so humble...there's nothing like chicken soup.
One of my favorite meals from childhood was "Brown" beans and cornbread. Funny, I never realized until I started blogging how we never called beans by their real names but by colors: Brown beans = Pintos, White beans = navy, Black beans = Cuban. Still a favorite meal, I like them just as well meatless as with ham or sausage added and my favorite way to cook them is in the crockpot. Interestingly, I did a small experiment a few years ago and found that, in the crockpot, soaking the beans overnight doesn't make more than a 15-30 minute cooking time difference. So I don't bother anymore. I work nights so usually when I make them, I come in from work in the morning, throw them together in the slow cooker (takes about 5 minutes!) and wake up to the lovely smell of beans and cumin. Tasty, not to mention so very good for me!
These are absolutely dynamite! Seriously, I can't say enough good things about them. Not only do I love them so much I'll be making them every few weeks for my work lunchbox, everyone I gave them to at Christmas loved them, and I took a bag of remnants, little clusters of nutty goodness that fell apart a bit when I cut the bars, into work one night and shared them with the nurses and aides on 3West and was asked for the recipe multiple times.
A huge Thank You to Monica Matheny of The Yummy Life blog for these recipes. I'm not going to try to reprint the recipe here because her post includes step by step pics and eight different flavors of KIND bar copycat recipes. My first batch was the Fruit & Nut Delight. My next foray will be the Almond and Coconut--YUM!
We have a small group that gets together on the Sunday nights I'm not working to watch....well...first it was Dexter we were all crazy about, then we all got hooked on The Walking Dead, and now we're all hooked on FEAR the Walking Dead, sort of TWD: Los Angeles if it were in the CSI franchise. What used to be "Dexter Dinners" became "Dead Dinners" and is now "Fear the Dead Dinners"
Auntie Miranda and I switch off cooking or one of us makes the entrée and the other one makes a dessert. Sometimes we cook in theme but mostly we use these dinners as a way to experiment and try out new recipes we find interesting. This was one of those. I mentioned that I'd seen a Pioneer Woman recipe for "7 Can Soup" that I wanted to try. She laughed and said she'd bought the same 7 cans wanting to try it to. Hey, two names sharing one brain!
We all loved this soup and what Auntie and I loved the most was the ease. The directions are to make it on the stove. I threw all the ingredients into the crockpot and went to bed for the day (worked the night before). I would have called it "chili" rather than "soup" but I'm not trying to split hairs, it's just a good chili with a little extra oomph. We definitely will be making it again (so nice to have it all in the pantry for times when I don't have the patience or the time to spend thawing/browning ground beef.) We're actually even considering it for our annual Halloween Party.
This is one of those great recipes passed on by a friend. Carrianne brought a loaf of this pumpkin bread to work one night and, with one bite, I had to have the recipe. One of the things I like about it was that it's less sweet than most sweet breads. Does that make sense? I mentioned that and Carrianne said she'd knocked the sugar down by at least a third. Made a huge batch of this in different pans and froze some to have for the upcoming holidays. So good!
Interestingly, it's put together in a different method than I've seen before, although it was very easy. The pumpkin and spices are heated in a saucepan on the stove and the rest of the ingredients stirred into it in one at a time. It works really well, just make sure to start out with a pan large enough to hold the whole batter. This is my go to pumpkin bread recipe now. Thanks, Carrrianne!
Spring is here! BLT's are my favorite sign (right after planting the tomato and pepper plants in containers on the back porch.) We broil the bacon in the oven and our secret ingredient this year is Avocado "Salad", a tangy blend of chunked avocado with balsamic vinegar and spices. For recipe, click here: Avocado "Salad".
Thank you Chicken of the Sea for creating these lunch box friendly Tuna, Tuna Salad, and Salmon packs! One of my new favorite go-to lunch box pantry grabs that makes for a delicious and convenient protein snack or entree to keep me fueled for 12 hour shifts at the hospital. Out of all the ways tuna and salmon are packaged these days, this is my favorite and there are always several in my pantry all the time: for work and for home when I need a tasty lunch or a snack on it's own or on some nice whole-grained crackers. Thumbs up!
I first had this recipe about 20 years ago at my cousin, Ann's, table and everyone in our family loves it as a casserole with a salad for dinner, on Liza Ashley's Angel Biscuits as an appetizer, or with crackers as a snack. Chilled chicken salad is great but hot baked chicken salad is just a delicious and versatile and very warming on a cold winter's day.
Unbelievably, I couldn't find my handwritten recipe card of Ann's recipe but during a quick search I found this Paula Deen version that had one difference: cheddar cheese. Hmmmm.... cheese is always a good thing. I like both versions, can't even pick a favorite, so I think my next time making this dish will all depend on my mood and if I have the cheese handy in the fridge or not.
The recipe is wonderful served piping hot or room temp, and heats up beautifully in the microwave.
I know that in some circles "ranch" dressing or dip is considered passe' but, to me, it ranks up there will all my favorite comfort foods like mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, chicken pot pie, and all the rest of the delicious, non-pretensious things that are so lovely and comforting to eat. I do admit, though, that ranch dressing out a bottle from a grocer's shelf doesn't thrill me but making it home-made with fresh herbs is definitely the ticket!
It's also much better for you. Think about it. Sure, it's a little more work to put the ingredients together but when you make it from scratch, including the mayo, you're talking about eating eggs, cold-pressed oil, buttermilk, dill, parsley, garlic, etc., all whole foods not tons of chemicals and preservatives. That, and the fresh creamy herby taste make it worth every one of those 15 minute spent preparing it.
After such a long hot summer, fall is a welcome relief! With fall, come the cravings for great fall foods: pumpkin and apple dishes, warm chewy breads, and thick soups. Two of my favorites are leftover from grade school: beef vegetable soup with peanut butter sandwiches and creamy tomato soup with grilled American cheese sandwiches.
Campbell's or Progresso? I could do that but for just a little bit more time I can have creamy tomato soup from my pantry that still has tomato-y goodness but with a much more complex herby fresh taste I yearn for as an adult.