Jalapeno Popper Soup

October 7th, 2009 by katie

I love the flavor of jalapenos when they are properly de-seeded.  A couple of seeds in there and they are too hot for me but the flesh itself lends a fresh flavor to dishes with just a hint of heat.  We often make jalapeno poppers by stuffing jalapeno halves with cream cheese, wrapping them in bacon and grilling them.  I love to dip mine in ranch dip and I wanted to re-create that combination in a soup.

I really liked how this soup turned out.  Fresh, tingly heat from the jalapenos meets smooth, tangy cream and salty bites of bacon-Mmmmmm.  This soup is actually very good hot or cold, so if you are straddling the divide between summer heat and a frosty fall try some of this for dinner or lunch.  If you don’t want the soup too spicy be sure to get most of the seeds out of your jalapenos.  The cream and cheese tempers the heat quite a bit so don’t be too afraid-and if by chance you do get it too hot just add more cream or cheese until it calms down.

Jalapeno Popper Soup

makes 5 cups, prep 10 minutes, cook time 40 minutes
  • 12 jalapenos, mostly de-seeded
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 oz cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 lime, juice
  • salt and pepper
  • bacon, cooked and crumbled for garnish
  • sour cream for garnish
  1. In a blender, add roughly chopped jalapenos, onion, and garlic.  Add cream.
  2. Puree mixture until smooth.
  3. In a stock pot, melt butter.
  4. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring frequently, until golden.
  5. Add jalapeno mixture, stirring frequently.
  6. Add chicken stock and cream cheese and bring to a simmer.
  7. Simmer soup, stirring occasionally, until soup is thick and slightly reduced about 30 minutes.
  8. Add lime juice then salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Run soup through the blender one more time if texture is not smooth.
  10. Serve hot with bacon and sour cream.

Don’t forget to tell me your favorite fall foods!

Posted in Easy, Main Dish, Snacks/Appetizers having 6 comments »

Recipe Box

May 4th, 2008 by katie

Snacks, Small Bites

Main Dishes

Side Dishes

Soups

Salads

Desserts

Drinks

Condiments, Extras

Posted in having no comments »

Freezer Recipe Round-up and Freezing Chicken Nuggets

September 17th, 2010 by katie

So I promised you recipes that freeze well, and now you’re about to get more freezer-ready recipes than you are probably interested in.  I mentioned on Monday that we don’t eat a lot of casserole type dishes, so you won’t find many of those here.  What you will find are easy grab and go breakfasts and snacks, main dishes where a major component can be prepped and frozen beforehand, and sides, soups and desserts that can be frozen in large batches.  There are also a few things you may not have realized could be frozen, or the advantages of doing so.  The experts could probably point out many other recipes on this site that can be frozen easily but these are the ones I do routinely. 

For all of the recipes below you should cool the items completely before freezing them. If the directions state to re-warm in the microwave, I typically wrap the frozen item in a paper towel and heat it for 30 second intervals until warm throughout, longer for soups and entrees.

Snacks, Homemade Convenience Foods

These are the items you can make in bulk and then store in the freezer for grab and go convenience-perfect for quick meals, snacks, and lunch box additions.  I have found that the homemade version of typical processed convenience foods are much heartier and more filling.  A two pound bag of homemade chicken nuggets, for example, lasts us about twice as long as the freezer aisle version.

  • Chicken Fingers/Nuggets:  Cook as directed in the recipe. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  To re-heat, bake as many as desired at 400°F for 16-20 min.
  • Bean Burritos: Wrap in plastic and freeze. Re-warm in the microwave.
  • Corn Dogs: Cook according to recipe. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  To re-heat, bake for 20 min in a 400°F oven.
  • Pizza Egg Rolls: Cook according to recipe.  Place on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  Re-heat in the microwave or in a 400°F oven for about 15 minutes or until hot through.
  • Calzones: You can freeze these baked or unbaked depending on your preference.  Either way, place on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  To cook or re-warm from frozen simply bake for 15-20 minutes at 475°F.  You can re-warm cooked calzones in the microwave.
  • Pizza Bagels: Place on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  For crispy bagel bites bake the desired number at 450°F for about 15 min or for chewy bagel bites re-warm in the microwave.
  • Pizza Bites: Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. To re-heat, bake at 400°F for 16-20 min.
  • Potstickers: Place uncooked on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  To cook, heat a frying pan with a lid to medium heat, add a couple tbsp of oil.  Place potstickers flat side down in the hot oil and fry for several minutes or until golden brown.  Add 1/2 cup of water and cover.  Cook until water has cooked off.  Flip potstickers and brown all sides.
  • Sliders: Wrap each sandwich in plastic and freeze. Re-warm in the microwave.
  • Banana Bread: Slice and freeze, thaw at room temperature (it only takes a few minutes).
  • Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts: Freeze in portions.  Thaw in the refrigerator, stir in some fresh dressing if needed.  You can also freeze as sandwiches, make sandwich, slice then wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.  Thaw in fridge overnight, then add to lunch box in morning.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies The Chewy: Freeze, thaw at room temperature (it only takes a few minutes).
  • Oatmeal Raisin Cookies: Freeze, thaw at room temperature (it only takes a few minutes).
  • Sugar Cookies and Glossy Icing: Freeze frosted or unfrosted, thaw at room temperature (it only takes a few minutes).

Breakfast

Most of these are great, quick, on-the-go breakfast items.  It is easy to eat a wholesome breakfast when all you have to do is snatch it out of the freezer.

  • Breakfast Sandwiches: Wrap in plastic and freeze. Re-warm in the microwave.
  • Breakfast Tacos: Wrap in wax or parchment paper and freeze. Re-warm in the microwave.
  • French Toast Sticks:  I actually did this recipe wrong and need to re-do it.  You should cut the toast into sticks before battering and frying it.  Place the sticks on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  Then simply re-warm the number of sticks you want in the microwave.
  • Sausage Broccoli Frittata (Crustless Quiche):  Freeze unbaked.  Bake from frozen, allowing for extra time, or thaw in the refrigerator and bake following instructions.
  • Cranberry Orange Scones: Freeze, thaw at room temperature (it only takes a few minutes).
  • Blueberry Muffins: Freeze, thaw at room temperature (it only takes a few minutes).
  • Pancakes: Freeze on a baking sheet until hard then store in a freezer bag.  Toast from frozen until golden brown and hot.

Main Dishes

You can bake many casseroles from frozen but baking time will be shorter if you allow the dish to thaw over-night in the refrigerator.  All of these dishes would freeze and re-heat just fine fully cooked, but to avoid feeling like we are eating nothing but left-overs I like to freeze dishes uncooked and then cook them before serving as often as possible.  You can choose how you want to freeze most of these dishes, whole for serving a larger group or in individual portions for lunches or single dinners.

  • Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Jalapenos and Cheese:  Place uncooked on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  You can grill these from frozen just watch for flare-ups since it may take slightly longer to cook through.
  • Beef Fajitas: Add the meat to the marinade, then freeze.  Thaw in the refrigerator a day in advance and cook as stated in the recipe.
  • Bun Thit Nuong:  Add the meat to the marinade, then freeze.  Thaw in the refrigerator a day in advance and cook as stated in the recipe.
  • Chicken Pot Pie: You can either freeze the filling, thaw and add to a fresh pie shell then bake.  Or you can freeze the whole uncooked pie then reheat by baking it in the oven from frozen.  Or you can freeze the whole pie after baking and just re-warm in the oven.
  • Chili Texas Red: Portion into freezer containers and freeze.  Re-heat on the stove-top or in the microwave.
  • Chipotle Honey Lime Pork Tenderloin:  Add the meat to the marinade, then freeze.  Thaw in the refrigerator a day in advance and cook as stated in the recipe.
  • Fried Rice: Portion cooked rice into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave.
  • Chicken Fajitas:  Add the meat to the marinade, then freeze.  Thaw in the refrigerator a day in advance and cook as stated in the recipe.
  • Dirty Risotto: Portion cooked rice into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave.
  • Macaroni and Cheese: Either portion this into freezer containers and re-warm in the microwave or freeze in a greased casserole dish (or several smaller dishes).  Bake frozen casserole at 350 until browned and bubbly (20-40 minutes, depending on size and if thawed or frozen). You can also add additional shredded cheese or seasoned bread crumbs to the top before baking.
  • Lasagna: This is a good one to make into two smaller casseroles.  Freeze unbaked casseroles.  Bake from frozen.
  • Pastitsio Greek Casserole: Like a lasagna, this is a good one to make into two smaller casseroles.  Bake casserole about half-way, then cool and freeze.  Bake from frozen until hot and browned.
  • Root Beer Pulled Pork: Freeze meat in a freezer bag.  To serve, warm in the microwave or on the stove-top.
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs: Freeze sauce and meatballs together in freezer containers or bags.  Re-heat on the stove-top and serve with fresh pasta.  If sauce gets too thick, add some pasta water.  Alternately, you can freeze the meatballs without sauce on baking sheets then store in a freezer bag when hard, thaw in the microwave for making meatball subs, etc.
  • Spaghetti with Bolognese Meat Sauce: Freeze sauce in freezer containers or bags.  Re-heat on the stove-top and serve with fresh pasta.  If sauce gets too thick, add some pasta water.
  • Meat Sauce: Freeze sauce in freezer containers or bags.  Re-heat on the stove-top and serve with fresh pasta.  If sauce gets too thick, add some pasta water.  Can also be combined with spaghetti noodles and frozen in a casserole, to serve bake in the oven topped with fresh cheese.
  • Tacos: Portion meat into freezer containers or bags and freeze.  Re-heat in the microwave or stove-top. Serve with fresh tortillas and pico, etc.. Or use in recipes like Taco Bread or Enchiladas.
  • Spicy Sausage: Portion meat into freezer containers or bags and freeze.  Re-heat in the microwave or stove-top.
  • Sloppy Joes: Portion meat into freezer containers or bags and freeze.  Re-heat in the microwave or stove-top.

Sides

These sides can be frozen as a large side item or portioned into smaller individual sides and paired with individual frozen entrees.

  • Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole: Portion cooked casserole into freezer containers and re-heat in the microwave, or freeze unbaked casserole and bake from frozen.
  • Rice-a-Roni: Portion cooked rice into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave.
  • Corn Casserole: Portion cooked casserole into freezer containers and re-heat in the microwave, or freeze unbaked casserole and bake from frozen.
  • Twice Baked Potato Casserole: Portion cooked casserole into freezer containers and re-heat in the microwave, or freeze unbaked casserole and bake from frozen.
  • Basic Mushroom Risotto: Portion cooked rice into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave.
  • Risotto: Portion cooked rice into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave.
  • Refried Beans: Portion cooked beans into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave.
  • Garlic Bread: Wrap in plastic wrap or foil, freeze.  Bake from frozen at 400°F until soft, then broil until toasted.
  • Garlic or Regular Naan: Freeze, thaw at room temperature (it only takes a few minutes).

Soups

This group might be a little obvious, but here are some instructions specific to each soup.

  • Beef and Mushroom Soup: Portion cooked soup into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top.
  • Chicken Noodle Soup: Portion cooked soup into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top.
  • Chicken Pot Pie Soup: Portion cooked soup into freezer containers-do not add potatoes.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top.
  • French Onion Soup: Portion cooked soup into freezer containers-do not add cheese or bread.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top.
  • Posole: Portion cooked soup into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top.
  • Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup: Portion cooked soup into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top.
  • Sausage and Tortellini Soup: Do not add the tortellini to to soup.  Portion cooked soup into freezer containers.  Re-heat on the stove-top, adding tortellini to the simmering soup and cook until done.
  • Stuffed Pepper Soup: Do not add rice to the soup.  Portion cooked soup into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top.  Serve with fresh rice.
  • Tortilla Soup: Portion cooked soup into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top. Serve with fresh tortilla chips.
  • Chicken Stock (Crock Pot): Portion cooked stock into freezer containers.  Thaw in the microwave or on the stove-top.

Desserts

Cakes, cupcakes, and cookies (see snacks, above) all freeze great.  In fact, some would argue that their textures improve after a short stay in the freezer.

I know a post like this probably generates more questions than it answers so if you have comments, questions, or suggestions, leave them below in the comments section and I will endeavor to answer them all.

Posted in Breakfast, Budget, Desserts, Main Dish, Menus, Sides, Snacks/Appetizers having 13 comments »

What’s For Dinner?

August 25th, 2008 by katie

Weekly Menu Planning Worksheet & Master Grocery List

3/29-4/4

Here’s a few things we’re having this week.  In addition there is the possibility of pizza with homemade mozzarella.

3/1-3/7

1/1-1/09

Here are some breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas to start out the New Year:

12/1-12/11

11/13 Thanksgiving Menu

10/12-10/18

9/28-10/4

9/14-9/20

That’s all I know.

8/31-9/6

What?  We’re still eating dinner around here? Yes, actually.  Still trying to shake the hangover that is a two week vacation, with a five hour time difference, two days before the start of school and all the requisite craziness that comes with it, but yes we are eating dinner around these here parts.  The grown-ups have been making our way through this list: Bittman’s 101 Simple Salads for lunches-trying to eat less meat before the dinner hour.  It has been successful thus far, just a bit of a slow start.

7/6-7/19

6/11-6/18

It is SO HOT.  All I want to eat are salads.  I am going to try to use my crock pot to keep from heating the house up so much but we’ll see.  I really should change the name of this section to What’s on the Menu since I have lots of non-dinner stuff here.

5/25-5/31

It’s my Birthday! This week is a busy one with lots of fine dining in my future.

5/18-5/24

We are eating healthier around the chaos household (I know you can totally tell, right?).  Last week’s meal planning revival went really well, so here’s week two of being back on the wagon.

4/13-4/19

3/30-4/5

2/23-3/8

I lost some time this week due to some medical issues so here is next week’s menu.  I am hoping I can make most of these pretty reasonably within our budget.  You’ll notice several recipes from Lisa at Homesick Texan there is something about good, down-home Texan cooking that fills the tummy even on a budget.

2/16-2/22

Ugh, I hate menu planning soooooo much.  But I really need to do it better so here I am trying to plan something for this week.  Coming up soon: Recession Food (once I eat everything that’s currently in the freezer).

1/26-2/6

Anybody know how to cook london broil?  I bought it on accident.

1/12-1/18

This week will be all Pantry Challenge all the time. Except for Friday when my baby turns one!

  • Waldorf Salad
  • Pizza and Cake for the Baby’s Birthday 🙂

1/5-1/11

Okay it’s a New Year-a fresh start, and all that-so we will once again begin the menu planning in full force. This year’s themes, at least until I get bored with it, will be healthy, cheap, fast, and tasty. Emphasis on shopping for what’s on sale, using ingredients from the pantry, and maybe a little OAMC thrown in for good measure.

This week’s menu so far:

  • Gyros with Tzatziki
  • Stuffed Pepper Soup and Rice (my favorite 350 calorie meal)
  • Turkey Stock
  • Chili Dogs (I know it doesn’t fit but it’s a Dad meal)
  • Going to try my hand at baking some sandwich bread, we’ll see what sort of commitment I am willing to make to not eat the stuff at the store. Prepare for both a high horse and a soapbox.

11/24-12/1 Thanksgiving!

I have to work during the day on Thanksgiving but we will be hosting dinner anyway-I know, crazy! Most of the cooking will be done beforehand so things just need to be heated and served, so all of this weeks meals are going to center around the Thanksgiving menu, which consists of at least 3,000 pies no matter who is coming to dinner. So I managed to pawn Thanksgiving off on my mom (Thanks Mom!) but I am still making pies. Lots of pies. That’s all I care about on Thanksgiving frankly. We will be having a dessert open house Thursday night so friends can drop in and have pie and a glass of wine. A little less stress this way because I LOVE making pies. Even more than eating them.

11/17-11/23

Mmmm, this week so far:

11/10-11/16

Man, I didn’t cook anything last week! So what’s on the menu for this week?

11/3-11/9

Ok, this week I am getting real about planning our menu: breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. I probably need to adjust my grocery budget but won’t know unless I do it right. Currently, we are still spending $600 for the five of us (including all household goods) but that’s not quite making it these days.

  • Breakfast: Breakfast Burritos or Biscuit Sandwiches
  • Lunches: Salads? Sandwiches? Still working on this…
  • Meatless: Chicago Style Pizza, salad (dressing?)

10/27-11/2

So, I need to get real about planning our meals. I am wasting a ton of time and money at the grocery store buying haphazardly. I like to have certain things always on hand for back-up meals but I need to have a better plan for lunches.

10/20-10/26

If you haven’t already noticed, I am very much a spontaneous cooker. I get a taste for something and that is what must be made for dinner. Menu planning just doesn’t work out for me in general. I do much better if I focus on what I have on hand. I got a new cookbook so maybe something from it will show up next week.

10/13-10/19

So there are a couple of new restaurants opening up this week and I know we won’t be able to resist. I am not going to bother planning a bunch of meals then.

10/6-10/12

I’m brain dead, should I go to the store and buy the beef I am craving? Or make due with the chicken in the freezer? I really want to make pot stickers but I need some ground pork. Go to the store? Don’t go to the store?

9/29-10/5

I don’t know why, but the biggest casualty from Hurricane Ike seems to be frozen broccoli. There is no frozen broccoli to be had in any of the grocery stores. I’ve checked them all.

9/15-9/28

Depends on what is available at the grocery store. Start looking for Honeycrisp apples!

Hopefully I can make some apple cider or apple dumplings soon so it will start to feel like fall around here. The kids are all out of school due to the damage from the hurricane, so it’s hard to get into a good fall mood. Also, I’d like to make up some calzones and breakfast burritos for the freezer.

9/8-9/14

Vacation! We’ll be eating here, here, here and here. Oh yeah, and Daddy Chaos’s birthday? We’ll be eating here.

9/1-9/7

Next week we will be out of town all week so my plans are not to go to the grocery store at all this week. I am going to try to cook from the pantry and freezer. Hello spaghetti and grilled cheese!

  • Pasta with spaghetti sauce from the freezer, garlic bread made from frozen ciabatta loaves and better butter, steamed broccoli or salad if the lettuce I bought last week somehow survived the weekend in the veggie bin
  • Hot Dogs and Buns, Chili and Cheese and Chicago Style

8/25-8/31

This week it’s all based on the various meats I have stock piled in the freezer. The first week of school is traumatic enough without trying to make difficult, time consuming meals. Most of these will be pretty easy to get together, with only one component requiring actual work.

Posted in having 4 comments »

About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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