Shepherd’s pie is one of those sinful dishes – meat, potatoes and creamy broth. Definitely a dish that warms the soul. Of course, we couldn’t just have normal Joe blow Shepherd’s Pie. Been there, done that. We had to step it up a notch (okay, a few notches) and pack a sourdough bread bowl with Sheperd’s Pie inspired soup.
It’s been unseasonably cold already here. It’s a bit too soon for my taste, but it makes for perfect soup weather!
Don’t let the pictures fool you – the soup has a wonderful consistency. The broth can be made creamier if you prefer it that way too. Most of our broth soaked into the bread bowl immediately (mmmm) but that’s because I choose not to blend the potatoes and stock together this time around.
If you’re looking for something different to make on a chilly night, definitely try this soup!
Small bread bowls, tops cut of and insides gutted!
Chop the potatoes and put them into a pot with the stock. Bring the stock to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. If you would like a creamier texture to your soup, put everything in a blender at this point and blend everything together until smooth.
Cook the turkey in a bit of olive oil until no pink shows, about 8 minutes. Then drain any fat and set aside.
In the mean time, cook the carrots and onion for about 8 minutes. Add the celery and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the cooked turkey and cooked vegetable mixture to the potatoes and stock. Add the frozen corn and peas. Mix, reheat and add salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour into a bread bowl shell, top with shredded cheese and serve in a large bowl. Enjoy!
If you’re anything like me, you tend to make way more rice than you need. I seem to ALWAYS have leftover rice in my fridge! This Spanish Rice is a great way to spruce up your leftover rice for your next taco/Mexican night.
I like peas and carrots in my Spanish Rice. Feel free to take a more traditional approach to your own rice and omit the veggies if you’d rather keep it simple.
Wow, it is snowing here AGAIN in Colorado today! It’s supposed to keep snowing for the next three days. Usually I would be ready for Spring to arrive weeks ago, but because Colorado has been so prone to wildfires the last two summers, I am thrilled that we are getting some late minute precipitation before thunderstorm season. This probably isn’t enough snow to really help that cause, but I can hope!
Because it has been so snowy lately, I made this vegetable soup to warm us up. This soup is packed with vegetables and reminds me that Spring is right around the corner. I can’t wait to pick out fresh produce from our local Farmer’s Market. It’s one of my favorite things to do on Saturdays when it’s sunny and warm outside.
Anywho, I added some cheese tortellini to our soup pot because we love tortellini in soup (plus it makes this soup that much more filling). If you are trying to keep this Vegan, simply use Vegan tortellini or noodles to add a bit more body to this soup or omit the noodles completely. Your choice!
In a dutch oven or soup pot, saute the carrots in the olive oil over medium heat. After a couple minutes or so, add the onions and celery. Cook for another 2 minutes and add the garlic, stirring for a minute until fragrant.
Add the broth, thyme, basil, poultry seasoning, chives, salt and pepper, and red pepper if using. Add the corn, peas or edamame and spinach. Bring the soup to a boil then lower the heat. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, or until the carrots are softened.
In the mean time, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Salt the water then cook your tortellini according to the package directions (boiling for 2-5 minutes).
Add the can of tomatoes to the soup and the cooked tortellini. Gently combine, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary and serve hot, preferably with freshly baked bread for dipping.
We’ve already had our first snow here in Colorado. The second I saw the white stuff on the grass I immediately knew it was soup season. All I wanted to do after that long day at the office was to cuddle up in my soft PJ’s and warm myself inside and out with some homemade soup.
I love the how beautiful colors of the red pepper, chives, carrots and celery shine in this soup. There is something absolutely comforting about these ingredients. Maybe it’s the vegetables, but I think the half-and-half and cheese are really what does it for me. Mmm… yep. The cheesier the better. That’s my humble opinion of course.
1 cup shredded cheese blend (I used colby/monterrey)
5 tablespoons cornstarch
Fill a large pot quarter of the way full with water and bring it to a boil. Add about a tablespoon of salt and boil the potatoes for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the potatoes to sit in the hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat a small pan to medium heat. Add a bit of olive oil and brown the ground turkey 80% cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add the browned turkey, corn, broth, poultry seasoning, red pepper, cayenne, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bring the contents to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard thyme and add the chives and cooked potatoes.
Taste test and adjust seasonings as desired. Add the milk, half-and-half, and shredded cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely incorporated into the soup. Pour some of the soup in a small bowl and add a tablespoon of cornstarch to the bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until the cornstarch is completely incorporated. Add the mixture to the soup pot. Keep repeating this step until the soup reaches the thickness you like. Serve hot with freshly baked bread.
I recently ordered a fresh pack of canning jars and I could not wait to break into them! I squealed like a little girl when Mister brought them into the apartment. I was finally going to pickle something!
Now, I’m not anti-pickling or anything. I understand that pickling is fairly simple (vinegar, sugar and various spices make a tasty batch of vegetables) but I’ve always imagined that you need loads of space in order to can anything (like a garage or a big pantry). One day it hit me – why don’t I just make small batches instead? Doy…
I’m a big fan of ginger and carrot flavors and had to try to incorporate ginger into this pickling mix some how. I added a few teaspoons of minced ginger to add that Asian zing. It’s only been 24 hours since I’ve pickled these carrots but I like how they turned out already. I can’t wait to see how the flavors meld as time goes on. One vegetable down, so many more to go. Watch out world!
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel, dill, or anise seeds (See Note)
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons minced ginger
Cut the carrots into stick approximately the size of your fourth finger. Bring a medium-sized pot of lightly-salted water to a boil. (Use a non-reactive pot.)
When the water boils, drop the carrots in and simmer for one minute. Pour into a colander and rinse under cold water. Drain thoroughly.
In the same pot, heat the remaining ingredients. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for two minutes.
Remove from heat and add the carrot sticks. Cool until room temperature, then put into jars and chill.
Carrot sticks should be made at least one day in advance, and will keep for up to four weeks in the refrigerator.
The original recipe called for 1 1/2 tablespoons dill or fennel seeds (in later incarnations.) I found the flavor way, way too strong and reduced it. But feel free to use their original quantities. Carrots will keep, chilled in an airtight container, 1 month.
If you’re anything like me, you buy a whole pack of carrots and use two or three of them in one recipe and then before you know it, those gorgeous carrots start to dry out and threaten to turn. Because I’m a sucker and I buy the large bags of carrots EVER.SINGLE.TIME… I freeze whatever leftover carrots I have.
When you freeze fresh carrots, you should blanch them first. This way any unwanted bacteria is stopped in its tracks. Take that bacteria!
Begin by rinsing and peeling your carrots. Then chop off the ends (about 1/4-inch off of each side, give or take).
Chop your carrots however you deem fit. It’s always best to make letters in your pile of carrots afterwards. All of the best chefs do this. Try your best to keep each piece the same size so they blanch evenly.
I dice mine a little larger since I generally use frozen carrots in soups. Let’s call it a rustic dice-job.
This is a great time to improve your chopping skills. Here is a boo-boo of mine. Poor little guy, sometimes I chop too fast for my own good.
Fill a pot with water, enough to cover all of your carrots, and bring the water to a roaring boil. Add a bit of salt if you’d like (and I like). Add your carrots to the water and set your timer for 3 to 5 minutes (depending on the size of your carrots). If your carrot chunks resemble mine, set your timer for 5 minutes.
Drain your carrots and immerse them in icy cold water (complete with ice cubes). Let them sit in the icy water for 5-10 minutes. Drain your carrots again and place them in a single layer on paper towels to dry. Once your carrots are dry, place them in a freezer bag, write the date on it and freeze for up to 12 months.
Use the frozen carrots like you would use any frozen vegetable… in soups, stir-frys, or as a side dish. Simply pop the frozen carrots in a bit of boiling water for a few minutes to thaw and heat them through.
Quinoa is magical, isn’t it? It fills your belly but it doesn’t fill your waste-line. Quinoa is one of those healthy grains that you can manipulate to make it your own too. I like to cook mine in broth and add fresh herbs and veggies. This salad is tasty at any temperature too – great for those outdoor parties where you don’t necessarily have access to a stove or oven.
My porch garden is doing surprisingly well this year, considering the hot summer we are having. These guys are in full bloom.
And I’m using them in full force. This summer salad is fresh and easy and great for those times when you come home from the farmer’s market and realize that you can’t recall anything that happened in the last two hours but somehow came home with bags and bags of produce.
It’s best to use fresh bean sprouts, not canned, if possible. This makes a world of a difference. Use julienned snow peas or zucchini or water chestnuts to mix things up (I even added broccoli and carrots in mine).
What’s in this Chinese 5 spice powder you ask? Prepare to be enlightened!
You make this yourself or buy this at most grocery stores. Asian markets will carry a more authentic spice mixture that’s typically cheaper. You can add some of this to stir-fries, soups, and it even makes a great marinade for Asian chicken recipes. A fair warning, a little goes a long way.
Once you make egg foo yung, you’ll create your own favorite combinations based on whatever vegetables are available at your market or what you have sitting around in your refrigerator. The important thing is to keep your ingredients thinly sliced. This will help keep everything together.
Whatever you add, the egg and sauce combination will send your taste buds into a happy little food coma.
Place the vegetables in a medium bowl and sprinkle on the flour and salt. Mix well to evenly coat the vegetables. Break the eggs into a small bowl and add the sesame oil. Beat the eggs with a fork to combine the eggs and oil, then pour the mixture into the vegetable bowl.
Heat a tablespoon of cooking oil in a nonstick skillet. Use a large spoon and scoop portions of the egg-vegetable mixture into the pan, flattening them as you place them. Fry on one side until golden brown, then flip and fry on the second side.
Meanwhile, heat the stock and soy sauce to boiling in a saucepan. Mix the cornstarch and five spice powder in a small bowl. Add the cold water and stir until the cornstarch is incorporated. Add this to the boiling stock and stir well. Let it boil for a few moments to thicken. If it's thicker than you'd prefer, add more stock or water. Taste for seasoning and add more soy sauce if desired. Serve with sauce on side or sauce spooned on top of the egg foo yung.
These can be made in advance and kept warm in a low heated oven, or rewarmed gently in the sauce.
I always feel really good when I make pancit (not that I make it nearly as good as my family makes it). Simply because a lot of people outside of the Philippines don’t know how to cook pancit. It’s a little piece of my heritage that is resurfacing.
Filipino cooking is not an exact science. Add the vegetables and seasonings according to your own likes and dislikes. Just try not to use too much soy sauce, it can easily become overpowering. Pork can be substituted for chicken or added in addition to the chicken. I have also added shrimp to my pancit if I have it. You can also substitute tofu for the meat, omit the oyster sauce and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make this a vegetarian dish.
This feeds a lot of people. You could throw a party and serve this dish or bring it to a potluck. Everyone will thank you. Or make this for yourself and eat the leftovers for lunch for the rest of the week. You’ll never go hungry again!
1 (16-ounce) package bihon rice noodles, soaked for at least 15 minutes then drained
2 chicken breast or pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails cut off
2 medium carrots, sliced thinly into 1-inch matchsticks
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 thumb-sized ginger, minced
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 cups water
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Mirin
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon, for serving
In a large pan or wok, add the half of the oil, onion, garlic and ginger. Stir fry until the onion is translucent. Add the chicken or pork. When the meat is mostly cooked on all sides, add the shrimp and cook until pink. Add veggies and mirin and stir fry for 2 minutes. Set aside.
In the same pan or wok, pour and heat up remaining olive oil. Add the chicken cubes and saute until melted. Add the water and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Add the noodles and keep tossing them until they are loosened. Add the salt and pepper to taste and cook until the noodles are almost tender. Add more water to cook the noodles if necessary.
Add the meat and mixed vegeteables. Keep on tossing until ingredients are well mixed and noodles are tender but firm. Do not overcook. Remove from heat and serve hot with soy sauce and lemon.
Today is my very good friend Derek’s birthday! I made these sweet little treats to celebrate. I’m a firm believer that nobody should have to work on their birthday. But unfortunate circumstances do happen and sometimes you just have to make the best of it. Carrot cake makes it all better.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY D$ROCK!
[On a side note, check out his podcast. The man has great taste in music!]
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 24 cupcakes
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 pound of carrots, grated
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of orange zest
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 teaspoons of ground cardamom
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
6-ounce of white chocolate chips, melted
16-ounce of cream cheese
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F. Toast the walnuts in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Rinse the carrots and peel the rough skins off, then grate the carrots.
Place the carrots, buttermilk, oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest together in a bowl and whisk thoroughly.
In another bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon.
Fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture, being sure not to overmix. Fold in the toasted walnuts until evenly incorporated.
Scoop into cupcake papers about 1/2 to 3/4 full and bake for 19-21 minutes at 350F, being sure to rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes of baking. Afterwards allow to cool for 5 minutes before taking the cupcakes out of the cupcake tin and allowing them to fully cool on a wire rack. Frost cooled cupcakes.
For the frosting, beat the cream cheese, chocolate and butter on medium speed until well combined. Sift in the powdered sugar and mix.
Spread onto cooled cupcakes and decorate however your heart desires.
Are you asking yourself if you should make this recipe? Well the answer is: YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES EYS YES EYS YES YSEYSE YSEYSEySYeyEYSEYSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!
I will never think of carrots the same way again. I suppose you can take that as a warning if you steam, bake, roast carrots and are satisfied. If you are the type of person who likes carrots just as they are, DO NOT TRY THIS RECIPE!
For those of you who live on the wild side from time to time, TRY THIS RECIPE!!
…especially when you don’t know what to do with those leftover carrots.