Szechuan Pork Stir-Fry

For those nights when I have few vegetables in the refrigerator, and not a lot of time to cook something complicated, a stir-fry is usually the best thing to cook. I love how easy they are to throw together, and how something so incredibly simple can taste delicious and be good for you, too!

This recipe was bookmarked (okay, Post-It noted) in my awesome Cooking Light cookbook for over a year, and I just never got around to making it. I’m glad that I finally did, as we both really enjoyed it. The best part is that it was easy, and was ready very, very quickly – a must when you leave work late, leave the gym late, and get home late!

Szechuan Pork – adapted from Cooking Light

  • 6 oz udon noodles, precooked (we use the ‘Ka-Me’ brand & found it at Meijer)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lb pork, trimmed & cut into 2-inch strips (we used boneless pork chops)
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tsp freshly ground ginger
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (can be omitted if needed)
  • 4 green onions, sliced diagonally
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan & swirl to coat.
  2. Add pork and chili garlic sauce, followed by the ginger. Stir fry for two minutes, then add the bell pepper.
  3. After another 2 minutes, add the both, soy sauce, and peanut butter. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the sauce starts to thicken.
  4. Stir in the onions. Add the udon noodles and toss well to combine.
  5. Serve nice and hot!
A quick stir-fry for a busy night!

A quick stir-fry for a busy night!

I’d say that from start to finish, this dinner took 30 minutes, tops! It was quick, easy, and tasted absolutely fantastic. At first I was a tad skeptical about adding peanut butter – of all things?! – to this dish, but it really took it to the next level. Trust me – don’t leave it out if you can help it.

Mike & I recently discovered these precooked udon noodles at one of our grocery stores, and we can’t get enough of them in our stir-fry’s as of late. If you want, you can simply omit and serve with rice instead.

Hunter’s “Stoup”

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve written a post!

Our Easter weekend was full of eating wonderful things, drinking wonderful things, and seeing wonderful people.  I’ve been on spring break (it has been glorious!) and have had the time to cook a bit more, too. Thus this week, we wanted to eat a few meals that were a bit more healthy for our waistlines.

I found this recipe in one of my Rachael Ray cookbooks that I occasionally sift through. After reading through the ingredients, I remembered that I had made this recipe before, when my husband & I were first married. It’s a great dish to serve, yet again, on a cold & snowy evening. And, wouldn’t you know it – it’s been snowing on and off all week up here in our neck of the woods. Spring, where are you?!?!

Hunter’s Stoup – adapted from Rachael Ray

  •  1 lb whole wheat penne
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz pancetta, chopped
  • 1.5 lb chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination of the two – cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I used red)
  • 2-4 carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 8 oz mushrooms, cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Romano cheese, to taste
  • parsley
  • crusty bread

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil pasta until al dente.

2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and chicken; season with salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is slightly browned. Remove and reserve the meats on a paper towel-line

3. To the pot, add the onion, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, rosemary and red pepper flakes. Cook until the veggies soften; season with salt & pepper.

4. Add the red wine to the pan and let it simmer, deglazing the pan. Scrape the ‘browned bit’s off of the bottom. Then, add the tomatoes and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the reserved browned chicken and pancetta back to the pot and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes more so that the flavors combine.

5. Remember that pasta you were making? Drain the water off. While it’s still hot, place some into the bottom of your serving bowls. Pour a ladle of stoup on the pasta, followed by a sprinkling of Romano cheese and parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

Forgive the quality of this photo…

I really love the flavors in this dish. The pancetta (an ingredient that I don’t use often) adds a really nice, smoky depth. I made a lot of adaptations to this recipe based upon what I had on hand in my pantry, such as the tomatoes. You can also vary the amount of carrots you use in this dish, depending on if you’re a carrot fan or not. You could probably use celery as well, if you wanted.

Through using what I had on hand, I was able to determine that I successfully canned my diced tomatoes right 🙂

Hopefully, this will be the last of the thicker soup/stew posts for the next couple weeks. I know that all of us up here in Michigan are very tired of the snow and cold weather and are praying for the weather to break. At least the fruit farmers & maple syrup makers are happy!

Think spring!!!!

Cheeseburger Casserole

One of the foods I’ve really had a taste for lately is a good old-fashioned cheeseburger. There are a few decent places to get a burger up by where I live, but nothing really beats one that you make on the grill during the summertime. It’s still winter up here, and it’s been pretty cold lately – so not the right weather for making burgers on the grill.

I found this recipe from one of my favorite ‘healthier food’ blogs and knew that we just had to try it. With conferences & honors band last week, I didn’t have much time to cook. However, Hubs is now back on day shift…so he did the honors with this one.

Cheeseburger Casserole – adapted from Skinnytaste

  • 2 cups uncooked pasta (we used small shells)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard – or whatever mustard you like on your burgers…being native Clevelanders, my husband used Stadium Mustard & it totally worked 🙂
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickles (we are kosher dill fans over here)
  1. Set a medium sized pot of water on the stove to boil, and Preheat the oven to 350*. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Once the pot is boiling, cook the pasta until al dente, and drain.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Cook the onions until soft (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add the garlic & saute; once you can smell the garlic cooking, add the beef and cook until brown, seasoning with salt & pepper.
  5. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, and mustard. Let simmer until it thickens. Remove from heat.
  6. In a bowl, mix the cooked pasta in with the meat/tomato mixture, and pour into the baking dish. Top with cheese & bake 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is nice and gooey.
  7. Remove from oven & top with chopped pickles. Serve.

Cheeseburger Casserole. The leftovers are just as delicious as the dish the night that it’s made (that is, if you end up with any leftovers).

I didn’t miss the bun; the pasta made up for it. I’m not one to put tomatoes on my ‘burger, but they tasted great in this dish. I suppose maybe you could put it on top of lettuce if you’re missing that…but I’m not a fan of lettuce on my ‘burgers either! 😉

It was a delicious meal to come home to after conferences and it helped satisfy that taste I’ve got for a nice greasy cheeseburger. Since it’s still cold outside, casseroles are still more than welcome in my kitchen and this one did a great job of satisfying my taste buds as well as my need for comfort food. I highly recommend it!

 

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Every now and then my husband reminds me that I do, in fact, like shellfish, and should cook some for dinner. I’m not a culinary expert when it comes to making anything seafood-related, but I can hold my own. Needless to say, when he suggested that I make a shrimp pasta for dinner, I immediately knew what dish I wanted to make.

With the help of the awesome Giada de Laurentis, I cooked up a delicious, spicy, garlicky shrimp pasta dish that hit the spot. I received her cookbook Everyday Italian for Christmas a few years ago – and being Italian, this is a great resource for making dishes that I should be stereotypically good at (which, not to brag or anything – I am 🙂 ) When I have a taste for Italian food, this the book that I go to for any inspiration. I highly recommend it.*

Shrimp Fra Diavolo, with Linguine – adapted from Giada de Laurentis

  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1.5 tbsp dried basil
  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high. Add the shrimp & saute until cooked through & pink. Remove & set aside. (NOTE: If you are using precooked shrimp, don’t add it now. Add it at Step 3.)
  2. Add onion and saute until they start to become translucent. Add tomatoes, wine, garlic, and oregano, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken.
  3. Add the shrimp to the sauce & toss around to coat/reheat the shrimp. Remove from heat & add parsley and basil. Season with more salt and red pepper.
  4. Serve either atop fresh cooked linguine, or all by itself in a shallow bowl, with some fresh bread.
Shrimp fra Dialvolo, with linguine & the best bread in the world

Shrimp fra Diavolo, with linguine & the best bread in the world

The bread, above, is Pepper Parmesan bread, from my favorite bakery, Crooked Tree Breadworks. I worked there last summer & will probably be doing a few shifts there this coming summer to make some extra cash & work with the awesome people there. (FYI – You can buy their products online, and I swear to you, they are worth every frickin’ penny*).

This dish, I said before, can be served either with the pasta, as I did, or alone by itself in a bowl – maybe even atop spinach instead; I may need to try that next time!

In other news – it’s raining, and not snowing. I’m very thankful for this brief respite from snow.

Happy Sunday, everyone 🙂

*No, I am not getting paid to talk up these things. I just like them, and use them, and thus highly recommend them!

Rich Chicken Noodle Soup

You know you’re ready for winter to be over when you think 40* is warm…you start to look forward to yardwork…you get excited when you see seed packets at the grocery store…grilling anything at this point sounds fantastic…you get the picture.

Needless to say I’m still relying on space heaters & comfort food to take the edge off of what feels like a very long Michgan winter! But never fear – the days are getting longer, we spring ahead on Sunday, and before we know it, that gigantic pile of snow at the ends of our driveways will be history.

I like this chicken noodle soup recipe because it’s very simple.  Chicken, carrots, onion, celery, herbs. The best part though, has to be the flavor; the use of miso adds a unique twist on an old favorite. I’ve never used miso before in any dishes so I was curious to finally try it (I’ve never had miso soup, either). It adds some saltiness & depth to the broth and it’s really unlike any other chicken soup I’ve had before.

Because of my adaptations, I can’t call this recipe it’s original name –  Rich Chicken Soup with Fresh Noodles. Thus I’m simply calling it, “Rich Chicken Noodle Soup”. I didn’t have the time to make some fresh noodles, so I just used leftover lasagna noodles taking up space in my cupboard (does anyone else out there always seem to end up with an odd number of lasagna noodles after they make lasagna?!)

Rich Chicken Noodle Soup – adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 4 carrots, peeled & diagonally sliced
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 tbsp white miso
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pkg fresh “poulry mix” herbs (if you cannot find this, put some dried thyme, rosemary, marjoram & sage in a tea ball to steep in the pot)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 of a boneless/skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 or 5 lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
  1. In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, melt butter over medium-high heat.
  2. Sprinkle chicken thighs with salt & pepper. Add the chicken thighs to pan &  sauté until each side is browned. Remove chicken thighs & set aside.
  3. To the pot, add the vegetables and miso. Saute for about 2-3 minutes. Add the wine & cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, scraping the pan to remove the brown bits from the bottom.
  4. Meanwhile, chop the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and return to the pot. If using fresh herbs, tie twine around herbs to secure; if using a tea ball, use dried. Add herbs, stock, celery, and chicken breast to the pot and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste, then the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is cooked through. Serve immediately.

Sadly, I did not capture a picture of this soup. I did, however, get a shot of one of my lovely assistants helping me blog this evening:

Hilo-Cat assisting me with posting on my 10-year-old laptop. Yes, you read that right.

As I said before, this is a great ‘twist’ on an old favorite, and I’m glad to add it to my arsenal of wintertime comfort foods.

Any certain soups or ‘wintery’ comfort foods that you can’t live without this time of year?

Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry

I love stir-fries for two reasons: 1) lots of veggies, and 2) lots of flavors. I can’t seem to successfully make a really AWESOME stir-fry unless I have a recipe to go with it. Throwing veggies in? Not a problem. The sauce? Well…still working on my own concoction.

When I saw this recipe in my Jan ’13 issue of Cooking Light, I was intrigued by the usage of lemongrass (which I have in my cupboard, dried) and green beans in the veggies list. I decided to make this for dinner one evening after work, and it was definitely a hit.

Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry – adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek
  • 2 tbsp canola oil (divided)
  • 2 tsp dried lemongrass
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 8-oz green beans, trimmed
  • 1 lb boneless&skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup unsalted cashews
  • 1 Thai chile, thinly sliced (I had a whole cayenne pepper frozen in my freezer from summer, so I used that).
  1. Combine brown sugar, stock, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sambal oelek in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large work or skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp of the oil & swirl to coat the pan.
  3. Add lemongrass & garlic; stir-fry for 30 seconds. Turn heat up to high. Add bell pepper, shallots, & green beans to the pan & stir fry for two minutes. Remove all vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon & set aside in a bowl.
  4. Add remaining oil to pan & swirl to coat. Add chicken and cook until browned (2-3 minutes).
  5. Add cashews & chile & cook for about two minutes. Then, add the vegetables back in and the sauce mixture.
  6. Bring to a boil & cook until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately with rice or noodles.
Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

When I was younger, I was not a huge fan of dark-meat chicken, especially chicken thighs. The more I cook, the more I have noticed that they have a very rich flavor and are especially great with Asian cuisine. I do my best to cut off as much fat as possible, but am definitely not as wary about using them as I used to be.

I served our stir-fry with some ready-to-serve udon noodles that I found at my grocery store. Since they were pre-cooked, I threw them into the wok when I added the vegetables back in. They were absolutely fantastic & I highly recommend you try them. I think I like them better than the dried rice noodles I normally buy.

The only thing I did not enjoy about this dish was – believe it or not – the green beans! I would have much rather preferred carrots or zucchini in the stir-fry. They tasted okay, but it just didn’t seem ‘right’ to have them in there. One part of this dish that I suggest you don’t leave out is the cashews – that is, of course, unless you or someone in your home has a nut allergy. They added a really good texture to the dish and I was surprised at how much I enjoy them. I am looking forward to making this dish in the summer, when more vegetables are in season. This stir-fry is definitely in my arsenal for dishes to repeat!

As far as the spiciness is concerned – I personally needed more punch. If you like, you can add more sambal oelek for some more heat. Or, of course, sriracha…

…speaking of which – have any of you out there tried those new Sriracha chips from Lays? 🙂 YUM!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

The past two weeks, northern Michigan had been getting pummeled with snow & very cold temperatures (I’m feeling for you all in the Northeast, though – two feet of snow absolutely sucks wherever you live. Stay warm!). This soup is a week overdue, as both my husband and I were laid up with colds…and had I actually made this last week when we were sick, I bet we would’ve recovered quicker.

I like easy dinners on Friday nights; if Mike is home, it’s often out to happy hour for a drink & small plates to share. If he’s working, I often get lazy and order take-out. We were both exhausted yesterday after a very long week, and we didn’t feel like going out anywhere. Thus, the soup. It only took about a half hour; five minutes of prep and 25 minutes of boiling/waiting. The results were delicious and made great leftovers for today’s lunch.

Chicken Tortilla Soup – adapted from Rescue Chef

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 4-oz can diced green chiles
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • salt & pepper – to taste
  • chili powder, paprika, & cumin – to taste
  • cilantro – to taste
  • Toppings: Monterey Jack cheese, hot sauce, avocado, grilled tortilla strips, tortilla chips…you name it
  1. In a stockpot, heat oil. Add onions & cook until they begin to soften.
  2. Add chiles & garlic, and saute for about 30 seconds. Add broth & vegetables, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer  & add the chicken breasts. Add spices (about a dash of each). Cook for about 20-25 minutes until fully cooked through.
  4. Remove chicken from soup & place on plate or small bowl. Shred chicken (I used two forks & shredded right away) and add back to stockpot.
  5. Add cilantro. Let simmer for 5 more minutes, then serve in bowls topped with cheese.
Great leftovers on a Saturday afternoon

Great leftovers on a Saturday afternoon

Had I not been as sleepy and lazy, I probably would have made a few quesadillas to go with this meal. You can also make this a meatless meal by adding black or pinto beans instead of the chicken.

The original recipe recommends topping with avocado and grilled tortilla strips. It also recommends adding lime juice to the soup. Next time I plan on at least having the limes handy – that would have made this soup even better. I added a cheddar-pepper jack cheese blend and hot sauce to my soup – I really wanted to have a spicy kick!

For a lazy Friday night (and Saturday morning), this soup really fit the bill. Especially if it’s *very* cold outside.

**This recipe was shared on Homemade Mondays, Week 16 at Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity**

Crispy Honey-Soy Tofu

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely a fan of firm tofu. It’s an easy, meat-free protein that doesn’t really have a taste; rather, it takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. My absolute favorite way to eat tofu is in Asian stir-frys. The Thai restaurant a few blocks away makes a killer Pad Thai with tofu (I bet it’s really good with chicken or shrimp too, but i’m a creature of habit when it comes to ordering take-out).

I think the key to making really delicious tofu is crisping it up a bit before you add it to the rest of the dish that you’ll be serving it with. Caitlin at the Healthy Tipping Point has a great way to make crisped-up tofu…thus when I made this recipe, I found the steps to be very similar.

Crispy Honey-Soy Tofu – adapted from Living to Dine

  • 2 tbsp oil (I used the coconut oil I received from a Foodie Penpal swap…it rocked)
  • 1 pkg extra-firm tofu, pressed & cubed
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch

For the Honey-Soy sauce:

  • juice of one lime
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 inch fresh ginger, grated (you can also substitute with a pinch of ground ginger)
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • red pepper flakes (if you like)
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
  2. Dredge the tofu cubes in cornstarch & shake off any excess.
  3. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place the tofu into the hot oil, browning each side. Once all is nice and crispy, transfer the tofu to a paper towel & set aside.
  4. Lower the heat in the pan. Once the temperature has dropped a bit, add the sauce and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the tofu back in and toss to coat.
  5. Serve atop of rice with some veggies (I recommend sesame carrots or snow peas).
Crispy Honey-Soy Tofu with sesame carrots & brown rice.

Crispy Honey-Soy Tofu with sesame carrots & brown rice.

To be honest, I was tempted to eat all of the tofu, carrots and rice that I had made for dinner. It was honestly that good. However, I needed to be a good wife and same some dinner for my husband 🙂

The flavor of the sauce that you coat the tofu with is amazing. The garlic, ginger & lime are a great combination with the soy, and the honey adds a really nice sweetness to it. As I said before, I browned the tofu in coconut oil – this added a bit more sweetness and depth to the meal and I was very impressed with how it turned out.

The carrots were made with sesame-chili oil, sesame seeds, and the Bangkok Blend seasoning from Penzey’s Spices. Great heat and great flavor. I didn’t even need to add sriracha to my dish – can you believe it?!

I feel as though this is the quintessential Asian stir fry flavor that I have been in search of for a very long time.

If you’re a tofu fan, I think you’ll really like this dish. If you’ve never tried tofu, trust me – try this dish! You won’t be disappointed.

Christmas ’12: Beef Wellington

We had a very laid-back, quiet Christmas yesterday. Because of my husband’s work schedule, we were unable to travel down to Ohio to celebrate the holiday with our families. I will be traveling down tomorrow, a day late due to a blizzard – and thus Mike will be working and ‘baching it’ for a few days. Today will be spent cleaning up from the holiday, cooking lunches for Mike, and getting ready for my trip.

When work schedules and/or weather hinder us from travel, we always make an effort to have an enjoyable day and a dinner that is ‘fancier’ than usual. Mike’s idea this year was Beef Wellington. I know that I for one had never had this dish before, and I’m not sure that he had, either. The verdict? YUM! It was a success. Including the usage of liver pate. As weird as it sounds, it really added something significant to the dish. I grew up eating gooseliver pate as a kid (my dad is German, don’t judge!) so I wasn’t really too freaked out about purchasing it from the butcher.

We ate our beef wellington, made into two individual portions,  as part of a surf & turf meal (lobster was our surf) with mashed potatoes and asparagus. This was very filling, so we both saved half of our wellingtons for tonight’s dinner.

Individual Beef Wellington – adapted from Emeril Lagasse

First, make the Mushroom Duxelles:

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp minced shallots
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 10 oz button mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed & chopped fine (I used my food processor)
  • salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 2.5 tbsp dry white wine
  1. Heat the butter in a medium skillet. Add shallots & garlic, and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, salt, & pepper, and cook until all the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms begin to carmelize. The consistency almost becomes paste-like. 
  2. Add the wine & cook, deglazing the pan, until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat & cool before using.

For the Beef Wellington

  • 2 thick cuts of filet or beef tenderloin
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 slice liver pate, divided in half
  • Mushroom Duxelles
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • egg wash (1 large egg, beaten with 2 tsp water)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425*. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or foil sprayed with cooking spray.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet (I just used the same one that I made the mushrooms in). Season the filets with salt & pepper, and add to pan. Sear for 1 minute on each side, for a medium-rare beef. Remove from heat & set aside.
  3. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface, so that from it you can get two pieces that will successfully over your pieces of beef.
  4. Spread half of the mushroom mixture onto the pastry, followed by a portion of the pate. Top with the filet.
  5. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, coat the inside edges of the puff pastry with egg wash. Then, fold the pastry edges over so that everything is encased by the puff pastry.
  6. Place the wellingtons seam-sides down onto the baking sheet, and brush with egg wash.
  7. For medium-rare, bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and let rest for 10 minutes before serving (this is a good time to finish preparing any sides).

 

I forgot to take a picture – but cut in half, they’d look something like this!

I am glad that we had made individual portions for this meal, so that we wouldn’t have a ton of leftovers, nor would we completely gorge ourselves during our Christmas meal. As I said before, we only made it through about half of our portions, since we had a few other things to eat with our meal. I plan on reheating this in the oven tonight, in a covered baking dish, so that it does not dry out.

This dish is filling, and indulgent – a perfect main dish for a special occasion.

Harvest Corn “Choup”

This was a great chowder/soup to make when it got all snowy outside. Mike is a big fan of corn, and chowder of any kind, so I knew that this would be an instant hit in our house. I vaguely remember making this dish the first winter we were married, and not being too impressed by it. I decided to give it another shot, and I’m glad I did – it really hit the spot & tasted great!

I used Rachael Ray’s cookbook, “Just in Time, for this recipe, and in proper Rachael Ray fashion, she calls this a ‘choup’, which is a combination of the words ‘chowder’ and ‘soup’. In my opinion, it’s more of a chowder 😉

Harvest Corn “Choup” – adapted from Rachael Ray

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon, center-cut
  • 1 medium onion, chopped well
  • 10 oz. frozen corn (a box will do)
  • 2 small zucchini, peeled & chopped
  • 1 lb. small potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded & chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp thyme (or more to taste)
  • salt & pepper, as you like
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 quart chicken or veggie stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half-n-half
  • 3 tbsp dried parsley
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • oyster crackers or white cheddar popcorn (for topping purposes)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the edges crisp.
  2. Add the vegetables as you chop them, and stir to combine.  Add the bay leave, thyme, paprika, salt & pepper. Cook for 7-8 minutes until the vegetables soften and the soup becomes very aromatic.
  3. Sprinkle the flour into the pot, and stir for about a minute. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
  4. When the soup begins to get thick, add the milk, half-&-half, and parsley. Let it simmer for about five minutes.
  5. Discard the bay leaf, and serve in bowls. Top with salt, pepper, and hot sauce, followed by crackers or popcorn on top.
Harvest Corn Choup, with croutons and Tabasco sauce

Harvest Corn Choup, with croutons and Tabasco sauce

As you can see from the picture, I had neither crackers nor popcorn on hand, so I used some croutons that I had in my pantry. They were the fat-free ones too so they weren’t really seasoned (they suck on salads), and therefore simulated oyster crackers quite well.

The original recipe calls for heavy cream, but I found that just using half-&-half makes it nice and creamy, with fewer calories/fat. As far as the hot sauce is concerned, it adds some flavor, more than anything, so if you really, really don’t like hot sauce, you can omit. I found Tabasco to be an appropriate addition! 🙂

This soup reheats quite well, and is a great wintertime dish. Enjoy!