A weekend at the cabin never fails to reinvigorate me. It’s always nice to spend time with those I love the most without the constant interruption of all of our busy schedules. A part of that reinvigoration is always finding ways to nourish my soul…and my body. So with that said, I was really in the mood for some fresh food this weekend. Southwest Salad with Cilantro Chipotle Dressing fit that bill nicely!…
These Sweet Corn, Zucchini, and Chicken Tostadas have been a late spring and summer favorite in my house for the past few years. Based on a Cooking Light recipe I’ve adapted over time, they make quick and easy dinner that takes advantage of the best of summer – fresh sweet corn, abundant crisp zucchini, and a light sauce made from salsa verde, onions, and a dash of hot roasted chilis. The tostadas are studded with quick cooking chicken tenders coated in a basic mixture of cumin, salt, and pepper. Piled on crisp tostadas and topped with fresh cilantro and shredded Mexican blend cheese, all it takes is a twist of lime and a few chunks of a perfectly ripe avocado and you have a perfect weeknight meal that your whole family will love. …
Greek Chicken and Barley Salad is an absolute staple in our house from spring until the early fall. An easy, crowd pleasing recipe, it is filled with fresh, colorful veggies and topped with tangy feta and salty kalamata olives. Shredded chicken rounds out the salad and really makes it a perfect one dish meal. The best part? It can be put together in about 40 minutes when using one or two quick short cuts and is perfect for toting along to work or school or even bringing to a neighborhood gathering. In the summer, all of the ingredients (with the exception of the barley, which I buy in bulk and keep on hand in the pantry) can be found at my local farmer’s market or in my herb garden, which makes it even more fun to make. Even my somewhat vegetable averse husband loves it and usually requests I make it at least once a week in the summer. I consider that a major win….
What sounds better to eat on a snowy evening than Chicken Wild Rice Soup? All I have heard about this week, on social media, TV, radio, everywhere, is tales of the blizzard. Blizzards don’t normally catch my attention since I do live in Minneapolis, where a blizzard is a pretty common winter experience. This one, though, where the drifts were over my head in New York and they had more snow than us in Washington D. C., seeped into my subconsciousness. Frankly, I was kind of jealous (for a few minutes), because it feels like we haven’t gotten much snow lately! So today when the flakes started coming down (much more gently here than on the East Coast), I was inspired to make one of my favorite cold weather foods. Chicken Wild Rice Soup is one of those foods that, in my mind anyway, has it all-vegetables, protein and that always comforting cream.
Chicken Wild Rice Soup was one of the first foods I ever cooked for my husband. I had him over to my tiny apartment while we were dating, and I made a pot of something very loosely resembling Chicken Wild Rice Soup. Did I mention before that when I met my husband I did not cook? At all. What in the world tempted me to make chicken wild rice soup? One of the world’s great mysteries! Sadly, my attempt was a flour-y, chunky, overcooked chicken disaster. I’m positive I do not have enough space in a blog post to explain what went wrong, but suffice to say, it is a testament to my husband’s love for me that he choked some down (and married me anyway).
Luckily, fast forward 20 years since our “dating” days, and I think I now have this one down. I poach my chicken so it does not get dry or overcooked. I use homemade stock (you surely can use store bought and I promise it will still be good, but if you have homemade stock-this is the place to use it!). I use the traditional Minnesota wild rice. And, although almonds may seem like a strange addition to a soup, I can attest to the fact that they are the loveliest addition, think crunch and flavor all in one bite. So, if the snow is falling in your area, or you are in need of a comfort food, try this one.
- ½ cup butter
- 1 finely chopped onion
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 8 cups chicken stock (I used homemade, store bought would work equally well), divided
- 2 cups of cooked wild rice
- 1½ pound chicken tenders (or chicken breasts)
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 1 cup of slivered almonds
- 3½ Tablespoons cooking sherry
- 2 cups half-and-half
- To Poach Chicken: Place chicken tenders (or chicken breasts) in a saucepan with 2 cups of chicken stock, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground pepper.
- Simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
- Allow to cool.
- Chop chicken to be used in soup.
- To Make Soup: Melt butter in a dutch oven or large stock pot.
- Stir in the onion, celery and carrot and sauté for 7-10 minutes or until soft.
- Add the flour and stir until mixed in.
- Slowly add 6 cups of chicken stock, stir continuously while adding.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.
- Add the rice, chicken, 1½ teaspoons salt, curry powder, mustard powder, parsley, ½ teaspoon ground pepper, almonds and sherry.
- Add the half-and-half.
- Simmer for 1-2 hours until all flavors have melded.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Note: If reheating, you may need to add a small amount of stock to thin the soup, it does thicken upon cooling.
For me food is memory. Some foods trigger fond memories and this Buffalo Chicken Dip is one of them. We have pretty crazy day jobs and we are required to take yearly exams to remain up to date. So, as all good friends do, we always have a little party right after we are finished. After all, if you have to take a tough exam, at least you should get to have fun afterward, right? Our Chilean friend brings the empanadas, our friend from Surly Brewing brings the beer, and one of our other friends brings this fabulous Buffalo Chicken Dip. It has now become a standard that I look forward to year after year. In fact, it is my treat for a job well done!
I can not lie, this is not the most healthy recipe I make. For those who don’t care, I always serve it with bread which is a great way to soak up all of the goodness. Fritos Scoops are also a pretty fabulous way to eat this dip. For those of who are little more conscious about their calories, celery makes a great vehicle to get this dip into your mouth.
I was unable to make it to the exam party this year, so I don’t know if the Buffalo Chicken Dip was there or not. But I missed the dip so much, I served it for my family’s Christmas Day appetizer party. It was a huge hit and I have a feeling that this dip is now going to be a regular on my family’s table as well. More fond memories in the making!
I’ve starting sharing this fabulous (and so easy) dip recipe, and it would be a great addition to anyone’s New Year’s Eve party menu. After all, who doesn’t want to start the year with fond memories? Plus, every once in a while you just need a treat. A comforting, spicy, creamy, treat. And this is it.
- Rotisserie Chicken (I usually use just the white meat, but you could certainly use both the white and dark meat), chopped into small pieces
- 12 oz Blue Cheese Dressing
- 1 cup Buffalo Sauce (I usually use Frank's)
- 2 8 ounce packages of Neufchatel Cheese (you could also use Cream Cheese)
- 4 ounces Blue Cheese Crumbles
- Baguette, sliced, for serving
- Fritos Scoops, for serving
- Celery Sticks, for serving
- Parsley, chopped, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Mix chicken, dressing, buffalo sauce, Neufchatel cheese and blue cheese crumbles in a large bowl.
- Place the mixture in a 2 quart casserole dish or a 12 inch cast iron skillet.
- Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
- Serve with bread and celery sticks