Dinners, Soups

Recipe—Tuscan Tortellini Soup

I saw this recipe a couple of months back for a ravioli soup and knew I had to try it. Well I am never one to really “follow” a recipe so I mixed things up and created a tortellini soup. Tortellini are far less doughy so you have these fabulously light cheese filled pillows floating around in a rich creamy tomato soup and then of course some big hearty chunks of sausage in the mix as well. This soup was phenomenal! My four-year-old son gobbled it up and he is usually kind of weird about soups (I think it is a texture thing). This recipe made a massive pot, which allowed us to have a full dinner and then also freeze a bunch for future meals. Tuscan tortellini soup is perfect for a chilly winter day and is so quick and easy to prepare. I could go for a big bowl of it right now!

INGREDIENTS
2 lb ground Italian sausage
4 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
4 c chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 c half & half
1 c heavy cream
6 oz bag baby spinach leaves, chopped
18–20 oz fresh four cheese tortellini (I got two 9 oz packages.)
1 c parmesan cheese, shredded
croutons

STEPS

  • Brown the sausage over medium-high heat in a VERY large soup pot.
  • Once the meat is about halfway cooked add the butter, onion, and garlic and cook until the union is soft and transparent.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, and chopped spinach.
  • Bring to a boil and add salt and garlic powder.
  • Boil for 10 minutes making sure to stir frequently.
  • While the soup is boiling cook your tortellini in a separate pot per package instructions and drain.
  • Add the half & half and heavy cream to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the parmesan and cooked tortellini until the cheese is melted.
  • Transfer the soup to a bowl using a ladle.
  • Top with croutons and additional parmesan cheese.

Recipe adapted from Kleinworth & Co.

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Soups

Recipe—Creamy Cheesy Broccoli Soup

It is FINALLY starting to feel like winter in California! We have been having 60–70 degree days in December and January. Not normal! Don’t get me wrong, I love nice weather but one of my favorite things about Cali is that we usually have 4 very distinct seasons. I love being bundled up with a cozy scarf and boots on a cold winter day with a big bowl of soup and it has just not been that kind of winter. Well we just got our first spell of rain in what feels like months! This led me to go into full on soup mode.

Broccoli cheddar soup has always been one of my all time favorite soups. It is so rich, creamy, and filling. (Exactly what you need after you made your new year’s resolutions right?) Well give yourself a cheat day and serve this up with an old-fashioned grilled cheese sandwich for a real winter treat. A perfect warm up for a cold winter day!

INGREDIENTS
1/4 c butter
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1/4 tsp thyme
3 tbsp flour
3 c milk
3 c chicken broth
1 c heavy cream
2 heads broccoli, chopped
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c parmesan, grated
salt
white pepper

STEPS

  • Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic, onion, and thyme and cook stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent, about 4–5 minutes.
  • Add in the flour and mix until well combined and it starts to brown, about 1 minute.
  • Gradually whisk in milk, broth, and cream.
  • Stir in the chopped broccoli and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the broccoli is tender, about 8–10 minutes.
  • Add in the shredded cheeses and stir until smooth and melted, about 2 minutes.
  • Season to taste with the salt and white pepper.
  • Serve and top with additional shredded cheddar if desired.
  • Serve immediately.
Soups

Recipe—Crock-Pot Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Happy new year! How is 2014 treating you all so far? Hopefully absolutely fabulously!

First off I want to apologize for my absence over the past few months. Life has been super busy! I started a new job back in September managing one of the most awesome design studios and it has taken some time to find the right balance in life. My resolution for 2014 is to get back to some regular blogging so I have lots of great things coming for you. I have still been cookin’ up a storm while away so I have plenty of tasty new recipes to share. Now the question is, where to start!

Since it’s winter and we are all still recovering from the holiday madness how about one of my all time favorite soup recipes? It is a quick and easy crock-pot recipe that will be sure to warm you up.

When I was in high school I used to work in a little mom and pop owned coffee shop called Full O’ Beans. (People actually came in thinking it was a Mexican restaurant.) This coffee shop had the best soups and sandwiches! One of my all time favorite soups they served on occasion was the chicken and wild rice. It was delicious! I would have a big bowl at work and then fill up a big styrofoam cup to take home for later. It was one of those comfort soups that I just couldn’t get enough of. Well I finally put together this recipe that is out of this world good and reminds me of the coffee shop’s homemade chicken soup. This soup is easy, delicious, “souper” filling, and best of all it is made in the crock-pot. What more can a girl ask for? Now go make a big pot of this soup and snuggle up under a blanket on the couch while you wait for it to cook. Or do like I do, and just go to work. 😉

INGREDIENTS
4 c chicken broth
2 c water
1 box Rice-a-Roni long grain and wild rice
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, sliced
1/2 c butter
1/3 c flour
2 c half and half
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

STEPS

  • In your crock-pot mix together broth, water, and rice (including seasoning pack).
  • Add in the chicken breasts, carrots, and celery.
  • Cook on low for 6–8 hours or on high for 3–4 hours.
  • Remove the chicken breasts from the crock-pot and break it up into pieces using a fork. Return the chicken to the crock-pot.
  • In a medium saucepan melt your butter over medium heat.
  • Gradually mix in the flour until well combined.
  • Whisk in the half and half and season with the salt and pepper.
  • Add the creamy base mixture to the crock-pot and stir until well combined.
  • Allow the soup to cook on low for another 15 minutes.
  • Try the soup and season to taste. If it is too thick you can add a little water to thin it out.
Dinners, Soups

Recipe—Spicy Shrimp Noodle Bowl

This is one of those dishes that you look at and think, “It must have taken forever!” Wrong! This dish was on our table in less than 20 minutes from the time I started, and it was so simple. Those are some of the many reasons I love it! I first tried this recipe because I happened to have some bok choy on hand from my produce delivery and some shrimp in the freezer. It was just meant to be! This recipe is packed with wonderful Asian flavors but none of the ingredients are exotic or hard to find. I’m not typically a huge fan of ginger but in this recipe it is what takes it from ordinary to extraordinary so don’t leave it out. This noodle bowl ended up being really filling. My son is a big fan of pot stickers so I fried up a couple of those while this was coming to a boil. They were a great addition to the meal.

Note: For a vegetarian option substitute some tofu for shrimp. 

INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2–1 tsp crushed red peppers (depends how spicy ou like your meals)
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 c shitake mushrooms, sliced
4 baby bok choy chopped
salt and pepper
4 c chicken broth
1.42 oz pack Swanson’s seafood concentrate or 1 c seafood stock
1 1/2 lb medium shrimp, deveined and peeled
6 oz pack chow mein noodles
4 green onions cut into three pieces, then cut lengthwise into thin “sticks”

STEPS

  • In a large soup pot heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the crushed red peppers, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, and bok choy.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the chicken broth and seafood concentrate.
  • Put the lid on the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add the shrimp and the noodles and cook for 3–5 minutes or until the chow mein is tender and shrimp cooked through.
  • Add in most of the green onions reserving some for garnish.
  • Cook for another 2 minutes, turn off stove and allow pot to sit for another 2–3 minutes.
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with remaining green onions.

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray.

Dinners, Soups

Recipe—Creamy White Chicken Chili

Chili is one of my favorite comfort foods and I love that this is a fun twist on the classic bean based dish, and the fact that it is super easy is a huge plus too. I took several different recipes I found online and mixed them all together and came up with this one for creamy white chicken chili. I think it turned out pretty darn fabulous! I used green chilies keeping it really mild so that everyone in the family would eat it but you can substitute jalapeños to give it a good kick. The mild heat is really balanced out nicely with the creaminess of the cheese and the sweetness of the corn. I served it up with some cut up tortillas on the side but a quesadilla would be great too. If you have any chili cook offs coming up give this recipe a shot. You may just get some extra points for thinking outside the box.

Note: To simplify this recipe and shave off some time, pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store and skip the first four steps. You can chop it up while the veggies are cooking.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2-4 oz cans diced green chilies (use jalapeños if you like it hot)
15.5 oz can cannellini beans
1 1/2 c chicken broth
8.5 oz can corn
8 oz cream cheese, cut into a few pieces
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

STEPS

  • Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and season with salt and pepper.
  • Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pot or saucepan.
  • Add the chicken and cook through stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil.
  • Heat the oil in the same pot and add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, and oregano.
  • Season the veggies with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes stirring ever minute or so.
  • Add the green chilies and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Add the can of beans and all the juices, the broth, corn, and cooked chicken.
  • Simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add in the cream cheese.
  • Stir the chili until the cream cheese is completely melted and smooth.
  • Allow the chili to simmer on low for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the cilantro.
  • Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Uncategorized

Crowd Pleasing Super Bowl Recipes

DivaDiCocina_SuperBowl

Super Sunday is right around the corner! The Super Bowl is the biggest football game in America. It’s when we get together with family and friends to watch two rival teams have it out on the field (and of course over indulge in delicious food).

Whenever we have a Super Bowl party we typically serve one dish per quarter. Appetizers during the first two, a main course for the third, and of course a super ice cream sundae during the fourth.

I have put together some of my favorite recipes that are perfect for your big bash. Enjoy the game!

Appetizers

DivaDiCucina_QuesoFundido

Queso Fundido

DivaDiCucina_Poppers

Western Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

DivaDiCucina_BuffaloCauliflowerBites

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

DivaDiCucina_CheesyMushrooms

Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms Wrapped in Bacon

DivaDiCucina_ShrimpCups

Shrimp Taco Cups with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Warm-ups

DivaDiCucina_Chili

Chili (The Classic Kind)

DivaDiCucina_ChickenEnchiladaSoup

Crock-Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Meals

DivaDiCucina_FrenchDip

Crock-Pot French Dips

DivaDiCucina_PhillySloppyJoes

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

DivaDiCucina_ShreddedBeefTacos

Crock-Pot Shredded Beef Tacos

DivaDiCucina_HotHam&Swiss

Hot Ham and Swiss Sammies

DivaDiCucina_BBQChickenSando

Crock-Pot Pale Ale BBQ Chicken Sandos

DivaDiCucina_PopperGrilledCheese

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese

Soups

Recipe—Crock-Pot Loaded Baked Potato Soup

It’s been a chilly couple of weeks where I live and I just can’t seem to warm up. One of the only things that really seem to take the bite off is a big bowl of hearty soup. Well this loaded baked potato soup truly is comfort in a bowl and hits the spot on these cold winter days. This is one of those recipes that people of all ages will love. It’s creamy and cheesy just the way baked potato soup should be. It is amazing the amount of flavor you get from a few simple ingredients. Since this does require a little prep before it goes in the crock-pot it may not be the best thing to try and do on a workday. However, it is the perfect crock-pot meal to whip up on the weekend. Perfect for a cozy Sunday lunch or dinner while watching some football. Hope you love this favorite soup of mine as much as I do!

Note: You can certainly use fresh potatoes for this soup. I just use a bag of the frozen ones to save a few extra minutes, after all, that’s the whole reason I use my crock-pot. If you want to use fresh potatoes I recommend using 5–6 cups of russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces.

INGREDIENTS
8 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
4 c chicken broth, divided
32 oz bag of frozen diced potatoes (I use Ora Ida Hash Browns, not the shredded ones but the little cubes.)
3 c cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
2/3 c heavy cream
2/3 c sour cream
4 tbsp chives, minced

STEPS

  • In a large skillet cook the bacon over medium high heat until crispy.
  • Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and place in the fridge until ready to serve the soup.
  • Pour out most of the bacon drippings leaving about 2 tbsp in the skillet.
  • Add the onion to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until soft and lightly browned.
  • Add the garlic and thyme to the skillet and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper and cook for a minute stirring constantly.
  • Whisk in 1 cup of the chicken broth.
  • Cook until the mixture starts to thicken and then pour into your crock-pot.
  • Add the remaining 3 cups of broth, potatoes, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper to the crock-pot.
  • Cover and cook for 5–6 hours on low heat.
  • Using a hand masher, mash the potatoes in the crock-pot leaving some chunks in there.
  • Stir in the heavy cream, sour cream, and 2 cups of the shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Cook soup for another 20–30 minutes.
  • Right before serving heat the plate of cooked bacon in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Ladle the soup into bowl and top with remaining cheddar, bacon pieces, and chives.