Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

If you are looking for a hearty soup....look no further. Baked Potato Soup is thick enough, it can almost be eaten with a fork and has just the right amount of kick from the pepper bacon that will leave you wanting more.

I once heard Denis Leary joke about Irish Cuisine consisting of putting everything in a pot and boiling it for seventeen and a half hours. Where that made me laugh and may be true for some recipes, you won't be spending the day over the stove for this soup. This recipe from the starting prep work to pouring a bowl and sitting down with family is about two hours. Far better for everyone's busy schedule compared to the seventeen and half hours Denis Leary joked about. 


This recipe came from my mom...and I am so glad it did. This soup truly hit the spot the week of St Patty's Day with the chilly weather and desire to look into 'cuisine' of my heritage. I was looking at so many different recipes (ex. Guinness Onion Soup - will most likely be making that one some time this year; and corned beef recipes)...it became hard to chose which one I would try out. Personally, I would love to make them all, but I am just one person and although the cooking part would be fun, I would never be able to eat all of that on my own. There steps in my mom, who said that everyone in my family beyond loves this soup and they eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner...even my nephew, who although he has gotten better, can still be a picky eater at times.



So, this soup was made with love and thoughts of my family a few hundred miles away and shared with good friends and loved ones close by. I would recommend this soup to serve for a family meal or if entertaining, pair it with with other Irish themed snacks - such as sliced Irish Soda Bread with jam, corned beef and cabbage dip to spread on rye, cubed Irish cheeses and sliced apples.


Baked Potato Soup

Ingredients:
  • 6 Medium-Large Potatoes (skins can be left on), cubed into about 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb raw pepper bacon, diced = about 7 slices
  • 3 Stalks diced celery
  • 2 Cups diced yellow onion
  • 1 Quart Water
  • 1 Quart Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Chicken Base
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Dash of white pepper (to your liking - the pepper bacon can do the trick on this one)
  • 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 1 1/2 Sticks Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Parlsey - fresh is best, if you don't have it, use 1-2 Tbls dried parlsey
  • 1 Cup Whipping Cream
  • Shredded cheddar or colby cheese
  • Fried bacon bits
  • Chopped green onions


Preparation:
  • Complete all prep work first - rinse and cube potatoes; dice celery; dice bacon; chop parsley; dice onion; have all other liquid ingredients measured or at least close by with measuring utensils.
  • Boil the cubed potatoes for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • While the potatoes are boiling, saute bacon in a very large heavy pot (this recipe makes a large portion of soup, a large pot is necessary). When close to crisp, add onion and celery and continue to saute until celery is tender.
  • Drain bacon grease. I find the easiest way to do this is to push all the ingredients to one side of the pot, tip the pot and absorb the grease with paper toweling. Be very careful when doing this NOT to burn yourself. When it's soaked up, put paper toweling in a bowl until cooled enough to throw in the garbage.
  • To the bacon, onion, celery mixture, add milk, water, chicken base, salt and white pepper. Heat until very hot, but NOT boiling. Boiling will cause the milk to separate.
  • In a smaller heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, add flour. Mix well and stir to boiling for one minute. This is the rue that will help hold the soup together.
  • While constantly stirring the soup, add the flour/butter mixture slowly.
  • Stir in parsley, potatoes and cream. Let cook together for about 5 - 10 minutes so the flavors blend together.
  • Garnish individual bowls of coup with shredded cheese, fried bacon bits and chopped green onions.


As always..... ENJOY and happy cooking!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mexican Shredded Chicken Taco Rolls

First, I would like to apologize for the name.  That part of this recipe is under construction and it begins because I created something new....Mexican Shredded Chicken.  Now, I'm not naive enough to think no-one else has ever put together this combo before, but one summer Sunday after work, I got a bunch of stuff together and made a date with my stove top to get everything done.  And that I did! 

This chicken goes great in tacos, quesidillas and, although I haven't tried it, I'm sure it's pretty tasty in a chimichanga as well.  This week, in my haste at the grocery store, I grabbed a large bag of small corn tortillas before I knew what to do with them.   I have decided to make the chicken as usual, roll it up in the corn tortilla and bake them.  It will be somewhat of a cross between a taco, an enchilada and a taquito.   Instead of the Taco Roll, maybe I should call it Taquito Grande or The Confused Tacochilada...as you can see, I'm still working on that one.

And ... on to the food: 



Thursday, April 7, 2011

Homemade Guacamole

Homemade Guacamole


Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup Diced Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Tomato
  • 2 Ripe Avocados (you know they are ripe, when you push them and they're somewhat smooshy ... and yes, smooshy is the technical term)
  • 2 Tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1-2 Lime(s), Juiced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Preparation:

Here's the hard part folks.  Cut the avocado and peel the skin off.  Mash the insides with a fork in a bowl.  Add your other ingredients and stir together.  Add more or less seasonings or lime juice as you prefer.  It really is about taste, but it's super easy and spices up the side of your meal. 


HAPPY COOKING!!!