soup’s on

I love soup… and soup season is upon us.  Naturally, I’m very excited.  My new favorite to make is homemade chicken and wild rice soup.  It looks like a ton of ingredients, but it’s a lot of spices and things you may already have on hand.  I like making it when I already have leftover chicken and/or wild rice.  It makes a ton… like 16 cups?  Make some today!  You won’t be disappointed…

What’s your tried and true soup recipe?

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup


  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1+ cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 bouillon cube or 1 tsp chicken base (I use Better than bouillon from Costco)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder (optional, but I think it makes it yummy)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or sherry or additional chicken broth)
  • 3+ cups cooked wild rice
  • 2+ cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded chunks
  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, combine the first 11 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter. stir in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in broth mixture, or as much as you can fit in the small saucepan. Stir for ~2 minutes, then add the contents of the saucepan back into the dutch oven… (the easiest way to combine everything without dirtying an extra pot).  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for a couple of minutes while the soup thickens.
  3. Whisk in soup and wine (or broth).  Then add rice and chicken and simmer until it’s heated.

>Quick and Easy Dinners

>Well, that’s the name of the game in our house these days… either that or easy and looong (ie. something done in the slow cooker)

I really like fish, but am still in novice territory as far as cooking it in new ways… I think I have my teriyaki salmon recipe down pat (let me know if you’re interested) but that’s one of the only ways that the husb. and I both really enjoy…. until lately.

I’d like to introduce:

Southwestern Salmon

I made this as a sandwich… kind of po-boy meets Philly steak sandwich. However this stands well alone or with some rice or pasta.

Serves 4
4-six ounce salmon fillets. I cut mine into 6 ounce strips so they would fit on our hoagie rolls
1 green pepper, sliced into half rings
1 red pepper, sliced into half rings
You could slice up some onion rings too, but Noah doesn’t really like them, so I don’t
4 tbsp Italian dressing
2 tbsp water
Make a little spice rub for the salmon:
1tsp chili powder
1tsp dried cilantro
1tsp dried cumin
1tsp dried basil
½ tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Lay down some foil in a baking sheet, place the salmon down and sprinkle the mixed spices on the salmon. Give it a rub and a flip so both sides are seasoned.
Layer the peppers on top of the salmon
Drizzle the Italian dressing and water on top ( I just eyeball it… enough so the fish will stay moist.)
Seal the salmon up in the foil and bake for 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

The peppers are delicious with a melt in your mouth flavor and the salmon is spiced without being too spicy. I wished I had a nice glass of chardonnay to go with it. Bummer, maybe next time.

Now, if you’re adventurous enough to try a little something extra, (extra prep work AND extra calories), dress your sandwich with a fancy mayo:
Chipotle mayo: mix ½ tsp of chipotle pepper sauce (or adobo) to every 1 tbsp of mayo …a little goes a long way, and I just put the rest of the can in a ziploc and toss in the freezer so I can break off a chunk and thaw it the next time I need some.
Cilantro mayo: mix chopped fresh cilantro (a few stalks worth) for every 1 tbsp of mayo

Now, if I could just remember to grab my camera and take a picture of my food instead of the adorable 4 month old, we’d be in business.

What’s your quick and easy dinner?

>Recipe Post – Black Bean Dip

>Alright this is for my mom as well as a few friends who had asked for the black bean salsa recipe. It’s really easy to make and involves only a small amount of chopping, mixing, etc. I got this recipe from an old co-worker, so I’m not sure who to credit on this one! And I don’t have a photo of the finished product, but snapped a few shots as my mom and I were making this delicious dip for the baby shower a few weeks ago:
1) The canned ingredients plus the onion

2) separating the cilantro leaves from the stems.

Black Bean Dip:

I usually do this in three steps, starting with the canned goods, then the chopped items, and finally the liquid ingredients.

In a large container, combine:
1 can of black beans – rinsed and drained
1 can of whole kernel corn – rinsed and drained
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chiles – do not drain

Then Add:
About 1/2 purple onion – chopped as finely as you like
A bunch of cilantro – a handful or so of chopped leaves
One avocado – sliced and cut into small pieces.

About 1/8c. olive oil
About 1/8c. balsalmic vinegar
1/2 tsp of tabasco sauce
(Some people like more oil, vinegar or tabasco… these amounts are all on the conservative side)

Anyway, that’s it! It keeps in the fridge fairly well, and if you want to make it the day before you need it, the flavor gets even better when the ingrediends have time to mix together… just add the avocado and cilantro on the day you’ll use the dip so the bright green color really stands out! Enjoy!

>My Chili Recipe


Alright friends, you can thank me later for this. I’ve been making chili that was loosely based off of a couple of recipes for awhile now. And whenever I make it, I almost always wing it and I never manage to write down the ingredients, amounts, and directions. So, today, I did my best and here it is. In short, it is adapted from a publication from Crossfit, a workout program that endorses the Zone Diet and their model for optimal nutrition. Since I really love balanced meals with quality protein, carbs and fats, this chili hits all three of these.

My disclaimer: This recipe can be modified in so many ways, and I usually eyeball the ingredients and substitute when needed. I hate measuring things so when possible I just use the entire item or can instead of measuring it out carefully. You can omit and add items as you like, but personally, I like the combination of flavors as I have it below. This recipe is also very healthy in my opinion, but I have certainly added things in the past like sour cream, cheddar cheese, or beef with a higher fat content. So, give it a try. It’s not your average or traditional chili, but is heavy on texture and flavor.

In a large frying pan, saute the following:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped (comes out to about a cup)
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1tsp crushed red pepper ( I have subbed tabasco sauce before too)
  • 1tbsp + chopped garlic (I use the stuff in the jar when I want to do it quickly… or you can use 3+ cloves crushed and chopped)

Once the peppers start to cook and soften, add:

  • 1 to 1.5 lbs lean ground beef

Once it is browned, add:

  • 1 can drained black beans
  • 1 cup drained kidney beans (1 whole can is a little much for my taste)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (sometimes I use one 8 ounce can tomato sauce and 1 cup mild to med. salsa. You can also substitute canned or fresh diced tomatoes)
  • 1 can black olives, sliced (Noah usually sneaks some out of the can first, but afull can makes this chili really heavy on olives, so you decide how much!)

Let boil up, and then simmer for 15 minutes or more. About 10 minutes prior to serving, add:

  • Fresh chopped cilantro

Finished product:

>Super Easy Pot Roast!

>Since I’ve taken quite a break from any attempts at blogging, I thought I’d ease back into it all with a quick post on an excellent (and quick on the prep time) recipe for pot roast. You do a minimal amount of work and then let a crock pot do the rest.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 pound beef chuck shoulder roast
3-4 medium baking potatoes, scrubbed and cut in quarters
3 carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, cut in quarters
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 can diced tomatoes (about 7 ounces) with the juice
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Oregano to taste

1) Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the roast and brown on all sides. This starts the cooking process and seals in the juices as it cooks later. Pull the roast out and put it in the crock pot, leaving any oil or fat in the skillet.

2) Add all the other ingredients into the crock pot. Add a little water so there is at least 1/2 inch of water in the bottom.

3) Cook (covered) on low for 8 to 10 hours. I cooked mine on high for the first 40 minutes or so and then turned to low and it was ready after 7.5 hours (I was impatient and didn’t want to be eating super late).

You can also make a quick gravy for the roast by pulling some of the cooking liquid from the crock pot and whisking it together with some flour in a saucepan.

Hope you love it… the meat is so tender and this will serve at least 4 hungry people 🙂

>My last class… really this time

>Tonight was the final class I had to attend today at Seattle University in order to finish my Masters degree. In the last few months I’ve had my last day of student teaching, my last class as a whole cohort of 50 students, and I presented my Masters project. All of these were very big milestones, but today was another one. Each student must take an elective class that meets in the evening once a week. It was a drag going to them and while the instructor and class material was great, I dreaded going each time.

This last class was different from most I’ve had and included a short presentation and then a class potluck. I made Szechuan noodles recipe courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa and my friend and mentor teacher, Krysta. It was a fun class.

I forgot to take a photo of the noodles beforehand. This is the after:

Here is the recipe:
6 garlic cloves
1/4 c. chopped ginger
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. sherry
1/4 c. sherry vinegar
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. hot chili oil
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4. tsp cayenne/red pepper powder
->Combine above ingredients and puree in a food processor or blender
1 pound spaghetti
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
4 scallions sliced diagonally
-> Cook the spaghetti al dente. Drain and place in serving bowl.
-> Toss w/ 3/4 of sauce, then add the peppers and scallions.
-> Add remaining sauce if needed.

I love this dish because it can be served hot or cold, and you can add so many different things to it…. chicken, tofu, prawns, etc. The sauce keeps well and can be made well ahead of time, so it is easy to throw together at the last minute.

Now, there is nothing more required of me. I do get to walk across Qwest field on Sunday with a funny cap and gown.