Saturday, March 31, 2012

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Oh how I love this soup!  It is buttery, rich, full of wonderful flavor and utterly satisfying.  As most soups go this one comes together very simply yet tastes as though you slaved over a hot stove top all afternoon.  My favorite kinds of meals!  

I was out looking for a nice soup to bring to our church's Wednesday night Lenten Soup Supper.  It is a pot luck and I needed something a little bit different.  Not weird-unique different.  Just not a chili, different. That seems to always be the soup of choice for most pot-luckers.  And although I love a good bowl of chili, 6 different kinds gets a little old after a while.   This Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup caught my eye, not only for the beauty of it, but also the ingredients were all those I had on hand.  I discovered this one while peeking around Tasty Kitchen, a reader recipe submission section of Pioneer Woman's website.  If you are not familiar with Tasty Kitchen be sure to hop on over there.  It is incredibly fun and you will find a recipe for pretty much everything.  And if it isn't there, well then submit it yourself!  All recipes are submitted by homecooks and bloggers just like myself (and you too!)  I have quite a few of my own posted as a matter of fact.

Brenda from A Farmgirl's Dabbles hit the nail on the head with this one and it will be a repeat in our household from here on out.  Thank you for sharing such a lovely recipe with all of us!!!  My husband said it reminded him a bit of the best parts of a chicken pot pie.  He loves chicken pot pie and sadly for him I don't make it often enough.  But I will be making this soup!

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
recipe courtesy A Farmgirl's Dabbles

1 cup Uncooked Wild Rice (I Prefer The Whole Grain Style, Not The Cracked)
½ cups Unsalted Butter
1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
2 stalks Celery, Chopped
2 whole Carrots, Sliced Into 1/4" Thick Coins
8 ounces, weight Button Mushrooms, Sliced
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
½ cups All-purpose Flour
8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 cups Half-and-half
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
½ teaspoons Salt
¼ teaspoons Black Pepper
1 whole Bay Leaf
1 teaspoon Finely Chopped Fresh Thyme (or 1/2 Teaspoon Dried)
¼ cups Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley (or 2 Teaspoon Dried)
4 cups Cooked And Coarsely Shredded Turkey Or Chicken (smoked Meat Is Especially Nice In This Soup)
2 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice

First off, you’ll want to get your wild rice cooking, so it’s ready to add to the finished soup. Prepare according to the package instructions. (It takes a while; the instructions on my bag says to cook it for 55 minutes.)

The remainder of the recipe can be made in one stock pot. Start by melting the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic. Stir well and saute until the onion is transparent and softened. Blend in flour, cooking until it bubbles a bit. Gradually add the broth, stirring constantly.

Turn up the heat a bit and bring the soup to a low boil. Boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat slightly and add the cooked wild rice, half-and-half, soy sauce, salt, pepper, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, and turkey or chicken. Simmer for 20 minutes or until thoroughly warmed. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and taste test to see if it needs more salt and pepper.

Serve with crackers or warm bread.

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Publication- "edible Cleveland" and a chance to win! (Giveaway now Closed!)

Oh boy, I have been waiting for this for a long time! Being a food magazine hoarder myself, I always wished for one that concentrated on the amazing qualities, restaurants, chefs, markets and everything else that Cleveland has to offer.  I would read other food magazines out there, and although their recipes and stories would be lovely, it was very rare when something truly hit home.  I would find places to dine when on vacation, dreams of meeting famous chefs all over the world and aspirations of foreign lands.  Well as being a stay at home mom of two busy little boys our traveling time has been cut way back.  We scrimp and save pennies as much a possible and instead of finding fun and excitement all over the world we have been loving all that our own city has to offer.  And Cleveland has a lot!  We are so blessed to live in a city that is so proud of its accomplishments.  We may be small but our food scene is a BIG one!  And you don't always have to spend a lot to have a blast experiencing them.

So an answer to my prayers has finally come.    This quarterly magazine edible Cleveland, will feature all the things that you want to know about the Cleveland area and so much more.  I know that when I go out and dine at my favorite local restaurant, or shop at the busy farmers market down the street I am truly inspired by the food I eat and the eggs or veggies I hold in my hands.  It becomes personal.  And now it can grow into even more then that.  I would love to learn how those farmers got their start, how they have changed over the years and what their plans are for the future.  Now I will be able to!  edible Cleveland has promised these things:
We created edible Cleveland to bring attention to the people and stories that make up our local food community. edible Cleveland serves as resources for finding out what's in season, who’s producing it, and where you can find it. Every season the quarterly publication will introduce you to the people instrumental in making Cleveland’s food scene so vibrant. 
Every issue of edible Cleveland will express our core values: 
Beauty counts. We want to publish a magazine that’s worthy of the paper it’s printed on. Striking photography, the well-turned phrase, and a gorgeous layout combine to create an experience that feels remarkably indulgent. Browsing the pages of edible Cleveland will be an inspiration, and every issue will be an object of beauty.
Be optimistic. edible Cleveland is a celebration. As such, we will strive to tell the stories that extend our sense of community, deepen our understanding of practices, satisfy our curiosities about food, and cultivate a vibrant food culture.
Local matters. Although edible Cleveland is a member of a thriving national movement, the focus of our work is local, and it will stay that way. We will work with local writers and artists to capture the people, places and food that make up our region’s particular culinary culture.
Be of value. edible Cleveland will be a resource for everyone interested in our food culture and will strive to bridge the gap between those who love food and their food sources.
edible Cleveland is currently in the works and is already accepting subscriptions!  Yay!  A years subscription is $28 and you can get it here: Subscribe Today.

But they have also offered up an amazing giveaway to all of my readers!  You each have a chance to win a years subscription to edible Cleveland!!!  How fun is that?!!  All you need to do in the comments below is tell me what local person would you like to sit down to dinner with?  Is it our very own Iron Chef America, the chef of a local restaurant, the butcher of your favorite shop inside the Westside Market, that farmer you chat with each Saturday morning when you pick up your weekly CSA, or maybe even a local food blogger like me?!  You tell me- you can't get it wrong.  Our food scene is overflowing with amazing dinner guests!

Tell me about it here (no facebook or twitter this time!) and that is all it takes!  Hurry up you only have until April 2nd to enter and then I will draw a winner with the help of  This is super awesome so don't waste any time.

To read even more about edible Cleveland please hop over to their sites and check them out!

Edible Communities:

Now go enter!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chicken in a Tomato and Caper Sauce

This dish comes together in just under 20 minutes, making it a perfect meal for a work night.  But the flavors are so robust and delicious, also making it special enough for a date night or when entertaining with friends.  I love, love this recipe!  Every time I eat capers I talk about how much I love them.  They are briny and salty, and have a unique flavor all their own. They should definitely be seen in more recipes.  Yum! You will probably want to have a nice crusty loaf of bread at the table too to sop up all the sauce. Nothing should be left behind with this one!

Chicken in a Tomato and Caper Sauce

4 chicken breasts (1 lb)
1 medium onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can stewed tomatoes, undrained (I used Italian style, but traditional would work also)
1 Tablespoon capers, drained
2 Tablespoons pine nuts
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chicken stock (or water)
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Pat chicken dry and season both sides with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in pan over medium heat.  Sauté chicken until nicely browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Melt butter in pan and add the sliced onion and garlic.  Sauté until translucent. Add the tomatoes, pine nuts, parsley, thyme and chicken stock.   Season with salt and pepper.  Stir well to deglaze the pan, scrapping the bottom to incorporate all of the chicken juices and seasonings.  Simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Gently smash the capers on your cutting board to bring out their flavors and then add them to the pan.   Cook 1 minute.  Return chicken to the skillet and cook until heated through.

Serve over smashed potatoes or rice.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

No Bake Cafeteria Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bars

If you haven't already done so, don't forget to please click on the link and give me a vote in Cleveland Magazine's Nothing But Net 32 Most Entertaining Blogs contest! Thank you!

You remember these don't you?!  They were the best part of school lunch, and in my school cafeteria we could get two of these guys for something like $.40!  Such a steal.  And no one would walk out of the lunch line without one of these guys on their tray!

For those of you unfortunate souls who grew up with out these delicious treats, think peanut butter cups, but more flakey and of course more peanut butter.  I remember always trying to get the chocolate top off in one big piece.  Ahhhhh memories.  Thank you Southern Plate for bringing this recipe back into my life!  So fun and such a crowd pleaser!  One recipe makes a full 9x13 pan, so you will have plenty to share and reminisce over. Trust me, you will have a lot of happy people surrounding you when you bring these treats over for that playdate (mommies and daddies as well as the kiddos!)

No Bake Cafeteria Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bars
recipe courtesy Southern Plate

1/2 cup butter (or margarine, whatever you have)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark, again whatever you have)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups peanut butter
2- 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Place all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave until butter and peanut butter are melted, one to two minutes (time will vary by microwave).

Remove from microwave and use a large spoon to stir all of the ingredients together until they form a ball of dough that leaves the side of the bowl. Pat into a 9x13 pan.

Pour chocolate chips into another microwave safe bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until completely melted. Spoon over top of peanut butter mixture and spread evenly.

Allow to cool completely at room temperature until chocolate hardens again or place in the refrigerator for faster hardening. Cut into squares and serve to some awfully happy people!

I linked up my recipe at Sweets for a Saturday!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Named one of the 32 Most Entertaining Blogs of Cleveland- Me!

Proud, Honored, Excited, Thrilled, Blown Away, Stunned, and Appreciative are just a few of the feelings I felt when my friend Crystal of Eat*Drink*Cleveland told me that I was listed in this March's issue of Cleveland Magazine as being one of the Top 32 Most Entertaining Blogs in Cleveland.  WOW!!  Crystal is also listed which makes it extra sweet!  Actually tons of my friends and fellow bloggers are on the list- I think a party is in our near future...!

Today Voting has begun and I would love it if you could lend a hand and a vote!  This is indeed a contest to move each of us to the top, March Madness style entitled "Nothing But Net".  Yay, I don't know much about sports either, but I do love the computer reference!  There are A LOT of heavy hitters in the running, in just my bracket alone (Food and Drink).  And just to be surrounded by so many talented bloggers makes me feel Delighted, Over Joyed, Radiant, Splendid and already like a Winner.

But I must admit, it would be pretty darn cool to really, win, win.

So if you could, please click on the link and give me a vote.  It took me about 30 seconds to do it myself this morning.  You may vote again every single Monday (don't worry, I will remind you!).  Let's bring this one home My Retro Kitchen!!

You can "like" Cleveland Magazine on Facebook and follow them on twitter @ClevelandMag for any upcoming details!


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