Winter Weather & Tomato Soup

If you are familiar with the West Monroe area, then you already know how the weather has been over the last 4 days..rainy, cold, and nasty. The kind of weather that makes you want to hibernate all winter long and wish you didn’t have to leave the house. Well, we have to eat, people. Saturday I geared up with my raincoat and boots and headed on the trek to the grocery store to gather my supplies for the week, which happened to include tomato soup.

This tomato soup is not your typical tomato soup. It has a little something special in it and I have yet to decide what it is about it. I knew it would be the perfect meal for the cold, rainy weather we have been having (and I had to make soup for house church anyways so I decided to double the recipe).

Before I begin with the recipe, I have to give credit to where I discovered this soup. The one, the only Pioneer Woman. If you know me, then you know my obsession with her. If I could have dinner with one “famous” person she would be my person people. Here is her recipe and I am about to give it to you below, as well.

IMG_1429To begin, you need a very large pot. Not really this big.

I received this pot from my dear husband as a Christmas gift and really wanted to use it, so I did.

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Next, chop up 1 white or yellow onion.

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Melt 6 tablespoons of salted butter.

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Throw in the onion and cook until they’re translucent.

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Dump two 14.5 oz cans of crushed tomatoes in the food processor or blender if you like them smooth and non-chunky (that’s what I like). For chunky soup, go ahead and dump the 2 cans straight into the pot with the onions.

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Once you have dumped the tomatoes in the pot (however you like them) go ahead and add 46 oz of tomato juice. Then, add 3-6 tablespoons of sugar to offset the acidity. I use 6 tablespoons. This may be that special ingredient, but I just haven’t decided yet.

Next, add 2 tablespoons of chicken base to the pot.

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Add lots of ground black pepper. I mean LOTS!

One pinch of salt.

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Stir everything to combine. Bring ALMOST to a boil, then turn off the heat.

Add 1 cup of cooking sherry (maybe this is what makes it special)?

Add 1.5 cups of heavy cream. This definitely makes it super decadent.

Add a little basil.

Stir to combine & you’re all set!

It is THAT easy. This soup falls into the most delicious under the easy category.

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All that is missing is your grilled cheese sandwich.

Tomato soup isn’t tomato soup without a grilled cheese sandwich.

Love,

AO


RECIPE:

6 Tablespoons Melted Butter

1 Whole Medium Onion, Diced

1 Bottle (46 oz.) of Tomato Juice

2 Cans (14 oz.) Diced Tomatoes

1-2 Tablespoons Chicken Base

3-6 Tablespoons of Sugar

1 Pinch of Salt

Black Pepper to Taste

1 Cup of Cooking Sherry

1.5 Cups of Heavy Cream

Chopped Fresh Basil (Add Parsley if Desired)

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Fiesta Chicken Salad

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My husband and I have a new favorite food, and it definitely isn’t what you think. Well, if you saw my above picture, then it was probably a spoiler alert. It’s a salad that will forever change your food palette. Yes, a salad. Here’s the recipe:


   Fiesta Chicken Salad

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Grab one ear of corn per person.

Since it is just my husband & me eating, I gathered 2 ears.

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Go ahead and slice the corn off the cob before cooking.

When the corn is hot it REALLY burns and makes it more like a Science Fair project.

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Throw your corn into the pan with one tablespoon olive oil. Also, throw some salt and pepper in the mix.

Do not turn the heat on yet, there are other things to be processed first.

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Gather a bunch of green onions (we like a lot).

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Chop them bad boys up.

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Grab a purple onion.

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Slice it if you desire.

You may also dice it, but we like to slice it.

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Go ahead and put your chicken on the stove (or grill).

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, then add the chicken.

Salt and pepper the chicken to your likings.

Grilling the chicken is a great idea, but if you have a cast iron skillet with the grill in it, then it’s just as delicious.

Once your chicken is turned on, then go ahead and turn the corn on High.

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In the meantime, rinse and dry your lettuce.

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Once your corn is browning, then it is time to remove from the heat.

We love when our corn is slightly brown..it gives it a whole new flavor.

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When your chicken is fully cooked (about 10 minutes on each side) remove from heat.

Chop into strips or cubes.

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Assemble your salad with the chicken, corn, purple and green onion.

Add cheese (we use pepperjack for a nice kick).

Add salsa ranch (1 tablespoon salsa per 1/4 cup ranch).

Deer Steak– The Right Way

Deer steak is just a little slab of HEAVEN on Earth, but seriously. If you have ever had Deer steak and you don’t like it, then you are not doing it the right way. Want to know how? Read on, my friend.

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Start by cutting your pieces of steak into the size you want.

We are going to fry these babies up, that’s the right way to do it!

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Go ahead and crack 4 eggs with 3 cups of milk.

Whisk until combined.

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Soak the Deer steak in this concoction for a minute or two.

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After soaking the steak in the milk and eggs, coat it completely with this seasoning:

2 cups of flour

1 tablespoon of salt

3 tablespoons black pepper

2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

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Stir until combined then coat the steak very heavily.

The thicker the coating the better, in my opinion.

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Voila!

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Throw it into a hot pot of canola oil (or peanut oil).

Before you add the steak, throw a little flour or water in the oil to make sure it is ready.

If it is ready, the oil will sizzle upon contact.

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Cook until golden-brown…

About 2-5 minutes.

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE:

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2 cups mayonnaise

2 tablespoons horseradish

1 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons brown mustard

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon worchestire sauce

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Stir until combined and you’re ready to eat, my friends!

You can add however much ingredients to the sauce, this is just how we like it!

Enjoy!

Happy Hunting and Happy Eating!

Roasted Turkey Legs

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Turkey legs, oh how I think you are much better than chicken.

You are bigger than chicken legs, and tastier too.

First, we will start with the brine that the turkey needs to soak in before cooking:

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Start with 4 quarts of water

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Add one cup granulated sugar,

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One cup Kosher Salt,

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One cup Brown Sugar,

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2 tablespoons seasoning blend (Montreal),

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One teaspoon of bay leaves,

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stir until combined.

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bring to a boil, then immediately remove from heat.

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Pour the water into a bowl of ice so it will cool down before you throw in the raw turkey legs in.

You wouldn’t want the legs to cook in the water, so make sure the water is cold (about 10 minutes after pouring over ice).

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Throw the turkey legs into the cool water.

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Place in the fridge 4-6 hours.

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While the turkey legs are soaking, you can make the rub.

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you will need:

2 tablespoons of chili powder

2 tablespoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons of season salt

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons garlic powder

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Stir all arrrounnnnnnnddddd 🙂

and there you have it, your dry rub for the legs

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When your 4-6 hours is up,

take the legs out of the pot and pat dry with a paper towel.

Tip: Patting meat dry before adding seasoning will help it stick better; therefore, it will taste better.

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Grab your dry rub, and rub it ALL OVER those turkey legs!

The more the merrier!!

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VOILA! You are only one step away from the yummy goodness.

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Place into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes,

then turn oven on 300 for 20 more minutes.

Take them out…

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…and ENJOY!

Goes great with side dishes.

If you want the sweet potato casserole recipe, check out this post on my blog.

I love these and I hope you love them as much as I do.

I got this AMAZING recipe from my favorite Food Star, The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond).

Here is her recipe and her website! 

I hope everyone had a HAPPY Thanksgiving and enjoyed being with family!

God Bless!!

Sweet Potato Casserole

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Sweet Potato Casserole is good for the soul. It really is, people.

This dish reminds me purely of Thanksgiving. It gives me happy chills.

Why do we only make this recipe for Thanksgiving? I really don’t know why.. It is too good for a one-time year thing.

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Cast of Characters:

8 Medium-Large Sweet Potatoes

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup milk

Topping:

10 tablespoons butter

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup flour

1-1.5 cups chopped pecans

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Go ahead and put a pot of water to boil first thing, so it can be boiling once you are done peeling and dicing the taters.

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Wash your sweet taters..

You are technically peeling off the skin, but I like washing them anyways. It makes me feel better.

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Grab a peeler and peel away.

I hate this step.. I hate peeling potatoes.

I wish there was a trick to this, but sadly there isn’t.

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Slice..

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and dice ’em baby.

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Put them in a bowl as you dice them to make them easy to pour into the water.

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Once your water has come to a boil, throw in all the potatoes.

Leave the heat on High until they become soft.

Make sure you stir occasionally so the potatoes don’t stick to the pot.

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Once they are soft…

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Throw them into a strainer to drain all the water.

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Throw the hot potatoes into a bowl with the sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and milk.

I ALWAYS put the ingredients in a regular bowl.

I tried putting them in the electric mixer the first time and there are too many potatoes..it was a slight disaster.

Grab a spoon and stir until combined.

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The potatoes stir easily since they are very tender.

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Throw it into a 9X13 baking dish.

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This is the start to the topping

(All butter not pictured)

I didn’t want to scare y’all

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Throw in the butter, brown sugar, and flour.

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Combine.

Put on top of the sweet potatoes already put into the dish.

Then, sprinkle the pecans on top.

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Throw into a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly.

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Take it out and enjoy.

This makes my heart so happy, and I promise it’ll make your heart happy too.

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Makes such a great side dish.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

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Oh, Mashed Potatoes..How I LOVE you!

You’re always there for me when I need you.

Aren’t they great for a Thanksgiving side dish?

What is Thanksgiving without creamy, decadent mashed potatoes? Not American.

They can definitely be made ahead of time and then warmed in the oven Thanksgiving morning. Perfection.

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Cast of Characters:

Milk (3 tablespoons)

Mayonnaise (A heaping spoon)

Butter (1/2 stick)

Salt and Pepper to taste (I use a ton of pepper)

Yukon Gold Potatoes (4 )

Serves: 2-3 (I only did a serving for 2 since it’s just my husband and I who eat every night, but double the recipe or triple and quadrouple..whatever you do it’s great)! 

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DISCLAIMER** Another family recipe. You’re welcome!

Grab a pot of water and turn the burner on high to get a jump start to boiling while you begin assembling your potatoes.

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Wash your potatoes in warm water.

You technically don’t have to do this step since you are peeling the skin off, but again, it is definitely a clean-freak thing I have going on.

TIP** I use Yukon Gold potatoes. Russet potatoes don’t work as well for mashed potatoes. TRUE STORY. Go Yukon Gold, or Go HOME 🙂

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Grab a potato peeler and peel away until all the skin is gone.

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Slice and dice ’em baby!

I usually cut up the potatoes into smaller pieces because they cook quicker, but if you are cooking something else that takes awhile, bigger chunks will do.

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Bring them suckers to a boil and leave them boiling until they become soft enough to mash.

***FUN TIP–If you place a wooden spoon flat across the pot, the water will not boil over. Since I have a gas stove my wooden spoon turned black on the edge. True story. I am now not allowed to do this super fun trick anymore, says my husband. He doesn’t want me to burn the house down (which I don’t think would happen).

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Once the potatoes are ready for a good mashin’, drain them babies in a strainer.

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Go ahead and put your half stick of butter in the bowl you are going to use, so when you throw your steaming mashed potatoes in, the butter will begin to melt. Makes the mixing of the butta easier.

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Throw them into a bowl of an electric mixer.

You could totally throw them into any bowl and use a hand mixer or mash them by hand, but I love letting the mixer do the work for me.

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Add your heaping spoon of mayo.

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And your 3 tablespoons of milk.

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Salt. I start out with a couple of tablespoons and after the potatoes are mixed I taste test them and keep adding what is missing.

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Pepper. Again, I add A LOT. Just shake shake shake until you think you’ve gone too far. Seriously.

I usually start off with 3 tablespoonish and keep adding as I go, but it’s a lot.

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Stir it all up and walla! Perfect, creamy, decadent mashed potatoes.

If you want to prepare these the night before and then warm them up in the oven, just use an oven safe dish. Cover with foil. Place in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until warm.

ENJOY!

Perfect Pot Roast

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Who likes a good, easy roast?

Who likes recipes that only dirty up ONE pot?

I do! I do!

Here is THAT recipe:

It has been in my family ever since I can remember. One of my favorite family recipes!

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Cast of Characters:

Rump Roast (your choice of size)

Carrots (I use 3 carrots for 2 people)

Potatoes (I use 5 potatoes)

Salt (1 tsp)

Pepper (1 tablespoon)

1 pack Beefy Onion Soup Mix

1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup

2-3 cups of water

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First, I like to rinse off my rump roast with water.

It’s just something about red meat in those nasty package juices that does it for me.

It makes me feel better.

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Place your rump roast into a pot.

I love cooking with cast iron and it works great for a pot roast.

I swear it tastes different in this kind of pot, but any oven safe pot will do.

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Go ahead and rinse your veggies.

I use potatoes and carrots, but onions go great in this recipe too.

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Cut up your carrots into thirds.

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Make a smiley face out of your potatoes.

I mean, you just half them but smiley faces make them taste better.

Promise.

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Throw your carrots and potatoes into your pot.

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Add your 1 teaspoon of salt

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and your tablespoon of pepper

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Mix your beefy onion soup mix with 2-3 cups of water.

I usually start out with 2 cups and check the roast halfway through cooking and add more water if needed.

You want your pot to always be half full of water (or a little less than half) halfway through, so it doesn’t dry out.

Plus, you’ll have more gravy that way.

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Add the cream of mushroom soup to top it off..

I am VERY aware this looks disgusting, but I promise it is AMAZING once all is said and done.

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Be sure you cover your pot with a lid of some sort…

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Put into a 325 degree oven for 4 hours

I usually check the roast after 2 hours to make sure there is enough water.

You want that gravy when it’s done!

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Then, cut your roast and serve!

You don’t even have to take it out of the pot.

How is that for easy?

You can also put into a crockpot and turn on low for 6-8 hours while you are gone to work or running errands.

It doesn’t get much easier than that.

ENJOY!!

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