Archive | January, 2014

Lentil Soup

29 Jan

In case people haven’t heard, January is a really really cold month in the northeast. When it isn’t actively snowing outside, it is cold enough to literally freeze you to the bone… which just makes me crave something warm to eat. I have been craving a good soup for a while and finally decided to make it tonight.

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I knew that I wanted to make some kind of lentil soup, but I had no idea what else I wanted to put into it. I ended up just raiding my kitchen and using all of the leftover food I had, which ended up working out pretty well in the end. It could be made with a variety of veggies and spices, but the combination I used worked out well. I don’t really know much about lentils (except that there are different kinds), but I used the green type … I guess.

What I used:
1 bag dried lentils
2 lbs chicken breast, fat trimmed
2 chorizo sausages, de-cased
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 ½ cups chopped carrots
1 ½ cups chopped celery
½ red pepper, chopped
½ white onion, chopped
1 small tomato, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt, cumin, oregano, thyme, oregano – all to taste

How:
In a large pot, cook chorizo on medium high for a few minutes until it is lightly browned on the outside. Add the chicken, broth, water, and lentils to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn down to medium-low for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked.

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I used this time to pull out all my veggies and chop them. When the chicken is fully cooked, pull it out and shred it.

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Put the chicken back in the pot, and add in the veggies and a few dashes of each spice. Cook covered for another 25-30 minutes. The lentils might absorb a lot of the liquid, so you can add water as you need.

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It’s 2014!

14 Jan

This week has been crazy crazy busy. We got home from Florida, had my Mom’s birthday party, and I started my final clinical! Sorry if this post is disjointed – it’s been mayhem at my house.

With everything going on, I haven’t really had time to cook much (unfortunately). So that being said, I’m going to post stuff from the last few months!

I made Nick’s Mom the samoa fudge (from the last post) for Christmas. I also made covered pretzels and cashew turtles. The pretzels are easy enough to figure out, but the cashew turtles need a little explanation. Sorry for lack of pictures, I’m not the best multitasker!

What we used – the quantities vary based on how much you want to make
1 bag of cashews
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 bag of caramel bits
sea salt, as needed
cupcake tins

How we did it
Start by setting out the tins, and putting a layer of cashews in the bottom.

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Melt the caramels either in a double boiler (recommended) or in the microwave (the directions will be on the bag). Use a spoon and scoop the caramel on top of the cashews. With a heaping spoonful, the caramel should fully cover the cashews.

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Once the caramel cools, repeat this with the chocolate – melt it down, and spread a layer on top of the caramels. If you want you can sprinkle sea salt on top of the chocolate.

Let cool, enjoy!

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Samoa Fudge

7 Jan

I’m starting this one out by giving props to my Mom – she made this cute little app tray for Christmas. She used sundried tomatoes, peppers, olives, and mozzarella cheese. I don’t know exactly where she got the idea (I assume Rachel Ray or some daytime cooking show), but we’re proud of her for it.

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Anyway, I wanted to make Nick’s Mom a box of treats for Christmas. I decided on making fudge, cashew turtles, and chocolate covered pretzels. The only problem with my plan was that I had very limited time to make everything – I was visiting Boston and had only a few hours free. That meant that I couldn’t do anything too crazy or involved.

I hadn’t made fudge in a very long time, so I wanted a recipe that was easy and wouldn’t take forever. I browsed through different flavors that I found on Pinterest until I found one Nick approved of – Samoa fudge (yes, like the girl scout cookie). I found a couple different recipes and used what I liked from each one. I was skeptical during the cooking process but it turned out well in the end. Sorry about the lack of pictures – it was late and it slipped my mind! Let me know if you guys have any questions.

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What I used:
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
¾ cups unsalted butter (room temp)
¾ cup and 1 teaspoon heavy cream
2ish cups caramel chunks (I think Carmelo brand)
1 pkg (3 oz) Coconut Cream Jell-O Pudding mix (Regular, not instant)
2 cups white chocolate chips (or whatevers in the 11 oz bag)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 jar (7 oz) Fluff
1 cup coconut flakes
dash of salt

What I did
The recipe is written a little strangely, but it’s done that way on purpose. It’s slightly out of order to account for certain things needing constant stirring, etc.. Just trust me on it. I also suggest reading the recipe thoroughly and having everything set up before you start cooking…

Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper (definitely necessary) and set it aside.

Combine caramels with teaspoon of heavy cream in microwave safe bowl, and melt them in the microwave on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds. It takes a few minutes but eventually they’ll be smooth (and very hot!). Set aside. In an ideal situation, you would have someone doing this while you did the next step. It’s not necessary but it will make life much easier.

In a large mixing bowl, dump the pudding mix, white chocolate, and entire contents of the fluff jar (don’t worry about mixing it). Keep close.

Put your butter, sugar, ¾ cup cream, and dash of salt into a medium saucepan on medium high heat, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil. Let it boil for about 5 minutes, continuing to stir constantly. Once the time is up, pour this mixture into the mixing bowl. Whisk all of the ingredients together until well combined.

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Pour this mixture into your 9×13 pan. Pour caramel over the top of the mixture (much easier to do if still warm as it gets super thick while cool). Spread around with a knife and swirl the caramel into the fluff mixture (sort of like what you do with a marble cake). Put this in the fridge for a few hours until it is cool.

Have a glass of wine. Or two.
After it’s had a chance to chill, pull it out of the fridge.

Spread the coconut out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven on broil until it lightly browns (it took me about 10 minutes). Let cool.

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Melt the chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Spread over the top of the fudge, then sprinkle the coconut on top while the chocolate is still melted. After a few minutes, pull it out of the dish and cut into bite-sized pieces (or whatever the hell size you want, no one is judging you).

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Happy New Year!

1 Jan

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Spending New Years in Disney – watched the fireworks from Epcot after drinking around the world. I’ll post some pictures later!