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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

We are getting so close... one week until we settle on our new house! I am so over being in a hotel and cooking primarily with my crockpot. I am over having only one measuring cup in the hotel which is 1/3 cup. For whatever reason that is all that is in the kitchenette and I refuse to buy a new set since I have like four sets in storage.

Violet is going to have her crib back and her own room and the dogs are going to have endless space to run and all I am going to have my Le Creuset and a full set of measuring cups. Priorities.

In the meantime I'll be stalking Pinterest like a fiend for new house ideas. Feel free to interrupt me.

This recipe is one that I pulled up from last year when I was pregnant and trying to get back into blogging but failed. I was too busy shoving cupcakes into my mouth to write about anything.

I'm always on the lookout for a good broccoli cheese soup. This one was great! Easy, delicious and filling.

6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups half and half
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp nutmeg, grated
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 cups (about 1 head) broccoli florets
1 large carrot, shredded
2.5 cups sharp cheddar, grated, plus more for garnish

Melt the butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes until golden in color. Gradually whisk in half and half until combined and smooth.

Add chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli and carrot and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Puree soup with an immersion blender, or in batches with a regular blender. Puree until smooth. Return soup to pot.

Add the cheese and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if the soup is too thick.

Serve with garnish of additional grated cheese.

Adapted from Pass the Sushi.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Baked Chicken Taquitos

These are so good, I can't even tell you. It is well documented that I love Mexican-esque foods but, even for me, taquitos are often dry and tasteless, or worse, rolling around next to those hamburger-hot dog thingies at Seven Eleven. Yuck. But not these! So good. Great for a snack, party food, or even a meal. 

These can be assembled and frozen, too, for those days that you just don't feel like doing anything more than throwing something in the oven. I usually double (or triple) the recipe and freeze the excess. I had lofty plans of making a ton of these in the last few weeks of pregnancy to freeze for post-baby meals but, alas, Violet came exactly three weeks early (and on my would-be last day of work, no less). 

I highly recommend these. They are delicious!

3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup salsa
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1-2 green onions, chopped
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
12 6-inch flour tortillas
Cooking spray
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, spices, garlic, cilantro, green onion, chicken and cheese. Mix well until ingredients are combined.

Heat the tortillas for 20-30 seconds in the microwave to soften them and make them easier to roll up. Place a tortilla on a work surface and spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken filling down the center of the tortilla. Roll up the tortilla tightly around the filling. Place seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining filling and tortillas, spacing the filled tortillas evenly on the baking sheet. 

If you want to freeze your taquitos, at this point you can place the baking sheet in the freezer for 30-60 minutes and then place them in a freezer-safe storage container. I usually wrap each individually in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag. When ready to bake, remove them from the container, place on prepared baking sheet.

Spray the tops of the taquitos lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle each with a pinch of kosher salt (don't skip this step, the kosher salt makes them extra special).

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden brown (if you are baking them from the freezer, add extra time to allow them to be warm throughout). Serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired.

Makes roughly 12 taquitos, you will probably want 2-3 taquitos per person.

Adapted from Annie's Eats.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Backyard Makeover

This is the final renovation that I have to share of our DC house! This was actually completed awhile ago but I never got around to posting about it. The outdoor patio space was one of the great things about our home. Even though it is in the middle of the city, somehow the backyard seemed tranquil and secluded. The large tree helped with that a lot and it was gorgeous in the spring, summer, and fall.

Casey ripped out the rotting deck (yes, that is a "pond" to the right) and built a new deck complete with stone planters. He also replaced part of the fence.

The lights (from Target) hanging from the tree gave great character to the space. This picture was taken in winter but when the tree has leaves it really gives a ton of privacy back there. Great for parties, entertaining, or having a quiet moment with a book and a glass of wine.

Aw, I really do kind of miss this place. But, I have some exciting news, we have a contract on a house in PA. We really are trading city life for country living and moving to a home with three acres, and gorgeous views of farmland and over looking the river. The house itself was built in 2007 (what a change from our 1907 row home) and doesn't need a ton of work. However, there are many things we want to do to make it our own so renovations will still be needed. Plus, there is a basement to finish! 

I am hoping that with fewer renovations I will have even more time to work on DIY decorating and I already have some big plans for the space. Can't wait to share them with you. And also get back in the kitchen!

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Recipe Re-visist: Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This is one of those recipes that I have made again and again. It is super delicious and a nice spin on your plain old chicken dish. It is quick and easy enough for a last minute weeknight meal but good and seemingly fancy enough that you can serve it to guests, too!

View the original post and recipe here.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Recipe Re-visit: Pasta with Sausage and Vodka Sauce

This was one of the very first recipes that I blogged. If you are looking for a delicious and hearty pasta, this is great. It is not overly saucy and the sauce is on the thin side but that balances off the heaviness of the sausage nicely.

View the original post and recipe here.

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C + C Marriage Factory: February 2013

C + C Marriage Factory