Monday, September 27, 2010

Victory Ranch Soup and Hearts of Palm Salad

All of LA is crying out from the heat! I told all these fools to stop complaining about our "cool" summer! Why oh why would someone complain that we had a summer full of 75-80 degree days....crazies! The other half of my facebook is full of Texans thanking the Lord for a nice fall day. In honor of fall, and because I am so excited to see it too, I am posting a yummy soup! 

We made this while at the ranch. The original name is something like summer corn and bean soup....NO! This can totally be a fall soup, so I renamed it "Victory Ranch Soup," in honor of the ranch we made it at. While I was making this soup, I was thinking to myself, "Mom is really going to have to doctor this soup up with some of her spice magic," because it looked so plain and boring. Then we tasted it and decided it was perfect on its own. SOO easy and delicious you just can't pass it up!

Victory Ranch Soup

1 cup frozen corn
1 can white beans
1 small can diced green chilis
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 ham steak diced (1 - 1 1/2 cups diced ham)
1 can chicken broth (14 oz)
1 Tb olive oil

Chop green onions
Heat oil in a stock pot and cook onions and ham on medium heat for 3 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for 10 minutes before serving.

I love a good green salad to accompany my soup. I am not one to eat salad as my main entrĂ©e, it just doesn't fill me up, but I love it on the side. This is an easy salad that has a little more to it than my usual arugula with lemon dill dressing.

Hearts of Palm Salad
2 Palm hearts
1 celery stalk
1/4 purple onion sliced very thin
2 Tb chopped parsley
1/2 lemon
2 Tb olive oil
salt and pepper

After slicing onion, let it sit in a bowl of cold water for 10 mins.
Chop the parsley, celery and hearts of palm.
Toss all greens. Don't toss with lemon and olive oil until just before serving or your arugula will wilt. 
This rice come in handy when I want to make a girlie meal like "soup and salad." That just won't do for Protein Boy.
This soup may not look very pretty, but trust me it is good!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Meat Lover's Calzones

It is my one year anniversary of living in LA and it has been a no good, very bad day! I have been under the weather all day... I woke up with a terrible sinus headache, my face was even sore from the pressure. I have also been sick to my stomach and to top it off, we are having another heat wave! Jeffrey worked a night shoot so he was getting home as I was waking up this morning, therefore the air conditioned bedroom was off limits until this afternoon and I had no one to attend to me or listen to my whining and complaining. Good thing it was a Sunday and I didn't have to go to work feeling nasty! No worries though, I am feeling better now, and Jeffrey is up so I can at least cool off while sitting in bed. Only 2 more days of heat, only 2 more days of heat......

Earlier I escaped the room to make us some lunch (around 3 because I couldn't manage to do anything before then....poor me....ok I'm done..) We made these calzones for lunch while at the ranch. Since pizza is my favorite food I fell in love! Today was my second time to make them since I have been home, they are my new favorite. 

Meat Lover's Calzones
1 tube refrigerated pizza dough
4 slices black forest ham
8 slices hard salami
12 slices pepperoni
4 slices provolone cheese
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp grated parmesan cheese
1 Tb olive oil
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like more spice)
Marinara sauce for dipping

Mix together the sesame seeds, olive oil, parmesan, italian seasoning, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.
Spread flour over a surface and roll out your dough (not too thin)
Cut into 4 rectangles (no need to make them perfect)
On each rectangle layer 1 slice of ham, 2 slices of salami and 3 slices of pepperoni.
Top with a slice of cheese.
Fold top half of the rectangle over the meat and cheese and curl edges up then pinch them down (hopefully that makes sense).

Place on a greased baking sheet and then spread the sesame seed mixture on each calzone. Use a fork to pierce the top of each calzone 3 times, to allow steam to escape.
Bake on 400 for 15 mins.
Serve with marinara to dip (you may think you want to put marinara in before you bake them, but resist the urge or else your calzones will be soggy). See I took our lunch in to our bedroom on this tray so we could eat in the air conditioning!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chicken Tetrazzini

I have had a fun few days. Last night I had my first provisional meeting with my Junior League neighborhood group. It was at the bar at the London Hotel in Beverly Hills. After the meeting, about 8 of us stuck around at and had a great time getting to know each other. These girls are going to be lots of fun! Today I had lunch with my sweet friend Meredith. She just moved here from NYC. We danced together when I was in High School (so many memories) and I had not seen her in so long! I am really glad to have her close again. It is crazy how so many of us from small town Odessa have ended up here in the big big city!!
The Beverly Hills/ West Hollywood Provisional Group

This casserole is a common dish that many grew up on. I know it is hard to believe, but I had never tried it until I made it the other day. It was delicious! I don't know what it is about casserole's, but many men do not like them, my husband included. He did eat it, but I could tell that is wasn't his favorite meal. Oh well, I had plenty of leftovers to eat for the next few days. 

Chicken Tetrazzini
1/2 pound thin spaghetti
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/4 cup white wine
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup freshly grated parmesan, divided
6 chicken tenders
1/2 package sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Boil pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Boil chicken in salted water until done.
Melt butter in a sauce pan on low.
Slowly whisk in flour until all is added and smooth.

Slowly add in milk and wine until all is added and smooth.
Continue to stir for 6 more minutes or until bubbly.
Cook mushrooms in 1 Tb of olive oil to tenderize them.
After sauce is thickened, stir in pepper and chicken bouillon.
Stir in 1/2 cup parmesan and remove from heat.

Dice chicken.
Add chicken, pasta and mushrooms to sauce.
Mix up.
Pour into baking pan. Top with remaining 1/2 cup parmesan and almonds.
Cook on 350 for 35 mins

Comfort food, yum!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Zucchini and Tomato Gratin

I'm back! Ok, I have been back since Thursday, but it has taken me a few days to get readjusted around here. I had a wonderful time cookin' with my mama! We made breakfast, lunch and dinner for 25 people for 4 days. It was a roller coaster, but everyone loved the food! I also got to see my aunt Kathy (she is actually Jeffrey's aunt, but I claim her)! She pampered me with a mani and pedi, thank you Kathy!! Then I stayed the night with my best friend, Katie Wheeler! I can't believe it had almost been a year since I had seen her. We had a blast discussing wedding plans for her big day in April. I was really excited to see everyone, but I missed my hubby! He was ready for me to be home, and to cook him some good food!

The front of the main house at Victory Ranch.
Here is the awesome kitchen we cook in! I had a blast cooking with so much room!
The view we look at from the kitchen.

We made a lot of new dishes that I am excited to share with you. I went to the store yesterday and yummy food will be coming your way soon. This recipe came from Stacey's Snacks Blog. It is sooo good, I already have it on my menu again for next week. 

Zucchini and Tomato Gratin
1/2 onion, sliced
1 zuchini
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
1/4 cup grated mozzerella
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
Chop onions, zucchini and grate cheese.

In a cast iron skillet, layer 2 Tb olive oil, 1/2 of the sliced onions, 1/2 of the zucchini, 2 Tb of bread crumbs, 1/2 the cheese and 1/2 the tomatoes. Sprinkle salt and pepper. 

Layer onions, zucchini, 2 Tb bread crumbs, cheese, and tomatoes again. Top with remaining 2 Tb of breadcrumbs and remaining 2 Tb of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake on 425 for 30 mins.

Your taste buds will be thanking you!