Chorizo, Kale & Potato Soup

January 12, 2022

Greetings from the house of Covid surrounded by frozen tundra!

We are going on our second month of the virus slowly going through our family (good times!) and I am so thankful that I got it first so I can play nurse to everyone else. Our 4 year old twins seem to be made of teflon and have yet to get it that we know of, but it does mean for lots of baking, baths and abc puzzles as they quarantine away January.

I don’t know about you, but under duress, comfort food needs to also be easy food. I can finely chop ingredients and slow cook meat all day when everything is smooth sailing, but add another job like nurse to my roster and I need food to be easy. I actually have so many fun recipes to make for this blog this year, but for right now I am relying on one pot, ten ingredients or less dinners. But crusty bread is always a must.

I looked in our fridge and found chorizo and potatoes singing to me, and I whipped up this super simple, 7 ingredient soup, and it totally hit the spot.

It was such an easy lunch to warm up for anyone, and it was great to have a different soup in the rotation. (For other soups we had a lot of recently, see this Chicken Gnocchi Soup, Sausage and White Bean Soup, and this Greek Wedding Soup with lots of lemon. And I recently posted on Instagram about our love of tomato soup – it is in our weekly rotation with lots of grilled cheese.)

There are a lot of variations you can make with this soup, and you can treat this as a clean out the veggie drawer soup – chopped carrots, celery, spinach, zucchini are all great additions, and you can swap out beans or pasta for the potatoes and corn. The best part is the chorizo is so well seasoned that it infuses the soup with flavor.

I loved this simple version, and it warmed me up all week as I entertained preschoolers and tended to sick kids.

I hope your family is staying warm and healthy, and that you get to cook up something simple and delicious to bring everyone together for dinner.

Chorizo, Kale & Potato Soup 

1 med onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

8-10 oz. chorizo, cut in half moons

2 cups potatoes, cubed

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon pepper (more to taste)

6 cups chicken broth

2 cups kale, sliced

10 oz. corn

Directions:

Heat 2 T oil in heavy pot over med heat. Add onions and cook for 3-5 min until soft. Add garlic and chorizo and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add potatoes and cook for 2 minutes more. Add bay leaf, salt & pepper and broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 min or until potatoes are tender. Add kale and corn and cook for 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve warm with crusty bread.

The Best Chocolate Fudge Sauce

December 21, 2021

It doesn’t really feel like Christmas until I start making my mom’s chocolate fudge sauce as gifts for everyone. I love how excited our friends and neighbors get because, well it is like chocolate crack. I make it every year, and every year I congratulate myself on how easy it is to make a huge batch of gifts. It’s also so cute the way the teachers who have one of our kids in class get excited because they know they have chocolate sauce coming at Christmas. 🙂

The reason why it is so beloved is because when it is cold in the fridge (where it needs to be stored) it has a thick, fudge consistency like frosting. But when you heat it up it is liquid chocolate, and it is so good over ice cream. You’re going to want to stock up on Candy Canes too because crushed peppermint on top is the best. Sometimes I get lucky and find the special edition peppermint ice cream but the topping is just as good.

This is by far my most requested recipe and I can’t believe I am just now getting to put it up on the blog.

The best part of making this for gifts? It is only 4 ingredients and it takes 10 minutes.

You start by melting the butter and the chocolate chips together…

Then once that is smooth you add the sugar…

And right after that you add the evaporated milk, bring to a boil, then reduce to low for 8 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom, and to help the sugar dissolve and the rest of the chocolate chips to melt.

Then you’re ready to let it cool a little, and in 10-20 minutes stir it well, and then pour into glass jars.

PRO TIP: Use a funnel. It makes things so much easier and less messy. 

I have taken notes in my cookbook how to times the recipe by 4 or by 8 which I’ll share below because it makes cooking in bulk so easy.

The Best Chocolate Fudge Sauce

For 1 jar: 

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk (equal to 1 5 oz. can)

For 4 jars: 

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup butter

2 2/3 cup sugar

2 2/3 cup evaporated milk

For 8 jars: 

6 cups semisweet chocolate chips = 3 bags

2 cup butter = 1 pound package

5 1/4 cup sugar

5 1/4 cup evaporated milk = almost 4 cans

Directions: 

In a small heavy saucepan melt the chocolate and butter over medium heat. Add the sugar, gradually stir in the evaporated milk until sugar dissolves. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Boil gently over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn). Remove from heat, cook slightly. Serve warm over ice cream or cover and chill and store in the fridge.

Original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

 

Eggnog Brioche French Toast

December 17, 2021

This is one of those recipes that I have been making for years around Christmas and my family loves (especially my husband!) so I am so glad I am finally sharing it with all of you!

The fluffy texture of brioche (or challah bread, I am using here) makes for the lightest, pillowy soft french toast, and the flavors of eggnog – with its sweet cinnamon and nutmeg flavors – go so perfectly together. 

This breakfast is so easy but is so special, perfect for quick holiday brunches while you are busy doing a million other things.  And it totally feeds a crowd – I am full after one piece.

The little dusting of powdered sugar is my kids’ favorite and just adds to the Christmas brunch allure.

To make it, you just combine all the ingredients in a bowl and then dunk each piece of brioche into it.

I love to use our indoor grill pan which is a skillet on one side, and it cooks 6-8 pieces at a time.

This dish is such a treat and will fill everyone with the flavors of the season. You are going to want to grab some extra eggnog this year and keep some brioche in the freezer for the slow mornings of Christmas week.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Eggnog Brioche French Toast

Ingredients

 

2021 Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies

December 10, 2021

Got a foodie in your life? Are you a foodie and working on your list? Well I’m here to help with all of the cool new items and cookbooks I’ve discovered in the past year. These are all things that I have bought and loved or am very excited to use (looking at Item #1)…so without further ado, here is my 2021 Holiday Foodie Gift Guide.

  1. A Raclette Grill –   I’m so excited to try this for our family party on Christmas Eve. What is not to love about grilled meat and veggies and melty cheese? We’ll have some cheese and chocolate fondue on the side for the kids and some other apps too. Originally a Swiss tradition where skiers could bring types of food that wouldn’t spoil up the mountain like potatoes and cheese, they discovered that putting these both near fire where the cheese melted and scraped onto the potatoes – the French word for scrape translates to ‘racler’ – was both easy and delicious. (If you want to learn more about the history or how to use it see this website).
  2. Theology of Home Linen Napkins, Cutting board, and Taste of Italy gift set. There is so much to love at the TOH Mercantile, their coffee, their candles, their new tablecloths. I have my eye on the wonderful kitchen towels, and the stunning charcuterie board looks great as part of your kitchen decor and is functional too. The Taste of Italy set is the perfect gift for a special foodie – their olive oil is amazing, and it is cheaper than tickets to Rome.
  3. A Dumpling maker – I just got this and can’t wait to try it. The options seem endless, dumplings, pierogies, and especially empanadas. We love all of these and once we nail down the recipes we like I’ll try share here.
  4. America’s  Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Cookbook – A friend on Instagram recommended this and I just got a copy. She is such a loving cook for her family of six and said it is one of the best slow cooker cookbooks she has had. It is surprising how hard it is to find original recipes for slow cookers that have a lot of flavor, so I’m excited to try it.
  5. Brod & Taylor Knife Sharpener – At $59, it’s an investment, but ask a foodie how much they would pay to have sharp knives and then you know this is a steal. (Plus they say it lasts 5 years). My peace of mind and sense of well being goes up dramatically when I notice I’m fighting cutting an onion or a piece of meat and then I sharpen my knife, and then it cuts like butter. So basically, the foodie in your life will for sure love this contribution to their mental health.
  6. Cacio E Pepe Sweatshirt – I first saw this on Jenny Rosenstrach’s IG stories (her daughter was wearing it home from college #parenting goals) and the company has a ton of other cute foodie slogans and favorites. You can find a few less expensive versions on Etsy so also search there, but I loved Novel-mart’s whole product line so wanted to share theirs.
  7. XXL Air Fryer – We tried the air fryer train a long time ago but the one we had fit maybe 8 chicken wings and wasn’t very practical. Enter this XXL size one that cooks a whole chicken. I can’t think of an item I have heard more people rave about that their air fryer so I think we’re going to have to try again.
  8. The Ultimate Cheese Making Kit – after trying Ina Garten’s recipe for ricotta and realizing how easy it is, a kit like this sounds so fun. It has so many different kinds of cheese, and learning about how each one is made is so great for kids (and us!) to learn where our food comes from and how it’s made.
  9. A Wok – My pan cabinet felt complete until I grabbed a new wok when it was on sale and wow – I use it at least twice a week. So just in case your favorite food is still making stir fry in a skillet, this gift will be put to good use. (There are more expensive, hand hewn woks on Amazon but a basic one works too!)
  10. Taco vs. Burrito Game – this game has almost 12,000 reviews on Amazon and was created by a 7 year old. Our crew will love this! Can’t wait to put it under the tree.
  11. Stonewall Kitchen Pine Breakfast gift set – We live a short drive from the Stonewall Kitchen headquarters and I have tried a lot of their products. This set is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, perfect for those slow mornings after Christmas.

Happy Shopping & Cooking & Eating friends!

xoxo Katie

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

November 27, 2021

Note: This is a repost from last year because this soup is my favorite way to use up turkey after Thanksgiving. The broth is so good if you make it from your turkey carcass, but if you don’t have it don’t let that stop you. This is the ultimate healthy comfort food. 

I didn’t intend for this to be a blog post. This dish started as me just using up the turkey carcasses we froze after Thanksgiving.

But then I tasted it.

As usual with home cooking, simple ingredients, slow cooked, with flavor make the best best dishes. And this soup was SO delicious I had to share it. So here we are. If you don’t have a turkey carcass left over, consider just making this with chicken. It is that good you can’t wait until next year.

I made a huge pot of Turkey stock yesterday in our lobster pot and cooked for 3+ hours. If you have never made stock, check out my post here.

While it simmered, I cleaned out the fridge and tackled organizing projects in the kitchen. So basically, a clean fridge plus a delicious soup with crusty bread on a cold rainy day = the perfect evening. Plus making stock is so great for using up all those veggies in the veggie drawer that have seen better days.

Sometimes it can be hard to sell my family on soup for dinner, but everyone took a bite of this and raved. It is totally thanks to the delicious broth that adds so much depth of flavor, plus the comforting, stick to your ribs feeling from the creaminess of the butter and milk and cream.

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I hope you still have a turkey carcass you can use up! If not, just pull this post up next year. You’ll be so glad you did!

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup (find printer version here):

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup uncooked wild rice blend*
  • 1 small yellow onion , chopped
  • 2 medium carrots , diced
  • 2 ribs celery , diced
  • 6 Tablespoons butter , divided
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 4 1/2 cups turkey (or chicken) broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds turkey meat, diced (can substitute chicken breasts, see step 5)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (or half & half)
Instructions
  1. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.

  3. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté until slightly tender. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

  4. Stir in the broth, thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. *If using chicken breasts, add and bring mixture to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and allow mixture to boil for 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, then remove chicken to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.. If using pre-cooked turkey, skip to next step.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add turkey meat (or chicken meat) and cooked rice to the soup.

  7. In a separate medium saucepan melt remaining 5 Tbsp butter over medium heat.

  8. Add flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking vigorously, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken.

  9. Add this mixture to the soup pot and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in heavy cream or half & half. Serve warm.

Adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch’s Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Crème fraîche, Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes

November 18, 2021

You guys. These are the BEST mashed potatoes. I am thrilled to share them, crazy about them, and hope someone out there gets to try them.

But first a little back story:

After we had our twins, we decided to get our Thanksgiving meal from a good restaurant. It felt smart and easy and we all enjoyed the day and still cooked a few sides and apps. It was so good we did it again when they were 1. The next year, my sister passed away right before Thanksgiving, and in our grief, we got it again. The next year Covid still had us turned upside-down so we ordered it again, but a big hole was felt by my sister and me and my mom (even though she had still always made her stuffing because we can’t have Thanksgiving without it). We missed our traditions.

So this year we are finally taking it back, and it feels like we have emerged from some kind of tunnel and I can see the light.

So with that backstory, I was so exited to find some ways to update the classics on our families Thanksgiving menu. When I saw this post from Ali’s Kitchen it looked beautiful! She used scallions and cilantro, but I had so many herbs on my deck I decided to use a combination of scallions, thyme, parsley, and cilantro. Then I thought about the chicken that I made from Mimi Thorisson’s cookbook with creme fraiche, shallots, garlic and lots of herbs. Ali’s potatoes call for buttermilk but I thought they would be so good with creme fraiche.

I was right. Oh my gosh, the tang it gives the potatoes is almost like a hint of lemon. (Some lemon zest would be a fun addition to these flavors too).

So let’s talk mashed potatoes. My no-fail way to make them is always to peel and cube Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, and then put them in a pan with water, then put that over medium high heat and bring that to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a knife and they feel tender.

Once you have mashed the potatoes, stir in the butter, salt and pepper, and creme fraiche. I really can’t get over how good these are with this tangy, creamy addition.

To make the herby mixture, heat 3 T. oil in a pan, and add scallions, garlic and shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the rest of the herbs, salt and red pepper flakes. (These are optional but I almost recommend serving kids some of the potatoes with out the herby mixture and letting the adults have it with the heat.) Keep in mind you can use any combination of your favorite herbs here, but this combination was really good.

I hope you get to try these they are swoon – worthy. And I hope your Thanksgiving is full of food, family and fun.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Crème fraîche, Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

5 lbs. Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 T. unsalted butter (add more to taste if preferred)

2   7-8 oz packages Crème fraîche

3 T. salt, divided + more to taste

milk, if needed for texture

pepper

For the Herby Garnish:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced, to yield a heaping half cup or so
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional but so good)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

Place potatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt in a saucepan and cover with cold water.

Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Return the potatoes to the pan and sprinkle 2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp pepper over them and add 2 T. butter. Mash the potatoes, stirring to incorporate the butter and salt. When mashed, stir in the creme fraiche and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

To make herb topping, heat pan over medium heat with 3 T. olive oil. Add scallions, shallots, and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add parsley, cilantro, and thyme. Add salt and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes more until onions are browned a little and everything is fragrant.

When you are ready to serve, put hot potatoes in a bowl and swirl it around to create peaks and valleys. Spoon herby topping while it is warm all over. If needed, put tin foil over it until you are ready to serve.