Locro de Papa

locrodepapaOn a recent visit to Ecuador, I had this homemade soup and couldn’t wait to get back and try to make it.  This recipe is simple and the soup easily serves 5, even if some of them are teenagers.  It was great and will be served again.  We served this with Colombian arepas.  Traditional Ecuadorian serving suggestions can be found online.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoons aji amarillo paste (can order online)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 pounds yellow potatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 5 ounces Monterrey jack cheese, grated
  • Diced avocado for garnish (optional)
  • Crumbled queso fresco cheese, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Directions:

  1. In advance of cooking, boil chicken thighs in water with green onion, celery, carrots and salt for 30 minutes.  Strain and reserve liquid to use as stock and set chicken aside.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a heavy soup pot. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and optional aji amarillo paste. Sauté onions over low heat until soft, fragrant and translucent.
  3. While the onions are cooking, peel the potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes. Set aside.
  4. When the onions are soft and golden, add 1 cup of the chicken stock. Remove mixture to a blender and process until you have a smooth puree. Set aside.
  5. Add the potatos to the soup pot along with 1 tablespoon butter. Sauté until potatoes are fragrant and just start to turn golden.
  6. Add onion liquid back to the pot with the potatoes, along with another cup of chicken stock and 2 cups water. Bring liquid to a simmer, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook potatoes until they are very tender, about 20-25 minutes.
  7. Mash the potatoes thoroughly in the pot with a potato masher.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk the egg together with the cream and milk. Whisk a cup of the hot soup mixture into the milk and cream, then add it all to the soup, whisking to blend.
  9. Whisk in the grated cheese until melted. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve soup hot, place chicken in bottom of bowl, cover with soup and garnish with chopped avocado and crumbled queso fresco cheese.
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Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

cheesychickenricecassThis is a new recipe I created on the fly tonight.  Fortunately it turned out well and was devoured by the kids.  This makes enough for a 9×13 and 8×8 baking dish to both be cooked.  The key is to only put the casserole in about 1/2 to 2/3 full, because we add biscuits for a topping.  Try this sometime!

Ingredients

  • Two chicken breasts
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 oz. nacho cheese sauce
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 can biscuits

Directions

  1. Boil two chicken breasts in water with Goya Sazon (coriander and achiote)  two chicken bullion cubes, drain and and shred when finished. Set aside.
  2. In a rice cooker, make 4 cups (cooked) of rice.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup, 3/4 cup sour cream, 2/3 can of nacho cheese sauce and 1 cup milk
  4. Add in Rice and chicken and 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, mix thoroughly
  5. Pour into casserole dishes
  6. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°
  7. Add biscuit layer and continue cooking until golden brown usually 15-20 minutes.(I use the flaky canned biscuits and pull them in half)

Easy Cheesy Corn Bake

This casserole side dish is intended to feed six to eight, but if three of those are teenage boys, the servings go about four ways.  This recipe from about.com’s Southern Food section answered my search for hot side dishes using canned corn.  It went over really well and will definitely be made again.  This recipe is posted with my modifications.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 70 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, about 4 ounces
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can (approx. 15 ounces) cream-style corn
  • 1 can (11 to 15 ounces) kernel style corn, drained
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon or your favorite prepared mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh finely ground bread crumbs, divided

Directions:

  1. Grease a 2 to 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Heat oven to 325°.
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
  3. Add onions and cook, stirring, until onions are just tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in flour until well blended.
  5. Stir in salt, pepper, and milk and continue cooking, stirring, until thickened.
  6. After thickening, stir in cheese until melted.
  7. While cooking onions and thickening mixture about, in a mixing bowl, beat eggs.
  8. Stir in cream-style and Mexican-style corn, mustard, and 1 cup of the bread crumbs.
  9. Combine the melted cheese mixture with the corn mixture. Spoon into prepared baking dish.
  10. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and toss with remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs.
  11. Sprinkle buttered crumbs over the corn casserole.
  12. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until firm in center.

Baked Brie

One of the traditions that’s developed at our house is the New Year’s Eve snacking and fireworks.  Traditionally, I’ll make baked brie to snack on as we count down the time to the new year.  There are several varieties, but this if, by far, the best recipe we’ve used.  I will note that if you decide to use a blue cheese type of brie, you should not use the syrup, jam or sugar.  Just enjoy it straight.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 tube of refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 1 round or wedge of Brie cheese (do not remove rind)
  • Strawberry Jam, or other sweet jam
  • Brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. On a non-stick or greased cookie sheet, roll out the crescent rolls flat; put brie round or wedge on top.
  3. Spread jam on brie, fold dough over top, cutting off excess dough.
  4. Drizzle maple syrup and place a handful of brown sugar on to.
  5. Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes, pastry should be golden brown. (You can fit two brie rounds on one cookie sheet)
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Crock Pot Chicken Breasts

This is a new recipe I came across when I was trying to figure out a quick way to cook up some chicken breasts without needing my contant attention. Crock pot I thought!  Found this recipe on cooks.com.  I substituted provolone cheese for Swiss cheese, and to be honest, none of the low fat ingredients in the recipe went into my crock pot.

I made this with 5 chicken breasts, but used 6 pieces of cheese to cover the chicken thoroughly.

Serves 4 when teenagers are involved

Prep Time – <10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 slices of low-fat Swiss cheese
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 c. low-fat milk
  • 2 c. Stovetop Stuffing Mix
  • 1/4 c. butter, melted

Directions

  1. Lightly grease crockpot or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Place chicken breasts in pot.
  3. Top with cheese.
  4. Combine soup and milk (make sure stirring well).
  5. Spoon soup mic over cheese; sprinkle with stuffing mix.
  6. Drizzle melted butter over stuffing mix.
  7. Cook on low 8-10 hours or on high 4-6 hours.

Alfredo Sauce

Hungry kids, frozen ground beef, not much planning ahead for dinner . . . what to do?  Decided to try a little alfredo sauce recipe and cook it up with pasta, chicken, and bacon (don’t cringe, it’s really good).  If I had thought ahead a bit, I would have added some spinach to the pasta as well.  At any rate, sauce went over big.  Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded mozarella (could use romano, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesano  cheese
  • 2 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg (see tips below)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Melt butter and add flour. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to cook (but not burn) flour.  I used medium heat.
  2. Add cream and broth all at once and blend well.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until cheese has melted and sauce is smooth. Turn heat to low as cheese melts.

Tips:

The sauce is ready very quickly; I actually had to thin it a bit while my pasta cooked, so plan accordingly.

I didn’t have any nutmeg (fresh or powdered).  I substituted a pinch of pumpkin pie spice and it worked like a charm.

Keep stirring!!!

Southern Style Hominy and Cheese

This thick and creamy southern treat is extremely popular in our house.  It takes a little time and attention, but when done right gives an amazing taste experience.  Definitely out of the comfort food genre, the finished dish has a consistency just a bit creamier than a home made mac and cheese.  Try this for something different.  It will be well received.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups golden hominy, drained (this is about one large can and one regular can)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbs grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk, warmed

Directions

  1. In a cast iron skillet, combine hominy with water, salt, cheese and butter
  2. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until cheese and butter have melted
  3. Turn broiler onto high and let oven preheat
  4. Meanwhile, gradually stir in the milk and cook
  5. Stir occasionally, until thick and bubbly (if it is too runny and you are in a huge hurry add some corn starch to thicken)
  6. Transfer skillet to broiler and cook for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned

Be very careful moving this to the table, and warn the kids not to touch the skillet.  They will love this dish!