Creamy Tomato and Garlic Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons – ★★★★★

ImageI came across this recipe on pintrest which took me to Cheap Recipe Blog. Haley, the creator, has an amazing site and my stomach started to growl as soon as I started browsing. Please take my advice and check out her recipes because, my gosh, they ALL look amazing (I should note that I make no profit on this blog and Haley did not ask me to say any of this. It is my sincerest opinion). Tomato soup and grilled cheese is total comfort food where I am from, and seriously I don’t think there could be a better pair. This soup is not your ordinary Campbell’s condensed tomato soup. Now that I know how easy this is to make I’ll  never go back. Perry gave 5 stars and this is why:

“Tonight’s soup was so was creamy and rich. I would describe the overall flavor as savory sweet. The tomato, onion and garlic chunks make it thick and filling. My favorite part was the grilled cheese that practically melted into the soup. Five stars!”

Serves: 8+     Calories: 141/serving of soup + 173 if you use half of a grilled cheese for croutons     Time: Approximately 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 (28 oz) cans of whole plum tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (this is essential don’t skip it!)
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half or whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt, pepper, paprika, parsley, basil and garlic powder, to taste
  • If doing the grilled cheese croutons you’ll need bread, butter and shredded cheese of your choice to do so

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, sauté onions in olive oil until the begin to become translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  2. Crush the whole tomatoes and add them (with the left over juice) to the pan, after the tomato mixture warms, add baking soda and stir well. It will froth but do not worry that just means it is doing it’s job. 
  3. Add chicken broth, half-and-half, and sugar, and mix well.
  4. Add spices and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  5. While soup is settling cook up a grilled cheese and slice into bite sized squares. Use half of the grilled cheese croutons per bowl of soup.
  6. Dish and enjoy!

*Original recipe found at http://www.cheaprecipeblog.com

*Photo is an original belonging to me

 

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One Pan Chicken and Veggie Bake – ★★★★★

ImageI love “one pan” recipes. I’m a messy cook so dirtying only a single pan is a huge deal for me. This dish is simple and packs a lot of flavor. I added a few things to the original recipe I found on pintrest so if you are interested in seeing the original you can find that here: http://www.highheelsandgrills.com/2013/09/green-beans-chicken-and-potatoes-one.html

There were a ton of comments on the original recipe that were about “busts”, but that is because they didn’t use fresh green beans and tried to substitute with weird watery stuff. Please try to stick to these recipes as best as you can because, seriously, this is an incredibly delicious dish. Also, the photo above was taken before the dish was cooked. Your chicken and veggies should not be raw when all is said and done 🙂  Perry gave 5 stars and here is why

“I walked into our apartment and the smell was so savory I couldn’t wait to dig in. Everything about this dish was great. The chicken was zesty and cheesy, the potatoes were perfectly soft and seasoned, and the green beans had nice browned edges that practically melted in your mouth. I’m ready to have this for dinner again very soon.” 

Serves: 5          Calories: 375/serving          Time: 15 prep time – 1 hour cook time

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1 lb chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 lb baby red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 zesty Italian salad dressing seasoing packet
  • 1/2 cup of butter, split into about 12 small pads
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, to sprinkle on chicken

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Prep green beans, chicken and potatoes, and toss each with a small sprinkling of italian seasoning (don’t use all of it just a little bit)
  3. Lay the prepped green beans, chicken and potatoes in a 9×13 baking dish with chicken in the middle (as pictured above) 
  4. Place the butter pads all over the dish and sprinkle the rest of the italian seasoning packet over the dish as well.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste
  6. Bake for 1 hour, then remove and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the chicken. Cover with foil and bake for an additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted/bubbly. 
  7. Serve and enjoy!

*Original recipe belongs to http://www.highheelsandgrills.com

*Photo is an original belonging to me 

Mini Cheesecake Bites – ★★★★★

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Perry occasionally invites his band mates and their wives over for dinner. Since they put up with him and his crazy antics during the 80s I feel like I really owe them 🙂 Because of my deep appreciation for them all I try to make dinner really special. We don’t usually make sweets unless we have guests because frankly I’m terrible at baking. These mini cheesecakes were good because they required minimal work on my part and were delicious. I didn’t get Perry to sit down and write a review because we were enjoying our guests, but the general consensus was 5 stars. The fact that our guests requested to take some home tells me they really enjoyed dessert. 

Serves: 48 minis     Calories: 95 per mini      Time: Approximately 45 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12 oz) package of vanilla wafers
  • 2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (21oz) can of cherry pie filling 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Line mini muffin tins with mini paper liners. If you do not have a mini muffin tin just set the paper liners on a baking sheet. Put a vanilla wafer at the bottom of each liner.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.*It helps to soften the cream cheese for a few seconds in the microwave.
  4. Fill each mini paper with mixture almost to the top. If not using a mini muffin tin do this very carefully.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and let cool.
  6. Top with a few cherries and filling.
  7. Enjoy!
*Original recipe belongs to http://www.allrecipes.com
*Photo is an original belonging to me
 

Chipotle Chicken Pop-ables – ★★★★✩

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Chicken breasts + chipotle powder + panko crumbs = absolute deliciousness! I personally feel that there is nothing better then an oven baked, crispy, popcorn-chicken with spice. These bitty bites are all of the above. They are bite size making them a fun weeknight dinner option. This recipe is very simple and quick which is perfect for us. The only catch is that to reheat you really have to do it in the oven. Perry gave 4 stars and this is why:

These chicken poppers are quite spicy and very juicy. I like that they are small enough to eat a handful and think that they would be good for game-day snacks. My only complaint is that I don’t have an oven at work so as left overs they were not as good. This is why I gave 4 stars instead of 5. They are best reheated in the oven because it keeps the crumbs crisp. 

Serves: 4+     Calories: 210 per serving     Time: approximately 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite size pieces
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 cup panko crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs usually found next to regular bread crumbs at the market)
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt +more for seasoning chicken
  • Ground pepper to taste + more for seasoning chicken
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Lightly season diced chicken breasts with salt and pepper
  3. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spritz with cooking spray
  4. Lightly toast panko crumbs in a dry pan. Watch this closely because it will toast very quickly and you don’t want it to burn. Toast until it is lightly browned, think golden. 
  5. In a bowl mix together seasonings and add toasted panko. Set aside 
  6. Whisk the egg and pour into a separate bowl with your diced chicken. 
  7. Individually roll the pieces of chicken in panko/spice mixture and set on baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  8. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes. 
  9. Serve with your favorite condiments and sides. 
  10. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me