Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chicken Fiesta Chowder


I love soup.  And I'm always looking for good soup recipes, but still, I had a hard time purchasing a $10  magazine.   Do you?  I love all the special publication magazines--especially the ones that come out in the fall for autumn and the holidays.  I have to pick and choose, because I could easily spend  $20-$50 in special publication  magazines each week.  YIKES!
But one I'm glad I did pick up was the Taste of Home Heartwarming Soups.   I have marked about  20 that's I want to try---that's only  50cents a recipe. Not a bad deal, huh?

I love chicken soup and I love tortilla soup and I love beans and rice and chillies and corn. This soup was all those things/had all those things.   Plus the fact that Beth Jenkins Horsley of   Belmont, North Carolina (the Taste of Home contributor) won first place in a hometown newspaper cook off with this recipe--how could I go wrong?  

We really enjoyed this soup.  It was good, easy to make, had common ingredients that are easy to find in your local market.     While I did like it, the Handyman liked it more than I did. He loved it.  That should be reason enough to make it again, his seal of approval.  He used to think of soup as something awful...out of a can, watered down broth and a random noodle or two, but now that he's been introduced to real soup--homemade-- he loves it.  And he especially liked this one because it was hardy--like a meal--with a slight Tex-Mex flavor, which he loves.   
The reason I hesitate to say that I too, loved it,   is that I put in too much lime juice.  It calls for 1 T and I squeezed in a whole lime (and it was a really juicy lime).  It was a bit tangy for me--BUT that didn't discourage the Handyman--He ate 3 bowl fulls in one sitting.  He really liked it.   So, I guess  tanginess is all in the eye of the beholder.
I also forgot to buy cilantro which the Handyman was happy about--me, not so much, as I love the taste of it.

The bottom line?  It was a really good, slightly spicy  (but you could really spice it up if you wanted to),  fall soup.  I will try it again, without so much lime juice for me.  Oh, and don't forget the cilantro.



Chicken Fiesta Chowder
Taste of Home special soup edition 2012

3 T all-purpose flour
1 envelope fajita seasoning, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into  1-inch cubes
3 T canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups water
1 can, (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (11 oz) Mexicorn
1 can (14 oz) Mexican stewed tomatoes, juice and all
1 cup uncooked instant brown rice
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
1 can  (11 oz) condensed nacho cheese soup, undiluted
3 T minced fresh cilantro
1 T. fresh lime juice

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour and 2 T fajita seasoning; add chicken.  Seal bag and shake to coat.  In a large saucepan, saute chicken in oil until no longer pink. 
Remove and keep warm.

In the same pan saute onion until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in water, beans, tomatoes, corn, rice, chillies and remaining fajita seasoning. Bring to a boil.  reduce heat, cover and simmer for   5 minutes or until rice is tender.

Stir in the soup, cilantro, lime juice and chicken. Heat through.




Satruday Snapshot



I always thought this picture was funny--if you look fast, it looks like on big long zebra, but upon closer inspection you can tell it is two zebras and a big rock.
We took this a few years ago when we visited the Portland Zoo. 

I'm linking to At Home With Books,  weekly meme, Saturday Snapshot.
Thanks Alyce for hosting.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pumpkin Pecan Tassies




Everybody has had the pecan tassies, those little miniature pecan pie like treats, right?  I love them.  I also love pumpkin pie, so when I came across this recipe the other day, that used a pumpkin filling along with toasted pecans, I thought why not?  I'd give them a try.  It was a wonderfully cool day--a day that felt like fall, and what is fall without the taste of pumpkin?  Well, in my book anyway.
The recipe, which I found in  a Taste of Home Cookie Collection cookbook, said that the extra steps were well worth the effort.  I didn't think there were that many extra steps.  It was an easy recipe for me to make.  Funny how we all have different perspectives, isn't it.  And--this never happens to me---the recipe came out exact.  24 balls of dough and the exact amount of filling. I usually have too much of one, or not enough of the other.
I think if you like pumpkin and pecan pie and a little butter rum flavor (did I mention the rum extract? YUM!),  you will love these little cookies.   I did.
I ate them when I made them, and I ate some the  next morning for breakfast with my coffee. They are so good!




Pumpkin Pecan Tassies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 3oz package cream cheese, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour


Filling:
3/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
4 tsp plus 1 tbsp butter, melted--divided
1 egg yolk
1 tbls half and half
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp run extract
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 cup chopped pecans

In a small mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Beat in flour. Shape into 24 balls. With floured fingers press onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased mini muffin cup pan. Bake at 325 for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, pumpkin, 4 tsp butter, egg yolk, half and half, extracts, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spoon into warm cups.

Combine the pecans and remaining brown sugar and butter; sprinkle over filling.

Bake 23-27 minutes longer or until set and edges are golden brown.
Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Snicker Doodles

August 27th was my last post?  MAN!  My hat goes off to all you 'daily' bloggers.  I just can't keep up.



I know this cookie is nothing new...but it's always been one of my favorites.  In fact,  I like them better than America's favorite cookie, the chocolate chip. But for some reason I never make them.
Last month, I was asked by a good friend to make some for her daughter's bridal shower, so I whipped out the old Betty Crocker cookbook---the one I got for my high school graduation, oh so many years ago  (back when teenage girls had 'hope chests' and collected homemaking stuff )--and made the traditional, nothing fancy, old-fashioned Snicker doodle.  And man was it good!  All sugary and cinnamony.  Mmmm. It was just like my mom used to make, because--it was the one my mom used to make!  (not flat, but a bit puffy)
No need to look any further than Betty Crocker.


What's your favorite 'nothing fancy, traditional, old-fashioned cookie?"



Snicker Doodles
from Betty Crocker
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour*
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 T sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
*I added  1/2 cup more flour than was called for. 
Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix thoroughly: butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and the eggs.  Blend in flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt.  Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into balls.
Mix the remaining sugar and the cinnamon; roll balls into mixture.  Place 2 inches apart on un-greased baking sheet.
Bake  8-10 minutes or until set.
Immediately remove from the baking sheet.
**I also refrigerated my dough for an hour or two before baking, and raised my heat to 415 degrees.  I have no rhyme or reason for this EXCEPT that I didn't want flat cookies.  I wanted them to be puffy like my mom's.  Since I live at  4000 feet above sea-level, sometimes I have to fiddle around with baking instructions.




My cookies featured at the shower... I wanted to share because the yard was so beautiful!



The backyard before the guests arrived.  And yes, those are parasols hanging from a tree.  It was so pretty.  And the Snicker Doodles were a hit!

My Big Backyard (on Thursday instead of Wednesday)

Because I'm a nerd, I want to see how my backyard changes throughout the year. So! I'm going to take a few pictures of it ea...