Monday, February 15, 2016

Broccoli Cheese Soup

After 40 years of cooking I finally found a recipe for Broccoli Cheese Soup that I like. I found it on one of my favorite blogs, Mel's Kitchen Cafe. It had a couple of hundred positive reviews so I thought I would take a chance. I made a few changes, it was excellent. I took it to a Relief Society Service Luncheon--there was nothing left, it got rave reviews. What made it wonderful? I think the combination of cheeses gave it great flavor and the fact that the broccoli was crisp tender gave it a great texture. I do know that I need to write the recipe down so I can make it again soon.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
1 can chicken broth
1 small onion diced
1/3 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
2 cups milk--heat in microwave for 3 minutes
6 ounces shredded cheese--part extra sharp cheddar, part Mexican blend
4 cups lightly steamed broccoli
1 cup lightly steamed cauliflower
Simmer diced onion in chicken broth in a covered saucepan for 15-20 minutes.
In a stock pot melt butter, add flour and seasonings. Cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
Add warmed milk and whisk till soup thickens.
Add warm broth with onion, stir.
Add cheese, stir till melted.
Add steamed veggies.
Season if needed.
I just cooked my broccoli and cauliflower in the microwave for about 4 minutes. The recipe called for all broccoli, I didn't have enough so I added cauliflower. I think lightly steamed carrots would also be an excellent addition. Steamed diced Yukon Gold potatoes would be delicious or asparagus. Use a variety of cheese, sharp has great flavor and Jack or Mexican blend cheese melts wonderfully. I think this is a great basic recipe that could have many variations.
Printable Recipe

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Double Chocolate Mint Cookie

In December I searched for Andes Red Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips. By the time I found them I had lost interest in using them. Things like that happen. So it is February and I have a couple of bags of Andes Red Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips that are aging. Red is the color for Valentines Day and mint works for any holiday.
I tried a recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe--I am happy to say the cookies were delicious. They totally would have worked for Christmas treats. I passed them out tonight to our dinner group, they were a perfect Valentine treat. If the red chips are not available the green chips would work great too. I think it is safe to say this cookie works year round!
This cookie is soft and chocolaty with a bit of peppermint crunch. The crunch is not hard like a candy cane--it is perfectly minty and melts in your mouth. The recipe called for semi-sweet chocolate chips. I like to rough chop a bar of Ghirardelli Bittersweet 60% Cocoa Baking Bar. This is my go to semi-sweet chocolate. You can get this in chocolate chips--they are excellent, but I like the variation of a chopped bar. Either way this is the only semi-sweet chocolate I use. Sounds kind of snobby I know, I take my chocolate seriously!
Choose a holiday and make this cookies--they will be a hit. I promise.

Double Chocolate Mint Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar (5.5 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3.75 ounces)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour (10 ounces)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 (4 ounce bar) Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa Baking Bar, rough chopped
1/2 cup Andes Red Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips
additional 1 cup Andes Red Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips for dipping
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine butter and sugars (yes, I really do weigh ingredients, it is quick and so much more accurate), beat 2 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs, beat well. In another bowl combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix gently till flour just disappears. Add chocolate chips/chunks and 1/2 cup Peppermint Chips. Do not over mix.
Use a medium cookie scoop to form a ball. Dip the cookie top in Peppermint Chips. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-13 minutes, cool on a cooling rack. Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies. Share quickly, they are too tempting!
Printable recipe

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

First Crush Quilt

This Stacked Coin quilt was created after I looked at several dozen similar quilts on Pinterest. I am not at all opposed to purchasing quilt patterns--I have dozens! Sometimes you just can't find the perfect pattern so you create one. That is the hard way for me because I am not a math whiz. You use plenty of math to figure out a quilt pattern. Luckily I have a sweet hubby that draws bridges for a living and does math all day. He is quite helpful in the pattern drafting department. I am happy with the finished quilt.

I would have loved a better photo and I will get one. I really just didn't want to go outside in a blizzard for the perfect photo op. This quilt is made with First Crush by Moda. The back is way scrappy. It is a great feeling to use up bits and pieces of fabric--I love how it turned out.
This quilt will live in my front room, it is all about hearts and love, I'm good with that!