Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup

Tonight we celebrated Luke passing his final language exam for his doctoral studies in Theology!! Woo hoo! He just found out he passed his French exam. Luke has dedicated the last several years to learning, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish and French. Whew! I’m still working on English…how ’bout you?? šŸ™‚ I had this Mexican Chicken and Rice soup planned for dinner and it turned out to coincide perfectly with Luke passing his exam. It’s one of his favorite meals so it was a great treat for him!!Luke went on and on and on about this meal! Had I not forgotten the sour cream, he said it would have been in his top five favorite meals ever!! Wow! I really blew it šŸ˜‰ This is delicious topped with cheese, broken chips, avocado, cilantro and Luke’s beloved sour cream. We had it with Bisquick’sĀ gluten free biscuits on the side. If you haven’t tried Bisquick’s gluten free mix…it makes delicious biscuits, pancakes and even strawberry shortcake! It is VERY good. Try it! Below is this yummy recipe that my dear talented mother came up with from scratch! Thank you, Mom!

Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup

Serves 4
Prep: 20 minutes Cooking: 1 hour

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinlessĀ chickenĀ breasts, cut up into bite size pieces
6Ā cups water
6Ā teaspoons Better Than BouillonĀ ChickenĀ Base
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can sweet corn
1 can green chilies
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 cupĀ rice

In a stock pot, sautƩ the onion and celery in olive oil until tender. Boil 6 cups of water and add 6 teaspoons of bouillon base, mix well. Add the broth mixture to the stock pot and bring to a boil. Then, add the cut up chicken to the boiling broth mixture. Poach the chicken (about five minutes, or until all the chicken turns white). Then add the diced tomatoes, green chilies, sweet corn and carrots. Add cumin, chili powder and cilantro. Bring the soup back to a boil and then simmer for at least one hour. Rice may be added about 30 minutes prior to serving the soup or rice can be prepared separately and added to each serving bowl with the soup mixture.

Note: I prefer to prepare the rice separately. When serving up the soup add a couple of scoops of rice to the bottom of your bowl and pour the soup over the rice. Then top with sour cream, cheese, chips, avocado and cilantro.

Enjoy!!

And last but not least, I just want to say how PROUD I am of my sweet husband!! I feel so blessed to be with such a hardworking, talented and holy man. Thanks be to God! šŸ™‚

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Herb and Vegetable Garden

I’m so excited about our new herb and veggie garden! Luke and I were inspired by the cookbook The Silver Spoon (Thank you Fr. Anton!). We had initially planned on just planting an herb garden…but one thing led to another and now we have some veggies, too! The idea to plant our herbs in a barrel came fromĀ this lovely ladies blog. I picked ours up at Home Depot for about 20 bucks. We planned on using plexi-glass to divide the six herbs but I found something less expensive in the same section at Home Depot and it seems to be working just fine!
The six herbs below are planted together in the barrel, with basil planted separately. We just used up a lot of our basil in this recipe last week. Yum!Thanks to our herbs it smells sooo good to sit outside on our front porch! The cilantro has really taken off…I can’t wait to use it in our Mexican Chicken and Rice soup this week! We also decided to plant some veggies and see what happens! We bought two different tomato plants, red bell peppers and some red chili peppers! We found this cute little planter online at Home Depot. Though we don’t live in the city, it’s perfect for our small yard. The planter has a self-contained watering system which means I won’t have to worry about over or under watering. It has received great reviews so I can’t wait to see how it works! I almost forgot…we also planted some garlic! We planted them from some cloves we had in the kitchen and they’ve really taken off in the past week or so! Fun!I spotted this little critter while Luke was planting the veggies. I had to be very careful not to make any sudden movements to get his pic! These little guys can be spastic!Last but not least we also picked up a bougainvillea plant that we are hoping will eventually wrap around the columns framing our front door. Time will tell! Oh, and we got the little scarecrow (above) and a pumpkin to help get into the fall spirit! I also plan on making an autumn wreath soon and then I will post a pic of the front of the house so you can see the “big picture.” Can’t wait until it has all come together šŸ™‚

Cream of Tomato Soup with Basil

Oh, how I love fall! It is my favorite time of year (next to Christmas). We don’t get to experience fall here in Florida so I am going to pretend we do by cooking up some fall deliciousness and decorating the house with fall decor! First up, this hearty Cream of Tomato Soup with Basil and fancy mozzarella grilled cheese. Mmmm this did not disappoint. Luke and I stuffed ourselves to the brim. It began pouring rain this evening and turned out to be the perfect day for soup. Nothing like soup on a rainy day. Now I am about to snuggle up on the couch while my husband serenades me on the piano. Hello, Friday!
This is my first time making tomato soup from scratch. I have no idea why it turned out orange…do you? I was going to make a simple Cream of Tomato soup and began following a recipe but soon decided to change my plans and add some fresh basil from our herb garden we just planted. I plan on trying lots of different versions of this all fall long! It’s perfect with grilled cheese. My favorite gluten free bread is Udi’s Whole Grain Bread. It is in wide circulation so you can probably find it in your local grocery store…if not, you can buy it online.

Cream of Tomato Soup with Basil

ServesĀ 4
Prep: 35 minutes Cooking: 1 1/2 hour

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about three cloves)
2 cups, fresh basil leaves
2 1/4 lbs plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and sliced
3 cups chicken broth/stock (I use Better than Bouillon)
2 potatoes, diced
scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, to serve

Melt the butter in a large pot, sautƩ the onion and garlic over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour in three cups chicken broth and the diced potatoes. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for one hour. Transfer to a food processor or large blender and process to a puree, then pour back into the pot. Reheat, then stir in the cream. Pour into a bowl and top with Parmesan and fresh basil to garnish.

Note: If you have never peeled, seeded, and sliced tomatoes like me, I found this website to be very helpful! It worked like a charm. However, I found peeling and seeding the tomatoes to be pretty time consuming…might try a recipe that calls for something canned next time.

Enjoy! I plan on posting about our new vegetable and herb garden soon!

Lasagna Bolognese

This was too good not to post. I’ve never been a huge fan of lasagna….until now šŸ™‚

This recipe is originally from The Silver Spoon, but can also be found here. The recipe in that link calls for ground beef, however, you can use a variety of ground meat. It can also be adapted for those of you who are gluten free like me by simply using gluten free noodles. My favorite are the Tinkyada Brown Rice lasagna noodles. They are superb šŸ™‚

We had ours with grilled asparagus on the side. Drizzle a little olive oil over the asparagus, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill on high heat for about three minutes. This is our favorite way to make asparagus…sooooo yummy! Enjoy!

Eggs with Tomatoes

Happy Saturday! What a great way to start our day with this yummy breakfast and a fun skype session with family! The recipe below comes from our favorite cookbook The Silver Spoon. If you like Italian cooking and love good food…it’s a must!Eggs with Tomatoes

Serves 4
Preparation: 30 minutes Cooking: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
4 large tomatoes
pinch of dried oregano
4 eggs
1 sprig fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush an oven proof dish with olive oil. Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and some of the flesh. Sprinkle the insides with a little salt and place them upside down on a paper towels for about 10 minutes to drain. Season the insides of the tomatoes with oregano and pepper and divide the olive oil among them. Place the tomatoes in the prepared dish and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, break an egg into each tomato, return the dish to the oven, and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Note: We don’t like our eggs quite as runny so we put them back in the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes! Maybe our oven is off or maybe the recipe is off…you decide!I’m off to pick up some items for our herb garden that I will be planting today…can’t wait to see how it turns out šŸ™‚ Have a wonderful weekend!