Pizza Margherita

This was SO good!! Luke said it was the best pizza he has ever had! I think he was flattering me but…it really was super delicious 🙂The recipe can be found here: Pizza Margherita. The only change I made was to add more basil. It calls for 3-4 large basil leaves cut into strips. We love basil so I used about 9 to make sure I could cover the whole pizza. This is definitely going to be a regular for us 🙂

For those of you who are gluten free…we use Chebe Bread Pizza Crust Mix. It is really yummy!

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Chicken & Vegetable Spaghetti

This is quick, easy and delicious…my favorite combination! My mom tore this out of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine last year and I am just now getting around to trying it out. So glad I did! The original recipe calls for broccolini but we used one of our favorite veggies, asparagus. We threw it on the grill first and then added it to the pasta. We also substituted grape tomatoes for cherry tomatoes and it was super yum!Chicken and Vegetable Spaghetti

Serves 4
Start to Finish: 35 minutes

Ingredients:
2 cups pearl onions
12 oz dried spaghetti (I like Tinkyada gluten free spaghetti noodles)
8 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut in bite-size pieces
8 oz. asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth (I use 2 cups water and 2 tsp. Better than Bouillon Chicken Base)

In a large pot of water (enough to cook noodles) cook the onions for 3 minutes. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same water cook the pasta according to package directions. While pasta cooks, in a 12-inch skillet cook chicken in a tablespoon of hot oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes until white all over. Add asparagus and onions. Sprinkle with parsley, salt and red pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, 2 cups broth and spaghetti. Cover, simmer about 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Notes: Substitute broccolini, broccoli, green beans, peas or zucchini for the asparagus. Substitute yellow or red cherry tomatoes for grape tomatoes.

We grilled our asparagus for a couple of minutes before adding it to the pasta. Just drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill on high heat for about three minutes. Remove from grill and cut into bite-size pieces before adding to the pasta.

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?? 🙂 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 😉 This is delicious topped with cheese, broken chips, avocado, cilantro and Luke’s beloved sour cream. We had it with Bisquick’s 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, skinless chicken breasts, cut up into bite size pieces
6 cups water
6 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Chicken 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 cup rice

In a stock pot, sauté 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! 🙂

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 from 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 🙂

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

Serves 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, sauté 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!