Creamy Red Potato Soup

I hold my breath. Wait for the news. The news that my husband’s cancer is back. The news we have been warned about for months and test after test shows up inconclusive results…we wait…and we wait…and we wait.

The call finally came. The results are positive.

Here we go.

A road to intense chemos and transplants…and hopefully a cure.

Breathe. Pray. Love. Fight.

I won’t lie. This will not be easy.  I will spare you the sacrifices two young people make when cancer rears its ugly head. Let me just say, it is all worth it. Worth every effort, even if effort never seems to be enough. Worth every sacrifice, even when you thought it was the dream. Worth every moment of screaming, I WILL NOT GIVE UP, even through the bad news, bad days, and never-ending trips to the doctors.

And you know what? In the next few months, we get to eat lots of soup. Lots and lots of delicious soup. And man, do I love soup. I mean, I was pretty much giddy when the temps fell into the 70s – close enough for soup and chili weather for me! So, there are some pretty delicious times we get to look forward to.

To prepare for the next few months, we have been taking many several steps to ensure everything on our end goes smoothly. So, I am calling out to all of you for a bit of help.

I have created a page called “Guest Blog FAQ” and I am looking for some posts for the next few months to fill in for when I will be focusing on getting us through our new daily routine. I am truly blessed to be a part of such an amazing group of food bloggers and I would love to return the favor sometime down the road. If you would like to help out, please check out the Guest Blog FAQ page and let me know if you would like to be a part of our fight, one delicious meal at a time. :)

If you want to follow us as we progress through the next few months, I will be using the hashtag #teamwatson for updates on Twitter. (Yep, move aside Hermione/Emma Watson fan clubs!)

Thank you to all of my loyal readers and fellow foodies, I sincerely hope you enjoy this Creamy Potato Soup. Plus, I promise there will be lots more soup goodness to come!

Enjoy!



Creamy Red Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups red potatoes, diced
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced
  • 2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
  • bacon salt (or you can use regular salt) and cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Use 1-2 tablespoons of flour to thicken, if needed
  • Optional: diced ham or bacon (fully cooked)

Method:

  1. In a large stock pot add potatoes, celery, onion, chicken stock, bacon salt and pepper. Cover and cook on medium-low heat until vegetable become tender. Approx. 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  2. You can now pick using either an immersion blender or a large food processor. For immersion blender: Use blender to mash up soup to desired consistency, try pulsing in order to leave a few potato chunks. For food processor: Transfer half of the soup into the processor and blend until creamy, then stir back into soup for a nice mixture of creamy soup and chunky potatoes.
  3. Turn heat to low and stir in milk and cheese, stirring until completely blended in. If using ham or bacon, add it in at this time. Serve hot with desired garnish – bacon bits, cheese, saltine crackers, diced green onions, etc.

Source: modified from allrecipes.com recipe for Golden Potato Soup.

Cranberry Nut Granola

I hope everyone had a delightful (and delicious) Labor Day Weekend. It is hard to believe that September is here, but lucky for us, this first week has brought with it some gorgeous Kansas weather.  So, we are kicking off the week with our favorite snack-time, hiking-trip treat…Cranberry Nut Granola!

I am not kidding when I say that this particular granola is addicting. I literally had to hide a few handfuls from myself yesterday so that I would still have enough to take a few glamor shots.



This granola has a sweet kick to it with sticky honey and a handful of brown sugar mixed in with the tart dried cranberries. Throw in a handful of your favorite almonds and this is a delicious high-energy treat that will help you power through all of your activities. You can also add in different dried fruits and nuts or even a handful of M&Ms to make this granola your own! Sweet!

Enjoy!



Cranberry Nut Granola

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Method:

  1. Heat oil to med-high heat in a large skillet and add oats. Cook until starting to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Then transfer oats to a cookie sheet.
  2. In same skillet, turn heat down to medium heat and add butter and melt. Then add honey and brown sugar and stir together until all melted together and then stir back in the toasted oats. Cook for another 5 minutes or so and then pour mixture back onto cookie sheet and allow to cool.
  3. Once cooled, transfer to a large bowl and stir in almonds and cranberries. Store in an air-tight container and enjoy!

Source: Allrecipes Stove Top Granola

Spinach and Vegetable Quiche

One of the reasons I love quiche so much is the fact that it is one of those dishes that is perfectly acceptable at any time: Breakfast, brunch, lunch with a side soup or salad, dinner, even snack time! The second thing that I like so much about quiche is that you can make it any way you like it. Personally, I love veggies and especially spinach so this one is full of leafy green goodness. But, you can sub in practically anything else, broccoli, tomatoes, red or green bell peppers, meat like ham or bacon or sausage, or you can even jazz it up with feta cheese, roasted red peppers, and more.

Oh, and the very best part? You probably guessed it. This is soooo easy to make. Seriously, you could do it with your eyes closed (but I wouldn’t recommend that).

This quiche is super flavorful because of one of the “secret” ingredients – which is a package of veggie dip. To be honest, I am not too big a fan of traditional egg-y, cheesy quiche. But, with this quiche the vegetable taste shines through. We first encountered this quiche when visiting our family in Wichita, my mother-in-law is very good at making awesome food that usually makes its way on here. So, when we had her version of this, I knew I would have to make some too! So, I hope this inspires you to do the same!

Enjoy!



Spinach and Vegetable Quiche

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup low-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 package veggie dip
  • 9 inch pie crust (we used pre-made, you can also try crustless!)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven  to 350 degrees F. Prepare a pie pan and arrange pie crust.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat oil on medium heat and saute onion until transluscent. Then add spinach and saute until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs together and then stir in milk, veggie dip, cheese, and add spinach mixture. Mix until evenly distributed. Then pour into prepared pie crust.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes clean. Remove from oven and let set for 20 minutes before serving. (Tip: try letting the quiche set in the fridge the night before prior to baking to let all the flavors soak in & for a fresh breakfast treat!)

Spicy Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

If you have 10 minutes, you can make these sandwiches. This is my perfect back-to-school, busy/hectic schedule, oh-shoot-what’s-for-dinner meal. All you need is a few ingredients and a skillet and you’re pretty much set.

Originally, I had wanted to create a spicy Asian sandwich, made pretty much the same way but with a spicy BBQ teriyaki sauce (sauce recipe still to come!). But, unfortunately, as hectic schedules go, I had too little time and only a handful of ingredients on hand. (And – a good tip to always remember – never buy hoisin sauce unless it is LOW sodium, ours is way too salty).

This is a great Labor Day meal too and I may be making this again for the weekend. If you have some more time, here are some killer sides (pictured) that rock this meal.

So, if you have a spare few minutes, you will love this one! And the best part is, you can totally jazz this up even more if you have the time: make your own sauce (try this one!) or you can use a slow-cooker instead of the rotisserie chicken and throw in chicken breasts with the onion and BBQ sauce (add your favorites spices or veggies too!).

Enjoy!



Spicy Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 8 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon hickory smoke powder (or smoke)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 8 oz. barbecue sauce (we used a local favorite, Oklahoma Joe’s)

Method:

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Dice onion and saute until transluscent. Add shredded chicken and saute for another 3-4 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together BBQ sauce, paprika, and hickory smoke powder. Then add BBQ sauce to chicken and incorporate until evenly mixed. Cook for another minute or so.
  • Serve pulled BBQ chicken on whole wheat buns with your favorite sides!
  • Mini Monster Cookies

    Mini monster Cookies, also known as, amazing little bites of chocolate-y, peanut butter goodness. If there was a substitute for therapy, sometimes I think it would be in the form of the aforementioned treat. Nothing quite says “everything will be OK” like a freshly baked cookie.

    These cookies are amazing for many reasons. Of course, they are extremely delicious. Plus, their bite-sized nature allows you to share them with all of your best friends and still have some to spare. Bring them to the office, give some to your neighbor, bake them for family game night or a back-to-school bash, they are pretty much perfect anywhere in my book. (I guess, unless you have a peanut allergy…in which case, I recommend these tasty guys instead).

    So, make these cookies. Why? Because they are awesome. Why else? Because they are made to share. Make ’em, Bake ’em, Share ’em, and while your at it, give someone you love a hug.

    Enjoy!



    Mini Monster Cookies

    Ingredients:

    • 3 eggs
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
    • 5 cups oatmeal
    • 1 cup milk chocolate chocolate chips
    • 1 cup mini M&M’s
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla

    Method:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a large baking sheet.
    2. Whisk together eggs and vanilla and melted butter and set aside. In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, granulated sugar, & baking soda and add in egg mixture and mix well. Next, add in the peanut butter until mixed well. Gradually add in the oatmeal until well mixed. Mix in M&Ms and chocolate chips until evenly distributed
    3. On a greased baking sheet, using a melon baller, scoop out dough and then flatten a little. Keep them about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until they just start to turn golden brown. Makes 4 -6 dozen.

    Honey Dijon Chicken + Roasted Broccoli

    Honey and Dijon Mustard are two condiments that seem to always be in high demand around here. We slather the two on sandwiches or pretty much anything else we can find. So, of course, combining the two into a delicious marinade was a natural choice!

    I love this chicken with the honey dijon sauce because it is a super flavorful option when you are crunched for time (especially if you don’t have time to let the chicken soak in the flavors for a few hours). Paired with one of my favorite side dishes – garlic roasted broccoli, this meal is a formidable duo of deliciousness.

    Enjoy!



    Honey Dijon Chicken & Roasted Broccoli

    Ingredients:

    Honey Dijon Chicken

    • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 1/2 cup dijon mustard
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

    Roasted Broccoli

    • 2 heads broccoli, separated into florets
    • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 clove garlic, minced

    Method:

    1. To prepare Honey Dijon Chicken: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste and place in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. In a small mixing bowl, combine the honey, dijon mustard, paprika, basil, and parsley – mix together until well combined (you can modify the honey/dijon ratio to your individual taste here, we added a little extra dijon b/c we like a less sweet taste). Pour 1/2 of the mixture over the chicken and brush to cover.
    2. Bake chicken for 30 minutes, then flip chicken peices over and pour remaining 1/2 of the honey dijon mixture over chicken and brush to cover. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the juices run clear. (While baking chicken, use the time to prepare the broccoli). Let chicken cool while broccoli is cooking.
    3. To prepare Roasted Broccoli: Heat oven to 400 degrees after removing chicken. Prepare a large non-stick baking sheet. In a large bowl, toss broccoli with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic until evenly covered. (Tip: We use tupperware instead, close the lid and shake until all the ingredients are well incorporated) Spread broccoli onto the baking sheet in one even layer and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the florets are tender enough to be pierced through the stems. Serve with Dijon Chicken!

    Source: Both recipes modified from Allrecipes.com