Monday, December 31, 2012

Prolonging the Holidays

Try as I might to make Christmas last longer with baking and re-watering of my already-crispy-dry-Christmas tree, the Holidays are coming to an end. It's time to look towards a new year--sure to be full of new adventures, new beginnings, and new recipes!

But before that happens. . . I'd like to reminisce just a bit more. :-)


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Minestrone Soup fit for a Queen!

... and her King can have some too :)  

It's winter here finally and everyone is either battling the cold or a cold as in my case. And what better weapon to wield in such a battle than flavorful, hot, homemade soup! 

Last night, the counters were covered with fresh vegetables, cans of beans, spices galore, a large cutting board, an ancient food processor, and a huge soup pot. The kitchen was soon filled with mouth-watering scents and a minestrone soup was in the works. 

This recipe was based on the Olive Garden minestrone soup, with a few personal adjustments of my own. I grilled some "Italian spiced" chicken and shredded it for the soup once it was done. The grilled flavor and juices from the chicken worked in so well to the soup.

If you're feeling cold, hungry, or in need of something delicious, make this soup!


3 chicken breasts, grilled and shredded 
2 Tbps olive oil
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 whole yellow onion, diced
4 big cloves garlic, minced

2 cups of Tomato sauce 
3 cups beef or chicken broth (I used beef)
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, un-drained

Small handful of fresh Basil, chopped
1 tsp dried Oregano
3-4 sprigs of fresh Rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp Marjoram 
1 Tbsp Cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste 

1 15 oz. can of Kidney beans, drained
1 15 oz. can of White beans, drained

1 1/2 cups of uncooked pasta  (I used ditalini pasta) 


0.  Heat up the grill and begin grilling your chicken breasts. I seasoned my chicken breasts with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, Cayenne pepper, oregano and balsamic vinegar. 

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the ditalini pasta until al-dente. (They will cook some more in the soup.) Drain and rinse with cool water and set aside. 

2. Heat the oil in the bottom of the soup pot. Using a food processor, dice up the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Throw in the chopped veggies into the pot to begin cooking on medium (about 3 minutes). 

3. Add the tomato sauce, broth, and diced tomatoes. Stir together. You may need to turn up the heat just a bit. 

4. Add in all of the spices and herbs to the mix and stir again. I also added about a tablespoon of cayenne pepper because I like a bit of spice. 

5 Dump in all of the beans and bring soup to a simmer. Cock the lid just a bit and cook on medium low. 

6. When the chicken is done, shred all three breasts with a fork and add to the soup. Continue simmering for another 10-15 minutes or so.

7. Right before serving, add in the cooked pasta. 

8. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and toasted bread on the side.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

CRACK!! I mean..Roasted Chickpeas!!

I bet you can't eat just one! 

This recipe was adapted from *  THIS  * recipe by Anja. My sister and I made up our best recollection of the recipe and threw these bad boys in the oven. When they came out, we literally had to pry them from our fingers and put them away in a container to keep from eating the whole batch!


1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed and patted dry

1 Tbsp of olive oil

Your choice of spices! We went with an Italian flair:  (See Anja's recipe for another variation)
- Garlic powder
- LOTS of Red chili flakes (cayenne powder is better, but we didn't have any *sob*)
- Italian seasoning
- Fresh rosemary
- Salt
- Pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
2. Dump the rinsed chickpeas in a bowel and drizzle with olive oil. 
3. Sprinkle in all of the spices and toss the chickpeas to coat well. 
4. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes or until crunchy.