Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Crocks, Whatchu know about soup weather. It’s hur! This roasted red pepper soup is great with a good ole fashioned grilled cheese. If you like red peppers you will love this soup. If you don’t, you will hate it, it tastes exactly like a red pepper and some other stuff.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, trimmed and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

First cover those suckers in olive oil so they shine like a baby’s bottom. Smooth as a baby’s bottom. Same thing. Make them shine.IMG_0002Next roast the peppers in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes on each side until soft and blackened. Mine still weren’t very blacked after the allotted time so I also broiled them on a high setting for about 5 minutes longer on each side. IMG_0001IMG_0005Once ready, pull out of the oven and cover in tin foil to steam for 10 minutes. Then remove foil and allow to cool. When touchable, peel off the skins and pop out the green stem and seeds. This will call for some careful dissecting.

Now for creating the soup. In a large pot over medium heat, add some olive oil and toss in the onions and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are clear. Next, add the carrots, celery, and parsley- about 3 minutes longer. IMG_0004Then put in your cumin and bay leaf. The original recipe I was following also called for garam masala, but I did not have this so left it out, otherwise add 1/2 a teaspoon. Stir to combine all and then add your roasted pepper chucks and stock.IMG_0006Cover and turn heat to low. Let simmer for 20 minutes until carrots and celery soften. Your nose will tell you when it’s ready. IMG_0008Now for the disaster. I transferred the soup to my food processor oh so carefully, made sure the lid was on tight, pressed pulse, and red pepper hot ass soup flew all over me and my kitchen. My food processor was and is broken!!! WHO KNEW. I feel like I get myself in these situations a lot. I immediately became pissed and my ‘hanger’ levels really started to surface. I think for these reasons people HATE cooking. Somehow, I managed to clean everything up though and place a dish cloth around the lid and finish pureeing the soup. I then transferred everything back to the pot on the stove, stirred in the heavy cream, added salt and pepper to taste, and ate a Oreo to calm my nerves (was out of wine).IMG_0009

All in all, my two *scents*- let the final product marinate overnight, it’s twice as better the next day. Oh and have a proper working food processor or an immersion blender would even be better. Note: must invest. That night I would say it was descent. I ate a full bowl and even had seconds, but it did seem bland. However, I did pack the soup for lunch the next day and it tasted like a new soup! I’m talking Trader Joe’s worthy. I brought Fallon a tuber ware of it too and she was happy. I think the flavors just needed some extra time to really come through and say hey, I’m here to party.

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Summer Tacos

Hola Crockheads,

Recently, I had a Crockpottuesday dinner with Christine, Catherine and Brett. The menu was Cilantro and Basil Mango Mojitos, Fruit Bruschetta, Black Bean Tacos with a Creamy Avocado Dressing, and Grilled Corn. I have been craving grilled corn all summer, but there has always been one problem-I don’t own a grill. I can’t wait til the day that I have an actual yard allowing for a grill. #1-Keeper will finally be in the picture and I’ll be over the moon and #2- a grill will open up so many new cooking doors.corn 2 Indulging in a plate full of foods straight off the grill is such a satisfying summer feeling. Also, eating delicious, colorful foods while wearing cut of shorts and a light weight tank top is why summer is the best season—I could definitely live in summertime 365 days a year. Give me a huge slice of red juicy watermelon with large black seeds, a cold pitcher of tropical juices with cilantro and basil leaves, a fresh avocado, and the hot summer sun and I’ll be set.girls

Good food, good drinks, and good friends.This is such an ideal night off work for me. Enjoy the recipes and get to cooking and grilling before summer is over!

Cilantro and Basil Mojitos

1 oz. simple syrup

1.5 oz. Rum

2-3 lime wedges

2 tablespoons cilantro and basil, chopped

3 mango slices mango, chopped

Soda water

This is the recipe we found for one individual mojito drink. After all of us having comical views on the proper way to go about making the cocktail, we decided to make one large community pitcher. We said to heck with the measurements and just mixed everything together using our taste buds as guidance. There were no complaints. This is a great summer drink to enjoy out on the porch and share with friends. mango drink 2 mango drinkEven Moe was intrigued!

moe and dirnks

 Fruit Bruschetta

1 loaf French Bread

Strawberries

Peaches

Watermelon

2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar

1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves

1 Log blueberry Goat Cheese

Place the fruit and basil leaves on a cutting board and dice everything into small pieces. Combine in a bowl and drizzle on the balsamic vinegar. Preheat oven to 350F. Slice the French bread and bake for 8-10 minutes until toasted. Spread blueberry goat cheese on each slice of French bread and then carefully place fruit mixture on top. Ready to serve immediately and makes for a great appetizer.fruitsalsagoat cheesebruchetta 2bruschetta

Black Bean Tacos with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Flour or Corn Tortillas

2 15oz. Cans Black Beans

1 Cup Salsa

1 tsp. Cumin

Toppings

Shredded Lettuce

Chopped Tomatoes

Chopped Avocado

(for the sauce)

2 Small Avocados

1 Small Jalapeno

¼ Cup Cilantro, stems removed

1 Green Onion-diced

1 Clove Garlic-diced

Juice from 1 Lime

¾ Cup Buttermilk

Salt and Pepper to taste

To make the Avocado Dressing, pour all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside in refrigerator and begin making the tacos.veggieslimebutter milkphoto In a pan over medium heat, add beans, salsa, and cumin. Keep beans on a low heat setting and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, take tortillas and warm them for a few minutes in the oven. Once beans are ready, begin platting the tacos. Place the tortilla down first and then add the beans, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and spoon on the Avocado Dressing. The dressing is my favorite and has been great for additional meals I’ve been making . It certainly has a kick and is a bit on the spicy side. Also-Catherine, thank you for your artistic picture taking skills of the below tacos! taco taco 2 plating

As for the Grilled Corn, we set six ears of white corn on the grill. Once some of the kernels showed beautiful blacked grill marks, within about 7-10 minutes, we transferred them to a plate. The corn was so fresh the only thing it needed was some good ‘ole southern butta!grill cornOverall, this was a very pretty meal and the display of the tacos with the different colors provided a nice summer touch. We sat outside on Christine’s porch and enjoyed a beautiful Charleston night. Thanks for hosting Tine, Brett, and Moe!friends

Thanks for reading Crockheads! Let me know about your recreations!

Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing

final 2“Keen-Wah!” I can’t say the word without giving a karate kick after. Quinoa is a very popular food right now that is ‘trending’ all over the food world, probably as much as the gluten-free fad. Anyways, I never had experienced quinoa before this recipe.  For some reason I always compared it to wheat berries.  I’m not sure where this comparison arose from because they could not be more different. I highly dislike wheat berries and their hard texture that you have to bite into. Quinoa on the other hand is soft and has a delicate grain texture similar to couscous. The grain is also high in fiber with lots of protein, vitamins, and minerals. So coming to you now, a beautiful karate chopping healthy salad!

Ingredients

  • 1 box of quinoa (4.9 oz.)
  • 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bell pepper (you pick the color- I used red), diced
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn
  • 4 green onions, chopped

Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp. basil

Mix ingredients for the salad dressing together and set aside in the fridge.

dressing

Next cook the quinoa according to the package directions and let cool. Place beans, tomatoes, pepper, and green onion in a salad bowl.

bowl

Boil water and cook the frozen corn 5-10 minutes. Add corn and cooled quinoa to salad bowl.

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Pour dressing over top and chill before serving.

I have been taking this salad to work the past couple of days and its been the perfect healthy snack.  Next time I want to make a quinoa salad with mozzarella, tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocados. The quinoa possibilities are unlimited! Hey Callee, maybe you could even make a Mexican Quinoa salad! Enjoy and please share any ways yall have cooked with quinoa!

callee

 

Vegetable Stock Pasta

Last week I lived off a recipe I found from Pinterest, with some Susu edits and additions. Who knew to make pasta in vegetable stock!?? Yall must make this recipe- it was delicious, healthy, and easy to cook!

final

Ingredients

  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 12 oz. fettuccine
  • Shake of oregano, parsley, thyme, cracked pepper
  • Splash of EVOO
  • 4 oz. frozen cut spinach
  • 1 cooked boneless/skinless chicken breast, shredded
  • Red wine (for drinking)

ingredientswine

Directions

Place the vegetable stock, onion, garlic, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms in a large pot on the stove.

pot

Break the fettuccine in half and add it to the pot.

pasta

Shake your spices on top and splash your EVOO. Then push the pasta down under the broth so it is fully covered. Place a lid on top of the pot and turn the temperature on high to create a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer (stirring every few minutes so the pasta does not stick) for 10-15 minutes.  After the allotted time the pasta will have soaked up most of the stock and you can add in the frozen spinach. The heat from the pasta will thaw out the spinach.

spinach

Finally, add your shredded chicken to the pot and mix everything together. At this point all of the stock should be soaked up.

chicken

The pasta was extremely flavorful and the stock really enhanced the taste. I can’t believe I’ve always made pasta in water when I could be using savory stock! This pasta would probably feed easily 5-6 people, but because it was just me, it lasted all of last week. And I have to say, the leftovers got even better because the pasta had time to marinade in the stock with the other ingredients.

Suggestion: Don’t be shy with the add-ins, they really complemented the pasta well and I wanted more.

After my week of eating Vegetable Stock Pasta, I headed up to Greenvile to visit my main dawg Katie Nichols. We wagged our tails all over the city and went to many restaurants and bars including The Lazy Goat, Chicoras, Tupelo Honey, Spill the beans, Bohemian, Sip, and The Green Room. We were busy explorers and had a great weekend. And ps, Katie just got a crockpot so stay tuned for her Friday Feature!

katie

Chicken Noodle Soup….SIKE!

quoteAmish Noodles: the KEY to messing up a perfectly good Chicken Noodle Soup recipe that has been cooking for hours on low while you were at work dreaming off dunking a hot toasted buttery grilled cheese into the warm delicious soup. Now, coming to you an excellent chicken pot pie recipe!

final

Ingredients:
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 handfuls of carrots
1 onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup peas
3 Tbsp EVOO
2 cans chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken
1 cup water
shake of dried thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper
2 bay leaves
16oz of Amish Egg Noodles
fresh parsley
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Place the chicken breasts on the bottom of the crockpot. Load on top the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. Drizzle olive oil over top then add in chicken broth, cream of chicken, water, spices, and bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.

 

chix 2

all in

broth

*Note: Be careful when you invite your friends over for Chicken Noodle Soup.

Discard bay leaves and remove chicken from crockpot. Shred chicken apart with two forks. Add noodles, peas, and parsley to crockpot and increase the temperature to high and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and return the chicken to the crockpot.

 

shred

amish*Note:Freak out when noodles have soaked up all of your broth and you are left with stuffing. Check pasta bag and realize you bought Amish Egg noodles instead of regular egg noodles. Amish egg noodles turn into a thick doughy pasta, similar to a dumpling.

Well, lesson learned and all I have to say is I’m thankful for Danielle, Odom, and Shannon for being very understanding and positive guest. I served them stuffing in a bowl with grilled cheeses…and they were happy. I on the other hand was cursing the Amish pasta. The next night however was much better because I placed biscuits on top of my leftover “soup” and it was the perfect chicken pot pie (or chicken and dumplings if you will) creation.

pie 3Next time you can count on regular egg noodles.

Cranberries and Pork

Cranberries and Pork yall! I feel like you can’t say that without a huge southern accent. This recipe was passed down from my Dad who got it from a family friend, Linda Bollag, and I changed it up a bit. The original recipe called for cooking a pork loin all day and then serving it sliced with the cranberry dressing on top. I was making this dish to take to an oyster roast so I needed it number 1. to be easy to eat standing up and number 2. to allow for a beer in the other hand. Solution: Pull that pork apart baby and make it pulled pork with cranberry dressing! It turned out really good and had sweet, fruity, and saltines all happening with three ingredients: cranberry sauce, 2 pound pork loin, and Lipton dry onion soup mix.

The hardest part of this simple recipe: Making the cranberry sauce

Ingredients:

1 large pear, peeled, diced
12 oz fresh whole cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh orange juice
zest of 1 large orange
1/4 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
I had some minced ginger- so threw in about 2tsp
1/4 tsp salt
cran
Mix all the ingredients in a large pot on the stove and bring to a boil.Then turn the heat down to medium and occasional stir for 12-15 minutes, making sure the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pot. (Note: Don’t be alarmed by the popping sounds, these are the cranberries popping open.) Once the time has passed and the cranberries have turned into a jelly type substance, remove from the heat and let the pot sit for about 20 minutes. Refrigerate immediately after. I cooked this part the day before so it could cool overnight.
The next day was Crockpotting day! Mary was in town and we had a full day ahead of us in Charleston. We started off at the Farmer’s Mark, had crepes for brunch, then I got volunteered to be jumped over in the street kids performance at Marion Square, dabbled in a little shopping, and then made it to the new Beir Garden for the Carolina game (which we dominated…OH and Callee…sorry about the spray). The best part…my pork was cooking the whole time! I didn’t even have to do much except for a few steps in the morning.
Rub the pork loin in a package of Lipton dry onion soup mix, place it in the crockpot, add some water as to not dry it out while cooking, and pour the cranberry mixture on top. I set the crockpot for 8 hours on low and was out the door.
meat
The Oyster Roast was at Larry and Emily’s house. They are always great hosts and have the sweetest grassy side yard with adult furniture, a palm tree, and a fire place.The oyster table was set up in the middle along with corn hole boards. It’s nights like these that make me happy to live back in the South!
friendsSide note: This cranberry sauce is also a good addition to a Thanksgiving turkey! Travel safely, have a great holiday, and GO GAMECOCKS!! Er ah er ah errrrrrrrr!

Homemade Pizzas

Hola Amigos,
Two words for you: Mexican Pizza.
Last night Catherine came over after work and we crafted up two beautiful pizzas and had so much fun in the process…as you can see!Image
Tuesdays have become a ritual of eating dinner together and watching ‘New Girl’, which if you’re not on that train yet…you should be.ImageAnyways-pizza. The original plan was to cook Mexican quesadillas, but then I had a thought: what if we put those ingredients on a pizza!? A loaded pizza topped with Mexican goodness is way better than the typical flimsy tortilla option (holding true for yesterday). Pizzas are very easy to make and allow you to be as creative as you want. It’s like playing with play dough for big kids. I have to give credit to Christine for the Mexican inspiration. I remember one time she used refried beans instead of tomato sauce on her pizza and it was delicious. I decided to use the same method for pizza number 1 and add to it the following ingredients:

 Mexican Cheese
Mozzarella
Onions
Red Peppers
Grape Tomatoes- halved
Cilantro

For pizza number 2, we decided on a margherita variation pizza with the addition of other cheeses I had in my fridge.

Gorgonzola
Mozzarella
Brie
Fresh Basil
Grape Tomatoes-halved 
Tomato Sauces

The whole pizza making activity is really a fun project. We used fresh dough from the Harris Teeter and Catherine was in charge of kneading it and rolling it out to create perfect pies. I mean, look at that circular pie..that honestly might be perfect (she’s an artist duh). She then added the sauce bases to each pizza. (Use a little flour here because fresh dough is sticky).bean spread red sauce spread
Next we added our toppings to each pizza.
 into the oven
Once our pizzas were fully decorated, the bad boys went into the oven at 415 degrees for 15-25 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on them because we noticed the two pizzas cooked differently. The Mexican Pizza cooked for an additional 10 minutes after the Margherita Pizza.
While the pizzas were cooking, I made guacamole to put on top of the Mexican Pizza. For my last birthday, Ben got me a Molcajete. This is Spanish for a mortar and pestle (that’s what I meant Mom, sorry I didn’t mean to say ‘Grinder’). I hadn’t tested it out yet so last night was the perfect opportunity. For my guacamole I used:

2 Avocados
1/2 Lime-squeezed
1/4 cup White Onion
2 Basil Leaves- chopped
Cilantro Leaves-chopped
Grape Tomatoes- seeded and chopped
Sea Salt

guac 4 pics

Then our pizzas were ready!mexican pizza

Mexican Pizzacheese pizza Margherita Pizza

(Did not turn out as pretty because of the color from the gorgonzola cheese, but don’t let it fool you!)

guac pizza

We also added sour cream to the Mexican Pizza. Sorry we’re not sorry 🙂

guac pizza up close

Both Catherine and I agreed we would have paid mad $$$ for these pizzas. I would certainly recommend making the Mexican Pizza which was my favorite and don’t be shy with the toppings!

The rest of the evening we cozied up and watched New Girl and then proceeded to watch the ABC special of the magician David Blaine. YALL. I just have to say, I am weirded out by David Blaine. Honestly, I think it might really be magic. I couldn’t sleep.

Good night Crockheads!

Tomato-Basil and Spinach Risotto

“Cooking is at once one of the simplest and most gratifying of the arts, but to cook well one must love and respect food.” –Craig Claiborne

For some reason I did not get any artistic genes. I can’t paint, draw, sing (except when I play the Susu game ‘Sing Serious’ and belt out When a Man Loves a Woman), act, pose with pursed lips into a camera, heck my handwriting isn’t even good. BUT- I do have love and respect for food. When I browse for recipes, the pictures of food are what first catch my eye and captivate me.  The radiant colors from fresh ingredients, the placement of food on a clean plate, the garnishes, and the drizzled sauce designs for the overall appearance of the dish are all ART and crafted with purpose. The Tomato-Basil and Spinach Risotto immediately grabbed my attention for those reasons and the vibrant red and green colors in the dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tlbs butter
  • 1/2 Shallot, minced
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 3/4 cup Arborio Rice
  • 1/4 cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/2 Container of Grape Tomatoes (about 25)
  • 2 cups Spinach
  • Fresh Basil leaves
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated

To begin, heat on low butter in a sauce pan and heat chicken broth in a separate pot. Add the shallots to the heated butter and saute until they are clear. Next add in the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, adding salt and pepper to season.

shallot

Then add in the arborio rice, making sure it is covered in the butter.

rice

Next add in the white wine, I used Pinot Grigio, and make sure to continuously stir the rice mixture.wine

Now for the heated chicken broth on the back burner. Add the broth one ladle at a time to rice. The key is to ‘just keep stirring, just keep stirring’ and slowly add ladle by ladle. This takes about 15 minutes.

stock

After all of the broth is absorbed, add the grape tomatoes followed by the spinach and basil leaves.tom spinache

The final step is to grate the parmesan cheese on top!

cheese

I served the risotto with tilapia, a fresh water white fish. I prepared the fish by splashing it with lemon juice, sprinkling on lemon pepper seasoning, and then placing panco breadcrumbs on tops. I baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. Note: I would recommend first browning the fish on the stove in some olive oil to create a crispy outside. My fish was too bland and needed a crunch to mix up the soft texture.final

Please leave me your suggestions on how to perfect the act of cooking tilapia!

Quiche

Hello my Crockheads,

Now this entre has nothing to do with my crockpot or a restaurant review. Crockheads…coming to you now…QUICHE! I don’t know what it was about Quiche that made me never consider, or really want, to make it, but Yall! Quiche is where it’s at! Who knew?? I recently made a quiche that no lie-I ate for an entire week…lunch and dinner. It was that good! I had read a couple different recipes and decided to use the basic guidelines and then add my own ‘stuffings’.

I used:

  • Pillsbury Pie Crust
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion- diced
  • Steamed Broccoli (2 cups)
  • Mushrooms (1 cup)
  • Diced Ham (1/2 cup)
  • Shredded Swiss Gruyere Cheese (3/4 cup)
  • 9 slices of a Sweet Potato 🙂
  • 3/4 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2tbsp Butter

First prepare your quiche by placing the pie crust in a casserole dish:photo_1

Begin to sauté the diced onion and mushrooms with the butter for about 5 minutes. image

Next whisk together the four eggs and the heavy cream and milk.photo_5

photo_6

Then  add your steamed broccoli and diced ham to the pan with the  sautéed onions and  mushrooms for another 5 minutes.

image

Then layer the pie crust with your shredded cheese and transfer your vegetables on top.

photo_7

Now the fun part! Take the egg and milk mixture and pour it into your casserole dish. I had a sweet potato so I also decided to cut up some slices and decorate the top.

photo_2

photo_8

Finally place your quiche in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes and then let cool before serving.

photo 9

I am now a quiche fan. The possibilities are limitless. You can make a breakfast quiche, a lunch quiche, a dinner quiche…okay I’ll stop. But, what’s cool and easy about a quiche is all you have to do is follow the basics and then you can add in any ingredients you want.

Right Jerri Foley?

Thank you!

Fresh Salmon!

Recently salmon has been my go to meal when I want to cook something nice for myself. I’ve been getting it fresh at the grocery store and it is super easy to cook, doesn’t take long, and I like to think pretty healthy. I have made salmon dishes twice in the past couple weeks and have been very happy/impressed with the outcomes. The first time I made it I created a marinade of:

1.5 tsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp fresh parsley

3 fresh cloves of garlic

1/8 cup of olive oil

2 tbsp of lemon juice

1/2 tsp of salt

image I mixed everything together in a bowl and then generously brushed all sides of the Salmon. imageThen I placed the salmon in a casserole dish and a thought came to me. I had a bunch of left over walnuts that I needed to use so I decided to crush them up and place them on top of the salmon. I baked the salmon at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, making sure it was cooked through but also nervously checking to ensure not overcooking the fish. image It ended up being perfect. Can you say that salmon is tender? It sounds weird when talking about fish, but this salmon separated with the touch of my fork. The dijon and lemon flavors were radiant and the walnuts created a warm crust on top which I was so happy about. I served the salmon with a pesto basil cous cous, tomato, and avocado salad.

image

The 2nd Salmon dinner night I was feeling confident and decided to hell with the measurements, I’mma wing it! I used all the same ingredients, but made the marinade much thinner by adding more olive oil so I could also use it as a salad dressing. I also decided to leave out the walnuts on this one. I lightly brushed the salmon with the dressing and then hit it on the stove top first before transferring it to the oven. The skin of the fish immediately started sizzling and once it was browned I finished it off in the oven. HOLY FISH. The skin was amazing. It tasted like the skin from fried chicken. I placed the salmon on top of a beautiful salad with arugula, avocado, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, goat cheese, and beets. The rest of the dressing I poured on top and had myself the perfect salad.

image

In the past I have never really cooked with fish and now I am a huge promoter…screw the chicken.