Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Potato Leek Soup

This is one of my husband's favorite recipes and a really nice creamy soup for a chilly fall evening. I have to say that cleaning and chopping the leeks is not really my favorite thing, but I suffer through it for the sake of this delicious meal!

I did make a couple of changes to this recipe. Instead of using the "bouquet garni" I used ground black pepper, and dried herbs. I suppose if you didn't want little specks in your white soup, you could go for Emeril's technique, but I didn't care. Also, I left out the white pepper because I didn't have any and I also left out the cream. Once you blend the soup, I think it's creamy enough without.

Potato and Leek Soup
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse/Food Network

  • 1 large or 2 small leeks, about 1 pound
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives

Trim the green portions of the leek and, using 2 of the largest and longest leaves, make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. (Alternately, tie 2 leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.)

Using a sharp knife, halve the white part of the leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any sand. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the bacon. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved bouquet garni, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful.

Remove the bouquet garni and, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. (Alternately, if you own an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot.) Stir in the creme fraiche and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately, with some of the snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup.

Pesto Tomato Pizza

As I think I've mentioned before, Friday nights is pizza night at our place. Nine times out of ten we made Hawaiian pizza, but every once in a while I try to change it up. This pizza was a little heavy due to the very oily store-bought pesto, but still tasted quite delicious! It would probably be better with homemade if you can get your hands on any decent basil this time of year.

Pesto Tomato Pizza
Recipe courtesy of me and the hubby


  • pizza dough
  • fresh mozzarella cheese
  • pesto sauce
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 tomatoes

Roll out pizza dough and precook in a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Spread pesto sauce across crust, top with sliced tomatoes, chopped red onion, and sliced mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.

Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Gravy

I really like enchiladas, but I've been wanting to try a different sauce than the tomato based kind. I got this recipe from another blog, Smells Like Home, and thought it looked yummy! I really loved the shredded chicken mixture sooo much better than ground beef. Although the chili sauce was a nice change, I think it ended up being maybe a little too much chili powder for my liking. I might experiment with the flavors a little more next time and tone it down a bit.

Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Gravy
Recipe Courtesy of Tara from "Smells Like Home"

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1/2 a green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chili gravy (recipe follows)
  • 4 flour tortillas **I used 5 and had plenty of filling**
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and peppers and cook for about 5 min. Add shredded chicken and stir. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Remove from pan and set aside. Using the same pan, make the chili gravy as follows.
Chili Gravy


  • 1/4 cup lard **I used vegetable oil**
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp powdered garlic
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (Mexican oregano is preferred if it’s available)
  • 2 T chili powder (either homemade or a dark brand such as Gebhardt’s or Whole Foods or McCormick)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or water)
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.
  2. Add all the dry ingredients and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending ingredients. Add chicken broth or water, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens. Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes. **It took about 8 minutes for me** Add water to adjust the thickness. Makes 2 cups.
  3. Once the chili gravy is done, add 1/2 a cup to the chicken mixture and stir. Spoon the chicken mixture into the flour tortilla shells and roll up. Spread another half cup of the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish and place the rolled tortillas in the dish. Top with the remaining cup of sauce and shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 min. **I served with some sour cream**

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Menu Planning 11/18-11/24


Lunch - Leftovers
Dinner - Grilled Tuna and Cheese, Green Beans


Broiled Tilapia
Baked Sweet Potato Fries


Chicken in a mushroom pan sauce
Sauteed baby spinach


At Parents' for Thanksgiving


Left-overs or Pasta