Monday, October 20, 2008

A Small Preview of the Halloween Party

When I saw these on Suburban Bliss I knew we had to make them. Scott already found me the arms.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I had some at the new Houlihan's a month or so ago and knew it was something I could re-create at home. Both the kids love this.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large onion - chopped
1 small can of those little peppers found in the hispanic food aisle (the real name is TOTALLY escaping me at the moment.)
2 T olive oil
3-4 ribs celery chopped
1 pattypan squash
(I threw this in cause I had some on hand from the farmer's market - totally optional)
2-3 cloves garlic - put through press

brown onion, celery, garlic, peppers in olive oil. Add in cubed chicken about 1/2 way through.

Add: 1/4 - 1/2 c white wine and a squirt of lime juice

Add: 1 of those huge cans of chicken stock - or homemade stock (which I am out of - guess what I'm doing NEXT weekend...)

Simmer for 1-4 hours.

Add in: 2 large flour tortillas sliced into thin strips.

When ready to serve slice up two more tortillas, lay on baking sheet and spray with olive oil spray. Cook at 375 until brown (watch closely).

Ladle piping hot soup into bowls or mugs. Add in: 1 T fat free 1/2 & 1/2 (Optional - again - I had it on hand). Sprinkle with tortilla crunchies and shredded cheese (if you like!)

This is going to be great later this week when it gets cold here. The leaves are changing, fall weather is almost here. This is why I love the Midwest and will never leave.


I know - I've made challah 3 times in the past 5 weeks or so.

This is the original recipe I've always used and it's really the best one I can make. This is "Scott's" recipe - from the News-Gazette and it pre-dates me - so it's from before 1995!

Scott's Challah
7 - 7 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 T active dry yeast (I use 2 packets)
2 c water
1/4 c sugar
1/4 margarine
2 t kosher salt
3 eggs
1 egg
raisins, popppy seeds, sesame seeds (optional)

Combine water, sugar and margarine in a saucepan and heat until just barely over body temp (a tip from Alton Brown I recently tried. Apparently I had always heated my water too hot!)

Meanwhile - mix 3 c flour and yeast in stand mixture with hook. When water mixture is just hot enough add to flour and mix well. Add in 3 eggs. Add in flour 1 cup at a time until the dough is moderately stiff and elastic - mixing for 6-8 minutes.

Place in clean oiled bowl and let rise until double. Divide dough into thirds and each third into thirds again. Work in raisins at this point if you are using. Braid into three loaves. If it's a holiday - make into a round loaf. Otherwise you may leave straight. Let rise until double again. Brush with beaten egg and top with seeds if desired. Bake in 350 - 375 degree oven for about 28 minutes. Knock on loaf when it looks done - if it sounds hollow - it's done (a tip from Cathy Holcomb.) Cool on wire rack.

This is delicious. My kids could eat nothing but this with butter for days when it's fresh. It also makes wonderful french toast when it's not so fresh. (mix egg, 1/2 & 1/2 or milk, vanilla, a splash of oj. Soak slightly stale slices of challah and grill until golden brown.)