Friday, March 21, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup

John recently posted about where he and Chris went for my Craft night. The first Friday of each month I have the ladies over for food, drink and a craft project. It is a lot of fun and much laughter ensues. For the most recent one, I thought some nice warm soup would hit the spot. So I asked John to make the Trisha Yearwood recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Here are most of the ingredients.

We boiled a whole chicken breast with the bone in to start.

Some onion and garlic to chop up.

John used the handy, dandy chopper.

A little butter in the stockpot. This has a nice copper bottom that really keeps the heat in.

Throw in the onions and garlic. This makes the house smell so good.

A little flour to make a bit of a roux.

All mixed up and ready for the next step.

Add the cans of chicken broth.

Secret weapon. A can of cream of chicken soup.

For that added creaminess, half and half. Definitely not for the lactose intolerant.

Some cumin, secret of chefs from Mexico. Or at least the one John cooked with in Mexico.

A packet of fajita mix.

Some salsa. We like the store brand. It is good and comes with fuel credits!

Then we threw it all in the crockpot to stay warm for Craft night.

We added beans.

And more beans.

And corn.

Then I shredded up the chicken breast. I have to admit, this was my only job and I didn't shred it as much as I should have. No fault of John's. He thought I could handle it.

That went into the pot next.

I forgot to take photos of the finished product which was garnished with tortilla chips, Mexican cheese and sour cream.  It was great and there were plenty of leftovers.

Here's the recipe!

My Craft night companions loved it too.  But that is all I can say, because what happens at Craft night, stays at Craft night.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Restaurant Review: The Other Place

Jo has "Craft night" with friends & family once a month, and the rule is "No boys allowed". That means I have to leave the house on those Friday nights. It makes a good time for me to meet up with our son Chris for some Friday night dinner. We recently decided to try a place we'd never tried before...The Other Place in West Des Moines. Or, as it's also known...the O.P.
They were busy, with lots of TV's with games on.
We wanted pizza...and appetizers. We've actually been there twice now (I guess we like it!), so this is a compilation of our visits.
First, a look at the double-pepperoni pizza...

Both times, we were seated quickly. They have a lot of the tall tables with tall chairs (which I do not like...very hard to get comfortable, and they are never the right height to sit right!). But they also have shorter tables with chairs, and we've always gotten one.
They have a great selection of appetizers, so we tried the platter...onion rings, mozzarella sticks, breaded mushrooms, and breaded chicken tenders. Some tasty dipping sauces, too! This platter was very good and very filling. We won't be able to finish our pizza, but that's OK...we LOVE leftovers!

They also have a basket of seasoned fries. They're not heavily seasoned, and they are the perfect size that I like. And they're crinkle favorite! They arrived very hot, as a good basket of fries should.

This is the large sausage pizza. No shortage of cheese! They use a mild sausage, and I prefer a spicy sausage. That's why we chose the double pepperoni on our second visit.

The pizza is very good. Loaded with toppings. The only thing I think could be better is the crust. It seems almost like a frozen pizza crust. But, with all those great toppings, I can let an average crust slide.

Good service, and always there to refill the diet Mt. Dew. Chris and I give the Other Place 2 thumbs up. And the leftover pizza is great the next day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Vacation Inspired Fish and Veggies

While we were in Mexico, I had some delicious fish. It was grouper with veggies. The chef was nice enough to tell me how to make it, so I thought I'd give it a try. This is how the dish was served in Cozumel. They put it all in a foil packet to steam it together. When it was almost done, open up the foil to let some of the moisture cook off.

I don't have any grouper, but we have some Swai fillets in the freezer. I got a couple out to thaw while I cut up some pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, and sliced onion.

The fish is thawed out and ready. I'm gonna throw in some cloves of garlic as well.

Here are the spices to use...chili powder, cumin, and paprika. We'll use a little salt & pepper as well.

I just sprinkled a little of each onto the fish. I used more paprika than anything else.

I sprayed some foil with nonstick spray and put it on a pizza pan. Then I added the veggies and sprinkled them with the spices as well.

Then I poured a little salsa over the top...

Seal up the foil into a pouch and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Then I opened up the foil to let some of the moisture cook off for about 10 minutes.

The finished product. Very good, and just like it was in Mexico. I've successfully re-created a favorite dish!