Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup

Ahhhh….soup, good in spring, summer, fall, and winter. Especially in fall and winter. However, when you are short on time and hungry for comfort food, this is the recipe for you. Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup is a healthier option than the typical broccoli cheese soups that are loaded down with heavy cream and or half and half. Not that I have an aversion to half and half, it’s just a little too good to be considered healthy. Not that this dish isn’t good…well that got this post off to an awkward start. Ahem. In the past I have posted a few soup recipes that are good for those who are sensitive to lactose, and while this soup does contain some milk, you can easily omit the milk entirely and use only coconut milk. As long as you add a little extra cumin and or black pepper to cover up the coconut taste.;) Using a blend of cheeses gives this soup more flavor and color, making it an impressive looking dish to serve to both family and friends.

The Ingredients: 2 cups finely chopped broccoli florets, 1/2 to 1 cup matchstick carrots, 2 red potatoes or 1 small yellow onion, 1 cup evaporated milk, 3/4 cup coconut milk, 3 to 3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, 1/2 cup colby jack cheese, 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional), 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cumin, 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs, 3 tbsp. butter.

Mince broccoli florets, dice potatoes or onion. Add 1 tbsp. of the butter and the diced potatoes to a medium to large soup pot over high heat. Saute for ten minutes, add the broccoli, carrots, and remaining butter. Saute for another ten minutes. Now add the chicken broth, evaporated milk, coconut milk, and spices. Stir well, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for fifteen to twenty minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the cheeses and breadcrumbs and let sit for five minutes before serving.

Soup+Cheese=comfort food….:)

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The Best Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks

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I would like to share with you a sinfully delicious recipe that I recently made, CHEESY GARLIC BREADSTICKS.:) This post is for you fellow lovers of  bread, and cheese, and cheese covered bread…..sigh, there goes my fitness plan. When I sent a picture of these to my really good friend/sister her word for word response was “Oh Man! Are those on your blog!? They should be!”. Boy was she right, I was almost afraid to post this recipe because of the instant addiction/gluttony that will occur upon consumption. But then I decided to share the love/put the recipe down on paper so that it will be ingrained into the sacred hall of Best Recipes Ever. Sooooo…..as a disclaimer I’d like to say: “I apologize in advance for this.” Ahem, anyway, in the past I attempted to make healthy breadsticks, but…..let’s just say that didn’t end well. However, THESE breadsticks are SO GOOD that they are better than anything you can buy in the grocery store or a restaurant. And, they contain wheat flour! Which covers all wrongs! Seriously though, once you discover how simple they are to create, there is no going back. All you need is desire, know-how, and a reliable timer so that the food doesn’t burn. All of that aside, the smell of these babies permeates the entire house, so you’ll know the very minute that they have finished becoming wonderful.

Cooking Tip: If you have the time, turn the oven on and off a couple of times during the rising process, for some weird reason this makes the finished dough larger.

The Ingredients: (write these on your brain) 1 to 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1 packet fast rising yeast, 1 cup warm to lukewarm water, 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Colby Jack cheese, 3-4 tbsp. butter, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. garlic salt (if you do not have garlic salt, simply mix equal amounts of garlic powder and salt and measure out a tablespoon for this recipe), 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tbsp. Parmesan (the sprinkly kind), 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tbsp. olive oil.

Add flour(s), sugar, garlic salt, and yeast to a mixing bowl. Whisk until combined. Slowly add the water while mixing constantly with a wooden spoon. Mix until the dough becomes too thick to stir by hand. When this happens, flour your nearby cooking surface and knead the dough with your hands for one minute or until it forms a soft ball. Rinse out your mixing bowl with water, dry it thoroughly, use the olive oil to grease the bowl. Put the ball of dough into the bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it rise at 170 degrees in your oven for one hour.

When the rising time is done, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Meanwhile, melt the butter, italian seasoning, and garlic powder together in a microwave safe bowl or cup, stir well. Add the parmesan to the melted butter, stir well. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, brush the butter mixture over the top. Now sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the butter mixture. Flattening into a even layer. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut into sticks, and garnish with fresh or dried basil before serving (optional).

The very sight is too much for my tastebuds! Too much I say!

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Herby Breaded Tilapia

Let me start out by saying that I have not been a fan of tilapia in the past, but that. has all. changed. This pan fried, breaded, seasoned tilapia is tender, flaky, moist, flavorful, delectable, restaurant-grade, and generally amazing. Oh, and it was cooked by El Gastronomo. He is the fish and seafood expert, and knows how to make southern food gourmet style. Pair this moist fish with a few hush puppies, tender, buttered corn on the cob, and apple bran muffins, and you’ll have a knock your socks off meal sure to impress your family and friends. This episode of Delicious Food 101 features The Chef, El Gastronomo, and Queenbee. Now for a few words on frying safety with El Gastronomo.

The Chef: “El Gastronomo, it has been some time since you have made your presence known on this website, but you sure know how to make a comeback! Anyway, ya got any tips on frying safety” El Gastronomo: “When frying fish it is always prudent to flip it away from you so that you will not be splattered with hot oil. Also, remember to keep all flammable materials away from the gas flame (as he sets an oven mitt on fire). The Chef: “Your oven mitt is on fire.” El Gastronomo: “Yikes! (extinguishes fire under running water). The Chef: “And this, chefs, is why we should always pay attention to food safety tips.” 

We turn to Queenbee for objective criticism.

The Chef: “Queenbee, you being a expert in the southern food category, please tell us what you thought of this dish.” Queenbee: “I thought it was amazingly delicious and extremely flavorful.” The Chef: “Well, that says it all, doesn’t it?”

The Ingredients: 8 tilapia fillets, 2 cups onion flavored hush puppy mix, 1 cup water, 1 egg, 4 cups chicken broth, 1 tsp. italian seasoning, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. rosemary, 1 tsp. poultry seasoning, 1 tsp. garlic powder.

Heat the chicken broth in a small pot with the spices until it comes to a simmer, turn off the heat and let sit until the the liquid is still. Add the fish fillets and let them marinate for 30 minutes to an hour. Meanwhile, mix together the hush puppy mix, water, and egg. Add 1/4 cup more of water if the mix is too dry. When the tilapia fillets are done marinating, remove them from the marinade, allow to drain, and halve each one. Preheat your skillet to medium high heat, add one to two inches of olive oil. Cook the breaded fillets two at a time when the oil is hot. Fry until deep golden brown, this should take about three minutes on each side. Serves 8 to 10 people.

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

For a baker, the long-standing debate as to the best way to make a chocolate chip cookie is usually solved through personal preferences. Every once in a while a cookie comes along that is enjoyed by many different tastes, and thus we label it THE BEST chocolate chip cookie. However, I prefer to enjoy all types of cookies equally rather than labeling any one as THE BEST one. That being said, today I am sharing with you one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes, they are crispy and chewy on the outside, yet soft and chocolatey on the inside. This is because they are made with special, all natural ingredients.;) Dark Brown sugar is obviously the healthier choice when it comes to sugar options. Not only that, but it gives baked delicacies a dense richness that could never be achieved through using the stereotypical “white sugar”. As for all-natural cane sugar, just know that it provides cookies with intriguing little bursts of crunchy sweetness throughout.

The Ingredients: 1 1/2 to 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup all natural cane sugar, 1 stick butter (salted), 1/4 to 1/2 cup quick oats, 1 egg, 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, 1/4 to 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. baking powder.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Soften the butter until partially melted, add the egg and both sugars. Mix well and let sit while you measure out the other ingredients. Alternate adding the flour one cup at a time along with half of the oil, mixing well after each addition. Now add the salt, baking powder, and chocolate chips. Mix well. Grease a large cookie sheet with butter. Use a regular cookie scoop or an ice cream scoop to form balls of cookie dough, when all the dough has been used, place these on the cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. If you used a cookie scoop you will probably get about sixteen cookies, but if you use an ice cream scoop you will most likely get a perfect dozen. Enjoy them!

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Garden Fresh Pot Pie

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Garden Fresh Pot Pie is similar to my Harvest Vegetable Pot Pie recipe, but different in that it contains fresh vegetables rather than canned. I will admit that this version is more time-consuming, but it is SO worth it! On a side note, you may have noticed that my most recent posts have been short and to the point, and that lately I have not been able to post at all. This is because my family is in the process of moving out of state. As we all know, moving a large family and all of our stuff out of state is very time-consuming, leaving little to no time for hobbies and extravagant cooking. Anyway, enough about me, back to the recipe. Fresh vegetables are an essential component in this dish, not only are they better for you, but they have a distinct flavor that canning takes away. While I am not in any way opposed to using canned vegetables, I do prefer to use fresh if they are available. So if you have a little extra time and access to fresh veggies, go wild and make this veggie-packed dish that is sure to be a comforting, satisfying meal for your friends and family.

The Ingredients: 1 lb. baby carrots, 1 large yellow squash, 1 large zucchini, 1/2 yellow onion, 14 oz. can green beans, 1 family size can condensed chicken soup, 1 can refrigerated jumbo crescent roll dough, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2-3 tbsp. melted butter.

Dice carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, and onion. Bring the vegetables to a boil in a large pot of water for fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, halve the beans. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drain the cooked vegetables and add them, the beans, the chicken soup, and the spices to a large casserole pan. Stir well. Top with the crescent rolls, brush with the melted butter and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

The good thing about pot pie is that it is attractive, and it feeds a crowd.;)

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Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Sigh, I LOVE LOVE LOVE macaroni and cheese. It is my love language, my one and only, my ultimate comfort food, and my favorite food. Here on the blog I have a really simple, easy recipe for macaroni and cheese…..but….For a little more time and commitment, you can have THIS baked mac and cheese, which is the ultimate food in my book. Not only is it smooth, creamy, deliciously delectable, awesome, wonderful, and the best thing ever, it is also relatively healthy when made with coconut milk. That being said, let’s move on to what the public thought about this delicacy. This episode of Delicious Food 101 features The Chef, Queenbee, and Friar Tyst.

The Chef: “Queenbee, what do you think about the macaroni?” Queenbee: “Mmmm….it’s very good.” The Chef: “Well, that says it all doesn’t it?”

The Chef: “Friar Tyst, your thoughts and opinions?” Friar Tyst: “It was real cheesy.” The Chef: “Granted, anything else?” Friar Tyst: “I thought it tasted like macaroni on a spring day.” 

The Ingredients: 2 cups macaroni, 2 cups evaporated or coconut milk, 10 oz. condensed cheese soup, 3 tbsp. butter, 3 tbsp. pastry flour, 2 tbsp. sour cream, 1 cup grated Colby cheese, 1-2 tsp. dry or spicy brown mustard, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. no salt seasoning, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. garlic.

Boil macaroni for 5-8 minutes or until it is halfway cooked, remove it from the heat and set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan and add flour, whisk together and cook for a couple of minutes. be careful to not let it burn. Add the milk and whisk until thickened. Now add the spices and the cheese soup, whisk slowly but constantly until well combined. Remove from the heat and mix together the sauce and noodles in a casserole pan. Top with the grated cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Look at that comforting cheesy goodness!:)

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Southern Style Coleslaw

Queenbee loves coleslaw, always has, always will. While she is open to many different varieties, Southern Style is her favorite. I usually make it for her at least a couple of times a month, and today was no exception. A lot of people think that the two colors of cabbage are no different when it comes to flavor. This is, however, FALSE. Purple cabbage is strong and slightly bitter, while green cabbage is more fresh tasting and has a mild, versatile flavor. In my opinion, purple cabbage is a strange species of garden plant that does not belong in a southern style slaw. Now that we have established which is the correct color of cabbage to eat, let us talk about how it is prepared and consumed.

The Ingredients: 1 medium size green cabbage, 1 cup shredded carrots, 1 cup shredded pickles, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2-3 tbsp. spicy brown mustard, 2 tbsp. thousand island dressing.

Slice cabbage into wedges and shred it in the bowl of your food processor. Do the same with a cup of baby carrots, or just buy the pre-shredded ones. Stir the shredded cabbage and carrots together until they are well combined, then add the remaining ingredients. Mix with tongs or a rubber spatula until well combined. Refrigerate for thirty minutes to one hour.

This coleslaw is sooooo good…..

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