Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup

{it's okay to copy a copy cat recipe}
Disregard any and all thoughts you might have about how unorthodox it might be to eat soup during warm months, because this soup will change your mind about all of those theories. Yeah, it's that good! This is one you will want to add to your menu asap. So, now... go get some broccoli and some cheddar!
6 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped 
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
2 cups half-and-half 

2 cups milk (the original recipe called for 2 cups half-and-half, but I didn't have enough so I improvised and it was just as good)
4 cups chicken broth  
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
Salt and pepper 
3 heads of broccoli, finely chopped
1 large carrot, diced 
2 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese (or as much as you want!)


Melt the butter in a large spaghetti pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Be sure to really gradually add the half-and-half and make sure it's smooth before adding more, this really get the creamy consistency going.
Add the chicken broth and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about another 20 minutes. You can puree the soup if you so choose, however I hear this can be quite difficult to do, so I skipped this step. 
Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. 

Top with a little extra cheese (mozzarella is also a good choice, too) and serve it up! Maybe a little bread on the side? I think yes!

Source: Yammie's Noshery

Loaded Potato Slices

{bar food extraordinaire}
Not going to lie, I saw these on Pinterest. And can I just say how delicious they are? I was surprised at how easy they were. Perfect for a week night when all you want is fast, quick comfort food. Just like the food you get at bars, but half the price and half the calories, and all in the comfort of your own kitchen.
3 Russet Potatoes, washed and sliced
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
4-5 slices of bacon, cubed and cooked through (can substitute bacon bits)
3-4 green onions, sliced
Olive Oil
Sour cream
Barbecue sauce, optional
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350F, spray cookie sheet with Pam or spray butter which ever you prefer. Lay potato slices on cookie sheet as close together as possible so you can fit more on the sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping half way through baking.

Once potatoes are soft and sizzling, sprinkle with cheese, then bacon and green onions. Potatoes should be hot enough to melt the cheese, but just to speed things up you can place them back in the oven for a minute or two.

Mix a little BBQ sauce with sour cream for dipping if you so choose, and there ya go! Enjoy!


Grandma's Mac & Cheese

{this is what i ate all throughout my childhood}

I crave this dinner! I almost can't stand the boxed mac and cheese when comparing it to this divine pasta. It makes me drool just thinking about it. The cool thing is that you can alter this to make different variations. For example, you can add taco meat and salsa and turn it into a Tex-Mex mac and cheese, or you can use any variety of cheeses you wish. It really is quiet versatile. Enjoy!
2 cups dried pasta (I used Penne, but elbow macaroni or any other pasta is fine)
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
dash of pepper
2 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 
1 1/2 cups shredded American cheese (you can substitute any melting cheese ie. provolone, mozzarella, or fontina) 

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a large sauce pan, combine milk and flour, whisk together. Turn heat to medium. We are going to make what is called a roux. Don't let it frighten you. (I'm a poet and I didn't even know it.) Stir the sauce frequently, you don't want it to gob up on the bottom of the pan. It will thicken as it heats, be sure to keep as many lumps out as possible (stir, stir, stir). Once it reaches the consistently of a simmering thinned pudding, you can start adding your cheeses, and reduce the heat slightly. Stir as your cheeses melt, again stirring so much that it doesn't burn on the bottom. Add your seasonings, and stir until combined and fragrant. You can add more cheese if you like it really cheesy, like me!

Once your pasta is cooked and drained, pour cheese sauce over pasta. Top with additional cheese if desired.

And you're done!

Cowboy Caviar

{this possibly could be my favorite food}

By popular demand, here it finally is! I have to give credit to my MIL for making this and having me eat it, because now I can't stop eating it. It's like salsa, but not. It's rather indescribable. I know the word "caviar" probably frightens you, but I promise THERE IS NO CAVIAR in this dish, what-so-ever! The next time you have a little get-together, might I suggest serving this... Just trust me.
I know this isn't the greatest picture, but you get the idea.

1 can black beans
1 can black eyed beans (or any small bean you fancy)
1 can whole kernel corn
1 small red onion, finely chopped (you can use as much or little as you'd like)
1 half bunch of cilantro
1 avocado (optional) cut up into small pieces
2 tablespoons lime juice (or more as per your tastes)
1/2 bottle of Italian Dressing (or more as per your tastes)
1 to 2 tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, make sure to taste it as you go. If you'd like more dressing or lime juice, then go for it. I personally am a lover of cilantro... so we usually add a lot.

Served best with hint of lime tortilla chips. (Note to self: get a manicure.)

Chili and Corn Bread Waffles

{waffle iron required}

Thank you Pinterest for this awesome idea! Why I didn't think of it first, is beyond me. I was a bit skeptical at first, because I was nervous this wouldn't work for me. Sometimes things in my kitchen just decide they aren't going to cooperate like normal working kitchen things. 
Anyways, this was a fantastic meal for a quick dinner. Whether you slave all day making this delicious chili or using the regular stuff from the store, this will be a hit! Perfect for a week night!

1 cup corn meal
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted.

Hopefully you have your chili already prepared. Piping hot and ready to go. Preheat your waffle iron. In a medium bowl stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside. 

In another bowl, whisk together milk, eggs and butter. Add milk mixture all at once to cornmeal mixture. Stir just until moistened. 

Spray your waffle iron with Pam or something of the like, and pour a small amount of batter onto waffle iron. Close and follow the same steps you would follow for making waffles, as per your waffle iron directions. Repeat until the batter is all used up.

Once all your corn bread waffles are done, pour some chili over top of each one, and sprinkle with cheese if that's your thing. Now, eat!

Source: Pinterest

Grandma Lee's Pumpkin Pie

{as traditional as traditional gets}

I look to my mother and her mother for almost all of all my cooking and baking examples. I credit them for just about everything. I really do cherish my memories of eating their food, and remember how they used to let me help when I was too young to understand what I was doing. This pie, as simple and traditional as it is, reminds me of Thanksgiving at my grandma's. I know this post a tad late for the season, considering it's almost spring- but I'm sure you'll forgive me.
Ingredients for the filling:
1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin puree
1 can sweetened condenced milk
1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
dash of ground nutmeg

Ingredients for the crust: (makes 2 pie crusts)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons shortening
4-5 tablespoons water

For the crust: Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing to make stiff dough. Divide dough in half, roll out to about 1/8 of an inch thick or large enough to fit an 8 inch pie pan. The rest of the dough can be used to decorate how ever you like, or you can freeze it. Here are some great ideas for decorating.

For the filling: In another large bowl, add all the filling ingredients, and mix until completely combined. Pour into pie shell, and take a picture.

Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool to serve.
Cut into a big, fat slice and top with way too much whipped cream...
And you're done!

Pin it!