Gnocci and Creamy Chicken Soup

I actually used pre-packaged gnocci for this soup.  It was on sale for $3.00 for three packages at Costco.  I’m not going to lie, I still like my homemade version better for just a regular pasta dinner, but this stuff was pretty good, delicious in fact.  This is a pretty fast soup, or you can stretch it out to make your house smell amazing for hours. 

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 pound cooked, cubed chicken breast
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (16 ounce) package mini potato gnocchi
  • 1 (6 ounce) bag baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • salt, ground black pepper, tyme, garlic powder to taste
  • parsley for garnish

Directions

1.  Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook onion, celery, garlic, and carrots in the hot oil until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in cubed chicken and chicken broth; bring to a simmer.

2.  Stir gnocchi into the simmering soup and cook until they begin to float, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in spinach; cook until wilted, about 3 additional minutes.

3.  Whisk cornstarch into cold water until smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture and half-and-half into simmering soup. Cook until soup thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Season to taste (salt, pepper, tyme, garlic powder.  Add parsley.

Gingerbread Cookies

I made these this afternoon with my youngest daughter.  She always has a blast helping out in the kitchen, somewhere that I need to gain more patience!!!  Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, molasses and vinegar; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; cool to lukewarm. Stir in egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt; stir into molasses mixture to form a soft dough.
  2. Divide dough into thirds. Shape each portion into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until easy to handle.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-in. thickness. The dough will be VERY THICK!!  Cut with a floured 3-in. gingerbread boy cookie cutter. Place on parchment paper covered baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 6 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks.

 

Chicken/Turkey/Beef Pot Pie

I have had my eye on the Breville Mini Pie Maker at Williams Sonoma for over a year.  Finally, on Saturday, I went to get it.  Not only was it $50 off the $150 price tage, it was on an additional sale….about half off!! I made turkey pot pies with leftover frozen turkey from Thanksgiving.  But the same recipe can be used for chicken or beef as well.  FYI…..I hate hate hate peas!!  So I never put them in ANYTHING (much to my families dismay), but I realize other people like food popping in their mouths, so I included it in the recipe. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup milk

2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
  2. In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  3. In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Chocolate Fudge Cookies with Caramel and Sea Salt

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • sea salt course ground
  • soft caramel to spoon over cookies

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle. Roll into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are firm. Remove to wire racks. While cookies are warm use finger to put a small indention in top of each cookie.  Drizzle caramel in indention and add small sprinkle of sea salt on top.
 

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

  • One 10-ounce box Lorna Doone Cookies
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1-3/4 cups dulce de leche or other caramel sauce
  • Boiling water, for baking

**The best way to make your own Dulce de Leche**

Take two sealed cans of sweetened condensed milk and place in a crock pot.  Cover cans with water, cook on hot for 2-3 hours for a thinner consistency and 4 hours for a thick caramel consistency. 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with foil. Using a food processor, finely chop the cookies, nuts, brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the butter and pulse until just combined. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Lower the oven temperature to 300°.
  • Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese until softened, 2 minutes. Beat in the flour and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt on low speed. Beat in the eggs and egg yolk, 1 at a time, on medium speed. Mix in 1 cup dulce de leche.
  • Pour the batter into the crust. Loosely cover the pan with foil, set in a roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to reach a depth of 1 inch. Bake the cheesecake until set at the edges but slightly wobbly in the center, about 55 minutes.
  • Transfer the cake to a rack; let rest for 15 minutes. Spread the remaining 3/4 cup dulce de leche over the warm cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then remove the springform and slice the cheesecake.