Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Another top recipe straight from the mind of my brilliant should-have-been-a-chef friend. Seriously, girl, quit your day job and don your apron! Again, this girl COOKS, so this recipe isn’t the quick, throw it in and forget it weeknight meals I typically use, but if you’re hungry for the most amazing chicken soup with rice of your life, this one’s worth the work you put in!

Ingredients

  • Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice (with packet)
  • shredded rotisserie chicken or diced chicken breast
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves minced garlic, more or less to taste
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 stick of butter, divided
  • 1 32 oz carton of chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp chicken bullion powder or 2 bullion cubes
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour, as needed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (or lemon pepper)

Directions

  1. Saute onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in 2-3 Tbsp of butter in large pot or dutch oven on medium-high until soft and fragrant.
  1. Add chicken stock and 2 cups of water to skillet. Add seasonings and bay leaves and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium or medium low to simmer.
  2. While simmering, cook Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice according to package directions and set aside.
  3. Once rice is nearly finished, make a rue in a small pot with the remaining butter, flour, milk, and cream. Melt the butter slowly on medium, then slowly add the dairy products. Slowly mix flour into the melted butter, cream, and milk, and allow to thicken.
  4. Add thickened rue to simmering soup pot and stir well until combined. If your rue creates lumps in the simmering soup, stir well until lumps dissolve.
  1. Add cooked rice and chicken to the simmering pot until everything is well combined.
  2. Remove bay leaves and add lemon zest or lemon pepper.
  3. Simmer until ready to serve and ejoy!
Copycat Crumbl Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Copycat Crumbl Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

While we’re pumpkining all the things (yes, I just created a new word and made pumpkin a verb simultaneously… just roll with it), let’s throw in some amazing Crumbl cookies without the million dollar markup and insane lines. I adapted this recipe from Cooking with Karli. I modified the recipe a bit to make the dough a little thicker so they wouldn’t spread so much and added suggestions if you don’t want gigantic Crumbl-sized cookies. But, who DOESN’T want a giant Crumbl-sized cookie, really?

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. Whisk together the oil, sugar, vanilla, pumpkin, and eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  1. Use a wooden spoon to add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. Mix all ingredients until well combined. The batter will have a thin consistency, don’t be alarmed!
  1. Fold in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed through the batter.
  2. Refrigerate the batter for approximately 10-15 minutes. This will thicken the batter and create cookies that spread a little less and will puff up nicely.
  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon slightly less than 1/2 cup of cookie dough onto the sheet. Place only 6 spoonfuls of dough per sheet, as these cookies tend to spread. **Note**: If you prefer smaller cookies, use less dough per spoonful and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  2. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-17 minutes. Cookies should bounce back when tapped in the center.
  1. Allow the cookies to cool completely before transferring to a place or container.
  2. Serve warm or store in air tight container, although, I’m sure there won’t be any left to store for later! Enjoy!
Caraway who? You’ll LOVE this Caraway dupe that’s a fraction of the price!

Caraway who? You’ll LOVE this Caraway dupe that’s a fraction of the price!

Gorgeous Caraway ceramic cookware set, isn’t it? Or IS it???? Nope! Member’s Mark, people. No, I’m not kidding. You can pick this set up from *drumroll*… SAM’S CLUB! Yes, really.

Let’s compare, shall we? I have a fantastic cookware set my mom bought me for a wedding shower gift that I love. The only problem is it won’t die. No, seriously. This set is fantastic, but I see Caraway everywhere I look. It is absolutely gorgeous and I get skillet envy every time I see the modern ceramic sets. Well, of course I do what any good Instagram user does and click the ads. Boy, was that a mistake!

Caraway Cookware Set

$395 ON SALE for 2 pots and 2 skillets. In a color I don’t want. The color I do want? $595 on sale also for 2 pots and 2 skillets. Ok, the dream bubble has burst. Back to my tried and true Circulon that just won’t quit. Or maybe not…

Member’s Mark Ceramic Cookware Set

As I’m scrolling I see a set on Google, but wait… it’s $159 and there are WAY more pieces in this set. What is it? Member’s Mark. Member’s Mark? Like Sam’s Club? Yes. Sam’s Club. You guys, I had to do a double take to make sure this wasn’t the same set! This set comes with 2 skillets, 1 deep skillet with a lid, 3 pots with lids, and one calendar. That’s 11 pieces. ELEVEN. For $160. Here, I’ll do the math for you: that is 17% of the cost of Caraway. For that price I can use this set every day and not worry about what happens to it!

The Member’s Mark set is GORGEOUS and in a side by side comparison I can’t tell the difference! I can’t wait to test it out. It was beautiful right out of the box.

I’ll keep you posted on how well it wears, but out of the box I am completely sold on this beautiful set. If you’re not a huge fan of black they have other modern colors to choose from: pink, lavender, green, red, coral, gray, and navy. Run to your nearest Sam’s Club or choose to have it shipped, but hurry… I don’t think these sets will last long!

Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

Anything with a crust just seems daunting to me, so I avoid it at all cost for some reason. This recipe uses puff pastry, so it’s a win-win in my book. My very talented friend came up with this recipe and IT ROCKS! This entire skillet full of chicken pot pie was gone in one evening. I suggest using a 12″ or larger cast iron skillet so the ingredients don’t bubble over while baking in the oven. Don’t have a large cast iron skillet? No problem! Use a regular large skillet and transfer into a baking pan to bake.

I’m not going to lie… this recipe is pretty involved, so it’s not my typical easy weeknight meal. However, it’s worth the effort-trust me! Enjoy the comfort food goodness, all!

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (I used diced, baked chicken breast this time since I had some on hand-either work great!)
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme plus extra sprigs for garnish
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley (dried is also great if you don’t have fresh on hand!)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 2 puff pastry sheets, thawed and cut into rectangles
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large (12″ or larger) cast iron skillet (if you don’t have a large cast iron skillet, you can use a normal skillet and transfer contents to a pie or baking pan for baking later). Add shallots, garlic, carrots, and celery and saute about 5 minutes or until they begin to soften and brown slightly. Season with a pinch of coarse salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the vegetables and place on a plate and cover to keep warm for later.
  1. Melt the butter over medium heat. Once it’s foaming, add the flour and whisk until it’s smooth and becomes a golden brown color, about 30 seconds to one minute. Add fresh thyme and let bubble another 30 seconds or until fragrant. Season with a pinch of salt and gently pour in the chicken stock, whisking as it becomes a smooth sauce.
  1. Once all stock has been added to the skillet, pour in the heavy cream and whisk another 30 seconds. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer and gently bubble for ten minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Allow to simmer about 10 minutes to thicken.
  2. While simmering, cut puff pastry into rectangle strips to use later.
  1. After about ten minutes of simmering, place the vegetables back into the pan along with shredded chicken, frozen peas and corn, carrots, and fresh parsley. Stir until everything is well covered in sauce.
  1. Arrange the puff pastry shapes on top of the pot pie, overlapping in places. Be sure to have some gaps to avoid contents overflowing out the sides. Brush the tops of the puff pastry with a very thin layer of the beaten egg. Bake 30-40 minutes, until the puff pastry is golden brown and lightly puffed.
  1. Let rest about 10 minutes before serving. Add a sprig of fresh thyme for garnish. Enjoy!
Amazing Amazon Coffee Bar Finds

Amazing Amazon Coffee Bar Finds

Those of you that know me, know that I love coffee even more than a Gilmore girl. When my favorite coffee storage container finally became unusable I found this adorable on Amazon. What I didn’t know is how badly I needed to step up my coffee bar game with some not just pretty-to-look-at items, but extremely useful items. I’ve compiled a list of my favorites here for you from coffee storage to an awesome milk frother for homemade Starbucks copycat cold foam cold brew recipes (you can check out lavender, pumpkin cream, or traditional versions I’ve perfected!). Get your caffeine fix in style and the best part? It shows up at your door!

Coffee Storage Jar

The only thing that makes this hermetically sealing storage jar more awesome are the awesome labels.

You can also find them on Amazon for both coffee and syrup. Organization win!

Scotty P’s Big Mug Coffee

Gilmore girls fans rejoice! You can have your very own cup of Luke Danes coffee every morning thanks to Scott Patterson’s coffee company, Scotty P’s Big Mug Coffee. The best part? You can buy it on Amazon!

Coffee Syrup Dispenser Bottles

These bottles come in a set of two with their own labels that cover any type of syrup flavor you can imagine, two gold tone pumps, and a silicone funnel to fill the bottles easily. This set is so well made and beautiful that I now have to contemplate what other syrup I want to add to the collection!

Milk Frother

Not only is this milk frother aesthetically pleasing, but it is amazingly functional to froth milk for cappuccinos, lattes, and my favorite, cold foam cold brews!

Gold Leaf Coffee Spoons

Who doesn’t want to stir their coffee with a gold leaf spoon? I mean, come on…

Lulu Soy Candles

Alright, this isn’t really COFFEE, but it is tea, so that counts, right? These Lulu candles are made in USA and their tea scents are fantastic! They’re the perfect addition to a coffee bar!

Go forth and conquer coffee lovers. Decorate and caffeinate!

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Pumpkin Banana Bread

I had old bananas and started right in on my usual banana bread recipe and realized I had no apple sauce left. I always hate using oil because it just doesn’t taste the same or have the same texture. I opened the pantry and BINGO! Pumpkin! Since it’s fall, pumpkin all the things! In the words of Plato:

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

— Plato

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (usually about three bananas)
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. Cream together the eggs, pumpkin, and sugar and beat well.
  1. Add flour, salt, nutmeg, baking powder, and soda which have been sifted together.  Stir well.
  2. Add the crushed bananas and nuts and stir in well.
  1. Add the batter to a greased loaf pan and sprinkle with flour.  Bake for 1 hour. Remove loaf from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes

You can count me in on any recipe containing sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. This recipe is also GREAT with mushrooms if you happen to be a fan of the fungus! This pan fried chicken and sauce is excellent over pasta, with smashed red potatoes, or rice.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 small chicken breast fillets
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/3 cup and 1/2 cup chicken stock, divided
  • fresh baby spinach (as desired)
  • fresh basil leaves, torn (as desired)
  • pasta, smashed potatoes, rice, or other desired side for serving

Directions

  1. Heat oil and butter in a large non-stick skillet over high heat until butter is brown and foamy. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste and add chicken fillets to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook the chicken approximately 5 minutes on each side until completely cooked through. Remove chicken from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.
  1. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring continually for 1 minute or until garlic is aromatic. Add sun-dried tomatoes and stir to coat well. Add 1/3 cup of chicken stock and cook for 1 minute until reduced.
  1. Add cream remaining 1/2 cup of stock, and garlic powder to the skillet and stir. Place the chicken back into the skillet for 5 minutes or until the liquid is slightly reduced. Stir in the spinach until just wilted. Season additionally if desired. Add basil leaves and serve with desired side.