Cheesy Potato Soup

20160313_173534[1] (1600x1060)This was a last minute thing that was thrown together quickly because I lost track of the time today.  I thought that grated potato in stock would be faster than a slow simmer of potato chunks, especially with a stick blender to hasten it along.  It was OK but it tasted rushed.  I added the cream and the cheese too soon.  It does photograph well, so there’s that.  Bonus:  I used up the rest of those biscuits!

Sweet Olathe Corn Finally Arrives and Dinner Menu

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Photo by JeffreyW

How is it Thursday already?

It was a big day today. Took a friend out to lunch at the new Tapas bar and Olathe Sweet Corn finally arrived in the store. Seems the rainy spring delayed the crop. I made a special trip to the store today to ‘stalk’ up.

Before that, we sampled the new Tapas bistro, SAMPLES. Really wanted to check out the roof top patio, but it was much too hot for that, so we settled for a sidewalk table. It was a pleasant experience. Good food, good beer and super nice staff. I think the consensus was that we would go back for more ‘samples’.

I had two completely new taste experiences (well four if you count the beer samples): truffle butter (on the bacon and grilled onions flatbread) and poutine (spare rib poutine to be exact). They were both fun and flavorful. I’d add spaetzle in brown butter, but my friend tells me it wasn’t true spaetzle, even though it was still delicious. Tasted like chicken mac ‘n cheese.

We finished down the road with Funnel Cake Strawberry Sundaes, offered in honor of county fair season. It was yummy.

Freddy's Funnel Cake Sundae

Freddy’s Funnel Cake Sundae

Later in the day I stopped at the grocery store, picked up a dozen ears of corn and steamed a few for dinner. I’ll prep the rest tomorrow and remove from the cob and serve cold on salads.

In honor of that arrival, grilled corn is on tonight’s Dinner Menu. It is one of the first menus I ever wrote.

On the board tonight:

But wait, there’s more! Click to read full menu

Dinner Menu: Crispy Potato Chicken and Banana Foster Ice Cream

Shredded Potato Packet Final A while back I played around with Potato Encrusted Chicken and Fish. It is fairly easy to prepare, tastes great and looks very pretty on a plate. But it can be challenging and tonight’s menu offers a simpler version of the same style of chicken.  Perfect for a quick week night dinner. On the board tonight:

  1. Crispy Potato Chicken
  2. Steamed Carrots in butter
  3. Banana Foster Ice Cream

This recipe originally called for Dijon mustard, I am not a fan, so I always omit it, but I kept it in for this incarnation.  You can also add grated Parmesan or shredded cheddar to the potato mixture if you want to change things up a bit. Crispy Potato Chicken

  • 2-3 large potatoes, peeled
  • 4 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (opt)
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ¼ tsp ea. salt & pepper
  • ½ tsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ice water

2 bowls & baking dish (8×8), lightly oiled Shred potato, transfer to bowl of ice water. Rinse & dry breasts, place in baking dish and spread with garlic and optional Dijon mustard. Drain potatoes, pat dry and mix with oil & seasoning in bowl. Spread mixture over the top of the chicken pieces. Bake at 425° for 35-40 minutes, until potatoes are golden brown and chicken’s internal temperature is 185° This is a quick and alcohol-free banana foster, if you want the real deal, try this Alton Brown recipe Banana Foster Ice Cream

  • 2 large,firm bananas, sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp orange peel
  • dash cinnamon & nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp orange juice or pineapple juice
  • 6 oz sliced almonds
  • 4 cups vanilla ice cream

skillet and 4 dessert bowls Melt butter in saucepan, add bananas, sauté quickly until lightly brown. Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel and juice. Boil until syrupy, stirring constantly to keep from burning. Add ice cream to dishes, top with ¼ of banana mixture each and garnish with almonds. Shopping List:

  • 1 lb carrots
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 large, firm bananas
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice or pineapple juice
  • 6 oz sliced almonds
  • 1 quart premium vanilla ice cream

Also: butter, garlic, salt & pepper, fresh parsley, dried rosemary, olive oil, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, optional: Dijon mustard, Parmesan or cheddar cheese

Friday Recipe Exchange: Thanksgiving Non-Traditional Side Dishes

JeffreyW's Roasted Brussels Sprout and Potato Gratin

JeffreyW’s Roasted Brussels Sprout and Potato Gratin

This is the time of year when we get a lot of blog visits from people looking for side dishes. And I have a lot of recipes for the traditional holiday sides, desserts and instructions on the various ways to cook your turkey. JeffreyW has a ton of mouthwatering photos. All of that can be found at at this link.

I thought it would be nice though, to focus on some non-traditional sides for tonight’s recipe exchange. In case you were looking for something different to showcase this year.

Soups make a nice starter at for any meal and tonight’s featured recipe is a savory winter soup. I also have a nice Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, (click here)

JefferyW favors brussels sprouts and came up with this wonderful recipe, Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin pictured above. (click here)

Roasted Brussels sprouts are pretty easy, and leave it to Emeril Lagasse to “kick it up a notch” with his Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Grilled Onions. (click here)

I’m not big on the whole candied sweet potatoes, so I went looking for alternatives and found three I like,  African Sweet Potato Salad, Cajun Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes and Apples, click here for all the recipes. You can also just roast them in the oven, and I found two really good recipes here (honey roasted) and here (thyme roasted).

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you doing the cooking or does someone else have the honors? And most importantly, what are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?

The Thanksgiving featured recipe is one that works great as an appetizer:

Need to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish up dinner prep?  Set up a buffet table with a raw vegetable tray and dip, a bowl of nuts (in their shells) along with a couple of nutcrackers and this soup in a slowcooker to keep it warm and that should keep your guests occupied while you cook.

Winter Squash Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3-1/4 pounds butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, quartered
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Chopped chives (for garnish)

Large sauce pan

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onions, carrot, celery and garlic; sauté until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, apple juice, thyme and sage. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from stove. Puree the vegetables until smooth with a hand blender or in batches in the food processor or blender. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if desired.

***Soup can be made to this point 1 day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.***

Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer. Add the sherry and simmer about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, sour cream and nutmeg until well combined. Place soup into large soup tureen and garnish with chives. Place on appetizer table with small bowls & spoons and let everyone help themselves.

That’s everything this week. There won’t be a recipe exchange next Friday, but next week I’ll be featuring more recipes for the holiday. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. – TaMara


Dinner Menu: Fruit Juice Marinated Grilled Chicken

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JeffreyW grills up some corn

I’m still on the road, travelling through Nebraska, where corn is king. We had some great grilled corn this weekend and made the fruit salad for a family get-together yesterday. Both always go great with marinated chicken breasts. This marinade works best on the grill because it caramelizes well over an open flame and that gives its signature flavor.


On the board tonight:

  1. Fruit Juice Marinated Chicken Breasts
  2. Corn on the Cob (pull husks back, clean off silk, wash, pull husks up & grill-yum!)
  3. Grilled Potatoes
  4. Ambrosia

Fruit Juice Marinated Chicken Breasts

  • 4 chicken boneless breasts
  • ½ cup grape or cranberry juice
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup wine (non-alcoholic is ok)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • zip lock bag

Add all ingredients into zip-lock bag and thoroughly coat & let marinate overnight. Grill (or roast in the oven at 375° in a large baking dish). 15 minutes each side, 185° internal temp. When grilling, to avoid drying chicken out, sear for 5 minutes each side, cook additional 10 minutes, then move away from high heat for rest of cooking time.

To make ahead, add chicken and marinade ingredients together and freeze. Pull out and thaw in the refrigerator the night before.

Grilled Potatoes

  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 to 2 tbsp butter
  • parsley or chives
  • salt & pepper
  • foil

Thinly slice each potato, layer one on each piece of foil, then layer sliced onion and parsley or chives. Melt butter and add garlic, drizzle equally over each potato. Wrap and seal foil. Grill, turning halfway through (about 15 minutes each side). Cook until potatoes are tender and onions crispy.


Mix pineapple, sliced banana, orange slices, grapes & shredded coconut with 4 oz ginger ale.

Shopping List:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 oz grape or cranberry juice
  • 4 oz soy sauce
  • 4 oz wine (non-alcoholic is ok)
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 8 oz fresh pineapple
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 cups grapes
  • 2 oz shredded coconut
  • 4 oz ginger ale

Also: crushed garlic, butter, parsley, chives

Menu originally posted July 2009


Best Ever Potato Soup

DSC_5785 [1600x1200]It’s a cool, rainy Saturday and we weren’t going anywhere today.  Mrs J called for soup and mentioned beans but they really need to soak overnight so I mentioned another of Mrs J’s faves:  Cheesy potato soup.  I got the chicken broth going with a chopped onion and some of those cured ham pieces.  I like to get the ham chunks falling apart done before I add any veggies so I had a little time to surf recipes to look for seasoning tips.  I found this recipe atop the results page and gave it a quick study.  With some modifications I followed it.  Three potatoes were chopped and added to the broth.  I had some bacon frying for garnish so the fat part of a roux was ready.  I removed the bacon to drain on a paper towel and added a little butter to it, then cooked the carrots and celery, adding the flour when they were tender and let the roux cook a few minutes, then added white wine to mobilize it, dumping the veggie mixture into the main pot with the potatoes.  After all the veggies were tender they got a quick buzz with a stick blender.

We both gave it a taste at this point and found it to be very good.  I questioned Mrs J as to the need for cheese and cream but she refused to consider it without.  Fine by me!  I added six ounces of smoked provolone and stirred it to melt, then hit it with a scant cup of heavy cream.  Fabulous!  Perfect!  Some fresh chives from the garden and the bacon for garnish and a crostini with goat’s milk cheddar made this The Best Potato Soup Evah!  LOLDSC_5790 [1600x1200]Good enough for a second bowl – no time for toasting the garlic bread!


Thursday Recipe Exchange: Cold Soups

High Park Fire (Colorado) photo from Facebook

Things are still quite smokey here. The fire is about 40 miles north of here and depending on the wind we can get a heavy covering of thick smoke. Between the heat and the smoke, I have not felt like cooking. So I was glad cold soups were on the menu this week. I can get behind that.

This is from my ride last Saturday. It’s been burning ever since.

I have quite few cold soups on the blog. If you click here on Cold Soups, you’ll find all of them. Tonight I’ll feature a Creamy Gazpacho and  Cucumber Tomato Soup.

This serves 4.

Creamy Gazpacho

  • 6 medium, ripe tomatoes, cored
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, halved, and seeded (I used an English cucumber)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper , halved, cored and seeded
  • 6 green onions, roots removed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 small serrano chile , stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1 small jalapeno, stemmed and halved lenghthwise
  • 1/4 green chili, stemmed and halved
  • 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 slice thick white bread, crusted removed, broken in pieces
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Dash of limejuice
  • 2 cups water or salt-free vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp finely minced chives or cilantro (I did a little mix of the two)
  • Ground black pepper

Chop 5 of the tomatoes, half of cucumber, half of bell pepper, and all but two of the onions into large pieces (you’ll be blending, so no need to go all crazy here) and place in large bowl. Add garlic, chilies, and 1 teaspoon salt; toss until well combined. Set aside for at least 1 hour.

Finely dice remaining tomato, cucumber, and pepper, place vegetables in medium bowl. Mince remaining onion and add to diced vegetables. Toss with 1/4 tsp salt and transfer to a strainer set over medium bowl. Set aside 1 hour.

Transfer drained finely diced vegetables back to medium bowl, cover tightly and set aside. Add bread pieces to exuded liquid (there should be about ¼ cup) and soak 1 minute. Add soaked bread and any remaining liquid to roughly chopped vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.

Transfer roughly chopped vegetables and water to a blender and blend until smooth, you may have to do this in two batches. Slowly drizzle in oil while blending, blend until smooth. You can run the entire thing through a strainer (use the back of spoon to press through) if you want it to be completely smooth. Full disclosure, I neither peel or seed my tomatoes and as you can imagine, I didn’t strain my soup.

Stir vinegar, minced herb, limejuice, and half of diced vegetables into soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate (you can do this overnight) to chill completely and develop flavors. Serve with remaining diced vegetables as garnish.

For the Cucumber Tomato Cold Soup, click here. It’s a very pretty soup that makes a great first course at your next BBQ.