I also love to cook food. Especially when it is good. A definite plus of being married is having someone to eat your food... and like to eat your food. After the first time I cooked for Matt as a married couple, he looked at me and asked, "So, you like to cook, right? I mean, you enjoy being in the kitchen and making things." Like a good Susie Homemaker/Full-Time Career Woman, I replied, "Well, of course honey. It is my job to make you happy." Ha, yeah, okay, but I did tell him I really do like to cook. And, to that, he said, "Good." I find this all very funny, because I have cooked for him since we've known each other. Without doubt, I have gotten much better over the years. Below are a few of my latest accomplishments.
Tomato and Wild Rice Soup
I actually got this recipe from my cousin, Amy. It is delicious and so easy! And, I got to use my new Le Creuset pot, which made me very, very happy.
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (the only kind, of course)
1 medium onion, chopped (I used a sweet onion)
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2-3 celery stalks with some leafy greens, sliced
28 oz can diced tomatoes
2.5 c low sodium chicken broth
1 c wild rice combo
2 tbsp fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried)
pinch of salt & pepper
1/2 can of corn (or use fresh corn if you're feeling feisty)
1/2 chicken breast, cooked and shredded (in a pinch, buy 1/2 rotisserie from Publix or local grocer)
2 c 1% milk
Saute butter, oil, onion, carrots and celery in a soup pot until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Add tomatoes, chicken broth, rice, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for one hour. Add corn, chicken, and milk. Bring back to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!
I accompanied this meal with cornbread. Matt's mom gave me this recipe, but Publix was out of jalapenos when I made this, so I did without. I was also excited to use my cast iron skillet for the first time.
Aunt Mary Jane's Jalapeno Cornbread
1-1/2 c yellow cornmeal
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c grated Longhorn or cheddar cheese
1 c finely minced onion
5 large jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c corn oil (vegetable oil is fine, as well)
1/2 c sour cream
8.5 oz can creamed corn
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Stir in cheese, onions, and jalapenos. Add eggs, oil, sour cream, and corn. Mix well. Grease a 9x13 baking pan or a heated cast iron skillet. Pour in batter. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Yum. (PS- Reduce time to 10-15 minutes for muffins.)
Miso Salad with Chicken
I have to give credit on this one to my sorority sister, Katie, and California Pizza Kitchen. I am absolutely in love with their Miso Salad, and it had never crossed my mind that I could recreate that deliciousness until I saw a post of Katie's where she said she was making that for dinner. I asked for the recipe, and the one she provided was awesome, but it left out a lot of what I loved from the salad. So, I tried my hand at it, and it was great! I was especially proud, because I am just getting to the point where I can "wing" recipes on my own. I am starting to understand how flavors work together, so while I definitely had some guidelines, I tried to make it my own.
These are rough estimates of the ingredients.
2 chicken breasts, grilled
1 head napa cabbage
1 cucumber, seeded and julienne
3/4 c shelled edamame
1 c matchstick carrots
5 green onions, sliced
small handful cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 avocado, sliced into half dollar sized pieces
(Optional: daikon, red cabbage, crispy wonton strips - these are in the real deal)
1/4 c white miso paste
1/4 c water
1/4 c vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp honey
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
(I might add some fresh ginger and a small clove of garlic next time.)
Salt and pepper both sides of chicken and grill over medium heat until done. Let sit a few minutes and slice into thin pieces. Refrigerate to cool completely. Chop cabbage into thin strips, for lack of better terminology. Add remaining salad ingredients. In a blender or using a stick blender (awesome kitchen gadget), mix dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust as needed. That's it! Easy and healthy and scrumptious! This makes enough for four entree salads (or for us, dinner and lunch the next day).