This time of year, there’s really nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of soup. Am I right? Well, except for when it’s a chowder. Made using pantry staples. That’s incredible easy…

The shorter days and grey skies really have me yearning for comfort foods. And this recipe definitely fits the bill. A deliciously cheesy chicken chowder that can be made in just a few minutes. I usually use leftover chicken. However there’s no shame in the store-bought rotisserie game. Just stay away from the canned stuff, ick!

A quick saute of stand-by veggies – all the usual suspects: onions, carrots, celery, garlic. Then some carbalicious goodness in the form of potatoes and corn join the party. With a good helping of shredded cheddar and heavy cream, ya know… to throw the richness factor just right over the edge.

Pair with a nice green salad, and some warm crusty bread. Sheer perfection! As with any soup, stew, or chowder – this just gets better after a day in the fridge. Perfect to whip a batch up and enjoy for lunch all week. 

Source: adapted from Taste of Home, June/July 1993

Garlic Herb Salt

Back at Christmas time I bought an insane amount of pre-peeled garlic due to poor grocery shopping planning, and needed something to do with it. I’d remembered a recipe they’d talked about on The Splendid Table a while back for homemade seasoned salt using fresh garlic, and decided that since I had a plethora of the stuff that I needed something to do with…this was the perfect opportunity to try out said recipe.

You guys, it’s been pretty much the only seasoning I’ve used since then – save chili powder and cumin. Not a meal goes by that I don’t find myself dipping into the stuff. I keep a mason jar curing of it at all times, just because it’s so perfect to use on everything – any protein under the sun, to any vegetable or starch you can throw at it! It really heightens the flavor of whatever it is you use it on, without overwhelming it…which many store-bought seasoning blends tend to do!

I roasted the garlic first – to intensify and deepen the flavors. Then, toss it into bunch of salt along with some freshly chopped herbs. Any mix of your favorite will do – I’ve been using rosemary and thyme recently, just because it’s been pretty readily available during the cold months.

However now that it’s warming up and I’m starting to think about my herb garden – I’m looking forward to experimenting with different blends of herbs this season. I also think that bit of citrus zest would also be a welcome addition to the party! Or maybe a smidge of lavender for an Herbes de Provance twist? Have fun with it, you can’t mess this one up!

Source: adapted from The Splendid Table

Monterey Chicken Sandwich

Life has been crazy around here lately. First off, our school day has been extended through the remainder of the year to make up for lost time for all the snow/fog days we had. So, our 1st grader goes in at 8:15 AM – and doesn’t get home until around 4:45.

Then factor in homework, Cub Scouts, and baseball practices/games into our schedule…and it doesn’t leave much time for a good, home-cooked meal around the dinner table. This chicken sandwich is an answered prayer on those evenings!

A chicken cutlet cooks up quickly on the grill or in a skillet, brushed with a flavorful barbecue sauce, then piled with bacon and melted cheese. Throw it on a bun, and dinner is done! They’re even great wrapped up and taken “to-go”, to later be enjoyed at the game (or on the beach!).

I added a slice of tomato and onion for a little extra flavor and crunch, and I thought it worked nicely with the other components. I served alongside some sweet potato chips and a pickle, for a quick dinner.

Another great, quick recipe to have under my belt for those nights when life is just – crazy!

Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Southwestern Egg Rolls

With Super Bowl upon us tomorrow, I thought it was only prudent to share a great appetizer recipe with you before the big game! I’ve wanted to make these guys for a couple years now, but just never managed to get around to it. Traditional homemade egg rolls are one of our very favorite things ever, and we love Mexican food – so it was totally no surprise when we all loved them!

Corn, red pepper, black beans, red onion, spinach, garlic, and cilantro are given a quick saute to soften. Then they’re mixed with a blend of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, rolled into an egg roll wrapper, and quickly fried. I suspect that they would also be great baked, if you’re looking for a healthier route. But it’s Super Bowl, and I’m not.

I served with an avocado ranch dipping sauce, which couldn’t have been any easier. I just mashed up an avocado well and mixed it with ranch dressing. I think salsa would also be another great option for dipping, which is again- much healthier! I hope everyone enjoys the big game tomorrow – we’ll be rooting for the Patriots (anyone BUT the Seahawks!). Stay safe and warm, everyone!