Monday, December 9, 2013

Not So Ordinary Potato Soup

Every year on Christmas Eve my family has always made potato soup. So when it gets cold outside (and in Texas, it has definitely gotten cold with ice EVERYWHERE and no school for a few days) it was time to make a big pot of it in the crock pot. But I wanted to spice it up a little and add my own twist to the plain but bone warming favorite. I decided to add some peppers, onions, garlic, and chorizo sausage! The verdict? Second helpings were dished out. This is the version I was asked to make the next time we make potato soup in our house!

  •  Roughly 10 butter or red potatoes, chopped (half or all peeled)
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (your choice of color but I used red and orange)
  • 1 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk (or half & half)
  • 1 package of sausage (your choice, but I used precooked chorizo)
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • Salt & Pepper
  • minced cilantro (optional for garnish)
  • shaved parmesan cheese (optional, baked for garnish)
  • Crock pot to cook it in


1. Preheat oven to 455 degrees.

2. Place chopped onions and peppers on baking sheet, drizzle EVOO and add about 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp of pepper, then toss. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until onions are caramelizing. (Picture on the right shows the caramelization.)

3. Peel 1/2 or all of the potatoes (depending on if you want it to be more rustic), then chop into small pieces and place into crock pot.

4. Slice precooked sausage links in half and take the casings off. Then slice in half again and chop up into small, bite size pieces. Place in container back in fridge for later use.

5. Add onions and peppers from the oven to the crock pot, along with uncooked minced garlic.

6. Pour chicken stock and milk (or Half & Half for a little more decadence) along with a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper to the crock pot and stir everything together.

7. Place lid on crock pot and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

8. Uncover, then either blend (if you want  smooth potato base) or smash the mixture.

9. Stir in sausage, then cook for another 30 minutes.

10. Optional: Bake small piles of parmesan on a silicone baking sheet on 425 degrees until everything bubbles, then let cool. Top with a little cilantro if you'd like.

I hope you enjoy this not so ordinary version of our new family favorite!

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Miracle Tea - or so my family likes to call it!

My aunt, cousins and I make this recipe and I honestly don't even know where it came from. It was something I just remember drinking and it always making me feel warm inside and/or curing whatever was ailing me. It is one of those drinks that will cure the feeling of "cold bones", which I often have in the winter. I have changed the recipe up a little, added more spice to suit me, along with subbing out the sugar for honey. It is made often when it is cold at my house. You could also put everything in a crock pot and let it simmer for a couple of hours. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

  • 3 large (or 9 small) tea bags
  • Water (enough to fill pot 2/3 full)
  • 1 (12 oz) can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 (12 oz) can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 cup sugar OR 3/4 cup honey (or a mixture of both until you find your perfect sweetness)
  • 4-5 (or more if you want more spice) cinnamon sticks
  • 10 (or more if you want more spice) cloves
  • 1-2 tbsp mulling spices
    • I put my cloves and mulling spices in mesh bags or tea infusers to make it easier for removal later. 

 1.  Place spices and tea bags in a pot and fill 2/3 full of water.
*If you have a gas stove, you can take the strings off of the bags and just place them in the pot so they are not a fire hazard.

2. Turn heat on high, cover, and bring to a boil. Keep covered and let boil for 3-5 minutes (the longer, the stronger tea and spice flavor you get).

3. Remove spices and tea bags.

4. Whisk in both juice concentrates, then honey until mixed thoroughly.

5. Pour into mugs and enjoy, refrigerate for later consumption (within 5 days), or freeze for later use!

Goes well by itself, or even with a yummy breakfast, dessert or snack item.
I like eating mine with a slice of pumpkin bread. 
Might be making a loaf of that next!
Bon Appetit!