Happiness Project#42: Creamy Chicken Potato Soup!

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Hallelujah! It’s FINALLY starting to feel a bit like Fall, here in California! Bout time! It actually rained a bit, two days ago and I found myself standing in my Daughter’s room, trying to figure out what outfit to dress her in. A cute jumper? Jeans with a short sleeved shirt? Or jeans with a lightweight long sleeved shirt? Ha! Oh, the many, silly dilemmas of Mommyhood! I finally settled on jeans with a long sleeved shirt, if you must know.

Anyhow, to celebrate the wondrous experience of such highly anticipated Fall weather, I was super excited to whip up this new comforts-of-home style Dinner Dish! With chicken. Naturally. Because I’m not ashamed to admit that my household (quite literally) runs on chicken. And peas. Oh, and cheerios too. Must NOT ever forget the cheerios. Toddlers, my friends. Toddlers.

Since my Husband is an avid soup lover (whereas I usually am not), I wanted to make this dish specifically for him. As my own way of giving back to him. To show him my love. And my appreciation for the deeply rooted patience he has for living with me. The NOW me. Who sobs uncontrollably (for no discernible reason), more often than not and sometimes, feels completely & utterly broken inside, no matter that I have the kind of beautiful, semi-charmed life that not everyone is blessed with. That’s simply (or not so simply) how depression is. I have good days but also very severe bad days, as well. And it’s something that I can’t just will away. Nor is it something easily explained to those who have never experienced it firsthand. It’s hard. And can be emotionally excruciating, at times. Just being me. The NOW me. The NOW me that affects everyone else around me. My family, my friends but most deeply, my husband. And sometimes, on my bad days, I grieve for him, as well. For the woman he married and now is gone, in so many prevalent ways. Tangled up so tightly within the deep heaviness of this life change. For both of us. And even though, things will never be the way they were before & I will never be able to give back to him that once unaffected heart & body (the me of BEFORE), the NOW me is determined to show my love & appreciation for everything that he has given, in other ways instead. Like through this recipe. This perfect LOVE-in-a-Fall-Soup recipe. So let’s celebrate, my friends. Lets celebrate the coming of Fall and all of the many ways we share Love! Bring on the soup!

11 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

6 cups whole milk

7-8 red potatoes, peeled, cubed and cooked until slightly softened

2 chicken thighs, thawed, cubed and cooked

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon salt

pinch of ground black pepper

pinch of paprika

*1/2 cup finely chopped celery (approximately 1 whole celery stalk), for garnish. Optional.

In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and let it cook together for 2-3 minutes.

Add in the 6 cups of milk, 1 cup at a time, whisking well between each addition. Let the milk mixture sit and thicken slightly.

Drop in the cubed potatoes, bringing the pot to a boil, while continuously stirring, for 2-3 minutes.

Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and stir in the cubed chicken, mixing well. Followed with the cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper and paprika. Stir gently until well mixed.

Once the cheese has melted, serve and garnish each bowlful with celery (which adds a nice crunch to the overall dish, as well as a bright pop of color).

If you prefer a more thickened overall texture, let the soup stand and cool until it has reached a desired consistency.

Chicken. Potatoes. Soup. How could you not want a little bit of THIS comfort food??

Happy Fall, everyone!

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Happiness Project #39: Hamburger Casserole Croissant Buns

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Beef. It’s what’s for dinner. Seriously. There’s a HUGE croissant takeover happening on Pinterest when it comes to whipping up a quick, yummy and easy dinner recipe. And I am most definitely ON that band wagon. Possibly forever. Because well, you can make just about ANYTHING in a lovely, flakey croissant roll. Chicken Tacos (which I’ve also done), Mac & Cheese Rolls, Mini Pepperoni Pizzas, to name just a few! Provided that my family doesn’t tire of them too quickly. Though, considering that my husband devoured 4 of these Hamburger Casserole Buns last night, (within a span of something close to 10 minutes), so far, I think I’m in the clear. And fortunately, my 16mo Daughter LOVES these toddler sized mini-meals. So that settles it, in my book. Ready for a very simple, fun and toddler friendly dinner recipe? Here you go…

1 package of refrigerated Croissant Rolls

1 cup seasoned ground meat, skillet cooked and drained

1 cup cubed red potatoes, properly cooked, drained and pat dried

1-1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, melted

*1/4 cup catsup (optional)

Firstly, skillet cook the ground hamburger meat until nicely browned and sizzling. Drain and set aside. If you’re up to multitasking, while the ground meat is cooking, throw the cubed red potatoes into a lightly salted pot of boiling water, for a good 8-10 minutes. Once the potatoes are soft to the touch, drain and pat dry. Also set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line one baking sheet with a Silpat mat or aluminum foil. Gently crack open the croissant roll package and line up all 9 dough pieces onto the baking sheet. Set aside while you mix the hamburger filling.

Once the cooked meat has cooled, using your fingers (yes, this is very, very messy), generously mix in the catsup (if using). Next, heat up the grated cheese in a micro-wave safe bowl, until melted. Which REALLY means until gooey. Stir the cooked potatoes into the melted cheese. Again, this will be very messy. But fun. Okay, well, I thinks it’s fun, at least.

Using a tablespoon, drop up to 2 tablespoons of the potato/cheese mixture into the top middle section of each dough piece (which looks something akin to a pizza slice). Gently press 1 tablespoon of hamburger meat into each mound of potato/cheese. Once each roll has been garnished with it’s potato/cheese/hamburger filling, fold each corner flap of the dough pieces, into one another & transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the Croissants are lightly browned on the edges and an even shade of golden yellow on top. Cool on a wire rack for 2-3 minutes before serving.

So. So. Easy. Your tummy will thank you, I promise.

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