Sausage & Kale Soup

Happy NEW Year! A new year brings such excitement, promise, and new adventures. Each year I take time to review my goals from the year before and create new goals to guide me. This year I went through a process to find a word that encompasses my goals. My word this year is PURPOSEFUL. One of my goals is being purposeful with my blog. I want to share my recipes, my heart, and encourage you along the way. My goal is to blog at least every two weeks. So I’m a little off to begin the year. I give myself forgiveness and know that I have been purposeful in other aspects of my life: spending every moment soaking up time with my sister and niece while they were visiting, taking care of little one with pneumonia, adjusting back to an alarm and school routine, and threw in a few dates and a getaway with Chris.

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I wanted to start this year by sharing this yummy soup my sister, Lesley, shared with me. This year I rang in the new year surrounded by friends and my family. My sister and niece joined us for the celebration all the way from Texas. The following week, Lesley and I shared a lot of time in the kitchen. Our new, improved, and beautiful kitchen creates great space for sharing life. We are there all the time. This Sausage Kale Soup was shared and enjoyed on a cold, relaxing evening. It has instantly become a favorite. Not only was it yummy for dinner but I enjoyed it for lunch the following two days. Lesley says that it is just as terrific if you make ahead, freeze, and serve later. Plus it has KALE!! I can’t get enough of that green stuff. This soup screams to be made for a family with a new baby, a friend who has had a bad day, or just a simple “thinking of you” meal. Bless those around you this year. Look for reasons to Sing and Dance in your kitchen.
Looking Forward- Amanda

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Complete Happiness in a Bowl

Sausage Kale Soup

1 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lb Italian sausage, remove casting
1 lb red potatoes, sliced thin circles
1 bunch kale, trimmed, chopped, stems removed
8 cups of chicken broth
1 c dry white wine
1 t crushed red pepper (use less if you don’t want it too spicy)
1/3 c heavy cream
3/4 shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil, onions, and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add the sausage. Brown sausage and crumble into smaller pieces. Once the sausage is ready, add potatoes, kale, chicken broth, wine and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Stir completely then reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. When ready to serve, stir in the cream and parmesan cheese. Serve in individual bowls topped with parmesan cheese and red pepper. Delicious with warm bread.

Tex-Mex Tortilla Soup

It’s not cold in ATL today but in my Texas hometown, they are welcoming lots of snow. Snow and cold weather makes me want soup. Here’s a little Tex-Mex Tortilla Soup I made a few weeks ago. You probably have most items on hand already. This soup was different from my go-to Tortilla Soup because of the yummy rice and black beans. Everyone needs options! Enjoy and stay warm! -Amanda

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Tex-Mex Tortilla Soup

3 T olive oil, divided
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
1 small white onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup black olives, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 + 1/2 t chile powder
1 t dried Mexican oregano
1/2 t dried thyme
15 oz canned black beans, drained
1/2 cup uncooked long or medium-grain brown rice, rinsed well in a wire strainer with cold water
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup salsa
Optional Toppings:
sliced avocados
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
sour cream
tortilla chips

In a large soup pan, heat 1 T of oil over medium heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan, stirring often so all sides get browned. Remove and set aside.
Add 2 T of oil to a soup pot over medium-low heat. Sauté the onion, pepper, garlic, and olives together for 5 minutes. Add a little pepper and stir often. Mix in the chile powder, oregano, thyme, black beans, and rice, cook 3 minutes. Stir the chicken back into the pot and add the broth and salsa. Bring to a simmer and cook 30 minutes. Stir often. Add seasonings to taste. (OR add to crock pot and keep on low until ready to dinner.)
Serve with toppings like, cheese, sour cream, sliced avocado, and tortilla chips if desired.

Fabulous Fish Tacos

I just crave fish tacos. I am on the hunt for the best fish taco recipe. There are “musts” that my tacos need: a good kick of flavor on the fish, a cabbage slaw, and a genius sauce. The prep was not too bad because I could break it up and still have a productive afternoon with my boys. This recipe has moved up to a favorite go-to. I’ll still be looking for the next fish taco contestant. Until then!- Amanda

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                                              Fabulous Fish Tacos

4 filets of tilapia (about a pound)
8 small wheat flour tortillas
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 ripe avocado, sliced thin
olive oil

The slaw: 
2 c green cabbage, finely shredded
1 t honey
the juice of 1/2 a lime
1 T fresh cilantro, finely chopped
salt and pepper

The seasoning for fish:
2 t salt
2 t fresh black pepper
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t smoked paprika
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t cumin powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t cumin powder

The sauce:
1/2 c olive oil mayo
1/2 c sour cream
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1/4 t cumin powder
1/4 t cayenne pepper
the juice of one lime

First off you want to mix up your garnish sauce. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well, season with salt and fresh pepper. Now just stick it in the refrigerator until time to serve the tacos. You can make this earlier in the day to help with prep time.
In a small bowl for the slaw, whisk together: honey, salt, cilantro, and lime juice. Toss with the cabbage. Pop that slaw in the refrigerator until you are ready to dress the tacos.
Combine ingredients for fish seasoning. Lay fish on a plate and drizzle both sides with olive oil. Apply seasonings to both sides of fish.
Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Cook fish until white and flaky, about 3 minutes per side. Gently pull fish apart into bite size pieces.
Warm tortillas. Dress up your fish tacos by filling tortillas with fish. Then layer with slaw, red onions, and sauce. Makes 8.
Serve with chips and salsa

Baked Salmon and Asparagus with Balsamic & Butter Sauce

This house loves salmon. I love that this tasty fish is full of omega-3 and is total brain food. I try to make it once a week so I’m always looking for new ways to dish it up. Our asparagus has been so yummy this year and it compliments salmon so nicely. This recipe is simple and has little prep and clean-up! Enjoy!- Amanda

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Baked Salmon and Asparagus with Balsamic & Butter Sauce

1 lb. salmon fillets
1 bunch of asparagus
1T & 1t olive oil
sea salt and pepper
2 T unsalted butter
1 t soy sauce
3 t balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Gently toss asparagus with olive oil and brush a light coat of oil on salmon, placing both on a baking sheet together. Season with sea salt and pepper. Place in oven to cook for approximately 12 minutes or until desired doneness of fish and asparagus is reached.
While they bake, whip up the butter sauce: Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat until lightly browned. (Just keep watching and stirring to make sure you don’t burn the butter.). Remove butter from heat. Add soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.
Remove salmon and asparagus from oven, arrange on plates and pour sauce over top to serve.

Cheeseburger Stuffed Zucchini

Complete CRAZY talk!  It’s a cheeseburger in a zucchini boat!  Honestly, all the goodness of a gouda cheese burger without the guilt of that carb-crazy bun.  Trust me, as you read through the ingredients you will question if I am a mad person!  Just give it a shot and you will see that deliciousness just arrived in a zucchini boat.  Set Sail!- Amanda  

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Cheeseburger Stuffed Zucchini

1 T olive oil

1 lb. ground beef

1 small yellow onion, diced

coarse salt and fresh black pepper

1/2 T Tony Chachere’s seasoning

1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced, seeds removed

1/2 cup dill pickle, diced

Sauce:

1 T butter

1 T all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 T Dijon mustard

1 + 1/2 cups Gouda cheese, shredded, divided

3 medium zucchini

green onions, snipped with kitchen shears, for serving

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat, add ground beef and onion. Season well with salt and pepper. Add Tony Chachere’s seasoning.  Brown the ground beef until cooked through breaking it up as it cooks. Drain off excess grease.

Add the ground beef mixture to a large bowl and mix in tomatoes and pickles.

In the same skillet heat the butter for the sauce over medium-low heat, whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk and mustard. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. Turn heat down to low and add 1 cup of the Gouda stirring until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.

Meanwhile wash the zucchini and slice them in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds leaving the zucchini intact. Place on a large baking sheet or roasting pan.

Stir the cheese sauce into the ground meat. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Spoon the meat into the zucchini boats, sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/2 cup of Gouda.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until heated through. Sprinkle with green onions to serve.

Chicken Tetrazzini

We all need a meal that does not need a lot of thought.  A little chopping, a little mixing, and throw it together over some heat.  This Chicken Tetrazzini was a complete winner at our house served with a green salad and warm, garlic bread.  Big score that we had a yummy lunch the next day.  Here’s to an easy night in the kitchen!- AmandaChicken Tetra

Chicken Tetrazzini

3 T butter

1 medium onion, chopped

3/4 cup celery, chopped

2 cups chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into bite-sized pieces

6 oz. uncooked spaghetti noodles, broken in half

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Paprika

Melt butter in a large skillet.  Add onion and celery.  Cook until clear.  Arrange chicken in a layer over the onion and celery.  Add uncooked noodles.  Mix salt, pepper, soup, and chicken broth together and pour the mixture over the noodles.  Make sure that all noodles are moistened.  Place mushrooms over the top and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and a little paprika.  Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

Oh the happiness of a French Dip!  Let’s get a fact out there: A French Dip is not from France.  The name is derived from the actual bread that is used to create this delectable sandwich.  During my research, I discovered that Philippe Mathieu, inventor of the French Dip Sandwich, was French and living in Los Angeles. In 1914, according to the story at Mathieu’s  restaurant, Philippe was preparing a sandwich for a policeman and accidentally dropped the sliced French roll into the drippings of a roasting pan. The policeman liked the sandwich and came back the next day with some friends to order the sandwich “dipped” in the meat pan. From that day on, a new sandwich was born. See accidents in the kitchen can turn out to be a wonderful thing! There’s your history for the day.  So put on a little French music and fire up your crockpot.  It’s that easy.  Can’t trust a name of a sandwich! -Amanda

Crockpot French Dips Sandwiches

3 lbs beef chuck roast
16 oz. beef broth (1 1/2 cans)
1 can condensed French onion soup
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1 t garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
4-6 French rolls
sliced provolone cheese

Trim excess fat off of beef roast and season meat all over with salt and pepper.  Pour beef broth, French onion soup, onion slices, and garlic powder into slow cooker and place beef roast into liquid.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Since this is cooking in liquid, you don’t have to worry about the meat drying out in the same way you might if you were roasting the meat in the oven. I cooked our roast for 7 hours and it was so tender.
Take beef out and rest it, covered with aluminum foil, for about 15 minutes. Slice beef and return to slow cooker on low for 30 minutes.
Lightly toast the bread and evenly distribute cheese between rolls.  Divide beef onto rolls and spoon the remaining beef juice into ramekins. Serve each sandwich with its own dip.

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Crazy Good Roast

Okay, Roast!   Last Sunday I wanted to be all 1950’s and whip up a roast.  Now June Cleaver did not have a crockpot but if she did, it would have totally changed her life and the way she prepared a roast.  Honestly, just throw it all in the crockpot and curl up with a good book.  To make it a little exciting, I shredded some roast and served on small rolls.  It was a HUGE family hit.  Here’s to a restful Sunday! -Amanda

Crazy Good Roast

4 -5 lb. chuck pot roast

1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch mix

1 pkg. McCormick Au jus mix

8 T butter (1 stick)

6 whole pepperoncini peppers

If you want: Potatoes (cubed) and/or Carrots (chopped)

Place the pot roast in the crock pot on low.  Sprinkle ranch and au jus mix over the roast.  Place a stick of butter on top of the roast.
Put 6 peperoncini peppers on top of the roast.  Add potatoes and carrots now if you want them with your roast.  Let the roast cook at least 7 hours.  Trust me don’t add water.  Pull your roast out of the crockpot and prepare to serve.  If you want sandwiches, shred your roast and serve with rolls.

Spicy Chicken Rigatoni

Pasta dishes always make me happy!  Yes, I might need to run a few extra miles but it is so worth it.  This Spicy Chicken Rigatoni totally hit the spot.  I served it with warm garlic bread and a fresh green salad.  I’m thinking next time I will recreate this dish with linguine instead of rigatoni.  Warning:  Be careful adding extra crushed red pepper.  Of course Chris and I added the kick but we did not add to Will’s.  Keep it Spicy! -AJF

Spicy Chicken Rigatoni

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 T crushed red pepper

1/8 t salt

1/8 t ground black pepper

1 T chopped garlic

1 lb. chicken, sliced

3/4 cup. Marinara sauce

1/2 cup Alfredo sauce

1/4 cup english peas (completely optional)

2 t butter

1/2 lb. Rigatoni pasta, cooked according to package directions

additional 1/2 t crushed red pepper (for garnish)
In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper, and garlic.  Sauté long enough for garlic to caramelize and red pepper to release flavor into the oil. Add sliced chicken and sauté briefly to coat in spices and garlic.

In sam pan add marinara sauce first and then alfredo sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook until sauce thickens slightly and chicken is fully cooked. (Internal temp is usually about 165 degrees.) Turn off flame, add butter (english peas if you want to) and incorporate into sauce.

Toss cooked pasta with the sauce. Place pasta and sauce in pasta bowl, reserving the majority of the chicken to be placed on top of the pasta. Garnish with crushed red pepper (if you want a big spicy kick) and serve.

Tuscan Salmon

It’s been awhile!  Although new creations and fab cooking has been taking place in the Fuller kitchen, I have neglected to update my blog.  Please forgive me!  I promise that I will make it up to you with tasty treats and easy dinners.  Today I had to share our new favorite salmon creation.  Super easy and full of all the salmon goodness.  Just wrap it all up in foil, bake, and serve.  We served up our salmon with fresh, steamed broccoli and couscous.  I love the idea of making individual salmons for our next dinner party.

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Tuscan Salmon

Salmon 1 1/2lb piece
4 Rosemary sprigs
3 T butter
1 large lemon, cut into thin slices
salt and pepper (if desired)

Place salmon filet on a large piece of aluminum foil.  Add thin “pats” of butter on top of salmon.  Place lemon slices on top of salmon. Then add your rosemary on top of lemons.
Wrap your salmon creation up tightly in aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes at 300 degrees.  Remove lemons and rosemary before eating.