Thai Garden Chicken Wonton Broth Bowl

Published April 18, 2016 by jenmatteson

I haven’t been to Panera in a long time. A really long time. Until recently. And I noticed their menu has changed quite a bit. They seem to have a bit more global flavors than I remember, and I really like the change!

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Granted, they aren’t too far out there, as I can understand they want to continue to appeal to the general public, but some new fun items none the less. The Thai Garden Chicken Wonton Broth Bowl (not sure why it just can’t be called soup) really caught my eye. And, I loved it! And of course, I thought how hard could it be to make it at home?

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The hardest part of this broth bowl was making the wontons. And really, it wasn’t hard at all, it was just really tedious. The recipe called for a pound of ground chicken, but seeing as though a little goes a long way, I only  used 1/2 pound, and it still made about 25 wontons. Another great option is to use frozen pre-made wontons. Costco actually has some pretty good chicken wontons. Because I made a large pot for just the two of us, the only thing I would have done differently next time is add only the wontons I intend to eat that day. The wonton wrapper itself started to fall apart by day 3 from sitting in the liquid so long. I would keep the others uncooked and wrapped up to throw in when I heat up the soup. Overall, I really liked it. Nate was kind enough to let me know that I can make that any time I want…meaning he really liked it, too!

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Thai Garden Chicken Wonton Broth Bowl

Source: Adapted from Spark People
Servings: 8

Ingredients

1/2 pound extra lean ground chicken
1 tbsp. dried minced onion (I subbed 1/4 of a fresh onion, diced finely)
4 cloves garlic, minced, separated
1 tbsp. Ponzu sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp plus 2 tbsp. ginger root, grated, separated
1/2 tsp. seasoned rice vinegar
48 wonton or pot sticker wrappers
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cup water
3 medium carrots, julienned
4 oz. Portabella mushrooms, sliced
2 crowns broccoli, cut into medium florets
2 tbsp. Miso
2 tsp. sweet red chili sauce
3 green onions, rough chopped
1 cup Napa cabbage, rough chopped
sesame seeds, toasted

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, combine ground chicken, onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, Ponzu, sesame oil, 2 tsp ginger, and vinegar. Scoop one tablespoon of chicken mixture on wonton wrapper. Seal edges with water and set aside.

2. In large soup pot or Dutch oven, bring chicken broth and water to a boil. Add carrots and continue to boil for 3-5 minutes.

3. Lightly sauté 2 tbsp. ginger, remaining garlic and add mushrooms, about 5 minutes until mushrooms are soft and fragrant. Add mushrooms, broccoli, miso and sweet chili sauce. After simmering 10 minutes, add green onion, cabbage and wontons. Cook wontons until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Serve and garnish with sesame seeds.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Published April 11, 2016 by jenmatteson

Over the weekend, we went to my parent’s house to visit our new puppy, Milou. Isn’t she precious?

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She’ll be coming to her new home in mid-May, so in the mean time, we’ll keep visiting when we can. The benefit of visiting her is that we get to spend time with my parents. This generally means playing cards and having a few cocktails. Always a great time!

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Since we went over for dinner, I wanted to bring a dessert to share. Thankfully, my freezer holds many treasures, two of them being strawberries and rhubarb. We can never seem to go through one of the big tubs from Costco, but the price is basically the same for the larger container as it is at the regular grocery store, so why wouldn’t I buy it from Costco?Because it’s wasteful? Nope. I just freeze the extras so I can use them for times like these.

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You can also easily make this in on 8″x 8″ pan if you don’t want to use individual ramekins. My mom absolutely loved these. She had two in one night! While it seems like a large rhubarb to strawberry ratio, the strawberries and sugar make the dessert a perfect balance of sweet and tart.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Source: Adapted from Food Network
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

3/4 slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 stick butter, cold and cubed

6 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup roughly chopped strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

heavy whipping cream
confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground.  Add flour, sugar and salt.  Pulse until incorporated.  Add butter and pulse until butter is dispersed in walnut-sized pieces throughout.  Set aside.

2. Mix rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large bowl.  Evenly divide among 4 4-inch ramekins.  Sprinkle about 2 tbsp. of almond crumble over each and place in oven.  Bake until filling bubbles and the topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine heaving whipping cream and confectioners sugar and whisk until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Top each ramekin with a dollop of cream and serve.

Pan Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fennel

Published March 28, 2016 by jenmatteson

I love sweet potatoes. While they seem to be more of a fall/winter vegetable, I can eat them all year long. As a matter of fact, this recipe is wonderful to make in the summertime while you are grilling. Throw everything together and in the oven, and forget about it for about an hour. All you have to do is watch the meat and make sure you have a fresh drink!What more could you ask for?

Pan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

The brown sugar adds just a hint of sweetness to these potatoes, while the fennel pulls it all together with a pop of freshness, especially using the green tops. This is great for entertaining, or making it on Sunday for a week-long reheatable side dish.

Pan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Pan-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fennel

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 10

Ingredients:

4 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
4 fennel bulbs, halfed lengthwise and cut into 3/4-inch wedges, some of the feathery tops finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground mace
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, toss the sweet potatoes and fennel with olive oil, brown sugar, mace, salt and pepper.

2. Spread the vegetables on a foil lined baking pan. Roast for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes and fennel are tender and caramelized. Transfer them to a platter, sprinkle with t he fennel tops and serve.

Drop Biscuits

Published March 21, 2016 by jenmatteson

These are by far the quickest and easiest biscuits to make, and wonderful for entertaining. The best part is that the dough can basically be assembled far in advance. A few quick steps, and they can be in the oven in less than 5 minutes.

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You can prepare the dough up through step one (all the dry ingredients and butter), and have buttermilk measured and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Just pour, mix and drop. These biscuits come out nice and flaky, buttery and rich. They melt in your mouth – no joke! I often make these for Thanksgiving, and are the last thing I put in the oven while everything else is getting to the table. Works like a charm!

Want to make these at a moment’s notice, but don’t have buttermilk? Don’t worry – you can make your own buttermilk substitute with these two ingredients you probably do have: milk and vinegar. Simply measure out 1 tbsp. of vinegar and pour into a liquid measuring cup. Pour milk into the measuring cup with the vinegar, filling up to the 1 cup line. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Viola! Buttermilk substitution.

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Drop Biscuits

Drop Biscuits

Source: Adapted from Fresh Direct
Servings: 8-12 biscuits

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.

2. Dump into large bowl, and stir in buttermilk with wooden spoon until just combined. The dough will be very sticky. Using the spoon, drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray with olive oil.

3. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 12-15 minutes.

Butternut and Acorn Squash Soup

Published March 7, 2016 by jenmatteson

It’s March in Minnesota, and as someone who has lived here my entire life, I know the weather can be completely unpredictable. It was 60 degrees over the weekend, and currently 61 as I write this, but that doesn’t mean we are out of the clear and into spring…yet. So despite the warmer weather, everyone could still use a simple soup recipe, just in case we have another cold snap again! Or, if you’re like me, you like soup year round😉

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While the ingredients scream fall, squash is readily available year round, and it can stay fresh at room temperature for several weeks (Sometimes I tend to over-vegetable-shop, so I can always leave my gourds for last!)

This soup is awesome! Not only is it rich and filling, but it’s incredibly healthy! Plus, you will definitely get your daily dose of veggies. I like to add a bit more broth because it can get a thick, but that will depend on the size of squash you use. The apple brings a subtle sweetness without being overpowering, and the nutmeg adds a depth of flavor that brings all the flavors together! I know it’s early to start thinking of Thanksgiving, but this is a fantastic first course/appetizer for the big meal. I drizzled with a bit of lemon olive oil before serving for an added freshness.

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Butternut Acorn Squash Soup

 

Butternut and Acorn Squash Soup

Source:
Servings:

Ingredients:

1 medium acorn squash
1 medium butternut squash
1 Fuji apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth (chicken broth is fine if you’re not going for a vegetarian soup)
pinch nutmeg
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut each squash in half (through the stem) and remove seeds and stringy insides. Place face down in baking dish or baking pan with a small amount of water on the bottom. Bake until tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

2. Once squash is cool enough to handle, scrape insides into a large bowl. Heat butter and olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add onion and apple and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add squash and broth. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 15 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender (or transfer to blender or food processor – make sure the mix is then cool, otherwise you’ll have a mess on your hands). Add nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Green Beans with Apple Cider

Published February 29, 2016 by jenmatteson

If you don’t have apple cider in your fridge this time of year, you are adulting incorrectly. I suppose it’s past prime apple season, but it’s still a perfect winter warmer. Not only is it delicious on it’s own (or with a smidge of brandy), but it’s great for cooking, too!

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We eat a lot of vegetables in our house, but I feel like I’m always doing the same thing with them. Sauté in olive oil, salt and pepper, serve. Repeat. If you want to add a little excitement to your hum-drum vegetables, add cider! This is a quick, simple twist on green beans, which add just a little bit of sweetness. If you don’t have cider, don’t be afraid to use white wine. I did the last time I made these, and they were fantastic!

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Green Beans with Apple Cider

Source: Adapted from Food Network
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

32 oz green beans
olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup apple cider
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil. Add green beans and boil for 4-6 minutes, or until tender, but with a bite. Remove from heat and drain beans. Set aside.

2. Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and the onions and cook until beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cider, raise the heat to medium-high and cook until liquid is reduced and syrupy, about 5 minutes.

3. Add beans to the pan with onions and cider. Toss to coat, salt and pepper to taste.

Rainbow Spring Rolls

Published February 22, 2016 by jenmatteson

Last weekend I hosted a ladies wine tasting party. We do this every year when the men go ice fishing. It’s a fantastic reason for us to get together, drink wine, and let loose. Very loose.

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The theme of the tasting was Sonoma County wines under $20. For food, we decided to go with spa cuisine type appetizers. What exactly is “spa cuisine” many asked? Well, I can’t be positive as there was a lot of different explanations on the ol’ Google. But here is what I took away from it. Fresh, whole, minimal preservatives, and simple ingredients.

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I made these neat wine glasses as favors for the ladies, which then inspired my table setting and food choices. Everyone got a different color, so I paired it with matching placemats and plates, birthing a rainbow color scheme. Now enter Rainbow Spring Rolls.

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I wasn’t even looking for “rainbow” themed foods, but I did run across these, and thought they’d be perfect. I’ve never made spring rolls, and was a little hesitant, but they really couldn’t have been easier. The hardest part was trying to not get the wrapper stuck to itself after soaking in warm water. I hesitated a bit with the herb mixture of cilantro and mint, and a healthy handful of each, but they paired perfectly together, and to finish off with the peanut sauce – wow. They were delicious! The peanut sauce alone would be an awesome salad dressing, which is what I plan to do with my leftovers. The original recipe called for mango, which I do think would have been a fun sweet addition, but it also mentioned that the acidity in the mango ate through the wrapper if they were made ahead, so I opted out. Didn’t even miss the mango! There were a hit and I plan to make them again!

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Rainbow Spring Rolls

Source: Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Servings: 10-12

Ingredients:

10-12 rice spring roll wrappers
2 beets, peeled and julienned
1/2 – 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1/2 – 1 red bell pepper, julienned
2-3 medium carrots, julienned
1 large bunch mint
1 large bunch cilantro

Ginger Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup salted natural peanut butter (almond butter would be great, too)
1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
2-3 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp Sriracha or other chili sauce
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
hot water

Directions:

  1. Fill a skillet (large enough to fit the spring roll wrapper) almost to the top with water, and bring to a boil. Set aside for a few minutes until cool enough to touch.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the peanut sauce by combining all ingredients except water. Whisk until well combined. Add hot water 1 tbsp. at a time until sauce reaches desired consistency. Set aside.
  3. Once the water is no longer hot but very warm, submerge one rice paper for about 10 seconds. You’ll know when it’s ready once very pliable, but if you let it for too long or the water is too warm, the paper becomes too fragile to work with.
  4. Once soft, transfer to a damp surface (I used a wet wooden cutting board which worked great!) and smooth out into a circle.
  5. Add carrots, peppers, beets and a healthy handful of each mint and cilantro. Fold the bottom over the fillings, then turn in each side. Finally, roll completely to seal. Place on serving plate and top with a damp towel until ready to serve. Repeat process with remaining ingredients.
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