Recipe Challenge

Aileen learns to make a new recipe every week. Most recipes are ones she’s been meaning to make for years, but never got around to. Join in by making the one Aileen makes, or dig in to your own personal catalog of aspirational recipes.

cheesiest broccoli soup

Cheesiest Broccoli Soup

The hot weather is here early this year because we haven’t got anything else going on so why not make it stupefyingly hot in May? When summer comes I tend to switch my eating habits to bagged salad, sandwiches and take out. Let’s be honest, my winter menu is pretty similar but I make a lot of soup as well. Cheesiest Broccoli Soup might be my last soup until October.

Luckily, it’s a good one. Also, it is versatile. You can change the vegetable, the type of cheese, and the starch to pretty much whatever you want or have on hand. The amounts below will give you two pretty big bowls. Double and triple it and you’ve got enough to freeze some for later.

What you will need:

Olive oil or vegetable oil or canola oil

2 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp butter

1/2 lb. broccoli florets

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 teaspoons veggie or chicken stock concentrate

1 medium onion

1 clove garlic

1 cup milk

2 cups water

1/4 tsp chili flakes

1/2 cup rice or orzo or any small pasta

What you will do:

  1. Make yourself a drink. Isn’t that how we are all getting from 4PM to bedtime? Well, if you aren’t then get a glass of water or whatever it is you are drinking.
  2. Cut broccoli into bite size pieces (pieces you could get on a spoon and into your mouth without choking yourself).
  3. Medium dice onion.
  4. Finely chop garlic.
  5. In liquid measuring cup, combine 8oz milk, stock concentrates and 1 cup water.
  6. In a medium put, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Then add broccoli and cook 5-7 minutes more until broccoli is wilted and onion is softened and lightly browned.
  7. Add chili flakes and garlic and cook 30 seconds more.
  8. Reduce heat to medium and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Stir in butter until melted. Add flour, cook and stir often until lightly browned.
  10. Gradually stir in milk mixture.
  11. Add rice or small pasta.
  12. Let simmer until the pasta or rice is done (rice takes about 15 minutes, pasta will take what the package says it will take).
  13. Stir in the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese!
  14. If the soup feels too thick, add in water a tablespoon at a time until it loosens up.
  15. Consume!
Easy Chocolate Chip Scones

Easy Chocolate Chip Scones

I said I am not wasting resources baking. What did I mean by that? It means I still have bread so I’m not going to bake any until I run out of the bread I have in my fridge. If I run out. Let’s hope I don’t because the only loaf I know how to make is super basic so it won’t look impressive on Instagram. So this week is easy chocolate chip scones because I have been making these for 25 years and I can make them on autopilot.

I do not roll them out and cut them into pretty rounds. I scoop them up with a spoon and plop them down onto a cookie sheet. I do measure the amount of dough that goes into each scone but that is because I want them all cooked exactly the same and I don’t want to waste any dough. 

You do not have to put chocolate chips in these. You can put currants or dried cranberries or blueberries or orange zest or whatever you want. Or make them plain but if you do that you might want to roll them out and cut them into rounds so you can slather them with butter and/or jam.

Give me a minute, I have to go get the recipe off the corkboard in the kitchen.

By the way, here’s what the corkboard in my kitchen looks like. It’s practically empty now that all the school notices are gone. 

Easy Chocolate Chip Scones

You will need:

2 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt (the smaller the grain the better)

½ cup sugar

8 tablespoons COLD butter, cut up into cubes

⅔ cup milk (whole and half are okay, I have never used nonfat or nondairy so I don’t know how it will work)

1 cup chocolate chips

What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees then line baking sheet with parchment paper or one of those silicone mats or nothing. It’s up to you. Please don’t use wax paper, it is coated in paraffin wax which is highly flammable.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. 
  • Now, this can be tricky. If you have a food processor you might want to make this like a pie crust. Put the dry ingredients in the bowl of the food processor, whir them up then drop in the butter pieces. I don’t have a food processor so I put the cold cut up butter in with the dry ingredients and then using my hands, rub the butter into the flour until it’s like dampish sand.
  • Add the milk and chocolate chips or whatever else you want to add and mix. I keep using my hands to bring it all together because by now, why not? My hands are a mess.
  • Portion out into 60-63 gram drops, like in drop biscuits, by dropping spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. You can roll the dough out and use a round cutter, that works very nicely as well.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, let cool then hoard them all for yourself.

Lemon Bars Box Mix

This box mix is actually a time-saver since making lemon bars from scratch can take up a good portion of your day. That being said, while this box mix is good, they are not as good as lemon bars made from scratch. Contessa Garten has a lemon bar recipe that is so good it will make you want to lie down and scream.  Read more

Trader Joe's Frozen Food

Pivot: Frozen Food From Trader Joe’s

Okay. I tried. But the frozen food from Trader Joe’s is pretty underwhelming so time to pivot. There are a few winners and I will be sharing those with you over the next few months rather than trying new things. Read more

Box Mix Coffee Cake

Box Mix Coffee Cake

Hello fellow humans! Bet you thought I was gone for good but the internet is not that lucky because here I am! This week we need to talk about Trader Joe’s coffee cake box mix.  Read more

Poolside Cosmos

Poolside Cosmos

Oh my fellow humans! These Poolside Cosmos are gooooooooooood. I made them at my cousin’s house. We were out in her backyard swimming, so I put them over ice in plastic wine glasses rather than fancy martini glasses. Read more

Frozen Food From Trader Joe's

Frozen Food From Trader Joe’s

Ever peer into the frozen food case at all those boxes of food and think, “I wonder if that is any good?” And then you keep going because it’s expensive or you feel guilty? I do it all the time at Trader Joe’s but no more! To go along with making a bunch of box mix bakery goods, I am going to pick up, heat up and consume all the frozen foods I have been eyeing from the frozen food section at Trader Joe’s. Read more

Blondies Box Mix

Blondies Box Mix

I’ve had a BRILLIANT idea. I was at Trader Joe’s buying ingredients to make a cake from scratch for the recipe challenge and I saw, below where I was trying to figure out if I could use agave syrup instead of corn syrup, three shelves of box mixes. There were scones and cakes and quick breads. I shoved the ingredients for the cake back onto the shelf and picked out 7 box mixes I thought I would enjoy making and then eating. When I am done making all the box mixes I will decide which ones were good and which ones were meh and then I will pick a winner! Let’s begin with blondies box mix. Read more

Blood Orange Margaritas

Blood Orange Margaritas

Some recipe challenges are easier than others. Making a cake from scratch is good because at the end, there is cake. But the kitchen is a disaster and I have to wash a bunch of dishes and I’ve burned my mouth because I didn’t wait long enough to let the cake cool. Making dinner items is good but dinner is dinner. And then there is getting to make really good Blood Orange Margaritas at 11:30AM on a Tuesday and calling it work. Read more

Not this week part 2

Not This Week Part 2

It’s highly unlikely I’m going to get anything made this week. We went to a conference last week and yesterday I realized I failed to register Six for his next jujitsu class and so I feel tired and upset with myself. Some people go into the kitchen and cook to feel better. I go into the kitchen to get chips and then I watch TV or read to feel better. Which brings us to Not This Week, part 2. Read more