Sunday, June 19, 2011

Women who've made a difference in my life: Mom

I've decided that I'm going to do a mini-series on women who've inspired me or changed my life in some way and the foods they're famous for. Of course, I must start with my wonderful Mom.
What can you say about the woman who raised you except SHE'S AWESOME!! Sure, we butted heads a lot when I was younger, what mother and daughter don't? She taught me just about everything I know about housekeeping, cleaning, cooking, and raising kids. (ok, so I'm not to that point yet, but she's a very good example of what you do to have well-mannered children!) Mom's heritage is like most Americans: mixed. Great Grandpa Heller was Dutch, Great Grandma Heller was Norwegian, and Grandma Heller comes from English and Irish ancestry. However, when I think of Mom, the dish I associate most with her is something she learned from Great Grandma Heller: Swedish Hotcakes. Which come from Norway. Everyone I've ever cooked these for have raved about them. Here's the recipe

Swedish Hotcakes (NOT pancakes!!)
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
dash of salt
3/8 cup sugar
1 1/2 flour

Beat eggs with a wire whip until frothy. Add milk, salt and sugar. Beat. SLowly add flour while whipping. Beat until smooth (so you don't have big flour clumps like I did in these pictures). Cook on a medium hot grill.

The batter should look like this, with lots of bubbles and no flour clumps.

Spray the pan with Pam every time or the hotcake won't come off the pan.

Put a ladle-full of batter into a skillet...

and swirl it around a bit.

wait until the hotcake is almost cooked through before flipping it.

should look like this
These are similar to crepes, so you put sweet things in them. The best things to put in them is pie filling and whipped cream. When you don't have those, spread them with peanut butter or jam, roll them up and drizzle syrup and powdered sugar. I prefer strawberry jam and that's what's inside mine here in this picture.

I would say "Bon Appetit," but these aren't crepes. Too bad I don't know how to say it in Norwegian!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Spicy SpIcY SPICY Mexican Chicken Soup

I have nothing but huge compliments for this dish. I wanted to try to make some healthier stuff for our dinners and Josh suggested that we find a spicy chicken soup, so I did. This is really spicy, but not so spicy as to cover up the flavor. The spiciness makes you really sit down, slow down and savor it. I had to take breaks between my bites so I could enjoy it without burning my mouth. The biggest compliment I have for it is that it has 2 of my most hated foods in it and I totally didn't even notice they were there. This might be a good way to make me eat my veggies :-D Josh just told me that this was a leftover he would actually eat (he NEVER eats leftovers). Here's the recipe:

Spicy Mexican Chicken Soup
Serves 6
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
1 1/2 cups chopped white onion
3 small garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 ear of corn-cut off cob, or 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Ancho Chili powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 15-0unce can reduced-sodium black beans-rinsed and drained
1 10-ounce can Rotel Diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro (if you do not want a spicy soup, then just switch the Rotel out with a can of diced tomatoes. You can even add a small can of mild diced green chilies for a little more flavor without the punch)
2 cans (14 oz. each) reduced sodium chicken broth
8-ounces tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken (I used a market roasted chicken~chicken breast only)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Spray the bottom of a large saucepan liberally with the olive oil cooking spray. Once hot add the onions and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and cook onions for about 5 minutes (stir often). Add the corn and lightly season with salt and pepper. If there is not enough moisture in the pan then add a little bit of the chicken broth to the pan (stir often). Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the cumin, ancho chili powder and the chili powder to the vegetables. Saute and stir often for about 1 minute. Add the black beans, Rotel, shredded chicken, chicken broth and tomato sauce to the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and serve.

To tone down the heat, top with sour cream or cheese. I actually would suggest that you NOT put any other garnishes on it, but make quesadillas to eat in between bites. In fact, I might just do that now!