Panera Bread Potato Soup

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Hey springtime! Where did you go?! It was so nice here until a few days ago when it got a little chilly, rained, and then got even colder. So much for playing outside with kiddos, right mamas? 😉 Well, unless we splash in puddles and have some hot tea when we get back in.

I decided to make soups this week and next since it’s supposed to rain the rest of the week and be in the low 60s next week, which means like in the 40s at night. Brr! Those cold nights chill our bones. Well, mine anyway. My hubby and daughter don’t get cold until it’s like 20 outside. Ha! (An inherited trait I suppose.)

But when it gets cold and he asks, “What’s for dinner, honey?” I reach for this recipe. Lemme tell you guys. This recipe. THIS ONE. Savory, filling, easy, inexpensive, versatile, comforting. It’s one that will have you coming back for more and more and more, which is why it makes it back into the recipe rotation every fall and winter.

Panera Bread Potato Soup

4 potatoes
1/4 – 1/2 yellow onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1 package of cream cheese

1.) Wash the potatoes. Peeling them is optional.
2.) Cut up potatoes into chunks and dice the onion.
3.) Put potatoes, onion, broth, and spices into a sauce pan or pot.
4.) Cook on medium heat until boiling and potatoes are soft
5.) Mash the potatoes inside the pan or pot to release their starches, which will make the soup thick.
6.) Lower the heat and mix in the cream cheese, whisking until well combined.

I like to serve it with this bread. SO GOOD! I usually double or triple this recipe and mix cut up or frozen veggies at step 3 and cooked chicken at step 6. Probably Definitely my favorite soup recipe!

Image: Canva and me

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Fluffy Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Yes, I know. Super late post! But hey! Did you read the title? Fluffy, jumbo, and chocolate.

Anthony always says, “Find one recipe that’s good and stick to it.” Which makes sense, right? You find a keeper and you keep it, make it over and over again. Keeper recipes in our house go in my recipe binder. But there’s a stack of recipes from our wedding that I’m slowly going through. If they’re keepers, they get put in the binder. If they’re not, they get tossed. This my friends is a keeper.

Fluffy (and Chewy!) Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 18 cookies

3 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 c. cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt (optional)
1 1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. white sugar
1 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 12 oz. package semi sweet chocolate chips (Ha! I added a bag and a half.)

1.) Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2.) Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
3.) Combine butter and sugars in mixer and beat on medium speed, scraping the sides often, until creamy.
4.) Add eggs and vanilla. Continue beating on low speed. Don’t forget to scrape the bowl!
5.) Gradually add flour mix until well combined.
6.) Stir in chocolate chips by hand. This part is physically hard since the dough is so thick. Just work those arm muscles! It’ll be worth it!
7.) Grap that ice cream scoop and drop dough by 1/4 c. cupfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Yes, take your 1/4 c. measuring cup and measure that dough out. I did a double-take when I read that. But hey, they’re JUMBO cookies.
8.) Bake for 10-14 mins. Let stand 1-2 mins. before removing from cookie sheets.

Tips: You can make normal 2 1/2 inch cookies with this recipe. Just drop dough by the tablespoon but be aware that it makes 4 dozen cookies!!!

Enjoy!

Image: Canva and me

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Artisanal Bread

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Okay, so we try to eat pretty healthy and are learning to portion control, buuuut we’ve kind of got this thing for bread. Does anyone else love bread as much as we do? I love seeing it in bakeries. And sometimes buying some for a snack. 😉

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I enjoy making bread too. I make sandwich bread for the husband and now he said that he can’t ever go back to store bought bread. I guess I’m just stuck making sandwich bread the rest of my life. 😉 I’m glad to have sandwich bread around when everyone is craving sandwiches. PB & J, grilled cheese, Monte Cristo, BLT, Reuben, Club. Oh, and my personal favorite – a salowich, which is a word my neighbor uses to describe a salad sandwich (think spinach, tomato, bell peppers, etc.). I love me some salowiches!

Something else that I love is this artisanal bread. I’m not really a fan of sandwich bread, unless it’s for a salowich. But artisanal bread is my favorite bread so far. I found the original recipe here and I’m so glad I did! Crispy, soft, fluffy, filling, tasty. Not only tasty but SO versatile. Italian garlic, jalapeno bacon cheese, sundried tomato and basil. Yep, you can make them all and more. With just this one recipe. Yuuuum!

Oh! And it’s only like 3 ingredients. Unless you count water as an ingredient.

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Homemade Kettle Corn

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Movie night! And with movie night comes popcorn. We LOVE popcorn at our house. Okay, actually I love popcorn. Anthony and Lilly just like popcorn. Unless it’s homemade kettle corn. Yes, that’s HOMEMADE kettle corn. Sweet, salty, just enough crunch, melt-in-your-mouth. And what’s even better? You can make kettle corn at home. In like 5 minutes. With 3-4 ingredients.

Homemade Kettle Corn

1/4 c. coconut oil
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. uncooked popcorn kernels
Pinch of salt (optional)

Melt coconut oil in large stockpot on medium heat. Add sugar, kernels, and salt. Put lid on top of stockpot. Shake stockpot in circular motions every 30 seconds. Dump into large popcorn bowl when kernels are all popped – if you let popcorn cool down in stockpot, it might burn! Put in desired mix-ins: chocolate chips, coconut flakes, almonds, M&M’s, etc.

I just wish I had this wooden bowl to hold our popcorn. So pretty!

*The original recipe I found came from here. I tweaked it a bit for our family – I use coconut oil and add salt. But if you Google homemade kettle corn there are a ton of recipes.

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