Monthly Mystery Munchies #18: Bloody Good Tomato Soup

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Double, double, toil and trouble! This month, my Best Blogging Friend, Ann (Grubbs n Critters) and I decided to do a Halloween meal. But who knew there were so many options? A spidery cake was really appealing, but because I suck like a Cullen at decorating, I did a spicy tomato soup, complete with freaky eyeballs.

Credit: Google Images

Credit: Google Images

This reminds me of a scene in the Addams Family, where Gomez and Mortitia are looking at baby Pugsley in the crib. Gomez: He has my father’s eyes. Morticia: Gomez, take those out of his mouth. Hashtag DEAD! In honour of one of my favourite movies, I added ‘eyes’ to the soup.

This was all a bit of fun, the soup ‘decorating’. (You can see what I mean when I say decorating ain’t my forte!) This recipe is totally amazeballs when served under normal, non-Halloween circumstances. Simply blitz all ingredients, slice the prosciutto and mozzarella, chop up the parsley, add some halved olives and a few dollops of sour cream, and you’re good to go! But if you want to vibe it up, here’s my unfortunate attempt:

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My dearest Ann’s bewitching kitchen treat this month is the friendliest ghost, Casper’s Pannekoek (pancakes). It’s a hit with kiddies and adults alike, so please check this ghoulicious delight out!

Bloody Good Tomato Soup

  • Difficulty: dead easy
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Supplies:

2 yellow onions
2 red onions
1 tbsp minced garlic
1kg large tomatoes
2 red and 2 green bullet chillies
1 red, yellow & green pepper
1 x tin 400g whole peeled tomatoes
240g tomato puree
1 cup veg or chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
6 pieces prosciutto
6 mozzarella balls
Sour cream
Italian parsley

Making It Happen:

Heat the olive oil and add chopped onions and garlic. Fry for 2 minutes, then add the chillies and peppers. Fry until soft and the onions are translucent.

Chop the fresh tomatoes and, with the canned tomatoes, add them to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the tomato puree and vegetable (or chicken) stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to your liking. Blitz in a food processor until smooth. Pour into bowls, then carve a hole in the mozzarella balls, place the olives in each hole, then wrap in prosciutto. Place in the soup and add a dollop of sour cream.

Alternatively, if you want a more normal-looking soup,blitz all ingredients, slice the prosciutto and mozzarella, chop up the parsley, add some halved olives and a few dollops of sour cream, and you’re good to go! Dunzo. It’s dead easy!

 

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Gnocchi Alfredo with Chicken, Bacon and Mushrooms

Gnocchi Alfredo 7This recipe sounds shmancy and a mission. It’s not. While it will impress the crap out of your guests, or just you, it’s not difficult at all. This is the gist: fry stuff. Add cream. Mix stuff. Bake. Drool.

In this house, we are obsessed with gnocchi. And cheese. I blame myself for getting The Husband into it. We all have our crosses to bear. A few weeks ago we went out for dinner and The Husband had penne alfredo and mentioned, in passing, that I should try to recreate it, but with gnocchi. What’s that? A challenge? A pasta challenge? I’m in. I was extremely disappointed when a lot of recipes used pre-bought alfredo sauce. Really? Do you have any idea how easy it it? Don’t tell your guests, because as far as they’re concerned, based on the taste, you slaved for several hours. But really folks, it’s one of the least complicated and most yummiest recipes you’ll ever make. You’re welcome.

Gnocchi Alfredo

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Gnocchi Alfredo 11 package gnocchi (500g)
500g chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 pack shoulder bacon, sliced
400g chopped mushrooms
4 crushed and sliced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons flour for dredging
250ml cream
Fresh parsley + more for garnishing
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
300g cheddar, grated
300g mozzarella, grated
Salt and pepper

Making it happen:

Gnocchi Alfredo 21. In a large pan, heat the olive oil on medium. Fry the bacon, mushrooms and garlic for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 32. Cut the chicken breasts into chunks, toss them in the flour and coat thoroughly. Heat the butter on medium and fry the chicken pieces for 5 minutes until golden brown.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 43. Return the bacon and mushrooms to the pan, add the cream and 2 stalks parsley and simmer for 10 minutes.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 64. Heat your oven to 190°C (375°F). In the meantime, cook the gnocchi per package instructions.
Place the chicken, bacon and mushroom mixture in a large dish and toss with cheddar. Sprinkle mozzarella on top and bake for 20 minutes.

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 8

 

Chicken Florentine

If you’re looking for a new favourite meal, this is your guy. It’s dish-intensive but sooooo worth it! Hopefully you have a dishwasher, or kids, because kids need responsibilities and dishes need washing!

I don’t know where to start when describing this dish. Bacon. Chicken. Two different types of cheese. Creamy mushroom soup and extra cream! It’s a taste-fest like no other. The Husband immediately informed me that this is his new number one. I never thought I’d see the day. I mean, dude would live on lasange if he could, but along came this delight and knocked it off its top spot. They say change is good… except when The Husband asks you to make it again two days later!

Chicken Florentine

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Chicken Florentine 1Supplies:

  • 500g boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
  • 200g bacon, cut up and cooked
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 500g spinach, par cooked
  • 400g chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tin condensed creamy mushroom soup
  • 1 cup cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herbs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 200g grated cheddar
  • 200g grated mozzarella
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Making it happen:

Chicken Florentine 21. Cut up the bacon and fry in 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat, until cooked, about 10 minutes. Set aside but keep the juices in the pan.

 

 

Chicken Florentine 32. Cut the chicken breasts into chunks. Dredge them through flour, shaking off the excess. In the same pan, fry the chicken pieces on medium heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and fry for another 5 mins. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Chicken Florentine 93. Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry on medium heat for 5 minutes until soft. Meanwhile, par cook the spinach, just enough until it softens slightly. Spinach, when uncooked, takes up a large amount of space, and you’re only par cooking it until it shrinks.

 

Chicken Florentine 84. Preheat your oven to 200°C (mine takes 10 minutes to heat up to that temperature, making this the perfect time to switch it on). Pour the condensed mushroom soup and cream into a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the Italian herbs and lemon juice and stir well. Add the cheddar and stir until melted.

Chicken Florentine 65. In a deep dish, spray cooking spray at the bottom and layer the spinach across the dish. Place the mushrooms over the spinach and pour half the sauce over the mushrooms. Spread the chicken pieces on top and pour the remaining sauce over the chicken, making sure you cover the entire dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Serve with rice or pasta.

Chicken Florentine 7

 

Monthly Mystery Munchies: Appetizers in Dough

It’s the second installment of my and Ann from Grubbs n Critters‘ Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge and this month was her turn to choose, which she did well. The theme is appetizers using dough and, admittedly, this pushed me out of my comfort zone but it was a welcome challenge because I always enjoy creating new recipes and working with ingredients that I don’t use in everyday cooking. It’s exciting, it’s challenging and it’s interesting. Do yourself a favour and check out Ann’s recipe – not only is her dough homemade but she used curried potatoes! I think we have a winner!

Bundles and foldovers 1I created three appetizers using phyllo pastry and, well, they didn’t last long! Listen, give me crispy, creamy, buttery pastry any day! The first one is fried mixed mushrooms and garlic with mozzarella. I used white button mushrooms but added portabellini mushrooms to add some extra flavour. I used fresh garlic cloves and fried up the lot, added mozzarella and baked for 15 minutes. Oh. Yum! The second one is blue cheese and honey. You make the phyllo the exact same way but substitute the ingredients with blue cheese and honey. This, it must be said, was The Husband’s suggestion. I personally do not have an affinity for blue cheese, I just can’t, but he does and I decided to oblige. Scored major points! Note that for the bundles, you can use butcher’s twine (kitchen string) to tie them into parcels. I did it both ways. The third one is salami and cream cheese foldovers with Italian parsley. The reason I used Italian instead of regular is because it has a stronger flavour. You can also do this dish the same as the above bundles but I made foldovers to add variety and they’re easier to chomp on. Also, bear in mind you can double or even triple all of these recipes – I made four of each simply because I was testing them and it was just The Husband and I, but if you’re having a large dinner party or catering for several people, you can adjust these recipes to as many as you need. Here we go…

Mushroom, Garlic and Mozzarella Phyllo Bundles:

Mushroom bundles in phyllo ingredients4 sheets phyllo pastry
6 portabellini mushrooms
6 white button mushrooms
1-2 garlic cloves, sliced
80g grated mozzarella
¼ cup melted butter plus 2 tablespoons
Pepper for seasoning

 

 

Mushroom bundles in phyllo 2 1Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F). Thinly slice the mushrooms and garlic and fry in 1 tablespoon of butter on medium-low for ± 10 minutes, until soft and cooked. Season with pepper.

Melt the butter and drizzle 1 tablespoon over one sheet of phyllo. Paint the butter, spreading across the entire sheet, lay another piece of phyllo on top of the first piece and repeat these steps until you have four layers of phyllo. Using a sharp knife, slice the layered phyllo into four squares. Spoon one quarter of the mushrooms into the centre of each square and top with grated mozzarella.

Mushroom bundles in phyllo 3 1Bunch up into a ‘bundle’ – at this stage you can either pinch it at the neck or tie with kitchen string. Paint the last of the butter over the bundles, place them in a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes until golden and crispy.

 

 

 

Mushroom bundles in phyllo 5 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Cheese and Honey:

4 sheets phyllo pastry
4 tablespoons blue cheese
4 teaspoons honey
¼ cup melted butter plus 1 tablespoon

Follow the same steps as the mushroom bundles but use the above ingredients instead.

Salami, Cream Cheese and Italian Parsley Foldovers:

Salami cream cheese foldovers ingredients4 sheets phyllo pastry
4 slices salami, sliced up
4 tablespoons cream cheese
Italian parsley
5 tablespoons (70g) butter

 

 

 

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Melt the butter and drizzle 1 tablespoon over one sheet of phyllo. Paint the butter, spreading across the entire sheet, lay another piece of phyllo on top of the first piece and repeat these steps until you have four layers of phyllo. Using a sharp knife, slice the layered phyllo into four squares.

Salami cream cheese foldovers 6 1Place one tablespoon of cream cheese into the bottom righthand corner of each square and top with a quarter of the sliced up salami. Place four leaves of the parsley on top of the salami.

 

 

 

Salami cream cheese foldovers 7 2Now, fold down the top of the square until it meets the ingredients.

 

 

 

Salami cream cheese foldovers 3 2Fold the bottom right corner upwards into a triangle shape.

 

 

 

 

 

Salami cream cheese foldovers 4 2Fold over again (to the left).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salami cream cheese foldovers 5 2Tuck the last piece underneath.

 

 

 

 

 

Salami cream cheese foldovers 10Paint the foldovers with the remaining butter, place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Salami cream cheese foldovers 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks, Ann, for this lovely idea! I had so much fun! Here’s to next month!