Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday Suppers: Chili, Chicken Soup & Lasagna

Sunday Suppers: Chili, Chicken Soup & Lasagna... I have to say, I don't actually have this love affair with Fall that the rest of the world seems to have. You know, the one full of pumpkin spice everything, heavier clothes, and chillier neighborhood strolls. I really love warm weather so this foray into a season where laying out at the pool is no longer in the cards is really not my favorite. That being said, what I do love about this time of year, is that I feel good about staying in on a Sunday and cooking up a storm. Normally if it's lovely outside I want to be in the sun catching every ray there is - but as the leaves change and air gets crisp I find myself feeling more confined to the great indoors, AKA the kitchen.

So this Sunday, while it did end up being a sunny afternoon, was a bit cooler than weekends past and I took it as my first chance to get my heavy pots simmering with fall delights.

I made a Chili for Sunday Supper, a Chicken and Veggie Soup for lunch this week, and a Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna for some friends who just welcomed a new baby. There were a lot of things happening at once in the kitchen which is a feeling I happen to love, the challenge of swapping this pot to that burner, determining the exact timing to chop this and add that, and of course the occasional break for a quick mid-cooking clean up.

The Chili:
1 lb ground chuck
2 brats
1 can diced tomatoes (I used some that had green chili's in them)
1 can rinsed drained corn
1 can rinsed drained black beans
1 can rinsed drained kidney beans
1 package of your favorite chili seasoning

Over medium/high heat brown your ground beef and sausage in a large pot. I squeezed the sausage out of the casing this time so that it was ground into the beef. Once browned add all of the other ingredients - bring to a simmer and then let it go for a couple hours to enhance the flavors.

The Chicken Soup:
My mom's classic chicken noodle without the noodles, my favorite go to. I've come accustomed to doing the chicken breasts in my slow cooker so they are perfectly shreddy. It's really almost a stoup.

1 yellow onion diced
2-3 large carrots diced
5 or so celery stalks diced
1 can diced seasoned tomatoes (garlic, basil, etc)
1 bag spinach (or kale)
28oz chicken stock
salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, bay leaves
2 large chicken breasts

See instructions here.

This is also a classic, I really didn't do anything special but it was super simple and I think (and hope) it turned out quite Dahlish for those eating it - sadly not me!

12 lasagna noodles
1 jar tomato sauce - or homemade
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 box of frozen chopped spinach - or similar quantity of freshly sauteed at home
salt & pepper

Boil the lasagna noodles per the instructions, about 10 minutes (I used the kind with pretty little ruffled edges). Once done cooking drain them in a strainer and rinse with cold water.

If you do use frozen spinach, thaw per the instructions on the package and remove as much of the water as possible.

In a large bowl mix the spinach, ricotta, parm, mozz, salt and pepper until you have an evenly distributed paste.

Add a light layer of sauce to the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Then take 1 lasagna noodle and spread a spoonful of the ricotta/spinach mix down the center. Roll it up and add it to the pan. Finish the rest of the dozen lasagna rolls, add the rest of the sauce to the top (letting the cut ruffled edges show) and finish it off with a sprinkle of cheese. This is easy to pop in the fridge or freezer for later - baking should take about 20-30 minutes if right out of the fridge at about 350 degrees.

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