2/17/18

Homemade Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Soup




I've never been one to remember to take good pictures while I'm cooking or baking, so the fact that I've grabbed my iphone and not only remembered to take a couple pictures while I'm making some of our meals and even emailed them to myself immediately so I could put them into a file folder on my laptop is awesome...  but then I'm so busy that I never 'get around to' typing out a post, typing out the recipe and putting my mark on the photos (because I learned my lesson years ago when some of my photos were stolen and used by someone to sell baked goods online using my pictures). 

Time consuming!  And not only am I knee deep in other projects and busy with some things going on in our lives but this recipe site makes me almost zero money so it's not like I'm being paid for my time.  As a great example of the money my Amazon links and ads are raking in, I point you to the whopping $.56 I made this week!  (So.. basically if you want to order anything - ANYTHING - from Amazon, please considering clicking ANY Amazon link on my page when you go there as I might earn a few cents on the order without it costing you anything additional at all.  - An American Housewife at Amazon )

So today I whipped up a pot of oh-so-yummy soup.  I love homemade mushroom soups but my husband likes something a little more substantial.  Adding chicken to it works perfectly.  Now, if we weren't following a low-carb way of eating I'd make a chicken and wild rice soup with mushrooms - oh my word, how I love that - but rice is a huge, carby no-no right now.  Since grains are off the list too, that means no flour to thicken our soup so my version in the photo above isn't as 'creamy' as readers who get to use 1/2 cup flour to thicken theirs.  I used some xanthan gum but not much as I have digestive issues with it in amounts more than about a teaspoon per recipe so I meant to grab a low-carb thickener but I grabbed the resistant wheat starch container instead - which added fiber (cool!) but isn't a thickener so mine isn't that creamy but we are totally fine with that.

This is a recipe that you can add almost any leftover cooked chicken that you have!  Grilled, roasted, seasoned? Ok. As a matter of fact I grabbed out some of my homemade chicken sausages and just used those - cooking and browning it in the pan before I removed it to saute' the mushrooms, celery and onions.  If you don't have leftover cooked chicken, just grab a couple chicken breasts and cook them up.  *IF YOU WANT TO MAKE THIS DURING LENT JUST LEAVE THE CHICKEN OUT COMPLETELY and oh my goodness it's good.  I prefer it chicken-less but like I said above, The Husband likes some protein at dinner to make it more filling.

Chicken and Mushroom Soup

1 large container sliced mushrooms (or you can use 2 of the small square containers)
1/2 c chopped/sliced green onions
2/3 c chopped celery
1 c butter
Broth: I used 1 cup leftover chicken broth from a roasted chicken and 4 cups beef broth from boullion
1 t black pepper
1 t salt
1/2 t thyme
1 1/2 t lemon juice
1/4 t sauce of choice
3 c half and half or cream
1/2 - 2/3 c flour mixed in 1 cup cool water to thicken OR 2 t xanthan gum OR thickener of your choice
2 c cooked chicken of whatever you have
*optional 1 c sour cream which makes it even richer and thicker and adds a tang (I didn't use this time)


If you need to cook your chicken, do that.  Then saute' the mushrooms, green onions and celery in the stick of real butter. When soft, add the seasonings and the broth.  If you are using flour, cornstarch, etc. use it now and whisk til thickened over medium high.  Turn it down to medium, add the cream or half and half slowly while stirring - don't let it boil once the cream is added.  Add the chicken.  If you want to add sour cream you can.  Serve.





I used my chicken sausage - removed from the casings and browned in the pan.


Fresh green onions... I love.


Cooking the mushrooms, celery and onions...


Adding the cream slowly.




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2/13/18

Sour Cream Pound Cake - Southern Cooking!


My previous post was a lower carb and sugar free version of the bundt cake in the photo below. But because I know most people don't eat low carb and sugar free, I wanted to share the 'regular' recipe which does use sugar and flour - and uses less vanilla than my version. Basically in cakes and cookies I always double the vanilla!! :)

This recipe comes from an old cookbook that is SO LOVED in my house that it's binder is cracked and broken and I have a couple places held together with clear, strong packing tape! It's seriously one of my top 5 favorite cookbooks because there is not recipe in the entire book that I've made that didn't turn out perfect or taste amazing.  (Not that I've made ALL of them - but I've made many since I bought it new when it was published in 1999).

It's called: The Recipe Hall of Fame Cookbook: Winning Recipes from Hometown America (Best of the Best Cookbook).   Amazon has it in Kindle form if that's your thing - but honestly I never ever ever use any of the books I have downloaded to Kindle. Ever. I always turn to actual cookbooks or  printed out recipes on paper.  So much easier to read, mark, flip over, etc. than electronic versions.  But if you want Kindle OR an actual cookbook - both are still available through Amazon.


The Recipe Hall of Fame Cookbook: Winning Recipes from Hometown America (Best of the Best Cookbook)





The other version of Sour Cream Pound Cake - Bundt Cake
(from the cookbook sourced above - The Recipe Hall of Fame Cookbook)


3 c all purpose flour
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3 c sugar (2 3/4 for cakes to be served with fruit)
6 large eggs, separated
1 c sour cream
1 1/2 t vanilla extra, cognac vanilla or 2/3 t ground mace

Preheat oven to 325.

Combine the flour with the baking soda and salt and sift.  Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly with an electric mixer.  Add the egg yolks and beat hard until you have a fairly smooth mixture.  This will not "ribbon" with just the yolks.

Add the flour mixture in batches, alternating with the sour cream.  Bland in the vanilla.  Beat the egg whites until they hold a stiff peak but are not dry and grainy.  Gently fold them into the cake batter.  Spoon the batter into a greased and lightly floured heavy 9 or 10 inch bundt pan or 2 - 8" loaf pans.  Bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched, about 1 hour and 15 or 20 minutes.  A cake tester inserted into the cake should come out clean.  Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to rest 5 minutes.  Run a thin knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake, and unmold it onto a rack.  Turn the cake right side up to cool.  Store in tightly closed plastic container or tin box.  Serves 10-15.

(Because I don't want to wash my mixing bowl between ingredients, I usually beat the egg whites with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt first.  When they are stiffly beaten, I transfer them to a clean bowl, set aside and then proceed with creaming the butter and sweeteners in my mixing bowl. I add the vanilla and then eggs- one yolk at a time.)



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2/11/18

Sugar Free and Lower Carb Sour Cream Pound Cake - Bundt Cake

My readers know I don't 'do' food photo shoots.  Ha.  I grab my cellphone and take pictures with it (when I remember), usually (literally) right before I eat it!  This morning I took the cake platter, placed it on my kitchen table and took a quick picture on my cellphone.  The color turned out pretty - the morning light, the purple and white flowers.  Cool. 


Eating flour free and sugar free means a lot of failures in the baking department as almond flour and coconut flour don't behave the same as wheat flours.  Our family can eat wheat - we aren't gluten intolerant - we just choose not to because we tend to live a low carb, sugar free lifestyle.  However, with this particular bundt cake, I do use some wheat flour.  I grind our flour myself using wheat berries I order from a non-GMO, heritage wheat farmer on the West coast.  I've not had good results when I leave all wheat flour completely out, but by adding 1 cup of whole grain wheat flour with 1 1/2 cups good quality almond flour, a scoop of good quality coconut flour and a tablespoon of wheat protein isolate (vital wheat gluten) I get results we are thrilled with.

Using an online site and Bob's Red Mill brand organic, whole wheat as the closest comparison I could find; it shows about 87 total useable carbs.  Divide those 87 into a huge cake with approximately 16 pretty big slices, that is about 5 carbs per slice from the healthy, whole grain flour.  If you can't eat flour at all, skip this one or play around with the almond and coconut flour along with some ground flax or oatmeal fiber, etc. to get a 'flour' mixture you can eat without pain and bloating.


Sour Cream Pound Cake - Bundt Cake

6 eggs, separated
1/2 t salt
1 c real butter
3 c natural sweeteners (Hint: Best is to mix at least 3 kinds)
1 T vanilla
3 c 'flour' mixture - see below (Hint: Best is to mix at least 3 kinds)
1 c sour cream
1/4 t baking soda


Because I don't want to wash my mixing bowl between ingredients, I usually beat the egg whites with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt first.  When they are stiffly beaten, I transfer them to a clean bowl, set aside and then proceed with creaming the butter and sweeteners in my mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and then eggs- one yolk at a time.

Alternate adding the almond flour/coconut flour/ flour mixture with the sour cream and end with the last of the flour mixture.  Before the final mixing, sprinkle over the 1/4 t baking soda and mix until blended.

Fold the beaten egg whites into your batter gently and patiently. Keep folding until they are incorporated.
Pour into a greased and 'almond/coconut floured' pan.  Bake approximately 75 minutes at 315 degrees.  The lower temperature is what will keep the outside from burning or getting too dark brown while the center is still cooking.  When it's done (I gently press my finger on top to make sure it firm and not still wet and sinking or jiggling) remove from oven and let set to cool about 5 minutes until the sides just start to pull away from the pan.  I gently shake my bundt pan back and forth in my hands to loosen it from the edges a little more, and turn it out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

When it's done you can serve as is, with a sugar free glaze or just use a confectioner's style sweetener like Swerve and shake the powdered sweetener over lightly.


Note(s): For best results and best flavor mix at least 2 kinds of natural sweeteners, if not 3+.    The typical sweeteners I have on hand are usually Truvia, Ideal and Swerve granulated as well as a bottle of liquid sweetening drops.  It's nice to mix these together and put into your container to use just like you would sugar.

Note(s): Your baked goods almost always turn out better if you use a 'mixture' of almond flour and coconut flour with whey protein powder, flax seed or oatmeal flour, etc. Using almond flour alone often results in a heavy, wet, moist and soft outcome.  Just like with the sweeteners above, you can mix up a 'baking mix' of almond flour, coconut flour and/or whey protein powder, ground flax, wheat protein isolate or etc. before hand and use it like you would any flour.

For this recipe I did use 1 cup of freshly ground, whole grain flour (I grind myself using non-GMO, heritage wheat berries) because we are not gluten free we are just 'lower carb' by choice.  I usually don't use flour in baking and use a mixture of two-thirds good quality almond flour, with the final third a mixture of a scoop of whey protein powder (Isopure zero carb and zero sugar) and 1 heaping scoop good quality coconut flour and a tablespoon or two of vital wheat gluten or wheat protein isolate. 




 Some products related to this post available through Amazon;
Swerve Sweetener, Bakers Bundle, 12Oz Granular and Confectioners pack of 2
Non-GMO Project Verified Soft White, Hard White, and Hard Red Spring Wheat Berries (9 total LBS) | 100% USA Grown | Identity Preserved (We Tell You Which Field We Grew It In)
Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder, 100% Whey Protein Isolate, Flavor: Creamy Vanilla, 3 Pounds (Packaging May Vary)
Ideal No Calorie Sweetener 100 Count Pack of 2
Bob's Red Mill Super-Fine Gluten Free Almond Flour, 3 Pound
Nutiva Organic Coconut Flour - 1 lb
Set of 3 Nordic Ware Cake Formed Bundt Pans - 12 , 6, 3 Cup in Assorted Colors

         








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