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September 2011
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November 2011

Roasted Chicken and Veggie Soup

My significant other is down for the count battling some sort of yucky illness. This clearly calls for my making a gallon or so of my roasted vegetables and chicken soup for dinner. Roasting the veggies is an extra step that adds to the preparation time, but it also adds to the depth of taste, making it well worth it in my opinion.

For Roasting
1 Napa cabbage, cut into wedges
2 cups plum tomatoes chopped or a can of San Marzano tomatoes
15 smallish russian banana fingerling potatoes, chopped
3 small eggplants, chopped into small chunks
1 large red onion, diced
6 medium size red carrots, chopped
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts. seasoned with salt and pepper

For the Soup
1 head of garlic
1 TBSP olive oil
1 can canellini beans
1 64 oz carton vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine

Arrange the veggies and the chicken into as many baking/roasting pans as required to hold them in a single layer (you can roast in batches.) Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and add some optional chopped up fresh dill (to taste) then pop into 375 degree oven for 30-45 minutes (pull out vegetables when they start to brown, cook chicken until cooked through and skin is golden.)

Brown 5 chopped cloves of garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add all roasted vegetables plus 2 cans of canellini beans, 64 ounces of veggie stock, and one cup of white wine. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Freezes well.

Potato+Leek+Artichoke Casserole

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We had a nice bit of Fall weather in September, before the Indian Summer fell upon us and made the apartment unfit for cooking. While it was still cold enough to use the oven, I did some side dish experimentation, and made this truly delicious casserole to accompany pork chops.

Potato, Leek and Artichoke Bake

  • 1 TBSP olive oil, plus 2 TSP or a mister
  • 3 Leeks (white and light green portion only), thinly sliced into half moons and rinsed of all dirt.
  • 1 14oz can of atichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3.5-4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, thinly sliced (via mandolin)
  • salt and pepper to taste

I adapted this from a recipe in Everyday Food. I omitted the celery and changed up the cheese including decreasing its amount, and bumped up the amount of leeks.

Preheat oven to 425. Brush 1 1/2 quart baking dish with olive oil and set aside.

In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat; add leeks. Cook 8-10 minutes until softened. Add artichokes, broth and cheese, and stir until combined. Remove skillet form heat, add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange half the potato slices in overlapping rows to act as the base for your casserole. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the artichoke mixture, making sure to evenly spread it out across the potato slices. Layer with remaining potatoes. Mist with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake 40-45 minutes until mixture is bubbly and edges of potatoes are crispy and golden in color. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

The leftovers from this made a great addition to my lunch as well. Reheated for 2 minutes in the microwave at work.

Onward from a Dance with Dragons to NaNoWriMo

I've been devouring George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series for the past couple of months. I can't recall the last time a series of books has so captivated me that I've purchased the following books well before finishing the first tome. But that's how it has been with this series.

Yesterday, after a brunch of Spaten Optimator and Schnitzel at Steins on Clement (they opened on Monday in the old Pagan space), I popped in to Green Apple books with the hope that I would be able to pick up the 5th and latest book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, from their recently released used hardcover shelves. Luck was on my side -- they had one copy!

I was hit with the realisation, however, that after I zip through this book in a week or so, as I've done with the others, I don't have a next book to drop myself into. I do hope Martin doesn't take another 6 years to finish the 6th book int he series. I can't wait that long!

Timing wise, it will be good to finish up the series mid month, so I can start prepping for NaNoWriMo. I was considering skipping it this year, due to the incredibly hectic pace at work, but, frankly, you need to have some creative brain time and this is such a good, disciplined way of working that in. I have a couple of ideas to choose from, and am not yet quite sure which one is going to win out.

I think to get into the daily writing groove I'm also going to start following some of the daily writing prmpts, such as the Daily Post blog. If you have other favorite sources of writing prompts let me know.