Dragonfly Home Recipes

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Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup

This delicious soup cooks all day in your crockpot, and when you are ready for dinner, all you have to do is ladle it into some bowls and relax. Creamy potatoes and flavorful leeks, gently cooked all day with chicken and broth, combine to make a hearty soup that soothes and nourishes.  It has been a cold spring here, and there aren’t many vegetables growing very quickly yet.  But leeks are in season in early spring, and potatoes are so versatile that they are almost always in season.  A warm soup tastes good at the end of the day, especially to those coming in from a chilly evening soccer practice or outdoor excursion.

potato leek soup with lilacs on white 9I love a good leek and potato soup, but this time I wanted to add chicken to make the meal extra filling for my growing boy and my hungry husband.  The mild flavor of chicken and chicken broth go great with the potatoes and leeks.  At the end of the cooking time, I added milk instead of the traditional cream, to make it lighter, yet still creamy and silky. Leek and potato soup is usually pureed in a blender, but with the chicken, that is not such a good idea.  However, I found that since the vegetables cooked all day in the crockpot, they were very tender and soft anyway.  Topped with some fresh chives and salt and pepper, this meal is a keeper.

potato leek soup with blue 3I have had my crockpot for many years, and I find it to be such a lifesaver during the times in our life when I am unable to be home making dinner at dinner time.  This week has been that kind of a week, and this soup really hit the spot for my guys–with leftovers, we had it two nights in a row.  If you need a quick crockpot soup to throw together in the morning so you can get out of a pinch in the evening, this is a delicious one!

The upside of a chilly spring is that the flowering trees and bushes seem to be suspended in slow motion.  The lilacs are still blooming beautifully and the dogwoods and redbuds are still luscious.  The grass and leaves are still a bright spring green.  And the mosquitoes are not an issue yet!

potato leek soup with leavesMy kids both had their band concert a couple of nights ago.  There is something about listening to live music that is so invigorating and satisfying.  It brings up all kinds of emotions and memories, and it brings people together.  At the end of the concert, the combined high school and junior high bands played “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey.  Someone turned on the disco ball in the auditorium, and we in the audience sat there in the dark, with little twinkling lights swirling around us, listening to our kids play a song that was part of our own teenage years.  For a few minutes we were suspended in time.  When the concert ended and the lights came back on, I was not the only one with moist eyes. The band sounded so good! The kids played so well.  Children grow so fast.  Time flies.  We are all in this together.

I hope you all have a great weekend!  Fiesta Friday is co-hosted this week by Loretta @ Safari of the Mind and Linda @ Fabulous Fare Sisters. I plan to check out the latest recipes and posts there!potato leek soup with napkinpotato leek soup overhead

Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: about 15 minutes prep time, about 6-8 hours cooking time in the crockpot
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Ingredients:

  • about 1 pound of potatoes (or approximately 4 medium potatoes or 8 smallish ones), washed and diced
  • 2 medium-sized leeks, washed thoroughly and thinly sliced (just the white parts)
  • 1 to 1 and 1/2 pounds of chicken breast (or 2-3 chicken breast halves)
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • chopped fresh chives for garnish

Directions:

Place the potatoes, leeks, and chicken breast halves in the crockpot.  Pour in the chicken broth.  Make sure the broth covers the other ingredients.  If you need to, add more broth.  Add the salt, pepper, and thyme sprigs.

Set the temperature to the low setting and cook for 6-8 hours, or until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is done (no longer pink in the center).   When the chicken is done, gently shred it with a fork and knife so it blends in with the soup.

Add the milk to the crockpot a half hour or a few minutes before you want to serve the soup.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with chopped fresh chives.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Mushroom-Sage Flatbread Pizza

Enjoy the rich, savory taste of sautéed mushrooms baked with fresh sage, cheese, olive oil and garlic, all on top of naan flatbread.  This mushroom-sage flatbread pizza is so quick and easy to throw together, yet so very flavorful.

The health benefits of mushrooms are great.  If you don’t eat meat, are trying to eat less meat, or just want a break from meat, mushrooms are a good way to give your body some of the same nutrients that meat gives it, plus some other vitamins and minerals.  Mushrooms are high in selenium, vitamin D, potassium, iron, and calcium, in addition to containing antioxidants.

mushroom pizza with sageWith my daughter being a vegetarian (actually, she eats fish, so I guess that is a pescetarian…), we eat a fair amount of portabella mushroom burgers.  For a change, I have been buying mixed mushrooms and making these flatbread pizzas for her.  They are so good!  We love the sage and mushroom combination, and sage has its own health benefits and healing properties.  It is known as the herb that imparts longevity and wisdom, and in the days when the use of herbs was more prominent, sage was used to soothe coughs and colds, ease night sweats, purify the spirit, and ward off evil.  I’m not sure if baking some fresh sage leaves in this pizza can accomplish all those things, but it can’t hurt, and it tastes so savory and earthy, so delicious with the mushrooms and cheese! In addition, sage is really easy to grow, and it comes back year after year.  We have had some in our garden for years, and I love to go out and pick the leaves as I am making dinner.

With many of our afternoons and evenings being filled with sporting events, meetings, concerts, and now yard and garden work this spring, I have been looking for quick and easy dinners.  This recipe fits the bill of being quick and delicious at the same time.  It works great served with a salad or a bowl of soup, or just on its own for a light dinner or tasty lunch.

mushroom pizza wholeFor Mother’s Day, I walked in the woods with my mother, husband, and kids, and with it being mushroom season, I got to thinking about how I would like to learn more about foraging for mushrooms.  I know that morel mushrooms grow in my area, and I think it would be a worthwhile hobby to cultivate, and a great excuse to get out into the woods more!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy spring!  Although it’s supposed to get cold again this weekend, so many trees are flowering here, and our lilacs are in full bloom.  I believe that is my favorite scented flower, so I am savoring every minute of the lilac season. mushroom pizza with sage and curtainmushrooms and sageFiesta Friday is co-hosted this week by Ahila @ A Taste of Sri Lankan Cuisine and Diann @ Of Goats and Greens.  I look forward to checking out their posts!

Mushroom-Sage Flatbread Pizza

  • Servings: 2-4, or 2 flatbread pizzas
  • Time: 20 minutes
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of mushrooms, your choice (I often use a mixture of shitake, oyster, and mini bella mushrooms), washed, patted dry, and thinly sliced
  • a handful or two of fresh sage leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 naan flatbreads
  • about 2 cups of shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, or shredded cheese of your choice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Wash the mushrooms, pat them dry, and thinly slice them.  In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Place the mushrooms in the skillet and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.  Sautee the mushrooms for about five minutes, or until they are tender.  Pour about 1/4 cup of olive oil into a shallow bowl and mix the minced garlic into the olive oil.  With a pastry brush, brush the garlicky olive oil evenly across the pieces of naan flatbread.  Spread the mushrooms over the flatbread.  Then arrange the sage leaves on the flatbread, the amount according to your taste.  Sprinkle the shredded on top of the mushrooms and sage.

Place the pizzas on the baking sheet, and bake in your 400-degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden.  Let the pizzas cool for a couple minutes, and then slice into pieces.  Enjoy!

Strawberry-Mint Pizza With a Hint of Lime

Fruit pizza is such a versatile thing. It’s like a blank canvas where you can mix and match different fruits, flavors, and colors. This strawberry-mint pizza features strawberries, chopped mint, and cream cheese frosting infused with lime juice and lime zest, all on top of a scrumptious sugar cookie crust.  It’s a fresh, delicious, and beautiful dessert, like a taste of spring.

strawberry-mint pizza on baking sheet 2It is teacher appreciation week at my kids’ school, and I am helping out with bringing food in to the teachers to make their week special.  Fruit pizza is one of the things I took in this week, and this strawberry-mint fruit pizza recipe I am sharing here is the happy product of some experiments in the kitchen the past couple of days.  My kids really loved this version, and they were glad I made one to keep at home and didn’t give everything to the teachers. 🙂  (Though teachers do deserve lots of appreciation–that is such an important job!)

It is not yet strawberry season here, but it will be before we know it, so I wanted to make something that felt like spring.  We do have mint growing rampantly in our garden already, and I really like the combination of strawberry and mint. For the cream cheese frosting, I also wanted to liven it up a bit, and so I adapted a recipe for lime cream cheese frosting from one I found on Food52, who got it from Two Red Bowls.  This frosting is so easy to make, and it has such a nice, subtly zingy flavor from the lime.  The cookie crust recipe I adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction, and this crust is delicious.

strawberry mint pizza in handsOne of my favorite parts about making this strawberry-mint pizza was going out into our garden and picking the mint leaves.  Such a treat, and a hint of what’s to come as more things start to grow.  Of course the possibilities are endless as far as fruit pizzas go, but this combination is really refreshing and tasty, not to mention very pretty!

I hope you all have a great weekend, and if you are celebrating Mother’s Day, I hope you have a very special day.

Fiesta Friday is co-hosted this week by Kaila @ GF Life 24/7 and Laurena @ Life Diet Health. I look forward to checking out the fiesta!lime frostingstrawberry mint pizza with background 2 strawberry mint pizza with mintDSC_0045

Strawberry-Mint Pizza With a Hint of Lime

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Time: about 1 and a half hours
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For the crust:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, beat (or stir vigorously) the butter till fluffy.  Stir in the sugar and beat or stir again, until creamy.  Add the egg and the vanilla and beat or stir again, until creamy and all the ingredients are mixed together (any clumps of butter need to be incorporated into the batter).

In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and corn starch.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, carefully beating/stirring until the batter is all combined to form a dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  After the dough has chilled, spread it out gently with your fingers onto a lightly greased  12-inch pizza pan.  If you don’t have one (like me), you can use a regular cookie sheet, and just shape the dough into a circle on that.  Press it gently down so it is evenly distributed.  Bake in your 350 degree oven for about 18-20 minutes, or till the crust is just lightly browned.  You don’t want to over-bake it.  Remove the crust from the oven and allow it to cool completely before continuing.  (Your can work on your frosting and chopping the fruit while the dough is chilling and also while the crust is cooling.)

The recipe for the crust is adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

For the frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces of cream cheese, softened (low-fat versions do not work well for this frosting)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1-3 teaspoons of lime juice, depending on your preference, and depending on the desired thickness of the frosting
  • 1 teaspoon of lime zest

Directions:

If you are using an electric mixer, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and beat until all is smooth and fluffy, adding the lime juice as needed.

If you are using a hand mixer (I love using a hand mixer), cream the cream cheese and butter together first. It makes is much easier if the cream cheese and butter are very soft.  Add the confectioner’s sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing after each addition.  Finally, beat in the lime zest and lime juice as desired, till the frosting is light and fluffy. If it’s too watery, add more sugar.  If it’s too thick, add more lime juice till it’s the texture you like.

The recipe for this frosting is adapted from Food52 via Two Red Bowls.

For the strawberries and mint:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
  • a handful of fresh mint leaves, washed and finely chopped

Directions:

When the crust is baked and cooled and the frosting is made, spread the frosting evenly over the crust, leaving a small rim around the pizza that is unfrosted.  Place the chopped strawberries and mint all over the top of the pizza, as much or as little of the toppings as you like.  Slice and serve.  Enjoy!

Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To plan ahead, you can make the crust and frosting a day in advance.  Just cover the crust with plastic wrap and store the frosting in the refrigerator.  Chop the fruit and assemble the pizza the next day.

 

 

 

 

Roasted Radish Medley

The gorgeous colors in this roasted radish medley reflect its deeply satisfying taste. Radishes, baby beets, carrots, and Cipollini onions are roasted in a sauce of honey, olive oil, wine vinegar, and garlic.  Roasting brings out a mellow flavor in the vegetables, especially the radishes.  The lightly sweet flavors from the carrots and onions are balanced with the distinctively earthy taste of the beets.

It feels good knowing that these vegetables, grown in the earth, contain lots of vitamins and  minerals to infuse my body with good energy.  And the bright colors make them fun to work with.  I know there are many people who don’t like radishes or beets.  But when they are roasted in this flavorful sauce with their mellow flavors released from the roasting, and the melt-in-your-mouth texture, they really are delicious, especially when eaten warm, right out of the oven.

beets radishes and carrots 2I adapted this recipe from one I found in the May/June issue of Victoria magazine.  I find that magazine so inspiring, with its beautiful photographs and stories about women who follow their dreams.  I only changed a few things in my recipe–I used orange carrots instead of white, and used baby beets instead of Chioggia beets.  Also, I used white wine vinegar instead of Champagne vinegar, and my cooking time ended up taking a few minutes longer.

raw radishes and carrots 2I find that I really enjoy working with vegetables.  As I was peeling the skin off of the onions, I was thinking, you can’t really be in a rush to do this job….but then I realized how often I am in a rush–either in a true hurry to get somewhere on time, or a self-imposed rush  to get more and more done.  I let go of that feeling for a few minutes and peeled the onions, noticing their smell and their texture, and paid attention to the pretty pink hues of the beets and radishes as I washed them.  I noticed that the beet stems look like roses.  That the stripes in the beets are amazing.  In the middle of a day and evening full of obligations and schedules, there was a window of time when I was present with the beauty of nature.

beet roses 4I am still working on posting some meals that can be ready quickly, or made ahead of time to be eaten when hungry people get home from soccer games and track meets….That is also part of my family’s reality.  But for today, I am sharing a recipe that gave me a meditation with the vegetables, and made me feel more in touch with our beautiful earth (and with myself too).  If you have a 20 minute window of time (plus about 25 minutes for while the vegetables roast), I highly recommend it.  I hope you all have a great weekend! This week, Fiesta Friday is co-hosted by Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau and Scarlett @ Unwed Housewife, and I look forward to checking out some inspiring posts over there!raw radishes and beets and carrotsroasted radish medley on tray 1roasted radish medley in white bowl 2

Roasted Radish Medley

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: about 20 minutes of prep time, about 25 minutes for roasting
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Ingredients:

  • approximately 1 pound of radishes, washed and trimmed, with about 1/2 inch of the green tops still on, cut in half length-wise
  • 3-4 medium-sized carrots, washed and peeled, cut in half length-wise and then cut in half width-wise
  • 8 ounces of Cipollini onions (you can also use pearl onions), peeled and blanched
  • 4 baby beets (or 2 small Chioggia beets, if you can find them), trimmed, washed, and halved length-wise (it helps if the beet pieces are about the same size as the radishes, so the roasting time works for all the vegetables)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

In a small bowl, place the honey, olive oil, minced garlic, white wine vinegar, and melted butter.  Whisk to combine.

In a large bowl, combine the radishes, carrots, blanched onions, and beets.  Pour in the honey mixture and toss to coat the vegetables evenly.  Spread the vegetables on the baking sheet in a single layer, cut side down.  Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.

Roast in your 425-degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from one in the May/June 2016 issue of Victoria magazine

Citrus Nut Bread

Orange zest and a half cup of lemonade infuse this bread with a subtle zing, balanced by the creamy flavors of walnuts, pecans, and milk.  Moist and subtly sweet, this citrus nut bread is a tasty snack, with nutritional benefits from the nuts and orange zest.  Savor a slice with a cup of coffee or tea, as an after-school snack, or even just grab a piece on the go.  Some may like to spread cream cheese or jam on a slice; I like it just as it is.  There is something joyful and energizing about citrus flavors.  As we wait for seasonal fruits to become ripe here, citrus can do wonders to tide us over.  Though it takes almost an hour to bake, it takes just a few minutes to zest some orange peel and mix up the batter.

DSC_1155This recipe is adapted from a favorite orange walnut bread recipe in one of the many cookbooks I have collected from various churches over the years.  Once I got started making the bread, I realized I didn’t have the orange juice the recipe called for.  I also didn’t have enough walnuts.  My husband suggested I use lemonade instead of the orange juice, and I used a combination of walnuts and pecans.  The bread turned out great! I actually like it better than the traditional orange walnut bread.  The lemonade gives it a sunny flavor and such a pretty, delicate color.

citrus nut bread on bench 2The making of this bread helped soothe my nerves.  I made it a day or so before my daughter was to leave on her overnight class trip to Chicago.  I know she loves this bread, and making it for her made me feel like I was giving her an extra hug before she waved goodbye and hopped on the bus.  It is true that food can express love in ways that words sometimes cannot. I look forward to hearing all about her trip when she gets back!

citrus nut bread on porchMeanwhile, spring marches on with warm days and cold days, bright sun, rain, and wind.  The key is to dress in layers, since it changes so quickly!  The scene around us is becoming more colorful by the day.  After the browns and grays of winter, it feels good to see such bright colors.  Our cherry trees are starting to blossom! Bright yellow dandelions decorate bright green grass.  I hope you are all having a great week!cherry blossomscherry blossoms against blue sky

Citrus Nut Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Time: about 15 minutes prep time, plus about an hour for baking time
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of lemonade
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten slightly
  • 1 tablespoons of orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of a combination of walnuts and pecans, chopped

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease an 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir to combine.  In a smaller bowl, combine the milk, lemonade, butter, egg, and orange zest.  Add those ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Stir gently until just incorporated and a batter forms.  Stir in the chopped nuts.  Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan.  Bake in your 350-degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the bread is golden and the top cracks just a little.  Test to see if a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  When the bread is done, allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and enjoy!

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