“Shhh! I gotta focus. I’m shifting into soup mode.”

Who doesn’t love soup?  We all know the great love of soup that the Seinfeld cast has and what better comfort in the winter than a big bowl of steamy homemade soup!?

Let’s jump right in.  I troll recipe sites to keep the cooking exciting and the kitchen smelling delicious.  While trolling, I ran into a recipe for a mock up of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana.  My family’s Christmas Eve tradition is to eat soups and watch Chevy Chase Christmas Vacation.  We were unable to join them this year so I wanted to follow the tradition in my own home.  This recipe was super easy to make and certainly pleasing to my husband.  I added some extra kale to it but other than that stuck to the recipe (using organic and hormone free dairy/meat).  Just be aware that when you take the leftovers for lunch, it will definitely create a savory smell throughout your office!

Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana

The next soup I tried was from the same site and yet another Olive Garden mock up of Chicken Gnocchi Soup. This recipe has potential to be tough if you are a super star and make your own gnocchi but I went ahead and splurged for the $6 lb of gnocchi from Whole Foods that cooks in 3 minutes.  The chicken I baked and shredded an hour before I was ready to make the soup so it was ready to go.  When cooking I always try to set out all the ingredients pre-measured on my counter but this is especially important with soups since you are likely adding things in as you stir.  This makes a large pot so we froze the leftovers and were able to unfreeze and have it on our snow day.  It tasted just as good, I added a tad of water to get the consistency a little more soupy or if you have veggie/chicken broth that would work, too.

photo 5

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

No more soups to write about (for now) but something equally as amazing is up next.  My husband was even daring enough to say that this recipe was “Hands down my best Mexican dish I have ever made…” And I do have to agree.  It also it from the same site as the soups (what can I say – sometimes it’s easier to one stop shop recipes).  These Chubby Chicken and Cream Cheese Taquitos will leave you wanting more and more and more! I stuck to the recipe with the exception that I added some taco seasoning into the mix for an extra kick of flavor.  Also, I found that I still had a lot of extra filling.  The recipe only calls for 9-10 6in tortillas but I bought two packages of 8 and still had extra filling.  I refrigerated it until I could figure out what to do with it.   I have learned that olive oil is actually not good to get too hot so frying would be a no no – I went ahead and used canola oil but I’m open for suggestions if you know of anything better.   These turned out amazing and Braedan approved!!  I ended up freezing about 8 of them since they were pretty large (5 in one package for an easy meal for Matt and I with 3 individually wrapped that we can defrost and give to Braedan for lunch), I’d say 2-3 taquitos per serving.  I fried up some onions and peppers as the side dish to give us some extra veggies and cut up an avocado and opened a can of salsa to dip with.

Chubby Chicken and Cream Cheese Taquitos

Chubby Chicken and Cream Cheese Taquitos

Braedan approves!

Braedan approves!

Remember how I told you that I wasn’t sure what to do with the leftover filling?  Well – how about create Mexican balls??

Leftover Refrigerated Chubby Chicken and Cream Cheese mixture  (being cold makes it easy to form balls)
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
Oil of Choice

Heat saute pan with oil of choice (I used Canola) while you form balls from leftover filling.  Crack the egg in a dish that you can easily dip balls into.  In 2 separate dishes (also easy for dipping) measure out the flour and panko bread crumbs and place in a way that would be easy to go from dish to dish to dish.  First take the ball and dip in flour, be sure to cover.  Next take ball and dip into egg followed by bread crumbs.  I personally like to do all the dipping first and then fry so you aren’t doing too many things at once.  Or you can dip and add into the frying pan as you go.  Cook until golden brown and carefully remove and set on a paper towel lined plate to cool.  It was tough not to eat these right away but I instantly froze them (2 per bag) for another grab and go lunch for Braedan.  BUT admittedly, Matt and I did sneak 2 to eat right away because they “fell apart” ha!

photo (4)


Chubby Chicken and Cream Cheese balls

Chubby Chicken and Cream Cheese balls

Thanks for reading!!


2 thoughts on ““Shhh! I gotta focus. I’m shifting into soup mode.”

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