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Featured Main Dishes Michael's Favorites Recipes

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup from www.jasonscooking.com

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We just got back from Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (MGM) and it was great! Orlando is anything but frozen in the dead of summer so we went from hot to cold to hot to cold a lot over the weekend. As a result of this, Michael got sick almost immediately upon returning home. I think his sickness was caused by an abrupt separation from Walt Disney World but whatever…

Everyone knows that chicken soup is not only good for soothing a sore throat, but it’s also good for curing all kinds of ailments. With that in mind, I decided to pull out the soup pot a bit early this year and make a big batch of soup to put him on the road to recovery. Normally I would have saved this post for a little later in the fall but needs must when the devil drives.

Also – just the mention of Elsa’s name elicits screams and cheers from a large gathering of people. Anna gets polite applause but Elsa gets Michael-Jackson-in-the-80’s screams. Well played Disney. Well played indeed.

The RecipeRecipe
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Mains
Serves: 6 - 8
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, Diced
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 – 5 Ribs Celery, Chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 4 – 5 Carrots, Peeled and Chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • ½ Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 lb Cooked Chicken Meat, Shredded (1 whole roasted chicken or 4 breasts)
  • 6 Cups Chicken Stock, divided
  • ½ Cup Half and Half (optional)
  • 4.5 oz Package of Wild Rice with Seasoning
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions, salt and pepper and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 - 3 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, and carrots and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the butter and cook until it melts completely. Once the butter has melted, pour in the flour and mix well. Cook for about 3 – 4 minutes to cook off the raw flour taste.
  4. Add the chicken, 6 cups of stock, and half and half to the pot and bring just to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 – 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the carrots start to soften.
  5. Add the Wild Rice with seasoning and cook for another 20 – 25 minutes until the rice has softened.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

If your soup is too thick when you’re ready to dig in, add some more stock. Similarly, add stock or water when reheating to get to your desired consistency.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

Soups like this freeze beautifully in a zip-top bag. To reheat, simply put the frozen soup in a pot and slowly cook until it gets hot. Make sure you stir and flip the ice block frequently so that it doesn’t stick to the pot.

Fun FactsFun Facts

The classic combination of chopped onions, celery and carrots is called a mirepoix and is the jumping-off point for many soups and stews.

Categories
Featured Jason's Favorites Main Dishes Michael's Favorites Recipes

Bacon, Apple and Brie Burger

TemperatureHighTime10 mins

Bacon, Apple and Brie Burger from www.jasonscooking.com

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Generally, I’m not a huge fan of fancy burger toppings. At some point, a burger becomes something else when you add truffle oil, shaved pistachios and the tears of a virgin emulsified in unicorn oil. I’ve never gone wrong with salt and pepper, a slice of pepper jack, mustard, mayo, ketchup, and pickles. You, friends, do seem to like fancy burgers so I thought I’d give some a chance and I am so glad I did.

In August, Michael and I went to the North Georgia Mountains and picked a peck of apples. Obviously by “picked,” I mean that we picked a peck of apples up off of the table in the store and took them to the register to pay for them. When I was making the list of things to cook last week, I wanted to use some of the apples and so I thought, “apples and brie go together, why not make something based on that?” Add some bacon and slap it on a burger and you get a pretty darn amazing Bacon, Apple, and Brie Burger.

The RecipeRecipe
Bacon, Apple and Brie Burger
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Author:
Recipe type: Mains
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ lb 90/10 Ground Beef (see Tips and Tricks section)
  • 3 - 4 Apples, Cores Removed and Sliced into Rounds
  • 4 Slices Brie Cheese, Rind Removed
  • 4 Hamburger Buns (I use the French buns from the Bakery)
  • 8 Slices Bacon, Cooked Crisp
  • Mayonnaise
  • Dijon Mustard
Instructions
  1. Preheat the grill to high heat.
  2. Evenly divide your ground beef into 4 equal portions that are about ⅓ lb each. Flatten the portions into patties that are a little bigger around than the diameter of your buns.
  3. Season each of the patties with salt and pepper on both sides and grill for 4 – 5 minutes per side, turning once (see Tips and Tricks section). When the burgers are almost done, put some cheese on them, close the lid and let the cheese melt a bit.
Meanwhile…
  1. While the burgers are cooking, grill the apples for about 1 – 2 minutes per side. You want grill marks but you don’t want to turn them into mush.
  2. Also while the burgers are cooking, spread a little bit of mayo onto each half of the bun and toast those on the grill for 1 – 2 minutes, being careful not to burn them. If you have a gas grill, you can turn off one of the burners and use that area to toast the buns.
  3. Stack the burgers thusly: bottom bun, burger with cheese, 1 or 2 slices of apples, 2 slices of bacon, a wee bit of Dijon, top bun.
  4. Enjoy!
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

The secret to juicy hamburgers is to leave them alone not overcook them. When cooked properly, even a burger made of very lean ground beef can be juicy and delicious.

Leave your burgers alone! Don’t press down on them or move them around while they’re cooking. You should only touch the burgers twice during cooking, once to flip and once to remove from the grill.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

A great way to save money is to buy your ground beef in bulk and then freeze it for up to 6 months. I like to form burger patties out of some of the beef and leave some in 1 lb blocks.

When you patties, make sure you put some parchment between them or freeze on a sheet pan before transferring them to a bag to prevent them from sticking together.

Fun FactsFun Facts

According to BurgerFi, Americans eat 14 billion hamburgers a year. That means you ate about 45 burgers last year and have already had about 30 this year.

Categories
Featured Main Dishes Michael's Favorites Recipes Snacks

Chunky Chicken Salad

Jason's Chicken Salad

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Grapes in chicken salad?!? A coworker of mine turned me on to putting grapes in chicken salad about 10 years ago and I haven’t made chicken salad without them since. She called it Summertime Chicken Salad but I just call it delicious.

This is my go-to chicken salad recipe. It’s not too wet, has just the right amount of crunch and the grapes are a nice surprise. In fact, with only ½ cup of mayonnaise in the whole batch, it’s actually not too bad for you either. Michael and I make this on the weekend and it’ll keep in the refrigerator all week to use on tasty sandwiches.

The RecipeRecipe
Chunky Chicken Salad
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Mains
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 2 ½ - 3 Lb Chicken, Cooked and Shredded
  • 1 Cup Celery, Chopped (about 3 ribs)
  • ½ Cup Pecans, Toasted and Chopped
  • 1 Cup Red Seedless Grapes, Halved
  • ½ Cup Mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine.
  2. Season with kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

I use my hands to toss this salad. Using your fingers helps you mix everything evenly and allows you to use less mayonnaise.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

This chicken salad will freeze for up to 3 months. The quality might diminish slightly but it’s a great way to store excess chicken salad.

Fun FactsFun Facts

The chicken salad that we know and love was invented in Rhode Island in 1863. The original version featured leftover chicken, mayonnaise, tarragon, and grapes. Grapes! Who knew?

Categories
Dessert Featured Michael's Favorites Recipes

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Temperature375°Time8 – 10 mins

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from www.jasonscooking.com

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies are some of Michael’s favorite cookies so when I was thinking of stuff for today’s blog post, I thought I’d give them a shot. While researching recipes, I discovered that the recipe for oatmeal cookies and the recipe for chocolate chip cookies are pretty much the same thing so I added some oatmeal and cinnamon to my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and got some pretty darn tasty oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!

Give these tasty cookies a try and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed – assuming you like oatmeal cookies and chocolate chip cookies. If you don’t like oatmeal cookies or chocolate chip cookies, the aforementioned guarantee does not apply to you. Perhaps I could interest you in a nice berry crisp?

The RecipeRecipe
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, Melted and Cooled
  • 12 oz Bread Flour (about 2 ¼ cups)
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Regular Oatmeal
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 oz Sugar (about ¼ cup)
  • 8 oz Light Brown Sugar (about 1 ¼ cup)
  • 1 Eggs
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 oz Milk
  • 1 ½ tsp Vanilla
  • 12 oz Semisweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, soda, oatmeal and cinnamon together and set aside.
  2. Beat the melted butter and both sugars together in a stand mixer for about 2 minutes until it’s lightened in color.
  3. Add the egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla to the mixer and let it mix for about 30 seconds.
  4. Reduce the mixer to low speed and add the dry ingredients ⅓ at a time until it’s all incorporated.
  5. Once all of the dry ingredients have been added, fold in the chocolate chips and chill the dough for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375
  7. Scoop the dough into 1 ½ oz portions and put on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. You’ll want to leave about 2 inches between each cookie.
  8. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookie just start to turn brown. If they look done in the oven, they’re overcooked.
  9. Remove to a cooling rack and repeat with the remaining dough.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

Use a 1.5 – 2 oz ice cream scoop with a trigger (a disher) to portion out your cookies onto parchment paper while your waiting on your first batch to come out of the oven.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

Freeze portioned raw cookie dough or baked cookies for up to 6 months for a tasty anytime treat. To cook dough from frozen, just add a minute or two to the cooking time.

Fun FactsFun Facts

This Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe is based on The Chewy from Alton Brown which is based on the Toll House Cookie Recipe which is based on Ruth Wakefield’s chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Categories
Dessert Featured Michael's Favorites Recipes

French Chocolate Mousse

French Chocolate Mousse

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Chocolate mousse is one of Michael’s favorite desserts. The first time I ever made it for him, I was nervous that it would be super complicated and time consuming based on the fact that it was classic French food and served at fancy restaurants. That couldn’t be further from the truth! Chocolate Mousse is essentially melted chocolate with beaten egg whites or whipped cream beaten folded into it.

This recipe contains raw eggs and the FDA says you shouldn’t eat raw eggs. If you’re worried about consuming raw eggs, they make pasteurized raw eggs. If you’re super worried about them, you should probably stick to the whipped cream kind of mousse.

The RecipeRecipe
French Chocolate Mousse
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 6 Oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 4 Eggs, Separated
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
Instructions
  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (a metal bowl set over a pot of about a cup of gently simmering water), stirring frequently. As soon as all of the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from the heat and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, beat the 4 egg yolks until they are pale yellow in color.
  3. Slowly (VERY slowly) drizzle the chocolate into the egg yolks while stirring vigorously. If you go too fast, you might cook the eggs and then you’ll have chocolate scrambled eggs.
  4. In a third bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.
  5. Mix the vanilla and ⅓ of the beaten whites into the chocolate and egg mixture. Once it’s all incorporated, gently fold the remaining beaten whites in and keep folding until the color is uniform and you no longer have any streaks.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours and serve.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

If you really don’t want to use raw eggs, beat a cup of heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks and use that instead of the eggs.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

Frozen chocolate mousse? Be my guest! Frozen chocolate mousse is almost like a super chocolatey ice cream. Mmmmm.

Fun FactsFun Facts

While chocolate is the most famous, there are many different kinds of mousses. In French, “mousse” means foam or froth so technically anything that uses air or a foam to lighten the texture is a mousse.

Categories
Featured Main Dishes Michael's Favorites Recipes

Garden Turkey Burgers

Temperature350°Time15 mins

Turkey Burgers

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Shortly after moving to the area about ten years ago, I discovered this amazing burger restaurant, The Counter, in Roswell, Georgia. Basically, you design your own burger, from the type of meat to the toppings, spreads and bun. This is where I first fell in love with turkey burgers. I’ve always enjoyed turkey in its non burger forms, but it wasn’t until I could pimp out my own burger that I really fell in love with the turkey burger. In addition to being delicious, turkey burgers are also a healthier option than beef though this in no way detracts from their deliciousness.

Soon afterwards, I started creating my own turkey burgers at home and experimented with several different ingredients until I found the perfect combination. By mixing green onions, parmesan cheese and Worcestershire sauce (among other things) into the ground turkey and topping with Swiss cheese and carrot strings, I now have my very own special recipe. I present to you my favorite Garden Turkey Burger.

The RecipeRecipe
Garden Turkey Burgers
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey Breast
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Cup Chopped Green Onions
  • ⅓ Cup Bread Crumbs
  • ⅓ Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 Slices of Swiss Cheese
  • 1 Cup Carrot Strings
  • 4 Buns
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Preferred Burger Condiments (eg mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the grill to high heat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the ground turkey, egg, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and seasoning until well blended.
  3. Create four equal size patties.
  4. Cut buns in half and spread butter on each halve.
  5. Place each patty on the grill and cook for 4 - 5 minutes. Flip each patty and cook for another 4 - 5 minutes. The burgers are done when they reach an internal temperature of 160°.
  6. Before removing burgers from grill, place a slice of cheese on each patty.
  7. Place buns on grill or in oven at 350° for 1 minute until lightly toasted.
  8. Place burgers on buns and top with carrot strings.
  9. If desired, add mayo, ketchup and mustard.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks
  • You can also add diced bell peppers, garlic or grill seasoning for extra flavor.
  • This turkey burger recipe can also be used for meatballs and meat loafs.
  • If you are worried that the turkey burger isn’t cooked all the way through, use a meat thermometer. Ground turkey should be cooked to 160°.
Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

You can easily freeze the turkey burgers patties and have them ready to thaw and grill at a later date. You can also freeze the cooked burgers for later to be eaten as burgers or used as ingredients for other dishes, like tacos.

Fun FactsFun Facts

Turkey burgers will typically have less calories, fat, sodium and protein than an equal sized beef burger. However, turkey burgers will have more cholesterol and calcium.

Categories
Dessert Featured Jason's Favorites Michael's Favorites Recipes

Mixed Berry Crisp

Temperature375°Time30 mins

Berry Crisp

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In February, Michael and I went on the Backstage Magic Tour at Disney World. The tour visits all 4 parks, the costume shop, the central plant, the Disney nursery and tree farm, and includes a family style lunch at Whispering Canyon Café. The lunch is barbeque with all the fixin’s and ends (at least ours did) with an excellent Berry Crisp. I haven’t been able to find the Whispering Canyon Berry Crisp recipe but this one, adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe, is pretty darn close.

If you like amazing desserts, you should give it a try. If you don’t like amazing desserts, give it a try anyway and I think it’ll change your mind.

The RecipeRecipe
Mixed Berry Crisp
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6 - 8
Ingredients
For the Topping
  • 1 Sleeve of Graham Crackers, Crushed (About 1 ½ Cups)
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • ⅔ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Stick of Butter, Cut into Smallish Pieces
  • ¾ Cup Pecans, Chopped
  • ¾ Cup Walnuts, Chopped

For the Filling
  • 16 oz Berries (A Single Type or Mixed Berries)
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp Cornstarch
  • Vanilla Ice Cream for Serving
Instructions
Mix Up the Topping
  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. In a large bowl, mix the crushed graham crackers, flour and ⅔ cup sugar together.
  3. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers until there are tiny bits of butter all throughout the mixture and it looks crumbly.
  4. Add in the nuts and mix to combine.

Make the Crisp
  1. In a second bowl, combine the berries, ¼ cup sugar, cornstarch, and ½ cup of the topping mixture.
  2. Pour the filling into an 8” cast-iron skillet or a square casserole dish.
  3. Sprinkle the topping all over the filling until you have a nice, thick crust. You may not use all of the topping but you’ll come pretty close.
  4. Cook for 25 – 30 minutes until the topping is brown and the filling is bubbly. Remove the crisp from the oven and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes.
  5. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

You can a use mixture of berries or a single type of berry for this recipe. I normally buy the “smootie mix” from my grocery store and use that but any berry will work and be delicious. The crisp pictured here is a mix of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

Don’t have access to fresh berries? Frozen berries work really well in this recipe!

Fun FactsFun Facts

The difference between a crisp and a cobbler is the topping. A cobbler has a biscuitey dough while a crisp (or crumble) has a crumbly streusel-like topping.

Categories
Dessert Featured Michael's Favorites Recipes

Homemade Chocolate Frosting

Homemade Chocolate Frosting

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Hello dear readers, Michael, the other half of Jason’s Cooking, here to talk about my favorite frosting! My Mom and Aunt Suzi have always made the best yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Growing up, I had this on average probably a dozen times a year and still love it to this day. From birthdays and holidays, to random cravings, I love it so much that I still have Mom, Aunt Suzi and now Jason make it for me.

The secret to my favorite cake is the frosting. The cake is typically just boxed yellow cake mix but the homemade frosting makes it the best cake ever!

The RecipeRecipe
Homemade Chocolate Frosting
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 2 or 3 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • ⅓ Cup Butter
  • ¼ Cup Milk
  • 1 ½ tsp Vanilla
  • 4 ½ Cups Confectioners’ Sugar
Instructions
  1. Melt the chocolate with the butter in the microwave by cooking for 30 seconds, stirring, cooking for 30 seconds, and stirring until it’s melted.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate and butter, milk, vanilla and ½ of the sugar and beat until everything is incorporated.
  3. Add the remaining sugar and beat until it’s stiff and airy.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

If the frosting is too thick, add a wee bit of milk to thin it out a bit.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

Freeze this frosting by tightly sealing in a zip-top bag and storing for up to three months. When you’re ready to use it, defrost completely and let it come to room temperature. Once it’s at room temperature, beat it again and adding milk until it’s spreadable again.

Note: This frosting is so easy to make that it would be more difficult to thaw and revive frozen frosting than it is to make a new batch, so this recipe’s freezer tip is: don’t bother freezing this frosting unless it’s on a cake.

Fun FactsFun Facts

In the 15th century, bakeries in Germany started marketing sweet cakes to celebrate birthdays and weddings to sell more treats.

Categories
Featured Main Dishes Michael's Favorites Recipes

Quick and Easy Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

TemperatureMedium LowTime20 mins

Quick and Easy Spaghetti

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Do you want spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner but you don’t want to go brew a pot full of sauce all day? Well this recipe is for you!

This spaghetti recipe is adapted from my sister’s quick and easy spaghetti recipe. The main difference between our recipes is that I start with onions and garlic and she leaves them out because she’s not a fan of onions. The basic idea of this recipe is to take a store-bought jar of spaghetti sauce, add a couple of things, and make it taste more like homemade spaghetti sauce. This is a good weeknight recipe that tastes like a weekend!

The RecipeRecipe
Quick and Easy Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6 - 8
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 – 1 ½ lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Packet Spaghetti Seasoning Mix
  • 1 12 – 16 oz Jar of Your Favorite Spaghetti Sauce
  • ¼ Cup Water
  • Spaghetti Noodles, Cooked to Al Dente in Salted Water and Drained
  • Parmesan Cheese for Serving
Instructions
  1. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic with salt and pepper until they are tender and translucent (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add the beef to the pot, crumble and cook until the meat is browned.
  3. Add the spaghetti seasoning mix, sauce and water (see the tip below).
  4. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve with cooked spaghetti noodles and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

Swirl the water around in the jar before adding it to the pot to get any stubborn sauce out.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

If you don’t have cooked spaghetti sauce in your freezer, you should! Store any leftovers in zip-top bags in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you have a hankerin’ for spaghetti, thaw, heat and enjoy!

Fun FactsFun Facts

Spaghetti Bolognese, or spaghetti and meat sauce, gets its name from the Italian town called Bologna. Apparently they made the best ragu (meat sauce) in all of Italy.