Perfect Potato Soup – Pioneer Woman

Ree Drummond, otherwise known as Pioneer Woman, has quickly become one of my favorite Food Network stars. She lives on a ranch in Oklahoma and became famous by just blogging about her recipes each day. She literally walks people through every single step of each recipe with simple instructions and beautiful photography. I’ve made several of her recipes, and all of them have been awesome. They’re not calorie conscious by any means, but what does that hurt now and then?

During this time of year I love making potato soup. It’s creamy (good), has potatoes in it (good), and it’s the only soup my husband and son will eat (best). But I don’t feel like I’ve mastered it. I want to try some different recipes out to see which one fits our family the best. So I thought Ree could help me out. Here’s her recipe for potato soup. If you check it out on her blog, you’ll find step-by-step instructions as well. Enjoy, and let me know if you have a favorite potato soup recipe as well!

Potato Soup - Pioneer Woman

Potato Soup – Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

  • 6 slices Thin Bacon, Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 whole Carrots, Scrubbed Clean And Diced
  • 3 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 6 whole Small Russet Potatoes, Peeled And Diced
  • 8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Or Vegetable Broth
  • 3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun Spice Mix
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Fresh Parsley
  • 1 cup Grated Cheese Of Your Choice

Preparation Instructions

Add bacon pieces to a soup pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the pot.

Return the hot to medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.

Pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender. Whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove half to 2/3 the soup and blend in a blender/food process until completely smooth. Pour it back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Let it heat back up as you taste for seasonings, adding more of what it needs. Stir in cream, then stir in parsley, reserving a little for garnish.

Serve in bowls garnished with parsley, grated cheese and crisp bacon pieces.

 

Creative Croutons

My family loves Ceasar salad. My four-year-old gobbles it up, so we make it at least once a week to go with evening meals. I was getting bored with the traditional take, so I decided to get a little creative with the croutons. Instead of pouring pre-made croutons out of a bag, which is what I normally do, I made these out of tortillas. They’re so fun and you can either crumble them into the salad or eat them like crackers.

First, take a whole wheat flour tortilla and baste each side with olive oil.

Basting with Olive Oil

Basting with Olive Oil

 

Season one side with kosher salt. Chop fresh rosemary and sprinkle it all over the tortilla. Cut it into triangles, place them on a baking sheet, and bake them at 350 degrees for about  7 minutes. They will be golden brown on the edges and starting to curl up a bit.

Seasoned Tortilla

Seasoned Tortilla

 

 

 

Creative Croutons Ready to Bake

Creative Croutons Ready to Bake

 

Serve them however you’d like with your salad. Or, use them with a dip. They have a fantastic texture…I promise your family will love this homemade version of croutons, chips, crackers…whatever you want to call them. Enjoy!

Creative Croutons Recipe - Middle Redefined

Creative Croutons Recipe – Middle Redefined

 

 

Citrus Garlic Chicken

Thank goodness it’s finally nice enough outside to start grilling! There’s just something about that grilled flavor that makes everything taste better. Here’s an easy weeknight recipe for Citrus Garlic Chicken that my entire family loves.

Step 1) Slice your boneless, skinless chicken breasts in half so they’re really flat - this helps them cook a ton faster and keep more of the flavor of the marinade

Step 2) Dice up 1 clove of garlic and 1 sprig of rosemary

Step 3) Juice 1 lemon and 1 lime, whisk in olive oil (I just do equal parts citrus to olive oil)

Citrus Garlic Chicken Marinade Recipe

Citrus Garlic Chicken Marinade Recipe

Step 4) Season both sides of your chicken with salt and pepper then pour the marinade over it – on a weeknight, I’m only able to let this marinade about 15 minutes while I start prepping my side dishes, but 30 min to an hour would be awesome if you have the time

Citrus Garlic Chicken Marinading

Citrus Garlic Chicken Marinading

Step 5) Grill your chicken at medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until cooked completely through

Grilled Citrus Garlic Chicken - Middle Redefined

Grilled Citrus Garlic Chicken – Middle Redefined

Enjoy your incredibly flavorful chicken with whatever pairings you have on hand. I served mine with corn, ceasar salad and rolls. Delish!

Weeknight Dinner Redefined – Panko Encrusted Tilapia

I LOVE to cook. I honestly would cook every meal if I had the time, and if someone would come and clean my kitchen every time. So, since this is one of my passions, I’ll share meal and entertaining inspirations with you from time to time. After all, Middle Redefined is about everyday inspiration, and for me, that includes lots and lots of simple food that tastes absolutely fabulous.

So I thought I’d start out with this super easy and incredibly tasty panko encrusted tilapia. Most of my go-to’s for everyday cooking are: lemons, garlic, and fresh rosemary or basil. So you’ll see a lot of that in my recipes.

Step 1: Set thawed-out or fresh tilapia in a baking dish. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Panko Encrusted Tilapia Recipe - Middle Redefined

Panko Encrusted Tilapia Recipe – Middle Redefined

 

Step 2: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and pour over the tilapia. Season it with kosher salt and black pepper on both sides.

Step 3: Make your topping. Put these ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a fork:

  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan
  • 1 chopped clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of old bay seasoning (season salt would be great too)
  • Drizzle of olive oil, just so the mixture browns when baked
Encrusted Tilapia - Middle Redefined

Encrusted Tilapia – Middle Redefined

 

Step 4: Cover the tilapia with the mixture. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Easy side dish: While that’s baking, cook two pieces of chopped up bacon in a skillet. When that’s done, set the bacon to the side, and then sautee two cans of green beans in the bacon grease. Add the bacon back in just before serving. This is a delicious and hearty side to go with our tilapia.

 

Green beans sauteed with bacon

Green beans sauteed with bacon

 

Step 5: I always have fresh basil or rosemary on hand, so I chop some basil to sprinkle over the top of my tilapia when it’s done. However, it’s totally not necessary if fresh herbs aren’t a normal thing at your house. It just makes this dish taste so incredibly fresh – never mind the fact that these were frozen tilapia.

Here’s the final dish.

Panko Encrusted Tilapia - Middle Redefined

Panko Encrusted Tilapia – Middle Redefined

And here’s the part where you ask me if my four-year-old actually eats tilapia. Absolutely not. I always ask him to try something once, but fish is one of those things he has not grown to love. However, he gobbles up green beans. So in the case of this meal, he got green beans with extra bacon along with some other goodies on his plate.

Enjoy! Let me know how you like it!