Traditional Irish Soda Bread (hold the caraway seeds!)

Like any member of a good Irish family (maiden name: McCullough), every March 17th, I donned my four leaf clover on my cheek and marched in the local St. Patrick’s Day parade.

St Patricks Parade

Circa 1993- I’m third from the left.

Baton Twirlers at St Patricks Day Parade

Circa 1995- I’m second from the right.

Saint Patricks Day Parade

Circa 1997 – with my bonnie lass aka Mom.

March 17th in New York, plus an epic parade equals COLD. By the time we finished, we were chilled to the bone. Each holiday though, my parents treated us to the traditional corned beef and cabbage feast, complete with warm Irish soda bread. If that doesn’t warm an Irish heart… Erin go bragh!
Irish Soda Bread LoafSoda bread has long been a favorite of mine. Slightly sweet, dense and a little crunchy on the outside. What’s not to love? I’ll tell you what’s not to love. Caraway seeds. Anyone who includes caraway seeds in their Irish Soda Bread is no friend of mine. St. Patrick would strike them down, if I had my way!

Anyway…while I’ve long since moved away from home, I’ve only recently started experimenting with making my own Irish soda bread. This recipe turns out just how I like it every time. It’s the old faithful of Irish soda breads. Just out of the oven, slathered in butter? Perfection. Day old, toasted, slathered in butter? Also perfection.

St. Patrick’s Day is less than a week away! So make sure to bake up a loaf (or two) of homemade Irish soda bread this year. It could be a new family tradition!

Traditional Irish Soda Bread (No Caraway Seeds!)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Traditional Irish Soda Bread (No Caraway Seeds!)

Ingredients

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbs brown sugar (if you like it really sweet, you could add an extra tbs)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs butter, cold
  • 1/2 c raisins
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk, add 1tbs lemon juice to 1 c whole milk, stir, let sit a few minutes, then use as a substitute)

Instructions

  • In a stand mixer, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar and salt.
  • Cut in the butter, using the paddle attachment, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Stir in raisins, coating them in the floury mixture (this will help them float in the dough).
  • Beat one egg and combine with buttermilk. Add mixture to the dry ingredients and fold in with spatula until just moistened.
  • On a greased baking sheet, shape the dough into a 6 inch round, then cut a cross in the top (to ward off evil spirits).
  • Beat the second egg and brush onto the dough.
  • Bake at 375°F for 35 minutes or until golden. Test the center of the loaf. If the center is still doughy, lower oven to 325 and check again after five minutes (it shouldn't need more than another ten minutes, tops).
http://keepcalmandsoldieron.com/2014/03/irish-soda-bread-recipe-no-caraway-seeds/

On Tuesdays, I share some of my favorite recipes. Make sure to come back and check them out!

crockpot chicken enchilada soup.

I first tried this Skinnytaste recipe for Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup in December of 2011. For the last three years, my adapted version of this recipe has remained the number one, go-to slow cooker meal for our family.

There’s something about a hearty soup and it’s willingness to accommodate loads of cheddar cheese and sour cream. It’s great during the cold, dark days of winter with a Bristol Winter Warlock, but it’s even better during the cool nights of summer with an ice cold Corona and a twist of lime (on both)! And if you’re looking for my opinion, the best way to enjoy this soup is to scoop up each and every bite with with a Trader Joe’s Sweet Potato Tortilla Chip!

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours, 20 minutes

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Ingredients

  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 small white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, seeds scraped out and minced
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • sliced avocado, for topping
  • shredded cheddar cheese, for topping
  • sour cream, for topping

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic to hot oil and sauté until soft. Slowly add the chicken broth, tomato sauce and chipotle chili and increase heat to medium-high to bring to a boil.
  • While soup base is coming to a boil on the stove, place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock pot, then add the drained black beans, diced tomatoes, frozen corn and cumin. Once soup base boils, remove from heat and pour atop all the ingredients in the crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  • After 6 hours, remove chicken from crockpot and shred. Add chicken back into the soup and adjust the salt to taste.
  • Top each bowl of soup with avocado, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream for maximum flavor! You can also enjoy with tortilla chips (I recommend Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Tortilla Chip Rounds).
http://keepcalmandsoldieron.com/2014/02/crockpot-chicken-enchilada-soup/

As it’s just Andrew, Madeline and me for dinner, there is usually a ton of soup left over. So normally I freeze a bunch of soup “pucks” in my silicone muffin pans, then transfer them to a freezer ziploc for storage. These little pucks reheat perfectly in the microwave; two pucks makes a great gourmet leftover lunch!

On Tuesdays, I share some of my favorite recipes. Make sure to come back and check them out!

too easy taco seasoning: you’ll never buy the packets again!

So here’s something that keeps happening to me: I decide I’m going to cook something. I pull out a few ingredients and start the process, only to realize way too late that I don’t have a key ingredient.

Last week, I baked a spaghetti squash but didn’t have a jar of sauce. Over the weekend, I had already melted butter and mashed bananas for banana bread before I realized I was out of eggs and baking soda. Last night’s dinner was no different. I defrosted chop meat and set out the chips and avocados for a Mexican fiesta, but didn’t have a packet of taco seasoning for the meat.

You can’t have a fiesta with out the flava, so I decided to whip up my own taco seasoning on the spot. And, guys, it was good. I’m talking really good. I’m talking not-going-to-buy-the-packets-anymore good. It was spicy, but didn’t burn your mouth. It was earthy, because cumin is amazing (and roasted cumin is ever better). And it was salty, but not too salty/over-sodiumed like the packets tend to be.

I made enough seasoning for one pound of meat, but you could easily multiply this recipe to for storage in your panty (air-tight, of course). Taco Tuesdays, anyone? Olé!

Too Easy Taco Seasoning

Too Easy Taco Seasoning

Use this taco seasoning with one pound of cooked/strained ground beef and a splash of water. Stir over low heat until meat is coated with flava!

Ingredients

  • 1 TBS Chili Powder
  • 1 3/4 TSP Ground Cumin
  • 1 TSP Black Pepper
  • 3/4 TSP Salt
  • 1/2 TSP Paprika
  • 1/4 TSP Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 TSP Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 TSP Onion Powder
  • 1/4 TSP Dried Oregano

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients together. That's it. Too easy!
http://keepcalmandsoldieron.com/2014/02/easy-homemade-taco-seasoning-recipe/

On Tuesdays, I share some of my favorite recipes. Make sure to come back and check them out!