Souper Wednesday

Chicago has been hit by quite a snow storm (yet again!)… so thank goodness for getting out of work early. My once a month cooking efforts paid off too since dinner required nothing more than warming up a bowl of comforting soup. Tonight we had a rich and creamy loaded baked potato soup with a toasty kaiser roll.Here’s my recipe for my loaded baked potato soup (this isn’t for dieters!):

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large baking potatoes, peeled & cubed
1/2 cup diced prosciutto
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
8 cups chicken broth
1 stalk green onion, sliced
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream or half & half
1-2 cups shredded cooked chicken (optional)

In a dutch oven, heat over medium heat & add butter and oil.
When butter/oil is heated, add onions, garlic and prosciutto.
When prosciutto has crisped up, sprinkle in flour.
Stir and cook until the raw flour smell is gone – about 2 mins.
Add mushrooms and cook until softened.
Add chicken broth and potatoes.
Allow potatoes to cook until tender.
Add green onion and slowly stir in cheese until melted.
Add cream/half & half and stir, allowing it to warm through.
Add chicken if using or serve as it with hot toasty bread.

Pizza… Sweet & Savory

After a big and flavorful Vietnamese lunch today, we opted for a lighter dinner. Tonight I made a brie, apple & proscuitto pizza using prepared pizza dough.Here’s my simple recipe for a light and flavorful Brie, Apple & Prosciutto pizza:

1 ball prepared pizza dough (I used Trader Joe’s plain dough)
1 large wedge of brie cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped havarti cheese
2 medium sized granny smith apples, peeled & sliced thin
1/4 cup finely chopped prosciutto
fresh basil, chiffonade

Preheat your oven to 425.
In a pizza pan or baking sheet, flatten pizza dough & spread out.
Bake pizza crust in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes.
Remove partially cooked dough from oven.
Spread softened brie on dough of dot the dough with brie (whichever is easier).
Place a layer of apple slices over the brie layer.
Sprinkle the prosciutto over the apples.
Top the pizza with havarti cheese.
Place pizza back in the preheated oven and bake until golden brown and cheese has melted.
Serve hot and garnish with fresh basil.

Prosciutto wrapped asparagus

This is a great appetizer or side dish that’s easy and elegant for any meal. I made this for my Sauvignon Blanc Wine & Dine event and it pairs nicely with the crispness of the wine.

Prosciutto wrapped asparagus

1 pkg italian proscuitto
2 lbs fresh asparagus

Blanch asparagus in hot water for 1-2 minutes.
Remove asparagus from hot water and place in a bowl of ice cold water, with ice.

Remove asparagus from water and pat dry.

Cut package of proscuitto in half.

Roll half a slice of proscuitto around one stalk of asparagus.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place proscuitto wrapped asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Place asparagus in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes or until proscuitto is slighty crisp.