Notes from the Mister

Hi.  I’m the Mister.  My wife, to whom this wonderful blog belongs, said that it might be a good idea for me to write up a guest blog for her.  In my almost six years of married, I’ve learned a few things.  One of those things being, if my wife says something is “a good idea,” the direct spousal translation is, “You will do this.”

People who know me know that I love food.  I’ve always loved food.  Steak, burgers, pizza, enchiladas, spaghetti, lasagna, beef stroganoff, TSO chicken; the list goes on, and it’s not limited by international lines.  However, my ability to appreciate good food began to grow after the Mrs. and I were married.

She would whip up something delicious and after a quick prayer (the length directly in proportion to how hungry I was), I would consume said food as I always had, fast; too fast, for my wife, the budding chef.

One night, before I could eat my first bite of deliciousness, she pulled my plate away.  I was perplexed.  I couldn’t eat?  Had I done something wrong?  What was this cruel and unusual form of torture???  My face was a study in confusion mixed with deep and abiding sadness.

I looked at my dear, dear wife, and she said, “I want you to take a bite and tell me what you taste.  Tell me what’s in the dish.”

I looked at the plate and slowly took a bite.

I started with the obvious.  Unimpressed, my wife then asked what seasonings had been used.

Salt. Pepper.  Garlic?  All correct answers.

“What else?”

This is where my culinary expertise ended, the one I thought I had.  Up to this point in my life, I’d only ever thought about the immediate flavor of whatever food I was eating.  Dissecting individual flavors from my food was not a foreign concept, I watched plenty of Food Network; I just never practiced it.

This was the night my “palate training” began.

I have since learned to recognize and appreciate the bold flavor of basil (one of my favorites), the warm smokiness of cumin, the subtle yet necessary addition of bay leaves, and the heady aroma of lavender.  Not to mention garlic and butter.  Garlic, how I love thee.  Let me count the ways…

My training is ongoing.  My palate and its ever-developing Jedi Master level abilities of taste has never been the same.

-The Mister

Try It Out Thursday: Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Try it Out Thursday

Try It Out Thursday is dedicated to recipes, products or ideas that I find on Pinterest or receive in my e-mail. I tend to “pin” and save a lot of recipes and craft ideas and never try them so I decided that this will help me wade through the many pins and e-mails that I have.

I hope that you’ve noticed that I am trying to be more consistent in my postings. I’m working really hard to do at least one post a week, sometimes two.

I’m still on a soup kick and this week I tried out a Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup from Jaclyn over at Cooking Classy.

This week we have had some rain and so it’s been a great time for soup. Yes, more soup!  (It’s been nice since we’ve been having 100+ degree weather lately) The Mister and I have really been enjoying all the different soups that we have been testing and creating.

The Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup that Jaclyn has on her site is absolutely delicious! I only made some minor tweeks. I used two Rotisserie Chicken breasts (because I’m lazy and they were already cooked) and I added 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin and a dash of chili powder.

I heartily recommend this recipe as well as the Cooking Classy website in general. Jacyln has some really great recipes on her blog!

Here’s what mine looked like.

IMG_2650

 

I also sprinkled a little shredded cheddar cheese on top. It was delicious!

photo (6)

~Mrs Galvan~

Enchiladas Suizas

For most of my life I was a very picky eater. My meals consisted of mostly American fast food and whatever my mom, grandma and aunt made from the Mexican food genre. That mostly consisted of rice, beans, fideo, tortillas (flour & corn), picadillo (ground beef with potatoes) and variations on all of those things. One thing I didn’t get to eat often was enchiladas. I only really got to eat them when we went to Mexican food restaurants.  My favorite enchiladas were the red sauce ones with american cheese inside. I didn’t like meat or chicken in them.

I can go back to one day specifically when we went to eat at a local restaurant called Miguel’s. They had a Mexican food buffet and they had my favorite enchiladas but this one Sunday, they did not. They instead had enchiladas with GREEN SAUCE! I was so grossed out. I was grossed out because of the color not because they tasted bad. I wouldn’t even try to eat them.

At the ripe old age of 32 with a new lease on my palate, I found Pinterest and these pretty green enchilada pictures kept popping up. I looked at a whole bunch of recipes and decided that I would make my own version of these pretties!

The Mister had some co-workers over for dinner one evening last week and I just knew that I had to make these.

Enchiladas Suizas

18-20 fresh corn tortillas

1 Jar Cookwell & Company Green Chili Stew

8oz Mozarella Cheese, shredded

8oz Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded

Enchilada filling:

2lbs Boiled Chicken Breast, shredded

1/2 cup Sour Cream

8oz Softened Cream Cheese

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. In a small bowl, combine the shredded cheeses and set aside.

2. Take a 9×13 baking dish and spray with cooking spray.

3. Spread 1/2 cup of Green Chili Stew in the bottom of the baking dish.

4.In a large bowl, combine shredded chicken, sour cream, cream cheese, cilantro, and the salt and pepper. Mix well.

5. Take a warm corn tortilla and fill with about 2 Tbsp of filling, 2tbsp of shredded cheese. Roll up and place seam side down in your baking dish on top of the Green Chili Stew. Repeat this step until your baking dish is full.

IMG_2623

If your tortillas are not fresh/warm wrap them in a damp paper towel, put them in a ziploc bag and place in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute. This will soften them up so that they don’t break when you are rolling them full of the enchilada filling.

IMG_2624

6. Sprinkle the top of the enchiladas with half of whatever cheese you have left.

7. Spoon over the remainder of the Green Chili Stew.

8. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top.

9. Take a piece of foil and spray the matte side with some cooking spray. This is so that when the enchiladas are in the oven and the cheese puffs a little it doesn’t stick to the foil.

10.  Cover your baking dish with the foil and place on the top rack in the oven.

11. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot along side some Mexican Rice!

IMG_2630

These enchiladas are creamy on the inside and the outside. That’s why I love them so much!

~Mrs Galvan~

Red Pepper & Tomato Tortellini Soup

More Soup! I’m not tired of soup yet, can you believe it?

Haha…are you tired of my soup posts yet?

I went to the grocery store and I saw these pretty little tortellini and I thought to myself, “I always want to buy these but I’m never sure whether I will actually use them.” I decided to buy some and MAKE myself make a meal with them and here’s what I came up with!

Red Pepper & Tomato Tortellini Soup

      • 1 package of Tortellini Pasta
      • 1 jar of Cookwell & Company Red Pepper & Tomato Soup
      •  15oz can of crushed tomatoes
      • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
      • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
      • 1 bunch of fresh spinach, chopped
      • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
      • Salt & Pepper to taste

1. In a 4 quart pot bring water to a boil and gently add the tortellini pasta. Allow to cook for 7 minutes. Then drain the water and set aside. (With the amount of time this soup takes to make, your pasta could be done by the time you’re done making the soup part of this recipe.)

photo 1 (16)

2. In a 4-6 quart pot melt butter and saute minced garlic. (2-3 minutes)

3. Add crushed tomatoes and allow to simmer with the butter and garlic. (2-3 minutes)

4. Pour in the jar of Red Pepper & Tomato Soup and allow to heat through.

photo 3 (9)

5. Add spinach and allow to soften/wilt into the soup.

photo 2 (11)

6. Stir in Parmesan cheese.

7. Slowly and gently add your Tortellini to the soup mixture. (I used a large spoon and added as many as would fit on the spoon at a time)

photo 4 (7)

photo (14)

8. Serve hot with some french bread or ciabatta baguette.

photo 5 (4)

This soup is just as delicious as it looks! It makes 8-10 servings so The Mister and I have been eating it for days. The flavors just get more and more complex as it waits to be eaten.

I know it’s 100 degrees outside but you just need to make this! Go on, turn down the thermostat to 70, turn down the lights, close the curtains and EAT SOME SOUP!

~Mrs Galvan~

Try It Out Thursday: Tortilla Soup

Try it Out Thursday

Try It Out Thursday is dedicated to recipes, products or ideas that I find on Pinterest or receive in my e-mail. I tend to “pin” and save a lot of recipes and craft ideas and never try them so I decided that this will help me wade through the many pins and e-mails that I have.

Yes, I am still making soup. I was sitting on the couch eating some leftover soup when I realized that is what I’ve been blogging about lately and I chuckled to myself. Soup gets me ready for the fall season and if you don’t already know this about me, FALL IS MY FAVORITE SEASON!

Fall isn’t my favorite season because it gets cold or the leaves change color because it takes a while down here for any of those things to happen. It’s my favorite season because of the flavors that emerge during this time of year. I love the smoky, warm, robust flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, turkey, casseroles, and of  course soups that make their debut in the fall. I know you can get those flavors any time of year but there’s just something about them in the fall.

I know the first day of Fall isn’t until September 23rd this year but I’m getting ready and I’m starting with soup!

I found a really great recipe over at Favorite Family Recipes. It’s a Copycat Recipe from a place called Cafe Rio.

It was a different way to make Tortilla Soup than I ever have but this way works really well and I think this is how I will do it from now on. The only things I did differently was use black beans instead of pinto beans and I also added some canned dice tomatoes.

design (5)

Hope you’ll get a chance to try this soup out this Fall, it’s gonna be a staple in our home, FOR SURE!

~Mrs Galvan~

Tex Mex Chili Caviar

Want something fast?! This Tex Mex Chili took me under 20 minutes to make and it tasted so good!

I was sitting at home and got a craving for Ranch Style Beans! I don’t often crave Ranch Style Beans so I called the Mister and asked him to stop at the store for a can. (He is amazing and he brought me two)

This was a total experiment that turned into the fastest chili like substance I have EVER made. It’s great for when you don’t have a lot of time but want something to eat that will fill you up.

Tex Mex Chili Caviar

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can Ranch Style Beans
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat and saute red onion and garlic for 1-2 minutes.

2. Add the ground beef and brown it up. It should take anywhere for 5-7 minutes.

IMG_2568

3. Pour in corn, ranch style beans, and water. (I like to get the water using the Ranch Style Beans can so you can get all the sauce and flavor out)

IMG_2569

IMG_2570

 

4. Then stir in the BBQ sauce of your choice. I used WEBER BBQ sauce.

IMG_2571

5. Stir well and allow to simmer for about 3-4 minutes until the corn and beans are heated through.

I served myself some in a bowl and ate it just like that. You could use this mixture for Frito pie, taco salad, nachos and whatever else you can come up with it. I bet it would even be good over hotdogs!

IMG_2575

~Mrs Galvan~

Try It Out Thursday: Italian Wedding Soup

Try it Out Thursday

Try It Out Thursday is dedicated to recipes, products or ideas that I find on Pinterest or receive in my e-mail. I tend to “pin” and save a lot of recipes and craft ideas and never try them so I decided that this will help me wade through the many pins and e-mails that I have.

I told you I’ve been craving soup! This soup came to mind because last week I asked one of my pastors what he was eating for lunch and he said, “Italian Wedding Soup.” It intrigued me with it’s little meatballs and spinach so I set out to find a recipe on Pinterest.

So, for Try It Out Thursday, I ended up going with the Italian Wedding Soup recipe from Larissa over at Just Another Day In Paradise. You should check out her blog. She’s got some really good stuff on it.

I didn’t change the recipe much except for adding one additional tablespoon of Parmesan cheese using fresh spinach instead of bagged spinach, ground turkey instead of ground beef and using mini Farfalle for my pasta choice. This soup turned out delicious. The Mister and I have eaten it for a few days now and the longer it sits in the refrigerator, the better it gets. I recommend eating it with a slightly toasted piece of French bread. It soaks up all the broth beautifully and tastes so good!

Here are my little meatballs. I got exactly 50 meatballs out of my pound of ground turkey.

IMG_2556

I have stopped buying packaged greens and I only had fresh spinach. I just sliced it up and it worked really, really well.

IMG_2559

My choice of pasta was mini Farfalle. Isn’t it just the cutest pasta ever?!

IMG_2562

I was practically drooling while the soup was simmering. It’s so pretty to look at too.

IMG_2563

If you’re craving soup, or if you’re thinking about what soup you can make for the first old front this fall, this is definitely one to have down in your books to try!

IMG_2576

~Mrs Galvan~

 

Ramen Noodle Soup

It may be 100 + degrees outside but that doesn’t mean I don’t want soup almost weekly. Soup makes this lady VERY HAPPY! Here in South Texas we stay pretty darn hot all the way til late September until our first “cool” front moves in and we get down to 80 degrees.

I told a friend of mine today that when I feel like having soup, I turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees and close the curtains so it feels like fall.

I have been craving ramen noodle soup, you know the kind you grew up eating in college, only I refuse to buy the packaged stuff now so I had to make it from scratch.

Ramen Noodle Soup

    • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
    • 1 cup sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms
    • 1/2 cup sliced onion
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 8 cups of chicken stock (homemade or store bought)
    • 4 green onion sliced
    • 1 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
    • 1 Tbsp Regular Soy Sauce
    • 1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
    • 1 Package Noodles (I used Brown Rice Vermicelli)
    • 1 small Bok Choy
    • 1/2 cup fresh spinach
    • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil and sauté the mushrooms, onion and garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent (About 4-5 minutes)
  2. Salt & Pepper generously
  3. Add  your chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Lower heat and bring to a slow simmer.
  5. Add all the ingredients except the spinach and bring back to a boil.
  6. At this point I would taste the broth and see if the flavor is to your liking. My homemade stocks are made with little salt so that I can adjust as I go.
  7. Add the noodles and cook them according to the package. I used Peacock Brown Rice Vermicelli.

IMG_2535

8. Add the spinach and serve hot!

This is one of the easiest soups you will EVER make and also one of the most satisfying in my opinion. The Mister and I had this soup for two days and by the second day we both decided that more needed to be made. It’s really good stuff.

IMG_2538

Enjoy!

~Mrs Galvan~

Wedding Dress Tea Party

I was invited to a Wedding Dress Tea Party by my very creative and fun friend Sarah two weeks ago and there was NO WAY that I was not going to blog about it.

IMG_2486

My wedding dress was packed in a trunk, in the garage. It had not been cleaned or preserved. Still, I pulled it out of it’s archived hide away. It didn’t look too bad, after 6 years, it’s not yellowing yet.

I hung it up in the closet to let some of the wrinkles fall out. I did this the night before the party because I kept forgetting about it. So, as you can imagine, I wore my dress with many wrinkles.

dress

Did my dress fit me? Not exactly but it ALMOST did and I was happy with that for now. I will fit in my dress again, oh yes, I will! We also had the option of wearing a bridesmaid dress if we weren’t married or if we just didn’t want to wear our wedding dress.

IMG_2494(photo credit: M. Lewis)

I was a little nervous for this party because my dress didn’t fit but once all the girls arrived, I didn’t really think about it much. Sarah did tell us before we made plans to come, to make sure that we brought some comfortable clothes as well because who wants to sit around in their wedding dress all day. As beautiful as ANY dress may be, and even if it still fits, without the adrenaline from your “big day”, it’s just not fun to do.

Sarah made some delicious iced teas! Oh, they were really good! We had Blackberry Mint Iced Tea, Strawberry Basil Iced Tea and Citris Ice Tea.

IMG_2482

When I asked her how she made them she said, “I didn’t even really use the recipe for the blackberry tea. I’ve been making flavored tea for a while now. I just brew tea, pretty strong, and I make a simple syrup to go with it. There was strawberry basil (with vanilla extract) and Blackberry mint (with almond extract) and the other one was a mix of black tea and green tea with oranges and lemons squeezed in. There was no simple syrup with that one.”

IMG_2477

 

She even made us some Lemon Thyme Water. It was so refreshing!

Lindsey

Our tea party  consisted of lots of delicious and interesting finger foods.

IMG_2476

 

Sarah made  Goat Cheese Pecan Finger Sandwiches, Arugula & Herbed Butter Sandwiches, and our friend Lindsey made some Cucumber Sandwiches that were exceptionally delicious .

IMG_2473

 

There were also Mini Caesar Salad cups. These were AWESOME! The little cups were made of Parmesan Cheese and I could have eaten 10,000 of them!

Sarah also made some little Chicken Salad Cups and Twice Baked Red Potatoes. Can you say yum?!

IMG_2474

Here’s what my plate looked like.

IMG_2484

 It was a really fun party, great girl time and a really great excuse for us to wear our wedding dresses again.

IMG_2491(photo credit: M. Lewis)

We talked about making this an annual thing.  I think it’s a great idea!

~Mrs Galvan~

Zucchini Brown Rice Casserole

I love me some zucchini and when I have the time, this will be one of the first things I try to grow in my backyard! I love that you can add zucchini to almost everything. I love that it fits different flavor profiles. I love that the texture  is different if it is made into noodles or diced up for soups or shredded for zucchini fritters. I just love it!

I was going through the refrigerator and realized that I had two zucchini that needed to be used but I didn’t really feel like making anything too complicated. I decided that throwing a bunch of leftovers together in a baking dish would work for dinner that evening.

I had some brown rice, a cob of corn, and just a bit of matchstick carrots sitting in the veggie drawer that were in dire need of being used up. That’s how this casserole happened. It turned out so good that I ate half of it BY MYSELF! Then when the Mister got home, he ate the other half, LOL! Sadly, there were no leftovers.

Zucchini Brown Rice Casserole

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 c diced white onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Zucchini, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 c fresh corn off the cob (or frozen corn)
  • 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Spray a 9×9 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Sauté onion on medium heat in the olive oil for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté until onion is transparent and soft.

IMG_2440

3. Add the zucchini and cook for 10 minutes.

IMG_2442

4. Add brown rice, corn and carrots and turn off the heat.

IMG_2447

 

IMG_2443

 (I like to take a fresh cob of corn and cut the kernels off)

IMG_2450

5. Add the shredded mozzarella and mix together.

IMG_2452

6.  Transfer mixture to the baking dish and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese and Panko bread crumbs.

IMG_2453


7. Bake for 15 minutes and then broil for 5 minutes.

IMG_2455
8. Serve hot!

IMG_2457

My house really enjoyed this recipe. I hope that yours will too!

~Mrs Galvan~