Monday, February 23, 2015

Cheeseburger Soup

Perfect Pairing:  Mix ‘n Chop


Here in Chicago we are still smack dab in the middle of winter.  We are to the point where it is no longer charming in any way.  The snow is dirty, the cars are salty(as is my coat and, inevitably, my dark jeans), the potholes are growing, and everyone is just super ready to see some green grass and birds.  I guess if you want to see a silver lining it would be that it is still soup season!  It is a very thin silver lining.

Soup is one of my favorite winter foods because it always seems to get better leftover and it is so simple.  I think I have made a batch of soup almost every Sunday in 2015 so it can be enjoyed all week long. 

My mom first had a version  of this Cheeseburger Soup earlier this year made by a friend and she asked for the recipe.  She has probably made it 4 times since then and it quickly became a family favorite.  I made a few variations from the original recipe to lighten it up just a bit.


It is just really darn good soup.  Kind of a nice change from your standard chili or noodle soup.  I feel like I should maybe apologize for using processed cheese.  It is not very "foodie" of me.  So, sorry about that.  All things in moderation?


I have a lot of tools in my kitchen and some are probably (definitely) superfluous but one I really love is the Mix ‘n Chop from Pampered Chef.  It is the perfect tool for breaking up ground meat.  I’m a big fan.  If you want to purchase one here is a link to my favorite Pampered Chef consultant, Julie.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Brussels Sprout and Pear Salad with Bacon and Candied Pistachios

 Perfect Pairing:  Sheller


I just got back from an absolutely amazing vacation in Cabo with my family and fiance.  It was pretty much perfection.  Here is the obligatory photo dump to prove it!












So now it is back to reality, which means guacamole is not served at every meal and mojitos (no sugar) are not offered at 4 PM for BOGO Happy Hour.  Sigh.

The best part about a spinach salad is obviously the bacon dressing.  I really love the Pioneer Woman’s spinach salad recipe.  She cooks the red onions and mushrooms in a little bacon grease instead of adding them raw.  That is a game changer.
This Brussels Sprout Salad takes its cue from the Spinach Salad since it is tossed with a warm bacon dressing. 


Then the whole thing is topped with crumbled bacon, pears, and candied pistachios.  How about a close-up?


This salad is all about contrast…. Crunchy bacon with soft pears, salty bacon with sweet candied nuts, warm bacon dressing with cold shredded Brussels sprouts.  Hmmm, sounds like this salad is all about the bacon. 


Waaay back at the start of the blog I posted an Asian Inspired Brussels Sprout Salad that was a copycat recipe.  I was trying to recreate a salad I had at a fabulous restaurant in Chicago called Sunda.  That recipe called for quickly stir frying half of the veggies.  If you are not into raw Brussels you could also try that method using some of the leftover bacon grease.  I am sure it wouldn’t suck.

You will need about a half cup of shelled pistachios for this recipe.  I recommend getting a sheller.  No, this is not something you buy at Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table.  Mine was my grandma.

One year ago on Perfecting the Pairing: Lemon Cream Pasta

Two years ago on Perfecting the Pairing: Slow Cooker Lemon and Garlic Chicken

Three years ago on Perfecting the Pairing: Ham, Cheese, and Asparagus Croissants  & Cherry Cheesecake (Perfect for Valentine's Day!)

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