There’s something special about any soup recipe that calls for Velveeta.
Oh, I know, I know – Velveeta is not “real cheese,” but tell that to my stomach. The mere thought of the cheese-like stuff makes me weak in the knees. Toss in Pace picante sauce, avocado and chorizo and you have a dish that’s straight out of the 1970s with culinary crosshairs for your next meal.
Healthiness aside, I thought this soup was a super-tasty and f l e x i b l e soup that can accommodate any of your special ingredients to make it one all your own.
Foodie Tips ~
♥ When using ground chorizo, the finished texture was too grainy for me; on the next go of this I think chorizo links cut into chunks would yield a chunkier texture.
♥ My Cousin Julie said to try “Portuguese Chorizo,” if you can find it.
1 pound | chorizo
1 large | white onion, diced
2 stalks | celery, diced
1 | green pepper, diced
3 cans | chicken broth
2 | tomatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
to taste | cilantro, chopped
16 ounce jar | pace thick and chunky picante sauce (mild)
½ pound | velveeta
to serve | fresh avocado, diced
to serve | tortilla chips (or fritos)
to garnish | more cilantro, chopped
ii. what to do
1. In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat, brown the chorizo, onion, celery and green pepper.
2. Add the broth, tomatoes, cilantro and picante sauce and simmer 1 hour, uncovered. Relax in your comfy chair or couch while you catch-up on your latest 1-hour of DVR programming. :)
3. Add Velveeta to the soup and stir here and there, until melted.
4. Serve soup into individual bowls. Top with avocado, chips or fritos … and a tad more cilantro.
“Artichoke!” “Artichoke, who?”
“Arti chokes when he eats too fast!”
This was one of my most favorite childhood jokes. While many friends say I have a good sense of humor, my biggest deficit is I can count on one hand the funny jokes I can remember. Go figure!
When I think of Mom, I think of her special white artichoke plates; these made frequent appearances for our great gatherings in the 1970s. I don’t think I’ve had an artichoke since then but was happy to be reunited with their taste as an adult – the artichoke reminds me of the great taste of an avocado – just with a different texture/composition.
Foodie Tips ~
♥ My Grandmother “Nanny” absolutely loved Falfurrias brand butter. If you want to make your taste buds happy, buy it!
♥ I’m a big fan of warm butter. I don’t have any butter warmers but will be looking to get some soon!
1 or more | fresh artichokes
1-2 | cloves (optional)
1 | lemon slice (optional)
1-2 | bay leaves (optional)
¼ cup | falfurias brand butter
1-2 teaspoons | lawry’s brand seasoned salt
ii. what to do
1. Wash the artichoke well and drain. Prepare the artichoke by cutting and discarding about ¾” – 1″ of the artichoke top as well as part of the stem. Some folks like to eat the stem but you can remove all of it if you have no plans on eating it.
2. If you want a “restaurant style” presentation, you can cut and remove the tops of the leaves as shown; this is typically done to remove the thorned tips of the leaves. Rub the top and bottom of the artichoke with lemon to help prevent discoloration.
3. You can boil, microwave or steam your artichoke. Mom always steamed her artichokes so this is how we’ll detail them here in this post. To do so, insert a steaming basket into a pot and fill with water (fill to just underneath the bottom of the basket). You can add a couple of cloves, a slice of lemon and a bay leaf to season the water.
4. Place the artichoke on top of the steaming basket, cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the artichoke for 25-45 minutes – until the leaves are soft and they can be removed.
5. Just before the artichoke is done prepare the sauce by melting the butter and mixing some Lawry’s seasoned salt into it.
6. Remove the artichoke from the pan and place on a serving dish similar to the white one shown – below not the soup bowl I used (sorry, I don’t have the proper plates)! Remove a leaf, dip the bottom/root end into the sauce and place it in your mouth, dip side down, and pull the leaf through your teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.
7. Dip, pull, repeat until all leaves are gone! You can enjoy the artichoke heart by scraping out and discarding the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut it into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.
To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, let’s make Cinco de Mayo-nnaise (sorry for the cheesy play on words… it’s what I do).
I did find evidence of some diet foods in mom’s cookbook. This was one of them.
This recipe caught my eye more than once as I flipped through mom’s recipes. So let’s let ‘er roll! Who doesn’t love the taste of avocado?
Let’s Go, Avocado
1 | small 10- to 12-ounce ripe avocado, peeled and seed removed
3 tablespoons | lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon | salt
1 teaspoon | peeled garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon | mayonnaise
2 tablespoons | water or chicken broth
3 or 4 drops | Tabasco brand sauce
1. Cut the avocado into small pieces and place in an electric blender (or immersion blender) with remaining ingredients.
2. Cover and blend until creamy and smooth.
3. Makes 1 cup; ¼ cup of the mayo is 114 calories.
Foodie Tips ~
♥ The sauce may also be made by mashing garlic to a paste with the salt then mashing all ingredients together with a fork. Chunkier.
♥ While the serving suggestions pair the mayo with broiled fish steaks and steamed mixed vegetables, this mayo *has* to be great on a BLT sandwich or chicken sandwich. Diet, “sm-iet!”
To make the BLT Sammy: Toast your favorite bread, top with avocado mayo, tomato, lettuce and your favorite bacon. ♥ ♥ ♥
One of the best things about recovering Mom’s cookbook is that I’m able to discover new food journeys with ease. With literally hundreds of recipes to choose from, I didn’t experience them all growing up; in fact I only remember a few special handfuls.
When I stumbled across this unique potato salad recipe that packs a lotta punch compliments of avocado instead of hard boiled eggs, I knew I had to give it a whirl.
I can see why mom clipped this recipe ~ it has a super great taste!
This potato salad made its debute in my cucina on the 4th of July in 2011 and it has since visited many times!
3 cups | potatoes, cooked then cubed
1 cup | sour cream
½ teaspoon* | salt
½ teaspoon | seasoned pepper
½ teaspoon | caraway seed
to taste | lemon juice
bunch | parsley sprigs
3 | california avocados
¼ cup | chopped onions
8 slices | hickory-smoked bacon, crisped and crumbled
1 | large tomato
ii. what to do
1. Scrub then boil the potatoes in a medium-sized pot. Boil until tender, but not “mushy.” Set aside to cool.
2. Blend the sour cream with the salt, pepper, caraway seed and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice.
3. Chop the parsley to yield ¼ cup; set aside.
4. Cut 2 of the avocados lengthwise into halves, removing the seed and skinning.
6. Arrange additional parsley sprigs on the top around the outer edge of the salad. Cover and chill.
7. To serve, prepare the remaining avocado by slicing lengthwise into halves. Remove the seed and skin and cut into slices. Slice the tomato crosswise then cut the slices in half.
8. Alternate the avocado and tomatoes on top of the potato salad and sprinkle with lemon juice.
9. Sprinkle remaining bacon on top of the potato salad and serve.
Foodie Tips ~
♥ While the original recipe calls for 1½ teaspoons of salt, I found this a bit too salty and suggest using just ½ teaspoon of salt. You can always add more salt later, should your taste buds beg for it.
♥ If you prefer, you can omit the ring of parsley used for presentation … and you can dice and scatter the tomatoes and avocado that sit atop the salad.
This special recipe is dedicated to my nephew Travis ~
a spirit who teaches us all to savor the great steak of life!
~ ♥ ~
Julia Child once said “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
The Kiker family knows this well as the word “diet” rarely crosses our lips. That being said…
…You better have a couch nearby after eating this foodie family fave!
Probably the best part about creating an online haven for mom’s recipes is that my brother “Roger” chimed-in with this San Diego Steak recipe, which wasn’t in mom’s cookbook. So this recipe hails from mom to Roger’s kitchen… and now, to your belly.
After a few clicks searching online for a look-a-like recipe yielding *no results,* I’m thinking this San Diego Steak recipe is literally “from the inner Kiker family vault.” So get ready for a savory family treat named after “America’s finest city!”
Roger says San Diego Steak was a real treat growing up ~ usually partnered with mashed potatoes.
San Diego Steak really hits home as showcased above on mom’s actual table sporting sparkling water served from her own “Special Occasion” glasses.
The food and the ambiance of yesteryear is still kicking today, so let’s eat!
4 strips | thick cut bacon strips, sliced in 1/2 length-wise then cut into small cuts, about ¼” square
1 pound | ground sirloin
2 tablespoons | worcestershire sauce
6 shakes | lawry’s brand seasoned salt
12 twists | freshly milled black pepper (medium grind)
garnish | sour cream
garnish | bacon bits
garnish | thinly-sliced avocado
garnish | lawry’s brand seasoned salt
ii. what to do
1. Begin by frying the small cuts of the bacon ’til CRISP. Drain the bacon bits on a paper towel(s).
2. WHOA! Save the bacon drippings for cooking the steaks, coming up next.
3. While the bacon is cooking, mix the four next ingredients (above) by hand until you can’t wait any longer and form into two or four patties (depending on the growl).
4. Cook the steaks in the bacon drippings. When done, let the San Diego Steaks rest on a paper towel or two.
Foodie Tip From Roger ~
♥ “Only use Falfurrias brand “real butter” for the potatoes, like our grandmother ‘Nanny’ always did.”
Foodie Fact ~ San Diego Steak was the first “missing recipe” added to Betty’s Cook Nook, compliments of my brother Roger. Foodie props to you, big bro, for remembering how to make this tasty dish! Almost lost, the San Diego Steak recipe is now in the family’s digital cookbook.
This recipe is dedicated to my special niece Melissa ~ Her zest for food taught me
the more spice you add to life, the merrier!
~ ♥ ~
If my Mom “Betty” was still alive, I would have made sure she put my own favorite recipe in her cookbook. And better yet, I would have made her some bowls of this great-tasting soup.
I’ve tweaked this recipe over the years, and you can also edit it to please your own personal taste buds. I’ve had several friends say it’s the best tortilla soup they’ve had … plus, it’s easy to make. My secret? Squeezing lime juice on top just after the cheese starts to melt.
As temperatures start to “dip,” what better way to warm-up chilly evenings, than with this all-time favorite tortilla soup recipe? Perfect as an appetizer, or as a main course, one bowl of this soup usually leads to two … or more! Totally a comfort food staple for the Fall Foodie in you.
2 cups | cooked chicken breast (cubed)
1 cup | chopped onion
1 tsp. | olive oil
1 – 4 oz. can | chopped green chilies
1 – 1.25 oz. package | taco seasoning mix ~ the hotter, the better
1 – 16 oz. can | stewed tomatoes
6 cups | chicken broth
1 – 10 oz. package | frozen corn
1/3 cup | fresh chopped cilantro
to taste | tortilla chips, broken into pieces
4 cups | your favorite grated cheese (we prefer pepper jack, monterey jack or cheddar)
1 | avocado
garnish | sour cream
garnish | green onion (scallion)
to taste | fresh ground black pepper
garnish | a squeeze of lime juice
what to do
1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and place into a medium pot filled with water. Bring to a boil for 5-7 minutes and cook until done. Drain and set aside.
2. In a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion in oil 3 to 4 minutes, until soft.
3. Stir in chilies and the seasoning mix, cook 1 minute.
4. Add tomatoes and juice, breaking them up with a spoon.
5. Stir in broth and bring to a boil.
6. Add corn and chicken, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
7. Top with the cilantro.
8. Spoon into bowls and top with chips, cheese, avocado, and sour cream. Garnish with scallion, black pepper, and a squeeze of lime.
Serves 4-5 hungry folks. The soup refrigerates well; keep the garnish (chips, cheese, avocado, sour cream) as last minute additions.
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
A Desperado For Avocado
This recipe held first position in the soups section of mom’s index card file, so undoubtedly it was a favorite. This was the first of mom’s recipes that I made, since I can’t locate the calabacita recipe just yet.
I don’t remember eating any avocados as a child. And despite my mom’s great culinary skills, I remember one night when a pairing of split pea soup and liver arrived in front of me at dinner, which almost ruined my love of green-colored foods (I’ve never liked liver). Hah! Regardless, now in my 40s, I’m a huge fan of avocados, so let’s eat up some avocado soup!
Wait! You didn’t think I’d jump right into the recipe makings without sharing my favorite avocado-inspired commercial with you. Whelp – here you go!
Foodie Tip ~
♥ I couldn’t find “madrilène” – canned or otherwise… even online – so I’m including extra info below for a recipe I found for making the consommé from scratch.
Overall, the avocado soup recipe would be much faster to make if canned madrilène was available. I’ll keep my eyes out for it and post an update here, if I ever find it. I wrote to Pepperidge Farm and they wrote me back saying they no longer made madrilène but I’m including a picture of it (below) that I found online.
i. soup ingredients
1 ½ | avocados
1 pint (2 cups) | sour cream
1 | chicken bouillon cube
10 ounces | water
1 can | madrilène (a tomato-flavored consommé. see recipe below)
to taste | cayenne pepper
to taste | salt
ii. what to do
1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend, until smooth. That’s it! Well, almost…
2. Since you may have trouble finding madrilène, below are the tidbits for how to make it.
6 | large tomatoes, peeled*, cored and diced
2 | green bell peppers, cored, seeded and quartered
1 | leek, trimmed and cut into chunks
4 | egg whites, lightly beaten
8 cups | chicken stock
to taste | salt & pepper
1 | small bunch chives, chopped
2 oz | pimiento, chopped
Foodie Tip ~
♥ For an easy way to remove the tomato peel, boil the tomatoes in water one-at-a-time for 1 minute. Remove tomato and plunge it in a cold water bath. Cut the tomato in ½ and you should be able to easily remove the peel. A presto!
madrilène : what to dos
1. In a large saucepan, add ⅔ of the tomatoes and the green peppers, leek and egg whites. Mix well.
2. Add chicken stock and season to taste with salt & pepper.
3. Place pan over medium-low heat and slowly bring to a boil, 5-10 minutes.
4. Strain the mixture through a sieve or strainer lined with cheesecloth or a linen towel.
5. Discard vegetables and refrigerate consomme until serving time.
6. Just before serving, mix the remaining ⅓ of the diced tomatoes with the chives and pimiento. You now have a garnish for the soup!
* To enjoy the consomme as “full-on” consommé ~ Place 1 or 2 tablespoons of the tomato mixture in the bottom of each soup bowl. Pour chilled consommé over the pimiento mixture and serve at once. The consommé Madrilène should be thick and syrupy, but not “set.”
** To use part of the consommé in Betty’s Avocado Soup recipe (above) ~ Add 1 ½ cups of the consommé into the blender along with a dash of diced tomatoes, chives and pimiento and blend away. You can garnish with more of the tomato mixture (shown above).