really good tortilla soup

Tortilla Soup RecipeA Soup For The Soul

Flashback back January 2009 my dear Cousin Julie – also a fiery foodie – emailed the family this recipe for tortilla soup. Like some of my emails I filed the recipe with good intentions but it sadly got lost in my mess of an email “organization” system. Almost 10 years later I was researching old emails we sent each other and knew what I had to do. Share this with you!

As a lover of tortilla soup I posted the soup I’ve been making since the 1990s here at Betty’s Cook Nook. I wasn’t confident my time-tested soup could be unseated as my favorite and well, I was right. However, there was one magical thing about this recipe that I plan to incorporate into my own – specifically adding chicken thighs which definitely provided more flavor than its nearby neighbor, the boneless chicken breast.

Foodie Tips

❤  To make the soup very rich and hearty, Cousin Julie suggested adding a small can of refried beans and a small can of pinto beans. She noted – don’t use black beans as a substitute for either of these! If the soup turns out too spicy (is this possible?), serve it with sour cream as it will counteract the heat. More lime juice can be added at the table.

❤  Cousin Julie reminded us that she was not a fan of spicy foods and you will see that somewhat reflected in the recipe below. I, on the other hand, look for many opportunities to dial up the heat. The good news is I’ve never had a bad tortilla soup and these recipes can be adjusted in many ways to arrive at your very own favorite bowl.

❤  Looking to spice up your life? We can’t help but love our new custom fit Vertical Spice Racks that help us make the most of kitchen organization… and our cabinet space! Thanks to Joe for finding these!
Vertical Spice Rack

i. Time

Total prep: About 90 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

the soup ingredients
1 medium  |  onion, chopped
1  |  bell pepper, chopped
2-3  |  cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon  |  olive oil
1 large box  |  chicken broth
1 large box  |  beef broth
1 large  |  chicken breast
2 (or more)  |  chicken thighs
1 large can  |  diced tomatoes (or fresh if you have them)
1 can  |  Rotel tomatoes and green chilies, diced – use mild flavor
1 can or 1 bag (frozen)  |  whole kernel corn (I used Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn)
1 small can  |  tomato paste (or sauce, if you prefer)
1 teaspoon  |  ground cumin
1 teaspoon  |  chili powder
1 teaspoon  |  oregano
1 teaspoon  |  salt
2 teaspoons  |  worcestershire sauce
juice  |  from 1 large lime

the toppings
1-2  |  jalapeño peppers, sliced (deseeded or not!)
cheddar cheese  |  fresh grated by hand, if you can
dollop or two  |  sour cream
avocado  |  sliced or cubed
fresh cilantro  |  chopped
green onions  |  chopped
tortilla chips (or fritos or fritos scoops)

iii. What To Do

1. Let’s Get Cookin’
Sauté the onion, bell pepper and garlic in the olive oil until tender. Add the broths and chicken breast and thighs and cook for 20 minutes over medium heat until the meats are tender. This night marked the debut of our new Calphalon Space Saving 8 quart Nonstick Pot which worked wonders! and left plenty of room for the makin’.

Calphalon Stock Pot2. Let’s Get Choppin’
Remove the meats from the soup and chop them up. Return to the broth. Add all the remaining soup ingredients and simmer for at least 1 hour, preferably longer if you have the time.

3. Serve It Up
Spoon the soup into bowls and top with your chosen toppings (suggestions above)!

tortilla soup

Let me know what you think about this tortilla soup!

 ~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook


special baked chicken

Special Baked Chicken Recipe

This special recipe is dedicated to Alison ~
her kindness reminds me to never underestimate
the power of a Cousin.

~      ~

This recipe crept into my life several decades after it was penned from a very lovable and surprising person. I didn’t discover the recipe among the hundreds of my Mom “Betty’s” other recipes — I found it in my mailbox!

While recently packing up her family’s belongings to move near my childhood home in San Antonio my Cousin Alison came across this recipe from her Grandmother Delores’ cookbook and was kind enough to send it to me along with a few other recipes that will be soon joining the digital archives here at Betty’s Cook Nook. Alison knew what these recipes would mean to me!

The connection? Delores is my Mom “Betty’s” older — and only — Sister and this recipe is one of a precious few that have found its way to the Betty’s Cook Nook archive that was otherwise missing from my Mom’s cookbook. So Texas-sized props to my Cousin Alison!

A healthy appetite for family

When you’re a grown adult it’s not every day someone seemingly new arrives into your heart. Over the past few years Alison has shown me that even a part of my familiar family can have a surprising impact decades after we first knew each other. I love uncovering all the ways we are alike even when I’m not mining for things in common; a crescendo I hope has no end.

One such example is our thirst for our family genealogy. I heard from my family that Alison had great skills and interest for researching our past but it wasn’t until this month when I realized how true this was!

As a self-proclaimed internet researcher I pride myself on being able to find a lot of things online thru keyword and image searches. Heck, it was this post that helped me reunite with my Mom and her Sister’s childhood home here in Austin 80 years after it was built!

Horní Lideč Coat of Arms

The Horní Lideč Coat of Arms

Shortly after receiving the recipes, Alison and I were geeking out via fierce sms txt exchanges after dual-searching a missing part of our family’s history — my Grandmother “Nanny’s” father, “Joe,” Betty’s Grandfather. I literally knew nothing about him but Alison found out from Census records she accessed on Ancestry.com that Joe was an orphan who came to the U.S. when he was a mere 9 years old! Joe hailed from a tiny village named Horní Lideč in Moravia — a country that is now part of the Czech Republic — and wound up in the farm country of Dime Box, Texas, where my Mom was born… and close to where Alison and I went to college. Gig ‘Em! Alison and I are currently on the hunt for more clues for how we can better know this branch of our family tree.

A wild and wicked past

Not only did the resiliency of my Great Grandfather’s history fuel my curiosity and ignite my respect but Alison told me she discovered her several times great Grandmother was Martha Carrier, a Puritan accused, convicted, and hanged in 1692 for reportedly being a witch during the Salem Witch Trails! Pure craziness! 19 years after Martha’s death the Massachusetts government awarded her family 7 pounds and 6 shillings and reversed the conviction. So humbling!

Martha – along with 19 others are recognized at Salem’s Witch Trials Memorial. I’ve only been to Salem once — on a dark 1990s Halloween’s Eve no doubt. Should my feet adventure to this part of America again, I’ll make sure and visit the memorial site which honors the past by perpetuating the unwavering commitment to social justice.

So what does all this have to do with special baked chicken? Well, quite a lot! Had Alison not sent me the almost-forgotten recipe we likely wouldn’t have dove deep into our family’s roots … or found a dish I hope to meet and eat again! Along the way we shared, learned, laughed, *and gasped* at what we discovered.

The point of all of this is know your family. Not just your nuclear family but as much of where you’ve came from that you can discover! And food is a wonderful way to connect and share the best of family along the way.

On to the most special baked chicken recipe I know!

Foodie Tips

  Apparently sliced dried beef is super salty and we forgot to run water over it per the instructions. I’d suggest following this step!

Special Baked Chicken Dried Beef  Lover of the dried beef, are you? Well, you’re not alone. While one of my Nieces hates dried beef (a.k.a. chipped beef) with a passion she does hold a high regard for its historical significance. Check out this other BCN recipe where we explore another way to fashion dried beef into a, ahem, culinary delicacy.

  Of special note: My Mom advised this recipe can be delayed in a “slower oven” if guests are late.

i. Ingredients

3 ounce package | sliced dried beef
3 large | chicken breasts, skinned, boned and halved
6 slices | bacon
to sprinkle | fresh rosemary, chopped
1 can | mushroom soup
1 cup | sour cream

ii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Special Baked Chicken Chipped Beef

1. Run cold water over the dried beef. Dry then place the beef in a 12” x 8” x 2” baking dish.

2. Place the prepared chicken breasts on top of the beef.

Special Baked Chicken Bacon and Rosemary3. Top each breast with a slice of bacon then sprinkle with the fresh rosemary. Place in your oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

4. While the meats are cooking combine the mushroom soup and the sour cream. When “time’s up” on the chicken pour the sour cream mixture over the chicken and continue baking 40-50 minutes at 350°F. Baste here and there, making sure to not disrupt the layering of the chipped beef and the bacon.

Yields 4-6 servings.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Special Baked Chicken Recipe

A Copy Of Mom’s Recipe – As Penned By My Aunt Delores (Betty’s SIster).

 


chicken supreme

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
With a recipe calling for just a few ingredients, I was quite leery that this dish would delight the tastebuds. Turns out I was in for a chicken supreme surprise!

Chicken Supreme Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

This is a surprisingly simple dish that pairs well with vegetables or potatoes. As a self-proclaimed carb monster you can likely guess what side I chose! I’m including *at no extra cost to you* the jalapeño mashers recipe I scored from H-E-B because these were really delicious and we’ll be making the mashers again soon. Details below!

For maximum enjoyment speed up the Mr. Bean video below to 8X original speed and let’s get on with the eating of the chicken!

foodie tips

  Dining for two? We reduced the portions below to and we were fully sa-tis-fied!

  Falfurrias butter? Yup! My Grandmother “Nanny” (Betty’s Mom) insisted on it. Don’t disappoint my Nanny!

i. ingredients

| small boneless chicken breasts
½ stick | falfurrias brand unsalted butter
to taste | kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
| eggs, whites and yolks separated
¼ cup | parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup | fresh mushrooms, sliced
Chicken Supreme With Mushrooms Recipe

ii. what to do

1. Flatten the chicken breasts with a cleaver. Joe placed the breasts in cling film and pounded away. Remove the breasts from the film and season them with salt and pepper.

2. In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat add ½ the butter then the chicken and sauté the breasts five minutes on each side. Set the chicken aside on a plate or platter.

Here's My Chicken Breast Sitting On The Side

This Is My Chicken Set Aside On A Plate. A Finely Plated Chicken, I Must Say!

3. In the same pan, sauté the fresh mushrooms with the remaining ¼ stick butter. Season with more salt and pepper to taste then set aside.

4. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg whites by hand until stiff, but not dry. In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Add the parmesan cheese to the egg yolks. Then gently fold in the egg whites.

5. Place the sautéed chicken breasts in a warmed casserole dish. Cover the breasts with the sautéed mushroom mixture and pour the egg mixture on top.

6. Place your chicken supreme in a 450°F degree oven for 10 minutes until puffed and slightly brown.

Yields 2-3 servings, depending on the size of your chicken breasts!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Chicken Supreme Original Recipe Scan

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Recipe For Chicken Supreme – Could The Recipe Headline Indicate This Is From Susan Lucci’s Kitchen?

Jalapeno Mashers Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
BONUS RECIPE : Jalapeño Mashers

While this is not one of my Mom “Betty’s” recipes I think she would love it as much as I did. The cheesy jalapeño ‘kick’ pairs well with chicken supreme. So here goes:

| large potatoes (we used russets)
½ stick | butter
1 cup | heavy cream
½ teaspoon | salt (to taste)
½ cup | robert’s reserve jalapeño pepper dip
handful | cheese (optional)
handful | fresh jalapeño, diced

Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Boil the potatoes in chicken stock or water until “fork tender.”

Mash the potatoes to desired consistency and add the butter and cream. Whip the potatoes with a mixer or spatula (we used a mixer). Add Roberts Reserve Jalapeño Dip and stir.

Transfer to a baking dish, top with grated cheese and bake at 375°F for about 10 minutes. Garnish with finely diced fresh jalapeño! Enjoy!

Jalapeño Mashers Recipe

A Scan Of The Jalapeño Mashers Recipe I Scored At H-E-B Round Rock


chicken breasts au vin

Chicken Breasts Au Vin From Betty's Cook Nook

This recipe is dedicated to the Bauml Family. 

You were more than just neighbors… you’re like family in many, many ways! 

~   ❤   ~

“Au vin” is French for “with wine”

Chicken with wine? What can be better?!? Chicken with more wine! Oui! Oui!

Growing up I was a huge animal fan. I still am! I raised more than my fair share of pets – two toy poodles, fish, zebra finches, a cockatiel named “Sam,” and I raised quail from eggs with the help of an incubator and lots of patience. My passion was more like an obsession and Mom and Dad seemed not to notice as I begged them to let me also have a bantam chicken. This was a critical link in my transformation into a bona fide farmer! :)

A Buff Cochin ChickenWith 30+ quail living in our back yard I really didn’t need a chicken but our family’s friend Mr. Bauml had some chickens with feathers on the legs and toes that I thought were really cool and before anyone knew it, a butterscotch-colored chicken was living in our backyard pen.

Make no mistake – the quail and the chicken were not to be eaten – they were my pets and were to be admired with the eyes and the heart. They could also be hugged or high-fived, if desired.

Chicken is the hero of this meal and partnered with its sidekicks wine and brandy, I hope you’ll find the end result a tasty twist on your typical poultry dish.

foodie tips ~

 For small white onions I suppose you can use pearl onions as the recipe doesn’t say to chop them. I didn’t have any pearls on hand so I used chopped white onions.

 Setting brandy on fire is fun! For another one of Mom’s recipes that will impress your guests, try Betty’s brandied pumpkin flan recipe. It’s always a hit at the holidays!

i. ingredients

| chicken breasts, boned and split
¼ cup | flour
1 teaspoon | salt
⅛ teaspoon (I used more) | fresh cracked black pepper
½ cup | butter (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
¼ cup | brandy
2 cups | dry red wine
½ pound (2 cups) | small white onions, peeled
¼ cup | parsley, chopped
| bay leaf, crumbled (I left mine whole for easy removal)
1 clove | garlic, crushed (or pressed)
½ pound | fresh mushrooms

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 375°F.

1. Dust the chicken breasts in a mixture of the flour, salt, and pepper. In a skillet, sauté the breasts in the butter.

2. Warm the brandy and set a match to it – no worries, it will be unlikely that you will cause a culinary explosion! Pour the flaming brandy over the skillet chicken. Shake the skillet until the flame dies away.

3. Transfer the chicken and the pan juices to a casserole dish. Add the wine, onions, parsley, bay leaf, and the garlic clove. Cover tightly with foil then with the lid. Cook for 30 minutes.

4. Add the mushrooms and cook for 15 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this dish au vin! I partnered mine with some creamy four cheese Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat!

Serves 6 – 8 humans

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

 

Chicken Breasts Au Vin Recipe

A scan of Mom’s original recipe

 


the big soup

The Big Soup Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Soup

This “BIG SOUP” recipe is insanely flexible! It starts with a base of chicken broth and our familiar friends onion, celery, carrot and herbs. But then the party gets a little crazy – you add whatever fresh, canned or frozen veggies, pasta and or meats that you have loitering around the kitchen, making this soup “soup-er” flexible.

Some of the best cooks never follow a recipe to the “t” and this is surely one of their favorites!

Foodie Tips ~

  Note the variations on the original scan –

  For more soup: Add additional vegetables and broth.
  For two meals: Freeze the leftovers.
  For creamed soup: Add ½ to 1 cup cream 5 minutes before serving. Do not boil the cream!
  For pureed soup: Put all ingredients (no bones) into a blender and work your magic, until smooth.

  If you discover a version you really like, make record of the ratios so you can make it again on the next go.

  I was 10 when this recipe appeared in the 1976 edition of Apartment Life Magazine. How alarming it is to see the office phone hanging on the wall in the photo below! PS ~ I also love the bananas T-shirt!

i. base ingredients

2 cans | chicken broth
4 | chicken breasts
1 | large onion, chopped
| celery stalk, chopped
| carrot, chopped
2 sprigs | parsley
1 teaspoon | thyme (or dill weed)
| bay leaf
to “cover” | water

ii. “scavenge” for these accessory ingredients

1 small can | pinto beans, chickpeas and or plum tomatoes
1 medium can | corn
½ package | frozen okra, asparagus, artichokes and or pea pods
2 | potatoes, chopped
1 small | zucchini, chopped
| green pepper, chopped
¼ pound | mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup or more | pasta or rice
1 length | seasoned sausage
cubes | leftover meat
1 | kitchen sink (just checking if you’re paying attention!) :)

iii. what to do

1. In a medium/large pot over medium heat, add the first eight ingredients in step “i” above. Add water to cover.

2. While waiting for the soup to simmer, scavenge for your step “ii” ingredients above, whatever form they take.

3. Add fresh veggies and rice after the soup’s been simmering 15 minutes or canned, frozen ingredients and pasta after 20 minutes. Simmer soup for 30 minutes or until everything’s done.

Shazam!
An Original Scan Mom's Big Soup Recipe

Click To View –> An Original Scan Of The Big Soup Recipe