Sunday, February 01, 2015

Cheddar Cheese Soup & Chicken Avocado Salad, January 31, 2015

We got in fairly late last night, after a long day of pottery painting and grocery shopping, and I did not want to cook. We'd considered stopping for dinner out, but we've eaten quite a few meals out lately and home cooking sounded better. Luckily, I had a Rachael Ray meal planned, so it wasn't too much work or too much time before we ate. For some reason, I'd had in mind that it was a rice salad, so I was a little disappointed in the salad, but Jeannene completely loved it. I'm also not a big iceberg person, unless it's a wedge salad. The soup, though, was the very best cheese soup I've ever had. It even surpassed our favorite-ever beer cheese soup from 101 Beer Kitchen in Dublin, Ohio. It's really important, if you're making this soup, to use the highest quality cheese you can. I think using extra-sharp cheddar is crucial. I've made some adjustments to the spices, as I don't like it quite as spicy. Feel free to adjust to your tastes.

Cheddar Cheese Soup
2 tbsp. butter (or olive oil)
1 large onion, chopped
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
1-2 tsp. cumin
2 tbsp. flour
32 oz. chicken broth
1 c. heavy cream
4 c. shredded very good quality extra-sharp cheddar (I like Cabot & Tillamook, the sharper, the better)

Heat butter in a soup pot. When the butter has melted, add onion, garlic, pepper flakes, salt, pepper, & cumin. Cook a few minutes, then stir in flour. Cook another minute, then whisk in the chicken broth and cream. Bring to a simmer, then cook another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the cheese, a little at a time, stirring until melted. Serves 4. 

Chicken Avocado Salad
2 tbsp. olive oil plus extra
1-2 tsp. cumin
1-2 tsp. coriander
Salt & pepper
4-5 thin chicken cutlets
1 & 1/2 limes
1 avocado, diced
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
Cherry tomatoes (optional)
1/4 c. chopped cilantro leaves (opt)

Heat 2 tbsp. oil in skillet on medium-high heat. Mix cumin, coriander, salt, & pepper. Rub on chicken. Cook chicken through in oil, 2-3 minutes per side. Squeeze juice of 1 lime over the chicken, allow to cool, then cut into bite-size pieces. Toss with avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro. Squeeze juice of 1/2 lime over the salad. Drizzle with some olive oil, then sprinkle with salt & pepper, tossing to coat. Serves 4.

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