Monthly Archives: November 2015

Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Crutons


By guest blogger Aaron Katzfey, the other chef in the yellow kitchen

Aaron here, and I’m excited to share this recipe with you. Since Leeann never lets me post a recipe, you know this one is delicious. Give it a shot, and you won’t be disappointed. This recipe makes a great, creamy tomato basil soup and the crutons give it a little more body and flavor as a topper. Leeann made a point to tell me my picture includes a bowl and plate that don’t match. Aaron doesn’t care. Focus on the deliciousness, not the ceramics.

Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Crutons

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 32 oz chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 4 pieces of bread, any kind
  • Aged sharp cheddar cheese (or any cheese of your choosing)

Let’s get to the action!


  1. In a soup pot, add olive oil, then add the chopped onions. Cook for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are soft. Add garlic to onions and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes and chicken stock and some pepper and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Puree the mixture with an immersion blender or transfer into a blender
  4. Stir in cream and basil and simmer for another 15 minutes. Voila!
  5. While the soup is simmering for the last 15 minutes, grab your bread and cheese and make two grilled cheese sandwiches in a skillet. When done let them sit for a little bit on cutting board to cool so the melty cheese doesn’t melt out of the sandwiches. Cut into small crutons and/or long skinny dippers. Enjoy with your soup!

Makes approximately 6-8 servings.


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Filed under Main dishes, Soups & Stews

Easy Popcorn Trick

This isn’t really a recipe but I couldn’t resist sharing this popcorn technique. Did you know that store bought microwave popcorn is loaded with harmful chemicals? With this method you don’t even need any oil, just the kernels and a paper bag! It works like a charm!

Easy Popcorn Trick

  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • Brown paper lunch bag
  • Melted butter & salt (optional, but clearly necessary 🙂 )


  1. Put popcorn kernels in the lunch bag. Fold the top of the lunch bag three times. Place the popcorn in the microwave and set it for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
  2. Keep a very close eye on the popcorn and listen for the popping to slow down. Once the popping slows, pull it out of the microwave. It usually takes a bit less than 2 and a half minutes.
  3. Pour popcorn in a bowl and add melted butter and salt, if desired.

Popcorn trick learned from 100 Days of Real Food

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Filed under Snacks

Brussel Sprout & Cranberry Salad


I’ve been on a roll lately, cooking up a storm! November and December are most definitely my favorite months to cook and bake. Thanksgiving and Christmas food = THE BEST!

This salad could easily be added to the Thanksgiving menu. To jazz it up for a holiday I would also add something that makes everything better… bacon!! Even my Dad went back for a second helping, and he isn’t always easy to please 😉

Now, how ridiculously adorable are these two?! 

Brussel Sprout & Cranberry Salad

  • 3-4 cups brussels sprouts, tough outer leaves pulled away
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles (I like to buy the brick and crumble it myself)
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 2 jumbo shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • For the Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette:
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. To shred the brussel sprouts hold the brussel sprout by the core and thinly slice it with a very sharp knife. Discard the cores. Place shreds in a medium bowl. Add cranberries pecans, feta and apple.
  2. To make dressing combine vinaigrette ingredients in a small mason jar. Shake well to combine.
  3. When you’re ready to serve the salad prepare the shallots. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and butter. Add half of the shallots and caramelize until just golden. Remove and place on a plate with paper towel. Do the same with the second half of the shallots. They get kind of crispy and really make the salad great!
  4. Add shallots to the salad and toss with the dressing.

Makes 6-7 servings.

Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.

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Filed under Salads, Side dish

White Bean Queso Dip


This just might be the most simple dip on the planet! Well ok maybe not, but it is very close and VERY delicious! You can literally throw it together in 5 minutes (seriously!). If you make it for your next Badger or Packer party consider making a double batch, it will go fast.

White Bean Queso Dip

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 can diced tomatoes and green chills, undrained
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • Tortilla chips


  1. Add cream cheese, tomatoes and beans to a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir and microwave for an additional 30 seconds at a time (stirring in between) until the cream cheese is melted and smooth.
  2. Stir in the spices and serve with tortilla chips.

Recipe adapted from TidyMom

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Filed under Snacks