Showing posts with label Campbell's soup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Campbell's soup. Show all posts

Monday, February 1, 2010

Super Bowl Chicken Tortilla!

According to Krista's post on Saturday, I'm the first to reveal the lie in our Creative Writers "contest" (a.k.a. Bold Faced Liars). How mystery lovers love to lie, plant clues, subvert the truth. But in our own lives? Oh, yeah, it's fun for a blog. Thanks, Lesa, for having us come up with memories from our pasts.

My two lies and a truth. Here's what I shared on Saturday in Krista's post.

1: I played a murderess on a mystery cruise.

2: I attended the American Culinary Institute.

3: I performed a skit on stage with Robin Williams.
Now, many of you might know that I started out as an actress before becoming a writer. But I have also mentioned that I catered. So perhaps you had a hard time choosing which were the lies. Well, I might have catered, and I might love researching cheese for my book, and I adore cooking, but I am no gourmet. Rule out #2. That's a lie.

As for the acting. I was lucky enough to make a number of TV commercials and TV shows, like Murder, She Wrote. I did some small parts in a couple of movies. And I toured the country singing and dancing in Broadway shows like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Bells are Ringing. But I did not play a murderess on a mystery cruise. Rule out #1. That's a lie.

#3 is true. When I first started acting in Los Angeles, I joined a comedy group led by comedian Harvey Lembeck, rest his soul. He taught many actors how to improv on stage. My first day in class, I was thrown on stage with a rather chatty guy. It was all I could do to keep up with him, he was so talented, so funny, so exhaustingly kinetic. We made up dialogue as we went, and in the end, I came up with the punch line. The man was Robin Williams. A month later, he was cast as the lead in Mork and Mindy and the rest of his career is history.

And now...for this week's foodie fun!

Chicken tortilla!

The perfect meal for the Super Bowl is a casserole, and Super Bowl is this coming Sunday! Something hearty that can be eaten hot or cold. Great for men as well as women!

My mother gave me this recipe. Though she became a great cook, starting out in her marriage, she learned to follow directions off cans and boxes. I'm sure she found this on the side of a soup can or got it from one of her bridge-playing pals. Who cares? It's delicious and easy. And packed with cheese. Betcha can't eat just one portion!

Note: Best if cooked a day ahead and reheated, but cooking the same day is fine, too. You put it together like lasagna.

Joanie's Chicken Tortilla


1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, baked ahead, 1 hour, in foil.
1 chopped onion
2 (7-8 oz.) cans green chile salsa
1 can Campbell's cream of chicken soup
1 can Campbell's cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
12 corn tortillas, sliced in 1" strips

Mix onion, salsa, soup, milk in a bowl. [Third note: this stuff will look like glop and unappealing. Don't worry. It makes a great sauce!]
In 13 x 9 pan, LAYER the following:

1 scoop sauce
half of the tortillas lengthwise and widthwise
half of the chicken
half of the sauce


Cover with shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake 300 degrees (a slow oven) for 2 hours.

To reheat, put in oven at 250 degrees for 1 hour.


Congrats to Helen K. who suggested our next Secret Ingredient for the Mystery Kitchen’s Iron Chef contest! Helen won a $25 chocolate gift from Fannie May Chocolates. What was the secret ingredient? Find out during our next Iron Chef week in late February! And keep reading our posts to find out how to enter our next contest!

Lastly, check out my website and join my newsletter. I just gave away my first "newsletter" contest prize of a gift certificate to Williams Sonoma. Anyone signed up for the letter was eligible. You could be the next winner! Click this link: Avery Aames

Best to all.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

RileyAdamsFoodBlogPostpic_thumb_thumb When I go out to eat with my husband, the soups on the menu always catch my eye. My husband thinks of soup as more of an appetizer than a meal—particularly in a restaurant—but half the time I’ll go with a soup. Even if it’s over 80 degrees, like it is today!

There’s just something about a soup that’s liquid comfort. I’m guessing that’s why the old wives decided, in their wisdom, that chicken soup cured colds. And now I hear that they might have even been partially right. According to one medical article I read:“Inhaling its warm vapors raises the temperature of the respiratory passages and loosens thickened secretions.” They also mentioned something about neutrophilic action, but I didn’t understand that part.

I have a feeling my snarkiness last week about the sick people on the plane has backfired on me. I currently have two sick people in my house and must rapidly consider the possibility of accumulating more, since we have children here.

Since I included a chicken soup recipe last week, I decided to go for soup #2 this week!

Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

  • 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, halved and seeded
  • 2 large onions, quartered
  • 6 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger (cut into 4 chunks)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 T chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon mild curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste

pan roasted walnuts for topping (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place squash halves and onion onto the prepared baking sheet. Wrap garlic and ginger in foil and place with the vegetables.
  2. Roast in the center of the oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  3. Puree the above in a blender or food processor with the chicken stock until it’s smooth.
  4. Heat blended mixture on medium heat. Add salt, pepper, curry, 1 T of cilantro, and cinnamon. While the mixture is hot, but before it simmers, slowly add the heavy cream. Add until the color and thickness is to your taste, and allow mixture to bubble. Lower the heat, and continue to cook on low heat for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat, and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.Garnish with the remainder of the cilantro and/or pan roasted walnuts.

Enjoy….and stay healthy! :)

Pretty is as Pretty Dies
Memphis BBQ series (May 2010)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tomato Gorgonzola Soup

We have a WINNER for this week’s Mystery Lovers Kitchen contest! And that winner’s name will be announced very soon!!

Happy Fall (sort of)

I’m very excited to be the first person to post in September. I know it isn’t technically Fall yet, but here in the Chicago area the temperatures have been ridiculously low, and with the kids back at school it’s feeling very Autumn-like to me. I’ve always loved this time of year.

I was one of those oddballs who was excited about each new school year. I couldn’t wait to browse through the textbooks (can you say “nerd”?) and wonder about what projects might be planned for that year. All through grammar, high school, and college I always, always enjoyed the beginning of school and was thrilled by the possibilities it held. To this day, a crisp fall day brings back all those feelings, that great sense of possibility. Good thing, because I'm about to embark on a new manuscript :-)

Okay, back to the recipe and today’s “food” posting…

Fall means soup to me. Yum. And, if you remember, I was hoping to recreate two appetizers from a wonderful downtown Chicago dinner. (Update – the mushroom appetizer recipe I posted a week ago, though unsuccessful atop croissants, was *exceptional* when used as a sauce over a beef roast at dinner the next evening. I will use this recipe over and over. It’s a keeper!) You may also recall that my oven died. It’s now fixed (hooray!), but I didn’t need it to create the tomato-gorgonzola soup recipe I’m about to share.

I have to admit, my tomato-gorgonzola is not nearly as good as the one at Marche restaurant. I’m going to have to tweak it, but for now, here are my two offerings:
Tomato Gorgonzola Soup

Option #1 – the more intricate version

3 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
9 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 leaves fresh basil, chopped
1 c heavy cream
1/3 lb. gorgonzola cheese
2 T fresh chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, fry onions in olive oil until soft, not brown. Add in tomatoes and basil and simmer for about 40 minutes, until the mixture is more soup than solid. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until all the chunks are gone. Return mixture to the pot, add cream, and turn heat to low.

Add cheese to the pot, a little at a time. Simmer the soup for about another 30 minutes until the cheese is fully blended into the mixture.

Serve hot, garnished with chopped chives.

Option #2 – the much, much easier version

1 can of Campbell’s Tomato Bisque (Hey, my fictional president’s name is Harrison Campbell, so I figured, What the heck! :::grin:::)
1 soup can full of heavy cream
2 leaves fresh basil, chopped
1 T fresh chives, chopped
1/8 lb gorgonzola cheese

Heat soup according to package directions, using cream instead of water. Simmer, then add basil and gorgonzola. Heat through until gorgonzola is well blended. Serve, garnished with fresh chives.

You know that the White House Chef often arranges for taste-tests for the First Lady before official functions, right? Well, I decided to hold my own taste-test here at home with my two tomato soup versions. The lighter colored one is the version made with fresh tomatoes. The darker one is Campbell’s based.

We tried them side-by-side and no one in the family knew which was which except me.

The hands down winner?

The fresh-tomato version was tasty, but a little light on body. Too soupy and thin. I think I need to try this again (much later. We’re tomato-souped out right about now), using more tomatoes and allowing them to stew much longer.

The gorgonzola didn’t blend with either version as easily as I expected. Maybe Avery can suggest a better cheese to use that might deliver the flavor of gorgonzola, but melt at a lower temperature? In either case, this was a great experiment. We enjoyed both versions, and I’m happy about the attempt.

If you have any great soup recipes, please be sure to send them my way. You can always reach me via my website, or e-mail me at JulieHyzy (at) aol. (dot) com.

Hope you enjoy!

Julie Hyzy’s White House Chef Mystery series features State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef, and Eggsecutive Orders (coming in January). All from Berkley Prime Crime.

Sign up for Julie’s newsletter on her website at

Don't forget to enter to win our weekly Mystery Lovers' Kitchen contest. The prize is a $25 gift certificate to the Williams-Sonoma kitchenware and gourmet food store. Just sign in to this blog and leave a comment or send an "Enter me!" e-mail with your first name and state to We announce the winners right here every week.