Simply Mrs. Edwards

{just the life of a new wife}

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Butternut Squash Soup

Want to know a secret? Although I may have you fooled, I am really not that outgoing in my food choices. I’m also really quite timid when it comes to branching out and trying new-to-me cooking techniques. Surprise, surprise! A great example of me not straying from my comfort zone would be the butternut and acorn squashes that have been sitting on my counter for at least a month (more like 6 weeks). Every time I go into the kitchen, they taunt me. They sit there and remind me how little I know about cooking and how silly I am for not knowing how to use them. Well, I stepped out of the comfy zone last night, did a little research, and showed that butternut squash who’s boss! I read through about 1,200 recipes and finally decided I would just wing it and make it up as I went. Well, sometimes it pays to be adventurous. This was definitely one of those times- this soup is to die for! I not only conquered my fear of winter squash, but figured out how to roast it and made up a delicious batch of soup to boot! Let me tell you, this recipe is EASY. Hope you like it!

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 medium/large butternut squash, roasted (instructions below)
  • 2 medium yams or sweet potatoes, baked until tender and peeled.
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 1/2 c. (or 2 cans) sodium free chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1 package cream cheese (you can use light if you’d like).
  • Olive oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Cayenne Pepper (to taste)

To Roast Butternut Squash:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Because the skin is so tough, it’s helpful to soften the squash before you try to cut it in half to roast it. Pierce the skin of squash a few times with a sharp knife and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Place the whole squash in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until you can cut it in half lengthwise (it will still be pretty firm, but much easier than trying to do it without this step).
  3. Once you have the squash cut in half lengthwise (from stem to bottom), open it up and scoop out seeds and stringy stuff.
  4. Return to the foil lined pan. With the inside facing up, drizzle with olive oil and add your minced garlic, salt, and fresh ground pepper.
  5. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until your knife goes all the way through the squash easily.
  6. Remove outer skin before using your squash in your recipe. I found it helpful to flip it over and use a large spoon to peel off the skin. It should easily come off. Cube your squash and it’s ready to use!

To Make Soup: 

  1. Using a large soup pot or pan (I used my dutch oven- similar one found here), melt butter and cook your onion until it is tender.
  2. Add chicken stock, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Simmer until everything is heated thoroughly, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add cream cheese. Stir to combine.
  4. Using a blender (we love our Ninja Blender!) or an immersion blender, mix until smooth. You’ll probably need to do it in a few smaller batches.
  5. Return to pan and heat through. Do not let it boil.
  6. Garnish with plain yogurt, sour cream, creme fraiche, pepper, extra cayenne, green onions, bacon, the options are endless!
  7. ENJOY!

This makes a pretty big batch, so you’ll most likely end up with leftovers. Hard to believe, but this soup is even better the next day! I heated some of the leftovers up in a pan for lunch, added a bit of milk to thin it out and devoured it. YUM.

The Squash Conqueror,
Mrs. Edwards

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Crock-pot Chicken Chili & Homemade Corn Bread

Today was one of the first “real” fall days around these parts. It rained overnight throughout the morning and was a wonderfully cloudy and brisk day. It was the perfect day to bundle up and enjoy a day at home. Thankfully, I got to do just that! Today’s weather called for a classic fall dinner- chili and corn bread. My goal with this meal was to not have to go to the grocery store, but to be able to use things that we already had. We typically make chili with ground beef, but Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard only offered chicken today. I went out on a limb and basically made up the chili recipe as I went. I’ve never had a chicken chili, but figured that it would be worth a try. I was a bit nervous at first, but then realized that since I knew we liked all of the ingredients, there was a pretty good chance that the end product would turn out delicious. The cornbread recipe (with a few modifications) comes from my faithful friend, my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. This entire meal was a cinch to put together and the end products were so hearty and delicious!

Crock-pot Chicken Chili
(makes 4-6 servings)

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of great northern beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 oz.) of tomato paste
  • Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, chili powder and oregano to taste (1 used about 1 tablespoon of each).
  • If you like green chilis, bell peppers, onions, etc. you can add them too!
  1. Place chicken breasts in bottom of crock-pot. Add beans, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and seasonings. Gently stir to combine.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. About an hour before serving pull chicken breasts out and shred. Add back into the crock-pot and cook for another hour or so.
  3. ENJOY!

Homemade Corn Bread

  • 1 c. of flour
  • 3/4 c. cornmeal
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten (or if you’re out of eggs like I was, you can substitute in 4 Tbsp. water + 2 Tbsp. oil + 4 tsp. baking powder)
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  2. Add the 1 Tbsp. butter to a 10-inch cast iron skillet or a 9 x 1 1/2-inch found baking pan. Place in oven about 3 minutes or until butter melts. Remove skillet from oven; swirl butter in skillet to coat bottom and sides of pan.
  3. In a small bowl combine eggs (or egg substitute), milk, and oil. Add mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Pour batter into hot skillet or pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Cut into slices or wedges and serve with your chili
  5. ENJOY!

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Baked Parmesan Chicken

Have a picky eater in your family? I sure do. We’re not going to name names here, but he’s the one with the beard. Tonight’s dinner was perfect for us because there weren’t any crazy ingredients, it was super fast and oh so affordable. These things were already in my cupboard and are items that I typically keep stocked. Ready for it?

Baked Parmesan Chicken (adapted from this recipe)

  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 c. mayonnaise (or plain Greek yogurt as a healthier option)
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. seasoning salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Mix mayonnaise (or yogurt), cheese, salt, pepper & garlic in a bowl.
  3. Spread mixture over chicken breasts to cover them completely.
  4. Lay chicken breasts in a greased baking dish.
  5. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes (until chicken is no longer pink inside).
  6. ENJOY!

Serve this with rice or pasta and a vegetable and you’ve got yourself a quick and delicious dinner! The bearded one is not a huge fan of artichokes, so whenever I make one for myself he gets green beans. I don’t mind making two separate vegetables if it means he’s getting some nutrients! Gotta pick your battles, right? This meal will be sticking around for a while- its easy and pleases a picky palate :)

In love with the bearded one,
Mrs. Edwards

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Baked Cheesy Chicken Pasta

Tonight’s dinner has been on the menu for the past 3 weeks but for some reason we kept skipping it. We seemed to either work late, were craving something else from the menu, or were unexpectedly tied up for dinner on those nights, and somehow it kept getting bumped to the next week. But tonight, was the night. And my, oh my…was it a good one! I’m bummed we didn’t try it earlier, but am so happy to have it in my recipe arsenal from now on! It was quite easy and pretty efficient on time too!

Baked Cheesy Chicken Pasta

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/2 lb. pasta (rotini, penne, rigatoni, bowties- whatever you’d like)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 c. milk
  • 3/4 c. shredded cheese (I used a provolone/mozzarella mix)
  • 3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Boil pasta until al dente- about 3 minutes under recommended time. Set aside.
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Season chicken with salt & pepper and cook until no longer pink inside. Remove from pan and thinly slice. Set aside.
  4. In a medium pot or dutch oven, melt butter and add flour and garlic. Whisk together and cook for about 1 minute (you are creating roux– the thickener for your cheese sauce).
  5. Gradually add milk while whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer and whisk frequently while sauce thickens. It may take a few minutes to thicken, just keep whisking!
  6. Remove pot from heat and gradually stir in cheeses.
  7. Add chicken and pasta to pot. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  8. Pour mixture into a greased baking dish.
  9. Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes or until top is golden and bubbling. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.
  10. ENJOY!

I’m looking forward to adding this on to our menu again soon! And this time it won’t keep getting bumped :) This recipe is great because it uses things that we always have in our cupboard and is pretty dang foolproof. I mean, honestly, you can’t go wrong with chicken, pasta and cheese! Hope you enjoy this just as much as we did!

With Love,
Mrs. Edwards

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Wife of the Year and Gourmet Hamburgers

Attention! I have an announcement.

I have earned a highly esteemed award not one, not two, but THREE years in a row. I have yet again won Best Wife of the Year! YEAH! This award was won in 2010 when I surprised Josh with the Grill of his dreams and then again in 2011 when I got him the smoker attachment for dream grill.

How did I earn it again in 2012, you ask? Oh, just by being an awesome wife who is keen to what my husband wants. And what does this man want the most in this life? To be a Barbeque Master, to grill like no body’s business, to reign supreme in the smoking wars (smoking brisket, that is). A few months ago I saw a Living Social deal for a 5 hr. professional level barbequing class. Five whole hours with Big Ed from Big Ed’s Buzzard BBQ. Cha-ching! I bought that deal without a second thought. With Josh’s birthday at the end of April, I knew that this was just the thing I needed to get him!  I paired it with the Barbeque Bible and this awesome Stainless Steel Hot Dog Roller for the grill (awesome, right?!). I’m not gonna lie, this birthday present will probably benefit me just as much as it will Josh. I can see many, many awesome meals coming from this gift!

So, although I’d love to keep on bragging about how great of a wife I am, I’ll digress and get to what I’m really here to share. A few weekends ago we visited my parents and had a fantastic barbeque with them and some of our friends. Without too much effort, my mom whipped up some cheese stuffed hamburgers from a friends recipe. They were so so sososososo good! I cannot emphasize enough how great these things were. I strongly urge you to try this- not only is it pretty foolproof, it’s customizable and sure to please a variety of appetites!

Cheese Stuffed Hamburgers
*Add the following ingredients per pound of beef (we used 3lbs. of ground beef which made 7 huge burgers)

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s is recommended)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • Cheddar, provolone and/or crumbed feta cheese

1. Place your ground beef in a bowl and pour milk over the top. Mix to incorporate, cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours.
2. Remove ground beef from fridge and add all the remaining ingredients. The beef should have soaked in most of the milk- if not, drain off excess before adding final ingredients.
3. Scoop out ~2/3 cup beef and pat into 1/2 inch thick, flat, round shape onto wax paper. Repeat to make 2 patties the same size.
4. Place cheese in center of one beef patty leaving a border around the edge.
5. Place other patty on top and pinch edges together.
6. Refrigerate patties until you’re ready to barbeque- this also helps them to set up.
7. Grill over medium heat to your preferred done-ness (we like medium well).
8. Place on bun, top with favorite toppings, ENJOY!

These burgers were amazing and I can foresee us having them a lot throughout this summer grilling season! My favorite is the feta burger, Josh’s is the provolone. Hope this recipe helps you woo your friends at your next backyard barbeque!

Wife of the Barbeque Master,
Mrs. Edwards