French Onion Soup

This time of year is perfect for a nice hot soup!  I was too cozy to go to the store and I wanted to use what I had on hand, so I decided on French Onion soup.  I served it in small bowls but next time I want to try serving it in a hollowed out bread bowl.

This recipe has such great flavor and was pretty easy to make.  I substituted provolone cheese for Gruyere, but either works.  It also reheats well.


French Onion Soup
photos by halftomatohalfpotato
recipe adapted by food network 
serves 6

-1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 4 onions, sliced
-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
-salt & pepper, to taste
-1 cup red wine
-3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
-2 quarts beef broth
-1 baguette, sliced
-1/2 pound grated Gruyere (or provolone)


-Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat
-Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, and salt & pepper; cook until the onions are very soft and
 caramelized, about 35 minutes
-Add the wine, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the
 onions are "dry", about 10-15 minutes
-Discard the bay leaves
-Dust the onions with flour and stir
-Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the
 raw flour taste
-Add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes
-Season with salt & pepper, to taste
-When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler
-Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer
-Sprinkle the slices with Gruyere and broil until golden brown and bubbly
-Ladle the soup in bowls and float several of the Gruyere croutons on top

onions when first started

onions shortly after adding wine

onions ready to be added to broth


3 Cheese Macaroni & Cheese

The holidays are a time for family, loved ones...aaaand usually indulging a little more than usual!  Since we got snowed in today, I decided to make a classic comfort food for everyone to enjoy.  

I used 3 different cheeses this time, but you can use just one cheese or any other combination of cheeses that you prefer.  Also, I omitted the mustard (because I forgot!) and it was still fine.

If you want to make this a healthier version, I would suggest using whole wheat pasta, skim milk (or greek yogurt), and low-fat cheese.


3 Cheese Macaroni & Cheese
recipe and photos by halftomatohalfpotato

-1 8 oz box of elbow macaroni (or small shells)
-4 Tablespoons of butter
-4 Tablespoons of flour
-2 cups of milk 
-1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese
-1/2 cup of American cheese
-1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese
-2 teaspoons dijon mustard (optional)
-1/2 teaspoon of salt
-pepper, to taste
-1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs or Panko 

-Preheat oven to 400°F
-Cook macaroni al dente, according to package directions
-Drain and set aside
-Heat a large saucepan to medium-low heat
-Add and melt butter
-In a small bowl, mix flour, salt & pepper
-Slowly add flour mixture to melted butter in saucepan and stir until blended (use a whisk or fork)
-Slowly pour in milk, stirring constantly
-Continue stirring and bring to a boil
-Stir in mustard
-Slowly stir in cheese
-Stir until all cheese is melted and has a smooth consistency, remove from heat
-Mix pasta into cheese mixture
-Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
-Pour the pasta/cheese mixture into the baking dish
-Sprinkle breadcrumbs all over the top 
-Bake for about 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned 


Crock-Pot Recipe Challenge/Italian Stewed Chicken

Hello! I have to say I was super excited (and surprised) when I was offered the chance to create a recipe for Crock-Pot! The challenge was to create a recipe or modernize an old one, for the launch of Crock-Pot's new website. For this I'll receive a personalized Crock-Pot "Create a Crock", which lets you upload family photos and other images to your own personalized slow cooker.

I'm going to use photos of my grandmother's handwritten recipes to personalize my new Crock-Pot.  As I searched through her old wooden recipe box, I realized there was no better way to honor her, than to modernize one of her recipes for this challenge!

I originally made Italian Chicken & Potatoes for this challenge.  The recipe is great but I didn't like how it turned out that day. Ok, I totally overcooked it!  I will share that recipe with you in the near future because it is great (when you prepare it correctly!)

Anyway, I decided on an Italian Stewed Chicken.  This recipe takes a little bit of prep work but once you throw it in, you will have an amazing meal waiting for you!  You can always do the prep work the evening prior, refrigerate overnight, then transfer to the Crock-Pot the next day.

It doesn't take very long but I imagine if you let it cook longer, the chicken will fall apart and this will be more like a hearty stew/soup.  I served this over pasta but it also tastes great with crusty bread, or by itself.


Italian Stewed Chicken
recipe and photos by halftomatohalfpotato
serves 6

-3.5 lbs chicken breasts, cut into cubes
-1 cup flour
-Salt & Pepper
-3 Tablespoons olive oil
-2 stalks celery, finely chopped
-1 onion, finely chopped
-2 bay leaves
-1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I used San Marzano)
-12 cloves garlic, smashed
-1/3 cup chicken stock
-1/2 cup white wine
-1.5 teaspoon red wine vinegar
-fresh parsley for garnish, finely chopped

-Combine flour, salt & pepper in a plastic bag
-Dredge chicken pieces in the flour mixture, one at a time
-Make sure chicken is coated evenly, shake off excess flour, set aside
-In a skillet, heat half of the olive oil over medium-high heat
-Place chicken in skillet in small batches
-Sear until golden brown on both sides
-Remove chicken from skillet and set aside
-In same skillet, add the rest of olive oil, celery and onion
-Saute until softened (about 3-5 minutes)
-Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes
-Add wine and chicken stock and simmer for about 8-10 minutes
-Transfer to Crock-Pot, stir in tomatoes and bay leaves
-Place chicken on top and cover
-Cook on low for about 3 hours, or until chicken is cooked through
-Remove bay leaves and transfer chicken to serving dish
-Stir vinegar into sauce
-Pour sauce over chicken and serve


Cinnamon & Sugar Crockpot Almonds

I first came across this recipe on Pinterest and it reminds me of the nuts (not the crazy kind) you get on the street in NYC (which I love), but even better!

I have a holiday work party on Saturday and thought these would be a great gift for my co-workers!  The recipe was super easy and super tasty and made my house smell amazing!


Cinnamon & Sugar Crockpot Almonds
recipe adopted by detrimentalbeauty.com
photos by halftomatohalfpotato

-1 1/2 cup sugar
-1 1/2 cup brown sugar
-3 Tablespoons cinnamon
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1 egg white
-2 teaspoon vanilla
-3 cups raw almonds
-1/4 cup water
immediately after adding to crockpot

after adding water

-In a medium sized bowl, mix together sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside
-In another medium sized bowl, whisk the egg white and vanilla until it’s a little frothy. Add almonds
-Make sure the almonds are thoroughly coated in the egg white mixture
-Add cinnamon mixture to the almonds and toss until coated
-Spray crockpot with non-stick cooking spray, thoroughly coating
-Add the mixture of almonds/sugars to the crock pot and turn it to low
-Cook for about 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes
-Add the 1/4 cup of water and stir well (This ensures a crunchy coating)
-Cook another 45 minutes or so, making sure to stir every 15 minutes to prevent burning
-Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread the almonds flat to cool
-The almonds will be sticky at this point, so make sure you separate them a little and have no large
-Let cool (although they are quite tasty warm!) and store in an air tight container

finished product :)