Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Happy 2019!!

I hope everyone had  a safe and fun New Year’s Eve!!!  2018 was a pretty good year overall.  I am still teaching 6th grade Gifted and Advanced Mathematics, the food blog is still running, I stopped doing paid photography, we are planning to go to Yellowstone National Park later this year, family is healthy and happy – so couldn’t ask for anything more!

I have been re-making many of our family’s favorite recipes using the Instant Pot.  I really do not seek out “new recipes” any longer, but re-make the meals we already love.  Most of the recipes on this website have been cooked 3 or more times and revised so that they come out perfect every time – so that is why I use them most of the time.  This recipe is an oldie but a goodie and I just knew the Instant Pot would cut the cooking time in half while keeping the flavors robust.

To make this recipe without the Instant Pot – My original recipe can be found here

I have had the Instant Pot for 5 years or so and really wish I had written a book or something before the device exploded in popularity!
Here is what I find it best for:

Beef: roasts
Yogurt making
-Cooking Hard Boiled Eggs
Chicken breast
-Dry Beans

Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot

I have not liked the Instant Pot for Pork roasts, pork tenderloins or any meat that is lean like those cuts of meat.  Chicken is good – because you can cook that in water and it doesn’t bother it.  Water keeps the pork a little more hydrated, but the texture is different.  And less water makes the meat dry.  And pizza.  It doesn’t do well with pizza 😉


Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (or mix of green, red or orange)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (freeze the remaining in the can, it will last a long time)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt (optional)
  • 1 can (10 Oz.) Diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies, not drained
  • 32 ounces Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 2 cans (15 Oz. per Can) black beans or red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbs. cornmeal
  • Toppings: tortilla chips, shredded Cheddar cheese, lime, diced red onion, cilantro, salsa, avocado
  1. Select Saute on the Instant Pot and add olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add onion and peppers. Stir about 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Add minced garlic, spices (cumin, chili powder, garlic powder), and tomato paste and cook 30 seconds – stirring constantly.
  2. Turn Instant Pot off. Add the salt (optional), diced tomatoes and green chiles, chicken stock, beans and chicken breast. Put on the lid to “seal” and program for “Poultry” and increase time to 18 minutes for thick chicken breast or leave it at 15 minutes for smaller size.
  3. Use Quick Release once the Instant Pot is done cooking. Add the warm water and cornmeal. While the pot keeps the soup warm, shred the chicken with forks in the pot or remove and shred (you can shred it in the mixer too!).
  4. Serve with toppings and enjoy!


Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Look!  A recipe with NO pumpkin in it!  Wild huh?  Didn’t think that was possibly didja?

Well, when we are not making pumpkin (there is pumpkin oatmeal in my oven right now! LOL)

Here’s my weekends so far:  rehearsing for “It’s a Wonderful Life” the play and dinner theatre which is now SOLD OUT.  3 weeks until showtime!

This is a soup I have been tweaking and making for many years now.  It is now soup season since we have snow on the ground.  I know many people love the Panera version and this does not look like their soup… but it does taste similar to their soup.  It is still awesome tasting with a broth base of cooked onion, broccoli and cheddar.  But not quite as lengthy in ingredients as their version which contains: Water, Milk, Broccoli, Cheddar Cheese ([Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes], Water, Sodium Phosphate, Milkfat, Salt, Apocarotenal [Color]), Heavy Cream, Carrots, Contains 2% or less of: Seasoning (Modified Corn Starch, Flour [Wheat Flour, Ascorbic Acid Added as Dough Conditioner, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Salt, Spices, Extractives of Paprika), Onions, Chicken Base (Chicken Meat and Chicken Juices, Salt, Hydrolyzed Soy and Corn Protein, Sugar, Flavoring, Potato Flour, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Carrot Powder and Turmeric), Butter (Cream, Salt), Modified Food Starch, Soybean Oil, Dijon Mustard (Water, Vinegar, Mustard Seed, Salt, White Wine, Fruit Pectin, Citric Acid, Tartaric Acid, Sugar, Spice), Nisin Preparation and Hot Pepper Sauce (Vinegar, Red Pepper, Salt).


You can make my original version.  I prefer this one now since it easier to prepare and I almost always have these ingredients on hand to make a quick batch for the week’s lunches or dinner paired with homemade bread.

Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 5 servings
  • 1Tb. unsalated butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds frozen broccoli florets
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup milk, cream or fat free evaporated milk
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tb. mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • Toppings optional: bacon bits, extra cheese
  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and allow to cook 3-4 minutes or until translucent.
  2. In the meantime, microwave your broccoli in a steam bowl or other microwave safe bowl. You may need to do this in two batches for about 4-5 minutes each. Depending on the strength of your microwave. This will thaw the broccoli.
  3. Add garlic to the cooked onion and stir for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the thawed broccoli, broth and water. Simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 8 minutes or until broccoli is cooked through.
  5. Puree the soup using an immersion blender to get some chunks-some pureed soup. Or use your blender. Add the soup back to the pot and add the milk, cheddar and mustard. Stir until melted and soup is hot again. I like chunks in my soup so I do not blend it all – but that is up to you.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add cooked bacon if you would like to add some meat. Serve hot and enjoy!
Calories: 260 Saturated fat: 6
Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen “Comfort Food Makeovers”


Simply Homemade Ham and Bean Soup

Ham Soup

Good morning!

If you notice on the homepage – I have a new Twitter account!  It is @ThisIsMaryEllen and will include more Educational items that I am learning in my graduate classes and using in my classroom.  Graduate school was SO much easier before kids, house and a full-time job!!!  If you are thinking of going after college and can figure something out financially, just DO it because it is ten times harder later to take those classes.  Mizzou is pretty rigorous though and there are easier programs out there.  But if they are so much easier, do you learn as much?  Probably not.

Lesson Learned this week:  So, I spent $36 to have my transcript reviewed by the Missouri Department of Education.  I am enrolled in 9 credit hours now and planned to do 6 hours in the summer.  But!  The transcript review says I only need THREE more hours this summer instead of SIX to be certified Gifted K-12!!!  Happy Dance!!!  Because that $36 saved me over $1000 this summer!  And the moral of the story is: sometimes it pays to spend a little money up front.


This past week I was making ham and bean soups to find something simple and delicious.  Most of us will have some leftover ham next weekend, right?  And sometimes there isn’t enough for everyone to get a second meal out of it.  Or, you are just tired of plain ham.  So, make this soup instead!  It is filling, healthy and delicious.

Freezer friendly if you want to make a big batch, too!  So if you are worried about buying too big of a ham this week – don’t worry, this recipe has got you covered!

Simply Homemade Ham and Bean Soup
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 8 servings
  • 1 and 1/3 cups dried Northern Beans (soaked overnight) or 2 cans (15oz.) or 4 cups cooked
  • water if using dried beans
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery (or 1/2 cup; I like a lot of celery)
  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • 2 teaspoons or cloves of minced garlic
  • 5 cups chicken broth (low sodium is what we use)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 cups chopped ham, 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon white or black ground pepper
  1. First, if you are using dried beans, I soak them overnight. Then, I add them to my Instant pot and cover with water until the water just barely covers all of the beans. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes and let sit for 10 minutes before releasing the pressure. Drain and use. If you are using canned beans, then simply drain and rinse them. Set aside.
  2. Into a Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the chopped carrots, celery and onion. I like to chop these in my mini electric chopper – so must faster!
  3. Once the vegetables are soft and onion starting to become translucent, add the garlic. Cook 30 seconds.
  4. Add the chicken broth. I do not like my soup too soupy. Feel free to adjust the amount of broth to how thick or thin you want your soup.
  5. Add mustard powder, ham, beans and pepper.
  6. Cook about 30 minutes on medium heat or until it has simmered for at least 15 minutes. You can let your soup simmer for much longer if you like. I would advise putting the beans in 15 minutes or so before serving because the beans are already cooked and you don’t want to cook them again.


Chicken Pot Pie Soup and New Job!

Good morning!

So exciting news on the horizon – I have a full time salary job again!  Well, it was a little sooner than I expected… but I have been taking classes to be certified in Gifted Education.  And a full time Gifted Education teaching position opened up in the adjoining school district.  So I took it!  It will be so exciting to be working with students every day and I am so overjoyed to be working with this special population.

Books: I finished “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen this week.  It is a Newberry winner and quick read if you want to beef up your Young Adult Fiction list.  The reviews on Good Reads range from “I hate this book!” to “A must read for young readers.”  Hmmm.  I’m in the middle of the camp.  I did not hate the book.  I think perhaps there weren’t a whole lot of Newberry nominees that year?  There is obvious symbolism and a great character study.    My theory why people don’t like it is that all of the action and excitement happen in the first few pages of the book and then it moves slowly when Brian is trying to survive in the wild.


On with the show and recipe….  one of my favorite meals is chicken pot pie.  If mom asks what to make on my birthday it’s chicken pot pie.  But this is a soup version – and just as quick, easy and tasty!

Why is this recipe great?

-It is filling.
-You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand.
-You can use chicken leftovers from another meal.
-It is inexpensive to make.
-Without a crust, it is much healthier.  But still tastes like pot pie!
-Freezer friendly!
-Great on a cold winter day with some crusty bread or beer bread

Chicken Pot Pie Soup and New Job!
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 4 cups milk (1%, skim or 2% work fine)
  • 2 teaspoons better than bullion or chicken bullion (or use 2 cups chicken stock instead of water)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 10 oz. frozen mixed vegetables (or chopped carrots, frozen corn, peas and green beans)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, AP flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 pound chicken breast, cooked and cut into 1/2″
  • kosher or regular salt
  1. In a Dutch oven or large pot, add olive oil, celery and onion. Saute over medium to medium high for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add 1 and 1/2 cups water (or chicken broth) and milk. Bring this to a boil. Add bullion, pepper, thyme and frozen vegetables. Turn the heat down to medium low. Cover and simmer cook about 15-20 minutes or vegetables are cooked.
  3. In a measuring cup, mix the remaining 1/2 cup water (or chicken broth) with flour. Whisk together.
  4. Add flour mixture with the chicken into the pot. Heat through. Salt to taste.
  5. Serve while hot. Crusty bread or beer bread is great with this as well.
Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste


White Chicken Chili | Instant Pot

Hey Everyone!  I’m still alive 🙂  Just took a long pause to continue my photography and teach 4th grade full-time for a few months.  Next month I will be a full-time student at the University of Missouri and possibly part or full-time teacher as well… we’ll see how this goes.  🙂

But hey, we are here for the recipes, not my opinion on the last presidential election that we missed on the blog.  Whew!  Maybe that’s a good thing we missed it….

Book Review: 

Rosalind Wiseman has written a comprehensive guide to helping girls through the teenage years and even the tweens. This is a must read for any parent that has a daughter! The author delivers in a conversational tone a plethora of advice from years of clinical experience. Quotations from teenage girls are scattered throughout the book giving firsthand knowledge of the world of “queen bees.”

The first section is about friendships, groups of friends and the roles friends play. Next, parents and parenting styles are discussed. Then, anger management and what to do about parties. Online communication and boys are included in the chapters as well. The book is lengthy… which is a blessing and a curse. “Queen Bees and Wannabes” has so many scenarios that it will probably have what you are dealing with or what you will be dealing with in years to come. All 412 pages will not apply to everyone. But I can guarantee that some of this book will apply to all parents and help them – and their daughters – through whatever physical or emotional hurdles they may have to face and guide them through facing it together.

I received a sample of this book to read from Blogging for books so i can give my honest and unbiased opinion/review.


My Instant Pot is still my new favorite toy!   Check out this blog post with more things to do with the Instant Pot like:  make yogurt from just milk, make a 10 hour roast in 1 hour, cook chicken without drying it out, make chili in 10 minutes, hard-boiled eggs where the shell comes off in one piece, make perfectly cooked brown or white rice.

Now to the chili… we have tons of deer meat and been eating chili like crazy the past few months.  To shake things up a bit, I made white chicken chili.  I have tried several ways and finally came across some ingredients that help a lot:  Trader Joe’s fire roasted diced green chiles.  YUM!  Try to find them if you can.  If not, that’s okay and find the Mexican food aisle in your store and they will have canned green chilies.

*If you want to use dried beans – that works too!  1/2 cup dried beans = 1 can of beans.  So, I used my Instant Pot the previous day to pressure cook the soaked beans.  They were done in 12 minutes on high pressure using natural release.

White Chicken Chili (and Instant Pot Option)
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 and 1/2 cups diced chicken breasts or tenderloin (with tendon removed)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tb. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
  • 4 cups chicken broth (reduced sodium preferred)
  • 2 cans (3 cups) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 ounces canned green chiles, diced
  • 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  1. For regular pot: Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced chicken and onion. Cook until no longer pink – about 8 minutes. Add garlic with the spices and cook 30 seconds.
  2. Once the garlic and spices are fragrant, add the broth, beans, chiles and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste
  3. For Instant Pot: Turn on the Instant Pot to “Saute” on Normal/Medium. Add oil and once hot add the chicken and onion. Cook until no longer pink – about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook those another 30 seconds. Turn Instant Pot off.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients. Turn the Instant Pot back on to Manual mode and set for 10 minutes. Or press “Chili” and reduce the cooking time to 10 minutes. Make sure the vent is sealed of course!
  5. Release the pressure and your chili is finished! If you want it thicker, put the Instant Pot on saute with the lid off to reduce the chili.



Crockpot Lentil Soup

Detox Lentil Soup

What’s so awesome about lentils?

Lentils are cheap.

Lentils can be stored a long time because they are dried.

Lentils are a great source of potassium, calcium, niacin, zinc and Vitamin K.

Lentils are rich in fiber and lean protein.

Lentils are a super food!  We love our super foods here on Whisk Together!  🙂

Lentils are like chicken… they take on the flavor of whatever ingredients they are cooked with.

Detox Lentil Soup 3


This soup is great for those of you trying to lose weight!  Lots of protein, fiber and veggies.  Or trying to maintain weight.  Or just need a nice warm bowl of soup.  It is a nice blank canvas for anything you would like to add to it.  Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, lemon infused grapeseed or olive oil, red wine vinegar, etc. all taste great as a finishing touch.  If you are trying to add a “Meatless Monday” to the dinner menu, this soup would definitely fit the bill!  Simply add a side salad or whole grain bread.

Detox Lentil Soup 2

To keep the week going smoothly, I try to get a few things done on Sunday.  One of those is making a big batch of soup and one large bowl of salad.  That way I always have something to grab for lunch or a back up for dinner.  Especially since these soups and most of my salads don’t contain meat or dairy mixed in, then I don’t feel like it is going to turn bad in 6-7 days.

Crockpot Lentil Soup
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 8 servings
  • 2 cups chopped butternut squash (peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (peeled and cut into 1/2″ silces)
  • 2 cups chopped potatoes (Yukon Gold works well) or sweet potatoes (peel if you prefer and chop into 1/2″ cubes)
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced (more garlic for more garlic flavor)
  • 1 and 3/4 cup dried green lentils
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 handfuls baby spinach or kale chopped into 1″ pieces, optional
  • 1 lemon, squeeze the juice into the soup
  • Optional garnishes: fresh parsley, dried parsley, Parmesan cheese
  1. Into a large slow cooker, add all of the ingredients from butternut squash through ground pepper.
  2. Cook on high 4-5 hours or low for 6-7 hours.
  3. Add baby spinach and squeeze lemon juice into soup. Allow to wilt about 5 minutes.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste! I added quite a bit of salt and pepper. I also added Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute because it tastes great on everything.
  5. Add 1-2 cups of additional broth for a thinner soup. I like my soups on the thick side.
  6. Serve warm and enjoy.
Recipe adapted from Grace and Salt[br]



Hearty Ham and Bean Soup (Christmas Ham Leftovers!)

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I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas!

I still haven’t had a chance to read any fantastic books to talk to you about.  I am also trying to push another project out by 2016.  You may have seen a little change on the home page of this website 😉  That’s part of the surprise.

I’ve also been watching “The Flash” on Netflix.  It is one of the nicer sci-fi shows on Netflix compared to the MA rated “Jessica Jones” and others.  If you can wrap your head around the fact that a scientist built a particle accelerator in the middle of a city of hundreds of thousands of people… then you’ll be all set!  Completely ignore basic safety and physics, and you can watch the show.

The kids were pretty happy this Christmas – The oldest finished putting together this bad boy in like 3 hours.  Oy!

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The youngest was VERY happy with her hotel.  The hotel set was pretty nifty and I had fun helping her with it.  There’s a pool, piano lounge, ice cream bar, elevator, your own car, waterfall, chandelier and rotating doors!

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My sister’s friend’s mom made this cake for us for Christmas – it had chocolate cherry cake inside!

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It was too pretty to eat… but we made the sacrifice and ate it anyway.  🙂

Now that we are done with cake…. let’s move over to a hearty, healthy and very filling soup.  There is a lot of protein in here from the ham, beans and lentils.  The lentils, barley and beans provide a nice amount of fiber.  The carrots and celery give this soup nice flavor and vitamins.

Hearty Ham and Bean Soup-6110 copy

Recipe:  For Christmas dinner, we had ham among other dishes.  I used my trusty baked ham recipe and had about 2 pounds of leftovers.  Woo hoo!  Also, what to do with that end that doesn’t slice very well….???  Make soup!  I love soup!   It is pretty hard to mess up broth and ham really.  Plus, you can throw in whatever ingredients you want to use up in the fridge or pantry.  For me, I had some leftover quick cooking barley from Trader Joe’s and green lentils.  Feel free to substitute the lentils for barley and vice versa.  Or just omit them.  The soup just won’t be as thick and it is a pretty thick soup anyway.  I figure I would rather give you recipes for a thick soup than thin.  It is sooooo much easier to thin a soup with some added broth or water than to try and make a soup thicker.  Sometimes boiling it too long overcooks the rest of the food.

Remember our new food trick:  add canned beans at the end!  They are already cooked anyway and just need heated.

Feel free to switch and use whatever herbs you have on hand and like.  I used oregano, rosemary and 21 seasoning salute (Trader Joe’s).  But any combination of thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, or the like will work.

I served this soup with a side of beer bread.

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Hearty Ham and Bean Soup (Christmas Ham Leftovers!)
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 1 Tb. butter
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup dry green lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp each of dried oregano, basil and rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. white or black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • 2 cup cooked chopped ham
  • 2 cans (15 oz) Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking barley
  1. In a Dutch oven or large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook about 5-7 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
  3. Into the pot, add the lentils, dried herbs, pepper, and broth. Turn the heat up to medium high to get the soup the boil. Once at a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium low. Keep the soup at a simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the ham, beans and quick cooking barley. Bring the soup up to a boil again. Cover again and simmer over medium low for 10 minutes.
  5. Feel free to add more herbs, salt or pepper to taste. The soup is quite thick and hearty. Thin it out with more chicken broth or water.


Sweet Potato Carrot Soup & Thanksgiving Menu

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup on Whisk Together-5457


Thanksgiving is here! Here is the Menu:

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast and Gravy-4501 on Whisk Together

One, We will be making this turkey again.  It is the best and we just can’t change it.  I have started roasting it in an oven bag, too.  It doesn’t get the skin as crispy, but no one here eats the skin that much anyway.  Make this turkey!  Need help with the gravy?  Here’s a great recipe that will ease your mind.  You can even make it and store it in the fridge the night before!  Just use the gravy portion of the recipe on the stovetop and do not use as much broth.

Two, we will have mashed potatoes.  A bag of russets, milk, butter, salt and pepper… there really is no recipe.

sweet potato casseroleCR

Three, my favorite side dish of all time:  Sweet Potato Casserole with Apple Cinnamon Topping.

Honey Wheat Rolls

Four, Honey Wheat Rolls.  You can substitute all purpose flour for bread flour.  Yes, you can bake them, cool them and freeze them for Thanksgiving.  Just set them out the night before to thaw on the counter.  Easier than going to the store!  (And tastier… and fewer ingredients…)

Apple Butter_2 on Whisk Together

Five:  To go on the rolls — Whole Apple Butter.  This is a new one I have not posted.  It is my Slow Cooker Apple Butter.  Instead of chopping the apples and discarding the core, I kept most of the core in the slow cooker for the apple butter.  Then, everything was pureed in the vitamix blender and turned into apple butter.  (I took some seeds out first because we don’t want to give anyone cyanide poisoning, do we?)

Dutch Apple Pie_1

Six:  Pie!!  Spicy Pumpkin, Dutch Apple and Cherry Blueberry Pie are our favorites.  Because you have to have pie.  Or pi.  Don’t want pie?  Make Caramel Apple Pie Bars instead!

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Seven:  Cranberry Orange Bread – a quick yummy sweet bread that can also be frozen.

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Eight:  BEST APPETIZER EVER: Bacon Wrapper Crackers.  We make these every holiday.  They take little prep time.  Taste amazing.  And you can keep them hot in the oven for quite a while as the guests arrive.  Just pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes or so.  Turn down the heat to 250 degrees to keep warm.  We kept them warm for about 20-30 minutes or so.
I know apps are served first, however I always make these last and always if I am the host.  I don’t want to use up someone else’s oven.  They can’t be prepped much ahead of time.  That’s okay.  They are sooo worth it.
Also, I have noticed a lot of Aldi’s crackers are not anything like the name brand.  The club crackers that I purchased don’t look, taste or snap like the Keebler brand.  I would recommend spending the extra 50 cents on the Keebler ones for this recipe because they won’t crumble in your hands when you wrap the bacon around them.  I never had this problem until I used the Aldi brand.  The same thing happened with the Aldi “Triscuits” too.

Apple Raisin Dressing_3 on Whisk Together

Nine, Apple Raisin Dressing.  Everyday ingredients.  And I use up whatever bread ends from loaves or loaves of bread that are accidentally squished in the deep freeze.  My favorite I have found so far that didn’t the chemicals from the box.

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Recipe:  But until that Thanksgiving Thursday comes, I still have to feed my family!  So here is a super simple and easy recipe that required little to prep and clean up.  The soup is ready in 10 minutes if made in the Vitamex blender.  It will take about 20-30 minutes in the pot on the stovetop.

Have too little time?  Have everything prepped in the fridge ready to go!  Or make and freeze for later.

I liked this soup because it was easy and delicious.  Everything is wholesome and fresh.

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Sweet Potato Carrot Soup & Thanksgiving Menu
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 2 servings
  • 1/4 onion, peeled
  • 1/2 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 sweet potato, baked
  • 1/2 apple, seeds or no seeds
  • 1 carrot, cut into four pieces (or 5 baby carrots)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. For a Blender: In the microwave, cook the onion and oil together for about five minutes. Stir once or twice.
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients into the blender.
  3. Turn the machine on 1. Work the blender up to maximum 10 and blend for 5-6 minutes. The soup will steam when finished. Salt and pepper to taste
  4. For No Blender: in a medium pot or Dutch oven, cook the onion and oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add a diced apple and carrots. Saute another 8-10 minutes.
  6. Add the baked sweet potato (or add one raw with the apple and carrots finely diced). Add the broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Blend in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe adapted from Vitamix



White Chicken Chili & Book Review

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This Fall I received a super awesome book that you may want to add to your cookbook collection:  The Chili Cookbook by Robb Walsh.

Chili Book on Whisk Together-5514


If you want to learn about making chili, this is THE book for you.  Mr. Walsh has included every single chili recipe category in the book along with a narrative of where chili originated.  The stories behind how chili has evolved and the Chili Queens are fun to read.  Chili Queens were businesswomen back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s who made and served chili.

Being from St. Louis, I do not have a lot of experience with chilis.  This book goes through each one step by step.  The grocery stores near me – even Walmart – are including dried chili sections that are included in the book.  For example, a homemade chili powder recipe is included using 2 ounces of dried ancho chiles, cumin, oregano and garlic powder.

Every single chili recipe category you can imagine is in this book from lobster chili to goulash, from Cincinnati chili to four-alarm chili, from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s Championship Chili to short rib chili, from chili queen chili to chipotle chili, from tofu chili to pork vindaloo.  The St. Louis Slinger recipe is also included!  So for those of us natives who want a copycat recipe or never had one – the South King’s Highway Diner recipe is included in here.  There is a photograph with most of the recipes, so the cook will know what the result should look like.  Side item recipes are also included like fresh corn tortillas, cornbread and chili con queso.

Want to throw a chili party?  The author included a few steps to throw one of those which sounds awfully delicious right now since it is 49 degrees outside.

*I received a complimentary copy of The Chili Cookbook from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

White Chicken Chili on Whisk Together-5472


The #1 thing I learned from The Chili Cookbook is never add your canned beans in the beginning.  Many recipe call for the dump and walk away method – adding cans of beans to the slow cooker or large pot of chili.  But…. they are already cooked.  And cooking already cooked items usually doesn’t end well.

Therefore, even if you do not use this recipe – think about when you add your canned goods and if you are cooking something already cooked.  When do you add them?  About 10 minutes prior to serving the food.  This way the beans stay plump and not mushy.

White Chicken Chili on Whisk Together-5468


White Chicken Chili
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 1 Tb. olive oil or butter
  • 1 – 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, 1/2-1″ pieces (or more if want meatier chili)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
  • 1-2 jalapeno chili, chopped (optional; I did not use because of the kids)
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground paprika (I like smoked)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or omit if need mild)
  • 30 ounces (2 – 14.5 oz cans or about 4 cups) chicken broth (low sodium preferred)
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans white kidney beans, drained and rinsed (cannellini beans, Great Northern, etc.)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. Neufchatel cheese (cream cheese) or substitute plain Greek Yogurt (optional, but tasty)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn (optional)
  • 1 lime, halved
  • Toppings: cilantro, Monterey or Pepper Jack cheese, tortilla chips, chopped scallions
  1. On the stovetop, heat the olive oil or butter over medium heat in a Dutch Oven. Once melted, add chicken and onion to the pot. Continue to saute until cooked through. Remove the chicken mixture and set aside.
  2. Add garlic, chilies and spices. Cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the chicken broth and beans. Increase the heat to medium high and bring chili to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add the neufchatel cheese in sections and allow to melt. If using Greek yogurt, temper it first by adding a little bit of the hot liquid to the yogurt. Mix and then add to the chili.
  6. Using an immersion blender or blender, take half or all of the chili in the pot and blend until creamy. This step is optional and simply makes the chili smoother and more creamy.
  7. Once you have processed the chili, add the chicken and onion back to the pot. Heat through about 15 minutes.
  8. Squeeze lime juice on top. Sprinkle with salt and white pepper (or black pepper).
  9. Serve with chips, cilantro, cheese and/or scallions.
Recipe adapted from The Chili Cookbook and Cooking Classy


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