Autumn Vegetable Soup

While many people think that social networking can be a great waste of time, and I can agree a little here, I have found it a fun way to reconnect with family and friends from the past.  Not too long ago I reconnected with my cousin’s daughter.  I think I met Jessica years ago when she was just a tiny thing, but I’ve not seen her since.  She shared this wonderful recipe the other day and gave me permission to share it here.  With the cold weather coming (even here in the south), soups are great on the menu!

 

I experimented a little this afternoon with a soup and it turned out better than expected! Here is an easy recipe for autumnal soup that amounts to roughly 100 calories per 1 1/2 cups!

 

Makes two servings:

 

2 cups of chicken stock

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

Whisk together with paprika, salt, and pepper over low heat and let simmer. (I did this part while the onions and carrots were cooking).

 

1/2 cup yellow onion (1 small onion) rough chop

1/4 cup carrots sliced

1/2 cup mushroom (whatever you prefer)

1/4 cup zucchini

1 cup kale shredded

 

1/4 tbls olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

Salt, pepper, and other agreeable seasoning

 

Sautee oil, onion, and carrot together in a covered pot over low heat, stirring occaisionally. When slightly softened, add mushrooms and zucchini, stir, and cover. Once those have slightly softened toss in the kale.

 

Give the veggies a minute or two more then pour over the broth and stir. Separate into two bowls and add raw, pressed garlic and stir.

 

Enjoy!

Taco Soup

I absolutely loved the weather today…slightly overcast with a light breeze, and temps in the low 50s!  Definitely fall here in the south. Of course, by Wednesday it could be 80 again!  Anyway, the day just called for taco soup for lunch.  I found 2 recipes in our church cookbook.  By combining them I came up with a wonderful soup for the crockpot. It is easy and fast to put together, too!  By lunch the whole house smelled amazing!  Serve with cornbread and a lettuce salad!  Yummy!

1-1/2 lbs. ground beef

16 oz. can black beans

1-1/2 c. frozen corn

1 packet taco seasoning

1 packet ranch dressing mix

2 c. water

1 lg. can crushed tomatoes

In a large skillet brown the ground beef and drain off fat.  Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and stir well.  Set on low for about 4-5 hours.

Light Lunch for a Summer Day

I just looked at our site stats and discovered we are only 27 views shy of 5000 total views to the blog!  Pretty amazing for just over 2 years!!  Who knows? Maybe today will bring us over the top!

One of my absolute favorite lunches for a hot summer day is cottage cheese and fruit.  I love cottage cheese with crushed pineapple or peaches.  Not having either of those in my pantry or fridge today, I chose some of our fresh blueberries and some strawberries….the perfect patriotic lunch for this Flag Day!

Quesadilla Lunch

I cannot take any credit for this wonderful recipe today!!  My niece, Myra, over at My Blessed Life, posted this recipe this morning.  It sounded so good that I knew that I had to try it!  It is quick, easy, and very tasty.  As usual, I did make a few changes.  I shredded some left-over roast beef from Sunday dinner and used it instead of lunch meat.  I also used honey mustard instead of yellow mustard.  Lunch today was just for Sam and me, and we both loved these quesadillas!

I also toasted mine a little differently than Myra did.  I am terrible at flipping these things over…something always falls out!  So, being the semi-creative person that I am (ha!) I got out my waffle iron and used it to melt the cheese and lightly toast the quesadilla!

Enjoy!!  http://myblessedlife.net/2012/03/quesadilla-recipe.html

Who needs a quesadilla maker when you have a waffle iron, right?

Turkey Soup and Jumbo Cheese Biscuits

What to do with a left-over turkey carcass has never been a problem in our house!  I always try to leave a good bit of turkey on the bones when I am carving a turkey for our  Thanksgiving or Christmas feast.  I then wrap it well and put it in the freezer until we feel the need for some homemade turkey soup!  The cold temperatures this week called for some of that soup along with cheesy biscuits.  I modified a biscuit recipe I found in our church cookbook to make the jumbo biscuits, but the soup recipe just fabricated itself in my brain!  My amounts are not accurate at all…just a bit of this or a dash of that.  If you are an experienced cook, you understand!  If you are not, that’s ok, too.  I will do my best to give you fair amounts!  First, those biscuits!

3 c. flour

2 tbsp sugar

1-1/2 tbsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. cream of tartar

3/4 tsp. salt

3/4 c. shortening

1 c. buttermilk

1 c. grated cheddar cheese

1/2 stick butter, melted

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt, mixing well.  Cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour buttermilk into flour mixture, stirring until flour mixture is just moistened.  Stir in grated cheese.  Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead just 4-5 times. This is just to help the dough hold together, so don’t be rough with it!   Press dough into rectangle about 3/4 inch thick.  Using a 3-1/2 to 4-inch diameter glass, cut out biscuits. This size glass makes about 11-12 biscuits. Place biscuits close together on an ungreased baking sheet.

Brush with melted butter.Bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush with remaining melted butter. Bake for 3-5 minutes more until golden brown.

For the turkey soup, fill a large stock pot about half full of water.  Add the frozen carcass and put on the stove to simmer.  Let simmer until thawed and the meat falls easily off the bones.  Remove carcass from pot and pull all the meat off.  Add the following to the water in the pot.

1 can white kidney beans, drained

1 pack onion soup mix (can also use 1 chopped onion)

1 tsp. minced garlic

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and diced

1 can chicken broth

1 quart more water

about 1-2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. sage

Stir and let simmer until vegetables are tender.  Cut meat into bite-sized pieces and add to pot.   Taste and add more seasonings as desired.  Serve with jumbo cheese biscuits for a tasty lunch!  My family often likes soups served with croutons or crushed seasoned bagel chips.

Gazpacho with Lentil Pitas

It’s hard to believe that we are just about out of July and ready to start August. In some ways the summer has flown quickly by, but in other ways it seems to be dragging its feet.  Most days, it is just too hot to cook!   The other day I was perusing the latest issue of Real Simple magazine and found several recipes that I thought I’d try.   These two are easy to make and don’t heat up the kitchen! They received mixed reviews from the guys here at my house.  One liked the gazpacho better than the  lentil pitas; one liked them both; and the other wasn’t sure he liked either of them!  Oh, well! It never hurts to try something new. Remember, we are experimenting!

GAZPACHO

4 large tomatoes

1 red bell pepper

1/2 of a small red onion

1 clove garlic

1 English cucumber

1/4 c. olive oil

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

1-1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

parsley for garnish

In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and half the cucumber. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the oil, vinegar,  salt,  and black pepper. Refrigerate at least half an hour. While soup is chilling, chop the remaining half of the cucumber finely.

To serve, pour into soup bowls and top with parsley and chopped cucumber. Drizzle with additional oil if desired.

LENTIL PITAS

2  (15 oz) cans lentils, rinsed

1/2 c. fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 c. fresh parsley leaves

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 c. bread crumbs

salt and black pepper

1/4 head red cabbage, shredded (about 1-1/2 cups)

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

3 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 c. Greek yogurt

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

6 pitas warmed

Puree 1 can of lentils with cilantro, parsley, garlic, and cumin until nearly smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix in bread crumbs, the remaining can of lentils, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Form into 6 patties.

In another mixing bowl, combine shredded cabbage, lemon juice, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper.  In a third bowl, combine the yogurt with 1/4 c. water and the crushed red pepper.

Heat 1 tbsp. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties until browned, 3-4 minutes per side, adding oil as needed.

Top each pita with the patties; cabbage mixture; and yogurt sauce. Fold in half and serve with gazpacho.  Enjoy!

Chicken Salad Wraps

As the weather heats up this summer, it becomes a challenge to make dinners without heating up the entire kitchen.  This chicken salad recipe is perfect for a hot summer day.   I first enjoyed this dish (served with crackers) way back at my baby shower when I was expecting Barbi!  Since then, I’ve discovered that my family loves it served in flour tortillas.  However it is served, your family will enjoy it too.

5 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups of seedless grapes cut into halves

8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts

1 c. mayonnaise

2 tsp. curry powder

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

10 flour tortillas

In large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, grapes, and water chestnuts.  In a separate bowl, mix the mayonnaise, curry powder, and soy sauce.  Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture and stir well.

Cover and chill for about an hour or until cold throughout.  Spoon onto tortillas and roll up.

These can be served with a side of tossed salad;  jello-o salad;  or icy cold watermelon.  Enjoy!

Black Bean Soup

Today was another cooler rainy day. . .the second one this week! The first was on Monday when some pretty terrific storms came through our area.  Two small tornadoes were reported in the county and damage was done by strong winds.  While we were unscathed by the storms, our neighbor lost 3 huge pines!

Soup is the best food for a day like today, and I decided to create a Black Bean Soup similar to what a friend made for me last week.  It was a great way to use up some leftover turkey I had from earlier this week, and it is amazingly easy to make!  This turned out better than I had thought it would!  The hubby even asked for seconds.  Served with a side of cornbread or salad, it hits the spot on this rainy evening.

4 cans beef or chicken broth

1 medium onion, diced

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups dry pasta (whatever you’d like!)

2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 pkt. dried soup mix (onion or vegetable)

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. ginger

2 c. cooked, chopped beef, chicken, or turkey

Combine the broth, onion, beans, carrots, dried soup mix, pepper, ginger, and meat.  Bring to a boil and add the pasta. Cook over medium heat until pasta is tender.

Chicken Soup

Wow! It’s been a little while since I’ve been able to write a post! Is your family suffering with all the viruses that are going around?  Mine is!  It seems like each of us has had some sort of ‘bug’ over the last few weeks, and it isn’t something that goes away quickly!

When I was young, my mom always made chicken soup when we were suffering from colds or other respiratory ailments.  There is just something soothing about it!  I’ve made several pots of it during the last 2 weeks.  My recipe is not written down. . .it’s one of those that I just throw together, but I’ll try to make it easy for you to make!

4 large chicken breasts

2-3 quarts water

1 medium onion, diced

3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 cans chicken broth

1-2 cups dried rice or egg noodles

seasonings to taste: salt; basil; rosemary; Mrs. Dash; cayenne pepper

Bring the water to boil in a large stock pot.  Add the chicken and cook thoroughly.  Remove chicken.  Add chopped onion, carrots, chicken broth, rice or pasta and seasonings.  Cook until vegetables are tender and rice/pasta is cooked.  Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to the stock pot.  Heat through.   I sometimes thicken the soup just a little using cornstarch.  You might enjoy adding other vegetables such as celery to your soup.

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

The groundhog did not see his shadow, so that means an early spring, right? Well, we have about 6 more weeks of winter whether he sees his shadow or not!  This week most of the nation has been experiencing a major snow and ice storm.  I’m so sorry if that includes you!  We’ve not gotten the winter weather that you folks got, but we are having cold temperatures with lots of rain. . .LOTS of rain!  Today’s high is only about 34 degrees, but it has rained all day long!

When we have weather like this, homemade soups are on the menu.  My family has several favorites including creamy tomato; cheesy potato; and this one, broccoli-cheddar.  Topped with toasted bread crumbs and served with grilled cheese sandwiches, it is the perfect food to warm a body up after being out in the cold rainy weather.

2 tbsp. butter, melted

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/2 c. butter

1/4 c. all purpose flour

1/4 c. corn starch

4 c. milk

2 (14 oz) cans chicken broth

1 lb. fresh broccoli

2 c. carrots, julienned

salt and pepper to taste

16 oz. shredded cheddar cheese.

Saute the onion in the 1 tbsp. butter.  Set aside.  Melt 1/2 cup butter in large soup pot.  Add the flour and cornstarch.  Stir and cook about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Slowly add the milk and whisk to completely mix in the flour mixture.  Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Stir and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and sauteed onions.  Bring back to a simmer and cook until veggies are tender, about 25 minutes. Stir frequently.  Add salt and pepper (about 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper).

When the veggies are tender, puree them by using an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, pour soup by batches into a regular blender and puree.  Return the soup to the pot.  Keep on low heat.  Add the grated cheese, stirring until melted.

Serves 6-8 depending on the size of the serving!