Soup


This has been a crazy winter.

    Snow.
      Heat.

    Snow.

Rain.

    Heat.
      Snow

etc etc. Even for Louisiana it is weird weather!!

So while it is still on the cool side I was glad to try one more soup. This one from Dorie’s around my french table for French Fridays with Dorie. this time…

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Dorie describes this s rustic. A soup that would, “sit on the back of the stove…until it was thick enough for a heavy spoon to stand upright in it.” And that is an apt description. So much good stuff in this soup it is almost a stew: cabbage, navy beans, carrots, onions, celery leeks, potatoes, sausage, and pork. All coming together in a delicious soup. There is supposed to be duck in the soup but when I pulled mine from the freezer it was beyond use. Next time. Any way, step by step the soup is built. Brown the pork roast and then put it in the pot with the broth and veggies. After a couple of hours it is done. Shred the pork and add it back in. Sausage, too. I do think next time I will brown the sausage first just to add some more depth, and color!!

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It was very filling, very flavorful, very much repeatable. With some toasted corn muffins it was the perfect supper for a very cool, not cold anymore, winter night. I would like to try it in the crockpot and Liz has a link on her site for that. If you want the recipe – Liz has it on site, That Skinny Chick Can Bake. Or in Dorie’s book on page 86 in AMFT.

Check with the other Doristas and their soups.

It has been cold in the Deep South for the last month. In fact, we have had snow and ice four times. Unheard of in the Deep South. So I was looking for something warm and comforting for dinner and beyond. Thank goodness for Secret Recipe Club because I found more than enough tasty dishes to keep us warm and cozy for a few meals. How, you ask? Because I was lucky enough to be matched with Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen for this month’s SRC!!

Vonnie lives in Coastal Virginia with The Hubster, a beauyiful teenage daughter, two turtles and a cute little dog, Meeka. She says she is, ‘a work in progress’, a food writer, and blogger (obviously), and self-taught cook. She taught me a thing or two with all her tempting recipes. To keep us warm. But to cool us off in the hot summer as well.

I have been making potato soup for several years. It is B’s favorite. But I never thought to make it in the crockpot until Veronica showed me how.

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    6 large baking potatoes peeled cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    1 large sweet onion
    1 quart of vegetable broth homemade or canned
    3 garlic cloves minced
    1/4 cup butter
    1 tablespoon salt
    1/2 tablespoon pepper

Put these ingredients into the crockpot and cook for 6 – 8 hours on low until potatoes are tender. Mash the cooked potatoes leaving some chunks. {I used my immersion blender}

    1 cup half and half or cream
    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    3 tablespoons chopped chives
    1 cup sour cream

Now mix in these last four ingredients. Serve garnished with additional chives, cheese, and, if you wish, crumbled bacon.

Definitely going to keep you warm on a cold night. It is filling, comforting, and delicious.

We are actually trying to watch what we eat. Maybe a few more veggies, a little less sugar, fruit for breakfast. If I can combine some good ingredients together it is definitely a positive thing. Like making Vonnie’s Breakfast Banana Muffins. Moist and tasty. I made a couple of subs just trying to make them a little healthier.

    5 ripe bananas
    1 1/4 cup All Purpose flour {I used 1/2 AP and 1/2 Whole Wheat Flour}
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup sugar {Splenda}
    1/2 cup shortening {used 1/4 cup shortning and 1/4 cup applesauce}
    2 large eggs beaten {1/2 cup egg beaters}

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spray the muffin tins with cooking spray or put liners in each of them. I used some heart shaped silicone holders. These are supposed to be more heart healthy!!
Peel the bananas and place them a bowl and mash them up well. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add the sugar, shortening, apple sauce, and eggs to the mashed bananas then stir in the flour mixture just until the batter is blended.
Pour the batter into the muffin tins to about 2/3 full and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

Perfect for Breakfast. Or a snack.

And then, because I am always looking for new dishes to make in the slow cooker I tried Vonnie’s Slow Cooker Chicken BBQ. We love BBQ chicken and always make extra for sandwiches. But since the weather has simply been uncooperative I decided to try this version instead.

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    8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    1 cup ketchup
    1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 Tbl Seasoning Mix {I used Toni’s.}
    1/2 cup cider vinegar

Place chicken in the slow cooker.

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Mix the ketchup, Worcestershire, sugar, hot pepper and vinegar together and pour sauce over chicken. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 4-5 hours. Remove and shred the chicken then mix it back into sauce. If it seems a little dry you can add some water a little at a time.

Served on a toasted bun it was perfect for a quick lunch – several lunches actually.

Okay, that’s three of the 15 recipes I ended up Pinning. There are so many more but somewhere along the line I just had to stop reading and start cooking. But in the future look for her Garlic Cheese Biscuits, Vodka Sauce, Baklava, ………
It’s All Good.

Speaking of good, you really need to hop over to the SRC Members and check out their ‘assignments’ this month. They are below.


Have you every heard of ‘grief bacon”? No? Me either. But I now know what it is. Because it is this month’s theme for LETS LUNCH What do you want when you feel down? Blue? Is there a special food?

I head for for the jar of Peanut Butter. Or the bag of M&Ms. I seldom make something for me when I am feeling blue. But if I just need something to ‘warm’ my soul I head for soup Not just any soup. Chicken Noodle Soup. Not decadent. Not soothing necessarily. But comforting. I remember sharing a bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup with Mom. Cold days. Rainy days. Chicken Noodle Soup.

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The recipe I used this time was based on a DASH recipe. Trying to eat a little better for our health brought me to this one. Comforting. Healthy. Delicious. And I served a nice hunk of Country Bread on the side. Bread = comfort food!

    STOCK:
    1 chicken (about 3 pounds) skinned and seperated, or 4 chicken quarters, skinned
    8 cups water
    2 onions, halved, the inner layer of skin left on
    3 carrots, chopped
    3 celery stalks, chopped
    1 bouquet garni
    4 black peppercorns
    1 teaspoon salt
    SOUP
    4 ounces spaghetti or linguine, broken into 2-inch pieces
    1 carrot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
    1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
    1 cup frozen corn, thawed
    1/2 cup barley
    1/3 cup yellow lentils
    2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
    2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

First make the stock. Put the chicken parts in a large, heavy-based stockpot or saucepan. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, then pour in about 8 cups cold water to cover the ingredients. Bring to the boil, skimming the surface constantly until all gray scum is removed. {You could use store bought as long as it’s low sodium – even veggie stock}

Reduce the heat to low immediately after the liquid boils. Add the bouquet garni, peppercorns, and I teaspoon salt. Partially cover the pan and simmer for I hour, skimming as necessary. Test the chicken joints after 30-40 minutes; remove them as soon as the juices run clear when the joints are pierced with the point of a knife. Set aside. Salt and pepper to taste.

Line a large colander or sieve with dampened cheesecloth and place it over a large heatproof bowl, then strain the stock through this. Discard the vegetables and flavoring ingredients. Return stock to the cleaned pan. Skim off any excess fat on the surface of the stock. Cool and freeze the leftover stock to use as a chicken .stock in other recipes.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard all the bones. Cut 112 pound meat into bite-size pieces for use in the soup. Reserve the remaining chicken for sandwiches or other recipes.

Bring the stock to the boil, then reduce the heat so the stock is simmering. Add the spaghetti or linguine and the carrot, and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the celery and corn, lentils, and continue cooking until the pasta and all the vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. I cooked the barley separately because it takes about an hour to cook.

Stir in the chicken with seasoning to taste and heat through. Sprinkle in the parsley and thyme, and serve the soup at once.


I added the barley and lentils to the recipe. You could even add quinoa. And any nice other veggie would be nice, too. Broccoli, squash, navy beans.

I also find making my own pasta very comforting so I made whole wheat noodles for the soup.

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I’ll post that recipe later.

What did the other members bring to lunch? You can find a round up on Rebecca’s blog. She was our host this month.

Eastern European foods rely heavily on pork, potatoes and vegetables. Noodles came into the cuisine after contact with Italy and today there is a lot of fusion of old traditional recipes and new food ideas. Basically there are two types of food in Poland. The cuisine of the aristocracy and the dishes of the farmers and workers. The aristocracy preferred more lavish foods from other countries, such as pasta introduced in the 1500s, and spices.
The food of the farmers and workers was more filling and tended to be hearty and warming. Since I am not at all aristocratic, I went with the hearty, filling, warming food. Such as this

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    Kielbasa and Potatoes

Polish sausage and potatoes are in many dishes of the area as are lots of grains and some dairy products.

    5 large potatoes, cut in bite sized chunks
    1 lb kielbasa, sliced
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 cup chopped green pepper {I used red}
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 teaspoon oregano
    1 teaspoon basil
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1 1/2 cups water
    1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese {I didn’t have any cheddar so I used Muenster}

In dutch oven, brown potatoes, kielbasa, onion and peppers in oil.
Add seasonings and water. Bring to a boil.
Cover tightly and cook for 20 minutes on low, stirring occasionally.
Uncover and sprinkle cheese on top. Return lid an allow cheese to melt.

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This was definitely hearty, filling, delicious, and took less than 30 minutes to put together. I also ran across similar recipes that added in other vegetables such as carrots, peas, etc. Recipe from Food.com


The people also depend a lot on mushrooms in their recipes. So While I was in the kitchen cutting up veggies I went ahead and made some soup.


Wild Mushroom Soup

    1/4 lb dried wild mushrooms {I used a combo of dried shitake, porcini, and button}
    9 cups vegetable or meat stock
    1 cup butter
    1 cup finely chopped onion
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    salt
    white pepper
    sour cream
    chopped fresh parsley

Cover mushrooms with cold water and soak overnight. Drain the mushrooms reserving the soaking liquid, strain the liquid through a fine cloth. Rinse the mushrooms in cold water to remove any remaining sand then slice into strips.
Add the mushrooms, 8 cups of of the beef stock and the soaking liquid to a 3 quart saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer over low heat 4 hours.
Melt the butter in a heavy skillet, add the onion, saute until golden brown then add to the soup.
Whisk the cornstarch with the remaining cup of beef stock, add to the soup, stir and simmer until slightly thickened.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, ladle into individual bowls, top each with 1 tbls sour cream and sprinkle with parsley. Recipe from Polish Recipes

No pics with this one. I KNOW I took them, but they are GONE!!But it wasn’t a pretty soup so maybe just as well. :)

The roundup of Poland will be the first week of February so check out My Kitchen My World.

The thing I like about Donna Hay is how she takes simple ingredients. Combines them in different ways and broadens my horizons with new flavors. I love sweet potatoes but I would NEVER have thought to make soup with them in a mix with onion and chicken stock. But Donna did. And while I am still not sure if I liked her sweet potato soup I do know it was different.

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Sautee some chopped onions and chopped up sweet potato. Add some broth. Cook. Blend smooth. Top with goat’s cheese and basil. Eat.

Except I made one small change. I baked the sweet potato which I think deepened the flavor some. After it cooled I cut it up and added it to the sauteed onions and broth. I used some garlic herb goat cheese, which mixed in after pictures really brought out some great flavor. Okay, I liked it! Did the other ladies of Wednesdays with Donna Hay? Visit and see.

Chaya, who chose the recipe,
Gaye,
Kayte,
Sarah.

The recipe is online on Donna’s site if you want to try it.

It was raining and 38 degrees out when I made this soup. Perfect weather for soup. Of course, according to Kayte, any weather is soup weather. When the weather took a chilly turn I was glad I picked soup to make this week for Wednesdays with Donna Hay. And while I only made 1/2 of the recipe I know I will make it again. It was good….. and easy.

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Beef broth, potatoes, leeks, and bacon. And throw in some chopped fresh sage. That’s it. That is the whole ingredient list – unless you add the optional cream.

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I did for part of it and I don’t think it really added to the flavor. The recipe is on page 24 of Donna’s modern classics: BOOK 1. Buy the book, check it out.


Check with

for their soups.

Every once in a while a blog name really catches your attention. Usually because you just know it tells you something important about the blogger. So when I was assigned It’s Yummy to my Tummy I knew right away my blogger had children. Isn’t it obvious? How many times have I heard my granddaughter say…

yogabba

    “There’s a party in my tummy. So yummy….”

and I imagine Heather’s two cuties say it a lot too. Especially if they get to eat her treats.

Like the ones I chose to make for Secret Recipe Club. and as usual it wasn’t easy making a choice.

The day I started reading through Heather’s blog is was chilly outside so soup sounded perfect.

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    Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

What a delicious way to warm up. Creamy, full of flavor with all the garlic, parsley, and thyme. And so colorful.

    1 cup cooked chicken, diced
    4 tbsp butter
    4 tbsp flour
    1 quart half and half
    14 ounces chicken broth
    1/2 cup celery, finely diced
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup carrots, finely shredded
    1 cup onion, finely diced
    1 cup spinach, chopped
    1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tsp thyme
    1/2 tsp parsley
    1 lb gnocchi
    salt and pepper, to taste

Saute the onion, garlic, and celery in the butter and olive oil, until onion becomes translucent. Add in your flour and make like a paste or a roux. Stirring constantly, cook the mixture for about a minute and then add in your half and half, seasonings, carrots, and chicken. Let mixture begin to simmer and thicken up.
In another pot, cook your gnocchi according to package directions or prepare your homemade gnocchi. Note, if preparing homemade gnocchi for this dish, I would do that before so you don’t have to worry about it at the same time as preparing your soup. As the soup mixture gets thicker, maybe a few minutes of simmering, add in your chicken broth, and let it reduce a few minutes again. Once the gnocchi is ready, add it to the simmering soup, along with your spinach.
Cook for a few additional minutes or until the spinach starts to wilt. Serve with a little parmesan cheese on top if you wish.

Afterward we needed a litle something sweet.

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And this Peanut Butter Fudge was just perfect.
I have been making PB fudge for years. And I have used the same recipe for years. You know the one -with that Puffy White Stuff. Well I am here to tell you this is sooo much better and tons easier to make.

    5 ounces of unsalted butter
    2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

In a microwaveable bowl, place butter and peanut butter and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for about 1 1/2- 2 minutes. Next stir mixture and microwave another 2 minutes, mixture will be hot and bubbly!
Add in vanilla and salt
Stir in powdered sugar until smooth. Note the mixture starts to get really thick here! So stir it with some muscle to incorporate the powdered sugar well.
Put the fudge into a 9 x 9 pan lined with parchment paper for easier removal. Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator until to cut into pieces and enjoy.

Microwave fudge!! This is way too dangerous a recipe to know about. Maybe I shouldn’t share it?

I don’t make biscuits very often (carbs!)(no self control!) but I decided to try Heather’s with the stew the other night. I needed something to soak up all the extra juices.

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    Fabio's Cheese Bomb Biscuits
      2 cups of sifted flour
      2 tsp of baking powder
      1/2 tsp of salt
      4 tbsp shortening
      1 1/4 cups of half & half
      1 1/2 Asiago cheese

    Mix all the dry ingredients together, including the grated cheese. Next add in the shortening. After you incorporate the shortening, add in the half & half.
    Ordinarily one would drop 1/4 cup of dough onto a greased cookie sheet, but I decided to use a muffin pan which gave me a nice thick biscuit.
    Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

    Heather used Romano or Parmesan cheese. I used the Asiago instead. And you will need more than 1 1/2 cups if you want a stronger cheesy taste. They were perfect with the stew.

    If you want to find out what else was coming out of the SRC Member's kitchens you need to check out the postings below. I know you will find some great food.

    And just in case you aren't familiar with Secret Recipe Club it is a great group of bloggers who are assigned a blog. We then make something from their blog and all of us post, or reveal, on the same day. Nobody knows who got who until the reveal. Tons of fun.


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