Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tortellini Soup

I can barely believe that I am posting a soup recipe when it is 108 Degrees outside! My thoughts are drifting towards cooler Fall evenings, however, this one goes out by special request.

My original recipe is adapted from Rachel Ray's "About-15-Minute Soup with Spinach, Artichokes, and Tortellini."

What you need:

  • Extra-virgin-olive-oil, or butter to be used to saute the onions and mushrooms
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic (or more - I really like garlic!)
  • Small package of white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped into desired size
  • 2 tetra-pak boxes of organic chicken broth (2 quarts), or fresh broth
  • 1 Family size package of fresh refrigerated tortellini, and flavor
  • 2 pound of fresh baby spinach (or regular spinach), washed and stems removed
What to do:
In a 4-quart soup pot, sauté the mushrooms and onions in the EVOO or butter. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 2 minutes more. Next add salt and pepper and all of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the tortellini floats. Add the artichoke hearts and return to a boil. Last, fold in the spinach and cook until all of the spinach is wilted. Serve with a really good crusty bread.

You can vary the ingredients to your own taste or according to what you have available. You can leave out the garlic or use and color of onion. I usually buy the 4lb package of spinach and use about half of it. I am of the opinion that if you are adding a vegetable, you should get a decent amount of that vegetable in your dish.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Breakfast Crepes

This crepe recipe can be eaten for any meal and stuffed or stacked with your favorite sweet or savory topping. I enjoy serving breakfast food to my family with fresh fruit, so I topped mine with fresh, organic strawberries. My daughter topped hers with homemade blueberry syrup, and both were delicious. This recipe is super easy and quick - even for a novice.

What you need: 

  • 1 1/2 C Flour
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 1/4 C Milk
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 Tbs Butter, Melted
  • 1 Tbs oil (for the skillet)
What to do:
  • Preheat a skillet or omlet pan to medium low.
  • Place the flour in a deep bowl and gradually whisk or stir in the milk. Whisk until well blended. 
  • Add eggs, salt and melted butter.
  • When the skillet is hot, pour 1/4 cup of batter in the skillet at a time into the pan. Gently swirl the batter around in the skillet to spread the batter.
  • When the bottom of the Crepe is slightly browned, turn it over and cook the remaining side briefly.
I rolled these Crepes and stacked them with strawberries and maple syrup, but you could stuff them with fruit, scrambled eggs and salsa, or just about any topping you prefer. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Favorite Chuck Roast Recipe

#1 Disclaimer: I only make this recipe with 100% GRASS FED BEEF Chuck Roast. (I know, Chuck Roast is much fattier than other roasts. However, because it is 100% Grass Fed, the meat has a different fat content and consistency than grain fed / feed lot raised beef.)The cooking temperature and time reflect the unique make-up of this healthier meat.

  • Using a fillet knife, remove as much of the fat as possible from the roast.
  • Preheat an iron skillet / dutch oven at 225 degrees F.
  • Place the roast in the hot skillet. (You may have pieces that are not attached to the main roast anymore. That's ok. Just place all of the pieces in a small pile in the skillet.
  • Sprinkle generously with dried chopped onions or 1-2 medium sized onions, minced.
  • Sprinkle with additional seasoning of your choice: garlic powder, salt, pepper.
  • DO NOT add any liquid.
  • Cover the roast with the lid or cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Cook at 225 degrees F for 4-5 hours.
This roast will make its own juice and will be fork tender at the end of its cooking time. Leftovers from this roast make great sandwiches!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Granola Bars

I have reviewed a lot of recipes for granola bars and oatmeal cookie bars on the internet, and finally created a recipe based on what I found. I will continue to experiment with some ingredient changes to make these with a little less sugar, but, for now, this is what I've got. I made this with what I had on hand. You can substitute the dry ingredients for other dry ingredients.

2/3 cup of brown sugar (or natural sugar cane sugar)
3/4 cup of honey
6 cups of dry ingredients...
2 Tbs of butter ( I will try to substitute this one for coconut oil)
1 cup of chocolate chips

For dry ingredients, I used 2 cups of oats, 1 1/2 cup of puffed brown rice, 1 cup of raisins, 1/2 cups of mixed nuts, 1/2 cup of almonds and craisins. Combine all of the dry ingredients into a large glass mixing bowl.

1 Combine the brown sugar, honey, and butter in a sauce pan over medium low heat and cook until it simmers.

2  Pour the honey mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well with a large spoon.

3  Let is cool for a few minutes and then add the chocolate chips.

4  Pour into a 9x13 inch pan lined with parchment paper. Press firmly into the pan. Allow to cool completely. Turn the granola mixture over onto a cutting board and cut into granola bar shapes. Enjoy! Wrap any leftover bars in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Egg Drop Soup

My son is still on a soft food diet for a few more weeks. Thankfully, he LOVES soup. Egg Drop Soup is one of his favorites. My plan was to make homemade dumplings and stir fried veggies to go along with it. As usual, I was aiming too high for a very busy afternoon. We had scheduled to have our photo taken in some local bluebonnets at 5:15. That meant that dinner should have been basically ready to hit the table when we returned.I had prepared the dumplings before we left.You've seen those cute little wantons sealed up and boiled? Well, mine boiled too long and ended up loose in the pot. Bummer! But, the Egg Drop Soup was wonderful! 

Egg Drop Soup - Super Easy!

Chicken Broth (I use the boxed organic kind)
1/2 onion - minced
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 Tbs vegetable oil or olive oil 
2 Tbs cornstarch mixed in small amount of cold water
2 eggs

Saute the onions and garlic in a soup pot until soft. Add the broth and heat just until boiling. Add the cornstarch to thicken (if you like your soup a little thicker, just add more thickener - don't forget to mix it in cold water first.) Beat the eggs in a bowl with a whisk until thoroughly mixed. Bring the soup to a small boil. Slowly pour the egg into the hot soup. It will cook instantly and create these beautiful "ribbons" of egg. If you like any other vegetables in your soup, eg. corn or green onions, just add them before the thickener. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Old Fashioned Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding

This chocolate pudding is adapted from a recipe written on a napkin in my recipe box. Yes, I still have a recipe box, but it is not very full...and I am hoping to go digital this year. Anyway, here it is.

2 C milk
3/4 C sugar
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
3 T flour
2 eggs
1 T butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 C chocolate chips

1 Whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Gradually whisk in the milk. Over medium-low heat (4-5 on my stove), bring to a boil whisking constantly. Boil, still whisking constantly, about 4-5 minutes, or until the pudding is thick. Remove from heat.

2 Add the butter and vanilla

3 Beat the eggs in a metal or glass bowl. Very gradually add the hot pudding mixture.

4 Whisk in the chocolate chips until melted.

5 Pour into cups or ramekins. Cover the surface of each with wax paper to prevent a skin from forming on the top.

6 Refrigerate until cold (a couple of hours.)

Monday, April 5, 2010

What's Cooking This Week

So, now that I am preparing extra special meals for my son for lunch and dinner, suddenly the menu just got a little more complicated. Or does it? We have put our food in the blender for him, and it is working fine! Here's what's cooking this week.

Monday - Leftovers (a variety of things left in the fridge)

Tuesday -  Main Dish  Meatloaf
                       Sides  Mashed Potatoes, Carrots and Steamed Broccoli

WednesdayMain Dish  Baked Chicken
                       Sides  Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus

ThursdayMain Dish  Chicken Tacos
                       Sides  Refried Beans and Taco Salad Stuff

FridayMain Dish  Vegetable Soup (with ground meat, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions and celery)
                       Sides  Cornbread

Friday, April 2, 2010

A 6 Year old on a soft food diet?

Last weekend, my 6 year old son broke his jaw falling off of a bike. I know, aaaaaaaawwww (and OUCH!) He was not going fast, just landed on his chin. He got a couple of "green stick" fractures in his jaw and broke/chipped several teeth. He will need a cap on two molars - if the worst of the two can be saved instead of extracted. Like I said...OUCH! Now, he can only eat soft food for 2 weeks...doctors orders, not because of pain (remarkably, he is not really in pain anymore)

So, what do you feed a 6 year old that can't chew? We are putting "regular" food in the food processor and hoping that he will eat it. So far, chili went over really well, and he liked spicy refried beans. He has also eaten broccoli and cheese mush and corn mush. Tasty, but not really a texture that most kids would enjoy.

Tonight, we are having spaghetti. I am not sure that pasta will make a good texture. Maybe I will skip the pasta on his serving? I am working on a regular post about what is cooking here at home...I will include what we are feeding our very hungry little boy. I think that he will get tired of peanut butter, pudding and applesauce pretty soon. Besides, veggies are a mush (I mean MUST) in our house!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mama's Hot Sauce!

Adventures in Canning: Take 1

My mom came over and brought her canning equipment to teach my how to make my own hot sauce. It was great fun! I want to learn how to can using a pressure canner, and she has one that she might have used to heat water once.

We started by trying to gather supplies. We hit at least 5 grocery stores trying to purchase the gallon sized cans of tomatoes. I ended up buying a membership at Costco just to get the tomatoes. My plan this year is to grow (and buy from a local farmer) enough tomatoes to can my own. But until then, it looks like I will start shopping at Costco.

When we opened the box for the pressure canner and found no instruction manual, I hit the internet. Since we were on a tight schedule (after having spent much time shopping etc), and I couldn't find the exact manual quickly, we decided to "can" the way she knows how - "water bath." We did use the large pressure canner pot to can this hot sauce, but not using pressure cooking. I haven't given up on that yet, though. I still have the pressure canner, and she has since found the manual and mailed it to me, so I can use it for my next adventure. Anyway, our recipe made about 17 jars of hot sauce (mostly quart sized.) I will try to can some for teacher presents after Spring Break.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I'm here to stay!

Well...things on the "Blog front" have been a little crazy! I have been working on another blog site that I have just about decided to abandon. It just isn't turning out to be what I expected...there are other factors and people involved in that one. So, hang on - I am going to stick with this one! The bottom line is just that I started this for me as sort of an on-line diary and way to connect to my friends far away. We are not so and me. Many of us have similar stories of love and family, of food and friends, and of just doing the best we can with what we have. I hope that you find some comfort in my struggles and victories, and that you share yours with me, so that I may also share them with you. Together, we realize that our lives can effect others in positive ways - even when we are just living out our Faith one day at a time, doing the best that we can!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Although we have had record snowfall here in the South, I am turning my thoughts towards Spring. While finishing the last bowl of my very own recipe Deer Sausage Potato Cheese Soup, I am planning my tomato plants for this year. Last year was our first year to attempt to grow vegetables (and in containers), and the results were very poor - to say the least! We really started them much too late and they hibernated I guess...they bloomed, but never produced until after summer was over.
This year, I am turning to the professionals. I have ordered two Tomato Success Kits from the Gardener's Supply company. With a name like that, how could I go wrong? With a self watering feature, organic dirt and fertilizer...I am expecting a bumper crop of tomatoes! Now I need to learn how to can my own tomatoes! That is next on my list! Check back and I will post my progress.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reason # 1 to use my new Bosch Mixer: Cinnamon Rolls that look like this!
I have used my new Bosch several times...I am still getting acquainted with it, so to speak. But, when I made these cinnamon rolls, I couldn't help but share them with you! I used the recipe directly out of the cookbook that came in the package with the mixer. I couldn't have asked for a better result! The dough was kneaded just perfectly. I was able to press the dough out with my hands and WOW, did they rise beautifully! These were made for a special Sunday School class breakfast, but we had enough left over to share with the kids for a few days. Kenner says that he "wants giant cinnamon rolls for breakfast everyday!"

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pizza is a food group, RIGHT?

With a slice of take out pizza filling you with between 350 and 400 calories and upward of 12 grams of fat (25% of your RDA), avoiding pizza seems very logical. After all, we can cook most of the food that we eat at restaurants...fajitas, fried chicken, steak ...but not pizza, right? WRONG! Pizza is on of the easiest things to make! My family prefers our homemade version to any takeout! We made this "Thank you deer" pizza on friday.   I love the excitement in my son's voice when he sees that we are making pizza.

I usually use our current favorite spagetti or marinara sauce. This week, however, when I opened my pantry - guess what? No sauce! How could that be? With the crust rising, and the meat cooked...I decided to make my own sauce. Here's what I was perfect for the pizza - very chunky and very tasty!

Crust: Bosch Recipe
Sauce: Saute Onions and Garlic. Add salt and large can of Diced Tomatoes. Simmer about 30 minutes.
Meat: Ground Deer Meat...browned with diced onion.

My recipe made enough for 3 pizza crusts. I froze one and topped the other 2 with sauce, meat, black olives and cheese. On my Pampered Chef Stone, I baked it at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

Pizza this good deserves its OWN FOOD GROUP!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What I did with the leftover roast...

I do enjoy having leftovers in the fridge...however, my family and I do get weary of eating the same meal over and over. Here's what I did today with the leftover roast...

We enjoy Chicken Enchilada Casserole. So, why not Beef Enchilada Casserole?
Here's the recipe I created.
4 Tbs Oil
1/2 Onion
2 Stalks Celery
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Flour
2 1/2 Cups Beef Broth
Leftover Roast
1 Can of Rotel
2 Cups of Grated Cheddar Cheese
12 Corn Tortillas (torn or cut into quarters)

Mince onions, celery, and garlic in the oil over a medium heat. Add flour and cook until flour begins to brown. Slowly add broth and then Rotel. Layer in a caserole dish with the remaining ingredients, beginning with the beef mixture. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes or until bubbly in the center.