The store deli had an interesting pasta salad that we brought home for a quick side. They called it a bacon and tomato pasta salad and I found it delicious. This is an attempt at a copycat recipe. I went to Google for some ideas and this came up. It seemed incomplete as the Kroger salad had some dried herb flakes that I decided must be basil. I added a lot of basil, maybe 2 tablespoons or so to my small test batch.A lot of the recipes I turned up in the search included ranch dressing, and I think that may be the way to go in the future. After sitting overnight in the fridge the pasta shells I used had absorbed most all of the liquid and were looking dry. I added more mayo cut with half and half and chopped another tomato to fold in. It’s an interesting dish, and fun to experiment with. The Kroger deli used rotini but just about any bite size pasta will work.
I have a nice bit of dill coming on out on the herb bench so I took some and made a nice potato salad. It won’t be long before it starts going to seed or some critter starts munching on it so I’ll be looking at some more dill recipes. Dill buttered fish sounds good! Dill butter!I think I cut the potatoes to big and the eggs too small but I do have plenty of dill. For some reason I followed the recipe directions and boiled the potatoes whole instead of cutting them up first and then boiling them. There may be a good reason for the former method over the latter but I don’t see it. Leaching out the nutrients, maybe?
Nothing special about these, I will note that I used the “boil for a minute and let sit, covered, for an hour” method rather than soaking overnight. It worked fine. You drain the beans after the hour and then cook to your regular recipe. These are cooked in chicken stock with carrots, celery, and onions that were sauteed briefly. I like to add a Creole/Cajun seasoning to mine, and a couple of bay leaves. These have ham chunks that simmered in stock while the beans soaked to get a head start.The cornbread isn’t anything fancy, just the back of the box recipe.
JeffreyW makes mouths water with this photo of his Beef and Barley Soup (with bonus foccacia recipe here)
It has been unseasonably cold here. Today was the first day that I could actually open the windows. So soup seemed like a good idea over the weekend. Chuck roast was on sale for the amazing price of $2.99 lb. So I bought several large pieces, cut them up to dinner size and a couple pounds up for soup and stew. First up was this soup.
Beef & Barley Vegetable Soup
- olive oil
- 1 lb chuck, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 6 to 8 cups of water
- 12 oz sliced carrots (frozen ok)
- 12 oz green beans (frozen ok)
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup barley
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (more as desired. I use salt-free canned tomatoes, so I usually add more salt)
- 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
Heat oil in saucepan, sauté onions for 1 minute, add beef and brown on all sides, add garlic and sauté for 1 minute making sure not to burn the garlic. Add remaining ingredients** and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until barley is tender. Serve with biscuits or cornbread.
**Alternately – I blend tomatoes, and 6 oz of the carrots, 6 oz of the green beans, 2 stalks of the celery, 1 cup water into a smooth puree, to make a hearty base for the soup. Then I add the remaining veggies as directed above. I like the hearty stock.
A little change up for this week’s lunches. A big batch of soup as we wait for the big rain/snow storm.
Chicken Alfredo Tortellini Soup
- 2 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
- 4 boneless chicken thighs, cubed
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 6 cups water
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 4 oz sliced carrots
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 sprigs parsley, snipped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp garlic
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 20 oz bag cheese tortellini
- ½ cup half & half
- ¾ cup grated parmesan, plus additional for garnish
In saucepan, heat oil, add chicken and brown lightly. Add remaining ingredients, except cream & Parmesan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer over medium heat for 20-minutes. Add half and half & Parmesan simmer 2-3 minutes; stirring constantly to make sure Parmesan doesn’t stick. Serve hot and garnish with additional Parmesan.
Turkey Bean Soup
- 1 lb smoked turkey sausage, diced
- 1 lb cranberry beans (soaked overnight, drained)
- 8 cups of water (or 6 cups water, 2 cups chicken broth)
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 tsp dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Chili powder
- 1 tsp Cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to the slow-cooker and cook for 8 to 10 hours on low.
They are predicting a quick hitting snow storm for tonight and tomorrow with some locations having blizzard-like conditions. Seemed like a good time to make a batch of soup.
Because I have a vita-mix, most of the soups I make start with a thick vegetable broth. It gives a great depth of flavor. It’s also chocked full of nutrients and anyone who knows me well, knows I don’t eat enough vegetables, so I do what I can to up my daily veggies. But you may not want to go to that trouble, so you can substitute 4 cups of chicken broth for the vegetable broth in the recipe below.
Cream of Chicken Soup
- 1/4 tsp rosemary
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp basil
- 2 stalks celery (with leaves), rough chopped
- 2 medium carrots, rough chopped (or frozen sliced)
- 1 cup cut green beans (I use frozen)
- 4 cups of water
- 2 skinless chicken breasts (bone-in or boneless, doesn’t matter it will be shredded)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
small saucepan, dutch oven or large saucepan, blender
Stock: In the blender, add rough chopped carrots, celery and green beans, spices, 2 cups of water and blend until smooth. Add to dutch oven or saucepan.
Add chicken breasts and 2 additional cups of water to the saucepan. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate to cool. Add diced carrots, celery, salt and pepper to the liquid and cover. Cook until vegetables are tender crisp.
While the chicken is cooking, melt butter in the saucepan, add onions and garlic, and sauté until the onions are translucent. Whisk in flour and cook about 2 minutes or more. Turn the heat up to medium-high, slowly stir in milk and bring to a low boil, whisking until thickened. Reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally.
While the vegetables are cooking, shred the chicken. The easiest way to do this is to use two forks and pull across the grain of the meat in different directions. You can then use your fingers to break apart any large pieces.
Once the vegetables are tender crisp, whisk in the white sauce and then stir in the chicken. Cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve with parsley garnish.
Makes about 6 cups.
Mmm… shred some potatoes and cook them down in chicken stock for the base soup – then start with those little flourishes that make cooking fun. This one has onions, celery, and carrots along with the potatoes. Let them cook down a while then hit it with an immersion blender. I used some Swiss that I’ve had in the fridge for too long for the cheese component, then stirred in some heavy cream at the end. Bacon or ham works well in this sort of thing. Shave some Parmesan on top for a garnish.