Thanksgiving Table: Squash Soup (Stovetop and Instant Pot)

Need to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish up dinner prep?  Set up a buffet table with a raw vegetable tray and dip, a bowl of nuts (in their shells) along with a couple of nutcrackers and this soup in a slowcooker to keep it warm and that should keep your guests occupied while you cook.

Winter Squash Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3-1/4 pounds butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, quartered
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Mmm… Bacon and Tomato Pasta Salad

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.

Dill Potato Salad

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?

Mmm… Butterbeans and Cornbread

20160920_1853301600x1200Nothing 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.20160920_1220001600x1200The cornbread isn’t anything fancy, just the back of the box recipe.

Beef and Barley Vegetable Soup

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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
  • 8 cups of water (or water and vegetable broth**)
  • 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)
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)

large saucepan

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.

**For vegetable broth,  I blend the tomatoes, and an additional 6 oz of carrots, 6 oz of green beans, 2 stalks of the celery, 1 cup water into a smooth puree, to make a hearty base for the soup.  I like the hearty stock.

Yum.



 

Lunch Menu: Chicken Alfredo Tortellini Soup

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

saucepan

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.



 

Cranberry Bean and Turkey Soup

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Turkey Bean Soup

  • 1 lb smoked turkey sausage, diced
  • 1 lb cranberry beans (soaked overnight, drained)cranberry-beans-close-up
  • 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

Slow-cooker

Add all ingredients to the slow-cooker and cook for 8 to 10 hours on low.

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Full Dinner Menu: Hearty Tomato Soup and a Couple of Awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

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Awesome Photo by JeffreyW

This is one of my favorite menus, perfect for a chilly week.

For a different take on grilled cheese, JeffreyW makes Inside Out Grilled Cheese here.

This not your mom’s canned soup or grilled cheese.  These are tasty, hearty and easy to whip up.  And the flax cookies are addictive (I can say this because it’s a friend’s recipe).  On the board tonight:

  1. Hearty Tomato Soup
  2. Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  3. Flax Cookies

Hearty Tomato Soup

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes*
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions, including greens
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour

2 quart saucepan

In a blender, mix tomatoes, garlic, carrots, celery & onions. Blend until liquid. In saucepan, combine tomato mixture with spices, heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let bubble (don’t let boil or use high heat, it will scorch) for 5 minutes. Add flour to cold milk, blend until smooth, add to soup. Let bubble again, reduce to low heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

* This is the time to use up any left over garden tomatoes, instead of canned. Blend until you have 4 cups of crushed tomatoes.

Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese

For each sandwich:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • Enough favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, etc.  to cover bread (about 3 slices)
  • Sliced Jalapeños (if you want some heat)
  • 1 large slice of tomato w/dash of salt
  • 1-2 tsp Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • Butter
  • Spray Oil

Spread salad dressing on both slices of bread and add ½ of the cheese to one slice of bread, place tomato & jalapenos on the cheese and top with remaining cheese and the other slice of bread, this keeps bread from getting soggy from the tomato. Lightly butter outside of both sides of the sandwich and grill in skillet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly oiled on medium heat until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. While it is grilling, press down hard with a spatula, “squishing” the sandwich. We don’t know why, but this makes them taste better.  🙂

Flax Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup ground flax
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped almonds

Bowl & cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream butter and sugar, add egg, vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients together and then fold into egg mixture until well blended. Mix in almonds and drop by the spoonful onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden, don’t let them brown.

Shopping List:

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes (4-6 large)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions
  • 8 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • 8 – 10 oz favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc)
  • 1- 2 Jalapenos or 2 oz pickled Jalapenos
  • 1 large tomato for slicing
  • Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 2 sticks + butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground flax

Also: crushed garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, whole wheat flour, unbleached flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, oil spray

Originally posted October 2009

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