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Dinner Menu: Cream of Potato Cheese Soup And Blueberry Crisp

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Yummy JeffreyW photo

I have an abundance of potatoes that I need to use up. I’m loving my convection oven because I can bake up potatoes in about 30 minutes. So that’s using up a few. And I’m having guests over for pot roast on Sunday, which will use up a few more.

Still, I have a big bag of potatoes from my brother’s garden that I don’t want to go to waste. It’s blustery cold here, so soup sounded like a great idea. So creamy potato soup (mmm, with cheese) it is, with a complete dinner menu, to boot.

On the board:

  1. Cream of Potato Cheese Soup
  2. Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad
  3. Blueberry Crisp

Cream of Potato Cheese Soup

  • 6 large potatoes, cubed (peeling opt)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp ea: sage, rosemary, basil
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt & pepper to taste

Lg. saucepan (2 to 4 qt)

In saucepan or Dutch oven, cover potatoes with water and boil until fork tender, drain all but 2 cups water. Add onions, garlic and spices to potatoes*. In a bowl mix together  milk, flour, salt & pepper. Mix well, no lumps, add melted butter. Add to potatoes and mix well.  Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, add cheese, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

*A great trick is to remove about ½ cup of the cooked potatoes and mash, then add back into soup, this gives you an extra creamy texture.

Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad

  • 10 oz spinach, washed
  • 2 oranges, peeled, remove white skin & cut into chunks (you can substitute equivalent canned mandarin orange slices)
  • ½ red onion, sliced in rings
  • 1 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • Raspberry-walnut dressing

large salad bowl

Tear spinach leaves. Layer in a large salad bowl. Top with orange chunks, onion, sprinkle blue cheese and walnuts. Add dressing & toss before serving.

Blueberry Crisp

Topping:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

Combine dry ingredients and cut in butter until mixture is crumbly

Filling:

  • 1 tbsp butter, melted and spread on bottom of baking dish
  • 16 oz frozen blueberries
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • dash of lemon juice

8×8 baking dish, greased

Combine blueberries, sugar, lemon juice & cornstarch. Spread in buttered baking dish. Top fruit mixture with flour topping. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, until top is golden and blueberries are bubbly.

Shopping List:

  • 6 large potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 oz spinach
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 oz bleu cheese,
  • 4 oz chopped walnuts
  • Raspberry-walnut dressing
  • 1 stick + 3 tbsp butter
  • 12 oz frozen blueberries

Also: cornstarch, sugar, brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, sage, rosemary, basil, garlic

 



 

Tidbits

img_09931600x1200Here’s a photo from the archives.  I like the symmetry.20161112_1654231600x1200Kroger had a sale on strip steaks.  They needed some trimming but were still a pretty good value.  I did this sous vide, setting the water bath to 130 degrees for a couple of hours.  They finished in a smoking hot cast iron skillet in olive oil and butter, deglazed with white wine and chives for a simple pan sauce.20161115_1204201600x1200Sloppy joes for lunch the other day.  This one has American cheese and a few dill pickles.  The potato salad looks like it has the traditional dusting of paprika but it’s really Creole seasoning.  It adds a bit of a tang to it.20161111_163233-1600x1200BBQ chicken!  I’ve taken to cooking these leg quarters in the toaster oven using the slo-cook setting.  I did this on the high setting for two hours, no particular reason to choose that time – it’s the default for the high setting.  Set it to low and the default is four hours.20161116_0824161600x1200I snapped this one of Bitsy lounging atop the sofa, prompted by the play of sunlight through the slots of the vertical blinds.  It seemed like a candidate for the Prisma treatment:img_20161116_082932_processed

20161114_1131091600x1200Hot dogs!  I’m not sure how long these buns have been offered but I’m liking the slit on top rather than on the side.  These are Pepperidge Farms brand.20161115_1712191600x1200I’ll wrap up with some soup. This one uses the broccoli left over from that steak dinner, a bit of smoked pork, rice, and three kinds of cheese in chicken stock and milk.

Better With Biscuits

20161026_1208171600x1200We had a last bit of vegetable beef soup and what better way to make leftover soup better than a couple of fresh biscuits?  These were from a half-recipe of JP’s Big Daddy Biscuits.  It made 4 of a decent size.20161026_1209331600x1200I like to break one up in the soup to soak up the gravy and have another to eat out of hand with butter or jam.

Got Soup?

20161004_115025One of the nicest things about smoked chicken leftovers is that you can use it in some absolutely killer soups.  This one is easy:  Take a box of rice mix – this one uses Zatarain’s Long Grain and Wild Mix, add twice the water as the directions say and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer and cover until the rice is done, stir in some chopped broccoli and continue to simmer until the veggie is tender, add a handful of diced chicken breast, stir in a generous handful of shredded cheddar, a splash of half & half, keep stirring until the cheese is fully melted.  It’s good served right away, even better if you let it rest awhile, the rice will continue to plump – reheat just before serving, careful to keep the cheese from burning on the bottom.

Got Soup?

20160929_1704341600x1200

Mmm… Fresh Hot Rolls

20160916_1149031600x1200That King Arthur bun recipe is so versatile.  It’s been my go-to recipe for all of my soft bun needs for a while now.  Great for hamburger or hot dog buns and these cloverleaf buns are no different.20160916_1119281600x1200I dump the ingredients into my bread machine and run the quick dough cycle, it gives the dough one rise and beeps to let me know it’s my turn.  Roll small pinches of dough between your palms and tuck them into a muffin pan.  These have risen again and have been brushed with butter prior to baking.  I set my convection oven at 375 and give them 6 minutes, then turn them.  I let the color at the 6 minute mark inform the timing, these were starting to brown so I gave them just 3 more minutes and peeked, then added a another minute for 10 minutes total.20160916_1134151600x1200

Soup ‘n Sammy

DSC_1857 (1600x1060)Bog standard chicken noodle soup, kicked up a notch with a wee drip of sesame oil, a scant teaspoon of fish sauce, and a dash of Chinese Five Spice.  I mentioned yesterday in the lasagna post that I had leftover cheese sauce with spinach – I smeared a bit inside the grilled cheese sammies to go along with the provolone and American.

Snow Alert Means Soup Time: Hearty Spinach-Tomato

Spinach Tomato Soup

French Toast Alert System may be activated, but I have my own comfort snow foods. Big pot of soup on the stove:

Tomato-Spinach Soup

  • 1 lb ground beef (or 1/2 ground beef, 1/2 spicy Italian sausage)
  • 1/4 of a small onion, chopped
  • 24 oz diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, cleaned
  • 8 oz sliced carrots (I use frozen)
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 cup water, more as needed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (opt)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan for garnish
  • spinach chiffonade for garnish

blender, saucepan

In saucepan, brown ground beef and onions. In a blender, blend together spinach and tomatoes, until smooth*.  Add to beef mixture, along with vegetables and spices.  Bring to low boil, stirring frequently, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve with Parmesan and spinach chiffonade.  Makes 4 generous servings.

*Blending the spinach, tomatoes together gives you a nice hearty tomato base for the soup.  You can add some additional spinach leaves at the end if you like, letting them get limp but not overcooked.

Tidbits

20151231_152309 (1600x1060)Ginger taste tests the doggies’ chow.  Mrs J has a recipe she’s been using to add a little flavor to the regular dry fare.DSC_1916 (2)I’ve always liked this photo of a cardinal and her wingman swooping by a feeder on a bright day against a snowy background.DSC_1637 (1600x1060)Here are those pressure cooker baked beans.  I’ve added some bbq sauce and ketchup because the original beans were a tad dry.  They accompany a sammich of ham salad on dark rye.DSC_2587 (1600x1060)Here’s a whole flock of cardinals, attracted by a pile of seed on the ground.DSC_2637 (1600x1060)And several bluejays take their turn.DSC_1649 (1600x1060)A pretty good tasting chicken noodle soup I made up today to use up a few chicken thighs I did up in a confit the other day.  Mrs J tells me she likes hominy so there is some in there today.DSC_1640 (1600x1060)Here are those chicken thighs I mentioned, with yellow rice and steamed broccoli.  I have the legs quarters and breast of a medium sized turkey salted down, I’ll do a confit with them tomorrow.  All the rest of that turkey is simmering in my stockpot this afternoon.DSC_2731Moar bluejays!

Dinner Menu: Spicy Potato Soup and Gooey Chocolate Treat

Spicy Potato Soup_Snap2Well, in parts of the Front Range there was 10 inches of snow. Here…rain. Bixby was disappointed but I was not. Still cold enough to keep the soups going.

I rifled through my files and decided on another soup for the dinner menu this week:

When the cold weather hits, it is great to hunker down with some hot soup, buttery biscuits and finish with some melt-in-your-mouth cake warm from the oven. This is my go-to potato soup, over the traditional cream of potato soup; I like the spiciness and the sautéed onions add a deep, rich flavor. The garlic biscuits are a nice complement to the soup. I was going to find a healthy dessert for tonight, but then thought to heck with it, it’s cold and we need chocolate.  Rich, gooey, chocolaty goodness.

JeffW's awesome biscuit photo. So beautiful I wouldn't even try to compete with my own.

JeffW’s awesome biscuit photo.

On the board tonight:

  1. Spicy Potato Soup
  2. Garlic Biscuits
  3. Salad
  4. Mocha Cake

Spicy Potato Soup

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • ½ lb spicy ground sausage, browned and drained
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper (opt)
  • 1 bay leaf (remove before serving)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • 6 potatoes, well scrubbed, unpeeled and cubed
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar or jack

saucepan

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and lightly golden, about five minutes. Add sausage, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, garlic, broth, & potatoes. Mix milk & flour, add. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes until potatoes are soft. If it’s too thick, add water. With a potato masher, slightly mash a few of the potatoes. Serve with cheese to garnish.

Garlic Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tbsp buttermilk powder*
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or shortening
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 cup milk*

bowl and baking sheet or cast iron skillet, greased

I prefer using butter over shortening because it gives the biscuits a buttery, garlic flavor that is irresistible.

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter, stir in garlic, add milk. Stir quickly with a fork until completely moistened, don’t over mix. Knead gently on floured surface for 10-12 strokes. Roll out to ½ inch thick, cut into biscuits. Place on baking sheet or cast iron skillet, and bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

*or substitute 1 cup buttermilk,  then omitting buttermilk powder and milk.

Mocha Cake

  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

====

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup very hot coffee**
  • 8×8 inch baking dish, lightly oiled

Preheat oven to 350°

This is a pudding style cake, so you don’t want to over bake it. You’ll serve it warm and directly from the pan. When you cut into it a thick, gooey chocolate center will be revealed.

From the top list: combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder & salt. Combine milk, oil, & vanilla, mix well and add to flour mixture. Stir well. Pour batter into baking dish. From the bottom list: combine sugar & cocoa and sprinkle over batter. Pour hot coffee over batter – DO NOT stir. Bake for 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched, do not over bake.

** for a stronger coffee flavor, double the ground coffee to water ratio, or use espresso.

Shopping list:

  • Salad fixin’s
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ½ lb spicy ground sausage
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • 6 potatoes (russets work best)
  • 5-1/2 cups milk
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar or jack
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • Coffee or espresso to make 1 strong cup

Also: flour, sugar, crushed garlic, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, cayenne, salt, pepper, baking powder, oil, vanilla

Originally posted on February 2011

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