Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Five powers, activate! Form of: Sunday Soups

What? I know. I'm mixing days of the week and I'm using the Wonder Twins to activate this post. What the shit is going on. September is but a fart in the wind, my friends. POOF. Gone. It's getting chillier (where I am, anyway). I'm excited. Sweaters, scarves, Yankee candle fall scents, and soup. You need soup.

Soup is crucial to my life. I make a pot of Sunday soup every week to take for lunch. I grew up coming home from school to my Mom Mom's house and she'd have a pot of soup on the stove, just about done. I'd eat saltines with butter and my bowl of soup. To me, soup is Mom Mom. Childhood. Home. Comfort. Love.

I like to try new soups every year, but I have some tried and trues that are always on the menu.

1. Veggie Beef Barley Soup

1/2 Cup chopped onion (you can cheat and use frozen chopped onions)
1 Cup frozen green beans
Up to 8 oz mushrooms (optional)
2/3Cup uncooked barley
1 Cup corn
1.5 Cups water
1TSP salt
1/2 tsp thyme leaves
S&P to taste
1 lb ground beef
1 lb beef stew meat (optional)
3 14.5 oz cans beef broth
2 cans diced tomatoes 
8 oz can tomato sauce

Brown ground beef and onions, drain and put in crock. If you are using mushrooms, saute for about seven or eight minutes. If you are using stew meat, toss in a bit of flour and sear. Add to crock with all other ingredients and cook on low 7 hours or high 3 hours. 

You can also do this on the stove, of course. Just bring everything to a boil, then simmer for an hour or two. 

2. Hungarian Mushroom Soup
12 oz mushrooms, sliced (I usually use 8 oz carton of baby bellas and 1/2 carton of white)
2 cups chopped onions
2 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
1 cup milk (I use 1%)
1 tsp dill weed
1 TBS paprika
1 TBS soy sauce
2 C stock (beef, veggie, or chicken)
2 tsp lemon juice
dried parsley
salt and pepper
1/2 cup sour cream

Saute onions in 2 TBS of stock for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1 tsp dill, 1/2 cup stock, soy sauce and paprika. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes

Melt butter in large saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook, constantly whisking, for about 2 minutes. Add milk and cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes over low heat. It should be thick.

Stir in mushroom mix and remaining stock. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, sour cream, stir well to combine.

I often double this recipe so we have enough for the week. I only add one additional cup of onions though, not two.

3. Stuffed pepper soup a la Skinny Taste.
1 lb ground meat (I've used turkey, beef, chicken - all good)
1.5 cups chopped pepper (I like to use two different ones. Green and red or orange or yellow)
1 cup onion, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 14.5 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
4-5 cups broth (I've used chicken, veggie, beef - all good)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp of marjoram (if you're like WTF is marjorum, use 1/2 tsp oregano or thyme)
3 cups cooked rice (use brown - it's healthy and you really can't tell in this soup)

Brown meat and drain, reduce heat. Add peppers, onions, and garlic. Cook for about five minutes on low.

Add tomatoes, sauce, broth, marjoram and S&P. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Add rice.

This makes a lot, and it's very freezable. I allow it to cool and freeze in quart size freezer safe bags - lay flat and flash freeze, then stack in the freezer.

4. Creamy Cauliflower Cheddar Soup from Annie's Eats. Click the link and follow her directions - the only thing I do differently is sometimes I use onion for the shallots, and I don't do the croutons.

5. Potato soup
10 medium potatoes, scrubbed well and cut into cubes (I use red or gold and I do not peel them - peel if it's your preference)
3 TBS flour
6 slices bacon, chopped and cooked (optional)
2 TBS bouillon/base (I normally use chicken but have also used veggie)
1 TBS ranch dressing mix
Dried parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, ground black pepper to taste
3 Cups of water
1 Cup half & half or milk (I've used half & half and 2% milk, both were fine)
shredded cheddar and green onion for topping (optional)

Put the potatoes in the bottom of the crock, top with flour and toss to coat. Throw bacon bits, bouillon and all spices over. Add water.

Cook on low for 7 hours or high for 3-4. Pour half and half in, cook another 15 minutes. Dunzo.

Sometimes I put my immersion blender in and make it a little smoother.

You can also do this on the stove top, just bring to a boil and then simmer until potatoes are tender, add in the half and half and cook for another 10 minutes.

Soup's up, bitches. Make some this weekend. It's fall after all. And check back on Sunday, which no one ever does, for my chicken noodle soup recipe.
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou." --Omar Khayyam

Once upon a time, I really wanted to be the person who made her own bread but I was afraid I'd F up the rising times, etc.

Then I got a bread maker and my friend Mimi passed along her family's go to bread recipe, and we all lived happily ever after.

Seriously, this is better than bread at many restaurants. Give it a go.
Put in bread machine in this order...

1 cup of water, no specific temperature.
3 cups of bread flour
1 heaping teaspoon of salt
2,5 teaspoons or 1 package of yeast
1 tablespoon of Crisco
olive oil

Set the machine on dough and help it along until everything is mixed and it forms a ball.  If it doesn't look like it will form a ball, drizzle more water in (I normally do).

Remove the dough from the bread machine at 1 hour 15 minutes.  Generously grease the bottom of a glass dish with olive oil. I do mine in a glass or ceramic 8x8 square dish.

Add olive oil to the top of the dough and push it down with your fingers to make the dough about an inch thick.  I add salt, pepper, rosemary and whatever else I feel like to the top.

Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the microwave to rise (do not turn the microwave on).  Once it rises so the top of the dough is at the top of the dish,  bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until the top is golden.

This is also Mimi's (and now my) pizza dough recipe too.

In closing, for Haikuesday (I'm going to make that a thing):

Bread from the oven
I hate sharing food. Hands off!
But pass the butter. 

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