Saturday, September 22, 2012

Soup Recipes for the Cool Days Ahead

 It's the first day of fall, my favorite time of year! That means soup weather is coming, so thought I'd give you some ideas. We are having a cool, fall-like weekend and soup sounds good to me. The above picture is White Beans and Ham which starts with dried beans. So yummy served with some Cheese and Jalapeno Corn Bread.
 My Corn and Potato Chowder with Butternut Squash and Ham is full of wonderful fall flavor! I love it served with Cornbread Muffins or some good quality bread.
 Who doesn't like Chicken and Noodle Soup? I used purchased frozen noodles in this soup to make it easier. This is perfect comfort food.
 Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew is one of our favorite cool weather meals. I do brown the meat before adding it to the slow cooker, because it adds  a lot of flavor. Throw the ingredients in the pot and just let it cook until done.
So easy.
 This Bean and Bacon Soup is delicious! It uses canned beans, which makes it a pretty quick soup to put together. Perfect for a weeknight meal.
 My Hamburger Stew is pure comfort food. This is one of my husbands favorites too. My mother and grandmother made this, so it's been in my family for many years.
 Homemade Chicken and Rice Soup is so delicious and satisfying. It is easy on the budget and quick to prepare which makes it nice for a weeknight meal too.
Last but not least is Pinto Beans and Ham. This is comfort food. Best served with corn bread I think.
Hope this helps you find something warm and tasty for cooler weather. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mushroom and Pepper Frittata for Two

 Sometimes I need an easy meal. Just like everyone else, My husband and I have very busy lives. I'm now back to babysitting our adorable granddaughters; the on-the-go 3 year old, and her almost 3 month old baby sister who so far is rather laid back and still likes to sleep most of the time. So every weekday is very busy, and sometimes unpredictable. Last night I wanted something quick to make so I scouted out the fridge and used just what was available to make a Frittata for Two. It's not fancy, and it won't make it into the latest cooking magazine, but boy was it good! Filled with mushrooms and those small, sweet mini peppers that are in the produce isle, and a few other ingredients, I had a main dish ready in just a few minutes. And it was so good with toast and fresh fruit.
Mushroom and Pepper Frittata for Two
from Lynda's Recipe Box
Just about any veggies and any cheese will work. I used ingredients that were just leftover basically. Zucchini is good too. Here's my list.

4 large eggs
3 tablespoons half and half
about 2 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup diced red onion
3 fresh, sweet mini peppers, coarsely chopped
about 1/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1-2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the peppers and mushrooms and onions, or other veggies of choice. Beat the eggs and half and half in a bowl with some salt and pepper. Heat an 8 inch skillet over medium heat. A non-stick skillet would be perfect, but I used a stainless steel pan and it worked fine, but I needed more fat so the frittata wouldn't stick. Also, make sure your skillet is oven safe.
Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet. When it is melted add the mushrooms and stir around for a couple of minutes. Add the onions and peppers, and more butter only if needed and season with a little salt. Saute until softened a minute or two. Add the egg mixture and shredded cheese to the skillet and mix. Let cook a couple of minutes. Place frittata into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the frittata is set. It shouldn't jiggle when shaken. Add a bit of cheese to the top is desired,and bake for a minute,just until cheese is melted. Carefully remove skillet from the oven. NOTE! Handle is screaming hot! IT is so easy to forget to use a potholder when taking this out of the oven. (Has anyone other than me ever grabbed a handle in the oven, not thinking?  sigh.) Cut and serve; it is yummy.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Oven Baked Potato Wedges (or Steak Fries)

 I love potatoes. It doesn't matter how they are prepared, I'll take them any old way. The way I cook them most often is as Oven Baked Potato Wedges because there is hardly any preparation, or other ingredients needed. I like simple. They are so easy I think I could make them in my sleep! My favorite way to eat them is just with salt, which I know is really boring, but sometimes I switch it up, depending on my mood. They also taste fantastic sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, or sometimes I'll add paprika and cayenne along with salt and pepper. They also go with so many entrees, not only burgers and hot dogs, but also steaks and pork chops, or any other  meat where you want to add potatoes as a side. Put these fries in the oven and then prepare your main dish and dinner doesn't take long at all. You really don't need a recipe of course, but here's what I do.
Oven Baked Potato Wedges-aka Steak Fries
From Lynda's Recipe Box
I like russet potatoes the best because I think they are a bit more crisp after baking, but any potato will work.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Choose potatoes with nice skins. Scrub them with water and a vegetable brush. Dry potatoes with paper towels.

1. Cut each potato in half, and each half in half. Then each quarter potato I'll cut in half again, or in thirds, depending on how thin I want the wedges. So, each potato will make 8-12 wedges. For my husband and I, I use 2 large potatoes.
2. Place potato wedges on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil. I'll use 1-2 tablespoons, depending on how many potatoes I'm using. With fingers, toss the potatoes and oil until the wedges are coated. Add more oil if need. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and other spices if desired. When I use Parmesan, I add it about the last 5-10 minutes of baking so it won't burn.
3. Place in oven; bake until the edges of the potatoes are browning, about 25 minutes. Turn wedges over with a spatula and continue baking for 10-15 minutes, or until they are as crisp as you desire. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Asian Turkey Meatballs

 I am a meatball fan and though spaghetti and meatballs is one of my favorite foods, I was so anxious to try these Asian Turkey Meatballs when I found the recipe. Meatballs make such yummy appetizers and these did not disappoint me. Even though my supermarket was out of cilantro, I made them anyway and they were still really tasty. The recipe also call for coconut oil in the meat, but It bothers my stomach, so I left it out. I added garlic which was a good call. The dipping sauce adds tons of flavor too and they would be a great addition to your football parties, (or any party for that matter), so hope you'll give these a try.
Asian Turkey Meatballs
Adapted from The Chew

Meatball Ingredients:
1 pound ground turkey
2 green onions, white and green parts, diced
1 tablespoon Sesame oil
(I left out 1 tablespoon of coconut oil-can't eat it)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (I did not add this; store was out)
1 large clove garlic, minced- my addition
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and form into small meatballs. I made about 24. Place on baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes until done.
Make dipping sauce while meatballs bake.

Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 slices fresh ginger, smashed
Add all ingredients to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until brown sugar is dissolved and sauce just begins to thicken. I didn't let the sauce thicken hardly at all, just slightly. Serve with meatballs. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pumpkin Cake Bars

 Technically it is late summer, but fall weather blew in with the storm we had a couple of days ago. I absolutely love fall and fall foods, so I couldn't wait to make something pumpkin. I can't even remember where I got this recipe years ago, but the first time I made it I thought the name was deceiving. It was called Pumpkin Bars, and somehow I assumed that it would turn out somewhat like a brownie. I was wrong. These bars are cake-like and moist, almost as dense as pumpkin bread really, but delicious. This recipe has become a staple at my house because I always have canned pumpkin in my pantry, so I can whip it up at a last minutes notice. I've made these Pumpkin Cake Bars so many times through the years. They are always well received at our church's pot luck dinners, family get togethers and they have been devoured at many funeral dinners that I've helped with. Oh, and my husband loves them too. These Pumpkin Cake Bars are made in a jelly roll pan and topped with Cream Cheese Frosting, which is always a favorite. So if you need an easy, yummy dessert to make, give this a try.
Pumpkin Cake Bars
Origin of recipe forgotten-sorry!
(Update! It was pointed out to me that I had a couple of mistakes in my recipe. So sorry for any problems this may have caused. It has been corrected-thanks! 10-29-14)

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (or use another teas. cinnamon if desired)
1 cup oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 can of pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a jelly roll pan. I used a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2 inch jelly roll pan with 1 inch sides, also called a Baker's Half Sheet. (It will also fit in a 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 inch pan with 1 inch sides, but may need to bake a few minutes longer.) In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk. In another bowl, mix the oil, eggs, and pumpkin. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just mixed. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Frost with Cream Cheese Icing. Enjoy!

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together with a mixer. Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Spread over cake. Enjoy!

NOTE: This makes a fairly thin layer of frosting, You may increase the amount of frosting if desired. I always top the frosting with about 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.
If you want a thicker frosting, use 8 ounces  cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter, 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.