Thursday, January 30, 2014

Italian Wedding Soup

This is my creamy Italian wedding soup. We love this soup and it's so so easy to make.

I made Italian Wedding Soup again, but this time I didn't do the low-carb one.

Ingredients:
1 box (quart?) chicken broth
1-1/2 pounds peeled, sliced baking potatoes
1 pint heavy cream 
3 strips bacon
1 pound sweet italian sausage
3 cloves garlic
1 big onion
a pot full of chopped curly kale
water
salt, pepper,  shake or two of red pepper, a gig or two of datil pepper sauce

Here's what you do:
* Cut up bacon into bits and fry until crisp. Drain and set aside  
*chop onion and garlic, set aside.  Then chop the kale in big pieces like you'd cut romaine for a ceasar salad.  It may feel tough now, but it gets limp and is easy to spoon once cooked. 
*Fry in big pot: peeled sausages, breaking up into large chunks.  Keep stirring so it doesn't stick and toss in a chopped onion and chopped garlic.  Once this is cooked, turn down to low.  Drain excess oil if necessary.
*Peel and slice potatoes, throw this into the pot with the italian sausage.
*Add box of chicken broth (or two cans) and add water to bring pot to 3/4 full. Bring to a boil. 
*Add seasonings to taste.
*Pack kale in until no more will fit in pot. It will cook down!  Cook on med heat until the potatoes start to fall apart and the kale is soft and cooked down into the liquid (maybe a half hour or more).
*Turn off heat and add a pint of heavy cream.  Never allow any soup with milk product to boil!  It will turn grainy. 
*Now serve!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Breakfast Bars - Fruit and Oatmeal

Fruit and Oatmeal Breakfast Bars – Morning on the Go

Prep time:  15 mins,   Cook time:  60 mins,  Total time:  1 hour 15 mins

Ingredients
·         2½ cups rolled oats
·         1 apple, cored and relatively finely chopped
·         ½ cup brown sugar
·         ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
·         ¾ cup mixed dried fruit (I use a combination of dried mangos, blueberries and cranberries they sell at Trader Joe’s)
·         ½ cup toasted slivered almonds
·         pinch salt
·         1 tsp. ground dried ginger
·         3 cups milk
·         2 eggs
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         ½ teaspoon almond extract

Instructions
1.     Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 Baking Dish. (I use Baker’s Joy or Pam for Baking, which include flour)
2.     Combine oats, apple, brown sugar, coconut, fruit, almonds, salt and ginger in a large bowl.
3.     In a small bowl or measuring cup, beat together the milk, eggs and extracts.
4.     Pour the milk mixture into the oat mixture and stir well to combine (It will look more like muesli in milk than anything like batter). Pour into the prepared pan.

5.     Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Let cool, cut into bars, wrap and store.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Honey Garlic Chicken Slow Cooker Recipe

I was excited to buy two 1-1/2 pound packages of hormone free, all natural, never frozen chicken breasts from the new Freshfield Farms grocery store in Jacksonville, FL at a fabulous price, $2.50/lb. The following recipe is from the website Lovin From The Oven. Their recipe calls for 4 chicken breasts, but I am assuming they mean the great big chicken breasts that fill a man up with just one. Mine are dainty chicken breasts, not the pumped up with chicken breast-growing hormones type that look like an 8-wide tennis shoe. The ones I bought are baby ballet slippers. *smile*

Not one to follow all directions like they're a personal message from God, I follow my heart and don't see why I can't put the meat and sauce altogether and freeze.  Do you?  I mixed up the recipe and was able to fit a package of six petite breasts each into two quart bag, added 1/2 cup of fabulous smelling sauce into each, burped the air out, squished the brown liquid all about, then popped those babies in the freezer.  Looks and smells good, even raw!
Everything I used to make this simple recipe.
Honey Garlic Chicken Slow Cooker Recipe
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup honey
  1. Place the chicken into your cooker.
  2. Mix together the rest of the ingredients and evenly pour it on top of the chicken.
  3. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3-4 (the time will be less if using a larger crockpot).
"After "picture from Lovin in The Oven

Smaller Crockpot Woes...or My Crockpot Is Too Big!

My crockpot is really big and I have had an eye out to find a smaller one (on a great sale) since our son and his wife moved out and it is just two of us.  Then I saw this mentioned on one of the crockpot cooking sites I frequent:

"You can put an oven-safe smaller vessel inside your crockpot..."

Thank you, Melissa from http://melissafallistestkitchen.blogspot.com

Genius!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Beef stew w/fresh kale, Portobello mushrooms, and barley, in red wine reduction sauce

Saw this recipe and want to try it.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Beef stew w/fresh kale, Portobello mushrooms, and barley, in red wine reduction sauce

Ingredients:
Beef for stew, large bunch of kale, Portobello mushrooms, pearl barley, yellow onion, garlic, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, Spanish extra virgin olive oil, Danish butter, dry red wine.

Preparation:
Soak barley at least 1 hour in water (overnight is best), Pat beef pieces as dry as possible and then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let this sit for an hour as well. In the meantime slice mushrooms, chop onion, kale, and garlic. In a 3 qt non stick sauce pan melt some butter. Sauté mushrooms until they begin to “sweat”. Drain barley and add to mushrooms. Add some red wine to mushrooms/barley and bring to a simmer. Add kale and bring back to simmer. Add rosemary and thyme. Keep simmering and adding more wine as liquid reduces. This should simmer at least 45 min (keep adding wine) until barley and kale are soft. Near the end of these 45 minutes you can start to prepare the beef. In a large stainless steel frying/sauté pan, melt some butter and olive oil. Fry meat on high heat until very well browned. If meat “sweats” pour off liquid and add it to mushrooms/kale/barley. You may need to add more olive oil to meat. You want a “fond” (brown coating on pan) to develop (that is why you are not using a non stick pan for this). Next add chopped onions, turn down heat, and sauté until onions are browned. Add the mushroom/kale/barley to the pan with the meat. Add more red wine if you need more liquid. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer and add garlic. Cover pan and cook 20-30 minutes to deglaze pan (dissolve the fond) and to let flavors set.






Beef stew w/fresh kale, Portobello mushrooms, and barley, in red wine reduction sauce
Ingredients:
Beef for stew, large bunch of kale, Portobello mushrooms, pearl barley, yellow onion, garlic,
fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, Spanish extra virgin olive oil, Danish butter, dry red wine.
Preparation:
Soak barley at least 1 hour in water (overnight is best), Pat beef pieces as dry as possible and
then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let this sit for an hour as well. In the
meantime slice mushrooms, chop onion, kale, and garlic. In a 3 qt non stick sauce pan melt some
butter. Sauté mushrooms until they begin to “sweat”. Drain barley and add to mushrooms. Add
some red wine to mushrooms/barley and bring to a simmer. Add kale and bring back to simmer.
Add rosemary and thyme. Keep simmering and adding more wine as liquid reduces. This should
simmer at least 45 min (keep adding wine) until barley and kale are soft. Near the end of these 45
minutes you can start to prepare the beef. In a large stainless steel frying/sauté pan, melt some
butter and olive oil. Fry meat on high heat until very well browned. If meat “sweats” pour off
liquid and add it to mushrooms/kale/barley. You may need to add more olive oil to meat. You
want a “fond” (brown coating on pan) to develop (that is why you are not using a non stick pan
for this). Next add chopped onions, turn down heat, and sauté until onions are browned. Add the
mushroom/kale/barley to the pan with the meat. Add more red wine if you need more liquid.
Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer and add garlic. Cover pan and cook 20-30
minutes to deglaze pan (dissolve the fond) and to let flavors set.
Beef stew w/fresh kale, Portobello mushrooms, and barley, in red wine reduction sauce
Ingredients:
Beef for stew, large bunch of kale, Portobello mushrooms, pearl barley, yellow onion, garlic,
fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, Spanish extra virgin olive oil, Danish butter, dry red wine.
Preparation:
Soak barley at least 1 hour in water (overnight is best), Pat beef pieces as dry as possible and
then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let this sit for an hour as well. In the
meantime slice mushrooms, chop onion, kale, and garlic. In a 3 qt non stick sauce pan melt some
butter. Sauté mushrooms until they begin to “sweat”. Drain barley and add to mushrooms. Add
some red wine to mushrooms/barley and bring to a simmer. Add kale and bring back to simmer.
Add rosemary and thyme. Keep simmering and adding more wine as liquid reduces. This should
simmer at least 45 min (keep adding wine) until barley and kale are soft. Near the end of these 45
minutes you can start to prepare the beef. In a large stainless steel frying/sauté pan, melt some
butter and olive oil. Fry meat on high heat until very well browned. If meat “sweats” pour off
liquid and add it to mushrooms/kale/barley. You may need to add more olive oil to meat. You
want a “fond” (brown coating on pan) to develop (that is why you are not using a non stick pan
for this). Next add chopped onions, turn down heat, and sauté until onions are browned. Add the
mushroom/kale/barley to the pan with the meat. Add more red wine if you need more liquid.
Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer and add garlic. Cover pan and cook 20-30
minutes to deglaze pan (dissolve the fond) and to let flavors set.

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