Saturday, February 21, 2015

Turkey Meatball Soup





I wanted to make a big pot of soup with veggies.  But, I knew the only way my Pickiest Eater Ever Son wouldn't complain is if I stuffed it full of meatballs, too.  Here's how I did it:

TURKEY MEATBALL SOUP

Soup Base:

1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 medium potatoes cut into large chunks (if too small they will disintegrate in the soup)
1 quart chicken broth
2 cups water
Salt & pepper to taste


Meatballs:

1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix broth, water, onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in a big pot.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer.


Meanwhile, in a large bowl, gently mix all of the meatball ingredients until combined.  If you over mix, the meatballs will be tough.  Roll into small meatballs (use about a tablespoon of mixture per meatball).  It should make about 30 or so meatballs.

Put them on a baking sheet with sides (I say that because my daughter baked chicken on a cookie sheet without sides once and the juices ran over and messed my oven up pretty bad and smoked up the kitchen.  You get the picture) and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.



Here's how they look once baked:


Now, transfer the meatballs to the soup pot and let simmer for a few minutes and your done!  Easy peasy!



This soup is light but very filling!  It's perfect on a cold day!  And my Pickiest Eater Ever Son kept his word.  He ate it, vegetables and all, and didn't complain once!  I'd say that's a success!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sour Cream Pound Cake



I had been craving pound cake for days.  You know when something just pops into your head and you gotta have it?  I sent the hubby to the bakery to buy one (I thought I deserved it since I just started physical therapy and have been working oh so hard).  But, the bakery was out of pound cake.  Not one little pound cake in the whole bakery.  My craving did not understand this.  So, I decided to make my own.  It wasn't easy (well it's a very easy recipe, but hard for me because I'm still on crutches) but I did it.  And it was worth the wait!



SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan.  I used vegetable shortening.


Then, add a little flour and shake it gently to totally coat the shortening with flour.  I forgot to take a pic after I floured the pan but you get it.  Just make sure it's completely covered.

Using a mixer, cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.


You want this to be mixed very well!  Then, mix in the sour cream.  Next, beat in each egg one at a time.  Wait until each egg is mixed in well before adding the next.


Add the vanilla extract.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking soda.  With the mixer on the lowest speed (so you don't throw flour everywhere), slowly add the flour mixture.



Mix until all the flour is incorporated, scraping down the sides
sides as needed.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and spread until even on top.


Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.


Let it sit in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out and let cool on a rack.  I like to run a butter knife around the edges to loosen before I turn it out.


This cake came out great!  Moist and tender on the inside, with a sugary crust on the outside.  Delicious!  Craving crushed!


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bacon Wrapped Chicken (made in the slow cooker!)

I've been reading cook books lately.  Lots of cook books.  I miss cooking so much that I just lay around and think about what I'll cook when I'm up and around again.  (Recovery update:  I stood up without crutches the other day!  That may sound ridiculous to you but it was a pretty big deal for me).  Anyway, I found this recipe for bacon wrapped chicken that's made in a slow cooker.  Sounded interesting.  But, some of the ingredients weren't my family's favorite.  So, I fiddled with it a little and changed it up a bit.  Then, with my husband's help, I wheeled into the kitchen and gave it a try.

BACON WRAPPED CHICKEN

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 slices thick-cut bacon
Salt and pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 onion, thickly sliced
1/2 cup sour cream

Place sliced onion into the slow cooker.



Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.


Wrap a slice of bacon around each chicken breast and place them on top of the onions.


In a large measuring cup mix broth and soup well.


Pour the broth mixture into the slow cooker.



Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.


At this point, the chicken is fully cooked.  However, the bacon is chewy.  If you like chewy bacon, eat it as is.  I like my bacon a little crispier, so I removed the chicken to a cookie sheet and placed it under the broiler for a few minutes.  Just until the bacon crisped up.

Before:

After:

Now to finish the sauce.  I removed the onions and discarded them because my Pickiest-Eater-Ever Son won't eat them.  Plus, it makes for a smoother sauce.  But you can leave them in if you like.

Then, I whisked in the sour cream.


 Now, just ladle the sauce into a gravy boat and serve it with the chicken.




This was very easy to make.  The hardest part was wrapping the bacon around the chicken (and that wasn't hard at all).

The chicken was moist and infused with flavor from the bacon and onions.  (Two of the best flavors in the world, by the way). The sauce was creamy and delicious, also full of flavor from simmering with bacon and onions.  Easy and delicious... My favorite kind of supper!  (And, if I can do it without standing up, you can definitely do it!)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cake In A Mug

When you are recovering from double ankle surgery, there's not much to do.  You can't really go anywhere or do much of anything except read or watch TV.  Once I had reread every book and magazine in my possession and watched almost everything on the DVR (except the weird nature shows my Dad tapes when he comes over.  I really don't want to see a park ranger picking up decaying animals and trying to figure out what killed them), I turned to the internet (which, of course, is filled with even weirder things).   But, I stuck to researching new recipes.  The thing I am looking forward to the most is getting back on my feet in front of my stove.  Man, I miss cooking!  My daughter and husband are doing their very best to cook supper (and I love them for doing it because fast food gets old way too fast!).  But, I really miss doing it myself.  Cooking relaxes me.  It's my therapy.  Put on some music and dance around the kitchen, you'll see, your troubles will disappear.

Obviously, I can't dance around with a cast on one ankle and bandages on the other.  But I needed to get into the kitchen and do something.  I found a recipe online that seemed too easy to work.  It's a Cake in a Mug recipe that's made in the microwave.  I hopped on my scooter (more like gently slid onto it) and headed to the kitchen.

CAKE IN A MUG

1 box Angel Food cake mix
1 box Devil's Food cake mix

In a large bowl, mix together the two cake mixes.





Store this in an airtight container.  When you are ready for a little something sweet, get out a microwave-safe mug.  Add 3 TBS of the mix and 2 TBS water.  Mix thoroughly!



Then put it in the microwave for 1 minute.  (If you have a very powerful microwave, try 45-50 seconds).  It's easy to remember 3, 2, 1.  3 TBS mix, 2 TBS water, 1 minute in the microwave.




This is not the most beautiful thing in the world, but it tastes good.  It was moist and sweet but not too sweet.  Top it with some whipped cream or chocolate syrup or even fruit (sliced strawberries would be nice).

Don't like chocolate?  (I don't understand you, but whatever). You can substitute any flavor cake mix.  But you must use the Angel Food Cake mix!  It has ingredients that help this rise.  But, you could pair it with lemon, strawberry, spice cake, yellow cake mix.  Any flavor you like.

This would be a great mix to keep at your desk in the office.  Because all that you need is water and a microwave, you can make it almost anywhere.  Perfect for when you need just a little something sweet!

This one is too easy not to try!






Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Classic Pumpkin Pie

Well, I am having surgery again.  This time on both ankles.  I'm getting hardware removed from the left ankle.  The right ankle put up a good fight, but it finally conked out, too.  Needless to say, I won't be able to blog for a while (I won't be able to stand for a while either!). So, I wanted to write about my favorite holiday, which happens to be tomorrow, Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is the last holiday (mostly) untouched by commercialism.  I love that it's an occasion to fellowship with family and friends, minus the pressure to buy the right gifts.  You just sit, eat and maybe watch some football (or a parade).  Being a person who loves to cook, loves to eat, and loves my family, I am all about Thanksgiving!

No Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without pumpkin pie.  It's a classic for a reason.  It's sweet, spiced, creamy deliciousness!  Here's an easy recipe for this all-time favorite (BTW it makes 2 pies.  Don't worry, you'll eat them both!)

CLASSIC PUMPKIN PIE

2 pie crusts (refrigerated or make your own)
1 (16 oz) can pure pumpkin (not the pie filling)
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups (1 can) evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place each pie crust into a pie pan and flute the edges (Just pinch between your fingers to make a decorative edge).

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients until well mixed.  Pour half of the filling into each of the prepared pie crusts.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Then, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for another 40 to 50 minutes or until set and a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool completely then chill in the fridge until dinner.






Serve it with whipped cream.  Easy to do!

Chill a bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes (this will help your cream whip up faster).  Add 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 3 TBS powdered sugar to the chilled bowl.  Whip with a whisk until thickened.  That's it!  Simple to do but so delicious!

I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving day with those you love.  I know I will.  Please say a prayer for me so that I might recover quickly and get back to doing what I love, sharing delicious recipes with all of you!  Happy Thanksgiving!




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pork Chops, Rice and Gravy

Most people pour gravy over mashed potatoes, but here in Louisiana, we eat rice and gravy.  Maw Maw's feed it to their grand babies.  Wives feed it to their husbands and bachelors feed it to themselves.  It's equally loved by all because it's filling and delicious.  Plus, it's versatile.  You can make it with just about any kind of meat.  Last night, I made it with it pork chops.  When my Old School Italian husband went back for thirds and my pickiest-eater-ever son proclaimed it was his new favorite, I'm not gonna lie, I did a little dance.





PORK CHOPS RICE AND GRAVY

4 bone-in pork chops
all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
Cajun seasoning
3 TBS oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
1 TBS Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce (optional, just makes it a little darker)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water

Heat oil in a large heavy pot (that has a tight-fitting lid) over medium-high heat.  Season the pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides.  Put some flour on a plate or in a large shallow bowl and season it with Cajun seasoning.  Dredge each pork chop in the seasoned flour and shake off excess.  Brown the chops, one at a time, in the hot oil.  When browned on both sides, remove to a plate and set aside.  (The reason I do one at a time is because they won't brown properly if you overcrowd the pot.



Once all the chops are browned, drain most of the oil from the pot.  Saute the onions, bell pepper, green onions and garlic for a few minutes over medium-high heat.



Add Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, Kitchen Bouquet, broth and water.  Bring to a boil.  (See how dark the Kitchen Bouquet makes it)



Return the pork chops to the pot.



Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Remove the lid and continue to simmer for another 20-30 minutes or until the gravy has thickened.




Serve over rice, of course.  The pork is fall off the bone tender and the gravy is super flavorful!  You could make the same dish using steak, chicken or sausage.  A great recipe to have in your arsenal!

This takes some time, but it's really simple to make.  It's the perfect Sunday Supper!  There's nothing like making a good old fashioned rice and gravy to show someone you love them.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

When the weather gets chilly, I crave a big bowl of piping hot beef stew.  What's more comforting (and filling) than that?  Tender beef, vegetables, and a thick, delicious gravy all in one pot!  I'm in!  The only thing that could make it better is adding a big chunk of crusty French bread for dunking!  (I'm getting hungry just writing about it!)

Here's the recipe:

OLD FASHIONED BEEF STEW

2 lbs beef stew meat (or cut up a chuck roast into chunks)
1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 can (10.5 oz) beef broth
2 cups water
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
4 red potatoes, quarted
Flour
Cajun seasoning
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot, heat a little oil (3 TBS or so) over medium high heat.  Toss the stew meat in flour that has been seasoned with Cajun seasoning.  Dust off excess flour.



Brown the beef in batches (don't over crowd the pot or the meat will steam instead of brown).  Once browned on all sides, remove the beef to a plate and set aside.



With the pot still hot, add broth and scrape the bits off the bottom of the pot.



Add the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and water.  Return the beef to the pot (including any juices on the plate).  Add onion, garlic and celery.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Then, reduce heat, cover and simmer on low heat for 1 hour.



Add carrots and potatoes.  Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes more, until potatoes and carrots are tender and stew has thickened.  Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.




There you have it, delicious, old fashioned comfort food.  Perfect for this chilly time of year.  Warms your belly and your soul.