Tag Archives: celery

Homemade Tomato Soup (with Grilled Cheese, of Course!)

11 Feb
Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

I have been wanting to try my hand at homemade tomato soup for years, especially since we grow and can our own tomatoes. When my friend Suzanne over at Pug in the Kitchen posted this recipe, I knew it was time. Besides, I had a can of San Marzano tomatoes that had been in my pantry over a year, and what about those 20 pints of canned jars of tomatoes I forgot about in the garage? How did I forget about canning those from the fall? I grabbed a few for my pantry lest I forget again.

This soup comes together quite easily after some initial prep. And if you are wondering how long it takes for tomatoes to caramelize in a hot oven, it takes 18 minutes according to the smoke alarm that went off during my 20-minute timer. I suggest using a vent fan during this process. 😉

My husband was amazed at the taste of this soup. According to him, it did not taste like tomato soup from a can. Errrmmm… We’ll leave it at that. Oh, and don’t forget to cook up some ooey-gooey grilled cheese sammies for dunking! We used sourdough bread and a combination of Monterrey jack, sharp yellow cheddar, and pepper jack that was leftover from Super Bowl. This makes about 3 to 4 dinner-size servings.

Homemade Tomato Soup
Adapted from Tomato Soup at A Pug in the Kitchen

1 28-ounce can San Marzano or good quality tomatoes, liquid reserved
1 pint homemade canned tomatoes (about 1 large cup fresh), liquid reserved
Ground pepper and sea salt, to taste
Olive oil, for tomatoes and vegetables
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 bay leaf
Small piece of Parmesan rind
3 large leaves fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Additional basil, chiffoned for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place all the drained tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Season to taste with ground black pepper and sea salt. Roast until caramelized or until your smoke alarm goes off (18 to 20 minutes).

Roasted and Caramelized Tomatoes

Roasted and Caramelized Tomatoes

Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion and cook until they start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook about a minute more until fragrant. Add the roasted tomatoes and the reserved tomato juice (About 2 cups, add water if you don’t have that much. My canned tomatoes had a lot of of liquid.) Also add the bay leaf and cheese rind. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until vegetables are very tender. Remove the bay leaf, then add the chopped basil. Taste for seasoning.

Simmering Soup

Simmering Soup

Pour into a large blender and puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender if you have one. I need one!) Return soup to the pot, then add the butter and cream and stir until incorporated. Keep warm while you griddle up some grilled cheese. Ladle into bowls, top with additional basil, and serve immediately with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Homemade Tomato Soup

Homemade Tomato Soup

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Turkey Chipotle Posole

30 Apr
Turkey Chipotle Posole

Turkey Chipotle Posole

As a lot of you know, I’m a spicy kind of gal, and I like spicy food. This posole, which is a traditional Mexican soup/stew, makes good use of leftover turkey or even chicken. I bought a deli-roasted turkey breast recently for a quick week-night dinner, but with the daughter not eating at home that night we were left with a bunch of leftover cooked turkey breast.

We had a cold snap, and what better thing to make in a cold snap is a nice spicy, warming stew? This ended up making more than I thought it would, but ate the rest for lunches.  Don’t scrimp on the toppings, as the cabbage, lime, and radishes really complete this. And you can always cut way back on the spices/chiles for a milder version.

After opening a few cans and a little chopping, dicing, and processing, this posole comes together in a snap all in one pot. I always freeze any leftover canned goods, clearly labeled, for future use. I can’t imagine ever using an entire can of chipotle peppers in a recipe unless I am feeding an army. And my local grocer only sells 30-ounce cans of hominy, which, after draining the liquid, yields about 2 cups of hominy. Hominy freezes well too.  Even if it’s already warm in your neck of the woods, do try this flavorful posole, if anything to warm your heart. Plus it also gives you good reason to open a bottle of Mexican beer to wash it down! UPDATE: A kind reader reminded me that Cinco de Mayo is coming up. So hey, why not make it for that day?!

Turkey Chipotle Posole

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 to 1 canned chipotle in adobo sauce (or less), diced fine
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Ancho or Pasilla chile powder (or other or less)
2 cups cooked and shredded turkey or chicken
4 cups homemade or low sodium turkey or chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 corn tortilla, processed fine
1 cup hominy, white or yellow is fine
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Ground black pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
Shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, and lime wedges, for garnish

Puree, Peppers, and Hominy

Puree, Peppers, and Hominy

Open up all those cans and chop/slice/dice all the veggies.

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the next 6 ingredients (through the chile powder), and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Spicy Veggie Base

Spicy Veggie Base

Add the remaining ingredients except the garnishes, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes or until ready to eat.

Posole Ready to Simmer and Cover

Posole Ready to Simmer and Cover

Ladle into bowls, and garnish with fresh sliced cabbage, sliced radishes, and a lime wedge to squeeze into the stew. (Don’t forget the beer to wash it all down!)

Turkey Chipotle Posole

Turkey Chipotle Posole

 

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Quick and Easy Ham and White Bean Soup

23 Apr
Quick and Easy Ham and White Bean Soup

Quick and Easy Ham and White Bean Soup

Spring has been on a springboard in my neck of the woods in terms of temperature. While it is now seasonably cool, we had a great stretch of really warm and sunny weather for the last week. With cooler weather, there is nothing better than a hot bowl of comforting soup. And with leftover ham and ham broth in the freezer, this meal was a snap!

After I took my photos, hubs and I both decided we wanted it creamier so I processed half of it in my Ninja then stirred it back in. This step is optional, and I didn’t even take another photo of it creamy that way as I can be lazy that way. Just like you can be lazy in making this soup as it’s that easy!

Quick and Easy Ham and White Bean Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup each chopped onion, celery, and carrots
4 ounces chopped ham
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups ham broth (you can sub in chicken or veggie broth)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
Small sprig of thyme
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (I used Stubb’s Hickory)
1/8 teaspoon smoked Paprika

The Holy Trinity

The Holy Trinity

Saute the veggies in the oil until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.

Ham, Veggies, and Spices

Ham, Veggies, and Spices

Add the ham, garlic and spices and cook 2 to 3 minutes more.

Ham Broth and Beans

Ham Broth and Beans

Pour in the ham broth and beans. Add the rest of the seasonings, and taste to adjust.

Simmering the Ham and Bean Soup

Simmering the Ham and Bean Soup

Simmer for about a half hour or more until ready to eat. Optional: Puree half the soup in a blender or processor and stir back in before serving.

Ta-Dah!

Quick and Easy Ham and White Bean Soup

Quick and Easy Ham and White Bean Soup

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Braised Porcini Mushroom and Beef Ragu Pappardelle

20 Feb
Braised Porcini Mushroom and Beef Ragu

Braised Porcini Mushroom and Beef Ragu

We cleaned out our indoor freezer last weekend, and lo and behold we found a package of meaty soup bones from our 2014 cow. Not to be wasteful, I knew I had to cook those babies low and slow, to extract all the flavor from the bones and preserve any shred of tasty beef hiding amongst the gristle and bone. Yep, I can do this!

Meaty Soup Bones

Nice Meaty Soup Bones

I had President’s Day off work, and knew I’d be a happy camper just spending the day putzing around the kitchen and cooking, all thoughts of laundry and house chores away from my mind — already completed over the weekend.

This was also a good chance to use up some dried Porcini mushrooms that had been languishing in my bin of assorted bulk spices and what-nots. I looked at the package, fearing they were long expired. Apparently dried mushrooms last a LONG time, as the expiration date was more than a year in the future! Combined with some also-languishing Cremini mushrooms in the fridge, I knew I had the base for a slow-cooked braised ragu. Combine that with some good-quality tomatoes and hearty Pappardelle pasta, and voila! Ragu is served. With lots of fresh-grated Parmesan cheese, of course.

Braised Porcini Mushroom and Beef Ragu Pappardelle

.25 ounces dried Porcini mushrooms
2 to 3 ounces Cremini mushrooms
2 meaty beef soup bones
Ground pepper and salt, to taste, for seasoning beef
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion
8 to 10 baby carrots
1 rib celery
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 strips of cooked bacon (can also be uncooked)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Up to 1 cup good-quality red wine, divided
Mushroom stock (from soaking the Porcini)
Up to 2 cups beef stock, divided
28-ounce can San Marzano peeled tomatoes
3 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley
8 ounces Pappardelle pasta
Good quality Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Additional chopped parsley, for garnish

Soaking the Porcini

Soaking the Porcini

Place dried Porcini mushrooms in a glass bowl (I used a Pyrex measuring cup) and pour about a cup of boiling water over them. Top with a folded paper towel to keep mushrooms submerged. (I learned that cool tip from the package of mushrooms!) Allow them to rehydrate for about 20 minutes. Discard paper towel and remove mushrooms, squeezing out the liquid from them. Strain the mushroom stock through a coffee filter into another cup. Set mushrooms and liquid aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place a Dutch oven or other pot with an oven-proof lid on stove over medium high heat. Season the soup bones liberally with ground pepper and some salt, to taste. Dredge soup bones through the flour, patting flour in to coat.

Browning the Soup Bones

Browning the Soup Bones

Add oil and the bones to the pot, browning on each side for about 4 minutes. Don’t forget the sides! Turn off heat, remove bones and set aside.

Chopped Veggies and Bacon

Chopped Veggies and Bacon

Add the onion, carrots, celery, and bacon to a food processor (you can also mince these by hand). Pulse until finely chopped.

Next, finely chop the Porcini and Cremini mushrooms.

Porcini and Cremini Mushrooms

Porcini and Cremini Mushrooms

Turn heat back on under the pot, and check for amount of oil. Add additional if needed, you’ll want about a tablespoon. Add the vegetable mixture, mushrooms, and cayenne pepper and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until softened. In the last minute or so, add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

Cooking the Veggies and Bacon

Cooking the Veggies and Bacon

Next, stir in the tomato paste and 1/2 cup wine, mixing until completely combined. Stir and cook until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Reducing the Wine

Reducing the Wine

Pour in the reserved mushroom stock and about a half cup of the beef stock. Add the can of peeled tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Also pour in the liquid from the can. Stir until combined, then submerge the soup bones into the sauce. Bring up to a simmer, toss in the three sprigs of thyme and cover tightly. Place in preheated oven.

Tomato Sauce and Soup Bones Ready to Braise

Tomato Sauce and Soup Bones Ready to Braise

Cook for three hours, or until meat is tender and falling off the bones. Once tender, remove pot from oven. Remove soup bones to a plate and let cool for about 10 minutes or safe enough to handle.

Shredded Braised Beef

Shredded Braised Beef

The sauce will have thickened by this time. Stir in up to another cup of beef broth and red wine and bring up to a slow simmer on the stove.

Meanwhile, cook the Pappardelle pasta according to package directions. Reserve some of the pasta water before draining.

Once the beef is cool enough to handle, shred it with your fingers, discarding any gristle/cartilage.

Beef and Mushroom Ragu

Beef and Mushroom Ragu

Return the shredded beef to the sauce and stir in the chopped parsley. Pour in a small amount of pasta water to further loosen up the sauce. Taste sauce and adjust seasonings, if needed.

Plate the cooked and drained pasta on a platter, then pour the ragu sauce over top. Grate a generous amount of Parmesan cheese over top and sprinkle with additional chopped parsley. Serve on plates or in bowls.

Braised Porcini Mushroom and Beef Ragu

Braised Porcini Mushroom and Beef Ragu

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One Pot Skillet Pork and Potato Comfort Food

23 Jan
One Pot Skillet Pork and Potato Comfort

One Pot Skillet Pork and Potato Comfort

This is a recipe I have made since college repeatedly. Surprisingly, I have never posted it as it is just “one of those meals” in my rotation. When both hubs and I stare at each other after a long day at work with those glazed eyes and say “what’s for dinner,” this recipe is usually one that comes up in the replies.

Back in the college days (and even early married days) I used to make this with that canned “cream of” soup. Any flavor I pretty much had on hand. After the hubby got diagnosed with high blood pressure, that was the first thing out the door. So I learned how to make my own “cream of” soups, and it is surprisingly simple! (And certainly healthier too but it does have butter and flour.) But never mind that. It just TASTES better too! It’s a plate full of comfort, I tell you! We typically serve with a small salad or steamed green veggie on the side.

This can make enough for anywhere from 2 to 6 people, if you have a large enough skillet. I had some huge pork chops, so depending on your family’s eating habits you’ll have leftovers, or not. Don’t worry about the amount of “soup” you end up with, there’s always enough creamy sauce for the amount of meat, potatoes and onions, even if it looks sketchy at best at first. No lie!

p.s. I originally called this simple and easy, but after looking at all the steps after writing it up, I realized I only “think” of it that way, as I swear I could make this blindfolded! If you make this enough times (as I hope you will) then I think you’ll feel the same!

So here is what we have going on:

One Pot Skillet Pork and Potato Comfort Food

3 to 6 small potatoes, depending on the mouths you feed, washed and scrubbed
1/2 to 1 large yellow onion, peeled
3/4 to 1 1/2 pounds of pork chops, either bone-in or not
Ground pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable or grapeseed oil
Several splashes of wine, stock, or water, for deglazing
1 recipe of “cream of” soup (ingredients and recipe to follow)
Pinches of dried or fresh herbs that you like, to taste (I prefer thyme and spicy oregano for this)

Cream of “Anything” Soup Recipe

3 to 4 tablespoons real butter
1/4 cup of finely diced “of” ingredient (mushrooms, cooked chicken, celery… you get the idea)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup homemade or low sodium stock (any kind)
1/2 cup milk (any kind)
Ground pepper and salt, or Mrs. Dash , to taste

Sliced Patooties

Sliced Patooties

First thing to do is get out the mandoline and slice up all those potatooties and onions thinly. If you don’t have a fancy (like 9.99 Walmart or Amazon) device, then slice thin with your sharpest knife. It’s OK if you don’t have a mandoline. I’m a newcomer to that game and scoffed until I bought one. I totally get it. Cut the onion rings in half with a knife (optional).

Sliced Onions and Potatoes

Sliced Onions and Potatoes

Next season up those chops nice and good, however you want. Nobody is judging you on your spice preference.

Seasoned Pork Chops

Seasoned Pork Chops

Add a tablespoon or so of oil to a large hot skillet (that has a cover to fit) and sear the pork on each side, until nice and browned. I forget how long that takes as I just eyeball it. A few minutes each side, at least. Once browned, remove the chops to a plate, cover with foil, and set aside.

Browned Pork Chops

Browned Pork Chops

Add more oil to the skillet and toss in the sliced potatoes and onions and lower heat to medium. Season, to taste. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or so, stirring here and again.

Cooking the Onions and Potatoes

Cooking the Onions and Potatoes

Meanwhile, make your “cream” of soup. The pans will be side by side, you can do it!

I had ‘shrooms on hand that day, so cream of mushroom soup it was! I also used some turkey stock from my Thanksgiving batch of carcass stock.

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add your “of” ingredient (in my case the mushrooms) and cook until soft and the butter is foaming. Pre-cooked chicken is not such a big deal to worry about softening.

Simmering Mushrooms and Butter

Simmering Mushrooms and Butter

Add the flour then whisk until it’s all incorporated and turns into a weird paste. That’s OK too, it’s supposed to do that.

Making Paste

Making Paste

Add the stock all at once, then whisk like a whirling dervish until it’s all incorporated and smooth and creamy. Strange how it suddenly happens, huh? You’ll know after you try it. Then add the milk and whisk some more until it’s all combined and creamy again. Once again, season to taste and stir in. Turn off heat and set aside.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Now. Now is the time to put it all together. Deglaze the skillet of veggies with wine or more stock or water to loosen up the yummy crispy bits.

Place the browned pork on top of the potatoes and onions.Pour the cream “of” soup over the pork and spread around. Sprinkle your preferred herbs over top. Please, do not freak out at this point that you don’t have enough soup or gravy or whatever. Trust me. See my photo?

Skillet Chops and Gravy Ready to Simmer

Skillet Chops and Gravy Ready to Simmer

Bring the skillet up to a slow simmer, then cover, and turn down to medium low. Then walk away. WALK AWAY! Leave it alone for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, uncover and smoosh everything down into the gravy because OMG where did all that gravy come from??? Ha, told you so. This photo is only after 20 minutes.

Creamy Pork Chops and Potatoes

Creamy Pork Chops and Potatoes

Cover the skillet again, and cook until the potatoes are tender and the pork is at least 145 or more degrees, anywhere from 10 to 20 more minutes depending on the thickness of the chops and potatoes.

Once potatoes are softened and pork is safe to eat, turn off skillet, cut pork into serving sizes and scoop amount of potatoes and onions and gravy on to your plate that you want. Serve with some kind of green veggie or salad or whatnot. Enjoy!

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Turkey, Lentil, and Mixed Brown Rice Soup

12 Dec
Turkey Lentil and Mixed Brown Rice Soup

Turkey, Lentil, and Mixed Brown Rice Soup

Yay, a new recipe! And of course it is a soup recipe made with some of the turkey stock I cooked last week. I also had some dried green lentils left from the last soup I made (wow was that a month ago?), as well as some leftover cooked brown rice in the fridge begging to be used up. We had also frozen the leftover turkey breast from Thanksgiving, so this soup ended up being not only a no-brainer, but a deliciously wonderful and frugal dinner.

Here is how it goes:

Turkey, Lentil, and Mixed Brown Rice Soup

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups low-sodium turkey stock, preferably homemade (can sub chicken stock)
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup dry green lentils
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked turkey (can sub cooked chicken)
1 1/2 cups cooked mixed brown rice (or 1/2 cup dried)
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Ground pepper and Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste

Onions carrots and celery cooking

Onions, Carrots, and Celery

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until the vegetables are starting to soften, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Mixed Whole Grain Brown Rice

This is the brand of brown rice I used

Next add in the turkey (or chicken) stock, bay leaf, thyme, and lentils. If using dried rice, add that now too. Cover and bring to a boil.

Simmering the Soup

Simmering the Soup

Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer with cover on for 45 minutes.

Uncover and stir in turkey and cooked rice, and continue simmering until lentils are tender, about 15 more minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs, then add the parsley and balsamic vinegar. Taste test, then add ground pepper and Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste. Serve with crusty bread.

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Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

14 Nov
Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

I probably sound like a broken record, but I LOVE SOUP SEASON! A few weeks ago I grabbed the rest of the beef marrow bones out of the freezer and decided to make a huge pot of beef bone soup stock. We have a new quarter side of beef on the way for our freezer and it was way past due to finish using those up.

Beef Bone Stock

Beef Bone Stock

After that task was accomplished, of course I had to make some soup out of that rich, golden broth. Our grass-fed ground beef from last year was long gone, but my hubby bought a fancy electric meat grinder and he ground up a bunch of chuck and made 3/4-pound bags for the freezer. That amount makes so much more sense for our family than a pound since there are only three of us.

Also out of the freezer came some frozen tomatoes from our harvest. All I had to do was run hot water over them and the skins slipped right off!

Armed with these ingredients, I set off to make some soup. I cobbled together more ingredients out of the pantry and fridge (including some almost expired fresh spinach) and this is what I came up with:

Ground Beef and Lentil Soup Ingredients

Ground Beef and Lentil Soup Ingredients

Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

3/4 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups crushed tomatoes with liquid (or a 14.5-ounce can)
4 cups low-sodium beef broth, preferably homemade
1 cup dry green lentils
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Large handful fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Ground Beef and Veggies

Ground Beef and Veggies

Add the ground beef, onion, carrots, and celery in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. In this case I used my pressure cooker pot. (Stay tuned, confession time coming!) Cook over medium heat and stir until meat is brown and vegetables are starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Next add the tomatoes (I crushed them with my hands when adding them) plus the liquid, the beef broth, lentils, oregano, and sugar. (The small amount of sugar offsets the acidity in the tomatoes.) Stir to combine.

Soup Ingredients Ready to Finish Cooking

Soup Ingredients Ready to Finish Cooking

CONFESSION TIME: At this point, I honestly do not remember if I actually pressure cooked this or just finished simmering uncovered. Really! I know I used my pressure cooker pot from the photos. Did I use it because I intended on pressure cooking the lentils, or did I use it because all my other large pots were used up from making the beef stock earlier in the day? This was only a few weekends ago! Please don’t laugh at me, laugh WITH me!

Nonetheless, either pressure-cook this for 20 minutes, or simmer it uncovered for about an hour. After the lentils are soft, add in the chopped spinach and stir until wilted.

Chopped Spinach Added

Chopped Spinach Added

Taste test, then add sea salt and ground pepper, to taste. I thought the soup needed just a tad more flavor boost, so added a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. Perfect. Soup’s on! Serve with crusty bread.

Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Golden Shrimp Stock

31 Oct
Golden Shrimp Stock

Golden Shrimp Stock

A few months ago I decided to stop composting shrimp shells and tails and started freezing them. I love to make homemade chicken, turkey, and beef stock, so why not shrimp stock?

It took many a meals to get enough for this batch, but it sure was worth it! I made some delicious shrimp risotto with part of it (recipe to come at a future date) and plan on using the rest in either an Asian-style soup or perhaps some gumbo. What would you use shrimp stock in? I’d love to hear your ideas!

UPDATE! How silly of me. Happy Halloween! This is me in my costume that won at my workplace yesterday. My not-so-evil-grinning Wednesday Addams.

Wednesday Addams Halloween Costume

Wednesday Addams Halloween Costume

Golden Shrimp Stock
Adapted from emerils.com

4 to 5 ounces shrimp shells and tails
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
5 cups water
1/4 cup each chopped onions, celery, and carrots
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 small bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
Dash of salt
1 sprig fresh thyme (or large pinch dried)
Large pinch of dried parsley

Rinse the shells and tails in a colander and set aside to drain.

Thawed and Rinsed Shrimp Shells and Tails

Thawed and Rinsed Shrimp Shells and Tails

In a stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp shells and tails and stir around and cook until the shells are a bright pink, about 5 minutes.

Cooked Shrimp Shells

Cooked Shrimp Shells

Add the water and the rest of the ingredients. Turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat until the stock is at a low simmer, then continue simmering for about an hour more.

Simmering Shrimp Stock

Simmering Shrimp Stock

Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve (mine was also lined with additional cotton mesh) into a heatproof container. Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to three days until use. The stock can also be frozen in zip-top freezer bags for future use.

Straining the Shrimp Stock

Straining the Shrimp Stock

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White Bean and Sausage Crock Pot Soup

28 Mar
White Bean and Sausage Crock Pot Soup

White Bean and Sausage Crock Pot Soup

I made this soup a few weeks ago when the weather was dreadful and snowy. Then spring leapt out of nowhere and trees and flowers began budding and birds were singing their little hearts out. But alas, winter appears to be keeping its grip as a cold front will make it’s way down this week. We can only hope the fragile buds and flowers will hang on through it.

If it’s still a bit chilly in your neck of the woods, here’s a warming, hearty soup to tide you over until spring hits your area.

White Bean and Sausage Crock Pot Soup

2 cups dried Navy Beans, soaked overnight (or 2 cans white beans)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
Pinch of dried thyme, crushed
1 teaspoon dried parsley
5 cups homemade or low sodium chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes, or 12 cherry tomatoes
7 ounces Turkey Sausage (1/2 link), sliced
Shredded Parmesan cheese, for serving

Drain and rinse the beans (either dried or canned) and add to the slow cooker. Toss everything else except the cheese into the pot, then set on low for 8 to 10 hours or high on 5-6 hours, That’s it! Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese, and crusty bread.

White Bean and Sausage Crock Pot Soup

White Bean and Sausage Crock Pot Soup

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Old-Fashioned Swiss Steak

14 Jan
Old-Fashioned Swiss Steak

Old-Fashioned Swiss Steak

I don’t use my pressure cooker nearly enough, but during my winter staycation I used it twice! Once for this flavorful, tender Swiss steak and another time for a spicy Mexican stew/soup. (Look for that recipe in an upcoming post.)

Have no fear if you don’t own a pressure cooker, as these recipes can also be made in a Dutch oven. The cooking times will be much longer over the stove or in the oven. That is the beauty of a pressure cooker — dinner can be served in about a half hour for something that can typically take up to two hours!

I call this “old-fashioned” because it reminds me of the Swiss steaks my mom used to make for us growing up, and I imagine her mother also made this meal. It was common practice for depression-era cooks to tenderize tough cuts of meat with a heavy meat mallet. Pre-tenderized top or bottom round steak are now widely available, but if you have a good old-fashioned heavy meat mallet, you could certainly tenderize the steaks yourself.

Somehow I failed to get a photo of the actual tenderized steaks without the sauce, but yes, there is a steak under all those vegetables! My family was duly impressed with this old-fashioned meal, and I hope you will be too!

Prepping Swiss Steak Ingredients

Prepping Swiss Steak Ingredients

Old-Fashioned Swiss Steak
Adapted from Alton Brown/Food Network

1 to 2 pounds tenderized top round steak (or cube steak)
Ground black pepper
Mrs. Dash or salt
Flour to coat the steaks
2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste (freeze the rest for another use)
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted with garlic)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 cups beef broth, homemade or low-sodium

Cut the tenderized steak into serving size portions. (That would be three in this household.) Season the meat with ground black pepper and Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste. Dredge the steaks through flour and set aside.

Add the oil to the pressure cooker set on medium-high heat, and cook the steaks, one at a time, on both sides until browned. Remove each to a plate and set aside. Add a little more oil, if needed, in between steaks.

Sauteing the Veggies after Browning the Steaks

Sauteing the Veggies after Browning the Steaks

Add the chopped vegetables and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined. Return the steaks to the pot, submerging them in the liquid as best you can.

Tomato Sauce Mixture with Steaks

Tomato Sauce Mixture with Steaks ~ Yes the steaks are under there!

Secure the lid, add the pressure rocker, and turn the heat to high. When the pressure regulator begins to rock, reduce the heat to medium so that it rocks steadily for 15 minutes. At the 15-minute mark, remove from heat. Let the pressure reduce on its own before removing the lid. Serve steaks over cooked rice with a side salad or vegetable.

Note: If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can make this in a Dutch oven. Follow the same steps, except cover the Dutch oven and cook on the middle rack in a 325-degree oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

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