Tag Archives: rosemary

Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Creamy Soup

3 Dec
Turkey Mushroom and Wild Rice Creamy Soup

Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Creamy Soup

My life is a bit topsy-turvy these days, as I’ve taken on a seasonal job with the U.S. Postal Service as a Santa’s Elf to tide us over while my food cart is closed for the season. The problem is, these elves have to work the night shift in order to get Santa’s packages out and delivered during the day. So now I’m making dinner at 10 am or so in the morning, and doing odd things like decorating the Christmas tree at 3 in the morning on my nights off. (OK I’m kidding about the Santa’s Elf thing, but it sounds much more glamorous than Holiday Clerk Assistant, which is really no more than a mail sorter and package thrower…)

Most days my husband and I are like two ships passing in the night, but on one of our rare encounters recently we had a short discussion about fennel. He couldn’t find any when he needed some for a lasagna he made me for my birthday recently. Long story short, he bought some dried fennel, which made me think of a fresh fennel bulb, which I haven’t cooked with in ages. AND SO, I bought a fresh fennel bulb and decided to make this soup with some of our leftover Thanksgiving turkey. And my husband just LOVED this soup! (He had to reheat it since I made it so early in the day.) It has a very guest-worthy flavor with the addition of the fennel and sherry. I hope you enjoy it too!

Vegetable Soup Base

Vegetable Soup Base

Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Creamy Soup
Adapted from SarasotaCook at Food.com

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups sliced and rough-chopped mushrooms (about 8 ounces)
3/4 cup diced onion
3/4 cup thin-sliced baby carrots
3/4 cup thin-sliced rough-chopped fennel bulb
3/4 cup think sliced celery
2 cloves minced garlic
A few sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried chopped rosemary
1 bay leaf
5 cups turkey or chicken stock, homemade or good-quality
1 cup chopped turkey (can use more if you want)
3/4 cup wild rice mix, uncooked
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, melt the butter and oil over medium and add the mushrooms, onion, carrots, fennel, and celery. Cook until the onions and celery are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf in the last minute or so.

Stir the rice into the vegetable mixture, then add the broth and Worcestershire. Bring to a low boil, then cover and lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes until the rice is somewhat tender. Uncover, then add the turkey, sherry and cream or half and half, bring to a low boil again, reduce heat and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is cooked through. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste. I meant to add some fresh parsley at the end, but totally forgot. Feel free to throw that in if you have it! Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf, and serve with hot crusty bread.

Turkey Mushroom and Wild Rice Creamy Soup

Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Creamy Soup

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

 

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The Return of The Klutz and a Tasty Veggie Soup

8 Oct
Potato Leek and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs

Potato Leek and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs

We’re back from our 20th wedding anniversary trip to our RV property on the Siletz River on the Central Coast of Oregon. Not too newsworthy unless I mention the fact that I pretty much shattered my left middle finger on the second day there in a boat launch accident.  I had surgery on the finger the day after we got back, and am now entrapped in a traction device. I don’t have the sling anymore at least, that was just to hold up my arm until the nerve block wore off.  After the recipe so you get to look at a few of “exciting” photos of the trip if you want. 🙂

Finger Traction Device

Finger Traction Device ~ Only the second one made at the clinic, lucky me!

Yet, I’m feeling for ya’! So I’ll share a yummy soup recipe I made just before we left first. It’s the least I can do. I only got a couple of pics since I was also packing for the week.

p.s. I finally purchased a sous vide immersion circulator! I’ve been experimenting it (with the hubby’s help since I’m down to one hand, but so far so good!) Just had an awesome chuck roast beef stew cooked 26 hours at 165F then seared with pan gravy made from juices in bag. I’ll start posting those those types of recipes when I can. Picture-taking is mighty hard at the present. Typing with one hand is not exactly a picnic either…

Potato, Leek, and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs
Adapted from Food and Wine

3 cloves unpeeled garlic
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
1 pound Russet or other potatoes, peeled and chopped small
2 cups broccoli florets, coarsely chopped small
2 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cups Half and Half
Wedge of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Salt or Mrs. Dash and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup cubed sourdough bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 cup finely chopped pancetta
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon dried and crushed rosemary (or 1 teaspoon fresh)

Wrap garlic cloves in foil and bake at 400F degrees for 35 minutes. Remove and let cool then peel and add to a food processor or blender.

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the leeks, potatoes and broccoli and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the leeks start to soften. Add the chicken stock and 3 1/2 cups of water, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat until all of the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Working in batches, add soup to the garlic in the food processor or blender, amd puree the soup until very smooth. Return the puree to the pot and stir in the Half and Half and wedge of lemon juice. Season the soup with salt or Mrs. Dash and pepper. Keep warm on low.

Meanwhile, pulse the bread cubes in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. In a skillet, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the tablespoon of oil. Add the pancetta, sage, rosemary and bread crumbs and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until the crumbs and pancetta are browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the pancetta crumbs, and enjoy!

Potato Leek and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs

Potato Leek and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Here are some pics from our vacation:

An armada of Kayakers on the Siletz River

An armada of kayakers on the Siletz River

Neighbor and hubby showing off the Dungeness crab

Neighbor and hubby showing off the Dungeness crab

Me showing off some crabs

Me showing off some crabs

Our Dungeness crab haul for the day

Our Dungeness crab haul for the day

 

Our Anniversary Dinner

Our Anniversary Dinner ~ Tee Hee!

New deck

Hubby built a new deck out of our old dock that washed away in flooding last year

 

 

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

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Spinach and Feta Cheese Steak Rollups

27 Feb
Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

How on earth does my mind come up with something like this? Just out of the blue! I guess I’m just getting used to “making do” with what I have in the house as I loathe shopping of any kind. Just ask my family. I really do hate shopping.

But what I do really like is coming up with some crazy idea for dinner and think yeah, the family will like this. But then when the family not only likes it, they LOVE it, I’m pretty darned happy. Even before this was finished cooking, my hubby said, “You know we can always order pizza if it isn’t good.” See, he DID have his doubts!

But doubt no more.

Oh shoot, a back story to the salted steak first. (Many of  my long-term readers know hubby is on a low-salt diet.) And a video, but you don’t have to watch it.

So somehow I came across a poor man’s video guide on the interwebz to make any tough meat tender. So, here is the video (sorry if you have to watch an ad first):

Watch here —> Poor Man’s Filet Mignon

And I also happened to watch it with hubby a few days before I made this. THEN (even with a little less now than a quarter cow in the freezer) I picked up some thin-sliced eye of round from the 50% off bin. I am a sucker for meat deals. Of course I froze it immediately. When I told hubby I brought home some store-bought beef and that it was a very tough cut, he actually got excited instead of rolling his eyes. He wanted us to test out this meat tenderizing trick.

Now, let me present to you my riff on a beef rollup stuffed with all kinds of yum. I would have liked to grill this, but it was freezing outside. Make note to cook this again on the grill when the weather is better. And yes, it came out very tender, more so than I expected! (And p.s. the family loved these!)

Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

For the steak glaze:

Splash of olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 sprig fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried leaves
1/2 cup beef broth, preferably homemade

For the steak rollups

3/4 pound thin-sliced eye of round or any other thin-sliced steak (8 to 10 slices)
Coarse sea salt
8 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 ounces crumble Feta cheese
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil or other high-heat tolerant neutral oil

Salting the Beef

Salting the Beef

If you have a tough cut of beef, follow the method in the video. But if you don’t want to watch it, basically add some course sea salt to the top of the steak and let it sit on the counter for 1 hour for every inch. This steak was so thin we did less than 10 minutes. But even in that short time I could see the steak sweating out and breaking up the fibers! Then you rinse the steak thoroughly of the salt. Pat dry and set aside ready for the stuffing.

But meanwhile you can make the steak glaze.

Making the Steak Glaze

Making the Steak Glaze

Add a splash of oil to a saucepan or skillet over medium heat and cook garlic until fragrant, just a minute or so. Add the rest of the glaze ingredients and cook and stir until reduced by about half. Remove rosemary sprig if not using dried. Take off heat and set aside.

Spinach and Feta Cheese Stuffing

Spinach and Feta Cheese Stuffing

Next, take your thawed and squeezed-dry spinach (you did that already, right?) and add to a bowl along with the Feta cheese, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice and mix until thoroughly combined.

Glazed Steaks

Glazed Steaks

Brush the steak slices with the glaze with a pastry brush, (if you used dried rosemary, don’t worry as it just gets stuck in the brush anyways).

Adding the Spinach Stuffing

Adding the Spinach Stuffing

Grind a bunch of black pepper over the steaks. Top the steak slices evenly with the spinach mixture. Roll up and secure with twine or toothpicks. I found twine to be convenient since I wasn’t grilling.

Brush any remaining steak glaze you have over the rollups. Grind more black pepper over them again, to taste. I am kind of a ground black pepper freak.

Rolled and Stuffed Steaks

Rolled and Stuffed Steaks

Heat a large cast iron or heavy bottom skillet over very high heat with two teaspoons of neutral high-heat oil. With tongs, add the rollups (in batches if needed) to the skillet and cook on all sides until browned. Just a minute or two on each side, rolling often. Remove to a plate and serve with a side vegetable of choice. I chose steamed asparagus. I suppose some kind of bread could be in order but I’m trying to lose weight. 🙂 Happy dining!

Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Baked Spinach, Garlic, and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

16 Jan
Baked Spinach, Garlic, and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Baked Spinach, Garlic, and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Flavor bombs, I tell you, and it’s no joke when I say these are da’ bomb! These large puppies are not only packed with flavor, they are the size of small cannon balls. I was searching the interwebz for something to make with my half-priced pound of ground turkey I found in the Reduce for Immediate Sale bin at the grocery, and came across several recipes for ground turkey meatballs. The thing is, I didn’t have all the ingredients for any single one, so did was I always do. I printed them all out, and mish-mashed them together to come up with this.

BONUS: Earlier in the week I had made some homemade croutons from roasted garlic-infused olive oil and grated Parmesan. I used leftover bread I took home from our company party.

Making Homemade Croutons

Making Homemade Croutons

Gosh aren’t they lovely?

Homemade Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Croutons

Homemade Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Croutons

They ground up in my Ninja perfectly to use as a binder for the meatballs. Keeping the roasted garlic theme in mind, I did a quick roast of three large cloves of garlic in my toaster oven for 20 minutes.

SECOND BONUS: The night before I had made a huge batch of our favorite side dish to go with whatever the heck meat we had (See I love these so much that I can’t even remember what I ate with them as in my mind they are the star of any meal.) I had plenty of this rosemary bliss to serve with the meatballs, so of course I carried the rosemary theme through to the meatballs. Recipe here ——–> Rosemary and Butter Red Potatoes and Green Beans.

Buttered Rosemary Red Potatoes and Green Beans

Buttered Rosemary Red Potatoes and Green Beans

UN-BONUS: Sometimes my math isn’t so good. I was trying to figure out how long to set the timer so I could take the meatballs out of the oven about 5 minutes before they were done to zest some Parmesan over the top of them. I usually cook meatloaf about an hour, but figured I would check them with an instant-read thermometer at 30 minutes. So. I set the timer for 40 minutes. Why? I have no clue. Slightly on the dry side, but the spinach did help a lot with keeping them from being a disaster. The pan juices in the casserole dish poured over was also a perfect remedy.

Baked Spinach, Garlic, and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Baked Spinach, Garlic, and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Baked Spinach, Garlic, and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

3 large cloves garlic, peels left on
1/4 cup bread crumbs (from flavored croutons if you have them, or make your own!)
1/4 cup finely minced onion (I used the same Ninja that I ground up the breadcrumbs in)
1 pound ground turkey
8 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon dried, crushed rosemary (I crush the dried leaves with a mortar and pestle)
Pinch of dried thyme
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Ground black pepper, to taste

Wrap the garlic cloves in foil and roast for 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven (toaster oven is more economical). Remove and let cool, then peel and mince.

Meanwhile, process the croutons into bread crumbs, remove, then process the onion into a fine mince. (Store-bought bread crumbs are fine, as well as mincing your own onion with a knife.)

Processing the Croutons into Bread Crumbs

Processing the Croutons into Bread Crumbs

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and get ready to mess up your hands. Thoroughly combine all the ingredients using both hands.

Ground Turkey Meatball Ingredients

Ground Turkey Meatball Ingredients

When completely combined, scoop out a large handful and roll around in your hands and shape into the size of a large golf ball or small tennis ball. (What is that size? A rubber squash ball?) Either way, you should end up with six fairly same-sized meatballs.

Turkey Meatballs Ready to Bake

Turkey Meatballs Ready to Bake

Place the meatballs in a small oil-sprayed baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes (not 40 please) or until an instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Remove foil then grate some fresh Parmesan cheese over top. Cook for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Serve immediately with any sides of choice.

Baked Spinach Garlic and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Baked Spinach Garlic and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

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

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Pan Roasted Lemon Chicken with Potatoes, Asparagus, and Spinach

8 Nov
Pan Roasted Lemon Chicken with Potatoes Asparagus and Spinach

Pan Roasted Lemon Chicken with Potatoes, Asparagus, and Spinach

This recipe is not necessarily that hard to make, but it takes a lot of opening and closing the oven so it is probably not the best dish to make in the blazing summer heat. But it does make a fine fall meal on a chilly night!

The grocery store’s potato bins were empty of red potatoes, and there was only one bag of red potatoes left and a couple of bags of russets. Is there a potato famine going on that I don’t know about? I didn’t even notice the name of the potatoes when I grabbed them off the shelf, I was just glad to get some red ones. I was sure surprised when I cut into them and saw this beautiful yellow flesh contrasting with the red. I got the bag back out and realized I bought myself some Klondike Rose potatoes!

Klondike Rose Potatoes

Klondike Rose Potatoes

The Klondikes have a super buttery flavor and held up well to roasting. I think I have found my new favorite potato! Wait a minute, I never did have a favorite potato before, but now I do!

I got four thumbs up from the fam on this meal, and there was not one speck of leftovers. In fact they liked it so much I made it again last night. (And it’s a good way to finish up that bag of spinach. It also gave me an excuse to retake my final plating shot. The final photo from last week was just horrible!)

I probably won’t have a new recipe for awhile after this one, as I am traveling for a week for work and we will be in the throes of our remodel when I get back. OH! I guess I should mention we closed on our new house this week! YAY! I can’t wait to get cooking in our new kitchen once the remodel is done and we get all settled in.

With that, on to the recipe:

Pan Roasted Lemon Chicken with Potatoes, Asparagus, and Spinach

3 medium red potatoes (Klondike Rose if you can find them)
1 thick slice of sweet onion from a large onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Ground black pepper, to taste
Salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed between fingers
1 tablespoon olive oil
Spray oil, as needed
1 pound bone-in skin-on chicken breast(s)
1 large lemon, cut into wedges
1/2 bunch of asparagus
1/2 of an 8-ounce bag spinach

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash and scrub the potatoes, then cut them into 1/2 or 1 inch or so chunks. Cut the thick onion slice in half and separate. Add the potatoes, onion, garlic, crushed rosemary, salt or Mrs. Dash, ground pepper, and olive oil to a smallish shallow roasting pan, then toss to coat.

Seasoned Klondike Rose Potatoes and Sliced Sweet Onion

Seasoned Klondike Rose Potatoes and Sliced Sweet Onion

Roast the potatoes for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through and spraying with more oil, if needed.

Meanwhile, cut the chicken breast(s) in half or thirds. The breast I had was so huge we only needed one for the three of us. Season the chicken with salt or Mrs. Dash and pepper. Squeeze 1 or 2 wedges of lemon over the chicken and spray lightly with oil.

Seasoned Chicken Wanting that Lemon all over it!

Seasoned Chicken Wanting that Lemon all over It!

Remove pan from oven at required time and arrange chicken over top of the potatoes. Place back in oven and cook for 15 more minutes.

Chicken Ready to Roast with Potatoes

Chicken Ready to Roast with Potatoes

Meanwhile, trim the asparagus of woody stems then cut into 2-inch pieces. Again, remove pan from oven at required time and arrange the asparagus around the chicken on top of the potatoes. Spritz the asparagus with a little spray oil, then squeeze 1 lemon wedge over it. Place back in oven and cook for another 15 minutes.

Ready to Roast the Asparagus

Ready to Roast the Asparagus ~ Lookin’ Good, Baby!

Last, remove the pan from the oven again, then add the spinach over all. (It looks like a LOT but it cooks down just fine.) Squeeze another 2 lemon wedges over the spinach, then place the expended lemon wedges in the pan just for good measure.

Spinach Ready to Cook

Spinach Ready to Cook ~ You are sooo Close to Yummy!

Place back in oven and cook for about 5 more minutes, or until the spinach has wilted. Remove from oven (last time, I promise!). Remove chicken breast pieces from the pan and place a piece on each dinner plate. Toss the vegetables together, then serve on the plate with the chicken. MMMM, good! The chicken turns out so juicy and tender, and the potatoes and onions are caramelized in such a lovely way. Don’t forget you can click on my handy dandy Printable PDF below for the recipe!

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Lentil, Barley, and Ham Bone Soup

13 Oct
Lentil, Barley, and Ham Bone Soup

Lentil, Barley, and Ham Bone Soup

Yes, I do make a LOT of soup in the fall. It’s such a comfort food to me. I was going through my pantry and came across some red and brown lentils I forgot I had, as well as some pearl barley. I instantly knew I’d be making soup out of them. I then rummaged through the freezer and came across beef rib bones to make beef broth, and I discovered my husband had frozen the ham hock from our last ham. Bingo. Lentil, Barley and Ham Bone Soup. Unfortunately I was all out of homemade broth of any kind, and beef broth takes all day to make. So I did have to substitute low-sodium boxed beef broth I had in the cupboard, but I also decided to make the beef broth from the bones in the freezer. The recipe is here: Homemade Beef Broth.

So my kitchen has been busy today! I made the soup in the crockpot since my large soup pot was being used. I did get to put some of the homemade broth in at the end, because I had overestimated the quantity of lentils and barley to use, and after a few hours my soup was thick enough to stand a spoon up in! I’ve adjusted the recipe below to use less lentils and barley. OH! And I got to use two of my cute little frozen herb cubes I wrote about in my last blog.  I was tickled pink when I put them in the skillet to sauté the veggies. I’m easily amused.

Crockpot of Soup

Crockpot of Soup

Lentil, Barley, and Ham Bone Soup

1 frozen basil cube (sub with 1 tablespoon olive oil and chopped basil)
1 frozen tarragon cube (sub with 1 teaspoon olive oil and chopped tarragon)
1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
2 stalks sliced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Black pepper to taste
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning
6 to 7 cups beef broth, low sodium or homemade
1 ham bone
Additional chopped ham, if you have some
3/4 cup lentils, any kind
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes, with liquid

Sauté the veggies in oil for about 10 minutes, then add the garlic and seasonings. Cook for a few more minutes.  Transfer the veggies to a large crockpot.  Now add the rest of the ingredients except the tomatoes. Heat on high for a couple of hours, then add the tomatoes. Turn down to low and cook for a few more hours or until ready to eat. I plan on making a skillet of cornbread to serve with this.

Italian Ground Turkey and Spinach Soup

7 Oct
Italian Ground Turkey and Spinach Soup

Italian Ground Turkey and Spinach Soup

“Mom, this is the best soup you’ve ever made — and I don’t even like soup that much!” Wow. That was a surprise comment from her as she was finishing her first bowl of this tasty, filling soup while sopping up the last of the broth with a thick slice of crusty French bread. Fall has arrived and the nights are getting downright brisk (read freezing) and this is my soup-making time of year. I had a package of Italian-seasoned ground turkey in the freezer that I bought on a whim a few weeks ago. My husband was certainly skeptical of this particular purchase, since the very first meal I ever made for him was a complete disaster using this type of meat. I had unfortunately bragged up front to him about how much I loved to cook and was going to make him a delicious “healthy” dinner. I also decided to use our trusty old grill back then too, and at that point in time I did not have much grilling experience either. Long story short, he was served a meal of burnt, crumbled turkey burgers, of which half the burger fell through the grill because I didn’t use any binder in the meat. I was also unaware that turkey burger is so lean that it does not grill up well without it. ANYWAYS, last night his confidence was restored in my ground turkey-making skills with the soup. He also went back for seconds. This is definitely one soup I will keep in my rotation. The flavors just explode in your mouth and the varying textures make every spoonful a delight.  I hope you agree.

Italian Ground Turkey and Spinach Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 pounds Italian-seasoned ground turkey (I used Jennie-O brand)
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup chopped baby carrots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Black pepper to taste
5 to 6 cups homemade beef broth (or low sodium if using box/canned)
1 can low sodium petite diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 can low sodium garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
1 6 to 9 ounce bag of spinach, coarsely chopped
Shredded Parmesan cheese

In a soup pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high and add the ground turkey, onions, carrots, garlic and pepper to taste. Cook and stir until all the meat and vegetables have released their moisture and the ground turkey starts sticking a little,about 15 minutes. This ensures the turkey is cooked all the way through, as it doesn’t really “brown” much like burger does. Add the beef broth, then bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 more minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Now add the rest of the ingredients except the cheese, and bring back to a simmer for a few more minutes until the spinach is wilted. You can eat this now, or cover and keep warm until ready to serve. I made this a couple of hours before dinnertime because my husband was out golfing and wasn’t quite sure when to expect him home (the course had a “frost delay”), but I knew he’d be mighty hungry when he got in. He barely made it back before dark, and just as I suspected, he was ready to eat! We sliced up some warm, buttered French bread and added shredded Parmesan cheese to the soup for garnish. Heavenly delicious!

Rosemary White Bean Soup with Veggies and Ham

2 Oct
Rosemary White Bean Soup with Veggies and Ham

Rosemary White Bean Soup with Veggies and Ham

I set out to make this a vegetarian dish for a work Fall Harvest Soup Potluck, but after finding I didn’t have enough veggie broth for it and used chicken broth instead, I said “what the heck” and added some ham chunks I had in the freezer. But feel free to sub veggie broth and omit the ham. I was gone again for four days from Friday through Monday, then had this soup potluck to prepare for after we drove four hours back from the coast. (No Big Fish, AGAIN! We did come back with more Dungeness crab for the freezer. MMMM.) I made this AFTER fixing a dinner of chicken tenders, baked potatoes and broccoli, so wasn’t exactly in the mood to dash out to the store to buy more veggie broth. But that’s OK. From the ingredients you can see that it’s easily adapted to a vegetarian meal. No gluten either! We had nine large pots of different soups show up at the potluck, plus a full salad bar for whatever you wanted with three different greens and all manners of veggies. Oh and real bacon bits. We do have our bacon lovers in the office, too. Full bellies, happy workers.

Rosemary White Bean Soup with Veggies and Ham

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced baby carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Lots of black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, to taste
6 to 7 cups of chicken or veggie broth
3 or 4 cans of Canellinni beans (or any other white beans), drained and rinsed
1 can of diced petite tomatoes, drained
1 cup of diced ham, optional
1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh minced tarragon

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, sauté the carrots, celery, and onion over medium heat, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté another two minutes or so. Add black pepper and Mrs. Dash to taste. Pour in the broth, and bring to a simmer for about another half hour until the veggies are tender. Add all but one can of the white beans. Take the other can of rinsed and drained beans and add to a blender with about a cup of the broth and puree until smooth, then add to the soup. Now add the can of tomatoes. One interesting factoid I’ve learned in the past is that the acidic properties of tomatoes will hinder your veggies from getting “more tender” after adding the tomatoes, so wait until you are happy with the softness of them before adding. Next, add the ham if you want. Lastly, add your fresh minced herbs. Feel free to exchange for different fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, thyme, etc. These are just the ones I had fresh, but I made sure the rosemary was the overriding herb of this soup. Feel free to add some salt to taste, but I really didn’t think it needed it with the ham, but you might want to if making this vegetarian.  Bring back to a simmer for a bit now to let the herbs meld. I then transferred the soup to the crockpot then refrigerated overnight to heat up when I got to work. Soup’s On!

p.s. Just a photo note, I took the main photo BEFORE I added the rosemary. Only had the tarragon in at that point. I added the rosemary the next day, as it was a true Duh moment for me.  I was tired and cranky, lol. But the rosemary shined through in the end.

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