Archive for Soup

Me

As you can tell, I have been lacking in my posts. I am trying to go too many directions at one time and something has to suffer, in this case it is the blog. For that, I am sorry. I really enjoy putting my thoughts or tidbits about my life in writing. Right now, tho, I have to balance what I can and this is where the teeter totter hits the ground on occasion.

I am constantly learning between school and my mentor. It seems like my brain will explode with all the new knowledge. The small breakthroughs with dogs who are are afraid of everything or the wild child dogs that are learning impulse control and starting to have a little family harmony, these let me know I am on the right path.

This is Napoleon, who, unlike his namesake, does not want to take over the world and is working hard on his impulse control.

This is Peanut, who would give a scaredy cat a run for it’s title. Little by little he’s coming out of his shell, tho.

I try to get into the kitchen but I don’t have the time for creativity in there that I would like. The closest I’ve come is this Sausage Minestrone soup.

Sausage Minestrone
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 pound Italian sausage
2 large carrots, chopped
salt and pepper (go easy on the salt…more can be added at the end)
Pinch of crushed red pepper
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup white wine
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cans (15 ounces each) white navy beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups ditalini or other small pasta
Shredded or shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions

In a 5 quart pan saute onion and carrots over medium heat until the onion is almost translucent; Add the garlic, red bell pepper, sausage, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Break up the sausage as it cooks.

Stir in the broth, beans, tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, tomato paste and wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes. (Can be cooled and frozen at this point.) Bring to a boil. Stir in ditalini; return to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, uncovered, for 6-8 minutes or until pasta is tender. Serve with cheese. Yield: 13 servings (3-1/4 quarts).

Sausage and Corn Chowder

Sausage and Corn Chowder
The weather has been frightful which makes soup so delightful.

Sausage and Corn Chowder

Sausage and Corn Chowder

1 tbsp olive oil
12 ounces mild italian sausage (I like turkey)
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
32 ounces chicken stock
5 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
½ cup corn (frozen or canned)
1 cup cream or half n half

In a 5 quart skillet or stock pan, heat skillet on medium. Drizzle olive oil so it covers the bottom of the pan. Remove the sausage from the casings and crumble into the hot pan. Add the onion and salt and pepper. (I use about ½ tsp of kosher salt, not too much because the chicken stock has salt.) When the sausage is browned add the garlic and bell pepper. (Sometimes I had a diced jalapeno for a tad bit of warmth.)

Once the onion is translucent and the garlic and pepper have cooked a bit add the stock, being sure to scrape up any browned bits off the bottom. Add the potatoes. You may need to add a bit more stock if the potatoes aren’t covered. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender…about 20 minutes or so. At this point use a potato masher to smoosh some of the potatoes and break up the sausage a little more. This will help thicken the broth up. Add the cream, bring back to a simmer and voila…soup is ready.

On the way to make Butternut Squash Soup

Soup

Christmas is over but the weather remains quite chilly. In chilly weather soup is required and I wanted butternut squash soup. I was thinking of an autumn bisque recipe that also uses apples, onions, sausage and is very hearty on a cold evening. First thing I did was stick a whole butternut squash in the oven to roast. This saves any peeling or cutting until it has been softened by cooking and provides a deeper, richer flavor than boiling.

Then I thought that since the oven was already on I might as well roast some heads of garlic as well. Suddenly the light bulb went on and I had an epiphany. Normally I wrap the garlic whole or I cut the top off and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, then wrap it in foil. Today my brain was kicked into over-drive. Ok, I was bored, hubby and son were at work and I was at home with no car. So I cut the tops off of 3 heads of garlic. My thinking was that even tho if roasted garlic was good, maybe it could be better. I drizzled each with a bit of olive oil, then sprinkled two with kosher salt. One of those I poked it with fresh rosemary sprigs that were snipped from the bush in our front yard. Wrapped each in foil (bending down the top of the garlic without salt so that I would be able to tell which was which) and put them in the oven to roast for a taste test.

A recreation of the actual event.

After removing from the oven and unwrapping I noticed the salted heads were more caramelized than the unsalted one. For tasting I toasted Italian bread. I didn’t want anything that would compete with the flavors. The salt added a bit of depth to the roasted garlic. It was very good. BUT. It could not compete with the rosemary. That was amazing. I will be repeating it often. My son has already requested that I make an alfredo sauce with it.

Then I moved on to making the aforementioned soup, which didn’t go quite as planned, but it came out heavenly. Apparently hubby had taken the granny smiths to work and the Italian sausage that I thought was in the freezer was no where to be found. Not to fear, tho, necessity IS the mother of invention, after all, and I am nothing if not a mother. So here’s what I did:

I sauteed 1/2 a giant onion (I swear, this thing was HUGE, it must have been on ‘roids) with a pinch of salt and pepper. Then I tossed in 4 ounces of chopped pancetta (bacon would work, too) and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Once that was nice and cooked I squeezed in the rosemary infused roasted garlic, the flesh from the roasted butternut squash and the rest of the mashed taters from Xmas dinner (they had the same seasonings: roasted garlic and rosemary) and a quart of chicken stock and 2 cups of cream. Served it with grated parmesan and a little grated nutmeg. I should have pureed the roasted squash rather than mashing it in, tho, for a better texture, but the soup was amazingly good on a chilly evening.

Soup is On: Chicken Enchilada Soup

Our desert weather has cooled off and it’s time to put soup on the dinner menu. Tonight I also used up a few cans from the pantry and broke out the slowcooker for Chicken Enchilada Soup. This recipe was created on the fly.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Into the slowcooker I tossed a diced onion, a diced red bell pepper, a small can of green chili enchilada sauce, can of chopped green chilis, a can of black beans, a small can of corn (drained), can of fire roasted tomatoes, 2 cups chicken stock, 4 boneless breasts in 1″ cubes, tbsp of lemon juice, a tsp of ancho chili powder, 1/2 tsp oregano, a pinch of crushed red pepper and some fresh ground black pepper. I didn’t salt it because some of the ingredients had salt and was glad as it didn’t need any extra. Cooked on high for 4 hours. Serve with sour cream, cilantro and tortilla chips.

Me, Myself and Corn Chowder

At least two nights a week hubby works late. That leaves me home alone with the critters. Today, this is probably a good thing. Since I had no desire to clean up after fixing a big meal just for myself, I checked out the fridge for acceptable de javu meals.

Lunch was leftover Antipasto Pasta Salad. I made a big batch for hubby to take to a potluck at work, and thankfully there was a little extra for me.

Antipasto Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is also a “everything but the kitchen sink” toss together. No real recipe, just a ‘little of this, a lot of that’. I start with 1 lb of pasta, such as ziti. Boiled in salted water until almost done. Rinse in cold water immediately to stop the cooking process. Into a big bowl and add marinated mozzarella (reserve oil), Parmesan cheese, Kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, chopped roasted red peppers, a hard salami sliced, sliced provolone cheese, marinated artichoke hearts (chopped to bite size), pepperoncini, in whatever quantity suits your fancy. Take the reserved oil from the marinated mozzarella, add about another 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 or 3 tablespoons of white balsamic or seasoned rice vinegar, a little bit of salt (not much, you can add more later), fresh ground pepper, fresh oregano and fresh chopped basil. Whisk the dressing and then pour over pasta mix and toss. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours, overnight is better. Taste and then add more seasoning as needed. I toss chopped green onion at this point if I have it, then top with some more fresh Parmesan and chopped fresh basil. Serve.

Later, after a torture session with my Physical Therapist and a couple of hours at the office, I came home and hung out with the animals. Four happy Great Danes were having a blast today kicking up wet, gross sand. After, I heated up a bowl of soup left over from last night’s Sausage Corn Chowder.

Sausage Corn Chowder

12 ounces mild turkey sausage, removed from casing
1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1 c. coarsely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cloves chopped garlic
4 c. 1/2 inch cubes baked and peeled red potatoes
1 (17 oz.) can cream style corn
1 15 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cups half n’ half
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large pan, saute onion until translucent. Add chopped pepper and garlic, saute for another minute or two. Break up sausage and add to onion mixture, cook until brown.
Add remaining ingredients, bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Serves 6.