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Cabbage Soup Magic

15 Jan

“I decided I’ll never get down to my original weight and I’m OK with that.  After all, 7 pounds 6 ounces just isn’t reasonable.”  Malcolm West

I know.  I said I wasn’t going to do this recipe thing and then here I go!  Is there no one you can trust.

But I have a reason.  (Don’t they all!)  Someone sent me this cabbage soup recipe.  You know the one where all you eat is this cabbage soup and you loose a ton of weight but you can’t go out in public because of the flatulence.  Well I took this recipe and left out some of her ingredients, namely the red pepper flakes and cayenne, and added some sun-dried tomato hummus that I got at HyVee from their hummus bar.

Humor me.  There is such a thing as a hummus bar.  Not a good bar to get picked up in unless it’s by another hummus lover.  On second thought…

cabSoup

INGREDIENTS:

2-3 T olive oil, I used grape seed because that’s what I had on hand

1/2 head of cabbage, chopped

1 cup celery, onion, and carrot, diced – that’s a cup of each

1 green bell pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced (that means chopped small)

4 cups chicken or veggie broth

14 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 t oregano

1 t basil

1 t salt

1 to 2 T sun-dried tomato hummus

DESTRUCTIONS:

Heat oil in large pot and sauté celery, onion, carrot and green pepper until slightly soft.  Give it about 3 to 5 minutes

Stir in garlic then add broth, tomatoes, and cabbage.  Bring to boil and reduce heat.  Simmer until cabbage is tenderish.  Stir in seasonings, taste, and adjust seasonings.

What about the hummus, you might be asking.  I actually put the 1 to 2 T in the bottom of my soup bowl just before I ladled the hot soup into the bowl.  Then I mixed it in and enjoyed a cabbage soup that I could actually eat more than once a day without invoking divine assistance.

Did you notice the square bowl in the picture?  That was a gift to me after I got rid of my boring, blue bowls that I’ve been using for years because I owned them.  Not a great reason to continue to live with something, a fact I learned from the book about creating a tidy house that I wrote about a few bog entries ago.  Pay attention!

Great thing about a square bowl is that you can drink the last few drops of soup from the corner of the bowl, a feat not possible with a round bowl, which should need no explanation after all the modern math we were exposed to.

Loveya – The Grandma

 

Surprise Soup and Grilled Cheese

5 Feb

“Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive.”  Hafiz

Well today I’m not actually going to teach you how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, but rather, how to serve a grilled cheese sandwich if you have the misfortune to make it the way that I do.  

Also going to talk about soup.  That is usually the answer to almost all questions of what’s for dinner.  And yes, hearty soups can be made without the addition of carb heavy foods such as macaroni and potatoes.  Are we getting ready for bikini season or what!  In my case it’s the or what.  I have a bathing suit with enough support to hold up a bank.  Did that make any sense?  Too much caffeine.  

Surprise soup is so named because I had a half cup of chicken broth, a half can of diced tomatoes, and some celery in the fridge.  It was time to use them before they would be relegated to the compost pile (the celery) so I decided to thaw some frozen soup from the freezer, add my fridge finds, and make a brand new soup for us to “enjoy”.

Fortunately, I found some carrot ginger soup in the freezer, or so I thought.  Your right.  I don’t label my freezer treasures knowing that I’ll easily recognize whatever is in there.  The treasure turned out to be chunks of butternut squash in chicken broth.  

INGREDIENTS FOR SURPRISE SOUP:

Celery, whatever you have, diced

Medium onion, diced

Butternut squash in chicken broth

1/2 can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup leftover chicken broth

Any leftover meat, diced, optional

DISTRUCTIONS:  Saute the celery and onions in a little coconut oil.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer in a covered saucepan until the veggies are tender.  Serve with grilled cheese sandwich. 

SurpriseSoup

Lovely to look at and delicious.  Husband actually began to devour it before it cooled.  Very unusual for him.

My point is that soup isn’t rocket science and can be made quickly and easily.  It’s also a great way to use up bits of this and that that are hanging around in the fridge and freezer. On to the grilled cheese.

GRILLED CHEESE – is two pieces of bread with cheese in between.  The butter in my house is generally too hard to spread so I just put a chunk in the bottom of a small skillet and fry the sandwich in the melted butter.  But this is where it gets tricky.

On occasion I forget to turn the sandwich in a timely manner.  That means I have to serve the sandwich with a certain side up, hoping my inquisitive husband, Greg, won’t look at the bottom of the sandwich.

GrChezGuess which side I served facing up?  I am so clever!

Loveya – The Grandma

Chili Cha Cha Cha

1 Feb

“No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat.  Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office.”  George Bernard Shaw

Chili is one of those dishes that has 1000 varieties.  Really?  It’s my blog so I get to say what I want.

Truthfully, variations with chili are seemingly endless. Here’s a basic recipe that will allow you to dash off in various directions, rethink ways to serve chili, and stock your freezer with chili for a quick-thaw meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 T coconut oil, or other oil appropriate for browning meat

1 pound meat – I used ground turkey in this version

1 onion, chopped

2 cups diced carrots

2 cups diced celery

1 to 2 cups diced peppers – red, yellow, or green or a combination thereof

Large can diced tomatoes

1 T chili powder, more or less

1 T ground cumin, more or less

1 T cocoa powder (Yes!  This is the secret ingredient that will make you chili sing!)

S&P to taste

DISTRUCTIONS:  In a large kettle or skillet brown the meat in the oil.  Add the chopped veggies and cook until the mixture is nice and hot.  Add the tomatoes and spices.  Season.  Mix.  Cover.  Cook on low heat until the veggies are tender or dump the mixture into a crock pot and cook on low until you’re darn good and ready to eat.  Check seasonings one more time.  Was that so difficult?

Other things that could be included in chili are corn, lima beans, or any other kind of beans that you like.  You’ll notice that my recipe does not contain beans.  Just a personal preference but it still tastes like chili.  

chili1

This is not the entire batch of my chili, but simply a small portion that I’m heating up for breakfast.  Breakfast!  Yes.  I really enjoy a small amount of chili or any other kind of soup for breakfast.  Or it could be a lunch.  Just plop on an egg or two, cover, and cook until the eggs are done to your liking.

Chili2

Feeding a crowd?  Use a large skillet and festoon the mixture with eggs for everyone!  

Loveya – The Grandma

Mexican Chicken and Pepper Soup

28 Jan

“Self delusion is pulling in your stomach when you step on the scale.”  Paul Sweeney

The following recipe will make it unnecessary for you to pull in your stomach when you step onto the scale.  That’s because it follows the guidelines of Paleo eating.  Following these guidelines will make you svelte and irresistible to your heart’s desire.  I promise.  Have I ever lied to you?

I found this recipe, which sounded delicious, and of course I didn’t have the proper ingredients on hand so I improvised.  Didn’t have red and yellow peppers to cut into thin strips but I did have a bag of frozen red, yellow, and green pepper.  Didn’t have chicken chests so I used chicken thighs.  We all lived happily ever after.

INGREDIENTS – MY VERSION:

1 T olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1/4 t chili flakes

1 t oregano

3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

1/2 bag frozen pepper strips

1/2 large can diced tomatoes

3 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Parsley and lime wedge to serve

DESTRUCTIONS:  Saute the onion, garlic and chili in the oil until fragrant.  I started this whole thing in a large skillet.  Easier  for me to control.

ONSpSoup

This is what was going on in the skillet with the first four ingredients.  The original recipe called for a teaspoon of chili flakes.  Even cutting the amount to 1/4 teaspoon gave this soup enough kick for this spice-loving lady.  More or less to suit your personal taste would be a good idea.

Soup2

Next add the stock, tomatoes, and oregano and bring to a boil.  Lovely aromas will begin to waft through your kitchen!  Next, add a half bag of frozen peppers.  Easy and no sliced fingers!

Soup3

Frozen peppers just waiting to join the fun!

At this point in the original recipe you’re supposed to add chicken breast and simmer about 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  However, I did not have chicken breasts so I added diced chicken thighs (cut with a scissors into diced-sized pieces) and put everything into my trusty crock pot on low for about two hours.

The results were delicious and picture perfect!

Soup4

The squeeze of lime cut some of the heat.  A lovely, light soup that’s simple to prepare.  Can life get much better?  Yes!  I discovered a way to make my own, delicious, chili powder.  Stay tuned.

Loveya – The Grandma

About Cooking – A Really Good Broth

27 Nov

“Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.”  Anon

Every now and then I become overwhelmed with feelings of culinary excitement.  Sometimes it comes about because of a delicious restaurant meal.  Other times I’m blown away by a cooking show where everything looks effortless and nobody has to do the dishes.

It’s at these dangerous moments that I decide to cook with a vengeance.  This includes buying various dead things along with containers of exotic herbs, spices, and overpriced kitchen gadgets.

After enough of these “learning experiences”, and a kitchen filled with barely used exotic herbs and spices, I began to see a pattern.  My enthusiasm is often expensive.  Additionally, the recipes I’m drawn to require so much effort that I can’t possibly maintain my cooking pace without the assistance of willing, helping hands.  Get real!

And so I’ve organized, consolidated, and come up with a collection of recipes that will make others believe that I actually know what I’m doing in the kitchen.  And all of this is accomplished with nary a hint of a nervous disorder.  Like any plan for success, however, there are rules or suggestions.  But mostly there are recipes.

I’d like to begin with one of my favorite recipes for a simple, yet delicious, broth.  For those of you who think that all delicious broth begins with roasting bones and veggies until nicely browned and then simmering the aforementioned in a cauldron for three to seven days while making appropriate sacrifices to the broth gods, perhaps offering your firstborn or a goat, relax.

The following broth recipe is so easy and delicious that you’ll want to send me cards of thanks along with various denominations of paper money.  Best of all, this recipe can be vegetarian if you’re so inclined.  Can life get any better than this?  Let’s hope so!

INGREDIENTS:

3T soy sauce

2t Kitchen Bouquet

2T nutritional yeast flakes

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/3 t rubbed sage

2 cups water

1t oil

Distructions*:  Chop the onion.  Place everything into a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.

* Distructions is a word coined by my cute-as-a-button son in 1980 when he was  two years old.  It’s a combination of the words, instructions and directions.  He hasn’t said anything quite as adorable that’s appropriate for a G-rated blog in a long time, but he’s still cute as a button!

OTHER ISSUES:  Don’t get all bent out of shape about the oil.  Use whatever you have on hand unless it’s something with a really strong oder like yak oil or something that’s dripped off the bottom of your car.

And, WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE NUTRITIONAL YEAST FLAKES?  Some yellow flaky stuff that you can purchase at most stores that have a bulk food section and a plenteous supply of organic foods.  Google this if you really want to know all the good nutrition you’ll be getting by adding these flakes to your diet.  Just make sure that they’re the flakes and not the powder.  Ask me how I know.

OTHER USES FOR THIS DELICIOUS BROTH:  Add sliced mushrooms and make a faux beef mushroom soup.  Thicken to make a gravy.

Loveya – The Grandma