Monday, December 29, 2008

Potato-Leek Soup

I made this soup over two weeks ago, so I'm going to try to remember as best I can exactly what I did. The original recipe came from The Big Book of Soups & Stews by Maryana Vollstedt and I just made a few minor adjustments. This soup could easily be made vegetarian by omitting the bacon (which is not in the original recipe) and using a veggie stock instead of the chicken stock.

Potato-Leek Soup
  • 1 pound of bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

In a large soup pot, fry bacon pieces until crispy. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towel, leaving grease in pot. Add in leeks and potatoes and saute for a few minutes, until leeks are tender. Add 1 cup of the stock. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add more stock if necessary. Using a potato masher, mash up some of the potatoes until you get your desired consistency. Add remaining stock, half-and-half, salt and pepper and simmer 5 to 10 minutes longer. Serve topped with bacon pieces.

Spicy Crockpot Beans

Another hit from KMay's blog. Beans, rice, and spicy? How can that go wrong? This was easy to prepare and tasted great. I had never used peppers in adobo sauce before and I have to say the smell worried me a bit. I'm not sure what it was, maybe the vinegar (which I don't like). The cooking did lessen the strength of the smell quite a bit, but I was still leery of my first bite. I was worried for nothing, it was delicious. So if you've never used this ingredient before either, give it a shot even if the smell concerns you!

Spicy Crock Pot Beans
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 15 ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 4 ounce cans diced green chiles
  • 2 chipotle chiles from adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 envelope chicken gravy mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped

Place chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients except tomatoes and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Thirty minutes before serving remove chicken, shred, and return to slow cooker. Stir in tomatoes. Serve over white rice.

Sausage Bean Casserole

I found this recipe in KMay's blog and since we are big fans of beans and sausage we had to give it a try. I've made quite a few recipes from this blog and haven't been disappointed yet. I made a few adjustments to the recipe to suit our tastes. It's an extremely easy dish to make, only dirties one pot, and tastes great as leftovers.

Sausage Bean Casserole
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about one medium onion)
  • 1 lb ground sausage
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14 ounce can chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 16 ounce cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 cups frozen chopped spinach

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown sausage, add onion and saute until soft. Add garlic, saute 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, scraping pan to loosen brown bits. Stir in brown sugar, tomato paste, thyme, pepper, beans and bay leaf. Add red pepper and spinach. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, remove lid and bake for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Grandma's Pumpkin Cookies

My grandma always had a wide variety of cookies set out for special occasions, all of which were good. But her pumpkin cookies always stood out to me as the best. They were so flavorful and cakey and delicious.

Unlike my molasses cookies, which are best the next day, these pumpkin cookies are almost irresistible when they come out of the oven. I ate three before they made it into the containers this time around, and that was showing a lot of self-control on my part. But don't worry, they're just as tasty when they're cooled.

Grandma's Pumpkin Cookies
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup cooked pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter, egg and sugar. Add in pumpkin and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Fold into pumpkin mixture, stir on chocolate chips. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 15 minutes.