Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bean and Bacon Soup

Found this on Lynn's Kitchen Adventures and thought it sounded good. I had planned it for last night, then it was 70* yesterday, not exactly a day for soup. But by dinner time the rain was coming down and it was fine. I thought it needed more molasses flavor but it tasted good and everyone seemed to like it. I served it with Boston brown bread.

Bean and Bacon Soup
serves 5-6

3 cans navy or other white beans, drained and rinsed 
        (or 4 1/2 c dried beans, soaked and cooked)*
1/2 lb bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 can chicken broth
3 Tbsp molasses
2 c milk

Cook the diced bacon in a skillet until it starts to render the fat and turn crisp, then add the onion. Cook until the bacon is crisp and the onion is soft and slightly browned. Put the beans, bacon and onion, chicken broth, and molasses into the crockpot and stir well. Cook on low for 2-3 hours. Add the milk, stir, and cook 30-40 minutes until heated through. Salt to taste and serve.

*I soaked and cooked a 1 pound package of Great Northern beans, then measured out the 4 1/2 cups; the rest went into a container for the freezer. I'm not sure how much dried beans equals 4 1/2 cups.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Red Beans and Rice Soup

I found this in the Food section of the paper a week or two ago and it was a big hit here. It sounded really good and not quite as spicy as red beans and rice. It's actually very mild, described as "kid-friendly" which means that it's husband friendly in our house. For those that like it a bit more heat, just add some hot sauce to your dish.

Red Beans and Rice Soup
serves 10-12

1 pound dried red beans, picked over, then soaked for at least 8 hours or overnight, rinsed
1 Tbsp olive oil
6-8 oz smoked turkey kielbasa, diced
1 onion, chopped
3/4 c diced celery (from 2-3 ribs)
1/2 c diced red bell pepper (from 1 small pepper)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
7 c homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth, more as needed
2/3 c raw basmati or jasmine rice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place the beans in a large soup pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for about 1 hour, adjusting the heat to keep the liquid barely bubbling, just until the beans are al dente, or firm to the bite. Drain in a colander, discarding the cooking liquid.

Return the empty pot to the stove over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the kielbasa and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, brown sugar, thyme, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vinegar and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, then add the broth, beans, and rice. Cook uncovered, keeping the liquid barely bubbling, until the rice is cooked, 30 to 45 minutes, adding broth if the soup seems too chunky. Season with the salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaves. Serve hot.

The soup can be frozen up to 3 months. 

from The Washington Post

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chicken Nuggets

I've been meaning to post recipes for the yummy desserts that I've made this week, the butterscotch brownies and the brownie pudding, but life has taken over briefly. I made these chicken nuggets today for lunch. I don't know why I don't make them more often, they're pretty easy and are probably so much better for you. I've changed up the original recipe quite a bit, making it easier. It's from my red, plaid BH&G New Cookbook.

Chicken Nuggets
serves 4

3 Tbsp melted butter
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 pkg. chicken tenders (or 2 whole large chicken breasts), cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 c bread crumbs or panko
1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese

In a bowl stir together the butter and Worcestershire sauce. Add chicken and toss to coat. In a plastic bag stir together the bread crumbs and cheese. Add chicken pieces, a few at a time, closing bag and shaking to coat pieces well. Place chicken pieces in a single layer in a 15x10x1 pan or on a cookie sheet.

Bake in a 450* oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until no longer pink.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Old Time Beef Stew

I can't believe that I haven't posted this one yet. It's my "go to" recipe for beef stew. I modified it from Country Living Recipes, a cookbook I got free years ago from Southern Living. Don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients, most are commonly found spices/seasonings that are in your pantry. Last night's turned out really tasty.

Old Time Beef Stew
serves 5-6

1 1/2 lbs boneless chuck, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove garlic
2 cups water
1/2 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp paprika
1 large bay leaf
1 tsp Italian seasoning
dash of allspice
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 c cold water
2 Tbsp flour

Cook beef in oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat about 20 minutes, turning often to brown evenly. Stir in the next 14 ingredients (down to the allspice). Cover and simmer about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the carrots and potatoes; cover and simmer 30 minutes or until the vegetables are done. Combine 1/4 c cold water and flour in a small bowl, mixing well; pour into stew, stirring constantly until gravy thickens. simmer 5 minutes. Note: you may need to add more water (1/2 - 1 cup) when you add the potatoes and carrots.