Friday, January 29, 2010

Yesterday marked the 100th day of school, making the year about half way over. Sometimes in the doldrums of winter I will celebrate just about anything.
My eldest was a little sad that in fourth grade they weren't celebrating this milestone, while his younger sister's class was. So I promised to plan something. This is all I did, but it made him happy. After he guessed which one had 100, and how much was in the other containers, we had to do something with those chocolate chips; so I made some cookies. It's fun being the mom.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu Planning

Here is my new menu plan for the year. I asked the kids to create their "fantasy" menu. Then I averaged what they wanted and created what would work for us on our time schedule. (by the way mashed potatoes and gravy is apparently a meal by itself)

Sunday: Big Meat (usually with taters and good for leftovers all week)
Monday: Mom's choice (I want to try new stuff; at least they're warned)
Tuesday: Non-Meat/Soup (beans, lentils, food storage stuff)
Wednesday: Leftovers/Sandwiches (Dad is gone this night)
Thursday: Crockpot/Easy (scouts, activity days, etc.)
Friday: Pizza/Tacos (we have a child that was dismayed that we might eat the same thing every night!)
Saturday: Dad's Choice (we all know he's a better cook than me)

This makes my menu planning/grocery shopping so much easier now. Next, I'll have to post some of the yummy recipes I've been finding on-line.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vegetarian Chili

(adapted from Rachel Ray)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic minced ( I just used minced garlic in the can. It's a different amount though so look on the can).
1 cup vegetable (chicken) broth
1 can (32 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (14 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 to 1 ½ Tbsp cumin
1 to 1 ½ Tbsp chili powder
6 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 cup spicy refried beans
Cheddar cheese

Heat oil over medium. Add onion and peppers, sauté 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add broth, reduce by half (2-3 minutes). Add tomatoes, beans, cumin, chili powder, Tabasco, and salt. Thicken with refried beans. Serve with cheese and chips. YUMMY!

Carrot Soup

I know! Another weird soup. But I really love this soup.

3 Tbs. olive oil
2 leeks, including tender green portions,
thinly sliced (or, if you are me, and you don't have leeks - just use one small onion, finely diced)
6 carrots, about 1 lb. total,
peeled and thinly sliced
1 red potato, about 1/2 lb., peeled and
coarsely diced (or a regular russet potatoe, if that's what you have in your pantry)
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper, to taste

You can add a little bit of orange juice or ginger to fancy this up, or not. It's up to you.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks and sauté until just slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and potato and sauté until the vegetables are just softened, about 5 minutes more.

Add the stock, cover partially and simmer until the vegetables are completely softened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches, leaving some texture, and return the soup to the pan. Alternatively, process with a stick blender in the pan until the desired consistency is reached. Set the pan over medium heat and stir in the orange juice (if you are doing that) Season with salt and white pepper.

Serves 4 to 6.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tuscan Tomato Soup

Alright, I'm throwing out another favorite soup recipe for you. This one is from The Chef's Table in Orem, UT.

This soup is trust me!

- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Onion, Small dice
- 3 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes
- 2 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1.5 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 Cup Basil Pesto (make your own - basil, EVOO, parmesan cheese, and pinenuts blended in a food processor) or buy some...
- Salt and Pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a medium large soup pot. Add onions and cook over moderately low heat until completely translucent. Add tomatoes and allow to warm to a simmer. Add chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 15 minutes to allow for interchange of flavors.

Add whipping cream. Add pesto.

Blend to desired consistency in a food processor or blender. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Soup Season

Anyone have a favorite soup recipe to share with me?

I love soup!

I found this recipe today and it just really made me in a mood for soup.
(Plus, I totally LOVE split pea soup)

Classic Split-Pea Soup
Adapted from Real Simple, best recipes

1 ham hock
2 32-ounce-containers chicken broth
1 pound green split peas
2 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Rinse the ham hock and place it in a large saucepan or Dutch oven along with the broth, split peas, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, 3 to 3-1/2 hours. (I would probably just put it in the crockpot all day...)

Remove and discard the bay leaf. Transfer the ham hock to a plate and let sit until cool enough to handle, at least 10 minutes. Shred the meat (there won't be a lot) and stir it into the soup.

Serve warm with crusty bread.