Saturday, October 31, 2009

Zuppa Toscanno

There is no trick to this soup. It's all a treat to eat this copy of Olive Garden's tasty soup. I made this great pot of soup to bring to Grandma's 90th birthday party today. She's a wonderful lady and it's a pleasure to celebrate this milestone. Here's to many more and great health this year.

1 lb Spicey Sausage, browned and drained
2 med Potatoes, cut in half lengthwise and cut into 1/4" slices
3/4 c Onions, diced
6 Slices bacon, chopped
2 t Garlic, minced
2 c Kale leaves, chopped
2 T Chicken base
1 qt Water
1/3 c Heavy whipping cream

  1. Chop up bacon in small pieces and cook in a large soup pot. When crisp, remove the bacon and sauté the onion in 1 T bacon drippings until clear.
  2. Add garlic and cook one minute. Add chicken base, water and potatoes, simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Add bacon, sausage, kale and cream. Simmer 4 – 10 minutes and serve.
  4. Soup can be made ahead of time and cooled to remove fat from the top for a healthier version of the soup. Actually is better reheated or simmered longer.
  5. Freezes well. Put in freezer bag and freeze flat. When frozen, stack upright in small tote/box in freezer with other soups/sauces to save space.
Sausage $2.00(Aldi's)
Potatoes $.30 (Meijer)
Onions $.25 (Aldi's)
Bacon $1.00 (Aldi's)
Kale leaves $1.50 (Meijer)
Cream $.50 (Costco)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Beef Barley Soup

This is one of those family recipes passed down that feel like home. Grandma Cora is famous for this one. A big pot of this feeds an army or can be frozen and saved for a quick fix. So glad she introduced me to barley... my favorite for soups now.

3 lb Beef chuck stew meat, trimmed and cut into small pieces
2 T Vegetable Oil
1/2 c Onion, chopped
4 Beef bouillon cubes
6 c Water
2 c V8 Juice
1 Can chopped tomatoes
2 T Sugar
2 T Worchestshire sauce
1/4 t Chili powder
1/3 c Barley
1 c Celery, finely chopped
1 c Carrots, chopped

In dutch oven or large kettle, brown stew meat n oil over medium heat. While meat is browning add chopped onion. Add the chopped tomatoes and V8 juice and bouillon after meat is browned and let it cook for about 1/2 hour.

Add vinegar, sugar, Worchestshire sauce, chili powder, and barley. Add 6 c of water. During last hour of cooking, add celery, carrots and simmer until veggies are tender.

Meat $7.50 (Meijer)
Barley $.50 (D & W)
Celery $.25 (Aldi's)
Carrots $.25 (Aldi's)
Onion $.25 (Aldi's)
Juice $1.00 (Meijer)
Spices from stock

Can use chuck roast instead of stew meat

Monday, October 26, 2009

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

This is one of those dishes I HATED as a kid and wondered how grown ups could eat such stuff. This is one of those dishes that I enjoy as an adult and now have my kids try who look at me and wonder how grown ups could eat such stuff. The cycle continues. Of course we know bacon makes everything better... and celery seeds is the flavor on the back end that make you wonder what the savory taste that lingers is.

1 bunch Broccoli, flowerets cut in bit-size pieces
1 sm head Cauliflower, flowerets cut in bit-size pieces
1 sm Red Onion, chopped
8 slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled

SAUCE: wisk together
1 c Canola Oil
1/4 c Cider vinegar
1/2 c Sugar
1 t Onion powder
1 t Paprika
1 t Celery seed
1/2 t Salt

Pour sauce over broccoli, cauliflower and onions and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours, stirring often. Add bacon just prior to serving and mix well.

Broccoli $1 (Aldi's)
Cauliflower $1.25 (Aldi's)
Bacon $1 (Aldi's)
Onion $.25 (Meijer)
Oil $.30 (Aldi's)
Spices - from stock

May add mushrooms and substitute green onion for the red onion if desired.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Green Beans with Basil

A friend of mine made this for a Christmas dinner and I had to have seconds. Great for entertaining, but easy enough for a week night dinner as well.

1 lb Fresh Green Beans
1/4 c Water
3 T Butter (or olive oil)
1/2 c Onion, finely chopped
1/4 c Celery, finely chopped
1 Garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 t Fresh rosemary, minced (or 1/2 t dried rosemary)
1 1/2 t Fresh Basil, minced (or 1/2 t dried basil)

Place beans and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook, uncovered for 7 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain; add the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook for 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Beans $2.00 (C0stc0)
Butter $.15 (Aldi's)
Onion $.25 (Meijer)
Celery $.25 (Aldi's)
Rosemary - from garden
Basil - from garden

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Almond Cake

There's no better way to celebrate one's birthday than with cake. I love the taste of almond, so maybe in honor of my birthday I'll whip together this diddy. I'll try not to burn it down with too many candles.

This recipe came from my cousin's church cookbook, which are notorious for stellar recipes. Nothing like a group of women putting together their favorite recipes.

1 pkg Yellow cake mix
2 Eggs
2 c Milk
1 pkg Instant vanilla pudding
1 c Grated almond paste
1 c Sugar
Whipped topping

Mix cake mix, eggs, milk and pudding together until smooth.
In separate bowl, blend grated almond paste and sugar with a fork.
Grease 9x13 pan. Put 1/2 cake mixture in pan, followed by 1/2 almond mixture (sprinkled). Repeat layers.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min. Serve with whipped topping.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Fall means lots of soup in our house. It's not only total comfort food, but you can use your leftovers or odds and ends in the refrigerator to make a quick and delicious dinner. A bit of crusty bread and you're good to go.

6-8 med Potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 T Chicken soup base
1/2 c Chopped onion
1 T Oil (I use sunflower or safflower)
4 oz Velveta cheese (or shredded cheddar)
2 T Dried Parsley
6 Bacon slices, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
Chives (optional, I omit)

  1. Cook bacon slices until crisp. Drain and cop into small pieces.
  2. Boil potatoes in water and soup base until soft but still firm. Drain.
  3. Saute onions in oil until lightly browned.
  4. Add cheese and potatoes to onions and stir in.
  5. Add milk until desired consistency is reached. Simmer 10 minutes.
  6. Add parsley and bacon. Salt, pepper, & chives to taste.
  7. Put into a freezer bag and lay flat. When frozen stack in a small tote/box with other soups or sauces in the freezer Saves lots of room.
Potatoes $1 (Meijer or Aldi's)
Soup Base (from stock)
Bacon $1 (Aldi's)
Milk $.50 (Aldi's)
Cheese $.75 (Aldi's)
Onion $.25 (Aldi's)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chicken Tetrazzini

3/4 lb Angel hair pasta
1 lb Chicken, cooked and shredded (or turkey)
2 T Olive Oil
2 t Garlic, minced
1/2 lb Sautéed mushrooms
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped

2 c Chicken broth
3-4 Chicken bouillon cubes
Salt & pepper
2-3 T Flour
1 c Heavy cream (or 2 c sour cream)

Italian bread crumbs
Shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Prepare pasta as directed on package and drain.
  2. Saute peppers and mushrooms with oil and garlic.
  3. For sauce, combine chicken broth, bouillon cubes, salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to boil. Mix a little broth with flour to make a paste. Slowly stir into remaining broth. Continue cooking and stirring until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in cream or sour cream. Add mushrooms and peppers.
  5. Put pasta in large bowl. Stir in sauce and meat. Mix well.
  6. Pour mixture into 9 X 13 baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle liberally with Italian bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese over top.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly brown.
  9. Let dish set about 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Freezes well. Thaw and then bake.
Pasta $.50 (Meijer sale)
Chicken $2.00 (Meijer)
Mushrooms $1
Bell Pepper $.50 (Aldi's)
Broth $1 (Aldi's)
Heavy cream $1.50 (Costco)
Bread crumbs (free from leftover bread)
Parmesan cheese $1 (Aldi's)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Amish Friend's Caramel Corn

This gem is from that I used for teacher/friend gifts last Christmas. It totally screams out fall and holidays to me. Please DO NOT use microwave popcorn. It's not good for you and it makes the finished product greasy or coat unevenly. If you use fresh popcorn it will turn out amazing.

7 qt Plain popped popcorn
2 c Dry roasted peanuts (optional)
2 c Brown sugar
1/2 c Light corn syrup
1 t Salt
1 c Margarine (I use butter)
1/2 t Baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Place the popped popcorn into two shallow greased baking pans. You may use roasting pans, jelly roll pans, or disposable roasting pans. Add the peanuts to the popped corn if using (obviously we don't with a peanut allergy - want to try almonds next). Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend. Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will be light and foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat. Don't worry too much at this point about getting all of the corn coated.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, removing the pans, and giving them each a good stir every 15 minutes. Line the counter top with waxed paper. Dump the corn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces. Allow to cool completely, then store in airtight containers or resealable bags.
Popcorn $.40 (Meijer - I pop fresh)
Brown Sugar $1.00 (Aldi's)
Corn syrup $.50 (Meijer)
Butter $.90 (Aldi's)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Andes Mint Chocolate Cake

Beware, this cake could tempt you to sin. Gluttons beware. This is a a mild minty cake that leaves you wanting more. Add a drizzle of hot fudge over the top and you've got a home run.

1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup oil (I use sunflower)
2/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1 cup Andes mint chips
Hot Fudge (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a Bundt pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix the yellow cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, vegetable oil, sugar, and water. Gently fold in the sour cream and mint chips. It will be a very thick batter, but that helps make an incredibly moist cake.
  3. Pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.
TOTAL COSTS: $3.25 - $4.75
Andes mint chips $2.50 (Meijer) - can chop mints ($1 Christmas time)
Sour Cream $.50 (Aldi's)
Cake Mix $.90 (Aldi's)
Pudding $.50 (Aldi's)
Eggs $.35 (Aldi's)

Whatever flavor of pudding you want
Whatever flavor of cake you want
Mini chocolate chips
Peppermint bits