Friday, December 16, 2016

It's going to be cold this weekend....

It's going to be cold this weekend and I'm sure your busy getting ready for the holidays.  Therefore, I have chosen to share my Split Pea Soup recipe today.  It seems rich and creamy but is actually easy to make and fairly inexpensive.  In my family, we always have simple vegetable soups the couple of days before Christmas to remind us that even if times are hard, there can be great comfort from the simple things. Plus cooking with your crock pot frees up your time to spend with people you love the most.  So, to that end, I hope you enjoy this...

Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

16 oz dried split peas
1-2 cups diced cooked ham
1 cup diced carrots
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 stalks chopped celery
2 garlic cloved, crushed with salt to a paste
1-2 tsps dried thyme, I always soak mine in oil for a few minutes
½ tsps. Salt and pepper
Chicken Broth to fill the crockpot 3/4 full
1 brick of cream cheese, softened
Put everything but cream cheese in the crock post on high and cook covered 4-5 hours.

Stir every hour or so.  After 5 hours, taste to make sure that all of the peas are well done---a bit mushy. If it looks like the liquid is getting low while cooking, add more broth.

Cube cream cheese and drop in.  Stir and continue cooking for another hour, stirring often to break down all the veggies and make sure the cream cheese is all mixed in.  It should have a velvety texture.


I serve it with cornbread croutons. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mashed Potatoes! (Exclamation)

I was at the grocery store this afternoon waiting in line with my turkey and $275 more groceries and I had a chuckle.  Three generation of grocery shoppers were behind me--mother, son, grandson.  The grandson was a bit out of control and after several attempts by the dad (half-ass if you ask me, "stop it" "settle down" "don't make me come over there" ) the grandmother turned around and said "If you can't control him, you can just go back home and I will have a peaceful Thanksgiving all by myself!"
It got real o'clock fast!!
But it made me think of all the food, and so...with a very special grave-related day fast approaching, I decided to share my mashed potatoes with you.  They probably aren't mine and you might already know.  They are creamy beyond belief and yummy...but not lite, fat free, or overly healthy in any way.  But they are delicious. I hope that you enjoy this as much as we do.  And as always, feedback or suggestions are always appreciated.  Happy Thanksgiving!!

3-4 lbs russet potatoes, peeled, chopped and boiled
1 small can whole milk--or half and half--or lets face it, cream
2 Tbsp Butter
8 Oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt
Pepper

Cook potatoes how you normally would if you are making mashed potatoes. Drain, salt and pepper* to taste and mash with a potato masher.  While they cool a bit, heat the milk/cream until it is about to boil. Add to the potatoes and mix with the mixer.  Add block of softened cream cheese and mix very well. Serve and act exhausted so that someone else does the dishes.

   From here, you can add other flavors.  For example, shredded colby/cojack cheese and roasted hatch green chili (even diced from the can) makes for an awesome side with steaks.  The green chili really hold up to the boldness of red meat.

  If you want to do a double stuffed baked potato, bake the potatoes instead of boiling.  Half and scoop out as you would a twice baked potato.  Instead of butter, add sour cream and cheddar cheese. Top with slices of precooked bacon--I cook the bacon to done but still limp or use that precooked bacon from the grocery store.  Put 2-3 slices of bacon side by side over the top and return to the oven for the second baking.

 If you feel like you need to channel your inner June Cleaver and make "iced" meatloaf, again, leave out the butter and cream and add shredded cheese and as the meatloaf is about done, ice as you would a cake.  Return to over and continue to cook.  Due to the fact that these potatoes are a bit stuff without the cream, they hold up very well and do not slide off the meatloaf.

*Whether you are making mashed potatoes or potato salad, after you have drained or before you mix add the salt and pepper directly to the potatoes.  Especially in the case of potato salad, you do not want a lump of unflavored potato.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Fancy Stuffed Mushrooms

I am always looking for new appetizers and one day I had a bit of a cocktail emergency.  I looked in the fridge and had mushrooms and cream cheese and some leftover Italian sausage in the freezer.  I wanted an appetizer that was very low in carbs and an idea was born.  I'm not a big fan of mushrooms but these I love, as does Phil.  Hopefully, you will as well.

Fancy Stuffed Mushrooms

½ Pound Ground Italian Turkey Sausage, browned and crumbled (If you can only find them in links, remove the casing)
8 oz Cream Cheese
½ c Shredded Parmesan Cheese
½ tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
30-40 Medium Mushrooms, brushed and stemmed


Brown and crumble Italian Turkey Sausage and let cool.  You only need half so you can freeze the other half for another time.  Mixed cooled sausage, cream cheese, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, pepper and garlic until well mixed.  Generously fill the mushroom cap with the sausage mixture and dip in into the remaining parmesan cheese or sprinkle it on top.  Bake at 400° until golden brown, about 30 minutes.  

Monday, November 7, 2016

Recipe Debut--Mexican Chicken Soup

Some time back, I was craving a chicken soup but wanted to find a way to get what I wanted--fresh diced jalapenos--and for Phil to have what he wanted--no fresh diced jalapenos.  I had a bit of pico de gallo I had made and just added that.  But, I decided that it would be better if you could add the specific things you liked and not have the rest, plus of course it needed avocado.  That's how this recipe, and especially the presentation was born.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do.

Susan’s Mexican Chicken Soup

Cooked rice

Soup
1 white onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 large clove of garlic, well chopped or pressed
1 Tbsp Mexican oregano
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
1 chicken, cooked, deboned and shredded
4 cups of chicken broth

Deconstructed Pico de Gallo
1 bunch cilantro, minced
1 avocado, diced
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 large jalapeno, seeded and chopped

Optional
Shredded monterrey cheese
Tortilla chips

Cook rice according to the package directions.  Minute Rice isn’t as good but will work in a pinch and can be cooked in half broth/water for a bit more flavor.

You can boil the chicken and reserve the broth. Or, brushing the chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasting it give the chicken a better flavor, even if you use canned broth.  I often use a rotisserie chicken as it is so even and has a good but of liquid that drains off.
In a small bowl, 2 Tbsp of olive oil and Mexican oregano and set aside.
Heat a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil and sauté onion, carrot and celery with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir often until the veggies begin to soften.  Add minced garlic and Mexican oregano mix.  Stir well and cook until you begin to smell the garlic.  Add the shredded chicken and stir until the chicken is warm.  Add chicken broth.  Stir well.  Cover and reduce heat to low once this comes to a boil.  Watch for any film that might gather around the rim of the pot and skim it off. 

While the soup simmers for 20-30 minutes, mince cilantro, dice avocado, seed and chop both the tomato and jalapeno but do not mix together.  This is a deconstructed pico.

Place a scoop of rice in a soup bowl and ladle the soup over this. Add cilantro, avocado, tomato and jalapeno as desired.   I also serve it with shredded cheese and tortilla chips.
 
This freezes and reheats well in the crockpot.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Kerri, I need a drink on the beach stat!!!

Yea, that's right. When I visited Kerri an age ago, she fixed me a nice vodka orange juice combo and took me to sit on the beach. Today, the weather was overcast and very moist and for a moment, I had a deja vu of that wonderous time. Then I remembered that I was in TX, and the twins were far away. ah the sadness...
I finally did my hair and it is pink--like my avatar on yahoo in case you were wondering. The other night at church one of my friends came up to me and said that she had seen me talking to the preacher. She asked if I thought that the preacher could take me serious with my pink hair. At first, I was, okay, your right, I was not offended cause I have often wondered if the preacher does take me seriously. But of course, I think taking myself too seriously would cause much trouble.
Today is only Wednesday and that makes me sad. I don't think that this week will ever end. Ok, that is my bitch for the day.
Now I am going to list a few things that make me happy and I hope that you have a lot of luck with them too.
1. that giant martini glass I always see at wal-mart
2. orange pens--I emailed the Pilot company asking for orange pens and can you believe that they sent me a reply telling me that they don't send out special requests and I woul have to buy the pens in a multipack like every other person. What nerve!
3. the fact that my dog has no feelings for Phil except comtempt--I can really get behind that
4. sonic ice, need I say more
5. cold weather--A person of my weight should really live in a cold climate.
6. green chilis
Well, I shall close here. I am sorry that I don't have a funny story for today but if you read back a few days and change "english/Language Arts" to "math" and "ELA teacher" to "math teacher," you will begin to see a pattern emerge. I am thinking about just sending out a mass email to all of James' teachers and saying I know he is a bit of a clown and yes his father and I are working on it. And yes, we will tell him to study more. I am going to call it my pre-emptive clown strike.
I hope that you all have a wonderful day.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!!  Hope you all have a great day.

Friday, May 27, 2016

It has been raining here for a solid week.  The house smells musty; the dogs smell musty; my soul feels musty.  I have been sewing a bit but hit a roadblock the other day.  I can't figure out how to finish my place mats.  The Boy will be here in a week and I can't wait to see him.