Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Roasted Garden Vegetable Soup

Today, a fellow blogger posted on my other blog about eggplant soup. Looking over to my kitchen counter, what do I see but a lovely eggplant? I decide then and there, that I, too would be making eggplant soup today!

I realized that not only did I have the one largish eggplant needing to be used up, but I also have a table full of ripe tomatoes, and a few tiny, lonely red bell peppers from the garden. So, instead of the eggplant winning the starring role in my soup, I decided to throw them all together, with an onion (well, of course) and some garlic (duh!).

Ok, here we go:

1 eggplant, sliced in half lengthwise
3-4 tomatoes, halved
1 onion, halved
1 red bell pepper, halved & scraped out
1 32. oz. box of chicken broth (or 4 cups homemade)
1/2 tsp. fennel seed
1/2 tsp. oregano
Olive Oil
Minced garlic
Half & Half or cream (optional)

To begin, take the vegetables that have been halved, and coat lightly in olive oil. Place on baking sheet and put in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes. I timed it, and it took me four minutes to complete this step. Easyness, people!

When they're done roasting, put all the veggies in your soup pot with the chicken broth, fennel, oregano and garlic. You'll notice I didn't put an amount on the garlic. If I'd had fresh garlic on hand, I would've roasted it with the other veggies - at least 4 cloves. But I didn't, so I used a scant TBS of minced. I REALLY like garlic. You could use less.

Cook until everything is heated well and onions are really soft. Take it off eat and either blend it in the blender, or do what I do and use a hand blender. Incidentally, if you don't have one of these, and you make soups, it's worth the 20 bucks to own one.

When it's all blended and back in the pot, drizzle some half-n-half or heavy cream in, for a little added richness. It's totally optional, but I personally think it's worth it!

Serve topped with shredded Parmesan cheese.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Brownies

For years, literally, I've been hunting the perfect brownie recipe. Seems that every time I try one, it's more cakey than the goo I'm looking for! Meanwhile, Mark's dad is forever bringing over the yummy, gooey ones from a box mix, which only serves to antagonize me more!

So a few weeks ago, my friend Roan posted a recipe for Chocolate Chip Brownies on her blog. Of course I had to try them right away. I knew, based on the ingredient list, that they would be scrumptious. And they were!

But they were more of a "blondie" than a brownie. I wanted that texture, that consistency, but in an all chocolate brownie. So what did I do? I simply added cocoa to the recipe, and finally, FINALLY, achieved the perfect brownie. We've made them over and over since then. Mark has come to expect them on weekends!

One of the best things about this recipe is that it's SUPER easy. You can actually memorize the recipe after a few times of making it!

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 box brown sugar (2 1/4 cups)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 12 oz. (1 full bag) Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream together butter, brown sugar, eggs & vanilla. Mix in flour & cocoa powder till combined well. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for approximately 35 minutes, or until set in the center.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Oven Pancakes

My Northern friend Jill made a comment recently about oven pancakes. Of course I had to ask her what and how! As it turns out, this may be the easiest thing I've ever prepared, next to boiling water!

The result was so pretty and delicious! My kids all said, "This is waaay better than 'real' pancakes!" And how much easier than standing and pouring and flipping! So...on to the recipe...

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 1 cup flour (I used 1/2 white, 1/2 whole wheat)
  • 1 cup milk
Set oven to 400 degrees. Place butter in a 9x13 GLASS dish, and place in oven to melt while oven heats. Beat eggs slightly, then add in milk and flour. When butter is melted and oven is ready, pour batter into the dish on top of butter and bake for about 20 minutes.

You'll know it's done when it's puffy and golden brown. Cut into slices and serve with berries, fruit, powdered sugar, maple syrup, jam, etc...

See, told you it was easy! The pancake puffs so beautifully, that if you were so inclined, you could be all fancy schmancy with it, dust it with powdered sugar, throw on some fresh blueberries...you get the picture. (Speaking of pictures, I tried to take one, but batteries were down. I'll catch it next time.)

The Burleson clan just smothered our pieces in maple syrup and ate it with sausage on the side!
I may seriously never make 'real' pancakes again!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hot Chicken Dip

It seems that every Christmas season, there is this one dish, candy, or whatever that I make for every event. This year it was Hot Chicken Dip, a recipe I got from my friend Roan's blog. It was a hit with everyone who tried it.

I made a couple of changes to suit me, and today a friend asked if I would post my version, so here it is. Again, thanks to Roan for this awesome recipe (click on link above to see the original).

Hot Chicken Dip
  • 2 cans chicken breast or 2-3 cups cooked, chopped chicken
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/2 onion, sauteed in 2 TBS butter till soft

Mix all ingredients using a mixer (this step is important - ask me how I know). Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with Wheat Thins or Ritz Chips.


Green Salsa

Ok, it's not really green, but it's the name I was given, and it stuck. Whatever you want to call it, it's sooo good and so easy to throw together!

  • 2 cans chopped green chilies
  • 2 cans chopped black olives
  • 2 cans Rotel tomatoes, drained
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (Mexican)
  • 1 bottle Zesty Italian dressing
  • Cilantro, chopped, about a handful*
Mix all ingredients, cover and let sit in fridge at least overnight. It gets better and better the longer it sits.

*Note about the cilantro: a little goes a long way. I happen to love cilantro, so I use a big ol' handful. Use less if you need to, but the recipe really does need it.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Beef (Venison) Stew

Ok, actually, we use deer...venison for the more sophisticated of my readers. But rather than try to persuade those who may be opposed to venison, I thought it would be just as well to let the recipe rest under the beef stew umberella. Just know that if you have it at my house, you'll most likely be eating deer stew...and you'd never even know it!

  • 1 - 1 1/2 lbs. beef or deer stew meat
  • 1 cup flour
  • season salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 - 3 TBS olive oil
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed or stewed tomatoes
  • 5-6 med. potatoes, cubed (unpeeled)
  • baby carrots, each cut in half
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp each: crushed bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, paprika, and garlic powder
  • S & P to taste
  • pinch of ground red pepper

Lightly season flour with season salt and black pepper. Toss the meat and flour until meat is coated. Heat olive oil in skillet if you intend to use crock pot for the stew. Otherwise, just heat the oil in the soup pot. Once the oil is hot, add the coated meat and cook for a minute or two on each side, just till browned.

Deglaze (get the browned bits off) the skillet or soup pot with the beef broth, then add the rest of the ingredients to crock pot or soup pot. Cook on low forever. Well, maybe not that long, but the longer, the better.



Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Farm Wife Hoppin' John Stoup

Hoppin' John is the Southern version of the cajun specialty, Red Beans & Rice. It's made with field peas (a.k.a. purple hull peas) or black eyed peas, rice, and bacon (or salt pork). We eat lots and lots of field peas around here. My husband could quite literally live on them!

Well, I'm as Southern as they come, but I didn't grow up eating Hoppin' John. However, one day I found myself with leftover peas, and a bit of brown rice. I combined them, added a few seasonings, and some tomatoes. I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. Later, I found out that I had inadvertently made a version (sans the tomatoes) of Hoppin' John.

Then recently, I was trying to come up with some new soups for Soup's On! Saturdays. I thought it would be fun to tweak the Hoppin' John recipe and make it into a soup. It was a success! Another warm, hearty, and delicious meal for these cold winter nights. And it's SO simple to make!

  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 med. green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 TBS garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz. can tomatoes (crushed or diced)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups field peas or black eyed peas
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 1 tsp. crushed bay leaves
  • S&P to taste
Saute onion, bell pepper & garlic in butter & olive oil till tender. Add all other ingredients and simmer on low heat, covered, for about an hour, or until rice is cooked through.