Monday, November 22, 2010

Tortellini Soup

We absolutely loved this recipe that I found at Real Mom Kitchen! I've said a lot that I make a lot of home made soup and I love adding new ones to our rotation. This recipe is not only yummy and easy, but affordable. I will tell you this makes a lot so you may need to cut it in half or freeze half (without added tortellini). You need a 6 or 7 quart pot to fit everything. I actually like making doubles. It doesn't take extra work and you have a meal for another night in the freezer.

What You Need:
1 lb. browned ground beef
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 onion
salt and pepper
3 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
8 cups beef broth {I use water with buillon}
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can kidney beans {I used white just due to preference}
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1 packet Good Seasoning dry Italian Dressing Mix
1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed tomato soup
1 (20 oz) pkg Cheese Tortellini
grated parmesan cheese {optional}

Brown  hamburger in a large skillet with the onion, garlic and enough of salt and pepper to taste. Put the canned tomatoes in a blender and blend them until smooth. {I also blended some of the carrots and zucchini here just to hide from my picky eaters}. Put the meat mixture, blended tomatoes and all other ingredients EXCEPT the tortellini  into a large soup pot. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for at least 20 minutes. {Mine simmered for half the day since I cook at noon for dinner}. Partially cover your pot. In a separate medium sized sauce pan cook the tortellini according to package directions.  If you are freezing a portion, separate it now, before adding the pasta. When the tortellini is al dente, drain the water from the tortellini and add it to the soup you are serving now. Serve with grated parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top of each bowl! Enjoy!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I am having some blog technical difficulties! I know this layout is a little hard to look at. I hope to have it fixed soon. On the upside, I am now a part of the Williams Sonoma Cooks Network. A good majority of the items in my kitchen come from Williams Sonoma because they are of the best quality and actually not overpriced. I love going to their store, browsing the catalog, and something from there is always on my wish list! There are two ads placed on the side of my page. Check them out!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sourdough & Mushroom Stuffing

Here is one more side idea for your holiday meals. I have been craving stuffing for a month but am trying to hold out. When I was growing up the stuffing we had usually used ground sausage so that is also an option you could add here, especially for those that may want to omit or substitute the mushrooms. This recipe can be found on Food Network and also a version at Kneaders Bakery. Just make sure you use a good quality sourdough!

What You Need:
1-pound loaf sourdough bread
8 tablespoons butter
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/2-inch thick in both directions
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 to 4 stalks celery with leaves, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
About 10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
10 to 12 fresh sage leaves, chopped
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish and set aside. Cut or tear the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread it evenly on 2 baking sheets. Toast the bread in the oven until completely dry and beginning to crisp and brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a few pinches of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add celery, onion, 2 tablespoons butter, and thyme. Once the butter has melted, cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add sage and remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add chicken broth to skillet and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl. Pour the chicken broth mixture over the bread cubes and toss to combine until the bread cubes absorb the liquid. Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish, and sprinkle with parsley. Bake in the center of the oven until heated through and the top is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove the stuffing from the oven and allow to cool about 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ruth's Chris Sweet Potato Casserole

 A few years ago at a company holiday party, we had this dish at a Ruth's Chris steakhouse and loved it so much a few of us set out to find the recipe. Have you ever had it there? Wow, it is to die for. A friend of ours was able to find it and sent it to me, and I have made it every year since. I've passed this recipe onto others who are also addicted. This might be my favorite Thanksgiving dish and I am looking very forward to having it again this year! {Although I'm looking forward to pretty much all of them!} This is an updated replacement to the yams with marshmallows dish that many people use on the holiday.

What You Need: {Crust}
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 stick butter, melted

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, well beaten
1 stick butter, melted

Combine brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter in mixing bowl. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into buttered baking dish. Sprinkle the surface of the sweet potato mixture evenly with the crust mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to set about 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Pie Pudding

If you don't have the Fix it and Forget It Cookbook for the slow cooker, you really should. This book is probably my most used for many years now. The recipe I am sharing today comes from there and has also been a favorite at our house for a long time. In fact, I think I need to make it tonight since I haven't for awhile. Not only is it incredibly good, it will make your house smell yummy and you might just have all the ingredients on hand. I love desserts in the slow cooker! The end result is warm and pumpkin spicy and is perfect topped with whipped cream or even ice cream. You will keep this one forever once you try it!

What You Need:
15 oz can solid pack pumpkin
12 oz can evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk baking mix
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons vanilla
whipped cream or ice cream to top

Mix together all ingredients except whipped or ice cream. Pour into greased slow cooker. {I make mine in a 6 quart size but you can use whatever size so long as it fits and you'll need to make time adjustments}. Cover and cook on low about 4 hours or until thermometer reads 160 degrees. Serve topped with cream and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Butternut Squash with Walnuts & Vanilla

This is one of those recipes that I feel like could be tinkered with to get it just right and then it would be perfect for my taste. While I could do that before posting it, I think its still a great, simple fall side dish that  would be a great hit at your Thanksgiving dinner so I don't want to miss sharing it. I think you need to try it and let me know what changes you think would make it better. Next time, I'd like to try adding some carmelized onions and some more fall spices like cinnamon. Either way I am a huge fan of butternut squash. I have always had a difficult time in recipes that call for it to be cubed but recently found a website that provided a super easy way. You can find that here. It tastes as good as it looks!

Recipe and photo courtesy Simply Recipes.
What You Need:
1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds, peeled, seeds removed, flesh cut into 1-inch cubes (see how to cut and peel a butternut squash)
1 heaping cup of walnuts
2-3 Tbsp butter
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Black pepper to taste

 Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat the cubed squash with a little oil and spread out onto a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and roast until the cubes begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and toast the walnuts. Stir frequently or they will burn. Once they they start to brown, and you can smell the aroma of toasted walnuts, remove from heat. Melt the butter in the pan with the walnuts over medium-high heat. Toss the walnuts to coat with butter, then add the squash. Toss them to coat with butter.  Add the grated ginger, vanilla extract, black pepper, a little salt and dried thyme and toss once more. Turn off the heat and squeeze some lemon juice over everything. Taste for salt and lemon and add more to taste. If you want this to be a bit more luxurious, mix in another tablespoon of butter or two  before serving. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Quick & Delicious Pot Pie

I found this recipe in my recent issue of Simple & Delicious and am so glad I did. I loved this and thought it was the best comfort food for cold weather. I adapted it just slightly with my own preferences and you can do the same.  What a great weeknight meal. You can throw this together in less than ten minutes and everyone will love it. With Thanksgiving approaching, this would be a perfect use for leftover turkey. Now this does use processed things like canned cream soup, but it isn't always reasonable to make everything from scratch, right? Try won't be sorry! Warm, rich, hearty, easy and tasty!

What You Need:

4 cups cubed cooked chicken {Use canned chicken or rotisserie to make it even easier}
1 12 oz. package frozen broccoli in cheese sauce {I used Birdseye that included carrots and cauliflower}
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 medium potatoes, cubed {I did NOT use}
3/4 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/4 tsp. pepper

1 1/2 cups biscuit/baking mix {Bisquick works fine}
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large pot or dutch oven, combine all of the filling ingredients and bring to a boil. Transfer to a greased 13 by 9 baking dish. In a separate small bowl, combine the topping ingredients. Spoon over the top of the filling. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden brown. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!