Monday, October 26, 2009

Potato Soup

This is one of the highest ranked recipes at and by looking at the ingredients list, you wouldn't think so. However, it is one of the best potato soups you'll eat and it is so easy! It's a great base and you can add just about anything to it. Top with cheese, bacon and chives and make it more like a baked potato soup. Add corn, or even clams. It's loved by all, big or small.

3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup diced cooked ham
3 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk

Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Red Beans and Rice (crock pot style)

This recipes makes you think you've slipped away to New Orleans for a little bit. Maybe I should be like the Zatarrans commercial and throw beads at the dinner table!! Anways, this is a no shorcut, Louisiana classic. It's too spicy for my kiddos, even without the jalapeno so you will have to adjust the creole seasoning if you would like to feed the whole family.

1 pound dried red beans, soaked overnight
1 box chicken broth
1 pound andouille sausage, cut into rounds (use andouille, no other will get the authentic taste)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. creole seasoning , or to taste (recipe follows)
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 ham hock
4 cups cooked rice

Creole Seasoning: (mix together and store in dry, covered container, makes a lot)
1 TBS onion powder
1 TBS garlic powder
1 TBS dried oregano
1 TBS dried basil
1/2 TBS dried thyme
1/2 TBS black pepper
1/2 TBS white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 TBS paprika

Place the beans and the chicken broth in slow cooker. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage in the skillet; remove from the skillet with slotted spoon and transfer to the slow cooker. Reserve drippings. Add onion, green pepper, jalapeno and garlic to the drippings. Cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer everything from the skillet to slow cooker.

Season mixture with creole seasoning. Add the fresh basil leaves and ham hock. Cover and cook on low for at least 8 hrs or until beans are tender. Remove ham hock. If the bean mixture seems to watery, take the lid off and set heat to High, mash a few beans, stir and cook until desired creamy mixture.

Note: chop everything and make the seasoning the night before so your recipe will come together much faster in the morning.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Scalloped Potatoes

After eating baked beans all Summer long, I decided we needed something a little more sophisticated to go with Joe's smoked briskit so I whipped these up. They came out perfect, but I didn't really measure anything, which means it's hard to re-create that exact taste. Here goes!

1-2 lbs Yukon or Idaho potoates, thinly sliced (i left skin on)
3 TBS butter or margarine, divided
2 cups milk (or more if you want them creamier, I kept pouring milk into dish until it almost covered potatoes)
1 clove garlic or a couple shakes of garlic powder (i used powder but didn't use very much)
8 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed
4 slices provolone cheese, torn into slivers
1 can cream of mushroom soup
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter 9x13 baking or bigger if using more potatoes. Line bottom of pan with potatoes. Dot potatoes with butter, sprinkle with garlic. Sprinkle cheeses on potatoes then top with cream of mushroom soup. Pour in milk. Bake for about 30 minutes or until cheese starts to melt. Stir and bake for another 30 minutes or until golden, bubbly and potatoes are tender.