Comfort Food · Dinner · Easy recipe · soup

Empty the Freezer Soup

Savory soups that simmer on the stove create two things –

  1. An aroma that’s irresistible
  2. A meal that satisfies both appetites and hearts

Last week I had the blessing of spending time with my parents and helping out during a time of hardship. Fixing meals each day was one responsibility I took on with great delight. A sampling of my menu included things like, Pinto Beans like Cracker Barrel’s, traditional Rump Roast dinner with all the trimmings, Baked Potatoes topped with broccoli cheese sauce – all recipe I’ve made many times.

But then my mom requested I make her recipe for Vegetable Beef Soup. She had this recipe in her head and verbally shared it with me one morning. I realized it would pull together very quickly, and would also use up some of the little bits of this and that in the freezer. Always a good thing, right?

During the fall and winter we eat lots of homemade soups. Some of my favorites are Senate Bean Soup, and Cream of Wild Rice Soup but both of these recipes are a little labor-intensive and take some time to prepare (but so worth it!). I love having a delicious soup recipe that’s a snap to pull together, and my mom’s Vegetable Beef Soup definitely fits the bill! You can use whatever vegetables you like/have on hand. This soup is a great way to use up those little bit of leftovers hiding in the fridge or stored in your freezer!

Here’s her simple recipe…

Vegetable Beef Soup

1/2 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
4 cups chicken broth
1 large can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup lima beans
1 potato, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 can Bush’s northern beans
1/3 cup barley
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp Greek seasoning
A couple dashes Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, brown ground beef and onion. Drain any fat. Add the chicken broth and then all the vegetables, spices,seasonings and barley. Simmer over medium-low heat for 30-45 minutes.

I like to serve a soup like this with a crusty bread and a side salad.

Yum! This is a perfect winter meal that will:

  • Wisely use up leftover veggies in your freezer
  • Warm bodies
  • Win the hearts of those that sit at your table!

Open up your freezer, grab those veggies and throw them in a pot for this delicious soup this week!

Refresh your menu with a savory soup!

Chicken · Comfort Food

Honey Fried Chicken Strips

Honey Fried Chicken Strips, drizzled with honey on top.

One day just recently my daughter sent me a text and asked me for my recipe for Honey Fried chicken Strips. Oh my goodness! I hadn’t thought of that dish in a long time! I used to make this recipe when my girls were growing up, and quite frankly, I hadn’t made it in years! The reason is because it’s not exactly healthy. It is in complete contrast to some of my recent low calorie posts, but it’s simply too good not to share with you all!

Sweet Alli made up this recipe after getting it from me, then she invited her dad and me for supper. It was worth the little splurge to indulge in a couple chicken strips! You gotta live a little, right?!

Why is this recipe so good? In my opinion it’s due to the batter including honey. It gives it a slightly sweet flavor. I also always serve honey alongside for dipping. Wow, her meal turned out amazingly delicious! When you need a little something special and want to splurge on a not-so-healthy recipe, I’d encourage you to try this family favorite!

Honey Fried Chicken Strips
2 large chicken breasts
1 bunch parsley
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tbl honey
1 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Salad oil

1. Cut chicken lengthwise into 1-inch strips. Chop enough parsley to make 1/3 cup.
2. In large bowl, mix flour, milk, honey, lemon-pepper seasoning, salt, and chopped parsley. Stir in chicken; set aside.
3. In 5 quart Dutch oven over high heat, heat 1 inch salad oil to 325 degrees on deep fat thermometer (or, heat oil in deep fat fryer set at 325 degrees.
4. Fry chicken strips, a few at a time, about 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and outside is golden. With slotted spoon, remove chicken to paper towels to drain.

This is fried chicken with a twist…a sweet and delicious one! I hope you’ll give this a try. I don’t think you’ll be sad you did!

Here’s another version of fried chicken that’s healthier

With love from my country kitchen,

Chicken · Comfort Food · Lightened Up Recipe

Country Chicken Pot Pie (Reduced Fat!)

Chicken Pot Pie is one of those classic comfort foods in my book. I have made them for years with my homemade pie crusts and we love that version, but I’ve come across a recipe that is so savory and yet also reduced in fat, and so much faster! The answer to both less fat and less time comes in the form of a reduced-fat crescent roll! These make preparation so easy!

The filling for this pie can be changed to suit your family’s taste buds. The recipe calls for fresh mushrooms, which we loved in there, but if that’s not your jam, you can leave them out and use whatever veggies you love! Here’s the tasty recipe:

Ingredients

1 tsp Butter
1 small chopped onion
1 cup Sliced Mushrooms
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups Frozen Mixed Vegetables
1 Cup chicken broth
3 Cups Cooked, chopped chicken breast (a rotisserie chicken is great for this!)
2 Tbl. flour
1/2 Cup Fat-free Evaporated milk
4 Reduced-fat Crescent rolls – I used all 8 that came in the can.

My big dish was rather shallow, so I put some of the filling in single serving bowls for another day.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a 10-inch round shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Coat a large pot with cooking spray. Add butter and melt over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and cook, until tender, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Stir in paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Add vegetables, broth and chicken. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. In a small cup, combine flour and 1/4 cup of evaporated milk; stir into chicken mixture. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup of evaporated milk and cook until mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes more.
  4. Spoon chicken mixture into prepared baking dish. Unroll crescent rolls and arrange dough around inside edge of baking dish to form a border (there will be a hole in the middle). Bake until rolls are golden brown and filling is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Cut into 6 pieces and serve.
Every bite was so savory!

My husband and I were both happy there were leftovers for another day. I popped the dish back into the oven so the crescent rolls would get crispy again. It was just as good the second time around!

Eating healthy is deliciously disguised in this comfort food makeover! I hope you’ll try this soon!

This Broccoli Salad or this Green Apple Salad would make great accompaniments to this pot pie!

With love from my country kitchen,

Crock Pot · Dinner · Soups/stew

Lazy Day Stew

Cold winter days just need hearty soups and stews, both to warm the body and comfort the soul!

One day last week I decided to make an old favorite stew recipe of mine – Amish Stew, and I went to my blog to pull up the directions, and I couldn’t believe it when I discovered I haven’t shared this gem of a recipe with you!  Let’s fix that today!

I could give this dish a couple other names that would be more appropriate than Amish Stew.   It could easily be called, Lazy Day Stew or Poor Man’s Stew.  Both would be appropriate!  Let me share the recipe and you’ll see why!
Continue reading “Lazy Day Stew”

main dish · vegetarian

Meatless Comfort Food – Vegetable Pot Pie

Vegetable pot pie 1

We are meat eaters at my house.  We love it all!  However, I recently needed a recipe for a vegetarian family, so I went to Pinterest and landed on a recipe by Ina Garten (where you can never go wrong!)  I changed it a little bit to make it just what I thought my vegetarian friends would enjoy.

Whenever I make a meal for others, I try to fix the same thing for our supper.  Even loving meat as we do, we really enjoyed this Vegetable Pot Pie!

For the crust, I followed the recipe exactly and it was perfect! It was flaky and so good! It is made in the food processor and that makes it a cinch to bring together! For our pies, I made individual servings.  I made my friends’ in an oblong dish.

Here’s the easy recipe:

Vegetable Pot Pie

Ingredients

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups Frozen pearl onions

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash – (I really loved the addition of the butternut squash in this!  Did you know you can cut it up and freeze it to use later?  I was glad I already had it prepped! )

1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (1/2 pound)

1 Cup frozen Peas – You can vary what your family likes! The peas and corn were some of my additions to the original recipe

1 Cup frozen Corn

1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

For the pastry:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.
  2. Cook the squash in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the mixed vegetables, onions, and parsley to the sauce and mix well.
  3. For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

vegetable pot pie 5

I might not be a lover of a vegetarian lifestyle, but I’m definitely a fan of this Vegetable Pot Pie!  Are you a carnivorous?  Even if you are, you need to try this great recipe!

Denise