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!

Comfort Food · Dinner · memories · soup

Turkey Soup and a Story

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I love recipes that have a story.  Such is the case with today’s recipe.

Many years ago when I was in high school, my twin sister and I were riding to our home in the country on a cold, snowy day. Our driver was my sister’s boyfriend (who later became her husband).  As boys are want to do, he might have been driving a little faster than the narrow, icy roads necessitated.  Just as we topped a hill, we met another car coming towards us.  The brakes were hit, and our car Continue reading “Turkey Soup and a Story”

breakfast · Cooking · Lunch · Uncategorized

(L)ovin’ Monday

Every Monday I’m showing you what’s been in my Oven that I’m lovin’!  Ready?

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This was Thanksgiving Dinner at my mom’s last Thursday at 1:00.  Don’t you wish every day’s lunch looked like this…

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Ha, well, maybe not that  much food, but tell me, is it just me, or do others find lunch a difficulty?  I’m usually well into a busy day and just need a quick bite to eat, but I find it hard to stop my day and fix something that’s tasty and quick.

As a matter of fact, even breakfast poses problems.  I’m not ready to eat when I first get up, and by the time I’m ready for a bite, it’s too late to want to get into any big cooking ordeal to accomplish what I need to give me energy for the rest of the morning!

Recently I prepared these Make-Ahead Omelets and froze them.  I made tiny ones for the shower I hosted.  I took the leftovers and froze them in a plastic container, putting sheets of waxed paper in between the rows of omelets.

 

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Then I popped a frozen muffin into the microwave and it made the perfect breakfast!  In a matter of about 4 minutes everything was hot and ready to eat.  That’s better than instant oatmeal – and a lot tastier!

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Then another help came for lunch.  I had made Sloppy Joe’s for our meal after Sunday night church, and had plenty left over.  Wrapping them individually in waxed paper, I warmed them at about 80% power for about 45 seconds.

It dawned on me then – why don’t I make up something like this at the beginning of each week and have it prepared in the fridge?  Lunch could be less than a minute away each day!  If you take your lunch to work, it would be so easy to have it packed and ready in the morning before you head out the door.

I’ve come up with a few ideas of things that would be made ahead and ready.  Here’s my starter list:

Breakfast:

Omelets

Waffles

Baked  Oatmeal

Lunch:

Sloppy Joes

Broccoli Soup

Salad in a jar – Like this one (I haven’t made this particular recipe, but I made one similar and they are great do-ahead salads!)

Chicken Salad – Ready for sandwiches, or to eat alone.

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I hope this encourages you to prepare ahead for your busy mornings and lunchtimes.  When you’re heading into Christmas, why not take away a little stress by having some nutritious breakfasts and lunches all ready to serve?

What quick tips do you have for breakfast and lunch?

With love from my country kitchen,

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Dinner · dinner in 30 minutes · Fall · home · main dish

My Three Go-To Meals

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There are always busy fall/winter days that demand a fast supper meal.  For those days, I try to keep the ingredients on hand for the entree’s  listed above  because they are:

  1. Done in under 30 minutes
  2. Filling
  3. Delicious!!!

To make White Castle Sliders, Cheese Ravioli with Tomatoes, and Sausage Corn Chowder, all I need to keep on hand is:

2 pounds hamburger
Hawaiian Rolls – I freeze these
Frozen Cheese Ravioli – I recently tried Aldi’s brand and it was very good!
Tomatoes (I freeze the cherry tomatoes and use them for this dish if I don’t have fresh on hand)
Red Onion
Parmesan Cheese
Canned Corn
Cream Corn
Evaporated milk
Potatoes
1 pound Sausage

These are all very basic staple items to keep.  Having them on hand allows me to put a great meal together so quickly!  

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White Castle Sliders
2# hamburger (80/20)
Dried Onion Flakes
Seasoned Salt
Sister Shubert Rolls
Sprinkle dried onion flakes in the bottom of a 9 x 13 dish.
Press beef over onion flakes, make a one huge patty.
Sprinkle with Seasoned salt.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until done.
Drain and Pat grease off.
Top with cheese slices.  Place back in oven for 2 minutes to melt.
Remove and slice into hamburger patties, the size of your buns.
Pasta dishes are great for quick meals, but this one isn’t your normal Spaghetti and pasta meal!  This is one of our favorites – in a hurry or not!  Add some toasted French Bread and a salad and your meal is complete!
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Cheese Ravioli with Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 pound cherry tomatoes
2 shallots, cut into wedges (I use red onion instead)
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 ounces frozen cheese ravioli

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Halve half of tomatoes. Arrange cut tomatoes, whole tomatoes, and shallots on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; toss.
Bake at 425° for 35 minutes.
3. Add 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to pan. Bake 10 minutes.
4. Cook ravioli according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain ravioli, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add ravioli to tomatoes; toss. Add cooking liquid, if needed. Garnish with chopped basil.Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; toss. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes.
3. Add 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to pan. Bake 10 minutes.
4. Cook ravioli according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain ravioli, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add ravioli to tomatoes; toss. Add cooking liquid, if needed. Garnish with chopped basil.

 

This chowder is so hearty and comforting!  It’s been a favorite of our family for years! You could add some quick biscuits or just crackers and a salad to round it out.

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Sausage Corn Chowder

1 LB Bulk Pork Sausage
1 med onion
3 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2 cubes
2 cps water
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp salt
crushed 1/2 tsp pepper
1 15 1/4 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
1 14 3/4 oz can cream style corn
1 12oz can evaporated milk

Preparation:
Crumble pork sausage into 4 qt dutch oven; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. add onion; cook about 5 minutes more or until sausage is brown. Add cubed potatoes, water, seasonings, bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in the whole kernel corn, cream style corn and evaporated milk. heat chowder through.
6 Main dish servings

There are other meal ingredients that I have kept ready for those busy days and I’ll share some of those next week.  In the meantime, tell me what  ingredients do you keep in your pantry and freezer and what meal do you make with them?

With love from my country kitchen,

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Lunch · Main dish.

Balsamic & Dijon Chuck Roast (& Soup with Leftovers!)

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When I have a busy day ahead of me and don’t want to have to be fussing much in the kitchen for supper, I pull out the crock pot!  I love  a roast cooked in the slow cooker, because it’s so tender and moist!

This Chuck Roast is so flavorful, thanks to the Balsamic Vinegar.  It gives it a depth of flavor that is  rich and delicious!  It made for the perfect meal on a busy day.  I added a  slaw on the side, and that was it!  Dinner was complete with only about 15 minutes of prep!  Here’s how I did it…

Balsamic and Dijon Chuck Roast

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 pounds Chuck Roast
  • 1 medium to large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
  • 2 cups beef broth – I added water and chicken stock b/c I was out of beef
  • 1 bag Baby  carrots
  • 1 pound very small baby potatoes, white or red
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over high heat. Season chuck roast well with salt and pepper, add to pan and brown well on all sides (a few minutes a side). Remove roast and set aside.
  2. Add chopped onion to drippings in pot and reduce heat to medium. Saute onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, increase heat to medium-high and boil until reduced and slightly syrupy, about 4-5 more minutes. Stir in Dijon.
  3. Transfer onions to a crock pot.
  4. Set roast on top of onions in pot. Pour in 2 cups broth and add thyme. Place potatoes and carrots around roast in the liquid.  Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or until very tender.

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If (and that’s a BIG if) you have any leftovers, you’ll want to make this soup for tomorrow’s lunch!  I had about 8 oz. of meat left, as well as carrots and potatoes.  It made a hearty little pot of soup the next day!!!  Most of the work was done already in the crock pot – it’s just a matter of adding some bouillon and seasonings!

Beef Soup
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I’m not going to be able to give you measurements for this soup – it all depends on how much you have leftover to put into the pot!  Just “eye ball it”, adding enough liquid to make it a hearty soup.

Balsamic Beef and Veggie Soup

Shredded Balsamic Chuck Roast
Cooked carrots and potatoes from last night’s supper
Drippings from roast
Beef Bouillon – or Beef broth
Water – To mix Bouillon ( I added half water, half chicken stock)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and cook until heated through.

I’m not sure what was better – supper or the soup the next day!  You try it and let me know which you like best!

With love from my country kitchen,