Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tastes like Lasagna Soup

Norris' school had a soup luncheon as their staff Christmas celebration and at the last minute he realized he needed to bring soup. I was not in the store going mood and looked through the cabinets for something I could put together and realized I had most of the ingredients for the lasagna soup idea I've seen floating around the web. I really liked this, but not so much as leftovers because the noodles were soggy. This would be a great soup for a get together when it will all be eaten OR leave the cooked noodles out until you are ready to reheat and add them then. The flavor really reminded me of lasagna and I can imagine that if you follow the instructions about topping with cheese and broiling it, you would have pretty much a lasagna replica, but done in much less time than lasagna! Check out the recipe link for her broiling and garlic crostini suggestions!
This is how I sent it: soup in crockpot, cooked noodles in bag to add just before serving, and shredded mozzarella on the side for topping.

Tastes like Lasagna Soup

  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes (I left these out)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups broken lasagna noodles
  • 1 (5-ounce) package grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook meat, onion, bell pepper, and garlic over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until cooked. Drain well.
Stir in thyme, brown sugar, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add noodles, and simmer until noodles are tender. Stir in Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Skillet Barbecue Chicken Pasta

I feel like I should lead off by saying that Norris loved this stuff! I really liked it too, so it's definitely a winner!
One skillet, quick prep, and loved by all = something that will be in our regular rotation.
 I added a little extra barbecue sauce and sprinkled a little extra cheese plus jalapenos on top because I like them on everything. I know I botched Prevention RD's nutrition facts by adding the extras, and it was good the way the recipe was written, but I just love jalapenos too much and was okay with a few extra calories from the bbq sauce and cheese!

Skillet BBQ Chicken Pasta

Pumpkin Bean Soup

As much as I've always loved pumpkin, I haven't had it in savory dishes but a few times. I have seen recipes for  pumpkin soup for a long time now, but was nervous to try it since in my mind, pumpkin goes with spices and sugar. Since I do love to try new things and old things in new ways, I decided to try this. It had some familiar flavors like peppers, onions, beans, corn, and tomatoes, but just a hint of pumpkin. Like the pureed carrots in my favorite cream of carrot soup, the pumpkin really thickened this soup without adding cream or flour (making it healthier) plus packs a lot of great nutrition. Don't worry, this does not taste at all like pumpkin pie!! Give it a try. It reheats wonderfully for lunches all week!

Pumpkin Bean Soup
from allrecipes via Taking back my twenties
Makes 4 large servings (I would call it 5)

2 tsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped (I used green)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 cups chicken broth
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the bell pepper and onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Mix in the garlic and cumin and cook, stirring, for an additional 2 minutes. Pour in the pumpkin puree, black beans, corn, chicken broth, tomato sauce, and 1 teaspoon cilantro; season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a gentle boil; reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.Adjust seasonings according to your taste preferences.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fruitcake Fudge

Another Gram and Granddad special! I think Granddad would eat fudge every day if he could:)
When I was little (actually, I was never really "little" since I was 5'2" in 4th grade,, so let's say "younger":), my uncle Steve owned a store called the Fudge Factory. Gram and Granddad would let me help work the cash register, which I remember thinking was so cool. They would pour the fudge out on those giant marble tables and it was a thing of wonder as a kid. I'm sure now somebody would complain about child labor if they saw me back there, but I'm so glad I have those memories!
Here is a new fudge flavor. I love the idea of dried cherries, pistachios, and apricots all in one place. Gram says the sour cream adds just enough balance to the sweetness of the fudge and has just enough of a taste to make someone wonder what it is, but definitely not taste the sour cream. Plus, it's pretty colors! This would look beautiful on a holiday sweets tray. Grandma, maybe we should add this to our holiday treats list????

White Fruitcake Fudge
(from a magazine or newspaper...we were looking at it over Thanksgiving break!)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pistachios 
3/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins (used dried cherries)
2  cups sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter
12 oz. white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 7 oz. jar marshmallow creme

!.  In a bowl combine walnuts, apricots, cherries. Reserve 1/4 cup.  
   Line a 9 X 13 baking pan with foil; extend foil over edges of pan. 
  Butter the foil.
2.  Butter sides of a heavy 3 quart pan.  In pan combine sugar, sour cream
  and butter.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils.
  Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan.  Reduce heat to medium - low; 
  Continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring occasionally, until
  thermometer registers 236 degreesF  (18 to 20 minutes)
  Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil.
3. Remove pan from heat.  Stir in chocolate and marshmallow creme. 
   Continue stirring until chocolate is melted and mixture is combined. 
   Stir in fruit  and nut mixture.  Immediately spread fudge evenly in prepared pan.  
   Top with the reserved 1/4 cup fruit and nut mixture.  Chill fudge until firm. 
   Use foil to lift fudge out of pan.  Cut fudge into squares.  Store in refrigerator. 
   Makes. about 3 pounds or 117 one-inch pieces.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Almond Toffee

Gram and Granddad (my grandparents on my dad's side) are always trying out new recipes, especially sweet ones around the holidays! I'll share a couple of the most recent ones they have sent me. I always wish I had these treats already made and sitting on my counter! :) I love love love toffee, so I was really excited to see this recipe! They even put the toffee on a Santa plate to photograph it:) The journalism teacher in Granddad was definitely coming out for this shot!

from Better Homes & Gardens

(click the words "almond toffee" to go check out the 5-ingredient recipe!)