Family · New Favorite · New Traditions

Crusty No-Knead Bread

Crusty Bread that I don’t have to knead?  Just what I needed to go with the soup I was making.  Honestly, the recipe seemed too easy but it worked perfectly.  I baked the bread in my Lodge Dutch Oven and I baked it according to directions.  The crust was a little too brown, but the interior of the bread was perfect and tasted great!

It is wonderful served with soup and also wonderful as a sandwich.  As long as I plan a day ahead, I can make this bread any time!

CRUSTY NO-KNEAD BREAD

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. active dry yeast
1 ½ cups water 
room temperature

  • Form the dough: In a big bowl mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula or a wooden spoon mix it until well incorporated. You do not need to activate the yeast before, even though we’re using active dry yeast. The slow rising process will do the trick.
  • Allow it to rise: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter or inside your unheated oven for 12 to 18 hours.
  • Preheat your oven: Preheat oven to 450°F. Add your cast iron pot to the oven as it’s heating and heat it as well until it’s at 450°F. Usually when the oven is done preheating your pot should be hot enough as well. Remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid from it. Use oven mitts, as to not burn yourself.
  • Shape the dough: Flour your hands really well and also sprinkle a bit of flour over the dough. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball. Sprinkle some extra flour directly into the bottom of the pot. Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven. Alternatively, you can also place the ball of dough onto a piece of parchment paper, then lift the parchment paper and drop it in the pot, with parchment paper and all. This could also ensure that your bread doesn’t stick at all to the bottom of the pot. I have found that if I use parchment paper, the bread doesn’t brown so much on the sides, but otherwise it’s still crusty and delicious.
  • Finish the bread: Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove the bread from the pot, it should fall out easily. Let cool completely before slicing into it and serving.

Recipe from JoCooks.com

Home · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato and Kale

Wonderful, yummy Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato and Kale is a new favorite.  I first enjoyed this soup at a Bunco gathering a few years ago and I asked for the recipe.  The source, Pinch of Yum, is a favorite site for my daughters and I and this recipe doesn’t disappoint.

The title says ‘spicy’ but with one chopped jalapeno, it was not hot at all.  If you truly want it hot, I would suggest adding 2+ jalapenos.  With this batch, I only added the curry powder, but next time I will add the tumeric.

This soup is Vegan and Vegetarian.  If you would like protein, adding some shredded chicken would be delicious.  It’s fall y’all, and I’m cooking up a soup storm!

SPICY PEANUT SOUP WITH SWEET POTATO & KALE

2 tablespoons olive oil
half an onion, diced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes1
14-ounce can light coconut milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry and/or turmeric
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup peanut butter
1–2 cups kale, stems removed, chopped

  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Saute until soft and fragrant.
  • Add sweet potatoes. I like to brown them a little bit with the aromatics to get them nice and flavorful.
  • Add tomatoes, coconut milk, water, spices, and peanuts. Simmer until sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
  • Add peanut butter and kale. Simmer until everything is thick, creamy, and delicious. Top with more peanuts and a little cilantro if you’re obsessed like me.

NOTES

Instant Pot: Cook everything except peanut butter and kale on high pressure for about 3 minutes with a quick release. (Sometimes I reduce the liquid when I make it in the Instant Pot by a cup or so, and then just add more as needed when it’s all done. But that is optional – it should work fine either way.) Stir in the peanut butter and kale after cooking. Voila!

Slow Cooker: Cook everything except peanut butter and kale on low for 6 hours. Stir in the peanut butter and kale. Don’t cook the sweet potatoes too long or they’ll fall apart on ya! Just cook until they pierce easily with a fork.

One last note. This recipe is inspired by an amazing West African recipe called maafe, or groundnut soup. I did what I always do and changed/added some ingredients based on what I love and what I had on hand (kale, jalapeño, coconut milk, cilantro, etc.) making it more of a cultural mash-up. That’s why I’m not calling it a proper West African peanut soup even though those are its roots.

Freezer Meal Version

Freeze Together:
3 cups chopped sweet potatoes, fresh or frozen
jalapeños, minced
half of an onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1 14-ounce can coconut milk

  1. Instant Pot Instructions: High pressure 8 mins + 10 mins natural release
  2. Slow Cooker Instructions: High setting 6 hours
  3. Final Step: Stir in 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup chopped peanuts, and 1-2 cups chopped kale. Add water to thin to desired consistency.
  4. Check out our full freezer meal posts with all recipes and instructions here!

Recipe from Pinch of Yum

New Favorite

Pork Poblano Stew with Citrus Notes

Fall is in the air and I am ready for soup season! A friend shared the Pork Poblano Stew (with citrus notes) recipe with me and we brainstormed a starch to use in the recipe.  I thought sweet potato would be great either added to the stew (which I did) or served over a baked sweet potato.  The flavors are unique and so delicious.  It is great served with cornbread, crusty bread or, as one daughter suggested, with tortilla chips.

Next week I’ll post a second recipe for a savory Pork Poblano Stew.  Both are delicious!

PORK POBLANO STEW WITH SWEET POTATO

2 teaspoons hot or mild chili powder
1 ¼ pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 fresh poblano chile pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large red sweet pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion cut into thin wedges
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (optional–I added and it was delicious)
14.5 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic, undrained
14.5 ounce can chicken broth (I used a quart of chicken broth)
3 inch stick of cinnamon
2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
1/4 cup fresh orange juice

  • In a medium bowl, sprinkle chili powder over pork. Toss to combine.
  • In a large saucepan heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Cook the pork, about 4 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Remove pork from saucepan; set aside.
  • Add remaining oil to saucepan. Add poblano pepper, sweet pepper, and onion to saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add sweet potato, tomatoes, broth, and cinnamon stick.
  • Bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and add reserved pork and orange juice. Return to a simmer for 5 minutes more. Stir in orange peel.
  • To serve, remove stick cinnamon. Ladle into shallow bowls.

Recipe adapted from BHG.com

New Favorite

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Cold winter nights mean hearty soups in my kitchen. Broccoli Cheddar Soup is always a favorite when dining out but I’ve rarely made it.  This is a great recipe that has become a family favorite.

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BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP

1 tablespoon + 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small/medium sweet yellow onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced finely
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups fat-free half-and-half (I used regular half-and-half)
3 cups broccoli florets, diced into bite-size pieces
2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika, optional and to taste
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder, optional and to taste
pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
8 ounces grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese, with a small amount reserved for garnishing bowls

  • In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon butter, the diced onion, and sauté   over medium heat until the onion is translucent and barely browned, about 4 minutes. Stir intermittently.
  • Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and set pan aside.
  • In a large heavy-bottom pot, add 4 tablespoons butter, flour, and cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until flour is thickened. You are making a roux and it’s very important the mixture is thick or soup will never thicken properly later.
  • Slowly add the vegetable stock, whisking constantly.
  • Slowly add the half-and-half, whisking constantly.
  • Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal.
  • While mixture is simmering, chop the broccoli and carrots. After simmering 15 to 20 minutes, add the broccoli, carrots, and the onion and garlic you previously set aside.
  • Add the salt, pepper, optional paprika, optional dry mustard powder, and optional cayenne.  Stir to combine.
  • Allow soup to simmer over low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal.
  • Optional: I used a Braun hand blender to blend the vegetables into a creamier consistency.
  • While soup simmers, grate the cheese. After simmering about 20 to 25 minutes, add most of the cheese, reserving a small amount for garnishing bowls. Stir in the cheese until melted and incorporated fully, less than 1 minute.
  • Transfer soup to bowls, garnish with reserved cheese, and serve immediately. Soup will keep airtight for 5 to 7 days in the fridge. Reheat gently in the microwave.

Recipe slightly adapted from Averiecooks.com  

Czech Heritage · Family Favorites · My Roots

Mushroom Barley Soup

My beloved Czech cookbook given to me by my Mother many years ago had this wonderful recipe. I added leftover prime rib pieces to mine and loved it. It’s easy, it’s hearty, and it’s healthy.

MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms
4 cups chicken, beef or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup barley

Optional:  chopped cooked beef or chicken

  • Melt butter in large saucepan.
  • Add onion, celery, carrots, and mushrooms and sauté for about 10 minutes.
  • Add flour and stir; add broth, barley, and protein (optional).
  • Cook for about 40 minutes or until cooked through.
Family · Family Favorites · Gluten Free

Ham Bone Soup…still wonderful

Ham Bone Soup was a recipe I found in a great cookbook given to my by my brother-in-law, Ron, and his wife, Cathy, many years ago. I was use left-over ham bones to make the broth, just like my Mother taught me. This particular recipe was a favorite of the entire family and I was sad when my cookbook and this recipe disappeared from my kitchen.

Many years later, my sister-in-law, Betty, found the recipe copied down by my late Mother-in-Law on a recipe card and gave it to me. God bless them! It was great to make the soup again, although I substituted Quinoa pasta for regular pasta. I cook the pasta separately and add to the soup when ready to serve, otherwise the pasta tends to fall apart.

Without the pasta added, the soup freezes well.

HAM BONE SOUP

3 quarts water
1 ham bone
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 package (10 oz.) frozen whole corn
1 package (10 oz.) frozen lima beans
1 16 oz. can black-eyed peas
1 16 oz. can chopped tomatoes
2 cup macaroni or pasta of choice
salt and pepper

  • In a large soup pot, combine water and ham bone and simmer for 1-2 hours.
  • Add carrots, celery, onion, corn, lima beans, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, salt and pepper.
  • Cook until vegetables are cooked through, about a hour.

 

Family · Family Favorites · Vegan · Vegetarian

Taco Stew…a beloved family favorite

Taco Stew has been a family favorite since the girls were little tykes. They loved it and it was another way I could get them to eat vegetables. In a pinch, I have substituted different vegetables and cheeses with equally good results.  Typically I double or even triple the recipe and freeze the leftovers. You could easily make this without the beef (or turkey) and omit the cheese and have a vegan version of Taco Stew.

This recipe appeared in the Denver Post many years ago as a recipe a young boy submitted for a recipe contest and won.  Brilliant!

TACO STEW

1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
15 ounce cans whole kernel corn, drained
10 ounce can diced tomatoes with chilies
15 ounce can pinto beans in chili sauce (or black beans)
1 envelope taco seasoning mix (2 tablespoons)
1 can tomato soup
1 cup water
Tortilla chips
Grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese

  • Brown beef and onion.  Drain and rinse with hot water to remove excess fat. Combine all ingredients, except tortilla chips and cheese, in a Dutch oven. Simmer on low.Taco Stew Taco Stew
  • To serve, crumble tortilla chips in a serving bowl and cover with a generous heaping of stew. Sprinkle with cheese.
Family Favorites · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Uncategorized · Vegan · Vegetarian

Women’s Bean Project…and National Soup Month

January in National Soup (who knew) and there is nothing better than tummy-warming soup to take away the winter chill.  Good friend and neighbor, Maribeth, introduced me to Sarah’s Spicy Split Pea Soup and I was wowed.  The next day I went to my local King Soopers to buy it and made a batch that I’ve shared and frozen for future use. It’s also great knowing that my purchase contributes to the great work of this non-profit organization. My soup was packaged by Jessica (great work, Jessica, and I hope things are going well for you!). And here’s a shout out to SARAH for this great recipe.

Women’s Bean Project is Women’s Bean Project is a nationally recognized social enterprise that has created transitional employment in gourmet food and jewelry manufacturing for chronically unemployed and impoverished women for 25 years.

If you cannot find these great soup mixes in your area, you can purchase on their website.  I’m anxious to try their other soups soon.  To my Vegan and Gluten-Free friends, these soups would be a great addition to your pantry.

SARAH’S SPICY SPLIT PEA SOUP

1 package Spicy Split Pea Soup Mix
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used ham stock and increased to 8 cups)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil (I used olive oil)
1 medium diced onion
4 or 5 diced carrots
2 stalks celery diced (added per Maribeth’s suggestion
salt and pepper to taste
spice packet (included)
1 cup milk (optional and I did not add)
optional:  cubed ham

  • Remove spice packet. Wash and drain peas.
  • Assemble peas, broth and water in a 4 quart pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently for 1 hour uncovered, or until peas are almost tender.  Add more water as needed so that peas stay well covered.
  • While peas are simmering, saute carrots, celery, and onion in butter or oil until tender and add spice packet.
  • Stir veggie mixture into peas; add milk if desired, and simmer additional 20 minutes until peas are fully cooked.
  • OPTIONAL:  While the recipe does not include blending the soup mixture, I used a hand blender to bring the soup to a smooth consistency.  I then added the ham and simmered another 15 minutes until the ham was heated through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

Family Favorites · Holidays

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Cold winter days and soup are the perfect pair.  I have such fond memories of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup from Panera and also from the little luncheonette at my work. With temperatures near and below zero this week, I was craving this savory gem especially after all of the sweets from the holidays.  It didn’t disappoint!

CHICKEN AND WILD RICE SOUP

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup diced, cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons dry white wine (or dry sherry)
minced parsley or chives

  • Melt butter in 6 quart kettle and sauté onion until tender. Blend in flour, gradually add broth and continue stirring.
  • Cook, until mixture thickens slightly. Stir in rice, chicken and salt. Simmer about 5 minutes.
  • Blend in half and half and wine. Heat to serving temperature. Garnish with minced parsley or chives.
Family · Family Favorites

This ‘n That

Sometimes you just need a time-out for a little R&R.  I needed a time-out this year based on my last post.  On one hand, it made me sad to take a break because summer and fall are my favorite seasons to cook with fresh vegetables and fruit. On the other hand, if you’re not in the zone, it’s a worthless venture.

August and September are big birthday months in our family (yours too?).  In total, we have 13 birthdays.  ABC News reported in 2005 that more babies are born in July, August and September with no real reasoning.  Really? It seems so simple to me. Colder weather, holiday celebrations… Maybe I should have been a rocket scientist.

September, October and early November in Colorado were unseasonably warm and utterly beautiful. We all knew it wouldn’t last but we felt blessed for the beautiful fall colors accompanied by the warm sun and cool breezes.

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Our family traveled to Columbia, Missouri for Homecoming weekend and the dedication of Traditions Plaza and Legacy Circle, where Karl’s memorial was placed. We enjoyed family time and the festivities of the weekend.  Little did we know the NCAA recognizes the University of Missouri as the birthplace of homecoming.

MIZZOU

The Chihuly Exhibit was showcased at the Denver Botanic Gardens this Summer and Fall.  I saw the exhibit in Phoenix earlier this year and enjoyed two additional visits to the Denver exhibit.

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Temperatures in Colorado are now below freezing and time to make my favorite soups and comfort foods:

Chicken and Noodles
Beef Stew
Portuguese Kale Soup
Green Chile
Red Chili

I’m looking forward to being back, sharing recipes, stories and life.