Soup

Thanksgiving prep

Not sure how your Thanksgiving will look this crazy year but I am still planning on cooking for my family and my in-laws that we spend the most amount of time with. Well my plan is to cook for everyone the only downfall at the moment is I cannot find any small turkeys. I prefer to make two small (10 pounds or under)  birds versus one large one. Not only do I find they have a better chance of being tender If I can prepare them differently. Last year I roasted one and fried the other. If I can’t find what I want today I will have to just deal with what I get then decide how I want to cook it.

spatchcock

 

cajun rubbed fried

 

My food blog for the most part has become a weekly diary of what is happening not only in my kitchen but my garden and some parts of my life. I try not to share every detail but I think if I read back over the years I could come up with a pretty clear picture of what’s been happening. With that being said I am going to share a few past recipes that my family has come to expect on our Thanksgiving table a week before the holiday. Look at me evolving.

Cranberry sauce, canned or fresh?  I have been serving both for a few years now. Not sure which one is easier seriously. Opening a can or a bag?  A bag add 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar and some orange zest into a sauce pan, bring to a boil until the cranberries start to pop and a little longer. the sauce will thicken while it cools. that’s it.  Give it a try this year if you haven’t before.

here are a few links for our favorite dressing/stuffing along with a couple of ideas for leftovers. Turkey soup and leftover egg rolls that everyone loved.

Thanksgiving – Sausage Ciabatta dressing

Thanksgiving Leftover Egg Roll

turkey rice soup – tis the season

 

Ham bone soup

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Yesterdays lunch

It’s beginning to be a bit like groundhog day around here starting our 6th week working from home! At least that is what my daughter keeps saying. We both work for different companies albeit the companies share a parking lot but they couldn’t be more different. We also have different hours but I created a workstation for us both along one of the walls in the den. It is actually a really cool space but again it is kind of a little groundhog dayish. To break up the monotony a little we are having spirit week this week and there will be pictures.
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What do you usually do with your ham bone if you make ham for Easter? I usually give mine to my mother-in-law. She makes split pea soup which is probably one of the top things to do with a ham bone. But not with me; I love soup but split pea is not for me. I am sure it stems from my childhood not liking green vegetables. I do eat frozen peas on occasion but they are not my go to. So for me to add peas to any of my soups just doesn’t happen.
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My Mother-in-law is still in FL until we are able to get them home safely. Yes I could throw it in the freezer and save it for her but I wanted to try making a soup with the leftovers and make a bone broth with the ham bone. So here is what I made and I might have to fight my mother-in-law for my ham bone next year!

Ingredients

leftover ham diced
1 or 2 carrots diced
1 or 2 celery sticks diced
1 onion diced
2-3 garlic diced
1/4 teaspoon Thyme
1/4 teaspoon Cajun spice
3 tablespoon flour 
6 cups Broth
1 can Pinto beans or 2 Potatoes
1-2 cups Water
 2 tablespoons olive oil 

Instructions

In a stock pot add the olive oil over medium heat add the ham, celery, carrot and onions and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so. Add the spices cook for another minute. Add the flour and cook for 4-5 minutes. 

Add the broth and water bring to a boil. Add beans or potatoes and then lower the heat to low and simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Take a potato masher and break up some of the beans/potatoes it will help thicken the soup.  Season with salt and pepper if needed. 

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Ham bone broth in my slow cooker – cover with water turn on low and let it go!

 

 

chicken and rice soup with homemade stock

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you can’t tell me that won’t make an amazing stock

How are you holding up? We are doing well though this morning made me “think” a little differently than my norm. I was about to make french toast and grabbed the dozen of eggs from the fridge and immediately thought; wow that’s going to use a lot of my eggs we should have something else. I put the bacon back and looked around and had 3 English muffins left in a package, some left over hollandaise sauce from last week and a few slices of lunch meat ham. Waste not want not mode kicked in.
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this make me 8 cups of what I call liquid gold

I am sure we are all in that mode these days with trying to stay home but still maintain some semblance of normalcy. I do struggle with wanting to support my local restaurants that we used to frequent before a month ago and we do order out at least once a week. I am having a hard time finding balance with spending money as normal; dinner out, Amazon, grocery stores etc. I want to support them but I also want their staff safe and not have to go out for me. I hope that make sense!
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I am frugal by nature; I save leftovers, I will take stale bread and make breadcrumbs. I freeze Parmesan cheese rinds for later use. I will make up a dinner using whatever fresh veggie is about to expire. I will make a soup out of almost anything. If it’s good I’ll make it again.  I made risotto the other night and made extra so I can make up rice cakes because the last time I made the “extra” into arancini (Italian rice balls) and already have a bag of those in the freezer.
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I have implored you numerous times to make your own stock; now is the time to make it happen! If the stove top method freaks you out; use your slow cooker. A five pound roast will make several meals for your family. I dare you to test me!

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These trays are awesome, 2 cup portion size so each tray is 8 cups. I got them on Amazon

Sorry the recipe card wont work

5 pound roaster chicken – Bell and Evans or Misty Knolls are the best in my opinion
1 medium onion, small dice, or if you are not a fan grate the onion so they disappear but add flavor
3 carrots, peeled and diced into similar sizes
2 stalks celery, cleaned and diced into similar sizes
1/2 cup Jasmati or similar rice.
8 cups chicken stock
Stock:
chicken carcass, couple of carrots, couple of celery, sliced onion. garlic clove or two smashed, season with salt and pepper

Soup:

in a stock pot add a little olive oil and the onions, carrots and celery. saute for about 5 minutes. Add the rice and let it barely brown. It adds a little more flavor. Cover with the stock and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. remove from the heat and add the leftover chicken. I prefer to shred the chicken versus dicing it. Your choice.

If not using leftover chicken, use a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into chunks and seasoned liberally with salt and pepper. Saute the pieces in the stock pot before you start this recipe. set the chicken aside, add the veggies and scrape up all the bits from the pan. That will add even more flavor.  

Stock: 

After removing all of the meat from the chicken add the carcass to your slow cooker. top with roughly chopped veggies and cover with water. put on low for the night. when you wake up in the morning. I let my stock cool on the counter in a container, then I put it in the fridge overnight or until it completely cools. I want all the fat to solidify on top so I can remove it.

After having dinner with your roasted chicken, remove all of the meat and use some in leftovers or chicken salad, save some for the soup.

Stay safe –  Stay healthy and Stay home as much as you possibly can. Stay in touch using Facetime, Zoom, Skype or whatever else is available to you. We have been having virtual happy hour with some of our friends with IPhones, and last night a bunch of us used Facetime while a couple of friends played piano and the rest of us sang or listened. We are going to try zoom next week

Portuguese Braised Pork and Clams

 

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I will be making this again – Soon!

Last weekend I made up for the lack of spending time in the kitchen. I almost made too many things if that is possible. We had leftovers all week long which for us is not a bad thing. I know so many people that do not like leftovers. I wonder why that is. Do they make things that don’t reheat well? What they ate didn’t taste good the first time around? Do they not know how to reheat things? Is it a childhood “thing” meaning there parents didn’t eat leftovers so they won’t eat them? With that being said there are some things that do not reheat well.

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I improvised with paprika and pimento peppers – use what you have on hand I say!

IMG_4946IMG_4947While I was making this I kept thinking about my friends SF and BF plus their family; the ones they share with us every Labor Day weekend when we become honorary Portuguese family members. SF you are going to want to make this; it is so good and reheats perfectly minus the clams; which we finished split those up before packing up the leftovers.

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I found it easier to put a strainer over a bowl and just pour the pork out of the bag 

IMG_4964 - CopyIMG_4965IMG_4967I will give you a heads up the pork needs to marinate overnight; I know some of you will stop reading and won’t even try this recipe but you can do this I promise; before you put the pork away after buying it slice it up and throw it in the marinade for tomorrow nights dinner. You got this!

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San Marzano whole tomatoes is my go to and I always hand crush them into my pot!

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Now it’s time for a confession. There is an ingredient I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t look it up before I went to the store. SO I made up my own version of what I thought it might be. I thought I might just stumble upon it at the store; I did not. I did look it up when I got home and now it makes sense so I will tell the ones who do not know what it is it might be in the spice section of your grocery store; if not substitute it with a smoked paprika that you can find and like. Not the pickle, olive mustard aisle. Pimenton de la Vera dulce.  I figured it was something to do with Pimento peppers obviously I don’t speak the language. It is actually a Spanish smoked sweet paprika yeah I know not even close!
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They used Cilantro for garnish – I didn’t have any so I chopped celery tops for added color

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Portuguese Braised Pork and Clams

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
A warm and savory soup
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lb boneless pork shoulder cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes. (I used pork butt)
  • 2 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper divided
  • 6 garlic cloves divided
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Pimenton de la Vera dulce smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion diced
  • 1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes crushed by hand - recommend San Marzano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth divided
  • 2 lb baby Yukon Gold potatoes halved
  • 2 lb Manila clams or cockies scrubbed - I used clams I could find at my store
  • scalions diced for garnish - or they had fresh cilantro on theirs
  • serve with crusty bread for sopping up all the goodness

Instructions
 

  • Season pork all over with 1 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. In a large ziploc bag add the pork. Smash 3 cloves of garlic, add to the bag along with the wine, bay leaves and Pimenton. Seal and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350'F
  • Remove pork from marinade saving the marinade, pat the pork dry with a paper towel. Remove and discard the garlic and bay leaves. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pork and cook until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to pork to a plate continue with the rest of the pork.
  • Chop remaining garlic cloves. Add the onions and the remaining oil cook for a minute then add the chopped garlic continue cooking for another minute or two. You want them to be slightly browned but not burned stirring often. Add the tomatoes, red pepper and the reserved marinade.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer stirring often for about 3 minutes. Return cooked pork to the pot. Stir in 1 cup of stock until pork is mostly submerged. Cover and bake in oven until pork is fork-tender. 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Stir in potatoes and remaining 1 cup of stock, Cover and bake until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Transfer Dutch oven to the stovetop over high add the cleaned clams. Cover and cook until clams open. 3 to 5 minutes. (remove and discard any unopened clams) Season with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Garnish with diced scallions

Notes

Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
 

Leftover Prime Rib Soup

I have said it before and I will say it over and over again; soup is good for the soul!

Hope you have a safe happy healthy and prosperous New Year!

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I have had a cough since early November and I am sick of it! It started fast and furious and then subsided for a bit. Christmas day it decided to come back and bring with it me feeling like crap! Yesterday I spent about 12 hours lounging on the couch watching and sleeping thorough the Hallmark channel drinking several cups of tea and honey! I did make myself a pot of chicken and rice soup – I think that did the trick; I feel a little better this morning!

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I am re-posting this recipe for those of you that happen to have some prime rib leftover. I think we have one piece left so who knows this soup might be happening today!

This year is going to be a quiet New Years! The last few years we had spent them in Canada with friends. I’m going to miss hanging out with them but I think it better that I stay in and not party like a rock star – gotta kick this cough thing somehow!!! Plus it being in the middle of the week is kind of a drag!
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This years 3 rib roast

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a couple of years ago 2 rib roast

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Leftover Prime Rib Roast

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
A delicious use for a piece or two of your prime rib roast

Ingredients
  

  • 1 small to medium onion diced
  • 1 or 2 stalks of celery diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary chopped – or use whatever herb you flavored your roast with
  • 3 potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 or 2 pieces of beef chopped
  • Beef Broth – homemade or use your favorite
  • leftover gravy – add so much flavor if you have any use it
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Sauté the onion, celery and carrots till translucent. Add rosemary and cook for another minute or two. Add gravy, broth and potatoes. Once the potatoes are soft add the beef and let simmer to let everything meld together. Serve with bread to sop up the wonderful broth

Pork Belly Ramen is what’s for dinner

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The countdown to Claus is coming quick! I know it is because the calendar says so and I have an enormous tree in my bay window with presents under it. But I am still not really feeling a whole lot like Christmas. Last weekend was our annual Christmas party where we all sang Christmas carols and that usually does the trick for me but I’m really not into it this year! 

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baked with a little olive oil Prosciutto wrapped asparagus for an appetizer – YUM

I proposed to my family that instead of a ton of presents under the tree there will be a few and then we will do something together as a family. Here are a few things I proposed that we do together. Take a cooking class, dance lessons, attend a Broadway show or concert. Maybe find a restaurant that has at least one Michelin star and have dinner there since we are all foodies. My husband suggested going up North and ski/snowshoe. We haven’t decided what we are going to do yet but will make a plan over the Holiday!

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a bunch of swiss chard

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Stems removed – you can eat them but they take longer to cook down

 

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use up those packages of ramen noodles – I throw away the salt flavor packet they include

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A box of stock as well as some of my homemade stock from the freezer

IMG_4930IMG_4931What is a Michelin star?
Michelin Stars are given out on a scale of one to three, and only the top establishments in the world qualify for this designation. To earn one star, a restaurant must be considered “a very good restaurant in its category.” For two stars, the criteria is “excellent cooking, worth a detour.” To qualify for the elusive three stars, a restaurant must serve up “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”

People have taken vacations centered solely around visiting restaurants that have earned Michelin Stars. Because of this, it is easy to see why chefs are so eager to earn this recognition; having at least one Michelin Star can do wonders for a restaurant. Having three stars solidifies a restaurant as undeniably one of the best in the world. My daughter is looking into it for her 30th birthday this coming year!

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salted, peppered and sugar mixture all over the pork belly – let it sit over night in the fridge.

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thinly sliced and browned on both sides in a frying pan

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makes my mouth water – just saying!

Since we had our party last weekend we had family up and I had a large piece of Pork Belly in the freezer so I thawed it out, seasoned it, baked it and brought it out for dinner for a crowd. Ramen is delicious and can be time consuming; if made the traditional way. Mine here is crazy quick and crazy good; mind you having homemade chicken stock on hand is key. And starting the pork belly a day or so ahead of time. But the hands on time is nothing.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with all family and friends!

Pork Belly Ramen

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers

Ingredients
  

  • 1 - 3 pound Pork Belly
  • 1 Ramen packet per person
  • 1-2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1-2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 32 ounce chicken stock roughly for 4 people - adjust to how many people you are serving
  • bunch of swiss chard or bok choy chopped - I made it both ways this week - bok choy add a little more punch
  • scallions sliced thinly - sprinkle on top
  • basil chopped - sprinkle on top (optional)
  • cilantro chopped - sprinkle on top (optional)
  • eggs - 1 soft boiled egg per person

Instructions
 

  • Pork belly;
  • 1 pound = 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon black pepper. adjust for what you have
  • season generously on all sides with kosher salt, black pepper and white sugar. cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Pre-heat oven to 450'F. roast fat side up for 30 minutes. Lower oven to 275'F for an hour.
  • Let it cool to room temperature, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or more, up to 2 days.
  • Soft boiled eggs;
  • bring a pot of water, enough to cover all of your eggs to boil, lower each egg gently into the water and cook for 6 minutes. Remove from the boiling water to an ice bath to stop them from cooking. Peel and slice when you assemble your bowls.
  • Ramen;
  • In a stock pot add the broth bring to a boil, add the ramen and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the bok choy or swiss chard cook for another minute or so. Remove from the heat and add the ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil to taste.
  • Divide ramen and some broth between the bowls. Add the sliced egg, a few pieces of browned and crisped pork belly and the scallions. Also add the basil and cilantro if you are using.
 

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easy and so tasty – try it! baked for 15 minutes at 350’F

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Pasta e Fagioli

It is a soup kind of day in my world today! what does soup mean to you?
Soup to me is fridge clearing, a welcoming stove top aroma and a warm comforting hug in a cup,  It is just plain home to me!

I am writing this while having my morning cup of tea about an hour before I generally post for you and yes for me. I use my posts as kind of a recipe holder. I find it so much easier to google cookingatclarktowers.com and search for a recipe then to riffle through all of my collected paperwork of recipes. So I do it all the time and if someone asks me for a recipe If I don’t tell them to google it I send them the link. 
IMG_5441I am not sure what recipe I will be making in a few minutes but this one is one of my top 5 that I love to eat. I am actually going through the ingredient list and wondering if I have everything on hand and I think I do so while I am re-posting this recipe from a couple of years ago I am fairly certain this will be on my stove top shortly. 
IMG_5439I finally planted my garlic yesterday I hope it stands a chance to grow. I am a couple of weeks later than I normally get it into the ground and I am looking at the temperature at 7:49 am est and it is 32’F yikes I may not get any next year. Fingers crossed! 
IMG_5440Pasta e Fagioli Soup makes approximately 12 cups – freezes nicely

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground turkey (your choice – chicken, beef, sausage all would be great)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
32 ounce low sodium beef or chicken broth plus a little more as needed or use water
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
28 ounce can tomato sauce
1 ½ tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried marjoram – or substitute with more oregano
1 cup ditalini pasta – or substitute with another small pasta
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can northern beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and fresh crack Black Pepper to taste

Instructions
Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, crumble in the meat and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Drain fat and transfer to a plate and set aside.
Heat remaining olive oil add carrots, celery and onions over medium-high heat until tender, about 6 minutes, add garlic saute another minute or so. Reduce heat to low
Add the tomato sauce, broth, tomatoes and all the spices plus the meat back into the pot. Cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes.

Prepare pasta according to the directions on the box. Add cooked drained pasta to the soup along with both cans of beans. Allow to meld for a few minutes.
Serve warm with grated parmesan or romano cheese.

IMG_5446Macros = 1 cup using ground turkey
Calories 221
Fat 7.54
Carbs 21.25
Protein 18.2

Sausage, spinach, tomato tortellini soup

Soup is my jam period – I mentioned quite a while ago my dream of opening a soup joint or something along those lines. I also share quite a few soup recipes on this blog and I am pretty  sure I will continue to do so. Every time I make a soup that makes me smile, and no not all of them do, I have failed or made just meh soup before but my successes far outweigh my failures. When it is a fabulous one I say out loud to no one in particular “the world needs to have this” and since I don’t have a soup joint and I don’t know everyone in the world I will share another warm, tasty, comfort bowl full of goodness with you all.
img_3953.jpgMy husband even said this was his favorite soup that I have made, that’s saying something! It is definitely in my top 5 but I have made and shared some pretty incredible soups over the years.
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The one common denominator is homemade chicken stock. If you are still not making your own broth, we need to talk. It is SO easy to do using your slow cooker and a leftover chicken carcass. Put the chicken in the bowl add a couple of roughly chopped carrots, celery, onion and some garlic. Cover with water and place on low overnight. In the morning strain out the liquid gold and discard of all the veggies and bones. Taste it to see if you like it or if it needs a little salt. I let it sit all day or overnight in my fridge to let the fat solidify so I can remove it all. Freeze it or use it now!

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Start by using the best ingredients you can find and your soup will be delicious!
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Sausage, Spinach, Tomato, Tortellini soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounce sweet italian sausage, casings removed roughly 2 long links
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
6 cups chicken broth
1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
10-12 ounce package of fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
5-6 ounces baby spinach
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and break it up a bit, add the onion and cook till the sausage is cooked through a little browned, about 10 minutes making sure to break up the large chunks. Add the garlic and the oregano cook for another minute.
IMG_3950Add the broth and the tomatoes. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the tortellini, lower the heat to a simmer. Cook till the tortellini is tender, according to the package directions about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach, and cook till it is just about wilted. Season with salt and pepper, grate some fresh parmigiano-reggiano cheese over it and serve.
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Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking magazine

turkey rice soup – tis the season

I would love to say I am getting ready for the big game later today, don’t get me wrong I am super pumped and looking forward to it. I just am bummed that my husband and I are both sick, mostly now just congestion and a persistent cough; so we can’t have friends over, I have to call my in-laws and tell them to stay home and I feel so bad but I will not be the one to get them sick. I am going to have one of my kids bring them over a portion of our Super Bowl spread that I am serving to just us.  GO PATS!!!!

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better than anything I could have bought!

What is on your menu today? We are having meatball grinders, wings of some sort, jalapeno popper dip that I had for the first time a couple of weeks ago and loved it. I was originally going to share that recipe with you but will need to wait on that since I wasn’t able to make it and take pictures for you. I will work on that!

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turkey broth frozen into 2 cup portions

I hope you forgive me for posting another soup recipe but tis the season and there really isn’t anything more comforting than a bowl of homemade warm soup. One day last week my daughter offered to grab me soup from somewhere up town, she mentioned a few places that have soup and while they are OK I went over in my fever induced head each one and knew they were all going to be a disappointment – apparently I have become a soup snob. Which is why I made my own last night for dinner.

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turkey rice soup with garlic cheesy bread

You can build so much flavor in your own kitchen plus add ingredients you like and have on hand. I had 8 cups of turkey broth in my freezer from Thanksgiving, a package of turkey cutlets in the fridge and always have vegetables on hand.  Here is how I made this particular soup but feel free to use the concept and use your own ingredients.
IMG_3931Turkey rice soup

8 cups turkey broth
4 turkey cutlets
1/4 cup Jasmati rice
2 small onions – diced
3 carrots – diced
2 ribs celery – diced
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Using the same pot, so you can build flavors. season both sides of the cutlets and brown in a little bit of olive oil. remove once browned on both sides and set aside.

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building flavor

 

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Nothing but flavor right there

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make sure to scrape up all the brown aka flavor

Add the onions, celery and carrots, if needed add a small amount of oil. Cook for a minute or two. Add broth and rice plus any of the juices from the cutlets.

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only takes about 5-8 minutes for the broth to thaw


bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Chicken Gnocchi Soup – Crockpot

We have finally gotten to the weekend free to do what you have ignored for the last 2 months because of the holidays. 99% of the decorations are put away, I still have the porch looking a little festive but I am down with that. Plus its too early for the Spring look and I don’t really have anything for the in between and I don’t want it to be naked; it would look too depressing.
IMG_3891.JPGYesterday was also the first time I have done a “normal” grocery shopping. Basically meaning I didn’t need to pick up anything for a particular dessert, casserole or a dinner in general. I can get back into a somewhat normal routine. Which in itself can be very calming at least in my world.
IMG_3879.JPGToday I figured; well most Sundays I try to prep for the week ahead; as best I can anyway. I figure I can at least take care of breakfast, lunches and snacks; for the most part. Dinner is usually whatever I have in the fridge or freezer. More often than not I look in the fridge and see what I need to use up or clean out and that dictates what we are having for dinner.

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The soup I am going to share with you literally was because I bought a huge bag of gnocchi from my favorite farmers market in Montreal over New Years; if you are ever in Montreal, Quebec please visit Atwater Market or Jean Talon Market – you won’t be disappointed. I also had a larger than we normally buy half and half that will most definitely go bad before my husband has enough coffee to use it all up. Plus I had just made some chicken stock the night before so instead of freezing it I thought I could make a soup. Add a few more ingredients and voila dinner or lunch is ready.
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I need to give a shout out to my sister-in-law for the bay leaf – she brought me a baggie full from her bay leaf plant that she has growing at her house. Yeah I didn’t even know that was a thing. Let me just say that the ones I buy from the spice aisle in the grocery store is lets just say less than stellar in comparison. Her’s is SO easy to find and pull out of whatever I added it to. the ones from the store if I can find a whole one are a whole other story.

Ingredients
2 pounds chicken breast
½ cups shredded carrots
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon celery salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 package approx 16 ounces potato gnocchi
1 cup chopped fresh spinach

Directions
Place the chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add carrots and garlic. Along with the spices. Cover with the chicken broth or stock, whatever you have on hand. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.

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Remove the bay leaf and discard. Remove the chicken and once cooled a bit; shred or dice whatever you like. Make a slurry with the half and half and cornstarch and add it along with the gnocchi to the pot. Place the chicken back in the pot. Cover and place on high for about 30 minutes or so. You want to make sure the gnocchi is cooked through and the soup thickens. 
img_3890Add the spinach just before serving and allow it to wilt a bit. Adjust the salt and pepper to your taste and enjoy!

 

Recipe adapted: http://www.fivehearthome.com