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Sauerkraut Sausage Soup

by on Dec.23, 2014, under Yummies

Sauerkraut Sausage Soup

When it gets cold and damp during the winter months, I start craving soup like many others do. This is actually a relatively new thing for me, since I have never been a big soup eater, unless I am fighting some type of plague. And up until just a couple of years ago, all soup for me came out of a can. Well thankfully I have found that I can make soup myself, and it is stupid-easy and tastes awesome when done correctly.

This recipe came to me courtesy of a co-worker who brought this to my office as part of an international pot-luck lunch that we held. I actually went back for seconds on this and then had to ask for the recipe. The flavor of the sauerkraut is present but not overwhelming. The ham and sausage add good texture and additional savory/salty flavors. While I dont know if I will ever get to make this at home (The Man does not like beans), it sure would hit the spot on this cold rainy gloomy day before Christmas Eve.

Sauerkraut Sausage Soup
 
By:
Type: Soup, Main Dish
Serves: 8
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 48-ounce box of low sodium chicken stock. (there lots of sodium in everything else, so low sodium is the best)
  • 21 ounces of jarred sauerkraut with juices. (I prefer Claussen or Hengstenberg)
  • 2 cans cannellini beans (do not drain or rinse)
  • 1 can navy beans (do not drain or rinse)
  • 1 package of diced ham (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1 package of kielbasa sausage - uncooked - cut into ¼" slices
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 whole Bay leaves
  • 3 teaspoons fennel seeds
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a soup pot or crock pot. Stir together well.
  2. Cook for 3 hours. You want the beans to soften up and the onions to cook, everything else is already cooked.
  3. Remove bay leaves just prior to serving.

 

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Sautéed Green Beans with Bacon

by on Sep.23, 2014, under Yummies

SGBB

I have been slowly and methodically working to introduce more green vegetables into my family’s diet. My husband does not consider himself a fan of most dark green or leafy vegetables, with the exception of salad. He will eat a good salad, but one can only fix salad so many times in a row before I desperately craves something different.

After winning him over to the delights of  asparagus with a family recipe that was passed down to me and then to brussels sprouts by an awesome recipe for Brussels Sprout Hash from my friend Michael Nolan aka The Garden Rockstar, I thought it might be time to try green beans. Our daughter LOVES green beans from the can. It’s one of the few veggies I know I can give her that we won’t have to fight about. I’ve missed fresh green beans very much and have reveled in ordering them at restaurants when offered. I am not crazy about canned green beans, but fresh…or even better yet, straight from my mom’s garden, boy howdy!

My strategy for getting The Man to try green beans was pretty straight forward….deception. Taking a queue from the Brussels Sprout Hash recipe, my thought was that the key to his heart would be bacon. Smother the green beans in bacon grease and top with crumbled bacon. He would be helpless to resist them. And I am happy to report, it work! So well in fact, he nearly ate half the pan of beans himself and declared that I am free to make these again anytime I desire.

 

Sautéed Green Beans with Bacon
 
By:
Serves: 4
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Green Beans, washed and ends snipped
  • 2-3 Slices of Bacon
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • ½ Cup Chicken Broth
Instructions
  1. Cook bacon in a Saute pan until crisp. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Do NOT remove bacon drippings from the pan.
  2. Over medium heat, add garlic to the bacon drippings and cook for approx. 1 minute until fragrant. Be cautious not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add green beans to the pan and stir to coat in the drippings. Add the chicken broth and stir to deglaze pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until broth evaporates, stirring every couple of minutes.
  4. After the broth is gone, cook for 1 to 2 minutes more to get just a hint of crispiness on the outsides of the beans.
  5. Remove from heat and crumble cooked bacon overtop. Stir to mix.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

 

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Mason Jar Salads

by on Jan.21, 2014, under Yummies

Mason Jar Salads

If  you’ve spent any time on pinterest recently, you’re sure to have noticed the current mason jar craze taking over feeds everywhere. Oh, you haven’t seen this?!? Well maybe I just have a few jar-crazy friends 😉 Sadly, I too have now become another statistic to the mason jar epidemic.

It started innocently enough. The polar vortex has been bringing lots of cold air to my little slice of heaven in the south, thus I have been eating an inordinate amount of soup as of late. Soup is one of those weird things that I typically don’t think of as a ‘meal’ except when I am sick. Lately though I have actually been craving it, which is totally bizarre for me. Along with all this soup I still wanted something of substance to crunch on, thus the idea of a pairing salad with it. I know, revolutionary, right? Watch out world, I’ll be figuring out this whole ‘internet’ thing next!

Now I kept seeing these pins for salads in mason jars claiming that they stay fresh for days, and I finally had a friend share a post that made some sense for me out of these claims. It detailed how to layer your jar salad to keep things from becoming soggy and unappetizing. So off to the store I zoomed for salad fixing and some jars* to try this out.

So, according to eHow, the proper way to layer your mason jar salad (from bottom to top) to keep them fresh is as follows:

  1. Dressing (your wettest ingredient)
  2. Marinade-able ingredients. Examples are dried fruit, picked veggies, and/or root veggies like carrots, onion, or radishes.
  3. Wet Ingredients. Such as cucumber, tomatoes, corn, apple, or anything else that would make the lettuce go soggy.
  4. Dry Ingredients. Beans, meats, cheese, whole berries, etc.
  5. Lettuce and toppings. I am still experimenting if its works better to do croutons bellow or on top of the lettuce. This is also where you can include such things as edible flowers, nuts, or tortilla strips.

*Jars – I never realized how many different types of mason jars there are. I went with a wide-mouth quart jar, which has turned out to be just perfect. Easy to get things in and out of, and makes a good main entree salad serving size.

The great thing about these salads is, once you get the basics of layering down, they are infinitely customizable. Below are 4 salads I have made recently that I came up with off the top of my head. Don’t like something in my version, no worries, kick it out and replace with something you do like!

Taco Salad

My version was meatless, but you could easily throw some leftover taco filling or fajita meat in for some extra protein.

 

Taco Salad

Chipotle Dressing
Tomatoes
Corn
Avocado
Onion
Cheese
Lettuce
Tortilla Strips

 

 

BLT Salad

This salad was sooo good I wanted to do x-rated things to it!

BLT Salad

Ranch Dressing
Tomatos
Red Onion
Crumbled Bacon
Hard Boiled Egg slices
Blue Cheese Crumbles
Croutons
Lettuce

 

 

Strawberry Fields

I got so excited to eat this one, I forgot to take a picture before I got it out of the jar and started munching down!

 

 

Strawberry Fields Salad

Raspberry Vinaigrette
Dried Cherries
Sliced Strawberries
Sliced Apples
Honey Roasted Almond Slivers
Feta Cheese Crumbles
Lettuce

 

 

 

Greek Salad

Any excuse to add artichoke hearts to a recipe! Tangy and delicious paired with a lemon chicken orzo soup!

Greek Salad

Greek Dressing
Cucumber
Artichoke Hearts
Tomatoes
Black Olives
Red Onion
Feta Cheese
Lettuce

Update: After trying several iterations with the croutons in different places, I would definitely recommend them on top, or carried separately (I know, hassle). If your salad is not going to sit long before eating, they will remain mostly crunchy on top. After 24 hours in the jar however, then get kind of soggy. Personally, I just brought a small sandwich bag of them to my office to add at the time I devour my salad.

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Loaded Cheddar Potato Soup

by on Dec.28, 2012, under Yummies

I am not much of a soup person, and only recently have I started thinking of soup as a dinner option. I still don’t tend to think of it as a main course, but now that winter is really here, it has been more on my mind as a co-star of the dinner table.

I was feeling a little under the weather the day after Christmas this year, and was really craving some warm and hearty comfort food. We had some wonderful left over prime rib from Christmas dinner I wanted to use to make french dip sandwiches with, and when thinking about what to serve with it, Loaded Cheddar Potato soup came to mind. I recalled having made this one before, but that it turned out sub-par. I checked all my usual recipe sources to find a tried and well-reviewed recipe, but every one I came across had an ingredient I or my husband aren’t fans of, or were missing what I felt was a key component. Thus I decided to take the things I liked from several recipes and throw them together to see what came of it. Luckily, it was DELICIOUSNESS!

Soup Recipe Dinner

Loaded Cheddar Potato Soup
 
By:
Type: Soup
Serves: 6-8
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
 
Ingredients
  • 3 large Russet Potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
  • 3 cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 16oz Velveeta Cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup Sharp Cheddar, shredded
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon Pepper
  • 2-4 pieces of Bacon, cooked and crumbled (for topping)
  • 1 Green Onion, sliced (for topping)
  • Additional Sharp Cheddar, shredded (for topping)
  • Sour Cream (for topping)
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water with a generous pinch of kosher salt added to a boil. Once boiling, add potatoes and cook 12-15 minutes until soft, but not totally falling apart.
  2. Drain potatoes and leave in colander. Put pot back on stove.
  3. Add vegetable stock and heavy cream to pot and bring to boil over medium-high heat.
  4. As liquid heats up, add cubes of Velveeta, stirring often to help it melt.
  5. Once all the Velveeta is in and melted and liquid is starting to bubble, add 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar. Stir to help cheese melt and incorporate.
  6. Add cooked potatoes back into pot with the cheese liquid. Using a handheld potato masher, roughly mash potatoes in the soup, leaving a few chunks.
  7. Stir in salt and pepper. The measurements above are just my best guess, as I just added each to taste.
  8. Turn off heat and ladle into serving bowls.
  9. Top with generous pinches of the extra shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, and green onion. Add a dollop of Sour Cream, if desired.

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Cherry Lemon Angel Trifle

by on Nov.30, 2012, under Yummies

I seriously though I already posted this recipe. I came back to look for it to show a friend, who’s Christmas party I am think if bringing this to, and when I couldn’t find it I realized my oversight. I am now correcting this. So without further ado…

Cherry Lemon Angel Trifle
 
By:
Type: Dessert
Serves: 8-10
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
 
A light yet decedent dessert that combines sweet and tart flavors over a fluffy sponge cake.
Ingredients
  • 1 Angel Food Cake, cut into 1"x1" cubes
  • 1 large can Cherry Pie Filling
  • 1.5 Cups Lemon Curd (from the jar is fine, or make your own)
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
Instructions
  1. Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whip heavy cream until soft peeks form.
  2. In a trifle bowl begin with a layer of Angel Food Cake cubes.
  3. Over the cubes, spoon in ⅓ of the cherry pie filling, spreading out to cover the cake.
  4. Over the cherry pie filling, spread ⅓ of the whipped cream, sealing the layer of cherries below.
  5. Next spread ⅓ of the lemon curd out over the whipped cream.
  6. Repeat until you are out of ingredients and/or your trifle bowl is full
  7. Chill until ready to serve.

Photo by Marg of Cayman Designs

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