Creamy Tomato Soup

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This soup is so fast and easy to make and so good. It’s just as easy as the readymade, right out of a can soup, makes a lot more, is a lot cheaper and tastes soo much better.  I haven’t bought tomato soup out of a can for a long time now. This is a favorite for my family.

creamy tomato soup

 Creamy Tomato Soup                                                                         serves 8 -10

  • 5  14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil
  • 1 14.5 oz can of 1/2 and 1/2 (creamer)
  • 1 14.5 oz can of milk
  • 2 ts of chicken Better than Bouillon or 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 ts of sea salt
  • 1/2 ts of pepper
  • 1/2 ts of onion powder
  • 1/2 ts of basil

Put all of the tomatoes into a large pot.  Turn the heat to medium high.  Fill one of the empty tomato cans with 1/2 and 1/2 and put that into the pot, then do the same with the milk. Stir together.  Add the Better than Boullion chicken base and and the spices and stir until hot. Pair with grilled cheese sandwiches for a traditional and delicious meal.

*For a spicy tomato soup- use 2 cans of jalapeño diced tomatoes and 3 cans of diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil.

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Creamy Vegetable and Beef Chowder

Creamy Vegetable and Beef Chowder (3)

This soup is so easy to make and you don’t have to do anything extra, not even thawing or browning the ground beef!  Just throw it all in a big pot and cook it up together.  (I came across the idea of cooking ground beef this way about a month ago and I’m so glad, it’s making some days have less work. Who made the law anyways that ground beef always has to be browned before cooking with the rest of a meal?  Some days are hard enough, dinner doesn’t need to be hard too.)  It’s very, very yummy too, each family member had seconds and the kids even forgot to complain about the spinach!

         Creamy Vegetable and Beef Chowder                                8 – 10 servings

  • 1 pound of raw ground beef  (80% lean, frozen is ok)
  • 1/2 gallon of water
  • 1 ts of better than bullion chicken base or 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 3/4 ts of salt
  • 1/2 ts of pepper
  • 3/4 ts of onion powder
  • 1/2 ts of garlic powder
  • 1/2 ts of paprika
  • 1/2 ts of parsley
  • 1/2 ts of thyme
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into 3/4 in. chunks
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 3/4 in. chucks
  • 1 15 oz. can of corn or 1/2 a 1 lb bag of frozen corn
  • 1/3 of a 1 lb bag of frozen spinach
  •  1/2 of a 1 lb bag of frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
  • 2 Cups of 1/2 and 1/2 (creamer) or milk, if you have no creamer.)
  • 4 Tbsp of butter

Place your ground beef into a large pot, no need to thaw out if frozen or even to brown the meat. If your meat is already cooked, that’s ok too.  Just throw it in the pot!  Fill the pot to about 1/3rd full with the 1/2 gallon of water.  Turn the burner onto medium high heat.  Add the bullion and spices.  Scrape and break up the meat into chunks, every so often, no need to pay too much attention to this though- it handles much of that on its own.  As the meat is cooking in the water, chop up the potatoes and onions into about 3/4 inch size chunks and put them in the pot.  Add the can of corn, frozen spinach, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower.  Turn the heat down to about medium heat, stirring the pot once in a while.  Add the 1/2 and 1/2 and the butter.  Continue stirring and cooking until everything is soft.  Add more spices or liquids to your own taste.

Beef, Beans and Rice

Beef, Beans and Rice

I made this for dinner quite a while back.  It was so quick, easy and tasty.  And hearty too.  I’m really glad I wrote and saved the recipe.  Just came across it again and I’m thinkin’ this sounds good for dinner tonight with a salad on the side.  I could use some comfort food.

Beef, Beans and Rice                                                                                     Serves 8

  • 4 Cups of water
  • 2 Cups long grain white rice
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 of a 16 oz jar of salsa verde (green salsa)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 ts garlic powder
  • 3/4 ts onion powder
  • 1/4 ts paprika
  • 1 ts parsley
  • 1/8 ts sage
  • 1/16 ts or dash cayenne
  • 1/2 ts salt
  • 1/4 ts pepper
  • 1 15 oz can of kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 15 oz can of chili beans, undrained
  • 1/2 can of water/ bean juice mixture
  • 4 Tbsp white flour

Rice

Boil 4 cups of water.  Pour in 2 cups of white rice and 1/2 ts of salt.  Stir.  Put on a tight-fitting lid and turn the burner to low.  Take the pot off the burner after about 10 minutes.  Keep the lid on.

Beef and Beans

Brown 2 pounds of ground beef in a really large skillet or large pot.  Drain the fat, keeping about 1/2 of it.  Return it to the burner and turn the heat to medium low.  Pour in 2 Tbsp of soy sauce and stir.  Pour in half of the jar of salsa verde and stir.  Put in the onions and stir.  Put in the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, parsley, sage cayenne salt and pepper.  Stir the pot.  Now, put in the undrained cans of beans.  Pour into one of the empty cans, a half can of water.  Swish that around getting all the remaining bean stuff at the bottom and sides of the can.  Pour this into the other can and do the same thing.  Pour the bean and water mixture into the pot and stir.  Let the beef and bean mixture simmer for a few minutes.  It should be pretty liquidy.  Get a small bowl and a large spoon.  Spoon about half of the liquid from the pot into the bowl.  It’s ok if a few beans and meat chunks get in there.  Mix 4 tbsp of flour into the liquid.  Scrape this mixture into the pot and stir.  This should thicken the beef/ bean mixture enough.  Add more flour and water as needed and to preference.  Simmer for about 10 minutes more, stirring every so often.  Serve on top or on the side of the rice.  This dish also goes great with sourdough bread and salad.

Turkey and Veggies with Chickeny White Sauce and Pasta

Creamy Turkey and Veggies Pasta

This was a little bit involved and a little different than a lot of what I’d been doing around that time for cooking. It was one of those occasions, that I just kept adding things until I had something I thought was good.  I was surprised by how much my family loved this dish though.  At dinner that night, they asked me to be sure to save the recipe to be able to make it again.  I said I didn’t write anything down that I did and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to remember it all to do it again.  They each looked at me with blank faces and my daughter said, “you mean, you’re never going to make this again?!   I felt a little bad.  The next day, I got out all the ingredients I used and was able to remember the order of things and write it all down after all.  My husband said this dish was like chicken pot pie and pasta in one, two of his favorites.  I’ll be making this again.

Chickeny White Sauce Ingredients

  • butter, 6 Tbsp
  • flour, 1/3 Cup
  • salt, 1/2 ts
  • pepper, 1/4 ts
  • milk, 2 Cups
  • 1/2 & 1/2, 3/4 Cup
  • parsley, 1/2 ts
  • onion powder, 1/4 ts
  • garlic powder, 1/2 ts
  • chicken bouillon, 1 ts
  • cooked boneless, skinless chicken or turkey cut into bite size chunks, 1 pound

Veggies Ingredients

  • brocoli 2 1/2 Cups, chopped to med.-big pieces
  • carrots 3 , peeled and chopped
  • mushrooms, 1 Cup, sliced
  • onion- 1/2 of a medium to large one, diced

Pasta

  • penne rigate pasta, 1 pound, cooked

Directions

Turkey

Bake or skillet fry one pound of boneless, skinless turkey (or chicken).  Cut into bite size chunks. (I used leftover turkey from Thanksgiving that I deboned, skinned, chunked and weighed into 1 pound baggies and froze.  It’s a great way to use up all the leftovers at the pace you want to and have pre-cooked meat for faster meals.)

Chickeny Whice Sauce

Put 6 tablespoons of butter into a sauce pan.  Turn the burner to medium or 5.  Melt the butter and stir in the flour, salt and pepper.  Add the milk and stir.  Stir in the 1/2 & 1/2.  Add the parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, and chicken boullion.  Stir and cook until thick and bubbly.  Add the turkey.  Turn the heat down to low and put a lid on it.

Pasta and Veggies

Fill a large pot with hot water and boil the pasta.  While the pasta is cooking, chop up the brocalie, carrots, (a bag of pre-chopped frozen would work great) mushrooms and onion.  Put the veggies into the pot with the sauce and turkey.  Turn the heat back up to medium and cook until the veggies are tender.  Drain the pasta and put back into the big pot.  Combine the contents of both pots into the big one.  Stir together and serve.

The Best I’ve Ever had Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last Saturday, I woke up to the most wonderful smell coming from the kitchen.  My eight year old daughter had decided to make my favorite recipe of chocolate chip cookies and they were fresh out of the oven.  Oh my goodness, what a treat.  I had a couple with my morning coffee.  She is a baking savant and makes me proud.

Best I've ever had Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Best I’ve ever had Chocolate Chip Cookies                         makes about 4 dozen

  • 1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ts cinnamon
  • 1 ts baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup of hot water
  • 3/4 Cup softened butter  (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ts vanilla
  • 1 1/2 Cups oats
  • 1/2 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the flour and cinnamon in a large bowl.  In a smaller glass bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.  Put the brown sugar, regular sugar, egg and vanilla into this bowl.  Beat it all together till blended.  Stir in the baking soda and water. Using a spoon and scraper, put the wet mixture into the flour mixture and stir together.  Fold in the oats and chocolate chips.  Butter 2 -3 baking sheets and drop 1 1/2  inch sized spoonfulls onto them, about an inch and a half apart.  Set your timer for 10 minutes.  The cookies are perfectly done when (they look like they aren’t) they’re golden brown around the edges.  Take the cookies out of the oven and set the trays on a trivet or pot holder.  Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes there and then move them to wire baking racks to finish cooling.  Put the baked and cooled cookies into a large airtight container.  A slice of bread placed on top will keep your cookies soft, moist and chewy.

This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies, but they are so good and go very quickly- so I at least double it and have even quadrupled it!  (That was for a church bake sale.)  I’ve been using this recipe for about 18 years and never felt any need to use another.  I’ve been asked for the recipe so many times over the years, once I even made photocopies to have them on hand.

Banana Strawberry Oat Nut Bread

A few mornings ago, early while making the kids’ lunches, I noticed that we had a whole bunch of bananas going bad fast.  I came back from dropping the kids at school and simply had to make banana bread.  Can’t let those bananas go to waste, right?  I made coffee and pulled the creamer out of the fridge and saw we had just a few strawberries left.  Have to use those, they’d go great with the bananas.  And oats too, it needs to be a little heartier, I thought.  I already had my favorite banana bread recipe out and so adapted it to what I wanted.
The bread was about 1/2 way gone in one day. It is soooooo good, I’m glad I made a lot of it.  The kids are having no problem having this for breakfast.
Banana Strawberry Oat Nut Bread

Banana Strawberry Oat Nut Bread                                                         20 pieces

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 ts vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 Cup of hot water with 2 ts of baking soda dissolved in it

In a medium bowl, cream together all but the water with baking soda.  Mix well, then stir in the water and baking soda.

Dry Ingredients

  • 3 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 Cups oats
  • 2 ts salt

Mix the dry ingredients together with a wisk.  Put the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry mixture and combine them together.

Additives

  • 5 ripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 Cups of strawberries cut in to 3/4 inch chunks
  • 3/4 Cup of walnuts or pecans, chopped in big chunks.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mash the bananas in the empty wet ingredinents bowl.  Don’t overdo it- leave it a little bit chunky.  Chop up the strawberries and nuts.  Stir in the bananas, strawberries and nuts into the mixture until blended.  Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking pan and spoon the batter into it.  Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Bacon, Spinach and Cheese Quiche

Bacon, Spinach and Chesse Quiche                             8 Servings

My family and I had this for brunch a few Sundays ago.   It was very good and satisfying.  The leftovers, the next day were even better. (I love leftovers for breakfast.  What’s better than an awesome breakfast you don’t have to cook while you’re still trying to wake up with your first cup of coffee?)  The crust can be made ahead of time to make the quiche faster and if you double it, the second crust could be used to make a quick dessert that night or a day or so later.  This is the crust I make for every pie.  I’ve found it to be tastier and healthier than the ones made with shortening (which I never use due to the hydrogenated oils.)

Oil Pastry Pie Crust

  • 2 1/4 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ts salt
  • 1/2 Cup oil
  • 6 Tbsp milk
  • a large pie pan- about 11 inches wide

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.  Pour the oil and milk into the flour.  Stir together with a fork.  Then, knead together with your hands ’till well mixed.  On a clean, large surface, sprinkle a bit of flour.  (A cutting board or counter with wax paper works well.) Roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch thick circle.  Place the pastry into the pie pan and form into the bottom and sides.

Filling

  • 8 strips of cooked bacon
  • 3/4 Cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 Cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 Cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 Cup frozen spinach
  • 7 large eggs
  • 1/2 Cup 1/2 and 1/2 creamer
  • 1/4 ts salt
  • 1/8 ts pepper
  • 1/8 ts dill

Bake or fry up bacon.  You’ll need about 8 strips.  While your bacon is cooking, shred the cheddar and monterey jack cheeses.  Preheat the oven to 385 degrees.  Place bacon strips into the bottom of the pie crust, covering the area.  Spread the 3/4 Cup of cheddar evenly over the bacon and then the monterey jack over that.  Set aside the 1/4 Cup of cheddar for later.  Spread the frozen spinach next in an even layer.  In a separate bowl, crack the eggs.  Add the 1/2 and 1/2, salt, pepper and dill.  Stir with a fork or whisk till well mixed.  Pour the egg mixture over the spinach. Bake the pie for 35 minutes.  Sprinkle the last 1/4 Cup of cheddar cheese over the top and bake again for about 10 more minutes.  The quiche is done when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.