Tastes Like Home

You know how there’s some recipes that no matter how many times you make them, they NEVER taste as good as the first person who made it for you?  This is why I don’t try to make my mom’s chicken stew or meatloaf.  This is why I’ve never even tried to make roasted red potatoes like my Aunt Chelle.  And even though I’ve tried to make pasta salad like my Aunt Alice, it just never tastes as good.

Well, friends this recipe I’m about to share isn’t quite like mom would make, but it reminded me a lot of mom’s scalloped potatoes!

Except it was a breakfast casserole.  But just go with it, m’kay?

This casserole, which came together in a snap was not only easy, but filling, satisfying and quite inexpensive to make.  It served as a teamwork dinner, and provided leftovers for one night for both Elizabeth and I, as well as dinner for me tonight.  Hooray for leftovers! 🙂

So why did this remind me of mom’s scalloped potatoes and ham?  I think it must have been the combo of ham and onions, whose smell wafted from the oven, torturing us until the blessed timer went off signaling time to dish up!  But I literally opened the oven and was taken back to Christmas break when mom and I made those deeeeelightful scalloped ‘taters!  Sigggghhhh……..anyways…

 

Farmer’s Casserole

Adapted from “The New Better Homes and Garden’s Cook Book”

 

The Goods

Nonstick cooking spray

Frozen roasted baby red potatoes, or other frozen potato (enough to cover the bottom of the pan)

A couple handfuls of shredded (cheddar) cheese

1 small package of Canadian bacon, diced

1/2 small onion, chopped

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

salt and pepper to taste

 

The Method

 

 

 

1. Lightly coat pan with non stick spray; pour in enough potatoes to cover the bottom of the pan

2. Layer Canadian bacon and onions and one handful of cheese on top of potatoes

3. Beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper, then pour over potatoes

4. Bake, uncovered at 350* for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

5. Let stand 5 tortuous minutes before serving

 

And voila!  A tasty, inexpensive, healthy CUSTOMIZABLE dinner!  Use whatever kind of potatoes you like.  Use whatever kind of cheese you like!  Don’t like Canadian bacon?  Use ham or regular bacon.  Or skip the meat and add veggies.  It’s a blank canvas 🙂

A lovely dinner, especially when accompanied by toast and broccoli (and the obligatory squirt of ketchup).  This would obviously be excellent for a breakfast/brunch also.  Or lunch.  So basically, you can eat it any time of the day 🙂

Well, this weekend went by in a hurry!  From Elizabeth’s senior recital, to shoe shopping to homework, it’s been full.  But I’m looking forward to my mom’s visit tomorrow!  It’s going to be short and sweet, but I’ll take it!  I wish my dad could come too, but it’s only a few more weeks until summer break.

I’m sure I’ll properly document my mom’s visit, which will include an inexpensive dinner and ice cream.  Perhaps some more cookies and cream?  And guess what?  ED isn’t invited.

Blessings!

Beth

 

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Obsessed?

Apparently, I like soup.  A lot.  But really, what’s a gal supposed to do in November when she needs a simple, tasty, and cheap meal?  Make soup. 🙂

Oh, and before I get started…you might notice that I’ve slightly changed the picture format, and now you can actually SEE the photos!  It certainly helps to actually read all of my photo posting options…    However, this might expose the sub-par quality of my aging camera.  (Hint-hint, mom and dad!)  Tee hee 🙂  Anyways…..

I made soup!  I used this recipe from recipe.com, which had been featured in the December issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  Now, the beauty of a recipe  like this is that you can make it as-is and be completely satisfied.  Or, you can ramp it up a bit…embellish and augment, substitute or remove.  The choice is yours.  But can you guess which I chose?

The photo in BHG didn’t quite look like this…and I do mean ingredients, not just photo quality 😉

So I started with this little gathering of ingredients:

We have (from left to right) shredded cheese, S&P, margarine, rosemary, broccoli, onion, 1 russet potato and 1 sweet potato (which I traded for a yam before it was all said and done), light sour cream and bacon bits (BACON!).

Here is my lovely yam:

I started by chopping the onion and sauteeing it in the margarine, salt and pepper for a bit.

I hate chopping onions.  Like a lot.  If you don’t believe me, click here.  Not that I’m bitter about that or anything.

Moving on!

After the onions are translucent, add chopped potatoes, water and rosemary.  Let that cook for awhile, until the potatoes are soft.

While the potatoes are cooking,  Chop up the broccoli.  I chopped some of it really small, and left some of it in bigger pieces.  Your choice 🙂

 

After the potatoes are soft, find a way to mash them up a bit…I used a hand mixer.

Now, add some more water, and the broccoli, then bring it back to a simmer.  Oh, and don’t forget the bacon!!!!!

After it simmers for a bit longer, add a dollop of sour cream.  Add more S&P if you’d like…I went lighter on the S and heavier on the P.

Now, dish up and enjoy this multi-potato creation! 🙂

Rosemary Potato Soup

Adapted from Recipe.com

The Goods

1 tbsp butter

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

1 large russet potato (or equivalent), peeled and cut in 2-inch chunks

1 medium yam, peeled and cut in 2-inch chunks

4 cups water

1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed

~1/4 cup bacon bits (or more or less)

small head of broccoli (1-2 cups, depending on preference)

dollop of sour cream, plus more for serving

shredded cheddar cheese for topping

The Plan

1. In a large sauce pan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onions, salt and pepper.  Cook until translucent (not brown), stirring occasionally.  Add potatoes and 2 cups of water and the rosemary.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.  Remove from heat.

2. Mash potatoes (use potato masher, hand mixer, or food processor).  Return to the pot and add remaining 2 cups of water plus bacon bits and broccoli.  Return to boiling, the reduce heat, simmering for 10 minutes uncovered, or until thickened and desired consistency.  Stir often to prevent sticking.

3. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.  Serve with additional sour cream and shredded cheese, if desired.  Makes about 4 meal servings…ish 🙂

Tada!  It’s quite good served up with some salad and toast…and the obligatory homey magazine 🙂

I’m really enjoying the leftovers of this soup.  It’s hearty, yet not too hearty, and the bacon flavor improves the longer it stays in the fridge.  You can replace some of the water with chicken broth, or use different veggies or potato combos.  The options are endless!  If you try a variation, would you let me know how you change it up?  Thank you!!

Blessings to you this Thanksgiving!  I don’t want to be all cheesy and tell you to go write a list of the things you’re thankful for, but do give it a little thought – ’tis the purpose of the holiday after all.

Have a lovely day!

Beth

Fall is for Soup

Dropping temperatures….

Wind and rain…


 

Falling leaves…(ignore the vibrant green grass…)

I think this all means that Fall has officially arrived!  And this means that soup season is in full force…woooooot! 🙂  So naturally, I poured, and I mean POURED over cook book after cook book, magazines, blogs, random recipe websites and whatever other resources I stumbled upon in search of a soup recipe.  “Why on earth would this be so hard?” you might ask.  “Why might you need to consult so many resources, you crazy foo’??!!”  Well…I have some very strict criteria.

  1. It must sound good (duh!)
  2. It must involve corn and potatoes (it’s a phase, okay?)
  3. It musn’t cost too much (and it would be preferable if I had a majority of the ingredients on hand)

Number 3 is probably the most limiting.  But never fear!  I found a delicious-sounding recipe, that with a few alterations, should work just great.  I showed the recipe to my roomie, Marisa, to see if she’d be interested in sharing (she agreed) and I set to work on gathering the ingredients!  Which delectable soup passed my nearly impossible criteria?  I made a variation of Parmesan-Corn Chowder, from the cook book More Healthy Homestyle Cooking by Evelyn Tribole.  She’s a Registered Dietician, and the co-author of the first book I read in an effort to learn about recovering from Anorexia.  The book is called Intuitive Eating, and I highly recommend it to anyone, weight struggles or not.

And before I get started…although the soup has parmesan in the name, I actually didn’t put any in the soup.  Refer to criteria number 3 🙂

Now, on to the food!

I began by cooking up a few chicken tenders on the stovetop, with definite plans to shred them upon their satisfactory doneness.

Next up…VEGGIES!  I really like veggies.  A lot.

There was quite a bit of choppin’ going on.  And a decent amount of crying, but don’t worry…I didn’t cut myself!!  I just have this thing with onions….

We don’t get along so well.  Not that I’m bitter or anything…

Anyways, after I dried my tears and wiped all the runny make-up off my face, I got back to work!  The time had arrived to get this baby cookin’…so bring out the chicken broth, I say!

I brought this to a boil and let it simmer for a while, until all the veggies had softened.  

While the veggies and broth simmered away, I shredded the chicken and prepared the other ingredients (frozen corn, cream corn, and cornstarch).  Missing from the photo on the right is the milk.  I didn’t want to detract from the corny-ness of the moment!  *ba-dum-CHA*!  Anyways……this is also a great time to do a little mid-cookin’ clean up!

Here we are with two kinds of corn and the chicken…just waiting on the creaminess!  (AKA…milk and cornstarch)

And here we go!  I just let it heat for a bit to warm up the milk and thicken and then……

DINNER TIME!!!!!!!!  This soup…creamy, salty, warm, filling, and the corn…the CORN!  I seriously adore corn.  Weird?  Maybe.  Do I care?  Not so much 😉  Basically, this soup = perfect fall meal.  I topped it with cheese and bacon bits, and rounded out the meal with a little salad and bread, but naturally, forgot to take a picture.  Someday I’ll learn 🙂

Parmesan-Corn Chowder

Adapted from More Healthy Homestyle Cooking

The Goods

2-3 chicken tenders, defrosted

2 cups fat-free chicken broth

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 carrot (or 4-5 baby carrots) chopped

1 celery rib, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

A few twists of black pepper from the pepper grinder

3/4 cup frozen corn (or one ear, shucked)

1 can cream corn

2 cups 1% milk

2+ tablespoons cornstarch

shredded cheese and bacon bits for topping

The Plan

1. Place  chicken tenders in a frying pan sprayed with nonstick spray; cook, shred, then set aside (while the rest of the soup is cooking)

2. In a large pot, combine broth, potatoes, carrot(s), celery, onion, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the veggies are soft.

3. Add the frozen corn, cream corn and shredded chicken to the soup.  Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the milk into the soup and corn mixture.  Allow to heat up.

4. In a cup, dissolve the cornstarch into the remaining milk, then add to the soup.  Cook and stir for another minute, or until thickened and bubbly.  Cook one more minute, adding more cornstarch dissolved in milk or water if you desire a thicker soup.

5. Serve it up and top with cheese, bacon bits, or whatever other toppings you might desire!

I definitely enjoyed this soup, and the cheese and bacon on top just, well…put it over the top!  Be prepared, though – it’s quite filling!  But I suppose that’s the point of eating…to be filled up?  Yes.

Have an excellent weekend!

Beth