Archive for ◊ 2012 ◊

20 Apr 2012 Ham Bone Bean Soup

I love Honeybaked ham.  Love it, love it, love it; but have you heard the definition of eternity? Two people and a ham!  Thank goodness I have a panini press for grilled ham and Swiss sandwiches.  Thank goodness I know how to make and enjoy ham and pineapple pizza. Finally, the last of the ham appeared, the bone,  and now it’s time for Ham Bone Soup.

I could NOT find a recipe on the Internet that I liked.  I knowwww, shocking!  So I took a bit from this and a bit from that and came up with this recipe.  It tastes good,  looks good, and is fibrously good for you with lentils, split peas, yellow peas, 4 kinds of beans, tomatoes, onions, celery and carrots plus chicken broth and ham broth. The spices came from a soup on the Honeybaked Ham website, cinnamon, cumin and thyme. I knowwww, sounds odd, but it’s what gives this soup it’s depth.

Enjoy.  (BTW, The new definition of eternity?  One person and a vat of Ham Bone Soup!) This makes a LOT of soup, about 6 quarts. “Fortunately” a friend of mine broke her ankle, so I was able to take one-third of it over to her.  Now I  should check my Facebook to see if anyone has had a baby lately*

Ham Bone Bean Soup

  • 4 cups chopped ham from the ham bone
  • one ham bone plus assorted root veggies and peelings, covered with water
  • 1/4 cup lentils
  • 1/4 cup split peas
  • 1/4 cup yellow peas
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 1 large onion, diced ( approx. 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (approx.)
  • 2 cups diced celery (include some leaves)
  • 1 leek sliced
  • 4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 3-4 quarts broth (mixture of ham bone broth and chicken broth)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2  teaspoon black pepper
  • salt, to taste (depends on saltiness of chicken broth) maybe about 1 teaspoonful
  • 4 or 5 16 oz. cans beans (use your favorites, of course)  I used 2 cans white beans plus one can each black beans, pinto beans, and pinquito beans (all my favorites)
  1.  First off, cut the meat off the hambone, so that you have 4 cups diced ham, set aside.
  2. Now make some stock from the ham bone. Put the ham bone in a large pot, cover with water and add a whole quartered onion (peel and all), a handful of carrots (or the peelings), some coarsely chopped celery, and any other extra veggie you have on hand.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 4 hours.  When cooked, strain the broth. Discard the bone and veggies.  Keep the broth. (The broth can be made one or two days in advance, just refrigerate cooled broth until ready to use)
  3. In another pan, boil the lentils, split peas, and yellow peas (or all lentils, or all split peas) in about 2 cups of water until very soft, about 45 minutes.  Add more water to pan if necessary.  Let cool, and then blend into a liquid.  This puree will thicken the soup (and hide the “icky dried stuff” from picky family members).
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add in chopped onion.  Gently sautee until onion is cooked through and slightly caramelized.  Stir in chopped celery and sliced leek, saute for an additional 3 minutes or so.
  5. In a large soup pot, pour in the ham bone broth and enough chicken broth to equal about 3 quarts.  Stir in crushed tomatoes and lentil/split pea puree and spices (cinnamon, cumin, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper). Bring to a boil. Stir in carrots. Simmer until carrots are almost tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Drain and rise the canned beans.  Add to simmering broth.  If soup seems too thick, stir in up to one additional quart of chicken broth.  Simmer for an additional 30 minutes.  Remove bay leaves.  Let soup cool, then refrigerate overnight (if possible, soup always tastes better if refrigerated overnight).
  7. When ready to serve, reheat soup, add diced ham, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.  Taste broth.  If necessary add more salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  Serve hot with some nice bread, foccacia, or cornbread.

Hope you like this. Hope it was just the soup you were looking for but couldn’t find anywhere else on the Internet.

*Update:  Woke this morning to find the empty soup pot on the kitchen counter and three dirty soup bowls stacked in the sink along and dredges of sourdough toast everywhere.   Looks like my son and two friends had a late night snack after I went to bed.  They emptied the pan; there’s no more Ham Bone Soup left.  Should I put a happy face icon after this update, or a sad face icon?!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

 

 

30 Mar 2012 Chicken Tortilla Soup

The weather has just taken another cold turn. YES!  One last chance for a warming and comforting  soup!  Bring on the wind and the rain. We can enjoy Spring later  I have nothing against tulips and sproinging (yes, that’s a real word, and I love it, it is what lambs do), but with one last winter storm I am sure I will appreciate it that much more.

This soup is delicious, (would I post it if it wasn’t?  Rhetorical question: of course not!)  I am also posting this recipe because most everyone I know enjoys tortilla soup, but not many of us have a tried and true recipe in our repotoire.   My friend Adele made this soup  for an Ina Garden (AKA The Barefoot Contessa) themed cookbook club.  Two of us immediately re-made the soup for our families, and both to rave reviews.  I think Adele found a winner! Yay, Adele (and Ina)!

I had to twiddle with the original recipe a bit (I just can’t help myself). I added corn and black beans, plus I pureed part of the soup to make a thicker broth, which I enjoy, but you can totally skip the pureeing part if  you want fewer steps, less mess, and still have a tasty, hearty soup.

So, without any further ado, here’s my version of Adele’s version of Ina’s Garten’s “Mexican Chicken Soup” (from Ina Garten’s 2006 book, “Barefoot Contessa at Home“).

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 4 cups cooked chicken,shredded or chopped (baked, grilled, or poached chicken breast &/or thighs, or shredded  meat from a roasted chicken)
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions (brown or red, or a combo, 1 or 2)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (2-3 stalks)
  • 2 -4  jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1  or 2 15-oz. cans black or pinquito beans (one of each is nice, too)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (about 4)
  • approx. 2  1/2 quarts chicken broth (10 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • approx. 1 tablespoon salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 small corn tortillas (approx. 6 inch diameter)
  • for toppings (be SURE to include these!): lime wedges, chopped cilantro, grated jack and/or cheddar cheese, sliced avocado, and crushed corn chips (optional)
  1. If cooking the chicken specifically for this recipe, sprinkle chicken thighs or breasts (or combo) with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes, turn chicken over and continue to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.  (cooking time determined by how large the chicken pieces are and whether or not the chicken pieces have bones).  Remove chicken from oven and when cool enough to handle, dice or shred and set aside. Discard  bones and skin.
  2. Heat approximately 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet.
  3. Add onions to hot oil in skillet.  Saute onions until translucent, 5-8 minutes.
  4. Add celery and desired quantity of chopped jalapenos  to onions and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add garlic cloves and saute for another 30 seconds or so.  Do not let the garlic brown.
  6. Remove approx one third of the onion-celery-jalapeno-garlic mixture and place in blender. Leave the remaining 2/3 in the pan.
  7. Add 1/3 of each can of beans to the blender (you can add one can of beans or two, depends on how you like your soup and how much fiber you want), along with enough of the crushed tomatoes to make a puree-able mixture (1/3 – 1/2 of the can).  Whirl on high until mixture is pureed.
  8. In large stockpot heat the chicken broth, add the pureed mixture, the reserved onion-celery-jalapeno-garlic mixture, the chopped carrots, the drained and rinsed can(s) of bean(s),and the spices (cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt and pepper).
  9. Bring soup to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  10. Add shredded chicken and corn and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  11. Cut tortillas into noodle-like strips. (Cut tortillas in half and then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips.)
  12. Stir cut tortillas and chopped cilantro into soup and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until chicken is heated through.
  13. Serve the soup hot, topped with lime wedges, chopped avocado, grated cheese, and crushed tortilla chips (if desired, and everyone I served this soup to, desired everything, including the crushed tortilla chips! The t-shirt people–my running addicted friends–added the most chips!!!  LOL)
Note:  If you are just going to eat half the soup, divide the soup and add half the tortilla strips.  When you eat the remaining half of the soup, add the remaining tortilla strips. The soup keeps well, but the tortilla strips, when sitting in a liquid, don’t)
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  It took me so long to type, edit and insert a picture into this post that the weather has turned warm again.  Shoot!

 

 

20 Mar 2012 Cheesy Spinach Manicotti

I must admit, I make a pretty mean Manicotti.  I’d forgotten how good it is until I made some on the spur-of-the-moment this week.  My Manicotti is  probably not very authentic, seeing as I have no genuine Italian reference point at all.  I don’t think it helps much that the recipe here got it’s start from the back of a box of Manicotti noodles either!  Maybe I should just call this dish Cheesey Spinach Pasta Rolls and ditch the whole faux Italian thing!

The instructions below will guide you in putting together a whole pan of Manicotti, but the recipe part is just for the creamy cheesey gooey yummy manicotti filling.  You’ll need about 3 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce to finish the dish (I make a hearty meat, mushroom, onion, red wine spaghetti sauce to serve with this dish, the recipe is posted on this site)  along with one box of  manicotti noodles (those really big. long pasta tubes).  I’ve used the filling below to stuff  large shell pasta, too, so you can use those if you can’t find the manicotti noodles.

BTW, leftovers  microwave wonderfully well. My my son has already zapped a few several times today. I hope he has left me some, leftover Manicotti is such a treat.

Cheesey Spinach Manicotti 

Approx 3 cups prepared spaghetti sauce, warmed

1 8 0z. box manicotti noodles, cooked according to package direction, rinsed and drained

For the filling:

  • 10 oz. box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, and squeezed dry
  • 16 oz. carton ricotta
  • 8 oz marscapone
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6  1 oz. packages of string cheese, cubed OR 6 oz mozzarella cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • additional grated cheese, Parmesan and/or mozzarella, for sprinkling on top of baked casserole.
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Squeeze the spinach really, really dry and place in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in the cheeses: ricotta (I didn’t used to like ricotta, so I have substituted cottage cheese for the ricotta before),  marscapone, grated Parmesan, and cubed string cheese or part-skim mozzarella. Stir well.
  4. Lightly beat the eggs and add to the spinach-cheese mixture.
  5. Stir in the nutmeg.
  6. Fill cooked manicotti with the filling.  The best way to do this is to put all the filling in a large Ziploc bag.  Push the filling to one corner of the bag, then cut the corner off the bag–to make a sort of pastry bag-and squirt the filling into the manicotti. If this method doesn’t work for you, just use several long handled spoons (ice tea spoons work well) to fill the tubes.  Some of the manicotti will have split.  Try not to use the split ones, but if you have to just roll them tight and lay them seam side down in the pan.  I think there are two more noodles than will comfortably fit into a 9×13 pan in each manicotti package, so you are OK discarding two tubes.
  7. Place 1 cup of the warm spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the 9×13 pan.
  8. Arrange the stuffed manicotti on top of the spaghetti sauce.
  9. Cover the arranged manicotti in the pan with the remaining 2 cups sauce–you might need a little more or a little less sauce. If you have leftover sauce, you can always serve it, warmed, on the side.  Some people appreciate more sauce.
  10. Cover the baking dish with foil and place  in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 30-35  minutes.
  11. Remove foil, sprinkle any remaining cheese over top of the casserole, increase heat to 425 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and cheese has melted and nicely browned.
  12. Remove casserole from oven and let sit for approx. 10 minutes before serving.
Enjoy!  Invite the family over for dinner. Maybe serve an antipasto platter to kick off the evening?  I love antipasto, it’s a very social appetizer.  Dessert?  What is easier than a scoop of spumoni or gelato? Go ahead and gild the lily and  serve some biscotti and coffee on the side, too!  Can I come over?
Have fun, and thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.

 

 

 

18 Mar 2012 Salmon Spinach Breakfast Roll

I’m pretty sure this recipe will make my Top Ten list for 2012.  It’s certainly the best recipe I’ve come across so far this year–and the one that has gotten me back into the business of blogging, which was no small feat. This is a delicious make ahead special occasion breakfast/brunch dish.  Keep it in mind for Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduations, as well as anytime you have overnight or early morning guests.

My friend Karin made this at our Cookbook Club’s Snow Holiday.  I ate it the morning she made it, and had it again for the following three mornings! Loved it.

Karin learned to make  this from her cousin in Germany who had made it for an Aunt’s milestone birthday celebration. The original recipe is full of German words, quantities stated in grams, and a few ingredients mentioned in the directions but not in the ingredient list, but we’ve fixed that for you. Truthfully, both Karin and I wouldn’t have made this if we hadn’t eaten it before reading the recipe.  Cream cheese and eggs never appealed to me, and neither did the thought of eating cold omlette. Just overlook those things!  Be smarter than we would have been. This recipe is a winner. Don’t hesitate to make it. Remember to plan ahead;  make, assemble and roll this the night before your special occasion.

Since I ate this for four days, I know it stays fresh and delicious for at least that long, but I probably wouldn’t push it  much longer than that.

I know this is thinking a bit far ahead, but wouldn’t the green spinach, the “red” salmon, and the make-ahead-ability make this perfect for Christmas morning?   Salmon Spinach Breakfast Roll

  •  approx. 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz. fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 3 green onions, sliced (can substitute some finely diced and sauteed onion or shallots)
  • 6 whole eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 oz shredded swiss or gruyere cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese with herbs, divided use, at room temperature (don’t even be tempted to try to make this with cold cream cheese)
  • 8 oz. thinly sliced lox-style salmon
  • Bagels, toast, or mixed greens, to serve
  • a few teaspoons of capers, optional, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (200 degrees C.)
  2. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with Pam or spread with butter.
  3. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese onto the parchment paper.
  4. Beat 4 oz of the softened cream cheese and then beat in the eggs. Stir in the chopped spinach, sliced green onions,  the Swiss or Gruyere cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well. (It will probably look like you have used  too much spinach, but it’s OK. The spinach will reduce significantly when cooked.)
  5. Pour egg mixture carefully over the Parmesan cheese onto the parchment lined jelly roll pan. Bake  at  375 degrees F.  for 10 min.
  6. Remove cooked eggs from oven. Let cool in pan.
  7. When cool, flip omlette over and onto a long piece of plastic wrap.  Remove parchment paper.
  8.  Spread remaining softened cream cheese on top of eggs.  Lay thinly sliced smoked salmon over the cream cheese, covering the entire omlette.
  9. Roll egg-cheese-salmon omlette tightly in plastic wrap–you can roll from either end, making a bigger spiral serving fewer people or a small spiral serving more people with lighter appetites– and place in refrigerator overnight (at least 8  hours).
  10. Remove roll from refrigerator about an hour before serving (just to remove the chill). Slice, arrange on platter (sprinkle with capers, if desired) and serve. (The first day we put this on lightly toasted bagel halves, the following days on slices of sourdough toast. Can we also served on a bed of greens as a light salad.)

THANKS for stopping by my kitchen today.  Aren’t you glad there was a new recipe posted?  Me, too! I hope there’s another one tomorrow…or the next day.