Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Go To Soup

Hamburger "Go To" Soup

In 1983, I lived in Elko, Nevada, far away from my home state of Washington. Far away from my mom or any family for that matter, far away from my friends. I was pregnant and all alone...except for my husband and our 3 year old son, Lucas, We had moved for a job, but it was hard to leave our hometown. We lived in Elko for 8 years and by the time we left, we were heartbroken to leave behind what good friends we had made. Some of them remain our friends to this day. It was good place for us to have landed for a while.
When our 2nd son, Dustin was born, a lady from our church brought over a meal; Hamburger Soup, spiced Jell-o and a loaf of French bread.
It was the best meal I had ever had.
Well, okay...at the time, it was the nicest gesture, because we were without family (my mom did come down later in the week) and it was really, really good. A homecooked meal brought to me and my family.
Ever since then, it's been my 'go to' soup in case of emergency. It's quick, it's easy and most of all...it's good.
My friend April had her gallbladder out this morning. Earlier this afternoon I took them a pot of Hamburger soup.
I just got the phone call.... it was a hit....as I knew it would be.

Hamburger Soup

1 to 1 1/2 pound lean ground beef
4 cups beef broth
4 cups water
16 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 medium onion--chopped
2 carrots--sliced
2 ribs of celery--sliced
1/3 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp. season salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1 bay leaf

Brown the ground beef, drain off the grease. Add water and remaining ingredients in order given. Simmer for 2 hours or until the vegetables are tender.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Italian Sausage and Squash Soup

Italian Sausage and Squash Soup.
adapted from the editors of Cusine at home's Soups, Stews and Chilies.

Nothing says fall like a good squash. Even if you don't care for squash to eat, how can you not just love the pumpkins and squashes and gourds that line produce aisles at the markets this time of year.
They look so....autumny. I know, I know...it's not really a word, but what best describes it, besides autumny.

In a few short weeks, they will be replaced by poinsettia's and pinecones, so for now, just enjoy it. And the weather has definitely turned. it is breezy and damp and it just feels like a good soup! Soup and autumn kind of go together, right? So, here we go, my attempt at a good "autumnal" (is that a better word than autumny?) soup.... Butternut squash soup.
Now, you might go.....ewww gross! But try it... you just might like it. To be fair, my husband didn't, but I did. It's a 50-50 chance you're taking, right? (ya gotta like squash, and if you do...it's a hit!)

Here we go...

first you need to
brown in 1T. olive oil
1 lb bulk Italian Sausage

Sweat in 1T. olive oil
1 1/2 cup chopped onion
2 T. minced garlic
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1" chunks
1/4 red pepper flakes

Stir in:
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups cold water
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 t. ground dried sage
1 t. sugar
2 cups packed baby spinach
3 T. brandy
salt and pepper to taste

Brown sausage in olive oil over med-high heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper towel lined plate; set aside.
Sweat onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat about 5 minutes. Increase heat to med-high; add squash and pepper flakes, and sauté for about 5 more minutes.
Stir in broth and water, bring to a boil and simmer until squash is very soft--about 15 minutes. Puree soup with hand blender, then add cream, bell pepper, sage and sugar; simmer until pepper is tender. Stir in spinach, brandy and sausage, and simmer until spinach is wilted and sausage is heated through. Season with salt and pepper.

sausage tip:
Don't stir the sausage too often during browning. The less it's stirred, the crispier the edges will become. (too bad no one told me this before....cuz that sausage is not looking too crispy in the later photos)

and then the chopping....

onion....okay, it's a cinch. I do it all the time. I can cut an onion and mince some garlic

the squash...
It's big. It's tuff..... I need a hatchet. Or meat cleaver (hint, hint...Christmas idea!)

This picture has nothing to do with the soup, in the middle of making it I got hungry and decided to have an apple with peanut butter...have you ever tried it? It's good.

sauté .... ( I just used the same pot that I browned the sausage in. I figured a good sausage flavor was, well, good!)

add the broth....


add cream and red pepper and seasonings ---no pic of cream and seasonings, the pepper is just so pretty!

and Brandy. I've had this brandy for quite some time. It had dust on it. Seriously I had to dust the bottle. It smelled really, really good when I opened the bottle. I should have tested it, but I didn't. What was wrong with me?!

add the sausage back in

and add the spinach


and sandwiches.

Another good find

I must be a Monday thing for me.... to link to other bloggers who made soup in the past week....

I like her blog. It's usually about books tho.
I made soup this weekend.... I'll get right back with that post.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Simple Soup Suppers

Hey....check this out......


I like her blog and now she's added one of my favorite things too!! I plan on visiting it often and trying some of her great recipes!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Time for Chili

Time for Chilie.....
This is the trouble with having 3 blogs.....you really can't do any of them justice. Such as soup... have I really not made soup in over a month? This just doesn't seem possible to tell you the truth.
I made some "chili" on Halloween night.... to satisfy the crowds. It seems as if we are the stopping point...the end of the evening, for a lot of our friends with small trick-or-treaters. So, what better than a pot of hot chili on a cold October night?
I made two of them. A traditional "red" and then a "white" chili. My husband shook his head as he think I "overkill" when I'm cooking sometimes, but with 10 adults and a handful of children eating throughout the night, we only had enough left for lunch on Saturday.

Chili is an interesting dish.... Jane and Michael Stern, who wrote "Chili Nation...the Ultimate Chili Cookbook with recipes from every state in the union", say that Chili is fun---easy to make and simple to serve.
Well, I guess that is true, you can make it early in the day and not have to worry about it. Most everyone likes it....in varying degrees. And that's why I made two different chili's. I wanted anyone who stopped by to have something they liked... not too hot, not too mild, but just right.
I own the cookbook "Chili Nation" but I didn't use a recipe from it, nor did I use my "Gramma's Chili" recipe, which makes my cousin Linda shake her head in wonder, as it is very good, and it is her one and only choice of chili's. Linda is a good cook and sticks with a proven recipe. We've thought often of having a restaurant. I want to do soup, she wants to do everything else. We need to think of a catchy "cousin" name. And maybe we need to live less than 450 miles from each other. We can always dream tho.
I didn't use any of these tried and true, proven recipes.
I searched the inter-net for my "red" and found the 1997 ICS World's Champion Chili, made by Stephen Falkowski of Hopewell Junction, NY.
It always amazes me that someone from New York can win a chili cook-off. I love New York, don't get me wrong, but when I think of chili, I always think of Texas or New Mexico.
I've made the Gold Miners Chili before... it is one I printed out and put in my very own "Tried and True" recipe notebook.
For my "white" I have recipe from my sister in law, Cherrie. It's called "Mt. Rainier Chili". Cherrie lives close to Mt. Rainier.

QUICK POP QUIZ! Which state is Mt. Rainier in?

This chili can be much milder than a red chili, not always, but it's one of my family's favorites.

And now, as the Stern's say:
Chili is a delight to share with family and friends...which is what I did on Halloween night.



1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 pounds beef, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups white onion, finely minced
8 garlic cloves, finely minced
3/4 teaspoons garlic powder
2 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
4 ounces tomato sauce
3 tablespoons ground cumin
10 1/2 tablespoons Gebhardt chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon meat tenderizer
1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

optional (and this isn't in the award winning recipe).....kidney beans and/or pinto beans, however many you like. I also added a can of mild Rotel tomatoes. I strayed.....

Brown the meat in the oil and drain well. Set aside.

In a large pot, simmer the onion, garlic and garlic powder in 2 cups of the chicken broth for 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, cumin, salt, and the chili powder. Mix well.

Sprinkle the browned meat with the tenderizer. Add the meat to the pot. Add the remaining broth and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Mix in the brown sugar and the hot pepper sauce just before serving.

I doubled this recipe. And to be honest, I didn't use the meat tenderizer. I used a chuck roast, but had to cut away a lot of fat. So you can use what cut of beef you might like...and this would also be good with ground beef.
I do add the beans....because my family thinks chili should have some beans.
and of course, shredded cheese on top.



1 pound dry great northern beans
8 cups water

Rinse beans. In a Dutch oven, combine beans and water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1hour. Drain and rinse beans. Set aside.

Use 1 16oz can of great northern beans (or any white bean)

1 T. cooking oil
2 cups chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cans green chili peppers
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
8 cups chicken broth
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, shredded, or 4 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken.
1 12oz can beer
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapenos or plain if you prefer.
sour cream--optional
snipped fresh cilantro--optional
more shredded jack cheese--optional

In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat; add onion and cook for 5-8 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic, green chilies, cumin, oregano, cloves and ground red pepper. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Stir in beans and chicken broth. Bring to boil; reduce heat.C over and simmer for 2 hours or until beans are very tender.
Meanwhile, place chicken breasts in large skillet; add enough water to cover. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until chicken in tender and no longer pink. Drain; cool slightly. Shred or coarsely chop chicken.
Stir in chopped chicken, beer, and 1 cup of cheese into bean mixture, cook and stir until cheese is melted.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with sour cream, salsa, cilantro and cheese.