NAVY BEAN & HAM SOUP with GARLIC CHEESE BISCUITS

NAVY BEAN & HAM SOUP

1 ham bone with meat on it
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Frank’s red pepper hot sauce
1/4 cup finely grated cheddar cheese

  • Soak the beans in room temperature water overnight.
  • Cover ham bone with water. Sprinkle generously with cayenne pepper, salt, thyme sprigs and black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours or ham falls off the bone.
  • Strain the stock and separate into 2 separate 8 cup portions. Freeze 1 portion for your next batch of soup.
  • Return the stock to your pan and add the vegetables.
  • Bring to a boil. Add beans and ham pieces. Lower to a simmer for 2 hours.
  • Sprinkle with a few drops of Frank’s red pepper sauce and some grated cheese.
  • Serve with Garlic Cheddar Biscuits.

GARLIC CHEESE BISCUITS
2 cups biscuit baking mix
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
1 clove finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons butter

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
  • In a large bowl, combine baking mix, 1 1/4 cups of the Cheddar cheese, minced garlic and garlic powder.
  • Stir in milk.
  • Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  • Brush biscuits with melted butter, and sprinkle with parsley, garlic salt and remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 5 more minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom.

BLACK-EYED PEA CHILI

So what do you do with left over pot roast and a can of black-eyed peas? Why, you make chili of course!  I just happened to have all of my normal chili ingredients on hand also.  I prefer Williams Chili Seasoning packet, but I had a coupon for the Mrs. Dash so we gave it a try.  It was okay, but the Mrs. Dash won’t become my go to seasoning.
MANY people swear by starting their year out with black-eyed peas for luck.  I’m not a superstitious person, but hey it can’t hurt! As a kid I HATED black-eyed peas, but I recently found the Trappey’s brand and they are fantastic! Hubs and I ate them plain and polished off the whole can. In fact they were so good that I can’t wait to try their other beans in soups, field peas, navy, black-eyed peas with jalapenos, etc…
BLACK-EYED PEA CHILI

1 can Trappey’s Black-eyed peas with bacon
+/- 2 cups shredded left over pot roast
1 can original Rotel tomatoes
1 1/2 cups V8
1 small HUNT’S tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Frank’s red hot sauce
1 package Williams Chili Seasoning packet
salt and pepper, to taste
water to desired consistency*
cheese bread or corn muffins
sour cream and onions to garnish

  • Mix together everything except the bread and garnish in a stock pot.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer several hours until you can smell the chili calling you to the kitchen.
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish.
  • Enjoy!

NOTE*: I use about 2 cups.  I like to start thin and simmer until thick (2-3 hours) to allow the flavors to blend together.

RED CHICKEN CHILI ~ ANOTHER WINTER MUST MAKE

QUICK & EASY CHICKEN CHILI
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, frozen
2 cups homemade chicken broth, frozen
1 can cream of potato soup
1 jar dried beef, chopped
1 Williams chili mix package
1 can chopped green chilies
  • Place frozen chicken breasts on the bottom.
  • Pour green chilies over chicken pieces.
  • Top with cream of potato soup.
  • Top with frozen broth.
  • Sprinkle chili seasoning mix on top of chicken broth.
  • Top with beef pieces.
  • Slow cook on high for 2 hours. Reduce to low for 6 hours. Or cook on low 10 hours.
As the slow cooker heats up, the broth will melt absorbing the chili seasoning mix which will then be absorbed by the potato soup and by the end of the day you have a huge bowl of wonderful yummy goodness perfect for a crisp fall evening. Serve with cheddar cheese biscuits.

SPLIT PEA SOUP ~ A WINTER MUST

SPLIT PEA SOUP

1 Honey Baked Ham Bone*
2 cups ham pieces
3 quarts water
1 small bag baby carrots, chopped
5 large stalk celery, leaves included, chopped
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cups split green peas
2 cups split yellow peas
1/4 cup barley
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper & white pepper mix
1 bottle beer – Mystery ingredient

  • In a large stock pot, bring ham bone* & water to a boil. Boil until the meat is falling off the bone, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours)
  • Remove the bone and let cool enough so you can cut the meat off the bone.
  • In the mean time add the carrots, celery, onion (4 cups total) and seasonings to the water and return to a slow boil for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • While the vegetables are boiling, rinse the peas and pick out any bad ones.
  • Cut the ham pieces off the bone. Refrigerate the ham pieces and discard the bone.
  • After the vegetables have cooked 45 minutes or until tender, add the peas and barley. Cook for another 1 1/2 hours.
  • Add the beer and ham pieces back in and cook another 1 1/2 hours.

NOTE:* I always save my honey baked ham bones after the meat is all cut off. I then freeze them and save them for future soups. I always get at least 2 cups of meat off when I boil the bone.

This makes a huge batch and I always freeze it in several batches (3-4) for future easy weeknight meals. In this case it will be a big batch when everyone is here at Christmas.

TODAY’S TRIVIA as heard by hubby on an old game show – Campbell’s soup used to fill the bottom of the bowl with marbles so the vegetables would be at the top giving the appearance of more vegetables in each bowl of soup. That trick was not done here – what you see is what you get.

SEAGRAMS 7 HONEY GLAZED CARROTS

SEAGRAMS 7 HONEY GLAZED CARROTS serves 4

4 tablespoons butter, divided 1+3
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut Into thick slices
1/2 cup Seagrams
PACKED 3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste

  • Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over high heat.
  • Add carrots, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from skillet.
  • Pour in Seagrams 7 and allow to evaporate for 30-60 seconds.
  • Reduce heat to medium, and add remaining butter.
  • When butter melts, sprinkle brown sugar over the top, stirring to combine.
  • Add honey, stirring to blend.
  • Add carrots back to skillet.
  • Toss carrots in sauce, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove lid and add salt and pepper.
  • Continue cooking uncovered until carrots are tender and the glaze is thick, about 5 more minutes.
  • Spoon into serving bowl, sprinkle with chopped parsley or chives if desired and served immediately.

CINNAMON PULL-APART BREAD

This is the perfect loaf for a busy holiday morning like Thanksgiving or Christmas, just pop it in the oven and bake. There will be none of this left after your family get the first tantalizing whiff.

CINNAMON RAISIN PULL APART BREAD
12 frozen yeast dinner rolls, thawed, but still cold and firm
2/4 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons QUALITY cinnamon
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup coconut rum
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup crushed nuts (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 teaspoons milk

  • In bowl one, pour rum over raisins. Let sit 10 minutes and then drain REALLY well.
  • In bowl two, melt the butter.
  • In bowl three, mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar until well blended.
  • Grease a 9×5 loaf pan REALLY well.
  • Piece by piece dip each one in the melted butter and then the cinnamon sugar coating well.
  • Lay each piece in bottom of loaf pan until you have a full bottom layer.
  • Sprinkle the raisins and a bit of the cinnamon sugar over the first layer.
  • Repeat with remaining pieces to complete layer two.
  • Sprinkle and remaining cinnamon sugar over layer two.
  • Evenly pour any remaining butter over cinnamon sugar.
  • Cover with greased plastic wrap.
  • Let rise on your counter for at least 8 hours or overnight.

The next morning:

  • Preheat oven to 350˚.
  • Remove plastic wrap.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden.
  • Let cool in pan 10 minutes.
  • Invert onto serving platter.
  • Mix together the powdered sugar and milk (or water) to desired consistency.
  • Drizzle over loaf.
  • ENJOY!

PANZANELLA SALAD

A true Panzanella is made with stale Italian bread, but croutons can be used in a pinch for a quick week night meal. It also calls for prosciutto, but I rarely have that on hand and have found that bacon works just as well for my family. Personally, I do not like olive oil so have substituted avocado oil and butter. You can also adjust the vegatable combinations to what you have on hand and/or your family’s taste palette.  The key is the bread ratio to making this a true Panzanella salad.

At this time of year especially, I have plenty of homemade croutons for the Thanksgiving stuffing making this the perfect time to have this wonderful salad. **I use a combination of sourdough bread and hamburger buns. I tuck away in the freezer all the stale bread for several weeks/months before the holiday season just to have the versatility of flavors.

PANZANELLA SALAD

2 cups stale rustic Italian bread, torn into bite size pieces**
1/8 cup avocado oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup torn romaine leaves
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 English cucumber, halved and sliced
1/2 pound grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
1/2 pound bacon, diced
1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Pepperoncinis, to taste (optional)

DRESSING          also see alternate VINAIGRETTE BELOW
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons Golden Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Combine avocado oil and melted butter.
  • Add bread pieces and toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and toss again to mix.
  • Arrange bread pieces in a single layer and toast in oven until crisp – about 30 minutes or so.

 

  • In a large skillet brown bacon pieces in a single layer until browned and crisp. Drain. Set aside to cool.
  • Whisk dressing ingredients together until emulsified. Set aside.

 

  • While the bread is toasting prepare vegetables by washing and chopping.
  • In a large salad bowl toss together the spinach, torn romaine, red onion, basil, tomato halves, mozzarella cheese, cooled bacon pieces and cooled toast pieces.
  • Drizzle dressing over salad and toss.
  • Serve immediately.

MARGARITA VINAIGRETTE
3 tablespoons tequila
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (2 large limes)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, chopped
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1⁄2 cup avocado oil
fresh ground salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Whisk together all the ingredients except for the avocado oil in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  • Slowly incorporate the oil into the bowl with a whisk until the mixture becomes emulsified.
  • Season as necessary.

SHARING with FOODIE FRIDAY and TASTY THURSDAY.

SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN

SWEET and SOUR CHICKEN

1/3 cup apricot pineapple jam**
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
scant 1/4 cup grated onion
pinch red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon chili sauce
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
8 ounce can crushed pineapple, WELL drained (reserve juice)
1/2 teaspoon molasses
splash grenadine (for color)
1/4 cup pineapple juice
Fresh ground salt and black pepper, to taste
2-3 pounds chicken thighs##
Scallion Rice@@
Sliced scallions for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Line a shallow roasting pan with foil and spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Whisk together the jam, vinegar, chili sauce, brown sugar, grenadine, pineapple juice, molasses, garlic, all but 1/4 cup of the crushed pineapple and onion.
  • Cook over a low heat to heat sauce through.
  • Place chicken skin side up on baking sheet, generously seasoning with fresh ground salt and pepper.
  • Roast chicken 15 minutes.
  • Brush glaze onto chicken pieces (about 1/3 of the glaze).
  • Roast another 10-15 minutes until juices run clear and chicken is cooked through (170°).
  • Turn oven to broil and raise rack to 5 inches below broiler.
  • Brush chicken again with glaze and return to oven, broiling until crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Heat any remaining glaze in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Serve over buttered rice.
  • Garnish with scallion greens.

NOTE ** In many places in this country you can’t buy apricot pineapple jam, but I usually buy a jar of apricot and a jar of pineapple and make my own when I can’t find it already made.

NOTE ## You can use mixed chicken parts just as easily, I just prefer thighs. You can also use boneless chicken, JUST BE SURE to adjust cooking times. Also remember that there won’t be any skin to crisp so chicken will dry out some as well as cook faster. IF USING BONELESS PIECES, I brown them in avocado oil in a skillet before adding and tossing with the sauce.

NOTE:@@ To make scallion rice, I substitute a combination of mainly chicken broth with a little pineapple juice for the water in any rice recipe.  I then add 1 tablespoon butter, the scallion whites of the onions and 1/4 cup of the crushed pineapple and then cook per package directions.

MIREPOIX for THANKSGIVING PREPARATION

It’s Thanksgiving week! The food prep can be overwhelming at time, but over the years I’ve found ways to make Thursday more enjoyable without breaking my back.  I did ALL the shopping this morning and one of the first things I did was ALL the tedious chopping for my stuffing vegetables and gravy vegetables. I did a little research and found out I have been using a combination of several methods for years. Mirepoix from the French is plainly diced vegetables cooked with butter (generally) on a gentle heat without browning until soft and flavorful. You are not trying to caramelize, but blend and sweeten the flavors to use as a base for other foods.

A traditional mirepoix is 2 parts onion, 1 part celery and 1 part carrots. This traditional base is then built and layered upon to enhance flavors for building stocks, soups, stews and sauces.

To make mirepoix: Rinse, trim, and peel vegetables — typically two parts onion to one part carrot and one part celery — then chop them into uniform pieces. The shorter the cooking time of your recipe, the smaller the pieces should be, so that they effectively infuse the foods with flavor.

There are of course different names and combinations of vegetables based on the culture. Similar flavor bases include:

  • the Italian soffritto, The Italian version of mirepoix is called soffritto is a base of finely chopped parsley and onion sauted in lard, but most modern cooks substitute olive oil or butter. Garlic, celery, or carrot may also be included. According to the Italian restaurateur Benedetta Vitali, soffritto means “underfried” and describes it as “a preparation of lightly browned minced vegetables, not a dish by itself.”
  • the Spanish sofito, There are many different versions of sofrito, but the basics are green and red peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro.
  • the Portuguese refogado. Refogado is a Portuguese-style sofrito featuring onion, garlic, saffron, tomato and smoked paprika.
  • the German Suppengrün (leeks, carrots, and celeriac), means soup greens in German, and the Dutch equivalent is soepgroente. Soup greens usually come in a bundle and consists of a leek, a carrot, and a piece of celeriac. It may also contain parsley, thyme, celery leaves, rutabaga, parsley root, and onions. The mix depends on regional traditions, as well as individual recipes. The vegetables used are cold-climate roots and bulbs with long shelf lives. Suppengrün act as herbs and impart hearty, strong flavors to the soup or sauce, providing a foil for other strong tasting ingredients such as dried peas and beans or pot roast. Large chunks of vegetables are slow cooked to make flavorful soups and stocks, and are discarded when the vegetables have given up most of their flavor. Finely chopped Suppengrün are browned in fat and used as a basis for a finished sauce. The vegetables may also be cooked long enough until they fall apart, and may become part of the sauce or pureed to form the sauce.
  • the Polish włoszczyzna (leeks, carrots, celery root, and parsley root), A typical set of soup greens, known as włoszczyzna, the Polish word for soup vegetables or greens and literally translates to “Italian stuff”, used in Polish cuisine: carrots, parsley root and leaves, leek, and celeriac. Bay leaves and allspice grains are also shown. Queen Bona Sforza, who was Italian and married Polish King Sigismund I the Old in 1518, introduced this concept to Poland. A włoszczyzna may consist of carrots, parsnips or parsley root, celery root or celeriac, leeks, and savoy or white cabbage leaves, and sometimes celery leaves and flat-leaf parsley.
  • and here in the U.S. we use the standard mirepoix, the classic and most common French combination of onions, carrots, and celery, typically in a ratio of 2 parts onion to 1 parts each carrot and celery as well as the Cajun and Creole holy trinity that replaces the carrots in the standard mirepoix with bell peppers and sometimes the French duxelles (mushrooms and often onion or shallot and herbs, reduced to a paste).

Though the cooking technique is probably older, the term “mirepoix” dates from the 18th century and is credited to the chef, Charles Pierre Gaston Francois de Levis, duc de Levis Mirepoix who was the field marshall and ambassador and member of the noble family of Levis, lords of Mirepoix.