Simple advice for a better life.

Cream of Potato Soup 2During my childhood, soup was part of our daily menu.

Sometimes it was the only thing on the menu, especially at lunch time.

My mom would cook some kind of soup every single day, so we all grew up loving and craving soups.

Soups are actually very good for you, since they contain so much liquid, plus a variety of veggies.  Eating soup on a cold day makes you feel so warm and fuzzy, inside and out.  Don’t you agree?

Today I will share a recipe for a Cream of Potato soup, which for most part is based on a recipe from the The Pioneer Woman, but I doctored it a little, to suit our taste.

This recipe makes a large pot of soup; about 8-10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of bacon, cut to small pieces (I used Oscar Mayer center cut)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 large carrots, cleaned and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (used my favorite gadget)
  • 6 medium Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 32 oz Chicken Broth (I used Swanson)
  • 4 cups of water, mixed with 3 chicken bouillons
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1% fat)
  • 1/2 cup cream (I used Half & Half)
  • Salt and Black Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 2 Tbs. fresh Parsley, chopped (my favorite is Flat Leaf Italian Parsley)
  • 1 tsp. fresh Dill weed, chopped
  • Grated cheese or dollop of sour cream for garnish (optional…I used grated Swiss)

Directions:

  1.  Heat up a large soup pot, add chopped bacon, and cook until all fat is sizzled out and bacon is crispy.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon bits and set aside.
  3. If you have a lot of bacon fat, remove most of it, except for 2 Tbs.
  4. Add chopped onions, carrots and celery to the fat and cook, stirring often, until veggies are translucent (5-10 minutes).
  5. Add chopped garlic, and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add the chopped potatoes, and cook 5 minutes longer, stirring often so veggies do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  7. Pour in the broth, and water/bouillon mixture.  Mix well to loosen up the bacon particles off the bottom of the pot.
  8. Add bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Cook until the potatoes are almost done (10 minutes)
  10. Pour 2 Tbs. of milk into a cup, add the flour and make a paste.  Mix in the remaining milk, and add to the soup.
  11. Cook for 5 minutes.
  12. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  13. Using a slotted spoon, remove about 3/4 of the veggies from the soup, into a blender or food processor, and process to form a creamy paste.
  14. Pour this puree back into the soup pot, to combine with the rest of the soup.
  15. Add the paprika, and additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  16. Stir in cream, 1 Tbs. of Parsley and dill.  Save 1 Tbs. of Parsley for garnish.
  17. Serve hot soup in bowls, garnished with Parsley, bacon bits, and some grated cheese or sour cream (optional).

I liked the crispiness of the bacon bits in this soup, used for garnish.

Nice piece of fresh bread makes an excellent accompaniment to this delicious, creamy potato soup.

Yum!!

Cranberry Orange Scones – Recipe

Orange Cranberry Scones - serving 2If you like scones, you will love this recipe.

A while back, I made a batch of healthful scones, using a skinny recipe.  They were tasteful, but not as moist and flaky as these Cranberry Orange Scones.

This recipe from Barefoot Contesa, produced the most delicious scones ever.  I would not call them “skinny” by any means, but they are absolutely yummy.

Since I made some changes to the original recipe, I will post my version.

This recipe yields 20+ triangular shaped scones.

Orange Cranberry Scones  - dough

Orange Cranberry Scones - with egg wash

 

 

 

 

 

The dough is rolled out to a rectangle of about 3/4 inch in thickness.  Then it is cut up into 3 inch wide strips.  Each strip is cut again into 4 inch long rectangles, and each rectangle is cut diagonally into 2 triangular scones.

Orange Cranberry Scones - ready to bake

Orange Cranberry Scones - all baked and cooling off

 

 

 

 

Scones placed on greased parchment paper; tops brushed with egg wash; sprinkled with coarse sugar.

Once baked, they are cooling off on a wire rack, before glazing.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour ( I used Gold Medal unbleached)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. coarse sugar for sprinkling the tops of the scones (I used Cupcake Gems)
  • 2 Tbs. baking powder (I use aluminum-free, Rumford brand)
  • Zest of one medium orange
  • 3/4 lbs. cold butter (3 sticks), diced(I used salted butter and skipped the 2 tsp. salt)
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream, cold (1/2 pint)
  • 1 tsp. lemon or orange extract (optional)
  • 1 cup dry cranberries ( I used 50 % less sugar)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (to use with cranberries)

Egg-wash

  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbs. water or milk
  1. Beat egg with water/milk.
  2. Brush on tops of scones before baking.

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar + 2 Tbs
  • 4 tsp. orange juice, freshly squeezed (from the orange you just used for zest)
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  1. Mix in sugar, orange juice and lemon extract, to form a creamy substance.
  2. Drizzle over the tops of cooled scones.

Directions:

  1. Use a large bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle mixing attachment.
  2. Pour in 4 cups of flour, orange zest, sugar and baking powder.  Mix to incorporate.
  3. Add diced cold butter, and mix on low speed, until butter and flour becomes crumbly.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix eggs with heavy cream, and extract.
  5. Slowly add to flour mixture, while mixing, until just blended.
  6. In a small bowl, combine cranberries with 1/4 cup of flour.
  7. Fold the floured cranberries into the sticky dough, by mixing on very low speed.
  8. Generously flour your work area, and scoop out the dough onto it to knead into a soft ball.
  9. Roll it out into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle, and cut out scones (see pictures above).
  10. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  11. Place the oven rack in middle position.
  12. Place scones on a baking sheet lined with greased parchment paper.  Space them  fairly close together, about 1/2 apart, as they puff up rather than out, during baking.
  13. Brush tops with an egg wash, and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  14. Bake 2o minutes.  The tops will turn light golden color.
  15. Remove onto a wire cooling rack.  Cool for about 15 minutes, then drizzle tops with prepared glaze.

Enjoy!

 

 

Nuwave oven - Banana Bread 2You  heard about the Nuwave oven I recently purchased, so now I am testing different recipes to decide if this purchase is a keeper.

I already made a vegetable dish, a meat dish, and this time a traditional dessert.

I followed the ingredients in the recipe, as printed in the Nuwave cookbook, with an exception of decreasing the salt, and adding vanilla extract.

The Banana Bread turned out very moist and tasty, however it took a little bit longer to bake, than originally stated in the recipe.

After the original 45 minutes, it was still quite soft in the middle, so I baked it another 15 minutes on High power, and let it cool off under the dome, before taking it out.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup shortening ( I used butter)
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions: 

  1. In a medium bowl, place the measured and sifted flour.
  2. Mix in the baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy.
  4. Add one egg yolk at a time, mixing well after each (keep the whites in the fridge for now)
  5. Mix in mashed bananas, and vanilla extract.
  6. Add dry ingredients all at once.
  7. Stir enough to moisten the flour.
  8. Beat the egg whites, until stiff peaks form.
  9. Gently fold into the batter.
  10. Grease a loaf pan with Crisco shortening, and flour lightly bottom and sides of the pan.
  11. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  12. Bake on a 1″ rack for 45 minutes on HI power level.
  13. Top will be browning a bit, so you may cover it loosely with foil paper.
  14. Pause and test with a toothpick.
  15. If necessary, bake another 15 minutes.
  16. Once done, let the bread rest under the dome for few minutes.
  17. Remove.  Cool completely before slicing into serving pieces.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Potatoes  Au-GratinI have been testing several different recipes in my Nuwave oven, and will be sharing some of them with you.

Today I will post a recipe for a vegetable dish, Potatoes Au-Gratin, which was very simple to prepare, and it turned out to be a delicious side dish.

This recipe was posted in the cook book enclosed with the Nuwave oven shipment, so I will post it for your convenience, in case you have not decided yet to add this kitchen gadget to your collection.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups small red potatoes, washed, and sliced very thinly
  • 1/2 cup red or white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream (whipping cream)
  • 3 Tbs. Parsley, chopped (0r 1 Tbs. dried parsley flakes)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash and slice the potatoes, and place them in the bowl.
  2. Add chopped onion, butter, cheese, cream and spices.
  3. Mix to coat the potatoes evenly.
  4. Scoop into a 10 inch baking dish, gently pressing them down into the pan.
  5. Place on 1 inch rack, and cook on HI power level, for 20 minutes.
  6. Let it rest for 2 minutes with dome lid on.
  7. Serve hot, as a side dish with your favorite meat.

Enjoy!

Sweet Italian Sausage - Nuwave oven recipeFreshly made Italian Sausage is the second best sausage choice next to Ukrainian Pork sausage (Kovbasa), at least on my list of favorite sausages.

I love shopping at the Dutch Country Farmers Market, in Middletown Delaware, for fresh  meat products made daily by local farmers, as well as locally grown fruits, vegetables, freshly baked goods and homemade Amish foods.

This week I purchased fresh Sweet Italian Sausage, Sage Sausage, and Fresh Polish Kielbasa (Sausage).

The Nuwave oven came in handy for preparing the Sweet Italian Sausage for a quick dinner tonight.

Yields 3-4 servings.

Ingredients:

  •  2 lb. Sweet Italian Sausage (2 long links)

Directions:

  1. Cut each sausage link into 3 equal section.
  2. Flatten slightly, or easier handling and cooking.
  3. Place the Nuwave oven rack on the 4 inch height.
  4. Place the sausages on the rack (as close to the middle as possible).
  5. Place the side cylinder over the base, fasten the lid in place, per manufacturer directions.
  6. Press the Power button once (this sets it on High).
  7. Set cooking time to 12 minutes and start cooking.
  8. After 12 minutes, carefully remove the dome of the Nuwave oven, and set aside.
  9. Using kitchen tongs, turn over each sausage.
  10. I also moved the sausages from the middle toward the side, and the side ones to the middle, for even cooking.
  11. Place the oven dome over the food.
  12. Press the Power button once again, and set cooking time for another 12 minutes.
  13. Once done, let sausage rest for 2 minutes, before removing oven dome.
  14. Serve as links, or slices, as I did in the above picture.

I served my sausage with steamed green beans, and summer yellow squash sautéed with Italian spices, olive oil, onions, garlic, and tomatoes, previously prepared in my Nuwave oven.

All vegetables were freshly picked from my garden.  How convenient and rewarding, for having my own veggie garden.

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