Simple advice for a better life.

Hot Soups for Cold Weather

Chicken-broth-with-potato-balls-knedleCreamyTomato-soupUkrainian-Red-Beet-Borscht-Quick-and-Easy

With the cold weather upon us, we begin to crave comfort foods and hot soups.

Thanksgiving turkey is all gone by now, but I still have my homemade soup stock (frozen) from the turkey carcass which I cooked last Friday.

If you are tossing out the carcass from your roasted chicken or turkey, you are wasting a great base for a soup stock.

Saurkraut-Soup-Kapusnyak

Today I made some sauerkraut soup from the Thanksgiving turkey soup stock, which my husband and I really enjoy on a cold day, accompanied by a piece of crusty bread.

If you indeed tossed out the leftover turkey carcass, you can use chicken broth or beef broth to make your favorite soup.

Cream-of-Broccoli-Soup

Homemade Broccoli Cheese Soup.

Corn-Potato-Chowder

Homemade Corn Potato Chowder.

Mushroom-and-Veggie-Soup

Ukrainian Mushroom and Vegetable soup.

CreamyTomato-soup

Deliciously creamy Tomato Soup.

Ukrainian-Red-Beet-Borscht-Quick-and-Easy

Ukrainian Red Beet Borscht, quick and easy recipe.

Cabbage and Sausage soup

Hearty Cabbage and Sausage soup.

French-Onion-Soup

My husband’s favorite soup – French Onion Soup.

Chicken-broth-with-potato-balls-knedle

Soups are not only filling and delicious, but they are also known for their healing powers, as listed in this article.

Here you have it, all in a nut shell….lots of delicious soup recipes for you to try and enjoy.

I checked the calendar to see when The Great Lent begins, and it just sneaked up on me this year….as it started today for the Byzantine Rite Catholics, at least at the church that my family and I attend.

For Roman Catholics it does not start until Ash Wednesday, so they have two more days to party, even though they already indulged in all the good food last week on Fat Thursday.

During The Great Lent one needs to reflect on their spiritual life, their role in the society, as well as some food restrictions, such as excluding consumption of meat on Fridays,  and especially on Good Friday, as well as very strict fast on Holy Saturday.

I personally like to prepare meatless meals on Wednesdays and Fridays for the duration of the Great Lent, as well the whole Holy Week, which is the week before Easter Sunday.

It actually is healthy to give our system a break from all that meat we eat daily, and introduce some vegetarian or seafood dishes.

Last year I prepared a list of 25 meatless meals  (click here it view it) for your convenience, and linked them to my recipes, to help you out with meatless meal planning.

Today I will include additional ones, which I prepared this year, and you can add to your list.

Wow, now you have over 30 meatless meals, which is more than you need to cover at least Fridays, for the duration of lent. Actually you have a full month of meatless meals.  Who would have thought it could be so easy!

I will work on some new ones, if you still want to try something different, so please stay tuned.

 

Some of my friends observe Passover, so I am sharing few of the recipes I tried, and there will be  new ones coming up.

I would really love to hear from all of you, about the meatless dishes you enjoy to prepare. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

This tomato soup recipe originated from a picture I found on Pinterest.

After reviewing the ingredients, I realized that I had most of them on hand, thus a perfect time to try it out.

I cut the recipe in half, and made the measurements more user-friendly.

My recipe yields 4-5 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 T Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, chopped (I used Yellow onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp low sodium Soy Sauce
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock (or chicken bullion and water)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 1 tsp of chopped basil leaves

Baked whole peeled tomatoes.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place tomatoes, with juices, in a casserole dish, add Balsamic Vinegar, Olive oil, sugar and salt.
  3. Bake tomatoes for 45 minutes, uncovered.
  4. Meanwhile, saute the chopped onions in 1 Tbs of olive oil, until translucent, mixing frequently to prevent burning.
  5. Add the chopped garlic and saute for a minute longer, stirring often.
  6. In a medium pot mix the tomato paste, soy sauce, and sugar.
  7. Mix in  the chicken broth.
  8. Add the sautéed onion mixture, and set a side.
  9. Once the tomatoes are done baking, puree them in a food processor, or a blender.
  10. Add the tomato puree to the chicken stock, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  11. Turn off heat.
  12. Mix in the heavy cream.

Serve it hot, garnished with chopped basil leaves, and accompanied by a piece of  crusty fresh bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All my loyal blog readers recall my recipe for Chicken Paprikash, which is an excellent dish for a family dinner, or any special occasion.

What makes my Chicken Paprikash so special, is the homemade sauce used in this recipe.

Most of my recipes for cooking and baking are made from scratch, which is not complicated, but it does require a little more time to complete, than reheating something in a microwave, or pouring it out of a box.  Not that there is anything wrong with either of these!

We all lead very busy lives, and still strive to eat a balanced meal, so we do whatever it takes to take care of our family.

Chef Rick also read my post about the Chicken Paprikash recipe, and asked me to try and review his special Chicken Paprikash Seasoning, which cuts down on the preparation time of the sauce for this dish.

I graciously accepted his offer, and decided to share my review with all my readers.

Most shoppers like to read the Nutrition Facts of the products they intend to purchase, hence this information on the back of the Chicken Paprikash Seasoning.  Not much different from any other food item in this group, but what you need to remember is that this one package makes a hefty double recipe of the sauce.  That’s a lot of sauce for at least two chicken dinners.

The complete recipe for the Chicken Paprikash dish, including the sauce, is listed on the back of the label, which is stapled to the top of the the seasoning package.

I followed his recipe precisely, and used chicken drumsticks and thighs, and all of the sauce seasoning.

The whole process was very simple and quick.  There was no frying of the chicken, and no chopping of the onions.

While the chicken was baking, I was quickly preparing the sauce, per package directions.  I even had time to try out his recommended recipe for the pasta, Spatzle, which was interestingly easy.

The sauce has a pronounced paprika taste, but it is rather on a mild side.  I expected it to taste more tangy, with a twist of more zest to it.  I like mild tasking foods, but comparing this sauce to the one in my recipe, it was a little too mild for me.  However, it is always easier to spice up a recipe to your taste, rather than to mellow it out.

Chef Rick’s sauce also requires 1 1/2 lbs of sour cream, which makes the sauce that much ceamier.  If you would like to cut down on calories, I am sure Greek Yogurt would work very well, and most likely add some “bam” to the overall taste of the sauce.

Since the chicken meat was not cooked with the sauce, but only served with it, it did not absorb any of the sauce flavor, thus did not flavor it with the paprika taste.

Next time I would use chicken breast, rather than bone-in chicken parts, to make it less messy to eat.

I would recommend this Chicken Paprikash Seasoning for a quick dinner meal for those who do not like to spend too much time in the kitchen, or do not have enough time to cook from scratch, yet still wish to prepare a tasty dish.

Chef Rick also created a Chicken Paprikash Soup and Sauce  Seasoning, which sounds like a winner to me, and I can almost taste the deliciousness of the soup made with that seasoning.

If you like Chicken Paprikash, and are looking for a quick preparation time, please visit the above highlighted links and order your Chicken Paprikash Seasonings from Chef Rick.

Please share your opinion in the comments section of this blog, once you try Chef Rick’s Chicken Paprikash Seasoning, or the Chicken Paprikash Soup and  Sauce  Seasoning.  Thank you.

This summer has been quite hot, thus more challenging to keep the veggie and flower garden hydrated enough to keep it alive and productive.

We already enjoyed fresh strawberries, raspberries, and herbs from my garden, so today I harvested my other veggies as shown in this picture.

Since I do not use any chemicals in my veggie garden, it is very pure and organic.

So you ask – “what will you be doing with all of these veggies you harvested”?

I will list each harvested vegetable individually, and link it to my favorite recipes posted previously, for your cooking convenience and pleasure.

If you like my posts, and/or pictures, please share them with your family and friends, through the above links to Facebook, Pinterest, Google, Stumble Upon, and Twitter.     THANK YOU:)

I also started  my own Pinterest board, if you like to visit, please click on this link:  http://pinterest.com/vmkz/

 

 

This is my small garden, which keeps me happily busy, and produces all of these fresh veggies for our family.


 

These lettuce leaves are from Black Seeded Simpson seeds, by Liberty Garden.  The leaves are very tender and mild in taste.  I gently pick off the individual leaves from the main plant stem, so the stem continues to grow and produce new leaves.  A white milky fluid seeps out when snipping them away from the stem.  Perfect lettuce leaves to use in Tossed Salad, of Chef’s Salad.

Red Beets are a must in my garden, as my Eastern European recipes require these for soups and salads.  They have grown  from Detroit Dark Red, Moses’s Strain seeds, by Ferry-Morse.

Some of my recipes prepared with red beets are:  Ukrainian Traditional Christmas Borscht, Quick and Easy Ukrainian Borscht, Botvinka Soup (Borscht), Red Beet Vinaigrette (Easter Burachky), Exotic Red Beet Salad   (my favorite).

 

These Green Beans come in several varieties. You can select the bush kind, or the climbing type.

I usually plant the bush kind – Garden Bean- Greencrop- (Bush Snap) by Burpee.  I also tried the climbing one, which needs to be staked – Garden Bean- Burpee’s Tenderpod.  These pods are not as tender, and not stringless (not my favorite).

Cooked or steamed Green Beans are always a great accompaniment to a main meal, in a casserole, or as a Green Bean Vinaigrette Salad.

Most of you are probably not very familiar with the above leafy vegetable.  No, it is not Spinach, it is Sorrel.  It is not readily found at your corner grocer either, that is why I plant my own.

The closest you will come to it, is it’s byproduct, which you will find in a Kosher section, packaged in a glass jar, labeled as Shchav.  However, in my opinion, it is not as tasty as my recipe for Sorrel Borscht – Shchav.

Zucchini and Squash are also easy to grow, and produce in abundance.  Besides Zucchini Bread, this veggie is great in a delicious Zucchini/Tomato Casserole, or Zucchini and Goat Cheese FrittersMy mom loved zucchini and squash sliced,  and sauteed with onions and garlic, seasoned with salt, pepper, and Italian Seasonings.   Zucchini or squash are excellent, additional ingredients, in a vegetable soup, and great for grilling.

Tomatoes and Basil, are taking the center stage here, since they both are so versatile in usage in myriad of recipes. Every year I am trying different varieties of tomatoes, and this year I planted Early Girl, and Rutgers.  The Early Girl is doing very well, and producing lots of large fruits, but next year I will have to give a second chance to the Rutgers variety, since this year they are not doing as well.

 

It was very difficult to select only few recipes for this veggie, so I decided to share: HomemadeTomato Soup, Party Canapes (best party food ever), and Pesto Sun-Dried Tomato Cheese Spread, also my favorite.

Last, but not least, are the Yukon Gold Potatoes.  If you have been reading my posts, you already know that last year I had some FREE potatoes growing in my garden, but this year I actually planted these myself.  I chose this variety, because they are the most expensive to purchase at the grocer, and they are very tasty.

Potatoes to Eastern Europeans (and the Irish), are like pasta to the Italians…we can’t live without them!  Hence, the myriad of recipes this veggie is used in, but I will only link to three, as this post is already quite lengthy.

If you were patient enough to read the whole post, you finally stumbled upon the most popular recipes for: Varenyky (Perogi), Irish Potato Pancakes, and Potato Balls (Knedle).

Now you know about the veggies I harvested, and have some of the links to my favorite recipes associated with them.

Please share your gardening and cooking stories in your comments.  Thank you.

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