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!!

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.

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