Tag Archive | Recipe

Chicken Soup–for the Soul?

I hadn’t been planning on writing about this but was inspired to put “pen to paper” (fingers to keyboard & manipulate a “mouse”) by a posting at Stella’s Place here:

Cooking with vegetables – something new, something different

Stella asked “Are you cooking up any new dishes? Or an old favorite that will be new to us?”  So here is my reply:

Valerie Curren says:

March 12, 2018 at 6:37 am

  • I just made a large pot of soup based on items we had around–chicken scraps (cut from chicken breasts used in another recipe), a whole boneless chicken breast, & several pieces of chicken (legs & wing) that one of my kids brought home from their restaurant job & I’d had in the freezer.

    My son made several boxes of mac & cheese the other day & we’d saved that pasta water (that I’d later poured back in his mac & cheese pot to scrape off the flavorful residue). There was a partial can of chicken broth from a recipe my daughter made a few days ago & some veggie scraps. All of that went into a pot & cooked for an hour or so. I pulled all the solids from the pot & deboned, de-fatted, & de-grissled the meat giving scraps to a happy dog & cut the chicken into smallish pieces. I also broke the large bones in half & returned to the pot to fortify the stock with the marrow. From the veggie scraps I salvaged what was edible (like the soft interior of fibrous broccoli stems) & returned that to the pot.

    Then I added chopped fresh veggies that we had on hand (potato, carrot, & onion) & cooked until those were cooked through. When heating to serve I added a can each of corn, mushrooms, & diced tomatoes along with some chopped garlic. Then we threw in some wine left over in the fridge & cut up some spaghetti from a recent meal into bite size pieces & added it at the end just to heat through. I added a lot of garlic salt, freshly ground pepper, & various Italian spices (including rosemary, sage, thyme, & basil). We had this soup with grilled (meat for some &) cheese sandwiches. Most of my family really liked the soup as is. I thought it needed a bit more seasoning, but then perhaps my taste-buds are changing with age.

    This was completely experimental soup loosely inspired by some that my mom makes & the Olive Garden’s pasta fajoule (sp?). It’ll probably never be repeated exactly…& this is the closest I’ll come to recording it. It’s not as fanciful or flavorful as my grandma’s “garbage soup” made from various kitchen scraps she’d accumulated over time (everything she made was Amazing–my cooking is adequate–my husband is the food genius of our family!) but based on the principle of not letting usable food go to waste. I’d wanted to add celery but someone had pitched the few stalks we’d had left. I also wish I would have added some fresh garlic, but by that point my back hurt so I settled for the residue from the jar. This was the first pot of soup I’d ever made that was seasoned in a more Italian manner…One of twins just had his first bowl & said it was “really good”. He only added some garlic salt & crushed red pepper to his taste. I guess around here that constitutes success!

    from a bing.com image search for chicken soup

    So I’m attempting to add further info here & can’t figure out how to get out of the list format & align this writing to the left margin–sigh…I’m not at all tech savvy & definitely a work in progress.

    I just wanted to add that it felt good to provide a nourishing meal for my family, a labor of love in an area that is not really my strong suit.  It is a blessing that they all ended up enjoying this particular chicken soup more than usual & I’m glad that I was able to give my husband a break from meal prep for at least this one day.

    My mother used to call Chicken Soup “Jewish penicillin” & I think she got that term from some Jewish neighbors in her childhood Detroit home.  I remember reviewing both of my parents’ childhood neighbors on the 1940 Census & marveling at the ethnic mix of immigrants they lived amongst–what a glorious patchwork quilt of America.  Perhaps making chicken soup back in that WWII era was a way of taking care of the needs of others & that caring can extend forward from our forbears to our present day.  I made a physical pot of chicken soup but maybe it was just slightly beyond ministry in just the material plane & was actually in a small way Chicken Soup for my Family’s Soul…Blessings!

Quick Homemade Ice Cream

Looking up Joanna Gaines from the Fixer Upper TV show & found this posting on how to make homemade ice cream, without an ice cream maker.  Looks fun & easy & maybe not too hard to modify the flavors.

Check out the details here:

https://magnoliamarket.com/simple-homemade-ice-cream/

Image from the original blog post above

Onion, Cheese, & Garlic Pull Apart Bread

So I made another food experimental attempt to take some Pull Apart Bread to this year’s Thanksgiving Dinner.  Based on a request for a repeat of a previous recipe used that of course I wasn’t able to locate…so further online searching ensued and I adapted the below recipe for my  current creation.

Image result for cook

image is from a bing.com image search

When beginning online searching I hoped to find or adapt a recipe allowing me to use some (presumably Sage flavored) pork sausage and biscuits we had on hand…however on closer examination I found it was Hot sausage so then revised the plan.  Also, I planned to use a 9 x 13 covered pan  instead of the usual bundt pan, to simplify cooking & serving.

Here’s my version of the adapted recipe…and after we eat it tomorrow I’ll update this posting with a “verdict” on this attempt’s success.

Onion, Cheese, & Garlic Pull Apart Bread

2 cans refrigerated biscuits

1 medium onion

1 1/3 sticks of butter

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup light colored wine

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

garlic salt with parsley

1 1/2 cups of cheddar jack shredded cheese

  1. Dice Onions & cook in Olive Oil and 1/3 cup of Butter, adding Thyme and Garlic during cooking.  (Note:  I cooked them in my metal 9 x 13 pan on the stove top, but using the methods described in the original inspirational recipe may yield better results.)
  2. When onions are nicely browned add Water & Wine and simmer til all excess liquid is gone…add Stick of Butter to melt completely.  Remove from heat.
  3. Cut Biscuits into quarters and add half to the pan, stirring to coat with onions and butter.  Sprinkle with Garlic Salt and Cheese.  Repeat with remaining biscuits, etc.
  4. Cover pan and cook at 350-375 for 15-25 minutes (this will require watching to determine cooking time & temperature…and this particular time I will be at the mercy of the Hostess’s oven settings–I’ll attempt to elaborate results later.)
  5. Turn out onto a serving platter or serve from the original dish, as desired.

 

Image result for Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread

image is from a bing.com image search

The website with the original recipe has multiple photos showing the steps in visual form and there are helpful comments from both the author and visitors to inspire creativity…Please consider checking out the original site below for details…

As with my previous recipe attempt there were multiple sites I considered in developing my own version, these being the main contenders:

https://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/grands-cheesy-herb-monkey-bread/3ef18467-86b1-498d-8e40-a3f1f0d6ee03

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/219639/garlic-and-herb-pull-apart-bread/

http://www.cooks.com/recipe/f727v8hu/easy-pull-apart-rolls.html

http://www.cooks.com/recipe/aq1at71s/pull-apart-bacon-bread.html

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/229347/sams-biscuit-garlic-monkey-bread/

https://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/garlic-parmesan-monkey-bread/196d51a9-e334-4631-b026-cdc860babf92

http://www.brit.co/pull-apart-bread/

The last site listed above has 30 different versions of Monkey Bread!

Here’s the original recipe inspiring this current offering:

Cheese and Onion Monkey Bread

Cheese and Onion Monkey Bread

Cheese and Onion Monkey Bread, serves 10
-2 large cans of biscuit dough

-1 Tbs of butter
-1 yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
-1 Tbs of fresh thyme

-2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

-1 cup butter

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an angel food cake pan with a removable bottom and set it on top of a rimmed sheet pan.

2) In a large pan, add 1 Tbs of butter and the thinly sliced onion. Sprinkle with salt and cook over medium heat until the onion slices begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

3) Add 2 cups of water and a few sprigs of fresh thyme andlet the onions simmer in the water, (which should have picked up the browned bits from the pan) until the onions are soft and juicy- about another 5 minutes. Set aside.

4) Cut each biscuit into quarters.

5) Meanwhile melt the 1 cup of butter in a small sauce pan.

6) Brush the inside of the pan lightly with the melted butter, then begin to add about 1/3 of the dough balls.

7) On top of the dough balls, sprinkle a third of the onions and cheese.

8) Repeat with remaining dough balls and onions and cheese. When everything is in the pan, pour the butter evenly over the entire pan.

9) Bake the monkey bread in the oven for about 45 minutes, and then remove from the oven and let it sit for another 10-15, or until cool enough to handle.

10) Turn out upside down onto a serving platter and pull apart to experience pure, buttery, cheesy heaven!

Update: Verdict

This dish was a hit based on feedback of several family members.  The taste was very good. The texture was a bit dense.

Baking Times, Temps, & Challenges
There were challenges with the baking process (which based on conditions at the hostess’ home meant starting at 350 and ending at 375 degrees).  Also, this dish was made the night before and “refrigerated” (as in left in my vehicle overnight with 30-ish outside temperatures).  We started the baking process with the concoction at this colder temperature, which wouldn’t be the case in likely typical preparation scenarios.  Also, I really don’t know how much time this was cooked for as I repeatedly set the timer for anywhere from 2-5 minutes, after an initial cooking time of 20-25 minutes, and kept checking on the bread.  It seemed to take quite a long time before it began to minimally “puff” up.  So, next time I would try cooking it at 375 initially (this was the temperature suggested on the biscuit packaging) and select an approximate baking time based on reviewing several similar recipes as a starting point.  Also, it would likely be better if the dish was near room temperature prior to baking.  I left the lid on the pan for at least the first half of the total cooking time, hoping this would aid in getting the temperature up sooner, but removed it later to facilitate the overall “browning” process.  Our final result was not nearly as “browned” as the inspirational recipe’s photo, by choice.
Liquid Issues
Regarding the liquid, if choosing to use liquid to plump up the onions & “de-glaze” the sauteing pan I would use less water and possibly more wine (and a wine that was less sweet than the fruity one I’d used).  I had almost no issues with cooking the onions in the same pan I was baking this dish in.  The only real challenge was in layering the dough evenly, since I wanted to ensure that each piece was coated with the butter and the onions were reasonably evenly distributed.
Fats & Pans

There were no issues with adding some Olive Oil to the cooking process, nor with the reduced butter.  There was sufficient butter for it to bubble up throughout the baking process (and the 9 x 13 pan allowed the butter to saturate virtually every piece of bread, which is likely different than had the bundt pan, suggested by the inspirational recipe, been used instead–though the bundt pan would have allowed a more “elegant” presentation than our more “practical” lidded pan–we used the lid, slightly offset, during the buffet food service to help the dish retain heat); it would even be feasible to reduce the butter even more without adversely affecting the quality of the dish.

 

Finally, I would definitely make this concoction again.  In fact none of this delectable bread was left over for another usage…we ended up finishing it off later that night, as it was nearly addictive, even using the microwave to reheat it many hours later.
image from a Bing.com image search for “Thanksgiving”