Friday, September 30, 2011

Favourite Things Friday: Fall Cooking

Harmony makes small things grow; lack of it makes great things decay. –Sallust

While I'd like to deny it, it is officially fall. Fall is kind of a mixed bag for me. The days get shorter and winter's arrival is inevitable. But the leaves turn beautiful colors and the days are cooler. Fall has a certain a feel in the air. Fall means sweaters and soft fluffy socks and soups. There is something about a nice hearty bowl of soup on a fall evening. I've been hankering for fall cooking all summer. I want to share a couple of my favorite soup recipes with you today.

But first, there are a few good weeks of zucchini left. I put together a collection of zucchini recipes with the help of the ladies in my neighborhood. Click on the cookbook cover to be taken to a downloadable PDF version of the cookbook. To print the booklet, print the file out on both sides of the paper {if your printer won't do it automatically, print odd pages first, flip the pages and arrange so that the first page is on top, printed side down, and so forth. Then print the even pages}. Fold down the middle and you've got lots of new recipes to try.

Green Monster Soup

And now for some yummy soup recipes.

Baked Potato Soup
4 medium baked potatoes
2 slices bacon
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
2 cups hot water
2 chicken bouillon cubes or 2 teaspoons bouillon crystals
1½ cups milk
½ cup celery, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup sour cream
½ cup {2 oz.} shredded cheddar cheese

• Remove the skins from the baked potatoes. In a medium mixing bowl, mash two of the potatoes. Dice the remaining two potatoes.
• Use kitchen shears to snip bacon into small pieces. In a 4-quart saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon to a paper towel to drain. Discard all but 1 teaspoon of the bacon drippings in the pan.
• Add the onion and garlic to the bacon grease in the pan; saute until onions turn clear; add hot water, bouillon, milk, celery, salt and pepper to the onions and garlic in the pan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
• Stir sour cream and reserved bacon into the soup. Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese.
Serves 4

Chicken Soup
½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
½ cup onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
9 chicken bouillon cubes or 3 tablespoons bouillon crystals
8 cups hot water
2 cups {about 4} carrots, peeled and sliced
1½ cups {about 3 pieces} celery, diced
2 cups {about 2 medium} potatoes, peeled and diced
⅛ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water

• Heat oven to 350˚. Place chicken in a small baking dish and sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes — just until chicken is not longer pink in the middle. Refrigerate chicken completely cool. Once chicken has cooled, shred.
• Place about ½ cup water in a 4-quart saucepan. Add onions and garlic and bring to a boil; simmer until onions turn clear.
• Add remaining water, bouillon crystals, carrots, celery, potatoes and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.
• Add shredded chicken to the soup. Dissolve cornstarch in cold water and stir into the soup {for thicker soup, double the amount of cornstarch}.
Serves 6

Notes:
• Add a small {6 oz.} can of corn with other vegetables, if desired.
• If you are going to add dumplings to the soup {highly recommended}, stir the soup until the bouillon has dissolved completely, but do not simmer for 20 minutes or the vegetables will be too soft. Bring to a boil, add the chicken and cornstarch, reduce to a simmer and then add the dumplings and proceed as directed in the recipe {at the bottom of this post}.

Beef Stew
½ lb. beef stew meat
½ cup onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
9 beef bouillon cubes or 3 tablespoons bouillon crystals
8 cups hot water
2 cups {about 4} carrots, peeled and sliced
1½ cups {about 3 pieces} celery, diced
2 cups {about 2 medium} potatoes, peeled and diced
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water

• Place a small amount of olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan. Add beef, onions and garlic and cook over medium-high heat until beef is browned.
• Add remaining water, bouillon crystals, carrots, celery, potatoes and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.
• Dissolve cornstarch in cold water and stir into the soup {for thicker soup, double the amount of cornstarch}.
Serves 6

Notes:
• Instead of using stew meat, this recipe is great for using up left-over pot roast. Just cut your left-over meat into cubes and put them in the pot when you add the water, bouillon and vegetables. If you have left-over gravy, throw that in too, decreasing the water by a cup or two and the bouillon by a cube or two, depending on how much gravy you have.
• Add a small {6 oz.} can of corn with other vegetables, if desired.
• If you are going to add dumplings to the stew {highly recommended}, stir the stew until the bouillon has dissolved completely, but do not simmer for 20 minutes or the vegetables will be too soft. Bring to a boil, add cornstarch, reduce heat to a simmer and then add the dumplings and proceed as directed in the recipe {at the bottom of this post}.

Dumplings
2 cups Bisquick baking mix
⅔ cup milk
• In a medium mixing bowl, combine baking mix and milk.
• Drop by tablespoons over bubbling stew. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
• Remove cover and simmer 10 minutes more.
Makes about 10 dumplings

Notes:
• Bring stew to a boil, making sure bouillon has dissolved, but do not simmer stew before adding dumplings.
• Substitute a homemade biscuit recipe if desired.


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6 comments:

Andrea said...

thank you for sharing your yummy recipes.. I would love to try your potato soup. My Mom uses the Bisquick dumpling recipe - they are delicious.

Petra said...

That potato soup looks yummy! Happy FTF!

Shay said...

I’ve done another version of that Baked Potato soup before and I'm telling you it's the bomb. It’s Mr. P’s all time favourite soup.

I must admit after all the Summer Barbecues and salads it’s nice to get back into some Autumn cooking. That’s when I start doing curries and my famous beef and red wine casserole. And my wn version of chicken soup . It’s such a nice change and makes the house smell wonderful.

Love that you picked this for your FTF ! I’d never really thought about seasonal cooking before but it made me realise I do it too.

Marg said...

Thank you for sharing your recipes. The Potato Soup sounds fabulous, I'm going to have to try that next Autumn when the temp starts cooling down.

Rhonda said...

I am going to have to try that Potato soup!

Wanda said...

Like everyone else here I am going to have to try your potato soup! I love that you posted what I consider the basic best ever soups! Nothing can compare! Thank you for sharing. I am so in the Fall mood and soup just screams Fall!