Steak and Broccoli Stir Fry

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry_1 on Whisk Together

Book:  I finished “Where’d You Go Bernadette?” by Maria Semple!  It is quite funny.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars because the writing is funny, the plot moves just enough to keep you interested, but the ending was kind of a let down.

Some of my favorite quotes:
-“That’s right,’ she told the girls. ‘You are bored. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it’s boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.”
-“You know what it’s like when you go to IKEA and you can’t believe how cheap everything is, and even though you may not need a hundred tea lights, my God, they’re only ninety-nine cents for the whole bag? Or: Sure the throw are filled with a squishy ball of no-doubt toxic whatnot, but they’re so bright and three-for-five-dollars that before you know it you’ve dropped five hundred bucks, not because you needed any of this crap, but because it was so damn cheap?”

Recipe:  Ooh, I haven’t made some yummy stir fry in YEARS.  I guess I never think to make it with the kids.  The kids love steak, so they ate this right up.  My husband and I drooling over finally getting some yummy stir fry chock full of bell peppers, onions and soy sauce.

If you like take out food and steak, make this recipe!!  We usually play around and increase the recipe with more steak and veggies so that we have leftovers.

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry on Whisk Together

Steak and Broccoli Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • Steak and Broccoli Stir Fry
  • serves 4
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tb. cornstarch
  • 1 Tb. olive oil or coconut oil, divided
  • 1 large steak (16 oz)- sirloin or flank steak would be good here, cut into 1/2" strips
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 onion, large chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, strips (feel free to add more peppers as we did)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (we love garlic and used 4)
  • 1 tsp. ginger root, grated (or ground ginger if you don't have any fresh)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth or water

Instructions

  1. To marinade the steak: mix soy sauce, cornstarch and 1 tsp. olive oil. Add steak. Marinade a few hours in the fridge. Or ...
  2. Simply add the soy sauce, corn starch and 1 tsp. oil into a large skillet or wok. Heat over medium high and add steak. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Take out of the skillet and set aside.
  3. Add the rest of the olive oil to the skillet, turn down to medium heat and add the vegetables. Cook about 10 minutes and stir often to avoid sticking. If needed add water if sticking continues. Once cooked, add the steak and broth. Simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Serve with extra soy sauce or Trader Joe's Island Soyaki.
  4. Recipe from Pampered Chef
http://www.whisktogether.com/2015/02/08/steak-and-broccoli-stir-fry/

Steak and Broccoli Stir Fry
serves 4

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tb. cornstarch
1 Tb. olive oil or coconut oil, divided
1 large steak (16 oz)- sirloin or flank steak would be good here, cut into 1/2″ strips
3 cups broccoli florets
1 onion, large chunks
1 red bell pepper, strips (feel free to add more peppers as we did)
2 garlic cloves, minced (we love garlic and used 4)
1 tsp. ginger root, grated (or ground ginger if you don’t have any fresh)
1/2 cup beef broth or water

To marinade the steak:  mix soy sauce, cornstarch and 1 tsp. olive oil.  Add steak.  Marinade a few hours in the fridge.  Or …
Simply add the soy sauce, corn starch and 1 tsp. oil into a large skillet or wok.  Heat over medium high and add steak.  Cook until the meat is no longer pink.  Take out of the skillet and set aside.
Add the rest of the olive oil to the skillet, turn down to medium heat and add the vegetables.  Cook about 10 minutes and stir often to avoid sticking.  If needed add water if sticking continues.  Once cooked, add the steak and broth.  Simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.  Serve with extra soy sauce or Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki.

 

Recipe from Pampered Chef

Hoisin Sauce Pork Tenderlon

Hoisin Pork Tenderloin_4 on Whisk Together

Soooo… I’m thinking of starting an Etsy shop!  I will post some fun things soon.  I usually post my crafts on my personal Facebook page, but I wanted to start a shop which would make it easier for me to handle sales taxes.  “Whisk Together” is very high on Google searches and I’m trying to decide whether I should use this blog to point to the shop or not.  The products won’t be food but custom vinyl items.  St. Charles county government prevents me from selling to the public anything I cook or bake 🙁

Hoisin Pork Tenderloin_3 on Whisk Together

Recipe:  We love pork tenderloin around here for its relatively low price, easy to cook and ability to take on many flavors like chicken does.  This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen’s “Slow Cooker Revolution 2”.  I like this book for 2 reasons:  America’s Test Kitchen treats the slow cooker as another cooking device and tries to get the best dish from the slow cooker.  Many slow cooker recipes leave a recipe dried out or burned.  Or like this book’s predecessor, the recipe takes an hour to prep when what you really wanted to do was save time in the first place.

Tired of the same old BBQ, we cooked this with hoisin sauce and toasted sesame oil.  They are very common Asian food products in most grocery stores under “Mexican/Asian” section.

Note:  If you don’t want to make this in the crockpot because of the time frame, please don’t abandon hope (all ye who enter here  ha ha)!  Simply oil your skillet (cast iron works GREAT) and sear the sides of the meat.  Throw it into the oven at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until it reaches 140 degrees internally.  We used the same method on our lemon rosemary tenderloin as well!

Hoisin Pork Tenderloin_1 on Whisk Together

Hoisin Sauce Pork Tenderlon

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 4 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 (14-16 oz.) pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat and silver skin
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 T toasted sesame oil
  • 1-2 tsp sriracha Asian chili (we omitted so it would not be spicy hot)
  • 2 scallions, chopped

Instructions

  1. In the slow cooker, dump the chicken broth and 1 tablespoon of the ginger. Stir around
  2. Add the pork tenderloin and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on LOW for 1-2 hours.
  3. Remove tenderloin and tent under some foil.
  4. In the slow cooker or microwave, heat the hoisin sauce, sesame oil and sriracha until hot.
  5. Drizzle the sauce onto the pork. Sprinkle with chopped scallions.
http://www.whisktogether.com/2015/01/13/hoisin-sauce-pork-tenderlon/

Slow Cooker Hoisin Sauce Pork Tenderloin
serves 4-6

1/4 cup chicken broth
4 tsp grated ginger
2 (14-16 oz.) pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat and silver skin
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 T toasted sesame oil
1-2 tsp sriracha Asian chili (we omitted so it would not be spicy hot)
2 scallions, chopped

In the slow cooker, dump the chicken broth and 1 tablespoon of the ginger.  Stir around
Add the pork tenderloin and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook on LOW for 1-2 hours.
Remove tenderloin and tent under some foil.
In the slow cooker or microwave, heat the hoisin sauce, sesame oil and sriracha until hot.
Drizzle the sauce onto the pork.  Sprinkle with chopped scallions.

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen “Slow Cooker Revolution 2”.

The Best Ham You Ever Made

Best Ham Ever on Whisk Together

Book:  The children and I are reading  “Walt Disney” by Bill Scollon.  Since we are planning a trip to Disney World, I thought it would be a fun read.  It’s a great book for teaching grit and perseverance as well.  Walt failed time and time again.  He was rejected from the Kansas City newspapers because there was not job available.  His film distributor was trying to pay him less and less for his films of Oswald.  He also came from a poor family and worked his way up the ladder by being smart, a hard worker and countless hours of practice.  I recommend it for anyone wanting to teach their children these values.

Recipe:  This is the BEST ham we have ever made.  I have made them for holidays and such when they go on sale every year.  I have tried cooking whole hams in the slow cooker which was just plain gross.  I tried cooking them in the oven which was just okay.  FINALLY, we got it right.  This recipe takes a little bit of planning ahead, but it isn’t that bad.

Is a ham freezer friendly?  The butcher suggested not to freeze a whole ham.  But from experience, I had no problem freezing small portions of ham like leftovers, soups or batches for sandwiches.

Best Ham Ever_1 on Whisk Together

The Best Ham You Ever Made

Ingredients

  • 1 - spiral sliced, bone in half ham (7-10 lbs)
  • You will need: 1 oven bag (you will see these often used for roasting turkey)
  • Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • (if you need more glaze, simply mix together equal parts of brown sugar and honey)

Instructions

  1. Do NOT open the ham up all the way. Remove any mesh or outer foil and keep the inner foil or plastic wrap on the ham!
  2. With the ham still wrapped, place it in a very large bowl or stock pot. Fill the pot to the top with HOT water. Let the ham sit for 45 minutes.
  3. Drain the water and cover the ham up again in hot water for another 45 minutes.
  4. PREHEAT OVEN TO 250 DEGREES.
  5. Remove ham from water and the plastic or foil wrap it is in. Place the ham into an oven bag and twist the end. Seal with the twist tie that came with the bag and cut off any extra plastic. Cut 3 or 4 slits into the top of the bag.
  6. Bake ham in roasting pan pan for 60-90 minutes.
  7. While the ham is baking, mix the brown sugar and honey in a bowl. Heat it in the microwave for 20 seconds.
  8. INCREASE OVEN TO 350 degrees. Cut open the oven bag and brush 1/3 of the brown sugar glaze on the ham. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes.
  9. Brush another 1/3 of the glaze on the ham. You may need to reheat the honey/brown sugar again in the microwave. Let the ham rest for 15 minutes under foil. Carve and eat!
  10. Serve ham with leftover glaze.
  11. Cooking technique from America's Test Kitchen
http://www.whisktogether.com/2015/01/08/the-best-ham-you-ever-made/

Best Ham EVER
serves 10-12

1 – spiral sliced, bone in half ham (7-10 lbs)

You will need: 1 oven bag (you will see these often used for roasting turkey)

Glaze:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey

(if you need more glaze, simply mix together equal parts of brown sugar and honey)

1.  Do NOT open the ham up all the way.  Remove any mesh or outer foil and keep the inner foil or plastic wrap on the ham!
2.  With the ham still wrapped, place it in a very large bowl or stock pot.  Fill the pot to the top with HOT water.  Let the ham sit for 45 minutes.
3.  Drain the water and cover the ham up again in hot water for another 45 minutes.
4.  PREHEAT OVEN TO 250 DEGREES.
5.  Remove ham from water and the plastic or foil wrap it is in.  Place the ham into an oven bag and twist the end.  Seal with the twist tie that came with the bag and cut off any extra plastic.  Cut 3 or 4 slits into the top of the bag.
6.  Bake ham in roasting pan pan for 60-90 minutes.
7.  While the ham is baking, mix the brown sugar and honey in a bowl.  Heat it in the microwave for 20 seconds.
8.  INCREASE OVEN TO 350 degrees.  Cut open the oven bag and brush 1/3 of the brown sugar glaze on the ham.  Pop in the oven for 15 minutes.
9.  Brush another 1/3 of the glaze on the ham.  You may need to reheat the honey/brown sugar again in the microwave.  Let the ham rest for 15 minutes under foil.  Carve and eat!
10.  Serve ham with leftover glaze.

Cooking technique from America’s Test Kitchen

Juicy and Delicious Ham Secrets on Whisk Together

Slow Cooker Three Bean Chili

The snow and football mean chili season.  We often used deer meat and/or ground beef in our chili.  I am including this with a picture of my dad.  He died from a heart attack last Saturday after getting his deer.  Daddy raised five girls (yes, five), worked for Schnucks Supermarkets for over 43 years and was married to my mom 37 years.  He’s the best daddy a girl could ask for – always there for you, worked so hard so you could have the things you needed, and even though he loved, loved, LOVED hunting and fishing – he loved his family more.

Cropped Daddy

 

Here is a photo of his “kids” 🙂  There are many more kids, but these were the current mounts.  This was published in “Missouri Game and Fish” magazine a few years ago.  Love you and miss you daddy.

DSCF3937

Recipe:  This recipe can be cooked in a Dutch oven or slow cooker.  I was not happy with the original recipe, but  we all LOVED the result after adding some tomatoes, soy sauce and some seasonings.  Of course, it is freezer friendly as well!

Three Bean Chili_8 on Whisk Together

 

Slow Cooker Three Bean Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (or up to 3 tsp.)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (or up to 3 tsp.)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or up to 3 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz.) can dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. For Slow Cooker: Microwave with salt and pepper the ground beef, garlic, onion, chili powder and rest of the herbs/spices for 10 minutes. Add this mixture and the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker. Cook low 6-7 hours or high 4-5 hours.
  2. For Dutch Oven/Stove top: Heat 1 Tb. oil at medium to medium-high heat. Add onions and ground beef and cook until ground beef is no longer pink- about 12 minutes. Add garlic and spices/herbs. Cook 30 seconds. Add the beans, tomatoes, soy sauce and brown sugar. Cook uncovered until it simmers. Cover and cook at a slow simmer for 30 minutes up to 2 hours. Add water if it needs to be thinned out.
http://www.whisktogether.com/2014/11/22/slow-cooker-three-bean-chili/

Three Bean Chili
serves 8-10

2 pounds ground beef
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin (or up to 3 tsp.)
1 teaspoon ground coriander (or up to 3 tsp.)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or up to 3 tsp.)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

For Slow Cooker:  Microwave with salt and pepper the ground beef, garlic, onion, chili powder and rest of the herbs/spices for 10 minutes.  Add this mixture and the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker.  Cook low 6-7 hours or high 4-5 hours.

For Dutch Oven/Stove top:  Heat 1 Tb. oil at medium to medium-high heat.  Add onions and ground beef and cook until ground beef is no longer pink- about 12 minutes.  Add garlic and spices/herbs.  Cook 30 seconds.  Add the beans, tomatoes, soy sauce and brown sugar.  Cook uncovered until it simmers.  Cover and cook at a slow simmer for 30 minutes up to 2 hours.  Add water if it needs to be thinned out.  Add apple cider vinegar – cook 1 minute.  Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from “Slow Cooker Revolution 2” by America’s Test Kitchen

Smothered Pork and Cheesy Grits

Smothered Pork Chops and Cheesy Grits_3 on Whisk Together

I found an interesting book entitled “Make the Bread, Buy the Butter:  What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch” by Jennifer Reese.  It’s very charming, funny and witty.  It is like reading exactly what goes on inside my head… which is kind of scary and comforting at the same time.  I also enjoy the fact that she goes through each recipe and tells it like it is.  She comes often to the same conclusions I have about baking your own biscuits from scratch (yes, please for the love of everything please do!), if making your own yogurt is worth the cost, and if you can really make your own mascarpone cheese.  Here is an excerpt and example of what I mean:

“Owen needs cupcakes for school and look, here they are, ready to go, packed in clamshells.  Nutritionally irredeemable — but made.  Sixteen dollars for twenty-four supermarket trans-fat packed cupcakes?  Good grief.  I’ll bake.  That means I need eggs and the eggs here sure are cheap.  But I can’t buy them here because these eggs are laid by debeaked chickens living in cages the size of Tic Tac boxes.  If only I’d gone to the farmers’ market on Sunday and bought eggs there…But how do I know that guy treats his chickens well just because the eggs are blue?  And honestly, do I even really care about chickens.  I can’t believe I’m spending three dollars per pound for these crunchy tomaoes.  I shoould grow them, just like Barbara Kingsolver.  How does she find the time to make her own cheese and breed her own heritage turkeys and write books?  I need to work harder, sleep less, never watch TV again.  Wait, there’s high fructose corn syrup in Campbell’s vegetable soup?  Isn’t that supposed to be a deal breaker?”

Source: page 2 of “Make the Bread, Buy the Butter” by Jennifer Reese

Smothered Pork Chops and Cheesy Grits on Whisk Together

**RECIPE**

This recipe was published in Food Network Magazine last month.  The reviews also give it 5 stars.  Yippee!

The recipe was fast and easy to make.  I really did complete it well under 30 minutes.  It was something fun and different.  We don’t have grits very often and not sure why… they were quite tasty.  I’m sure the restaurants add more cheese.  The kids were not given the onions on top (which is fine – more for me!) and ate the pork right up, although they did not care for grits…. or my side of kale and apples which is another recipe post 🙂

Photo of making the gravy.  Because everything tastes good with gravy!

Smothered Pork Chops and Cheesy Grits on Whisk Together_4

 

Smothered Pork and Cheesy Grits

Ingredients

  • 2 tsps. olive, grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 4 - 3/4" thick boneless pork chops (about 1.5 lbs is about right)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large red onion or 2 small/medium red onions, sliced thin
  • 1 T. flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup quick cooking grits
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • fresh or dried parsley (optional, but keeps the dish from looking bland)

Instructions

  1. On stovetop, heat a nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat with the oil. My 13" pan was plenty big.
  2. Salt and pepper the pork chops. Cook on one side until browned - about 3-4 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Now, add the onions and cook 3 minutes or so. They should be a little brown.
  4. Bring down the heat to medium-low and add flour. Stir 2 minutes.
  5. Add broth and bay leaf. Cook 3 minutes or slightly thickened.
  6. Add back the pork chops and cook them through (145 degrees).
  7. While the pork is cooking, in a medium or large pot boil 2 and 1/4 cups water. Add grits, 1/2 tsp. salt. Heat for 5 minutes. Stir once in a while and they should become thicker. Now, stir in the cheese. Reduce heat and keep warm until serving.
  8. Plate grits. Then the pork and top everything with the onions and gravy. Toss a little parsley on top so the pork and grits don't look so sad.
  9. Enjoy!
http://www.whisktogether.com/2014/05/22/smothered-pork-and-cheesy-grits/

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Homemade Hamburger Helper on Whisk Together

Books I’ve read:  Since the move, I really haven’t had the time to read many books.  I did just finish “Wonder” by RJ Palacio.  It has nearly 4,000 five star reviews and with good reason.  The characters are great, the plot is moving and the message is one that every adult and child should hear.  Unless I find something better, this will be my pick for book club.  Here are some favorite quotes below:

“When given the choice between being right and being kind. Choose kind.”
“Jack, sometimes you don’t have to be mean to hurt someone.”
“…your deeds are like your monuments. Built with memories instead of stone.”
“Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.”
“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.”

Homemade Hamburger Helper on Whisk Together 2

*RECIPE*

This recipe was a hit with kids and adults.  Easy, fast and delicious.  I really think it tastes better than the box Hamburger Helper.  Is it an exact match?  No – the ingredients are real here and not chemical lab concoctions.  But, I agree with other commentators on the recipe that it does taste better than the box mix.  And, of course, it is much cheaper, too!  Bonus!  Plus those allergic to yellow #5 can eat this version!  The box version includes artificial colors like yellow # 5 and #6.  Oh, did I mention the box version contains MSG and partially hydrogenated soybean oil?  Hmmmm… yeah, let’s stick with the real stuff that tastes better.  If you need to actually make this mix ahead of time, please do!  Simply mix all the seasonings up yourself ahead of time, add a baggie of pasta and you have your own “box mix” version.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2-1 cup water (I like mine thick and use 1/2 cup water)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. oregano
  • 3/4 tsp. parsley
  • 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. In a great big skillet (12" or so), heat to medium heat. Cook onion and meat together until the meat is brown. Drain on paper towels if desired.
  2. Add the meat back to the pan with the milk, water, pasta and seasonings.
  3. Cook just like the box mix does: bring the whole thing up to a boil on medium heat. Turn down the heat to medium low and simmer until the pasta is cooked. Usually about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Take the skillet off of the burner. Add the cheese and gently stir until melted through. Eat immediately or keep warm in a covered skillet on low.
http://www.whisktogether.com/2014/05/10/homemade-hamburger-helper/

 

Recipe from Divas Can Cook

Meatball Tortellini Soup

Meatball Tortellini Soup on Whisk Together

The high temperature today was 12 and the low was -1.  The normal temperature would be a high of 43!  It is so cold I can only think of warm soup and roasted sweet potatoes to make all day, so that is what I did!  I have two yummy soups to show you and they are both LOW in calories and FAST.   Today is meatball tortellini soup.

This recipe uses 8 oz. ground beef or ground chuck.  I know most packages sell their ground beef in 1 lb. or larger.  So, I simply made a large 16 oz. batch of the same size meatballs and the kids ate spaghetti and meatballs for dinner the next day.  Three kids approved these meatballs, so they must be good!  And much easier to make than my previous meatballs.

Why I love this recipe:

1.  It is less than 500 calories per serving!
2.  It is fast to put together (less than 30 minutes; 15 minutes if you pre-made your meatballs and stored them in the fridge)
3.  The soup reheats nicely.
4.  It can be frozen.
5.  It is meaty and light at the same time.

The one minor problem I had was that a few of the meatballs fell apart when turning them over.  You can avoid this by baking the entire batch of meatballs in a mini-cupcake pan.  I liked the small chunks with the big chunks myself.

Meatball Tortellini Soup_1 on Whisk Together

Meatball Tortellini Soup
Recipe Type: Soup
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
A hot bowl of meatballs, pasta, cheese and spinach simmering in broth. Comfort food for less than 500 calories per bowl!
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. ground chuck or beef
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 2-3 tsp. dried parsley, divided
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 qt. (32 oz.) low sodium chicken broth
  • 9 oz. package refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 4 cups loose baby spinach (3 oz.) – or more (I added about 4 -5 handfuls to add more spinach to the soup)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl: mix the beef, cheese, half the parsley, egg, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper.
  2. Add oil to pot or dutch oven. Heat over medium-high heat. Scoop in your meatballs with a small cookie scoop or spoon. Let them brown on one side about 2- 3 minutes. Turn over. Brown on the over side 3-4 minutes. Put on a plate to use later.
  3. While the pot is still hot, add the carrots and celery. Cook about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the chicken broth. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get the yummy beef goodness off the bottom.
  5. Boil the mixture. Add back the meatballs, rest of the parsley and salt to taste. Cook 2-5 minutes or until meatballs are done.
  6. Drop in the tortellini pasta and cook about 4 minutes. They will float to the top when they are done – which is pretty quickly.
  7. Fold the spinach into the soup and stir to let it wilt – about 1 minute.
  8. Top with salt, pepper and any extra parmesan cheese.

 

Recipe from Food Network Magazine

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup on Whisk Together

Book Update:  The “new books” section of the library is right by checkout.  Since I have had the kids nonstop for… 3 months now… I’m not able to really preview anything there.  I grab my books at the library and hope for the best!  Like clothes at Old Navy or bras at Victoria Secret.

Or check out the reviews on Amazon later…  like the Lego Bible I *almost* bought at Costco for my son.  Apparently, The Lego Bible is like porn.  Well, good thing I held off, huh?  Anyway, I grabbed “Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps”

(photo from Amazon)

because the cover looked funny, and I thought it would be a light fiction novel.   Oh, no!  Apparently, this book really is 468 steps to becoming an adult.  The target audience is 18-25 year olds who like to laugh and don’t know how to do much on their own.  The psychology behind it is short, sweet and to the point in the very beginning – I did like that.  I guess since I have been doing things on my own since I moved away at 17 years old,  I didn’t find much use in the book.  But anyone who is 18-25 years old should read it and save themselves so much grief.  This is the list of things I wish I could tell myself in the past if I had a time machine.

Recipe Update:  This soup is the bomb!  Of course, Paula Deen does it again.  Just awesome awesome awesome.  Make it.  Today.  You won’t regret it.  I think this may work as a pot luck meal if you sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of the individual bowls of hot soup.  This would freeze well in a freezer bag or hard container.

Lasagna Soup_6 on Whisk Together

Lasagna Soup
serves 8

1 lb. ground beef  (I think Italian sausage would be good here, too)
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Tb. brown sugar
32 ounces chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) canned tomato sauce
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups broken lasagna noodles (I used the rest of my box up… 4-5 noodles)
5 ounces grated parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Tip:  A little tip I learned while selling Pampered Chef.  Put a lasagna noodle into a clean dish towel and wrap.  Break the noodle in the dish towel.  The breaks will be easy, clean and no pasta flies everywhere.

1.  In a great big pot, or Dutch oven:  cook the ground beef, onion and bell pepper until cooked through over medium heat.  Drain on paper towels if needed and throw it back into the pot.
2.  Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
3.  Add:  thyme, brown sugar, chicken  broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer 20 minutes.
4.  Add the lasagna noodles.  Boil and then simmer those until the noodles are cooked through.  About 10-15 minutes depending on how big the pieces are.
5.  Add Parmesan cheese.  Stir and heat through.
6.  Pour the soup into ovensafe bowls.  Sprinkle mozzarella on top.  Throw them under the broiler in the oven to get nice and golden bubbly on top.  Remember to keep the door slightly ajar on the oven and don’t look away!  As soon as you look away… it knows.  Somehow it knows and burns on you.
7.  Serve hot.

Lasagna Soup_3 on Whisk Together

Recipe from Paula Deen

Texas Chili

Texas Chili_1 on Whisk Together1

Book Update:  The kids and I have been reading Calvin and Hobbes for about two months now.  I am pretty sure the parts about how society is just trying to make us miserable with ourselves in order to buy their stuff, the irony of deer killing an office worker in order to thin the ever-growing human population, and the meaning of life in philosophical terms are all going over my 3 year old’s head.  But, she asks me to read them every night.  She goes to bed with Calvin and Hobbes open on her bed because she fell asleep reading them with her nightlight.  Calvin and Hobbes is some fine, good literature.  Maybe I should work it into a lesson plan if I ever go back to teaching.

Recipe Update:  I made this chili a few times last year and still really like the big chunks of meat in this type of chili.  It’s really comforting and makes enough food for a lot of people watching oh say… the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series!  Go Cards!  🙂

This would be perfect to make tonight and then re-heat for Halloween!  Stews and chilis always taste better the next day anyway!

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Texas Chili
serves 6

1 tablespoon canola, vegetable, olive or grapeseed oil
3 lbs. beef stew meat, lean and cut into 3/4″ or so cubes
2 carrots, peeled and fine dice
3 onions, chopped
4 cloves or teaspoons chopped garlic
3 tablespoons AP flour
1/4 cup chili powder
3 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 and 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
salt
1/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 cans (28 oz. each) whole plum/Roma tomatoes, drained and chopped (or chop fresh roma tomatoes)
5 cups beef stock
2 chipotle chiles
2 cans (15 oz. each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese or cheddar
sour cream, cilantro, salsa, Fritos, etc.

1.  Heat up a large pot or Dutch Oven to medium-high  heat with the a third of the oil.  Add in about a third of the meat.  Brown on all sides (about 2-3 minutes)  .  Remove from the pot and repeat until all the meat is browned.  The pot is just too small to sear that much meat.
2.  Now that you have lots of yummy bits on the bottom of the pot and no meat in there, add only 2/3 of the chopped onion and carrots.  Cook until tender – about 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.  Add in the spices chili powder, cumin, salt and red pepper flakes.  Cook that about 30 seconds.
3.  Stir in the tomatoes, beef stock, and chiles.  Scrap the bottom and mix it all up.  Add the meat back into the pot.  Bring the pot to a boil.  Simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid.  Stir.  Cook uncovered another 90-120 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove the chiles from the pot before serving the chili.
4.  For the beans:  in a small saucepan or medium skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of oil on medium-high heat.  Add the other 1/3 of the chopped onion.  Cook 3-4 minutes.  It’ll be translucent.   Add the black beans.  Cook 2-3 minutes.
5.  To serve:  plate some black beans first.  Top with meat.  Then, add cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream, etc.

Recipe from Williams-Sonoma “Cooking at Home”

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