Veggie Beef Soup

veggiebeefsoup

There is this restaurant that we like going to from time to time that used to serve this veggie beef soup. It was so good! One bite, and I was hooked. The last time we went, I ordered my soup as normal only to be served simply veggie soup, so I asked what happened. I was informed that they never served veggie beef soup. I know that they did, I had it many times before. Instead of arguing with the manager I just said okay and moved on.

But this got me thinking about how hard would it be to make veggie beef soup. I started looking at recipe after recipe. No two were the same. The basics were about the same, veggies and beef but nothing else. So I combines several different recipes with the parts that I liked and threw everything into my slow cooker and walked away.

Now you may have notice that I love my slow cooker, I won’t deny it. But with this soup it makes even the toughest of beefs just melt in your mouth. You don’t even need to chew the meat… okay maybe a little so you don’t choke. 🙂

Veggie Beef Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb beef tips
  • 2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4-5 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 lb green beans, make sure to cut the tips off
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoning
  • 2-3 Knorr beef cube
  • 1 Tbs parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 6oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 ts salt
  • 1 ts pepper

Directions:

Tip: Make sure to have big chunks of the veggies. Having small sizes can cause the carrots and potatoes turn into mush. And you don’t want to eat mush for soup.

  1. Put everything into the slow cooker. Make sure to add the salt and pepper this will help bring the flavors together. Adjust the salt and pepper if needed.
  2. On low for 8-10 hours or high 6-8 hours. I prefer high temp, I think it gets the meat more tender then the low setting. But that is really up to you.

Tip: You can substitute the tomatoes, paste, and Italian seasoning for 1 16oz jar of pasta sauce. This will work but you won’t have that fresh from the garden taste.

See another easy meal to have ready for you when you walk through the door after a long day at work. You don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen to have a hot meal ready these days just need to learn to make what you have work for you not against.

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Pork Roast Served with Potatoes & Carrots

porkroast

Picture this, the kids are complaining that they are hungry and you just walked through the door and are tired. But you are calm and ready. You got this, cause you had dinner cooking all day long in your slow cooker. Now that you are home it is time to eat without having to worry about what to cook or who is delivering.

Just like many families out there, my is busy and there are days when I think will it ever stop. Enter the slow cooker. OMG this is the best $40 I have ever spent. Ten minutes of prep time in the morning and that is all it takes to give your family a hot and healthy meal any day of the week.

Chili, soups, stews, pasta sauce, roasts, and even ham! I love coming home to the house smelling yummy and dinner ready to go. Who ever invented the slow cooker had busy families in mind and I thank them. And not even for busy weeknights, I want to spend time with my kids before they are all grown up. Start dinner in the morning and you have the rest of the day to play, hang out, go shopping, whatever you want.

Pork Roast with Potatoes & Carrots

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb pork roast
  • 5-6 large russet potatoes, peeled
  • 7-10 large carrots, peeling
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes and carrots on the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour in 1 cup of water. Place pork on top with the fat side facing up. Layer onion slices on top of pork roast. Sprinkle salt and pepper over entire slow cooker.
  2. Set time for 8-10 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high.

And there you go dinner for the family in ten minutes! Enjoy your hot, healthy meal and relax.

Ultimate Pasta Salad

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We have all had pasta salad in some way shape and form. Mine usually consisted of  pasta, dressing, and cherry tomatoes. Most people have had it this was and I love this way, it makes for a great side dish at a cook out. But when trying to figure out what to feed kids, it lacks something. It needed more to make it a complete meal and had to be healthy too.

I took the basic idea and added some more veggies and thin slices of ham. And I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have some type of cheese in it. It needed to be a cheese that wouldn’t melt in the heat or have it’s flavor get lost with all the other flavors. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated was my answer. Cost just as much as the pre-shredded but doing it yourself gives it a better flavor. 🙂

Ultimate Pasta Salad

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced ham
  • 1 box pasta,  I used rotini
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
  2. Cut the zucchini and squash into 1/2 inch chunks and quarter them.
  3. Place tomatoes, zucchini, squash on a cookie sheet. Add the ham strips. Pour 2 tbs of Italian dressing over and mix until everything is coated.
  4. Cook over the grill or in the oven on 350˚ until the veggies are slightly tender but still have a crunch to them. You don’t want to over cook and have it become mush.
  5. In a large bowl mix together the pasta and cooked veggies. Add the Italian dressing and mix until everything is coated again.
  6. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over and give a quick toss. Serve warm or chilled.

This makes for a great summer time meal that won’t wear you down or heat your kitchen. 🙂 My favorite part is that you can make it a head of time and have an easy afternoon playing with the kids instead of worrying about cooking dinner. Summer time = fun time 😀

Spinach Pasta & Chicken Alfredo Dinner

A few days ago I made chicken alfredo with my homemade spinach pasta and it was a hit. And of course I was not expecting it to be such a great success I didn’t write down what I did. I do that a lot. 🙂

My husband asked for it again and this time I wrote it down. GO ME! 😀 Even my non-pasta loving child was asking for second and thirds. I think this is going to be on our menu for a while.

Spinach pasta & Chicken Alfredo

Spinach pasta & Chicken Alfredo

Alfredo has this expensive Italian sounding name but it is so easy to make, don’t be afraid. I have seen other recipes that call for cream cheese and I just couldn’t do that. To me cream cheese belongs on a bagel or for the base of a great tasting 7 layer dip. My Aunt Karen use to make this 7 layer dip all the time, and I can remember just eating the shredded cheese on top. But I digress. I wanted the sauce to be simple yet still have a ton of flavor and this is perfect.

Spinach Pasta & Chicken Alfredo

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 5 oz parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 lb spinach pasta, fettuccine
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 TBS parsley, chopped
  • 1 TBS garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. In a large deep frying pan, fill about 3/4 way of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling add spinach pasta. Cook until tender: about 3-4 if using homemade pasta or 8-11 minutes using store bought pasta. <- See mine is faster cooking time 🙂
  2. Once pasta is done drain. Set to the side.
  3. Put pot back on the stove and drizzle a little olive oil in the center. Added garlic, cook until fragrant. Add chicken. Cook until done. About 10 minutes. Once done remove chicken.
  4. In the same frying add 1 cup a chicken stock and deglaze the pan. We don’t want all that yummy chicken flavor to go to waste.
  5. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the flour and the last 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Once combined add to frying pan. Cook over medium-low until sauce thickens.
  6. Once sauce is thick add the heavy cream and stir. Slowly add in the parmesan cheese in small batches, stirring after each addition. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add back in the chicken and let warm up in the sauce. Finally toss the pasta back into the sauce. Sprinkle in the parsley and serve.

This whole meal will take about 30 minutes to make and you only used 1 pot to make it. No, I am not kidding you. Easy to make and easy to clean up. For a busy family I don’t know what more you can ask for. This is where buying things like meat in bulk helps save money. Now let’s take a look at the break down.

$5 for the chicken + $0.45 for the chicken stock + $0.50 for the pasta + $0.05 parsley + $1.50 for the heavy cream + $0.05 for flour +$1.25 for parmesan cheese + $.05 for garlic = total $8.85. Now I feed 5 people, but since the average family is 4 we will base the serving price off of 4 people. That breaks down to $2.22 per serving. You can not go out and buy a meal for one person for that price.

Food for Your Soul

Growing up in New England I had the joy of having four real seasons. I had a spring, summer, fall and a winter. But my seasons didn’t follow the calendar. I have more cold months then warm months, that just means I got to enjoy those warm good for your soul comfort foods longer.

There is something to be said about comfort foods that can bring a smile your face just by the mention of it like creamy mashed potatoes, hot chicken noodle soup, beef stew from the slow cooker, and nothing beats creamy cheesy macaroni and cheese straight from the oven. I might not have cold months any more living in the south but I do have wet, rainy days that nothing warms my family’s wet bones more then comfort food for dinner.

I grew up with the box version of the mac & cheese, as did my kids. But my husband has issues when it comes to powder cheese so I went to find the best tasting mac & cheesy. Best part is it is still really cheese even after putting in the oven.

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

 

Macaroni & Cheese

  • 8oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz gouda cheese
  • 1/2 ts paprika
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1 lb elbow noodles

Directions:

  1. In a large sauce pan start to heat up the chicken stock.
  2. In a measuring cup mix together the flour and water with a whisk. ( I find doing it this way take the clumps out that you sometimes gets when mixing flour and wet ingredients.)
  3. Slowly add the flour mixture to the chicken stock. Cook until slightly think.
  4. Slowly add the cheeses in the stock. Make sure to stir after each addition. This helps melt the cheese and keeps everything creamy. Add in the paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir to completely combine.
  5. Add cooked elbow noodles to the mixture. Mix everything together. Now you can eat it like this or you can transfer to a baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees with a foil cover.

Hint: To make it a complete meal by mixing in bacon or ham and broccoli. Or a fresh side salad.

 

 

Summer Time Chicken Grilling

I love my grill! Some might say I have an unhealthy fascination with it. Once the weather warms up, the stove and oven are off, and that grill is lit.

Nothing says warm weather more then the smell of good food on the grill. It can be anything: burgers, chicken, hot dogs, sausage, and steak. They all smell so good, and they look great with the grill marks when they come off the grill. I love my grill. Even grilled vegetables are great on the grill. I like putting vegetables in a little foil packet with a pat of butter then throwing them on the grill to cook. Oh, the flavors are just amazing. Simple to do yet you get such great aromas and flavors.

Tonight was no different. Grilled Honey-Mustard Chicken with Brussels Sprouts. Now since I make my own mustard it will have a different flavor than store bought, but it tastes great with either one. This is one of my to go to meals during the hot months, and let’s face it, in the South, that’s about eight months out of the year.

Honey-Mustard Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

Honey-Mustard Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

 

 Grill Honey-Mustard Chicken

  • 2 whole chicken breast, cut in half
  • 1.5 TBS deli mustard
  • 3 TBS honey

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl mix together the mustard and honey. Set to the side for later.
  2. Start the grill. Give the grill a few minutes to warm up. Place chicken skin side down on the grill. Cook for about 25 minutes.
  3. Using either a spoon or a grill brush spread a small amount of the honey-mustard on the chicken. For for about 5 minutes then turn over and spread another small amount of honey-mustard on the turned side.
  4. Keep turning the chicken and spreading the honey-mustard over the chicken until it has been used up. You want to coat the chicken slowly so not to burn the chicken.

Enjoy with vegetables of your choice.

 

My Swedish Meatball

I remember my mom making Swedish Meatballs growing up, using a mix from a package. I loved it! Only problem was when I grew up and moved away, I couldn’t find it anywhere. I looked in three different grocery stores, speciality stores, and even Walmart. Nothing. I was heart broken. Once in awhile my mom would send me some packets so I could have them when I wanted Swedish Meatballs.

I have old cookbooks around my house that were my mother-in-law’s, so I started looking in there for a recipe so I would not have to keep trying to find the packets. And I did! My only problem was that it had things in it that we don’t eat, like ground chuck and a lot of butter, I have not had ground chuck in about 10 years. I knew I had to make this healthier, yet still keep that yummy flavor. You can add flavor to food without adding fat, but you can’t tell that to some people.

These meatballs turn out so tender and moist. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, get in there and mix it up!

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

  • 1 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, unseasoned (2 slices of toasted bread will work if you are out of bread crumbs)
  • 1/4 ts nutmeg
  • 1/4 ts all-spice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely diced
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 TBS flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl combine your ground turkey, onion, garlic, and bread crumbs. Once everything is well combined, make golf ball size meatballs.
  2. In a large skillet, pour in about 2 TBS of olive oil and heat. Once oil is heated add in the meatballs one at a time. Don’t turn over the meatballs until they are ready, turning too soon will cause them to rip and tear apart. They will be ready to turn when they are easily moved with a spatula.
  3. Once all meatballs are completely cook through, about 10-15 minutes, remove from pan and set to the side.
  4. In the small skillet pour a little bit of the broth in first and deglaze the pan. You want to get all the yummy flavor on the bottom of the pan that is left over from the meatballs cooking.
  5.  Pour the rest of the beef broth, flour, heavy cream, nutmeg, and all-spice. Stir so there are no clumps of flour in the mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Once everything is cooked and well combined, add the meatballs back in the skillet. Cook until the sauce has thicken up.

Serve over egg noodles.