Tuesday, November 13, 2012

brrr...it's Chili!

As the cooler temps have settled in to stay, most find a big of pot of chili resting on their stove-top. If you haven't yet, now is the time to try it! Chili is one of my favorite soups to make because a.) it's filling b.) it's good and c.) it's easy. Served with some home-made cornbread and you've got yourself a real treat for a few days! The beauty of it too, is that you can pretty much do whatever you want with it. Make it simple or zesty as you please...it turns out different every-time here and that's just the fun of a good chili "recipe".

Mama's Chili

1lb ground beef
1lb pork sausage
hand full of carrots
few celery stalks
1 red onion
1-3 peppers (I used sweet peppers this round)
purple cabbage (only because I needed to use it up)
1-2 can red kidney beans
1-2 cans chili beans
tomatoes (This can vary)
I used 9 frozen tomatoes from my garden, just puree them
2 cans tomato soup
2 cans diced tomatoes
dash of garlic salt or powder
chili seasoning to taste

Simple chop all your veggies and cook over medium heat with your beef and sausage. Once this is all cooked through, start dumping in your tomato varieties and beans. Once you have the consistency you'd like (some like more liquid, some like thick chili), add your seasoning. Let it simmer for an hour for best results and eat with warm cornbread! As always, serve with a smile and enjoy! (Best enjoyed with friends added to your table too...just sayin!!)

 As much as I can, I get veggies into my meals. Chili is just too easy to sneak a little or a lot in!

 Cooking your veggies with your meat is a must to get the desired non-crunch feeling in your mouth.

 There are so many bean and tomato varieties... get creative and use whats in the cupboard!

 I love, love fresh garden tomatoes pulled from my freezer for winter cooking!! It adds so much real flavor.

Now, don't be like me...I burnt this batch. Awful, just awful. Another easy option is to throw it into a crock-pot for the day...no burning and plenty warm for dinner still.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mama's Chicken Noodle Soup

I love food. I was going to type I love fall foods, but then come spring I would write I love fresh spring salads and come summer I would write I love summer foods with grilling and sweet corn. So I might as well be honest and just say...I love food, all seasons of it. Food leaves a taste in your mouth and memory from when you ate it and with who and what is represents. The way cherry cheesecake makes me think of my grandma's table and eating it after many of her yummy meals and ham and potato soup reminds me of my other grandma's house on Christmas day and home-made bread makes me think of my mama in her own kitchen. Food for me is a connection to many hearts in my life and with it I hope to do the same. Food brings people together and good food keeps people coming back!  Good food and good people...doesn't get much better!

With fall comes my taste buds ready for soup season. I personally could live off soups this time of year, but my house full of growing boys would tell you something very different. I have made a variety of the basic chicken noodle soup and this one is my favorite. I never make two soups the same, so bear with me as I walk you through this one...one of my weakness's....I never write my recipes down as I make them and often can't remember what exactly I did. Just tweak this a bit to your tasting as you go :)

Mama's Chicken Noodle Soup
1 bag frozen chicken breasts or tenderloins 
olive oil
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
fresh or dried parsley
chicken broth (anywhere from 3-6 cups)
Reames frozen home-made noodles (Do not use anything else! These are the best, I promise! I think the Amish would even agree :)
heavy whipping cream 

Begin by baking your chicken. I put olive oil on a good stoneware pan, lay my frozen chicken out, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 just until chicken turns white. Do not over cook or it will be tough meat in your soup.

In a pan large enough to hold soup, pour in your chicken broth. I use 2-3 boxes depending on how much I want to make. Then start adding your veggies...

I almost always use carrots and celery, but sometimes I just clean my fridge out too with left-over veggies like corn or peas. Chop your veggies and throw into pot of broth. Let cook until carrots are tender. As your veggies cook throw in some seasoning...I like kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and some freshly chopped parsley. You could use anything you like though and even add some onions if you wish.

This is where you must follow exactly, the only thing I always do the same. use Reames frozen home-made egg noodles. I can't even make home-made noodles that taste this good. I love these. I will say it again, I love these. Once your veggies are tender, pour a bag of these tasty things in your soup. While they soak up some juice, you have two options...1.) leave your soup as is with broth. 2.) Give it a creamy taste and texture by pouring in some heavy whipping cream. I usually do about 1- 1 1/2 cups. Its the good stuff!

Your soup is ready to enjoy once the noodles are cooked and it's nice and hot! As always, serve with a smile and enjoy!!!