Monday, September 18, 2017

Creamy Autumn harvest soup

Creamy Autumn Harvest Soup

I don't know how else to say it, but its autumn and somewhere, someone is harvesting.  Me? I am a sucker for soup.  Creamy, not creamy, "soupy" and thick as chili.  I was not setting out to write this recipe today though.  I was in the kitchen and looking at my veggies.  I was trying to figure out a fast dinner.  The kids were watching TV and they were talking about autumn.  The ideas went from there, and before I knew it, I had a super easy, but super delicious recipe.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1c)
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped (1/2 cup)
1 large, sweet apple, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (yes take the seeds out) (1 cup)
2 medium orange sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (3 cups)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes (1.5 cups)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 lb. cauliflower, cut into smaller "trees" 
6 cups good veggie broth
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. allspice powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. chipotle powder (you can sub cayenne pepper)
1 14.5 oz. can of white beans, drained (I used canellini beans)

Assemble all your ingredients, and make sure everything is ready to go into your Instant Pot.
Put everything in the IP and stir to mix.

Cover with lid, make sure it is turned to pressure.  Manual mode, set for 11 minutes. (NOW, walk away and clean up, there are peels everywhere!)
After 11 minutes at pressure, allow to NPR.

Next part is easy.  Plunge your immersion blender into the pot, and blend this all together until very smooth.  I did it for almost 4 minutes.  If you have a stand blender, do this in shifts, and be careful.

If you want super silky soup (bisque) you can run this through a fine strainer to get any small chunks out.

Now, you are done.  Serve hot, add some thin sliced wedges of apple, or shred some apple and put on top.

If you don't have an Instant Pot, you can make this stovetop.  You will just need to add everything to the pot, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for 20-25 min., or until everything is very tender.
Blend as instructed above. 

Happy Fall everyone, and I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Nikki's Tamale pie

Nikki's tamale pie

I was super excited to get this request from Nikki.  She asked me to make a recipe for tamale pie, because sometimes time is slim, and making full blown tamales is labor intensive and sometimes you just want them.  The solution is a tamale pie!
Now, When I get requests for a new recipe, I name them after the person who made the request.  So that is why this recipe is officially Nikki's tamale pie.
I had lots of fun making it too.  First of all, I was in the kitchen, and secondly, it was so easy. Honestly, once all the ingredients were together, the longest part was baking.  But, the nice part there, you can do other things (like clean the mess you just made) or other household chores.

Preheat oven to 375°


4c maseca instant masa flour (see illustration)

3.5 cups water
2 8oz. can taco sauce, or tamale sauce (see illustration, use whatever brand or homemade as you like)

4 teaspoons chili powder, divided 
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (or you could use 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1.5 cups cooked black beans (canned or fresh) with liquid
1 8oz. package of sliced mushrooms
1 cup frozen corn
1 large red bell pepper, washed, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch chunks 
1 medium red onion, peeled and diced small
4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed, and minced fine

 To start, put your masa flour into a large bowl.  Make a well in the middle

 Add all the water

 With your hand, mix together.  It will be messy at first, but keep going.  

When the flour and water have combined well, and is like wet playdough, add 2 tsp. of chili powder, lime juice, and 1 can of the taco sauce/tamale sauce.

Now, with your hand again, combine all this with your hand until smooth.

Divide into two, and set aside

Place a large saute pan on the stove, over medium heat.  Allow to heat up for about a minute or so.

Add the onions, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, and the rest of the seasonings (2 tsp. chili powder, chipotle powder, oregano and cumin)

Mix well, and saute for about 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are wilted, and the onions are soft.

 After 10 minutes, add the beans and corn, and mix well

Cook for another minute, and remove from heat, set aside for a few minutes.
Now, lets make the crusts.  In a 9x13 glass pan, take half the masa mix, and press into the bottom.

Add the bean/mushroom filling and spread it out even.  
The easiest way to make the top, is with parchment paper.  You will want to take a sheet and measure it out on top of your pan.  Then place it down on a cutting board, and put the other half of the masa mix on it.  Spread it out to the size of the parchment.

Then, turn it over onto the tamale mix, and peel the paper back.  Spread it to the edges and make it all smooth.

Take the piece of parchment you just used, and cover the top loosely, and place it into your preheated oven.

Bake covered for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, removed carefully from the oven, take the cover off, and pour the other can of sauce on top.  Spread it out.

Place back into the oven, and bake another 25-28 minutes.

 When the time is up, remove from oven.  Let stand for 10 minutes to set.

Cut with a sharp knife, and serve.  I added some avocado and some lime to squeeze on top.  

I hope you give this a try.  It makes quite a bit, so there will be leftovers.  If you are not into spicy food, you can tone it down a bit (don't add the chipotle powder)
The crusts should be moist, and has a great texture (pretty close to an actual tamale rather than corn bread) 

If you don't like mushrooms, you can replace with zucchini or even more beans and corn.  

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Unstuffed red bell pepper soup

Unstuffed red bell pepper soup

So, this recipe is another one that I must have dreamed about.  I woke up today, and this whole recipe was foremost on my mind.  Every detail, including the spices and quantities.  I love when I wake up with a new recipe.  
I will start by saying I love stuffed bell peppers.  They are one of the foods that reminds me of my youth.  My mom would make them and although when young, I wouldn't eat the actual pepper, I did love the stuffing.

I loved how the stuffed bell peppers were basically a complete meal.  You douse it with some gravy, and you had a great meal.  I still love them today (minus the loads of hamburger).  I smother them in mushroom gravy.
But I love soup too, in fact, I probably love soup more than any other food.  It can be so different each time you make it.  I wanted to have the delicious flavors of the stuffed peppers in soup form.  So, here is the recipe.


1c uncooked brown rice (I used short grain)
1c quick cook barley 
6c veggie broth
2 8oz. cans tomato sauce
2 14.5oz. cans diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
3 medium red bell peppers, washed, cored, and diced into 1 inch chunks (Yes, you can use green, yellow, orange bell peppers)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 medium onion, peeled and diced small
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1c frozen corn
1c sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Place all ingredients in your Instant Pot, and stir well.  Place the lid on top, and turn nob to pressure.  Set to manual mode and set for 9 minutes high pressure. Now, go clean your mess.  
After the timer has gone off allow to NPR. 
Serve hot after pressure has been released.  You can keep this in the fridge for 4 days, and it does freeze.

Non-Instant Pot instructions:

Add all ingredients to a large soup pot.  Set on the stove and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  When it comes to a soft boil, cover tight, and reduce heat to low.  Cook for 35-40 minutes, or until rice is tender.  (check after 30 minutes, don't uncover until then)
When rice is done, serve right away and enjoy. 

Slow cooker instructions:

Add all ingredients to slow cooker (make sure it is large enough for this recipe)
Stir well, and set to high.  Cook for 3.5-4 hours.  (check after 3.5)  When rice is tender, soup is done.  

I hope you give this soup a try, and enjoy it as much as I did.  It will thicken as it cools, so you can add more stock when reheating, or you now have a nice, thick stew.  :)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Creamy mushroom gravy

Creamy mushroom gravy


8 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced (I used a food processor with a slicing blade)
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced in half, then sliced very thin (again, used food processor) 
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced fine
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 cups water
1 14.5 oz. can of great northern beans with liquid
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
2-4 tsp. corn/tapioca starch and 1/8 cup water.  Make into a slurry (used to thicken)

In a large saute pan, saute the onions, garlic, and mushrooms over medium heat.  
You will saute until brown and all the liquid has all gone out.  Add the seasoning and water and mix well.
Take the can of beans with its liquid, and blend in a blender until smooth.  Add to the mushroom gravy mix.  
Check the seasoning.
Turn the heat up just a bit, and bring to a simmer.  Add the slurry, and allow to cook for 1 minute.  Add more if you want it thicker.  
Serve over anything that you would like gravy on.  

Thursday, July 13, 2017

3 bean potato veggie soup (IP)

3 bean potato veggie soup

As I write this recipe here, I am on my second bowl of this amazing soup.
One thing to understand about me, is that no matter how hot it gets outside, or what season it is, soup will always be in my house.  I love soup for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and I usually eat more than one little bowl.  

I wanted to make a large batch of soup today, and the purpose was to have lots of leftovers. I work graveyard shift at the hospital, and I wanted to have something I could just take out of the fridge/freezer, and heat up at work.  If I don't plan ahead, I end up eating whatever I can find, and it usually isn't packed with nutritious stuff.
So, here we have my newest soup recipe, and I am proud of it.  I am not salt free, but didn't include salt in this recipe.  I did put a little after, but very little.  I found it had great flavor all on its own.  
(Please note, I am listing all the ingredients that were used today.  If you would like to add or subtract anything, please do. :) )


5 medium russet potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about the size of your thumbnail)
3 medium carrots, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped (about 1/2 inch)
4 stalks of celery, washed and chopped (about 1/2 inch)
1 large red bell pepper, washed and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen green beans
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice.  I found some fire roasted, so I used those.
1 bunch tuscan kale, washed and stripped from large center, and cut into bite sized pieces.
1 14.5 oz. can of black beans, kidney beans, and great northern beans.  All drained and rinsed.
4 cups good veggie broth/stock or mushroom stock
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

After prepping all the veggies, put them in your Instant Pot.  It will be a tight fit, so you will have to tap it all down.  Trust me, it will fit!  
Add your broth/stock, and stir around until it is all mixed up good.

Add all your seasonings, and stir one more time.

Place the top on, and close the pressure valve.  
Manual setting mode, select time to 5 minutes.  Now, as always, walk away and clean up your mess.  
For this recipe, after 5 minutes, I let it go NPR (natural pressure release)

Serve right away, with a nice crusty bread with Chuck's great corn butter on top.
This soup will store in the fridge for a few days, and will freeze good too.  
I hope you give it a try, and I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Jessica's quick air fryer pizza

Jessica's quick air fryer pizza

Well, the title says it all.  This recipe (the first official air fryer recipe) is dedicated to my friend Jessica.  She asked me to come up with some easy, tasty, air fryer recipes. 
I thought a great first recipe would be pizza.  This pizza dough is so easy to make too.  It is full of flavor, and the whole recipe from start to finish is under 30 minutes.  
It is for one single pizza (air fryers are only so big) but they come together so fast, you could double the recipe.  I am just putting the instructions for the crust.  Everyone loves their own pizza.  For the one I made today, I put some sauce on the bottom, some sweet bell peppers, mushrooms (shocker) and some spinach.  It all goes on top, and you don't have to pre-cook the crust first.  

Ingredients (crust)

1 cup whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat bread flour)
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (lukewarm) 
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 teaspoons dried sweet basil (you could sub with oregano or Italian seasoning)
1 teaspoon maple syrup

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, water, and maple syrup.  Stir until the yeast is well mixed.  Let sit for about 5 minutes, or just until it starts to get some bubbles.

While that is sitting, combine the flour and the spices (onion, garlic, basil) and mix well.  If you use salt, you can add a 1/2 tsp. of it here.

After 5 minutes or so, add the yeast water to the flour.  Use a wooden spoon, and combine to form a very crumbly mess.

Not all of the flour will be stuck to this ball, and that is o.k..  Just take your hand and squish it all together to form a loose pile of crumbs.  (see illustration above)

Now, pour the ball and all its unhooked followers on to a clean work surface (I used a large cutting board)  Work as much of the loose crumbles into the dough (yes, you will knead this for about 5 minutes)  just until the dough is smooth and you can form a small ball.  (again, if it all doesn't go in, don't worry, you want a smooth ball, that is slightly moist)
Now let the dough sit and rest for 5 minutes. (just enough time to clean up that mess you just made)

After it has rested, and you have cleaned up your mess, you are ready to roll this ball out.  You want it to be about 1/4 inch thick.  When you have rolled it out nice and even, you will put the bottom of the basket for your air fryer on top of it, and push down (like a cookie cutter) and it will give you the size and shape you need.

After you cut it to size (there will be a little left over, you can toss, eat, or do the hokey pokey with those scraps)
Place the crust in the bottom of the basket now.

Now, go to town.  Put sauce, veggies, fruit......pretty much whatever you want on the pizza.  Try not to make it too overloaded, otherwise its hard to get out.
Place into your air fryer, and set to 360° for 12 minutes (13 minutes for more crispy)
After it is done, take out and let rest for a minute or two.  The secret to getting out of the basket is to take a fork, lift up the side, and put a spatula under it.  Turn the basket just a little and it comes right out.  IF NOT, just go around each edge with a fork and put the spatula under to loosen.  
Cut your pizza from corner to corner, and enjoy!!

I hope you enjoy this pizza.  After the first time you make, it will be super simple and you can make so many different kinds.  You could use different kinds of seasonings and toppings and have pizza every day!
**Because of the many types of flours, you may need to adjust the cook time a bit.  You may increase in 1 minute increments until the desired crispiness.  This should only be the first time you make***