- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Calling a Halt to Holiday Feasting
It starts in mid-November with Thanksgiving turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie. By early December the baking supplies come out for cookie making--Andes mint chunk, fruitcake, peanut butter blossoms, marshmallow thingeys. Next the cute bags of candies--PB & chocolate fudge(old-fashioned and grainy), buckeye balls, coconut creams, peanut brittle, Brach's choc covered cherries by the layers. Sausage balls and chex mix. Cherry cheesecake pie. Turkey tetrazzini made with half and half and parmesan cheese. Frankly, I'm exhausted and may have to wear sweat pants to an upcoming play at the Kentucky Center. . .
So, this afternoon I've spent some quality time in the kitchen clearing out and making vast quantities of Winter Vegetable Soup and Mexican Cornbread. My style of vegetable soup is easy, economical and chock full of goodness, combining fresh, frozen and canned vegetables. It's cooked in steps so the vegetables stay bright and tender crisp. The cornbread has a touch of fire from green chillies and is almost like a corn pudding. A perfect combination. Here are the recipes:
Winter Vegetable Soup
Step 1 Start with your largest soup pot (mine is an 8 qt.) Soup tends to "grow" as you make it. Brown 1/2 lb. lean ground beef. Add two cans or 4 cups petit diced tomatoes and 4 cups water to the pot. Stir in sm can tomato paste to up the tomato flavor. Add 1/4 cup beef granules if you want a more meaty flavored soup. Bring to boil.
Step 2 While beef browns, make a vegetable "slurry" using your blender.Rough chunk 2 med or 1 large onion, 2 carrots, 2 ribs celery w/leaves, 1 med green bell pepper, small piece cabbage, handful fresh flat leaf parsley stems and all. Add these veggies to the blender with enough water to cover. Pulse until you have a "slurry" of blended vegetables. Don't liquefy. Add this slurry to your soup pot. If you're lucky the pot will be about 1/2 full by now. Simmer this mixture for about 25 minutes to make a hearty vegetable broth.
Step 4 After the broth is simmered until flavors are blended, add 4 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed; 2 potatoes, small cubed; 2 ribs celery, sliced;1 sm wedge cabbage, shredded. Simmer for about 20-30 min until vegetables are tender crisp. Don't "mush" them. All done!
Step 1 Heat the over to 450 degrees F. Spray a 13x9" pan with cooking spray. Coat well as this mixture wants to stick in the pan. Heat the baking pan in oven while mixing the bread. Watch out as the cooking spray burns easily. You do want the pan hot when you pour the mixture in to keep it from sticking.
Step 2 Blend 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, 2 TBSP vegetable oil, 1 TSP. sugar, 8.5 oz can cream style corn, 1/2 cup whole kernel corn (frozen or canned), 1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese, and 2 TBSP canned diced green chillies. Add 1 cup yellow self rising cornmeal mix. Stir well and pour into heated pan. Bake between 20-30 minutes until lightly browned.
It's 9:15 pm now and I have all this soup and cornbread portioned out into individual servings and tucked in the refrigerator. Since I don't object to leftovers several days in a row, dinner is served with a quick heat. I find that if I don't have to think about cooking I do much better with eating nutritious meals. And, with food this good don't feel deprived--very important in the waistline wars.
What's your kitchen strategy in the new year?