Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Vegetable Beef Soup

I was sitting at home one day last week when I received an email from my sister Jean, asking me if I would like to get together over the weekend to make vegetable soup. Since I didn’t have any plans, it was the first weekend of Fall and the weather was a little cool and dreary and felt  like soup weather, I agreed to help her make soup.

On Friday Jean called and asked if I wanted to go to Kroger with her to shop for the ingredients. I knew, since we double the recipe (I take some home, she keeps some and gives some to her son and daughter and their families and her adult grandchildren who are now out on their own), it would involve buying and carrying a lot of canned goods, I agreed to help. I drove to her house, picked her up and headed in to town for our shopping but our first stop was at a local Italian restaurant for lunch. We went on to Kroger and after spending 45 minutes to an hour we had our cart loaded with fresh vegetables, canned vegetables, beef broth, beef and cat food. There is no need for concern, the cat food wasn’t used in our soup; it was for her cat and the strays that she has adopted. We loaded the groceries in my car and were soon headed back to her house. The hardest part was yet to come, unloading my car and carrying in all those heavy bags.
Saturday was soup day. I drove to her house where she already had two 12 quart stock pots on the stove with the beef, beef broth and spices simmering. We soon got to work peeling, chopping and slicing the fresh vegetables and then adding all the ingredients to the stock pots. Soon the house started to smell wonderful and not long after that, the soup was ready.
This recipe was originated by my mother. As with most of her recipes, since she cooked according to taste,  mom didn’t have a recipe for her vegetable soup. I remember on soup day, Mom would start out with one pot of soup and by the time she got it to taste the way she wanted, she usually ended up with four large pots of soup simmering on the stove. Fortunately, she had plenty of family and friends to share with. Jean had helped Mom make the soup many times so she knew the ingredients that Mom used and tweaked it a little by adding the bouquet garnet (Mom was a plain cook and seasoned with salt, pepper and plenty of fat), which made it even better, then a few years ago Jean and I worked together to get measurements for the ingredients - we wanted to avoid what I call, Mom’s growing pot of soup.
Vegetable Beef Soup
Print Recipe

1 1/4 pounds (approx.) beef shank center cut or soup bone (cut in half)
2 lbs beef shoulder roast, (2 to 3)
2 cans beef broth, (48 oz.)
1 bay leaf
10 pepper corns
1/4 tsp marjoram
6 cups crushed tomatoes (2-1 pound cans)
1/2 cup chopped onions (2 small)
2 cups celery, sliced (about 12 small stalks)
4 cups chopped carrots (about 8 large)
1 small head cabbage cut in pieces (about 8-10 cups)
6 potatoes large dice, (6 to 8)
1 can cut green beans, (28 ounce)
1 can white cream style corn, (15 ounce)
1 can yellow cream style corn or 1 (11 ounce) can whole kernel sweet corn, (15 ounce)
1 15 ounce sweet peas
1 can baby limas, (15 ounce)
1 can kidney beans (optional), (15 ounce)
2 Tbs instant beef bouillon, (or to taste)

1. Wrap bay leaf, pepper corns and marjoram in cheese cloth. In large stock pot, boil beef, broth and spices for about 2 hours.
2. Remove beef and discard spices. Strain broth and return to stock pot. Allow beef to cool. Once cool, cut into bite size pieces, removing and discarding fat. Put beef back in pot. Add crushed tomatoes, onion, celery, carrots and cabbage to beef broth - cook until tender.
3. Add potatoes, and remaining ingredients and cook until potatoes are done.
4. Once all ingredients are combined and the soup has cooked a little, taste the soup and add, salt, bullion or more beef broth if desired.
I arrived at my sister's house after she had already started on the soup. This contains the beef broth, beef and bay leaf, pepper corn and marjoram. This is one of the two 12 quart stock pots that we were making.

After about two hours, the beef was removed, allowed to cool and then cut into bite sized pieces or shredded.

Onions, carrots and celery.
We added  the carrots, onion and celery to the pot and let that simmer while we prepared the cabbage.

I have to tell you that I'm not a cabbage fan. I do like cole slaw but that's the only way I'll eat it, except in this really adds a lot of flavor. So please try it at least the first time you make this, by the time the soup is finished the cabbage is soft and almost translucent.

Add the cabbage to the rest of the vegetables in the pot and stir.

Jean happened to look out the window and saw a couple of wild turkeys. I have never seen wild turkeys before so grabbed my camera and went outside to take their pictures. They didn't like getting their pictures taken so started to move. Unlike the deer around here, they don't stick around when humans are around, but I did manage to get a decent picture of them before they ran into the woods.

Now back to making some soup. They should be glad that we wanted vegetable beef soup and not turkey noodle.

Now the really hard part.....the opening of the cans.

The the potatoes chopped into bite sized pieces and

add to the pot along with the can of green beans and crushed tomatoes.

Add the remaining cans of vegetables.

Now we’re beginning to worry, we were running out of room in the stock pot and we still have to add the beef. As you can see the soup is all the way to the rim and the other stock pot was in the same condition. Jean pulled out a 10 quart Dutch oven and began to add soup from both stock pots to it. We were surprised that this had happened since we’ve made this before using the same two stock pots. Later Jean said that, since we couldn't find the right size cans of soup that we needed, she did add a little extra broth.

So we had the same problem my mother always ran into....the growing pot of soup. Although, as long as you have enough large stock pots or Dutch ovens, too much soup is never a problem.

Now we have enough room to add the beef. Allow soup to simmer until the beef is heated through then taste and add more salt and/or bouillon if needed. We added a little more beef broth because the soup was even thicker than we like (and we like it thick) and we also added more bouillon and salt. Then we let it simmer a little longer.

While waiting for the soup to finish cooking we saw more wild turkeys wandering around the edge of the woods. There were about seven this time but by the time I was able to take their picture, two had managed to get away from the group. It's a good thing the only thing I shoot with is a camera. Wonder what wild turkey tastes like?

The soup is finished and we are tired and hungry so my sister, brother-in-law and I sit down to a meal of delicious homemade soup....yum!!!

Now all we have to do is find enough containers to for all that soup.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Slow Cooked Sticky Chicken

I’ve been getting a lot of use out of my slow cooker this summer. It allowed me to prepare delicious meals without having to turn on the oven and heat up the house….the electric bill was high enough with trying to keep the house cool without adding additional heat to it. I also liked that I could put something in the slow cooker and leave the house for a few hours to run some errands and know that when I got home, dinner would be ready, or at least ready with just a little extra effort on my part. We didn’t have to pick up fast food or stop in to eat at a restaurant….so it saved us money on eating out/take out as well.

 I’ve been cooking roasts, green beans, pulled pork and barbequed chicken….actually I’ve been using it to cook a lot of chicken. Michael and I like chicken….we really like chicken. We really are a little weird that way. If someone would ask us if we would rather have steak or chicken, we would choose chicken most of the time. That’s how much we like it. Anyway, over the summer I came across this recipe for Slow Cooked Sticky Chicken, actually saw it on FaceBook and think it was a review of an America’s Test Kitchen recipe. Since trying this recipe for the first time, I think I’ve made it about every other week since….it has become one of our favorites.

Slow Cooked Sticky Chicken
Printable Recipe
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs of minced ginger (I did not have any ginger, so I used 1 teaspoon of ground ginger)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp of cayenne or red pepper
3 lbs chicken, breast, thighs, legs, etc.
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup tomato paste

1. Combine 1/4 cup sugar,  2 tablespoon soy sauce , ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat.
2. Place in a slow cooker and cook on low for about 4 hours or until done.
3. When done place chicken in a broiler proof dish.
4. Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, water, and tomato paste, and remaining soy sauce. Brush on chicken and cook under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until chicken is slightly crisp. But keep in eye on this while it is cooking under the broiler, things can cook quickly when broiling. (You may be tempted to skip the broiling, but it really does help give this a nice sticky and good texture.

I like to broil the chicken a little while before brushing on the sauce and then I put it under the broiler again. I feel like the skin of the chicken gets a little more crispy that way.

Don't be afraid of the cayenne pepper, it adds very little heat to this dish. Michael and I don't like a lot of heat in our food and we eat this with no problem. If you like heat, you can always add more.

Combine 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoon soy sauce , ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat.

Place in slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours or until done. My slow cooker cooks faster than some so is usually done in about 3 hours.
When done place chicken in a broiler proof dish. I usually use a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil.

Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, water, and tomato paste, and remaining soy sauce.

Brush on chicken and cook under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until chicken is slightly crisp. But keep in eye on this while it is cooking under the broiler, things can cook quickly when broiling.

Just looking at this makes my mouth water.

I used to make this with assorted pieces of chicken but Michael likes dark meat more than white and I can eat either so I started using thighs, wings and legs. Then one day while we were at Sam’s Club, we noticed that they had great prices on chicken thighs (also on legs) so we now buy those to use in this dish.

The chicken made this way is moist and tender and by sticking it under the broiler (twice) the skin gets crisper than if it hadn’t been. There is a little Asian flavor to the sauce, due to the soy sauce and ginger, but it isn’t very strong so I would imagine even someone who isn’t fond of Asian food would still like this.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Weekend Giveaway Winner

The winner of the CookieBaker’s Corner 16 oz., thermal mug is Tangos Treasures. Congratulations Tango! As much as I would love to deliver this mug to you in person, I’ll have to let your letter carrier do so instead. I’ll get this in the mail ASAP.

Thanks to all of you for entering the giveaway….I wish I had a mug for each of you.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Labor Day Weekend Giveaway!

Because after all those lovely fall like mornings summer has returned with a vengeance, because I’m so over the hot, humid, record breaking temperatures of summer and long for the crisp cool mornings of fall and because I’ll do almost anything to avoid editing photos for my next two blog posts, I’ve decided to have a giveaway. What better time to give something away than the last official holiday of summer!

You can be the proud owner of a CookieBaker’s Corner tumbler! Hey, it’s very special; there are only two in the whole wide world. It’s made by Tervis, who have no idea who I am and has nothing to do with this giveaway.  It’s  manufactured in the USA, another thing that makes it special. It keeps hot drinks hot, cold drinks cold, comes with a lid, is dishwasher safe and has a lifetime guarantee. If anything happens to your tumbler, just contact Tervis and they’ll replace it. I do need to warn you that suntan lotion/oil will ruin the looks of the tumbler so be careful when using it while on the beach….if you’re lucky enough to be there.
Since today is such a hot day, and I’m too lethargic and lazy to work hard or make you work hard, I’ll make this easy….just post a comment, any comment, just make sure it’s G rated and you’ll be entered for a chance to win this beautiful, almost one of a kind tumbler. Since this is a Labor Day Weekend giveaway, the time to enter will be short….you have until 12:00 AM (Eastern, daylight savings time) Tuesday, September 4, 2011.

 Keeps hot drinks hot. I know you can't tell by looking, but this is hot coffee.

Cold drinks cold 
In case your are worried, you will be getting a new, never been used tumbler....the one in the pictures is mine.
Michael just asked me how I was going to get the tumbler to the winner…I told him I was going to mail it. Did he think I was going to hand deliver it? Well, if you live someplace really nice……

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