Winter Soup

So, I promised I would post more and then I didn’t… I’M SORRY! But here I am with a nice heart soup jus in time for winter and this Noreaster that’s coming in!

The other day I was really craving Olive Garden, and since it isn’t close to my apartment, I decided to make something from home. Luckily, sausages had just went on sale at the store, so we had some to make Zuppa Tuscana, a spicy sausage soup!

Here we go,

Zuppa 

Ingredients

3 sausages (preferably spicy or mild) chopped

1.5 russet potatoes chopped

1/2 Onion chopped

2 cloves Garlic

1.5 boxes chicken stock (or 1 box and half the box of water)

Chard, chopped into pieces

1/4-1/2 a pint of heavy cream

Salt and pepper

1. Start off with heating the 3 sausages in a dutch oven, to do this remove the meat from the casing and chop it up and add it to a pot with a little oil.

2. Once the sausage is browned take it out and put it in a bowl, leave the oil and bits in the pot, it will add flavor.

3. Put the pot back on the heat and add the potatoes, onion and garlic. Heat just enough to start to soften the potatoes, but not all the way.

4. Cover the mix with chicken stock and water. Make sure there is enough to cover it plus some. You want about 1-2 inches of room in the pot. If you don’t have enough chicken stock you can add water. Make sure to scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen all of the good bits at the bottom.

5. Heat on the stock covered for about 15-20 min or until the potatoes are soft.

6. Once the potatoes are ready add the sausage back, the heavy cream and chard.

7. Add salt and pepper, making sure to taste for deliciousness and heat another 5-10 min.

8. Serve hot with a loaf of crusty bread for dipping and your favorite wine!

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Enjoy!

Tips:

– If you don’t have chicken stock, you can make your own! Here’s how: Put four cups water in a bowl, add salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon onion powder and 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoons thyme. Feel free to adjust the seasonings and add whatever else. Obviously it isn’t chicken stock, but it will add more flavor to the soup then just simple water!

– Try it with these Buttermilk Biscuits

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Meatball Subs

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In an earlier post about chicken parmesan I “hinted” that I don’t like spaghetti and, I don’t ha. Whenever I tell people this I always get the same response/questions. First surprise “Really!?!?” Then the questions: “Do you like any pasta?” Yes. “Is it the spaghetti or the marinara?” I think its mostly the marinara, but its also the combination, I don’t really like the pasta spaghetti. “So, do you like marinara on anything else like lasagna or breadsticks or pizza?” I do like lasagna, I like breadsticks, but not really with marinara and I LOVE pizza, but hate pizza with too much sauce. I will also eat baked ziti, which is essentially spaghetti with different noodles and lots of cheese.

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So, where am I going with this? Meatball subs. I used to not like meatball subs, of course because of the marinara, until I made my own and could adjust the amount of marinara vs cheese ratio! If you go to a sub place there tends to be more marinara less meat and the bread gets soggy and its just a mess. Me and the boyfriend really wanted meatball subs tonight, so we got all the fixings and made ourselves some delicious subs.

This recipe is adapted from the How to Cook Everything The Basics By Mark Bittman

Ingredients

1 tblspoon olive oil

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (preferably homemade)

1/2 cup milk

2 pounds ground beef

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 onion chopped

half a green bell pepper chopped

salt and pepper

Marinara Sauce

Parmesan or other cheese

French bread loaf sliced into sandwich size pieces

1. Heat oven to 350 and grease a sheet pan with oil. Begin soaking the bread crumbs in the milk for 5 min.

2. Add the meat, egg, parmesan, parsley, garlic, onion, bell pepper, bread crumbs, salt and pepper in a bowl and fold until everything comes together in the bowl.

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3. Shape the mixture into balls about 2-inch in diameter. Place them on the pan.

4. Bake the meatballs for 25-35 min or until they are cooked through.

5. Heat marinara in a pot and add the meatballs.

6. Place the meatballs into the bread and top with parmesan cheese.

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Enjoy!

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Tips and tricks:

1. You can also use this recipe to make meatloaf. Instead of the 3 stage you would turn the meat mixture onto the sheet and gently form it into a round dome log. Bake for 45-60min. Brush occasionally with the pan juices.

2. If you can you should try your hand at making your own marinara sauce!

3. Add these meatballs to spaghetti or any other dish.

4. You can use leftover meatballs for a pasta dish, chopped into a salad (if they don’t have dressing on them), or make another meatball sub tomorrow!

Hope you guys had a good weekend and will have a great Monday! Here is a picture from 4th of July!

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Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato

Ok, Ok, I know what you’re thinking… “BLTs, those are sooooo… easy to make.” I know! But BLTs are just soooo… good, and let’s get real not everyone knows how to make perfect bacon and not everyone just made homemade mayo like you did right… right?

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I love BLTs, because they are so simple to make and you can add more than just the normal bacon lettuce tomato. I usually put onion, and you can also add green pepper, cucumber, sprouts would be great! You can also exchange normal lettuce for something like spinach (the darker the green, the more nutrients… or so I’m told.)

The key to the great BLT is obviously the bacon. I like mine thick cut and just slightly crispy on the outside. To cook bacon, start a skillet on medium heat. Once the pan is hot (you can check this by hovering your had above the skillet, if there is a strong heat radiating you can start). Place strips of bacon in the pan not overlaying them (I can fit about 3-4). Give the bacon about 2-3 min on the one side and pull it up with tongs (the edges of the bacon will start to look kind of like a wave). Flip the bacon and and let cook another 1-2min. Try to take the bacon off just before its to your desired temperature, because it will keep cooking after you take it off. Keep a plate nearby with a paper towel on it and lay the bacon to catch the extra fat drippings. You can tell when the bacon gets crispy, because it will start to turn a darkish orangey color.

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Ingredients

3 pieces per sandwich/wrap

Lettuce

Tomato slices

Onion and other veggies (optional)

Mayo (preferably homemade)

Good bread

Cheese (optional – but suggested)

1. Put some mayo on both sides of the bread.

2. Simply layer the bacon, lettuce, tomato and whatever other veggies and cheese you choose!

Enjoy!

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Tips and Tricks:

1. Bread – I think the best bread is something like a sourdough. I also like to toast the bread a little so that it gives a nice crunch.

2. Cheese – I really like sharp cheddar cheese, but play with other cheeses and see what you like best. You can also make this like a bacon grilled cheese with veggies, that would be delicious!

3. Bacon – play around with bacon. Leave it in the pan for longer or less to see what doneness you prefer. I know many people who like their bacon very crispy, don’t be afraid to practice… I mean how could you not, you get to eat all the practice bacon!!

4. Other bacon – you can also use turkey bacon. If you are watching your diet, this is a great alternative. Again, make sure you practice with the turkey bacon as it has a different cooking style since it doesn’t have the same amount of fat.