Thai Coconut Soup

Our time spent living in Southeast Asia increased our family’s love of many types of Asian food.  Thai food is among those.  The traditional soup Tom Kha Gai has so many lovely layers of flavor. This classic chicken and coconut soup gets its flavor from quintessential Thai ingredients: coconut milk, fresh ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, red pepper, basil, and cilantro. I omit the fish sauce in the recipe that has developed in our kitchen over time. Shrimp is a good substitute for chicken.

Thai Coconut Soup

3 cups chicken broth

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

4 thin slices fresh ginger

1-2 cups chopped or sliced cooked chicken breast or thighs

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste

4 ounces snow peas (optional, but very good)

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Cooked rice

Bring broth, lime juice,and ginger to boil in large saucepan.  Simmer for several minutes before adding chicken, coconut milk, and red pepper flakes. Return to simmer and cook until chicken is heated through.  Add snow peas and carrots and cook only 1 minute. Stir in cilantro and basil. Serve in soup bowls with cooked rice.

 

Split Pea Soup with Sherry

splitpeasoupCold weather and hot soup – perfect combination.  We enjoy a number of different soups, but this split pea soup is one of my favorites. It is a hearty soup, nutritious, and easy on the budget. If you have leftover ham, this is a great way to use it.  Bits of bacon work great too. We like to add a splash of dry sherry at serving time.This is is good served with crusty French bread.

Split Pea  Soup with Sherry

1 lb. dried split peas (2 1/3 cups)

8 cups chicken broth

2 cups chopped ham

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup sliced carrots

1 Bay leaf

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Dry sherry, optional

Rinse dried split peas and add to large soup pot. Add ham and chicken broth.  Bring to simmer, cover, and cook on low for 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and continue cooking for another 30 minutes, or until it reaches the texture you prefer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve steaming hot with a splash of sherry stirred in.

Nana’s Barley Burger Stew

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I took a break from my blogs last week since we were still finding our way between boxes. Even though we are not unpacked and settled, I am enjoying a return to being in the kitchen for reasons other than unpacking dishes!  Our area is presently experiencing a history making flood with rain still coming down, so I thought of this hearty stew my mother used to make.  I still have the recipe written in her firm, flowing handwriting on a sheet of lined notepaper although I no longer need to pull it out to go by.  It was a fine meal to have on a cool rainy early June evening. And there are plenty of leftovers for a weekend lunch.

Nana’s Barley Burger Stew

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 8 cups tomato juice
  • 2 cups water added as needed as stew cooks and thickens
  • 1 cup medium pearl barley
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, optional

In a large pot over medium heat, cook beef until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add onion, carrots, and celery, stirring as vegetables wilt.  Stir in the tomato juice, barley, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add about 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 50-60 minutes or until barley is tender, adding water if mixture becomes too thick. Serve in bowls along with crusty French bread.

Microwave Baked Potato Soup

BakedPotatoSoupMy kitchen cupboards and pantry are almost bare, making me feel like Mother Hubbard. But eating take out food and in restaurants can get old as well as pricey.  Plus, today it is raining buckets. Again.  We are staying in so I opened the refrigerator to stand and browse like  our teenagers have done in the past, hungry, and surveying possibilities. I found eggs, bread, juice, a half jar of elderberry jelly, and leftover baked potatoes. Last night we stopped and picked up loaded baked potatoes for a late dinner, only to find after we sat down to eat that we were more tired than hungry.  The remains sat in a ZipLoc bag on the refrigerator shelf, looking very unappetizing.

Changing roles from Mrs. Hubbard to a Chopped contestant, I opened the contents of my basket and made potato soup in the microwave (all pans packed, only a few serving dishes remain). I  took the peeling off the cold potatoes, warmed them in the microwave to soften, and mashed them.  Then I added a sprinkle of sea salt plus milk to the right consistency, and reheated in the microwave, turning out a large bowl of delicious soup loaded with bits of bacon and green onion.  We ate in coffee mugs and recharged enough to head back to packing  for movers to come on Monday.  Simple, and tasty enough to remember for the next leftovers, or to bake extras the next time I serve baked potatoes as a side. If you have no loaded bakers as leftovers, use the following recipe.

Microwave Baked Potato Soup

2 large baked potatoes, cooled

1 1/2 cups milk

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/3 cup crumbled bacon

1/4 cup chopped green onion

Peel potatoes, coarsely chop into microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, to soften potatoes.  Mash with fork or potato masher.  Add milk, sour cream, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.  Microwave for another 2 minutes or until hot for serving.  Ladle into mugs or bowls, and sprinkle with cheese, bacon, and green onion.

 

 

Greek Beef Stew

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Continuing to post ways I used lovely leftovers during the holidays! We had a family favorite on our table for Christmas – Pancetta and Rosemary wrapped Beef Tenderloin. The pieces of leftover beef  and roasted potatoes were perfect in this pot of Greek Beef Stew, and fed a bunch of us again!  The spices keep holiday fragrances and flavors too!

Do not let the long list of ingredients keep you from trying this!  The many layers of flavor are so worth a little measuring!

2-3 cups cubed beef (I used leftover beef tenderloin.  If using uncooked beef, brown meat in olive oil)

1 onion,chopped

3 cloves of garllic, minced

1/2 cup red wine

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 cup beef broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

several grinds of freshly cracked black pepper

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves

1 Tablespoon brown sugarr

1 (28 ounce) can roasted diced tomatoes (do not drain)

1/2 cup water (add more if stew is too thick

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces or equivalent of leftober roasted potatoes

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

salt to taste

In stew pot, heat several Tablespoons olive oil, add beef, onion, then  garlic. Pour in the red wine, red wine vinegar, and beef broth; stir in the tomato paste and mix well..Mix spices and add along with bay leaves and brown sugar..Pour in tomatoes and their juice; rinse the can with 1/2 cup water and add. Stir in potatoes and carrots.  Cover the pot and simmer until vegetables ae desired tenderness. Serve with crusty hot bread.

Chicken, Kale, and Gnocchi Soup

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Someone asked me this week about my favorite type of food to cook. I quickly replied: “Soups!”  Of course, I love to cook many things, but this is my answer because there are so many wonderful, nutritious soups, often the main course of a meal. Most are very inexpensive per serving. I like trying new recipes, too. This one definitely belongs in Kitchen Keepers. I used fresh mini potato gnocchi found at Costco.  Make your own if you if the time, but these were perfect for the recipe. Is there any prettier soup on the table for a cold Christmastime evening?  The hearty, creamy goodness was just what we needed.

 

Chicken, Kale, and Gnocchi Soup

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups half-and-half
1 (12-ounce) package gnocchi*
1 cup finely shredded carrots
1 cup diced cooked chicken breast
2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth (if you enjoy thick soup, use just 1 can)
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh kale (original recipe used spinach, but I have kale in my garden!)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (optional)

*You can find dried gnocchi in the pasta section of most grocery stores; some stores also sell fresh or frozen gnocchi. You may want to cut your gnocchi in half before cooking if it is large, or purchase the mini size if available.

Directions:
1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and sauté until the onion becomes translucent. Whisk in the flour to make a roux. Let the flour mixture cook for about a minute and then stir in the half-and-half.

2. Cook the gnocchi according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, add the carrots and chicken to the roux. Once the mixture has thickened, stir in the chicken broth. When the mixture thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi, spinach, and seasonings; simmer the soup over medium-low heat until it is heated through. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt if needed.

Southwestern Soup

IMG_3136This slow cooker soup is perfect for Sunday lunches. Just load up the ingredients before leaving for church and return hungry to a house that smells heavenly because lunch is ready to serve!

Southwest Chicken Soup

1 pound chopped or shredded cooked chicken
26 oz.diced tomatoes
1 10 ounce can enchilada sauce
1 onion, chopped
4 oz. can chopped green chile peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 (15 once) can black beans-rinsed
crushed tortilla chips for topping

optional:  2 limes, quartered


Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in chicken broth, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn, and beans. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours. Serve in bowls with crushed tortilla chips on top.  We enjoy a squeeze of fresh lime juice for each bowl.

Lobster Bisque on a Budget

IMG_2345One of my favorite treats when we go out for a special meal is Lobster Bisque. We rarely cook fresh lobsters at home and when we do there is seldom enough leftover to add to a bisque, but now I have found a way to use other white fish in a way that will put this particular bisque on our table more often!  Joe and all three of our sons spent last week fishing near Homer, Alaska.  Happily, they brought back plenty of salmon and halibut to add to our freezer.  They also brought back a method for cooking what they call Poor Man’s Lobster!  The first fish Joe cooked was halibut cooked like this. I found there are recipes everywhere with many variations.  Almost any type firm fleshed white fish can be used – cod, haddock, monkfish.

Poor Man’s Lobster

  1. Fill a pot with water, at least 2 quarts of water..
  2. Add 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Do not ever stir the mixture.
  4. Add chunks of halibut, do not over crowd.
  5. They will sink to the bottom, and then rise to the top when they are done.
  6. It should take just a few minutes.
  7. Remove with slotted spoon.
  8. Remember do not stir the mixture.
  9. Continue until all the halibut is cooked.
  10. Dip in melted butter and eat!

We had plenty of this, drizzled with lemon butter, and heaped on some crusty French bread. It really does taste like lobster!

We had a sandwich bag of leftover fish, so I made this wonderful Lobster Bisque the next day for our lunch. Feel free to use the real thing, but the Poor Man’s Lobster worked for us. Don’t let the long list of ingredients and directions fool you.  It is easy, and the results are worth any effort!

Lobster Bisque on a Budget

  • 6 to 8 ounces lobster broken into small chunks
  • 2 shallots,  minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • 4 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup  white wine
  • 1 T Worcestershire  Tabasco
  • 2 Tablespoons  dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cups whipping cream
  • 2 cup half and half
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  1. Saute shallots, onions, and garlic about a minute in a sauce pan00000
  2. Add white wine and stir to combine..
  3. Add Worcestershire, Tabasco, and thyme and saute for another minute.
  4. Add sherry and stir
  5. Add the paprika, hot water, bay leaves, and tomato paste, combine well.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Whisk in whipping cream,half and half  and the butter and bring to a simmer
  8. Add the lobster and heat through.
  9. Serve with crusty garlic bread.

Cabbage and Smoked Sausage Soup

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On damp, wintry days, a pot of hearty soup bubbling on the stove sends out an invitation – “come to the table and warm your heart as well as your tummy!”   When I ladled this fragrant, brothy German style cabbage soup into our red pottery bowls, I smiled in anticipation today. Along with Joe’s contribution of a skillet of cornbread, it was perfect for the middle of a day that had not been an easy one, so it was indeed comfort food.  There are variations of this recipe in many cookbooks and online, proving this combination of foods invites variation and is very forgiving. One recipe I found included the addition of one can of condensed cream of celery soup which I found interesting and wanted to try, but true to form, I changed the soup to cream of chicken because that was in the pantry.  Here is my version.  It is delicious and makes enough for alot of people or several meals!

Cabbage and Smoked Sausage Soup

3 -4 strips thick sliced bacon, cut into small pieces

1 onion, chopped

4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced

3 celery stalks, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

5 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 smoked sausage ring or up to 1 pound links ( I used HEB’s Cranberry Pork link sausages)

6 cups chicken broth

1 can or carton cream of chicken soup

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper (or less if you prefer, we like pepper!)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

In large soup pot, cook bacon pieces until they begin to brown and release fat.  Add onion, saute 2-3 minutes, then add carrots, celery, sausage, and potaotes.  Add salt, pepper, and thyme, then stir in chicken broth. Bring to simmer and cook covered for about 30 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are tender. Add cream of chicken soup and stir. Continue heating 2 minutes, then turn off heat.  Stir, and ladle into bowls.

Thankful for Leftovers

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Wonton Soup, with (leftover) Kale

I was born in the 1940’s, and grew up in a family that always found a use for even a tablespoon of leftover food. Waste not, want not!  I have a fondness for leftovers, and creative ways to use them, as you might notice if you have read my blog in earlier years.  This year I mention some ingredients you may have collected to use for Thanksgiving cooking, as well as Big Bird and other menu items!

Turkey

Before you are tempted to toss that Thanksgiving turkey remains, slice off some to store in the refrigerator for sandwiches.  Then gather the meat left on all those bones, chop and put into Ziplocs to freeze.  This chopped turkey makes wonderful Tetrazzini or added to marinara, a delicious spaghetti sauce.  You can also use it with rice, broccoli and cheese for a hearty casserole. See links below for posts in past years which mention this.

CranberrySauce

Serve for breakfast with your favorite sausage and toast or biscuits. Better than jelly! Jellied cranberry sauce slices are great to top hot open face chicken or tuna sandwiches.

Mashed Potatoes

Extra mashed potatoes make great soup. Thin the mashed potatoes with milk, cream or broth and garnish with thinly sliced scallions.

You can also make fabulous fritters When I was growing up, my parents owned a small cafe.  I used to ask Daddy to make “fried mashed potatoes” when he had mashed potatoes on the menu. . Add flour and an egg to bind the mixture, fold in some chopped onions and shape it into patties. Daddy cooked them on his hot griddle.  An iron skillet heated with a small amount of cooking oil works just fine.  You can also add chopped ham or bacon bits..  If you want a crispier fritter, dip the potato patties in a mixture of bread crumbs and flour seasoned with salt and pepper.  This is also featured in a previous post, link below, along with a great potato pancake recipe.

Greens, such as Spinach, Kale, Chard

Even a small amount of remaining sauteed or fresh (if not dressed) greens can be a great addition to soups or omelets.  In the photo above, I combined frozen wontons with chicken broth, kale, and a bit of hoisin sauce for a delicious soup.

 


Mustard

Do you have a bit of mustard left in the jar?. Add some oil and vinegar and make vinaigrette by just shaking it up right in the jar. Or stir in a little bit of jam — ideally apricot, or a red-currant jelly — and use the mixture as a glaze for pork or chicken. This is especially nice if your mustard is a fancy one like Dijon.

 


Bread

Slice it and freeze it for morning toast,,make bread crumbs by pulsing the bread in a food processor, or make a batch of croutons. Just cut the bread up into chunks, toss with olive oil and a little salt and sauté in a pan or toast in a 400 degree oven. It’s also great for crunchy crostini. You can also keep it in the freezer for the next time you make cornbread dressing, to which I always add some torn up leftover sliced bread. Another use is not for eating – we save bread in the freezer for our grandchildren to take to the neighborhood lake to feed the ducks!

Buttermilk

Substitute buttermilk for regular milk in pancakes by adding a little baking soda and decreasing the baking powder just a little. Use it for marinating chicken for fried chicken — it both tenderizes and gives a little tang. Or try it in a salad dressing with a small amount of oil.  By the way, you can avoid having leftover buttermilk by purchasing powdered buttermilk which you can store in the frig so you can make exactly the amount you need every time.

 


Coconut Milk

Stir and freeze in ice cube trays for use in drinks and soups later. You can also substitute coconut milk for some or all of the water when you make rice – delicious!  (when I do this I add some toasted coconut flakes on top. . Or sub for butter to finish a sauce, stir a little into some broth along with cooked pasta.

 


  Pork

This is one of my favorite leftovers~  so much so that I often cook extra so I will be sure to have some!

 

Pork Fried Rice, Vietnamese Salad

Chop some plus any extra vegetables and make into a pasta sauce. Add a little broth, butter, and Parmesan, toss with hot cooked pasta and you’ve got an instant meal. Cooked pork also makes a great soft or crispy tacos,

 

Rice

Fried rice puts leftovers to delicious use and actually works better with cold cooked rice.

Mix the cooked rice with a little egg, some Fontina or your favorite cheese, add some seasonings and make rice cakes. Cook them in a little olive oil.

 

Tomato Paste

I often have leftover tomato paste.It can be frozen in ice cube trays  You’ll have it on hand for stirring into soups and stews.

 

Flour Tortillas

Extra corn or flour tortillas can be frozen in a Ziploc bag and used later for savory or dessert pizzas. Place the tortillas on a baking sheet, brush with a little oil and crisp them in the oven. Top with a bit of tomato sauce and cheese  to make an individual pizza. For dessert, brush with butter and brown sugar, bake until crisp and add  toppings

 

https://kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/lovely-leftovers-or-still-thankful/

https://kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/gourmet-leftovers/