Taco Soup

This taco soup recipe is a family favorite that I grew up with. What makes it so indispensable is how easy it is to make and how quickly it warms you up! This is a very versatile recipe, as it can be made on the stove top or in a Crockpot; ground turkey, chicken or sausage can be used in place of the beef; personal favorites can be added or substituted, such as white beans, pinto beans, roasted pepper, and diced onions.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

1 packet taco seasoning (or equivalent amt of loose powder)

2 cans red kidney  beans

2 cans black beans 

1 can corn

1 can tomato ( use personal preference: diced, stewed, sauce, paste, etc.)

Directions:

Brown the ground beef, drain if needed, then add the taco powder and a splash of water (if wanting to add extra vegetables, do so as the water has been nearly rendered out, and allow to heat through for 3-5 mins). Then select either a large sauce pot (or crockpot).

While the ground beef is cooking, rinse out the beans, and open the corn and tomatoes.

*stove top cooking directions* Once the beef has cooked, transfer the beans, corn, tomatoes and beef to the pot and mix together. You can add a can or two of water if you prefer a thinner soup, then bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Once that’s done, turn off -and remove from- heat, and allow it to cool for 3-5 mins, then dish it up. It’s great to top with cheese, sour cream, green onions, or salsa, and have with a slice of bread or a scoop of rice.

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Sausage and Red Pepper Pasta

Over this past weekend, I did some reorganizing, and when I got to my freezer, I realized that I still had some ground pork and sausage available. This helped me narrow down what type of recipe to look for this week. I found this recipe, from Smells Like Home, on Pinterest. As I was makings this, I altered it a bit to fit what I had on hand, to this effect.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil

1&1/2 c diced yellow onion (1 med onion)

1 c diced red bell pepper (1 pepper)

4 cloves garlic, freshly pressed

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes 

Kosher salt and black pepper, to season

1 lb mild sausage

1/4 c chicken broth

1 jar marinara sauce

3 c water

8 oz pasta

6 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt 

1/4 c Parmesan cheese 

Directions:

 To start, grab a large (~12″) skillet and start heating the olive oil. Then toss in the diced onion and pepper and turn to medium-high heat. Be sure to stir frequently and Sauté these for about 8 mins, until they start to soften.

Next add the garlic and pepper flakes, and season with a healthy pinch of salt and a few shakes of pepper. Mix these in, then add the sausage (it’s better if broken up first into small crumble so that it cooks well and mixes in evenly).

When the sausage is cooked down, add the chicken stock to the skillet and use it to help scrape the drippings up off of the bottom. Then add the marinara sauce (my jar held 3 c, which is why I diminished the amount of water used) and 3 c of water. I used the jar to measure to water, because this allowed me so use the remaining sauce. Add the pasta (I used rigatoni) and stir everything together until well combined.

Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Stir it often to keep the pasta from sticking and the sauce cooking evenly. It takes around 15 mins for the pasta to cook.

Once the pasta is cooked through, add the yogurt (or cream) and the Parmesan and mix these in thoroughly and allow them to heat for 2-3 mins.  Remove from heat and let sit for 5 mins to cool before serving. 

This went really well with a slice of fresh French Bread, and I found that using yogurt added extra flavor to the dish. 

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Sweet Biscuits

It’s hard to believe that just a couple of weeks ago I was home celebrating Easter. We had a nice dinner of Ham, potato salad, and baked beans, followed by my contribution of Strawberry Shortcakes for dessert. I had a rough time deciding on a recipe, and as none from my recipe books were really jumping out at me, I decided to take a jaunt onto Pintrest. After looking through a few different sweet biscuit recipes, I found one that I wanted to use here. I changed the recipe a bit as I was making it, so here is how I made them.

Ingredients: 

1 c all purpose flour

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

4 oz cream cheese

1/3 c milk, plus a splash for glazing

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425*F

Mix the flour, sugar, and powder together, then cut the cream cheese in the the dry mix with a pastry cutter until they resemble course crumbs.  •Next, you’ll need to grab a spoon to stir in the milk just until it forms a ball of dough, otherwise it will get very sticky. •Then prepare to get a bit messy. Set out a lined baking sheet, get some flour on your hands and split the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each into a ball then place on the sheet, equidistant from each other. •I found that the easiest way to flatten them out was to pour a splash of milk into a bowl or measuring cup and grab a soup spoon. Dip the spoon in the milk, then use the back of the spoon to press the dough out until ~1/2″ thick, glazing them at the same time. Then sprinkle them with sugar and pop them in the oven.

Baking: I found that baking them at the prescribed temperature (425* F) darkened to edges faster than I wanted, so on the second batch I make I preheated the oven to 425*, put the biscuits in, let the temp come back up, then turned it down to 400* for the duration.

They will need to bake for 12-15 mins, but I would check a bit early to make sure they are setting up evenly. Remove from the oven as the tops turn light gold, and let them cool to room temperature.

Filling: work on this while the biscuits are baking or cooling.

Strawberries (hulled and diced) and sugar, mix together and set in the fridge to cool. Whipped cream, kept cool.

When you are ready to eat these, you can cut them in half and add the filling or crumble them apart and mix with a scoop of strawberries and a scoop of cream. 

They are also great the next morning with homemade jam.

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Roast Chicken seasoned with Rosemary and Garlic

Happy Tuesday!

So to get started on this blog, I decided to find some new recipes to try in the coming weeks. I reached out to my roommates for ideas to get started and Erica mentioned that she was planning to cook a chicken using an awesome recipe that she had used a couple of times last term. She offered to walk me through the process of preparing it, as long I could pop it in the oven when I got back from my evening class. 

So here is what you’ll need

Ingredients: 

1 fryer chicken 

1/3 cup kosher salt

2 Tbsp ground black pepper

2 sprigs of rosemary 

5 cloves of garlic ( 3 pressed, 2 whole)

 

Equipment (suggested): 

Roasting Rack

Sheet pan

Kitchen twine

 

So to start, allow the chicken to come to room temperature, then rinse it and pat it dry, inside and out. Then place a couple of paper towel inside to carcass to continue absorbing moisture. Making sure that the chicken is dried off will help the skin get crispy when you bake it.

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