Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Soup: Cream of Broccoli



My parents were coming over for dinner tonight and asked for Cream of Broccoli soup. This was a new recipe I decided to try. It was good...but not great. I'd eat it again though.

Servings: 10 total (6 dinner sized portions and 4 lunch sized portions).

Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped

  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 15 cups frozen broccoli florets

  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 6 tbsp. flour
  • 4 cups 2% Milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
  1. Melt 4 tbsp. butter in a large pot over high heat. Add onions and celery and cook until soft (about 10 minutes).
  2. Add chicken broth and broccoli to the pot. Bring the pot to a boil, lower temperature, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. In a separate large pot, melt 6 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add flour and milk. Stir and cook until thickened.
  4. Use a stick blender to blend the veggies in the first pot until smooth. Be careful not to fling the soup - it's super hot!
  5. Add the roux mixture (flour/butter/milk) to the blended veggie pot and mix well.
  6. Garnish with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Soup: Ham & 13 Bean




Today I made the last of the Bob's Red Mill soup mixes I picked up - Ham and 13 Bean. It was yummy and made a lot. I'm going to need a separate freezer! I have a history with Ham and Bean soup mixes (more here) but I must say that this may be my new favorite. Sorry...not feeling anal-retentive enough tonight to make another bean comparison chart (I'm sure you're crushed). This one was easy, tasty, and didn't include or suggest a creepy "ham flavoring" packet.

Servings: 14 total (10 dinner sized portions and 4 lunch sized portions).

Time: 20 hours total (60 minutes hands-on)

Ingredients
  • 1 (1 lb. 13 oz.) package of Bob's Red Mill 13 Bean Soup Mix

  • 1 ham hock
  • 2 large ham steaks, diced
  • 5 quarts water

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans of diced tomatoes  
  • 1 rounded tbsp. chili powder
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

Directions
  1. Wash and soak bean mix overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse bean mix. Add beans, ham hock, diced ham, and water into a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 3 hours.
  3. Remove ham hock from pot (allow to cool) and pull meat off of the bone.
  4. Add pulled ham, onion, tomatoes, chili powder, and garlic to the pot and mix well.
  5. Return the pot to a boil over high heat and let simmer for 30 minutes before serving.
Original Recipe: 13 Bean Soup Mix

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Soup: Red Bean Chicken Curry




I decided to make another one of the Bob's Red Mill soup mixes today (more about that from last week). It was delicious and made a TON! I'm going to freeze a few servings again. I have one more Bob's soup mix that I'm going to try next week...

Servings: 12 total (8 dinner sized portions and 4 lunch sized portions).

Time: 2 hours total (30 minutes hands-on)

Ingredients
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. curry powder

  • 16 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (1 lb. 10 oz.) package of Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain and Beans Soup Mix
  • 2 (16 oz.) packages of frozen cauliflower 
  • 4 bay leaves

Directions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over high heat. Add onions and chicken to the pot and cook until chicken is done and onions are soft (about 10 minutes). Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add garam masala and curry powder and cook until aromatic (about 30 seconds).
  2. Add chicken stock, soup mix, cauliflower, and bay leaves to the pot and mix well.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 90 minutes, stirring every half hour. 
Original Recipe: Red Bean Chicken Curry Soup

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Soup: Chicken and Black Bean




So I decided to wander around Big Lots the other day to look for garden stuff. I didn't find anything for the garden but I did find an entire endcap of Bob's Red Mill products. I've been wanting to try the Bob's Red Mill stuff and these were about a buck cheaper than grocery store prices so I decided to pick a few assorted bags up. I normally avoid purchasing food at these type of discount stores (no real reason why - I'm just weird like that) but these seemed safe and the expiration date was far off so I decided to go for it. The soup was pretty tasty and made a ton of food for not a lot of effort!

Servings: 14 total (10 dinner sized portions and 4 lunch sized portions). Seriously, I told you - a ton! I made up 3 bags of 2 servings that I'm planning on freezing since it made so much. I've been wanting to start making freezer meals anyhow so we can just heat up vs. order in on nights we don't feel like cooking so this is as good as an excuse as any to get started.

Time: 2 hours total (30 minutes hands-on)

Ingredients
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 smallish onions, diced
  • 1.5 lbs chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 16 cups chicken stock
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (1 lb. 10 oz.) package of Bob's Red Mill Bountiful Black Bean Soup Mix
  • 1 (16 oz.) package frozen corn

  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over high heat. Add celery, onions, and chicken to the pot and cook until chicken is done and veggies are soft. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, black bean mix, and corn to the pot and mix well.
  3. Add bay leaves, basil, thyme, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper to the pot and mix well.
  4. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 90 minutes, stirring every half hour. 
Original Recipe: Bountiful Black Bean Soup



Wednesday, April 4, 2012

March Goal Review


1/4 of the way through 2012 already!?!. Time to check out how my goals for the year went in March...

Blog: Eight posts in March...twice than February. Half of those were Sunday Soup posts though. That's ok, I want to do those, but I would also like to start writing more about other stuff too. In addition to my soups, I would still like to shoot for interesting things and findings of the week on Tuesday/Wednesday, the week in review on Friday, and random other things like crafts and non-soup recipes. Maybe I'll actually do it in April. Or not. I use Google Reader a lot so I've also been considering sending the fun stuff I find to the blog. Don't worry...I won't announce every random thing I post on Twitter and Facebook if I do end up doing this. Also, I finally got around to re-mapping my URL so now instead of it being http://whatup-gee.blogspot.com/ it's simply http://www.whatupgee.com.

Eat healthier foods: I'm down 5 more pounds in March for a total of 40 lbs. lost so far! I keep telling myself I'll by some new clothes when I hit the 50 lbs. lost mark so that's helping to motivate me. My food choices have been pretty good. I'm very happy that it's warming up and  more and more yummy fruits are becoming readily available. Oh how I love strawberries and blueberries! I've also avoided buying Easter candy except for some Peeps here are there. I know they're not the best things for me (corn syrup, artificial colors, etc.) but damn it, those little chicks and bunnies just beg me to bite there heads off. Random me fact: I can be a bit OCD when it comes to eating food. I actually have a very specific way I eat Peeps. I always bite the eyes off of the chicks and bunnies first. Then I bite off the beak and tail on the chick or ears on the bunny, finally I eat the rest of the marshmallow carcass whole.

Quit smoking: I'm still telling myself that I should quit on May 1st. That date is approaching quickly. We'll see...

Live within my means: Bills are paid and we've managed to put more into savings. We also got our tax refund. I wish we could do something fun with it but it's just sitting in the bank until we have to pay our real estate taxes. I did end up charging the supplies for landscaping the front yard. I don't feel too bad about making these charges since they are house improvements and should up the value of our property for at least the amount we spent. I also charged our overzealous warehouse shopping spree. We didn't buy anything ridiculous like the 70" flat screen or the grilling station (although it was tempting) but we haven't been warehouse shopping for awhile and those 100 packs of paper towels get pricey. Whatever, hopefully I'll pay this charge off in April. Oh yeah, I might of charged a new purse too. Alright, no more! As of right now, I'm back to thinking of my credit cards as frozen!

Be more active: We've been going for a lot more walks since the weather is getting nicer. Also doing a lot of yard stuff - shoveling is hard work!

Make at least one thing every month: I completely failed at making things in March. I'm not even sure if I knitted any rows of my rainbow blanket. I did plan out all the materials for the yard, pick out all of my garden seeds/plants, and determine my garden layout - that's kind of like making things. 

Watch TV less and read more: My TV watching is still relatively low. We got a new TiVo so all of those random shows that we started recording at some point didn't get new season passes. I don't miss them at all.  Most of the shows that we do watch have wrapped up or will soon be wrapping up the season. I always kind of look forward to the summer tv show break. I've read (and watched) tons and tons of Hunger Games stuff. Other books that I read in March are Growing Up Amish: A Memoir by Ira Wagler, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler, and The Dirty Parts of the Bible by Sam Torode. I can't say I was overly impressed with any of them.

Well that was March for ya! I'm pretty happy with the progress I made and I'm hoping my progress continues as the weather improves.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday Soup: Hearty Hamburger



Sorry, no exciting story about deciding on this soup. I was browsing recipes, saw this one, and thought it looked good.....so I made it and it was pretty delicious.

Servings: 8 (4 dinner-sized servings, 4 lunch-sized servings)

Time: About 2 hours total (45 minutes hands-on)

Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs. ground beef

  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 1 cup sliced carrots

  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 (28 oz.) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (32 oz.) container of beef broth
  • 1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed tomato soup
  • 2 cups water

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp. parsley
  • 2 tbs. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
Directions
  1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add ground beef to pot. Mix over heat until cooked throughout and crumbly. Drain excess oil if necessary.
  3. Add celery, onion, and carrots to the pot. Stir occasionally and cook until veggies start getting soft (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add barley, crushed tomatoes, beef broth, tomato soup, and water to the pot and mix well.
  5. Add bay leaf, parsley, garlic, thyme, and black pepper to the pot and mix well.
  6. Bring pot to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for one hour.
  7. Remove bay leaf and serve.
Original Recipe: Hearty Hamburger Soup