Kale and Meatball Soup

Kale and Meatballs Soup

Kale and Meatball Soup

I am at the end of my rope with my kale.  Matt keeps mentioning blanching, freezing, saving for the end of the world…. I have enough in my freezer at this point to last us until we have grand children…WHICH WON’T BE ANYTIME SOON!  So, what’s a resourceful girl like me to do?  Make soup.  In August.  This happens a lot at our house, seasons don’t dictate our menu.  Need and what I crave usually do.

About this soup.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Isn’t it interesting that I have to set the tone for a soup…in august…about kale!?  That being said feel free to substitute, switch, add to your liking or mood, freelance, go with the flow…. cool?  Great!  Knew I could count on you guys!

who says you can't eat soup this delicious in August?!!!

who says you can’t eat soup this delicious in August?!!!

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

1 lb ground beef (or chicken, turkey, pork or sausage)

1/3 cup Panko

1 egg

1 tablespoon each: fresh basil, thyme and parsley

salt and pepper

For the soup:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 1/2 cup diced carrots

1 15.5-ounce can great northern beans

8 cups chopped kale (about 1/2 lb)

8 cups vegetable broth (or chicken)

1 cup orzo (or any small pasta)

1 tablespoon each: fresh thyme, basil and parsley

Parmesan Cheese for serving

How to:

For the meatballs:

In a large bowl combine all your ingredients: ground meat, Panko, egg, fresh herbs, salt and pepper.  Combine well and form into small to medium size meatballs.  Set aside.

cute little meatballs!

cute little meatballs!

browning in all its glory!

browning in all its glory!

For the soup:

In a large dutch oven heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil.  Working in batches brown your meatballs on all sides.  Set aside on a baking sheet.  (you do not have to cook your meatballs completely, they will finish cooking in your broth).

Do not clean your dutch oven from browning the meatballs (this is full of flavor!) add a bit of olive oil if needed or simply use what is left.  Sautee your onion and carrots until soft and fragrant, 4-5 minutes.  Add your beans and broth, bring to a boil.  Add your kale and orzo, cook for another 7-8 minutes until pasta is al dente.

that's a big pot of scrumptious soup!

that’s a big pot of scrumptious soup!

Ladle your soup into your serving bowl topped with some Parmesan cheese.

bright, healthy and superbly delicious!

bright, healthy and superbly delicious!

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Note: this is somewhat similar to an Italian Wedding Soup, but out of respect for the “real” deal I don’t think mine is exactly that.  Which is why I call my soup: Kale and Meatballs Soup.

time to fill my belly!

time to fill my belly!

Peace and Dictate Your Menu,

Isabelle

Aunt Sara’s Creamy Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

As much as I love soups, evident with my: Soups Round Up, I had never made my Aunt Sara’s Creamy Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup.  She makes it every year for our Christmas Family Party.  We keep it simple for everyone with 3 large Crockpots filled with yummy food: one with her soup, one with my classic chili (which I have yet to share with you…hint: BEER is my secret ingredient) and one with Grandma Georgia’ Seafood Chowder (a recipe I am not privy to).  We also have platters of lunch meats and a crazy amount of breads to choose from.  Easy and practical for the big day!

Since I’ve had somewhat of a sore throat the past few days I thought it would be yummy and delicious to make her soup.  Isn’t chicken noodle soup the cure-all?

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery (not in original recipe but Aunt Sara said to add what ever veggies I wanted!)

1 tablespoon dry oregano

6 cups chicken broth (low-sodium is best, 49-ounce can)

1, 12-ounce can evaporated milk

4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1-inch cubes)

1 whole roasted chicken, shredded (store-bought or homemade, I had about 6 cups of shredded chicken)

1 cup frozen peas, thawed (I think I was closer to 1 1/2 cups)

2 cups egg noodles (I prefer the extra-wide & I did use the no-yoke kind)

Salt and Pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon each should work)

How to:

In a large soup kettle or dutch oven heat your oil.  Add your onion, carrots and celery.  Saute for 5 minutes until soft and fragrant.  Add your oregano, salt, pepper, chicken broth, evaporated milk and potatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce and simmer for about 30-40 minutes until potatoes are tender.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

from start

from start

to finish...nicely reduced after 35 or so minutes

to finish…nicely reduced after 35 or so minutes

Add your roasted chicken, peas and egg noodles.  Cook until noodles are done, approximately 8 minutes.

the home stretch! All aboard!

the home stretch! All aboard!

done! Looking gorgeous and delicious!

done! Looking gorgeous and delicious!

oh my goodness....and NO cream...yet all this creaminess!

oh my goodness….NO cream…yet all this creaminess!

Serve.

***You may want to add another cup or so of chicken broth if you feel your soup is getting too thick, especially if you have leftovers.  Totally up to you, some people like their soup to be thin and lively (!) others (like me) like them thick and robust!  😉

Note: I am always hesitant to give salt and pepper amounts.  It is such a personal preference.  We don’t like it too salty at my house, some people hate the taste of pepper in food, some people actually think pepper is spicy; they wouldn’t survive here….we LOVE it really spicy, Tabasco seems closer to ketchup for us!  So you can imagine when I make spicy stuff it can really take it to a new level!  Therefore salt and pepper so your taste buds are happy happy!

now that's a happy happy soup!

now that’s a happy happy soup!

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Peace and I had to look up the word privy to make sure I was using it correctly,

Isabelle

Soups Round Up

As I have been complaining on here, on Facebook, to my family, texting my friends….etc…the weather here in Indiana is acting like a very cranky teenager, a moody mother nature of sort.  I speak from experience….not only do I live with two teenagers but I, myself, was a very very very very cranky teenager.  So there.  I can be honest.  My personality in my teenage years was less than stellar.  Sorry Mom.

In order to live through all of this… too much snow, ice storms and this week some sort of heat wave WITH tornado watch none the less… I make soups.  Lots and lots of soups!  Soups are cheap (usually), painless to make and can be easily stretched (double or triple the recipes) to feed a large group!

I thought it would be nice to have a soups round-up, maybe get the soup inspiration flow… (flow…hahaha get it?  Soup is liquid…liquids flow…..sorry….I need to zip it now!)

One of my childhood’s favorite soup: Garden Soup (Potage Crecy)

So easy to make and shouldn't require a trip to the store!

So easy to make and shouldn’t require a trip to the store!

One of my husband’s favorite: Black Bean Soup

If you are a fan of Panera Bread you are in luck!

If you are a fan of Panera Bread you are in luck!

The magnificent: New England Clam Chowder

This soup is mind blowing delicious!

This soup is mind blowing delicious!

A simple yet scrumptious soup: Beef Broth and Tortellini Soup

Simple can truly mean perfect!

Simple can truly mean perfect!

The fabulous and ever so popular: Pasta E Fagioli

This soup borderlines on a stew...so it's a Stoup? :)

This soup borderlines on a stew…so it’s a Stoup? 🙂

My Uncle Andre’s delicious: Red Pepper Soup

Pesto....ahhhh pesto such a 90's foodie food yet I can't help myself

Pesto….ahhhh pesto such a 90’s foodie food yet I can’t help myself

My little Bear’s favorite soup (who until recently didn’t eat beans!): Ham and Bean Soup

this is a great way to stretch a leftover baked ham!

this is a great way to stretch leftover baked ham!

Flavorful and Good-looking: Cream of Mushroom Soup

I personally think this is quite an elegant soup...but who am I to decide?!

I personally think this is quite an elegant soup…but who am I to decide?!

You know my love of everything roasted, therefore: Roasted Cauliflower Soup

It is as if roasting makes veggies come to like...or is it just me?

It is as if roasting makes veggies come to life…or is it just me?

Until recently I refused to eat this kind of soup…until I made it perfect for me with pesto and shrimp: Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Pesto Shrimp

pesto seems to make everything better in my mind!

pesto seems to make everything better in my mind!

I know 10 is a good and nicely perfect (if you are OCD like me) number BUT….just one more soup that I absolutely adore: Chicken and Corn Chowder

bacon, corn, roasted chicken....ALL of my faves!

bacon, corn, roasted chicken….ALL of my faves!

Hope this inspires you to get your soup on!

Peace and Flow,

Isabelle

Creamy Pork Taco Soup

Creamy Pork Taco Soup

Creamy Pork Taco Soup

In all honesty this should be called: Creamy Leftover Taco Soup.  You can truly substitute with any leftover chicken ( roasted chicken or wine “can” chicken ) , turkey (hello thanksgiving!) pork ( pulled pork ) even ground beef!  The idea is to go for flavor.  I know many of you like the idea of using store-bought rotisserie chicken and by all means go with that!  Easy and practical.  Just make sure it is not loaded with salt (some stores seem to think salt=flavor…..hmmmm no!)

Bottom line.  This recipe is a guideline for a protein you may have on hand.  It’s a no brainer.  Also with the upcoming Turkey Feast upon us, it only seems fitting to have a couple good recipes you can count on to feed your people!  I am one of the crazy people who roasts a Turkey for our family Thanksgiving (held at Aunt Sara’s house) and makes a second one just for our house to make sure we have plenty of leftovers.  I have NEVER complained about too much leftover turkey.

pretty darn scrumptious soup!

pretty darned scrumptious soup!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, diced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

4 cups leftover cooked pork (shredded or cubed)

2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed (I use the low-sodium)

4 cups frozen corn, thawed

4 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning (or store-bought, you will need to get 2 packets)

Splash hot sauce (optional)

Sour cream, for serving

Shredded Pepperjack cheese, for serving

Crushed tortilla chips, for serving

How to:

In a large Dutch oven melt your butter with your olive oil.  Add your onion and cook until soft and fragrant.  Add your flour and combine well with your onion, cook your flour mixture for about 2-3 minutes (this will remove the raw flour taste).  Add your evaporated milk and broth.  Bring to a gentle boil.  Add your pork, black beans, corn, taco seasoning, and splash of hot sauce.  Stir everything well, and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.  Serve, top with a spoonful of sour cream, shredded cheese, and crushed chips.

this is so easy it's almost unreal the amazing flavors you get from these simple ingredients

this is so easy! The amazing flavors you get from these simple ingredients is unreal

Other delicious topping ideas: fresh cilantro, diced avocado, a spoonful of salsa, diced jalapenos…the sky’s the limit!

time to get topping creative!

time to get topping creative!

Note: if you use the store-bought taco seasoning you may want to add a touch (about 1 teaspoon) of cumin.  It seems the store-bought stuff doesn’t have much cumin flavor.

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Other lovely recipes that work wonderfully with leftover turkey (or chicken or pork….you get the idea!)

Southwest Chicken Salad

with avocados...I know hard telling the difference but take my word for it.

this would be such a refreshing after Thanksgiving’s day dish!

Chicken and Corn Chowder

a little close up of the delicious chowder

so delicious!

Creamy Chicken Bundle Casserole

Perfect weeknight meal!  My kids love helping with meals like this.

Fast, easy and a definite crowd pleaser!

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

Who doesn’t love CHILI?! OH MY WORD THIS IS SO GOOD!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

    Delicious Buffalo Dip

This is as delicious with turkey or pork!

Chicken Shells

feels and smells like my mom's cooking :)

thanks Mom for a great recipe!

Red Enchiladas

please, please do not judge this dish by this horrible pic...please

please, please do not judge this dish by this horrible pic…please

And finally my Sunshine’s favorite:

Sunshine’s Taco Soup

oh the possibilities :)

I could eat my weight in Taco Soup! YIKES!

Peace and I am a Turkey….gobble gobble….

Isabelle

Chicken and Mushroom Stew

Chicken and Mushroom Stew

Chicken and Mushroom Stew

I might be over doing it with my fall menu.  We have been eating stews and roast like it’s going out of style.  And to make matters worse, this is the second time in one week I make this stew.  I don’t often make the same thing twice but especially not twice in one week…..hazards of being a food blogger, we tend to try new stuff on our beloved families pretty much at every meal!

This stew is something I have been thinking about for a while.  My first attempt was actually pretty good.  BUT it left zero leftovers.  I mean it fed us for dinner and that was pretty much it.  I like leftovers.  Also I felt the ratio of mushrooms to chickens was not right.  I needed more mushrooms.  Finally I served this over rice.  Didn’t work for me.  I see extra-wide egg noodles as a much better option.  I didn’t have egg noodles that day and since I am trying to stick to my “don’t go back to the grocery store use what you have on hand” I had to use rice!

The second attempt gave me results I was far more satisfied with and now a keeper!  This recipe will yield enough for 5-6 peeps or 4 with plenty leftovers.

The original plating of my stew. Delicious but a work in progress.

The original plating of my stew. Delicious but a work in progress.

Ingredients:

5 slices bacon, chopped

3 lbs chicken thighs boneless, skinless and cut into bite size pieces (salt and pepper your chicken)

5 tablespoons butter

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 onion, chopped

3 celery rib, chopped

2 cups dry white wine

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1.5 lbs mushrooms, white button, mini portabella, quartered (3 8-ounce packages)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt and Pepper, to taste

How to:

In a large Dutch oven, sautee your chopped bacon until crispy.  Remove to a side plate.  Working in batches brown your chicken, removing each batch to a side plate.  Set chicken aside.  Add your onion and celery, gently cook until soft and fragrant.  *You may add some olive oil to pan after browning your chicken if needed.  Sprinkle your flour over your vegetables and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add your wine to your pan.  Using a wooden spoon gently scrap the bottom of your pan (flavor!!!)  let your mixture gently thicken.  Add your chicken broth.   Add your soy sauce, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce, whisk until combined.  Return your chicken and bacon to your pot.  Add your mushrooms and fresh herbs, bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, partially covered and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on medium low heat.  Stirring occasionally.

from start....

from start….

to finish....oh my!

to finish….oh my!

Serve over egg noodles.

this is the right way to do it!  Simply amazing!

this is the right way to do it! Simply amazing!

Note: this stew is amazing…. but it’s mind-blowing the next day.  I prepped this on Sunday for our Monday night supper.  Work, lacrosse practice and life had us going in all kinds of directions.  I simply re-heated my stew on the stove top and wow!  it was amazing!  It’s as if the flavors decided to triple in sizes!

one last close up!

one last close up!

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Peace and Full of Hazards,

Isabelle

Ham and Bean Soup

Ham and Bean Soup

Ham and Bean Soup

It’s Fall.  Got to go with the flow I guess.  That and I have so much ham to use I don’t know how many ways I can “re-invent” a ham and cheese sandwich!  So soup it is!

It also happens to be a favorite of Mr. Man….I have to keep the man fed and happy, right?  😉

I am not re-inventing the wheel on this one, it’s a classic.  Can’t mess with success!

simply ham and bean....can't go wrong with ham and beans!

simple ham and bean soup….can’t go wrong with ham and beans!

Ingredients:

4-ounces (weight) diced pancetta (or bacon) about 1 cup

4 carrots peeled diced

4 celery sticks diced

2 medium onions peeled and diced

4 15-ounces cans Northern Beans, drained and rinsed

4 cups cooked ham, diced

2 bay leaves

1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme

Salt and Pepper to taste

8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or chicken)

big splash hot sauce

How to:

In a large soup pot (I used my large Creuset pot) render your pancetta (or bacon) until crispy but not burnt.  Using a slotted spoon remove your pancetta to a side plate, do not clean your pot, add your onions, carrots, and celery, cook until tender and fragrant, about 5 or so minutes.  Add your diced ham and cook for another 2-3 minutes until ham is lightly browned.   Add your northern beans, bay leaves, fresh thyme, salt and pepper gently stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add your vegetable broth and splash of hot sauce, bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook on medium-low for 2 hours.  The soup will reduce slightly, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Serve.

one pot and all this magic happens!

one pot and all this magic happens!

This is a classic, simple yet hearth warming soup.  Perfect for fall or winter.  Simple ingredients can truly transform into something magical and soul satisfying dishes.  Give it a try.

delicious

delicious

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Peace and Be a Ham,

Isabelle

I share my recipe here as well:

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Pesto Shrimp

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Pesto Shrimp

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Pesto Shrimp

I have to say I have never been a fan of cream of tomato soup.  I don’t know about you but it’s a total flash back to the canned stuff my mom would serve with grilled cheese sandwiches.  My brother and her would dig in like crazy and I would have a peanut butter or molasses sandwich (it’s a family thing).  This year however I have been blessed with lots of tomatoes….and by blessed I mean I have canned so much that I have enough to carry us through the long nasty winter months.  I needed a little creativity with the final crop.

So with my last few tomatoes, I decided to “welcome” fall with some more roasted tomatoes and turn them into a lovely soup.  Hopefully this will be a nice change for my lack of cream of tomato excitement!

well hello gorgeous!

well hello gorgeous!

Ingredients:

For the soup:

2 1/2 lbs tomatoes, quartered

2 medium onions, quartered

4 garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 “twig” of each fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (chicken broth will work as well)

1/2 cup milk (or cream if you are feeling particularly frisky!)

For the pesto shrimp:

4 cups fresh spinach

1/2 cup almond

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar

4 garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup olive oil

1lb raw shrimp, peeled & cleaned

How to:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine your tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil (1 tablespoon) and fresh herbs.  Toss lightly to combine and pour onto a baking sheet.  Roast in your preheated oven for 40 minutes.  Remove fresh herbs twigs.  Let cool slightly.

nothing is better looking than fresh from the garden veggies and herbs!

nothing is better looking than fresh from the garden veggies and herbs!

here we go!

here we go!

pure happiness = roasted vegetables!

pure happiness = roasted vegetables!

Meanwhile, prepare your pesto.  In a food processor (I use a ninja) put your spinach, almond, sharp cheddar, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil, pulse until you get the desired consistency.

aaaaahhhh pesto is so pretty!

aaaaahhhh pesto is so pretty!

In a large bowl toss your raw shrimp with 2 heaping tablespoons of pesto.  Put your shrimp on a baking sheet and roast in your oven for 8 minutes.  Careful not to over cook your shrimp you will end up with rubber!  Set aside.

all together with lots o' flavor!

all together with lots o’ flavor!

careful not to eat all those before you finish your soup....they are addictive!

careful not to eat all those before you finish your soup….they are addictive!

In a large pot put your roasted vegetables and your vegetable broth, bring to a gentle boil for about 10-15 minutes.  Turn off your heat, using an immersion blender (or you could put everything in your blender) puree your soup to desired consistency.  Add your milk or cream, bring to a gentle simmer (no not boil) for another 5 minutes.

almost there!

almost there!

To serve, ladle your soup into your bowls, add some shrimp (I did about 6 per bowls) and top with a spoonful of pesto.

so gorgeous and simply scrumptious!

so gorgeous and simply scrumptious!

Simply delicious!  “Canned” soup has nothing on this little amazing soup!  Lots of fresh roasted tomato flavors and the pesto makes it all come together.

Note: as you know I love pesto, I always use the same technique and formula….again do as you wish, use what you have: basil, arugula, kale…pine nuts, almonds, walnuts….parmesan, swiss, romano….etc…

Printer Friendly:  Cream of Roasted Tomatoes Soup with Pesto Shrimp

Peace and in case you didn’t know I was using my sarcastic font to say “welcome” fall…. 😦

Isabelle

I shared my recipe here as well:

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

So it’s May…It’s getting nice and hot outside…just the way I love it!  Mr Man texted me a recipe he found for his favorite soup: Panera Bread’s Black Bean Soup.  Ummmm OK?  I am up for soup in May.

Before I continue…I have to point out TWO important things.

First off, I am anti-Panera Bread.  Why?  I think in some ways just to irk my mother.  She loves that restaurant.  Anytime you would ask her where we should go for lunch she would say Panera Bread.  So my dad and I started to refuse to go there.  Now she will say: “let’s go for lunch but I know I am not allowed to ask for Panera Bread so let’s find a place that you guys prefer”.  She even uses a bit of a sarcastic tone.  Not cool Mom!  I just find the restaurant and food over-rated…there I said it.  Panera Bread is over-rated!

Second, when Matt went to Panera Bread with a client of his, they went to Panera Bread (obviously! Hence this story!).  He had the Black Bean Soup.  Seriously, it was as if  he had found Atlantis.  He talked and talked and talked some more about that darn soup.  I swear, I thought he would never stop.  He did and then he found the recipe in the local newspaper….so then making THAT soup for supper became important and vital to our well-being.

I aim to please…and to irk my Mom….and to make my husband stop talking about a soup.

It is quite delicious and surprisingly healthy!

It is quite delicious and surprisingly healthy!

Ingredients:

1 onion finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 celery ribs, chopped

1/4 large red bell pepper, finely chopped

2 small chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes

1 1/2  cups boiling water

2 15-ounce cans black beans undrained

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch

How to:

In a large dutch oven or stock pot add your onion, garlic, celery, red bell pepper bouillon cubes and boiling water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add half a can of black beans, salt and cumin, cook for another 5 minutes.

Puree soup in a blender or immersion blender.  Add the rest of the beans to the soup.  Combine the cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons of water.  Add the lemon juice and the cornstarch to the soup, bring to a simmer and cook until thickened.

looking good so far!

looking good so far!

looking good and smelling fantastic!

looking good and smelling fantastic!

Serve with finely diced red pepper.  You could even add a dollop of sour cream or maybe some diced up jalapenos…trust me I could go on!  Which I won’t because that would be oh so not like me….sarcasm is much like me!

Enjoy, this is a super easy and wallet friendly soup.  I bet you could make the whole thing for what they sell a bowl at Panera Bread.  Crazy isn’t it!

delicious any time of the year!

delicious any time of the year!

Printer Friendly: Black Bean Soup

Peace and Irk,

Isabelle

Note: I actually made this soup at 6:45am.  It does make your house smell fantastically delicious!  Great way to start the day!

Second Note:  Per Mr. Man…add twice as much cumin as what this call for!

Final Note: I have no way of knowing if this is the true Panera Bread recipe but that’s what the newspaper said!

Beef Goulash

Beef Goulash

Beef Goulash

Not to be confused with American Chop Suey or American Goulash.  I am talking about the real deal here.  In fact, I am not even sure I can say that…I mean it seems that most East European countries have their own version of Goulash. (even Italy has it own version and it’s not in the Eastern Block!)   It is the National dish of Hungary.

Let me tell you a little story about Goulash or feel free to skip to the “ingredients and how to” for the recipe….yes, it’s a “typical” Isabelle story….as always!

Back in college I was studying (and graduated with a degree in) Political Science and History (yes I am a sucker for loooooong books about the world!).  In one of my classes: Eastern Europe, circa 18something to 19something (who knows), my lovely professor, a petite feisty polish woman, was talking about Goulash Politics.  For some crazy reason I was awake and decided to blurt out that Goulash Politics was just like the dish: meat and other “crap” thrown in to make it palatable….NOT A WIN FOR ISABELLE.  She decided to pull me aside after class and explain to me the “rules” of her classroom (in the entryway of said classroom)….I want to tell you at this point that this was the one class that I would leave only to pass by the one boy I had a crush on.  His class was right after my class and he would wait right by the entry door….some weird psychology class but still…I could make eye contact and pretend to be cool.  Needless to say having my butt chewed outside the classroom for all to hear and see didn’t help my cool factor.  After that, no more eye contact and certainly no more “smart aleck”comments in my ever so exciting Eastern Euro Poli Sci class.

not Goulash Politics....yummy and flavorful Beef Goulash

not Goulash Politics….yummy and flavorful Beef Goulash

Goulash is delicious.  It’s a well thought out meat stew with plenty of local (and personal) flavors added according to tradition.  I had to research a delicious version of this dish and add my own little twist.  Turns out I owe my teacher an apology, Goulash is nothing like Goulash Politics…it’s delicious! 😉

Adapted from Tyler Florence: Beef Goulash found: here

Ingredients:

4 slices bacon, chopped
3.5 pounds beef stew meat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 roasted red bell peppers, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
2 teaspoons caraway seeds, toasted and ground
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, hand crushed
4-5 cups low-sodium beef broth
5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
1/2 cup sour cream (plus more for serving)
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)
How to:
Place a large heavy pot over medium heat and add the bacon.  Cook for about 5 minutes until crisp and remove to a paper towel and reserve.  Brown 1/2 your beef in the hot bacon fat evenly on all sides, season generously with salt and pepper.  Remove your meat to a plate and finish with second 1/2 of meat.  Return all your beef to your pot.  Sprinkle the flour evenly in the pot and stir to dissolve any clumps.  Add a little oil if necessary to keep the meat from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Add in the onions, garlic, roasted peppers, paprika, and caraway; cook and stir for 2 minutes until fragrant.  Stir in the vinegar, tomatoes, and 4 cups broth.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, covered, stirring occasionally.  At this point you may want to add more broth depending on how your sauce has reduced.
Add the potatoes.  Crumble the reserved bacon into the stew and continue to simmer for 30 minutes, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender.  Season with salt and pepper.
nothing exciting here....just lots of delicious flavors simmering away :)

nothing exciting here….just lots of delicious flavors simmering away 🙂

Remove from heat and stir the sour cream into the goulash just before serving.  Garnish with the chopped parsley (if using) and a dollop of sour cream.
Simply delicious and belly warming, a perfect winter meal.

Simply delicious and belly warming, a perfect winter meal.

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Peace and I am not using my degree on a regular basis…in case you were wondering 😉
Isabelle

Superbowl Grub

Yes, it is that time of year.  THE Superbowl….which for most is all about the football.  Unless you are like me…it’s all about the food!  So today I thought it would be lovely to share with you a few delicious ideas for the upcoming super food fest!  I had a list of about 30 things that would be Superbowl Party Perfect but in the end I realize that I might just be hungry or in need of scrumptious grub right this moment…hence why I cut the list down to 12, the yummy dozen I guess…not The Dirty Dozen…as in the movie…let’s move on!

My whole goal was minimal “kitchen time” during the party.  Prep and cook everything ahead of time so you can thoroughly enjoy the game.

Appetizers/Snack Food:

Jalapeno Popper Spread : tastes like the real deal but all put together in a lovely little dip.

Jalapeno Popper Spread

Jalapeno Popper Spread

Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos : so perfectly delicious and if you happen to live when grilling is acceptable in Jan…. well you’ll look like a rock star!

Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos

Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos

Amazing White Trash Puff Balls : it’s the Superbowl…not a dinner at the Palace, have fun!  Fun name, scrumptious taste and a crowd pleaser!

Amazing White Trash Puff Balls

Amazing White Trash Puff Balls

Salsa Verde : a versatile, easy, healthy and mouthwatering salsa.

I don't know why but this makes me happy!

Salsa Verde

Black Eye Pea Dip : perfect for little scoop chips, you can spice it up according to your gang.

Black Eye Pea Dip, Great Party Dip!

Black Eyed Pea Dip, Great Party Dip!

Buffalo Chicken Dip : a classic and tasty treat: prep ahead of time and pop in your oven when the timing is right!

    Delicious Buffalo Dip

Delish Buffalo Chicken Dip

Main Course:

White Chicken Chili : a little change up from regular red chili, still succulent!

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

Chicken and Corn Chowder : looking for something more than just chili?  Or maybe you want to expand the old football watching concept?  Either way this chowder is a perfect make ahead of time dish sure to please everyone.

Chicken and Corn Chowder

Chicken and Corn Chowder

Side:

Cheesy Beer Bread : come on, you need a good side to a lovely chili or chowder (I was going to put my amazing Cornbread but I don’t want you guys to think I am obsessed…although if you have made and eaten the cornbread then you would understand!)

Cheesy Corn Bread, amazing Crust and outstanding flavor

Cheesy Corn Bread, delightful crust and outstanding flavor

Dessert:

Buttermilk Brownies with Coconut-Pecan Frosting : a cross between a brownie and a chocolaty cake with a stunning coconut topping.

Buttermilk Brownies with Coconut-Pecan Frosting

Buttermilk Brownies with Coconut-Pecan Frosting

Nutella Brownies with Biscoff Swirl : Nutella and Biscoff….enough said!

Nutella Brownie with Biscoff Swirl

Nutella Brownie with Biscoff Swirl

Cocktails:

Lemon-Ginger Martini : we all know ginger is great for digestion and with all the lovely food being consumed we certainly could use a little tummy help!

Lemon-Ginger Martini, perfect for the summertime!

Lemon-Ginger Martini

I hope this was helpful and please let me know if you think I have missed something.  Or even if you have a creative idea for the Super Food Party!

Peace and Love,

Isabelle