Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tomato Florentine Soup

The first time I had Tomato Florentine Soup was back in high school. I had just graduated and spent the summer at the lake and going to Weight Watchers. After each meeting my mother and I would go get soup and salad at Shoney's. I think the Tomato Florentine Soup and the salad bar was the secret to my summer weight loss that year. I have tried a couple of soup recipes trying to recreate what I remember. It wasn't until I combined two recipes that I came up with the nostalgic soup. It is the perfect blend of pasta and spinach in a sweet tomato broth. I made a pot for dinner tonight. I am looking forward to the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. So good!

Tomato Florentine Soup
Makes 8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes with onion, celery and bell peppers
10 oz condensed tomato bisque 
4 cups low-sodium fat free chicken broth
4 cups low-sodium mixed vegetable juice(like V-8)
1 - 1/2 cup small shell macaroni
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg    
1 Tbsp sugar    
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is very tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are softened and the liquid is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Add tomato bisque stir to combine.

Stir in the broth, macaroni, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the macaroni is tender, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the spinach, pepper, nutmeg and sugar. Cook until the spinach just begins to wilt, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Serve sprinkled with the cheese.

Linking to:
Love Bakes Good Cakes: The Ultimate Soup Recipe List Linky

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Potato Salad with Olives

Where there is Gumbo there must be potato salad. We almost always make potato salad when we serve Gumbo. Sunday we made one to serve with the Turkey Gumbo. My mother's potato salad is different from any I have ever had. She adds olives and celery. The olives support the usual dill pickle in adding a salty bite. The celery gives a nice crunch. This potato salad is so good you just can't make enough. You will miss it when it is gone. I promise.

Potato Salad with Olives
Serves 12


5 lbs potatoes (any thin skin potato, I like Yukon gold)
5 eggs
3 ribs of celery, finely chopped
2 serving spoons dill relish
1 small jar(5.75 oz) sliced pimento stuffed olives
1/4 small onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
Handful Parsley, chopped
salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes


Peel potatoes, quarter or cut into uniform sized pieces. Place in a pot of cold salted water until all potatoes are peeled and quartered. Drain potatoes and cover with fresh water and large pinch of salt. Place on high heat and bring to a boil. Boil 10 to 13 minutes until a fork goes into potato and comes out easily. Drain potatoes and return to pot.

Place eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water. When water comes to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit on burner for 13 minutes. Drain and cover with cold water. Peel eggs and mince with a fork.

Combine celery, dill relish, olives, onion and parsley in a large bowl, stir to combine. Add eggs and potatoes, stir again to combine. Mix mustard into mayonnaise, add to salad, mix well adding salt, black and red pepper seasoning to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Linking to:
Carole's Chatter: Food on Fridays - American Favorites

Turkey Gumbo

The first time I remember having Turkey Gumbo was at my aunt's in Reserve, LA. My Dad's younger sister and her family served a HUGE pot of Turkey Gumbo straight from the stove. I am having a hard time remembering the exact occasion, maybe Christmas? The entire family funneled through the galley kitchen serving themselves a bowl of gumbo before the meal. It was so good. I was not there for the cooking just the eating. But I remember it being a little smokey from the sausage or maybe the turkey and it had mushrooms. I love that about the gumbos in Reserve. My maw maw and aunt put mushrooms in their chicken gumbos sometimes.

Gumbo has always been a tradition for my family on Christmas Eve. Usually leftovers become a starter before Christmas dinner. This recipe is a new tradition I have started for the weekend after Thanksgiving. My family enjoys this more than Turkey sandwiches. I got the idea from a Marcelle Bienvenu article in The Forum back in 2007 about holiday leftovers. She published her friend's Turkey Bone Gumbo recipe. I used her recipe, family gumbo recipes and memories to come up with my recipe. I use andouille for that smokey flavor. I add a tomato, that is borrowed from Marcelle's recipe. My family doesn't use tomatoes in chicken gumbo typically. I find you cannot detect it in the finished gumbo but it adds to the flavor of the broth. I also use mushrooms to remember those family gumbos in Reserve. So good! Mushrooms and turkey go together in my opinion. Occasionally if the family eats more turkey than usual, I have to go to the store for fresh turkey to add. I use turkey breast and add it to the roux after the andouille and before the mushrooms. This gumbo is so rich from the stock that my mother and I have discussed making our chicken and andouille gumbo in this style. We will see? That is for another post.

Turkey Gumbo
Makes 8 quarts, 16 servings

Broth:             1 Turkey Carcass
                        2 medium Onions, quartered no need to peel
                        2 Carrots, cut in two inch pieces no need to peel
                        3 ribs of Celery, cut in two inch pieces
                        2 bay leafs
                        1 Tbsp of black peppercorns
                        2 tsp kosher salt
                        cool water to cover ingredients

Place all ingredients in a large stock. (I use a pot with a strainer basket) Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer on medium low for two hours uncovered. Remove from heat and strain out all solids and discard. Pass the broth through a fat separator. Set broth aside for future use in recipe below.

Gumbo:        3/4 cup flour
                        3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
                        2 medium onions, diced small
                        1 bell pepper, diced small
                        3 ribs of celery, diced small
                        1 medium tomato, diced small
                        2 lbs andouille sausage, sliced into 3/8 inch slices
                        8 oz mushrooms, sliced
                        Turkey broth
                        2 1/2 to 3 lbs leftover turkey meat, cut into large pieces
                        1 bunch green onions, sliced
                        1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
                        2 cups rice, uncooked
                        Salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and creole seasoning to taste

Prepare rice to package directions. Dice all vegetables and set aside. You can place onion, bell pepper and celery in the same bowl. Keep other ingredients separate.

To prepare the roux place flour and oil in a large heavy pot. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon over medium heat until roux is the color of caramel to milk chocolate. I like it just shy of the chocolate color. When roux is the correct color add onion, bell pepper and celery. Stir occasionally to make sure it does not stick. You can cover pot in between stirs. You are looking for the veggies to be soft and create liquid in the roux. When veggies are soft add tomato. Continue to cook until tomato almost disappears. Add sausage and then mushrooms. Stir until mushrooms and sausage appear cooked. Add leftover turkey meat. Slowly add Turkey broth until desired constistancy. You are looking for a full bodied soup broth not a stew. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add green onions and parsley. Check seasonings and add to taste. Serve over cooked rice in large soup bowls.

Note: Leftover stock can be frozen for later use. I had about a quart leftover this year.

Linking to:
Carole's Chatter: Food on Fridays - Leftovers

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Italian Artichoke Casserole

The Thanksgiving weekend is over. I have had my turkey sandwich and the leftover turkey went into the Gumbo pot. There is a little Butternut Squash Parsnip Soup and Italian Artichoke Casserole left. I realized today I forgot to post the casserole recipe. My mom has been making this for years. The original recipe only used one can each of green beans and artichoke hearts. It was more of a bread stuffing that way. We have added more veggies and it makes for a very delicious side. Very different from the usual green bean casserole. I hope you will try it. Makes a great potluck dish.

Italian Artichoke Casserole

1 pinch of cayenne and black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Several cloves of garlic, chopped (2 tsp)
1 medium chopped onion
1 cup snipped parsley
3 cans green beans, drained and chopped
3 cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Saute onion, garlic and parsley in olive oil.  Add green beans; cook 5 minutes.  Add artichoke hearts and mix.  Add bread crumbs and cheese; mix well.  Spoon in slightly greased 2 quart casserole.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 

8 Servings

Nutrition Facts per Serving: Calories 273.7; Total Fat 18.6 g; Saturated Fat 4.6 g; Polyunsaturated Fat 2.4 g; Monounsaturated Fat 11.3 g; Cholesterol 10.0 mg;   Sodium 992.8 mg; Potassium 93.1 mg; Total Carbohydrate 18.8 g; Dietary Fiber 2.6 g; Sugars 4.4 g; Protein 9.1 g.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Turkey with Herbes de Provence

I have been using this recipe now for years. The original recipe called for stuffing the turkey with an orange too. My family did not care for it. So I omit the orange and add celery and carrot. I also add seasoned salt and creole seasoning. All in all it makes a delicious Turkey.

Can you believe I forgot to photograph the whole turkey?

Turkey with Herbes de Provence
Adapted from: Giada De Laurentiis
Yield: 8 to 10 servings


1 (14 to 15-pound) turkey, neck and giblets reserved
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 celery rib, cut into pieces
1 carrot, cut into pieces
6 fresh rosemary sprigs
6 fresh sage sprigs
6 fresh oregano sprigs
6 fresh thyme sprigs
7 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp herbes de Provence
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Tony’s Creole Seasoning
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth (approximate amount)
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour


To make the turkey: Position the rack in the lowest third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Rinse the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the turkey on a rack set inside a large roasting pan. Place the lemon wedges, onion, celery, carrot and 2 sprigs of each fresh herb in the main turkey cavity. Tie the legs together to hold the shape of the turkey. Stir 2 tablespoons of butter, the herbes de Provence, seasoned salt, creole seasoning, oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat just until the butter melts. Rub the butter mixture all over the turkey and between the turkey breast meat and skin. Place the turkey neck and giblets in roasting pan. (Recipe can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before roasting.)

Cover the turkey breast with foil. Roast for 20 minutes. Pour 3 cups of broth into the pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining sprigs of fresh herbs to the pan. Roast the turkey for 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Remove the foil from the turkey; pour 1 more cup of broth into the pan. Continue roasting the turkey until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F to 175 degrees F or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 1 hour and 30 minutes longer. Transfer the turkey to a platter and tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes while preparing the gravy.

To make the gravy: Strain the turkey pan juices from the roasting pan through a sieve and into a 4-cup glass measuring cup; discard the solids. Spoon off the fat from atop the pan juices. Add enough chicken broth, about 1 to 2 cups, to the pan juices to measure 4 cups total. Melt the remaining butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the broth. Simmer until the gravy thickens slightly, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the turkey with the gravy.

Butternut Squash Parsnip Soup

This is one dish that can be made ahead. Just freeze before adding the whipping cream. Thaw and heat on Thanksgiving day. Garnish as directed. This is a wonderful soup and is great all winter long. I love using smoked paprika as part of the garnish. Delicious!

*UPDATED* with a new photo
from Thanksgiving 2013

Butternut Squash Parsnip Soup
Source: Southern Living, Feb 2005
Yield: Makes about 6 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)


1 (3- to 4-pound) butternut squash
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and quartered
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
5 cups low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Garnishes: sour cream, paprika


Cut squash in half; remove seeds. Place squash, cut sides down, and apples on a lightly greased aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until squash pulp is tender. Remove from oven; cool. Scoop out squash pulp, discarding shells.

Melt butter in olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion and next 3 ingredients, and sauté 20 minutes or until onion is caramel colored. Add squash, apple quarters, and chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring often, 10 minutes. Remove from heat; cool.

Process squash mixture, in batches, in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Return to Dutch oven. Stir in whipping cream, paprika, and cumin, and simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until heated. Garnish, if desired.

I got to the pot last, so this is a messy photo

Oyster Dressing

This is a traditional cajun side served at my Mom's side of the family's Thanksgiving. I guess it could be called Rice Dressing or Dirty Rice. It was served at every Norco, LA holiday meal. It has to be my favortie dish. I don't think it would be Thanksgiving without it.

Oyster Dressing


1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 large bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cup chicken livers, cleaned and chopped
2 cups rice, uncooked
8 oz oysters, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
black pepper
red pepper flakes
Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning


Prepare rice according to package directions.

Brown pork and beef. Add onion, bell pepper and celery. When vegetables are soft season to taste. Add chicken livers. When livers are cooked add oysters, green onions and parsley. When oysters are cooked turn off heat and stir in rice. Check seasoning again. Serve.


Omit Oysters and add 8 oz fresh mushrooms , sliced when you add the other vegetables.

Omit livers. Dressing will not be as rich or “dirty”.

Linking to:

Memories by the Mile: Tuesday Trivia - LOUISIANA and Link Party
Carole's Chatter: Food on Friday's
The Tumbleweed Contessa: Thanksgiving Saturday Linky Party

Sweet Potato Dressing

This is a family recipe from my Dad's side of the family. It was always on the table with the Turkey when we were in Reserve, LA.  My mother has to make two dressings each year so my father can have his favorite. It is a delicious and savory way to serve sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Dressing
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 large bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 very large sweet potatoes
1 cup firmly packed shredded lettuce
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
black pepper
red pepper flakes
Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning

Bake sweet potatoes until soft. I use my microwave’s potato setting.

Brown pork and beef. Add onion, bell pepper and celery. When vegetables are soft season to taste. Then add shredded lettuce. When lettuce almost disappears add green onions and parsley. Peel sweet potatoes. Then stir in sweet potatoes one at a time until well incorporated. Check seasoning again. Serve.


If you like your sweet potatoes sweet you can add sugar to taste.

If you like your dressing more savory add one baked Idaho potato peeled.

Linking to:

Memories by the Mile: Tuesday Trivia - LOUISIANA and Link Party
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
The Tumbleweed Contessa: Thanksgiving Saturday Linky Party

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Thanksgiving Menu

I love Thanksgiving. It may just be one of my favorite holidays.  My favorite person in the whole world comes to stay with me, there is great food, family and friends. I have decided rather than waiting for the Thanksgiving meal to be prepared and photographed to post our family recipes. I will post the recipes and update the post with photos later.

Our family Thanksgiving is a mix of old south Louisiana family recipes and new family traditions. The two traditional south Louisiana family recipes you might like to know about are Oyster Dressing and Sweet Potato Dressing. It was not Thanksgiving or Christmas without these sides on the table with the Turkey. Oyster Dressing is a traditional side on my Mom’s side of the family.  I guess it could be called Rice Dressing or Dirty Rice. It was served at every Norco, LA holiday meal. Sweet Potato Dressing is a traditional side on Dad’s side of the family. It was always on the table with the Turkey when we were in Reserve, LA.  My mother (and now me) has to make two dressings each year so my father can have his favorite too. The rest of the menu is considered new traditions. I have been brining and roasting the Turkey for years. Brining really delivers a very moist turkey. The only item that seems to change from year to year is the green vegetable side. We just have not settled on one recipe. Even as I type this we are still debating. It all depends on how pretty the fresh green beans are this year. Below is our menu this year. I will post photos as the dishes are prepared. I hope you and yours have a very Happy Thanksgiving!


Cable Car Martini
Pinot Noir


Steamed Green Beans or Italian Artichoke Casserole
Cranberry Sauce


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fun with Coffee

I grew up on Community Coffee a Louisiana original. My family always brews Community Dark Roast. I keep Dark Roast and Cafe Special in my house. Cafe Special is a little smoother than the Dark Roast. When it starts to get cold outside, my coffee consumption goes up. In fact, I am drinking Spiced Coffee made with Dark Roast Community right now. Here are a few things I like to do with coffee.

Coffee Tip

Sprinkle ground cinnamon over your coffee grounds when you brew your morning coffee. It is delicious! You may never make a pot without it again.

This Spiced Coffee is amazing. I got this recipe from Anne Thornton's show Dessert First. It makes the house smell like the holidays. It fits just perfectly in a half pint jar for giving too. Wrap the entire jar in a holiday tea towel, tie with a ribbon and the recipe. Makes the perfect hostess gift.

Spiced Coffee
Serves: 8

8 Tbsp. Ground Coffee
1 Tbsp. Orange Zest
2 tsp. Cinnamon, ground
1 tsp. Nutmeg, ground
1 tsp. Cloves, ground
8 cups of Water

Combine all ingredients breaking up any clumps. Place mix in filter basket of coffee pot and brew with 8 cups water.

Note: Use dried orange zest if giving as a gift. You don't know when the recipient will be using the coffee and fresh may spoil the batch. Microwave the grated zest of orange on a paper towel-lined plate, tossing every 30 seconds, until dry, about 1 1/2 minutes. 

Diet Coke Blāk

Do you remember Coke Blāk?

It was a coke product with a slight flavor of coffee that was discontinued in the states.

Well .... I started freezing left over coffee in ice cube trays for iced coffee and blended coffee drinks. My sister reminded me of Coke Blāk. She suggest adding an ice cube to Diet Coke.

I tried it, and it is so good. It works best if you place the coffee ice cube on top of regular ice and pour a room temperature diet coke over the top. 1-1/2 Tbsp of black coffee added to 12 oz diet coke works too. I hope you enjoy this tip.

Linking to:
See Ya in the Gumbo

It's Fall Y'all
Fall Into the Holidays
The Tumbleweed Contessa: Cinnamon Saturday Dishes

Friday, November 16, 2012

Almond Cheesecake

This is one of the new traditions at Thanksgiving. I made it for the first time last Thanksgiving. It was such a hit I had to make it again for Christmas. It is an amazing cheesecake from George Geary's cookbook called 125 Best Cheesecake Recipes. The almonds create such a rich flavor you won’t believe this is a lower-calorie cheesecake.

Almond Cheesecake

Serves 10 to 12

Crust:             1-1/2 cups almond cookie crumbs
                        3 Tbsp margarine, melted
Filling:             2 (8 oz) packages Neufchatel cheese or light cream cheese, softened
                        1 cup lower-fat sour cream
                        1 cup granulated sugar
                        3 eggs
                        3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
                        1/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
                        1 tsp vanilla
                        1/4 tsp ground allspice
Decoration:  8 oz lower-fat whipped topping
                        1/4 cup ground almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Use a 9-inch springform pan with 3” sides.

Crust: In a medium bowl, combine almond cookie crumbs and margarine. Press into bottom of cheesecake pan and freeze.

Filling: In a large mixer bowl, beat cheese, sour cream and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Fold in flour, almonds, vanilla and allspice. Pour over frozen crust. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the top is light brown and the center has a slight jiggle to it. Cool on a rack for 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before decorating.

Decoration: Top with whipped topping and dust with a sprinkling of ground almonds.

Variation: Spike the almond flavor with 2 Tbsp almond liqueur.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  Calories 336.1; Total Fat 19.7 g; Saturated Fat 9.2 g; Polyunsaturated Fat 3.1 g; Monounsaturated Fat 6.4 g; Cholesterol 83.0 mg; Sodium 285.1 mg; Potassium 144.7 mg; Total Carbohydrate 31.3 g; Dietary Fiber 0.8 g; Sugars 23.1 g; Protein 8.0 g. 9 WW PointsPlus.

Notes: I used Italian amaretti cookies for the crumbs. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. This will prevent the cheesecake from cracking. Definitely use the almond liqueur. I used amaretto and added it with the vanilla. This cheesecake can be frozen too. Remove springform ring, wrap in plastic wrap and then foil and place in the freezer. Just allow 24 hours for it to defrost in the refrigerator and wait to decorate just before serving.

NI includes amaretto; however it is calculated with graham crackers not almond cookie. Sparkrecipes did not have a listing for almond cookie.

Brining a Turkey

I have been brining a Turkey for years now. It makes for a very moist Turkey. I could not do it without the help of a friend who always lifts the container with brine and Turkey into the refrigerator.

Brining a Turkey 
Source: Tyler Florence 


3 gallons water
1 cup sugar
2 cup salt, kosher (will reduce to 1 cup this year)
Palmful (1 Tbsp) black peppercorns
Palmful (1 Tbsp) Juniper berries
Palmful (1 Tbsp) Allspice
1 head of garlic, cut in half
3 sprigs Rosemary
3 sprigs Thyme
Bay leaf
1   frozen whole turkey (14 lb.), thawed


Combine all ingredients except turkey, stir until  sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour into plastic container large enough to hold brining liquid and turkey.

Remove and discard neck and giblets from turkey cavities. Rinse turkey; drain well.

Add turkey to brining liquid; cover. Refrigerate at least 12 hours or overnight. Remove turkey from liquid; rinse well with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Cook as desired.

Tips: When choosing the container used to brine the turkey, be sure to select one that will fit in your refrigerator. The turkey needs to be completely submerged in the brining liquid. If turkey is not covered, prepare enough additional brining liquid to completely cover turkey. Another brining method is to brine the turkey in an oven-roasting bag or large brining bag. Place turkey and brining liquid in bag; close bag tightly. Place in 16-qt. stockpot or container. Brine in refrigerator, occasionally turning bag to ensure even brining.

Food Facts: Turkey neck and giblets can be used to make soup stock or gravy. If unable to use within a few days, freeze until ready to use.

How to Thaw Frozen Turkey: Place frozen turkey, breast-side up, in its unopened wrapper on tray in refrigerator. Allow 5 hours per pound to completely thaw the turkey. Never thaw frozen meat on the countertop at room temperature.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Beef Stroganoff Soup

Years ago, I went on a day trip to Asheville, North Carolina to visit a chapel for a client. No, I did not get to visit the Biltmore Estate. I still mourn that fact a little. We did stop at a little bistro and had a great meal. The soup of the day was Beef Stroganoff Soup. It was creamy and delicious. I had never had anything like it before. So when I returned home I began researching recipes. I found one [original recipe] that was great but loaded with butter and heavy cream. Believe it or not it had a cup of butter and two cups of heavy whipping cream. Last night I tried to lighten the recipe a bit. It is still very creamy and loaded with flavor. If you like beef with mushrooms or mushroom soup you will enjoy this recipe.

Beef Stroganoff Soup
Makes 4 servings


2 Tbsp. light butter
1 lb. tenderloin tips, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion diced
1 cup shredded carrots
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups water
1 Tbsp. beef base
Salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste
1 cup of half and half
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup chopped chives for garnish


Season the beef with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. In a 3.5 qt. pot, melt the butter and add tips, garlic. Cook until meat is browned, about 5 minutes.

Add mushrooms, onions and carrots. Sauté until onion is translucent.

Add flour, cook and stir 2 minutes. Add water and beef base, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add half and half and taste to adjust seasonings. Remove from heat and add sour cream.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with chives.

Linking to:
Memories by the Mile: Tuesday Trivia - North Carolina and Linky Party

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Grilled Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Tonight I fought the chilly temperatures by firing up the grill. The grocery store has beautiful poblano peppers right now. So I bought a few to stuff and grilled. Tonight I stuffed them with grilled flank steak and Mexican Quesadilla cheese. They were so good. This is definetly a tried and true recipe. We have made it several times now, with chicken, beef and shrimp. It is a great recipe to make with friends or family. The extra hands make it faster to prepare. My sister was the sous chef today. She grated the cheese and peeled the poblanos. We only encountered one spicy poblano this time. See the large pepper without a stem on this plate. It was the "devilish" pepper, very spicy but still delicious. They say the peppers with a curved stem are spicy. There is some truth to that but its not foolproof. So be selective when purchasing your peppers. I am already looking forward to purchasing a few more myself.

Grilled Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Serves 4

8 poblano peppers
1 lb chicken, beef, pork or shrimp, marinated or seasoned
8 oz Quesadilla, Monterey Jack or Mexican Blend cheese, shredded
1 onion
1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper

Marinate or season meat of choice 30 minutes and bring to room temperature before ready to cook. Meanwhile, slice bell pepper in half or thirds and remove the stem, ribs and seeds. Slice onion into three slices. Rub all vegetables including poblano peppers with a little olive oil. Poblanos should be left whole. Place everything meat and veggies on the grill. Grill for five minutes on each side on high heat. Remove poblanos and cover with plastic wrap. Check meat and other veggies for doneness and remove from grill. Let meat rest for 10 minutes. Peel off the skin of poblanos. Make a slit in the poblano from stem to tip, remove seeds and veins being careful not to split open the sides of the pepper. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil. Chop onions, bell pepper and meat into bit size pieces, combine with cheese. This is your stuffing for the poblanos. Distribute stuffing between poblanos. Place sheet of foil with peppers back on the grill. Grill until cheese melts and brings to brown a little about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve.

Tips:     Poblanos peppers with straight stems are “usually” (not always) less spicy than peppers with curved or bent stems. Be sure to remove all seeds and veins to have a milder pepper.

            Marinate the shrimp in the marinade given below. Or season the beef, pork and chicken with fajita seasoning also below.

Shrimp Marinade

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup salsa 
3 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp horseradish
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp cilantro

Combine everything in a jar and shake to combine. Let marinade at least 30 min before grilling.

Fajita Seasoning

1/4 cup paprika
3 tablespoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Combine all ingredients and mix with your fingers or a fork. Store in an airtight container.

Linking to:
Carole's Chatter - Food on Fridays: Mexican Food
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