Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread is another fall favorite at my house.  I make this from the first leaf falling off the trees and all the way through the holidays. You might find it hanging out up until Easter.  This gets made a lot.  This another recipe of mine that is well used, and stained.

I make it in large loaves, small loaves, and mini loaves.  I give it away and I also freeze it for later.  Small loaves make great food gifts to appointments during the holidays.  Wrap completely cooled loaves in holiday colored plastic wrap, and add a bow.  When doing this I like to add a small container of whipped butter and perhaps a plastic knife since most places don’t stock serveware like we do at home.

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Frog Eye Soup

Frog eye soup was invented in my kitchen because of an ingredient shortage.  We had plenty of groceries in the house.  I am certain I was cooking for some holiday meal in the coming days.

My brother was making an unexpected visit that evening and I offered to make some homemade chicken noodle soup and sandwiches for dinner.  I usually have chicken noodle soup ingredients on hand and I knew this would not require another trip to the store, because everyone knows I love chicken soup!!

I happily went about my business in the kitchen and started simmering some chicken breasts in chicken broth.   I don’t always make a super-rich broth, especially when I am short on time.

I tossed in some onions, celery, and carrots.  About 20 minutes before my brother was schedule to arrive I discovered I had no soup noodles!! What? At my house?

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Curried Tomato Soup

Curried Tomato Soup is based on two of my favorite dishes: tomato bisque and Indian butter chicken. Growing up I always ate the Campbell’s Tomato Soup. Up until recently, this was our go-to tomato soup. That was until I learned to make a solid tomato soup on my own.

If you’ve never been to an Indian restaurant, shame on you. My local Indian restaurant isn’t well visited by the locals, which is unfortunate because I believe they have some of the best food in town. My absolute favorite dish at this restaurant is their butter chicken. Butter chicken is a spiced (but not a hot spice, think cinnamon, cardamon, etc.) tomoato and coconut milk sauce that is used to simmer dark meat chicken. It’s absolutely fantastic with an order of garlic naan.

Anyways, one day while eating butter chicken with my wife during lunch, I had the thought of smashing together our tomato soup recipe with a butter chicken recipe. Curried tomato soup is our final result after tinkering with this recipe. We have also discovered that this recipe goes extremely well with our Indian Spiced Meatballs. Just toss the meatballs directly into your soup and you’ll be amazed.

For this recipe, you’ll probably need to head to your local Asian/Indian market. The karai methi will most likely be one of the more difficult items to fine. Since the flavor is so unique, I don’t know where to begin in terms of substitutions. For the Indian chili power, cayenne will work just fine. For some reason, the chili powder we picked up at our asian market is an order of magnitude hotter than your standard chili powder (which I’m ok with), but you may need to add more cayenne.

Before your soup is finished cooking, I recommend you taste your soup and season to your liking. Salt is important in this dish to make it pop. Sometimes I also like to go with more garam marsala and chili powder. If you add more spices to your soup at the end, be sure to let it simmer another 10-15 minutes to ensure the flavors are well incorporated.

Curried Tomato Soup

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 8

A indian spiced tomato soup.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 tbsp. minced garlic or garlic paste
  • 2 cans San Marzano (you can use fresh roman tomatoes, about 40-50 oz)
  • ½ cup cashews (this is not a typo)
  • ½ tbsp. garam marsala
  • 1 tbsp. Karai Methi
  • ¼ tsp. indian chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 2 can's coconut milk
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Saute the onion over medium-low in the olive oil until translucent
  2. Add the garlic and cook another minute
  3. Add the tomatoes, cashews, garam marsala, karai methi, chili powder, paprika
  4. Cook the mixture on low for 30-40 minutes
  5. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth
  6. Use a fine-mesh strainer to remove any large pieces
  7. Place the soup back over medium-low heat
  8. Add the coconut milk

 

Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares

Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares are like the perfect potluck dessert.  Delicious, easy, AND portable!

These are quick to make, and made even quicker if you are lucky enough to find crescent roll dough sheets.  It is hit and miss for me, one day there are what seems like millions of cans in the refrigerated section, but half the time there are none.  It only takes a few seconds to press the cut sheets back together, so either one works.

If you like your topping a little less thick, just reduce the butter by a couple of tablespoons.  Just make sure you cover it completely with sugar and cinnamon.  Either way, just keep sprinkling the sugar and cinnamon over the top until there are no more puddles of butter.  Basically, you want to make sure that your butter has absorbed as much sugar as possible.

While these can be eaten warm, I don’t find the flavor is at its best during this time.  Besides, it will be far too messy to eat with your hands.

I store mine at room temperature, I have never gotten sick nor have I had reports of people getting sick after eating these.  In my mind, these are no different than any coffeecake I have purchased with a cream cheese filling……….. I buy those at room temperature, except I have zero idea how long they have been sitting at room temperature.

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Bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip

Our bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip is one of our absolute favorite party and tailgate food. It’s a crowd favorite and is perfect just about year round.

I absolutely love making cream cheese stuffed Jalapenos, wrapped in bacon, and tossed on the grill. The only problem with making my normal jalapeno poppers is that it’s a pain in the ass to make and cook. It also makes one hell of a mess on my grill, which is really annoying. Because of the work and mess it makes, I normally only make these once or twice a year during football season. This Bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip was invented more as a necessity. I was looking for a much easier way to create the flavors of my normal jalapeno poppers without all the fuss. This recipe also feeds a heck of a lot more people too.

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Pecan Coconut Cream Candies

Pecan Coconut Cream Candies, aka Martha Washington’s, are one of the very first candy recipes I ever made way back when I was a teenagers.  Perfect for beginners and those who are searching for some nostalgia from their early years.

There are many variations of pecan coconut cream candies around the world.  Some are soft and gooey, some are more solid, like mine.

You can change up the amount of powdered sugar to suit your preference.  If you like yours softer, start with half of the powdered sugar called for.  Add more sugar a few tablespoons at a time and taste the filling.

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Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup is one of the few soups that both of us will eat.  It even gets eaten as leftovers, which if you know either one of us, you know that leftovers are rarely served around here.  But hey, that keeps the neighbors happy!

It starts with a chicken broth, so I am good.  It has meatballs which keeps the husband happy.  I also like that it has spinach in it, and this is about the only way I can get him to eat dark greens.  He loves salad, but only if it has no spinach or kale in it. In case you were wondering, I do have to pick those things out of any salad mixes they may be in.

I have read somewhere along the line that the carrots in this soup are for luck.  There are not really enough of them to affect the flavor, so leave them out if you prefer.  I keep them in because it is another way to get vegetable into our diets.

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Butterscotch Meringue Pie

Butterscotch Pie perfection has been an elusive mystery to me.  My grandmother could make them.  If you read the Almost Butterscotch Pie, or Sugar Cream Pie recipes, then you already know Aunt Alice could make them.

Any time I have tried to make one, it has either been runny or grainy, and sometimes both.  For me, I think the problem has something to do with the way I was mixing ingredients.  Generally, it looks curdled to me before I even add eggs.  Almost like the brown sugar curdles the milk, turning it into what looks like tiny pieces of cottage cheese floating in the pan.

The flavor has never been an issue, just the finished texture.  During a recent trip to visit family, my husband returned with an entire folder of recipes from Uncle Bill.  They were not the recipes that he was looking for, but in this folder are some amazing recipes that will be shared as time allows.

The first find that needed to be cooked and adjusted was Butterscotch Pie.  The reason for adjustments is that these recipes are designed for 50 and 100 people.  There are only 2 of us in this household, and unless you are feeding ranch hands or cooking for a family reunion, chances are you also need a smaller serving size to make in your kitchen.

I tested this recipe with my modifications using flour and using cornstarch.  We prefer the texture of the flour version, but the cornstarch version seemed to set up better.  Andy wanted a piece of pie before it was fully cooled, I would have preferred to wait a day, but he smelled it as soon as he opened the refrigerator.

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Baked Potato Soup

Baked potato soup is another restaurant inspired soup that I keep in my wintertime menu rotation.

The recipe that was given to me by one of the restaurant owners is long gone.  After making it so many times, I just throw things together in a pan and serve it up.

He swore that his secret ingredient was ham soup base.  This can usually be found in the Latin section of local grocery stores.  Apparently, Wally World no longer carries this product.  I prefer to use Goya brand, since it comes in perfect sized little packets, but I have been known to grab a jar of it in the regular soup aisle if the packets aren’t available.

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Meal-Prep Granola Breakfast Bars

 

These granola breakfast bars are the answer to my breakfast riddle. I am the kind of guy who would rather sleep an extra 15-30 minutes than eat breakfast, so I rarely eat breakfast on a week day. These meal-prep granola breakfast bars are my answer to the question, “what should I eat for breakfast?”

My wife and I have been on a meal prep-Sunday kick here lately. This recipe is great for folks who are looking for meal-prep recipes. This recipe can be easily and quickly made Sunday evening in preparation for the work week.

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