main dishes · recipes

The BEST Broccoli Cheese Soup

The BEST Broccoli Cheese Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes | Servings: Yield: 6 cups

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small or medium sweet yellow onion, diced small

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced finely

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups half-and-half

2 to 3 cups broccoli florets diced into bite-size pieces + 1 cups stems, optional (I used 3 cups florets and 1 cup stems

2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and sliced into very thin rounds, about 1/16th-inch

3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika, optional and to taste

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder, optional and to taste

pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste (doesn’t make soup spicy and serves to enhance flavor)

8 ounces grated high quality extra-sharp cheddar cheese, with a small amount reserved for garnishing

Directions: In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon butter, the diced onion, and sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent and barely browned, about 4 minutes. Stir intermittently. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Add flour, and cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until flour is thickened. You are making a roux and it’s very important the mixture is thick or soup will never thicken properly later. Slowly add the vegetable stock, whisking constantly. Slowly add the half-and-half, whisking constantly. Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal. While mixture is simmering, chop the broccoli and carrots. After simmering 15 to 20 minutes, add the broccoli, carrots. salt, pepper, optional paprika, optional dry mustard powder, and optional cayenne. If you don’t have these seasonings on hand, it’s okay, but they do add subtle depth of flavor. Stir to combine. Allow soup to simmer over low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal. While soup simmers, grate the cheese. It’s important to use a high-quality cheese (not the cheapest thing you can find) because the flavor of the soup depends on it. Do not use pre-grated cheese in ziptop bags because that cheese is resistant to melting and won’t incorporate well. After simmering about 20 to 25 minutes, add most of the cheese, reserving a small amount for garnishing bowls. Stir in the cheese until melted and incorporated fully, less than 1 minute. Transfer soup to bowls, garnish with reserved cheese, and serve immediately. Soup will keep airtight for 5 to 7 days in the fridge. Reheat gently in the microwave. I find the soup is less likely to ‘break’ or separate when reheated in the micro rather than on the stovetop, but do what you think is best. I don’t recommend freezing the soup because I feel like the cheese and half-and-half will not do well upon thawing and soup could break, but I haven’t actually tried freezing it.

We also chopped up some bacon, fried until crisp and added as a garnish.

Nutrition: Calories: 292 Source: https://www.averiecooks.com/best-broccoli-cheese-soup-better-panera-copycat/

main dishes · recipes

Mushroom Sauce

We have tried to find the perfect sauce for our chicken cordon bleu and after much trial and error and modifications I think we have the perfect sauce recipe.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter
1 portabella and 8 oz brown mushrooms, sliced
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves , minced
1/4 cup (65 ml) white wine or rose (or cooking wine)
1/2 cup (125 ml) chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup (250 ml) heavy / thickened cream
1/2 cup parmesan ,finely grated
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1/4 – 1/2 tsp dried)
splash of soya sauce
1 tsp corn starch and some water to thicken

Directions:

melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and leisurely cook until golden brown – takes about 4 to 5 minutes. No need to stir constantly.

Just before they’re done, add the garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until garlic is golden (~ 1 minute).

Add white wine – it will sizzle! Stir, scraping the bottom of the skillet, for 1 minute or until mostly evaporated.

Add broth, cream and parmesan. Stir, then lower heat to medium so the sauce is simmering – do not boil rapidly, cream may split.

Stir occasionally and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes until it thickens. It shouldn’t be super thick, this is a rich sauce.

Stir through thyme, adjust salt and pepper to taste. Add cornstarch and water, simmer until thickened. Remove from stove.

Serve over steak or other cooked protein. Toss through pasta, stuff into baked potatoes, serve with roast beef, chicken or pork, smothered omelettes.

main dishes · recipes

Fish Taco’s

My hubby and I both enjoy fish and shrimp taco’s but have never found a recipe that we love…until now.

https://natashaskitchen.com/fish-tacos-recipe/

This is by far the best recipe we have tried. We did both fish and shrimp so that we could try both.

I am feeling a little lazy…So I’m not typing it out…but definitely check them out.

Only thing we didn’t bake the fish or shrimp, we pan fried them.

main dishes · recipes

Beef Roll Cordon Bleu

This is a recipe I found in a community cookbook and have tweaked it to our liking and now I’m sharing it with you.

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef
2 eggs
1/4 cup rolled oats
3 Tbsp onion soup mix
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
ham
Swiss, ,Gruyère cheese, emmental or mozza
bread crumbs

Directions:

mix beef, 1 egg, rolled oats, onion soup mix,  and salt. shape into thin patties about 3″ in diameter. place ham and cheese in each. roll up jelly roll style covering ham and cheese. beat egg, dip in egg, then bread crumbs. fry in butter. brown on all sides.

transfer to over and bake at 350 for 25 min.

meanwhile mix mushroom soup and milk and heat on the stove.

Serve beef roll ups with the mushroom soup mixture like a gravy.

main dishes · recipes

Pork ribs on the smoker

We have tried a lot of different ways to make pork ribs and I’m pretty sure this makes the best fall off the bone ribs.

Start by removing the membrane off the back of the ribs if your butcher hasn’t already done that for you. It really makes a huge difference in how tender your ribs are.

Next season with your favorite spices. We like blackened Saskatchewan, cayenne pepper, black pepper, steak spice and a little chilli powder.

Start your smoker and leave it on smoke. Once it has fired and is ready to go place your ribs curved side down (meaty side up) on the smoker and leave smoke for 3 hours.

Pull the ribs off and set your smoker to 200-225. Wrap your ribs in tinfoil with beer and seal. I usually do 2 racks, so I use 1/2 a beer in each and wrap them tightly and then put them back on the smoker for 2 hours.

Take the ribs out of the tinfoil (be careful the steam from the beer will be hot) and place them back on the smoker. They will be easy to break apart at this point so be very careful when moving them.

Now the easy part…baste repeatedly for an hour with your favorite barbeque sauce. We generally use our homemade bbq sauce, but whatever you like works perfectly.

After an hour they should be ready to take off the smoker and enjoy.

main dishes · recipes

Homemade calzones

Start with a great dough:

Ingredients:

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp warm water
3/4 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp olive oil
add oregano and parmesan to dough

I triple this recipe so that we can have leftovers the next day

Directions:

mix first 3 ingredients in bowl and leave for 5 min

put rest of ingredients in bread machine, add yeast mixture and run through dough cycle

place in bowl and refrigerate overnight

take dough out and let it get to room temperature for 2 hours before using

If you are in a rush you can use it the same day, we did tonight and the calzones were still great.

The filling can be a mixture of whatever you like. Tonight we made a pizza mixture, you chop up everything you would put on a pizza, cube your cheese, add in a small amount of pizza sauce (just until everything is coated) and we always add a little parmesan and Italian seasoning.

Roll your dough into small circles, about 1/8” thick, put your filling in, fold and pinch, make slits and then put an egg wash on top. We also sprinkled Italian seasoning and parmesan on the dough.

Ready to bake

Bake at 425 for 15-20 min (or until golden brown).

main dishes · recipes

Brined turkey

This Easter we tried something different with our turkey, we didn’t just roast it in the oven, or smoke it on the smoker, we tried a brine instead. I have to say it was one of the most flavourful and moist turkeys we have had. It’s pretty easy, just needs a little extra prep time. We actually put the frozen turkey in a cooler with the brine and it was perfect. We put it in Friday at noon and put it in the oven Sunday at noon.

1 gallon vegetable stock
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup salt
Fresh thyme bunch or 1 Tbsp dry
Fresh rosemary or 1 Tbsp dry
Boil for a few minutes

Then add 1 gallon ice water to whatever container you are going to put the turkey in and soak 24 hrs.

Roast as normal in the oven. We always stuff butter under the skin and did that again with this one.

They say you can also do it with a chicken, you just soak it for less time. I haven’t tried that yet. But when I do I will be sure to share.

main dishes · recipes

Spring/egg rolls in a bowl

I’m sure by now you have all seen the instant pot recipe for egg rolls in a bowl…I had looked through numerous versions, but none of them seemed like they needed the instant pot, and they didn’t sound as appealing as my sister in laws spring rolls (she is from Thailand and makes the BEST springrolls). I have helped her make springrolls a few times, and I suck at it. They are a lot of work and I’m too slow at rolling them. By the time I’m done making them we would have caved and ordered something 🙂 So I figured I would take her recipe and just make it into the egg roll in a bowl that everyone is sharing on social media. We had them last night, and they were amazing. I also think they are much healthier because nothing is deep fried.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb ground beef or pork
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup broccoli slaw
  • 2 small packages of rice vermicelli
  • 2 small pckg of beef oxo
  • 2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 pckg egg roll wrap

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. put vermicelli in a big bowl with warm water for 15min and drain
  2. fry ground pork or beef until no longer pink
  3. add all remaining ingredients (minus wrappers) and fry until vegetables are tender, once veggies are tender add the vermicelli noodles in and mix well
  4. while that is cooking slice the wontons into wide strips, brush with oil and bake at 350 for ~10min until crispy
  5. serve with your favourite spring/egg roll dipping sauce.
main dishes · recipes

Instant Pot Pork Chops

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 or 5 pork chops
  • seasoning salt
  • pepper
  • 2 cups broth saved from the beef roast recipe
  • 1 can mushroom soup
  • (corn starch or flour to thicken sauce)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. season the pork chops well on both sides with seasoning salt and pepper
  2. add 1 Tbsp butter to instant pot, put on sauté and when hot add the pork chops. brown on each side and when finished take them out and set on plate.
  3. add some of the broth and deglaze the Instant Pot using a wooden spatula
  4. once pot is deglazed push cancel to shut it off, add the rest of the broth and the can of mushroom soup to the pot (no need to mix)
  5. put the pork chops back into the pot
  6. seal and set for 12min
  7. allow to natural release for at least 10min
  8. remove pork chops, set aside
  9. thicken with a couple tbsp of cornstarch mixed with water and then added to the pot that has been put back to sauté, mixing until thickened. Or make a roux and thicken sauce that way.
main dishes · recipes

Beef Roast in Instant Pot

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 lb blade or chuck roast
  • 1 pckg gravy mix
  • 1 pckg ranch dressing mix
  • 1 pckg onion soup mix
  • 1 can beer

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. place the beer in the bottom of the instant pot, then place the roast in.
  2. sprinkle the rest of the packages on top and around the roast
  3. close the instant pot and seal it.
  4. press the meat/stew button and set for a 120min cook time. let it decrompress (natural release). remove and serve.

We have made this recipe with many different cuts of roast, it doesn’t seem to matter what cut you use it comes out melt in your mouth tender.

This isn’t rare or even pink, it’s very well done, but falls apart because it is so tender. I use it mostly for the tougher cuts of meat that would take hours to cook in the slow cooker to get mediocre results. This makes the tough cuts fall apart tender. It is also worth mentioning that the liquid makes the best tasting gravy. I generally make a roux and then make the gravy using that.

I also suggest you save 2 cups of the broth from this recipe to use to make these pork chops
https://commonscentsliving.blog/2019/02/21/instant-pot-pork-chops/

You can freeze the 2 cups of broth to use to make the pork chops at a later date.