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/

recipes

Big Mac Salad

Big Mac Salad was a winner!

1 romaine hearts chopped – or what ever lettuce you like.
Shredded cheese – measure with your heart
Sliced pickles – measure with your heart
1/4 of an onion chopped

1 lb ground beef cooked
Seasoning salt & pepper. Cook until done , drain off & let cool.

3 thick cut bacon strips cooked until crisp & crumbled

For the sauce:
1/2c mayo
1 tsp mustard
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp relsih
1/2 tsp cattle boys garlic salt
1/4 tsp onion salt
1 ish tsp pickle juice
Whisk up and let sit for 10-15 before serving

I have never had a big Mac, but my hubby agreed that this tasted like one.

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.

recipes

Ham cheddar soup

We always end up with WAY too much ham left over whenever we smoke a ham…this year I found a great soup recipe. Now the remainder is frozen for the next time we are craving soup.

Ingredients:

2 cups diced peeled potatoes
2 cups water
1/2 cup sliced carrot
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 cup frozen peas

Directions:

In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, water, carrot and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. , Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk; add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in cheese until melted. Stir into undrained potato mixture. Add ham and peas; heat through.

recipes

Tomato, cucumber, onion, basil salad

This is definitely one of my favorite ways to eat summer garden veggies

Cut up:

Cucumber

Onion

Tomatoes

Tear some fresh basil

Season with salt and drizzle with balsamic glaze…also delicious with Bocconcini balls (fresh mozzarella) or feta

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).

recipes

Spicy Beef Broccoli

This is a fast easy meal that we have enjoyed for years.

Ingredients:

1 can condensed beef broth (aka beef consume)
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tbsp peanut oil
4 cups broccoli florets
1 cup white onions, sliced
1 lb boneless beef sirloin steak, thinly sliced

Instructions:

Thinly slice your steak (or you can use a roast if you are making a bigger batch). This is easier if the steak is partially frozen.

Once steak is sliced brown in a little oil. Add in broccoli and onions, fry for a bit and then add soy sauce and condensed beef broth and crushed red pepper. Can add more if you like it spicier. Once that has simmered for a bit thicken with water and cornstarch.

Serve over egg noodles, pasta of your choice or mashed potatoes.

Instant pot opinions:

Use your instant pot to saute your thinly sliced steak, once sauted add in your beef consume and soya sauce and pressure cook on high for 15min, then natural release for 10min. Add rest of ingredients and saute until broccoli is partially cooked and then thicken with cornstarch and water.