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Monday, March 28, 2016

Pea Soup with Ham

My brother-in-law, Vern posted a picture of some split pea soup he was making last night from his leftover ham from Easter dinner, and made me decide to make some myself because it looked so good!  I went to Walmart at lunchtime and planned on getting my usual pea soup "kit" with the peas and seasoning all in it and throw some ham and carrots in, but they didn't have it, so I grabbed a lb package of peas and there was a recipe on the back.  I came home and threw it together and it's wonderful so I am sharing it.  Cheap to make a big pot of something hearty and warm besides using up leftover ham, so a big win, win.  Here's the recipe..
1 lb dry green split peas.
1 chicken cube - I used my liquid chicken base in a jar, about a Tablespoon.
1 packet Saz'on Goya (plain) This is a Mexican seasoning-look in that section-it's in a little box with like 2 packets in it. 
1/4 lb or more if you desire, ham, diced small
1 small onion diced finely
1 clove garlic minced (I used the minced fresh garlic in a jar, about a measuring tsp of it)
1 medium carrot peeled and diced in little cubes
pepper (I didn't add any salt because of the ham and seasoning packet)  add it after it's done if you want more salt.
8 cups of water.
Add everything in a larger kettle, bring to a boil and then to a low boil.  cook until peas are tender..mine took about 1 hour.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Old Fashioned Lemonade-Anne of Green Gables Cookbook Recipe

I decided since it's Easter/Spring that I'd forgo the punch recipes and by family request, make iced tea and fresh lemonade.  My daughter, Kim, had made this Anne of Green Gables recipe and it was delicious, so made up the lemonade syrup for it this morning so it can chill down before adding the ice and water (I actually bought some sparkling water for those who like a little fizz) at dinner today.  The syrup smells so good, I wanted to just make an icy glass for me, but decided I should wait!  Here is their recipe.  I kind of hate squeezing lemons -at least enough to make 1-1/2 cups of juice, but these were perfectly ripe and were easy to work with..make sure you don't get the hard ones..that is not fun.
In a saucepan:
Add: 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups water
Bring to a boil stirring with a wooden spoon and let boil for 5 minutes.  Set aside and let cool a little.
In the meantime; squeeze enough fresh lemons to make 1-1/2 cups of juice..add the zest of one lemon.  (I think I used about 10 lemons, but get extra for slicing and adding to the lemonade when it's finished in the glass)
Add the juice and zest to the simple syrup and pour into a one quart jar with a cover.  Refrigerate. 
When ready to serve, add 1/4 cup of the lemonade syrup to 3/4 cup water or sparkling water and stir.  add ice and lemon slice if desired. 
You can also add 2 Tablespoons of pureed strawberries to your glass for strawberry lemonade.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Whipped Cream Frosting

I was prepping/making ahead some of the food I "signed up" to make for Easter dinner today and remembered this recipe for frosting that I love for the cupcakes I was making.  I just made a boxed strawberry lemonade cake mix for the cupcakes and then made the frosting because I wanted something light and refreshing for dessert-springy!  the bunnies are easy to make, just frost them, don't have to be to fussy and dip them in colored sugar, cut a large marshmallow diagonally for the ears and dip that in the sugar..stick them on the "face" and I used little colored chocolate sixlets for the eyes and nose, but you can use small dollops of frosting.  Here is the recipe for the frosting, it's easy, but just make sure you keep whipping it as you heat it up because the bottom will scorch if you don't..once it starts to thicken  you can pull it off the burner and let it cool down which is important before adding the butter and vanilla and whipping it.  It's not low calorie, but it's great.
1 cup milk (I used whole milk)
1 cup sugar (granulated)
2 Tablespoons flour
IN A SMALL SAUCEPAN.  Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened, whisking the whole time to avoid lumps and scorching.  Remove from stove and cool to room temperature.
ADD 1 cup room temperature butter and 1 tsp vanilla.
Whip until light and fluffy.  This frosting holds up really well unlike whipped cream..

Friday, March 25, 2016

Nacho Potato Soup

It's chilly the last few days compared to what we've been experiencing, but the forecast claims it will get nicer soon again.  Some areas in Minnesota go almost 2 feet of snow on Wednesday, but luckily it missed us!! I was flipping through recipes for Easter this week and came across this soup I used to make fairly often and had kind of forgotten..My son, Joe, and I really like it.  It's got as much kick as you want by adding hot sauce to your taste..I don't add much because it has chilies in it already and that's plenty for me.  It's great when you have a cold or sinus because it opens up them for  you with the spice.  AND it's easy to make..Only takes at the most 1/2 hour and it's in your bowl.  It's a recipe from Taste of Home, so you know it's a good one.  Here goes..
1 package (5-1/4 ounces) au gratin potatoes-I like the 3 cheese styles)
1 can (11 ounce) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (10 ounce) diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
2 cups water
2 cups milk (they recommend 2%)
2 cups cubed or shredded Velveeta
dash of hot sauce, optional
minced fresh parsley, option-I have never used this.
In a 3 quart saucepan, combine the contents of the potato package, corn, tomatoes and water.  bring to a boil and lower heat to almost low so it doesn't scorch.  cover and simmer slowly 15-18 minutes  or until the potatoes are tender (important).  Add milk, cheese and hot sauce if desired.  cook and stir until the cheese is melted.  garnish with parsley if desired. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad

It's only the beginning of March here in Minnesota, but we've been super lucky and had some great weather..65 degrees yesterday!  Thus, the thoughts of cold pasta salads and summer fare have been floating in my brain once again (even though I know another gigantic snowfall could hit any day again and sink us all into a deep depression..we will enjoy it until then and "pretend" it's all a bad dream and summer is around the corner.  Anyway, I decided it was a good time to make my ham and cheese pasta salad and burgers on the grill and watermelon for supper tonight..Joe, my son, agreed wholeheartedly, and will be joining us tonight.  I made it this morning so the flavors can soak into the pasta (it's actually better the second day, so nice thing to make for pot lucks if you want to make it the day ahead).  Here's how I make's not a true recipe..I kind of just throw things in, so if you want more ham, cheese or any ingredient, just add more to your taste..this is just a general guideline..

1 box of you favorite pasta-I usually use shells, medium or small because I like the dressing to suck into the shells, cooked according to package directions.  drain well and rinse until cool enough so it won't melt the cheese.  I also throw a handful of petite frozen peas to cook with the pasta.

While it's a larger sized container..add
about 1-1/2 cups small diced ham (I just bought the diced ham in a package and used about half of it this time). 

about 1/2-3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, or if you prefer, shredded swiss will work too.

a few green onions finely diced (or you can just use some finely diced onion-a few Tablespoons)

1 to 1-1/2 cups Miracle Whip salad dressing.

1/8 cup Western dressing.

a few Tablespoons of sweet pickle relish, or a few sweet pickles finely chopped and some of the juice.

some pepper and minimal salt, plus a sprinkle of celery seed (or you can add some finely chopped celery if you like that in your cold salads.

Mix this together and add your cool pasta and peas.  Mix well and sprinkle the top with regular paprika for color and flavor.  Cool well and serve.  IF IT SEEMS DRY AFTER SITTING JUST PUT ABOUT 1 CUP OF MIRACLE WHIP, ABOUT 1/2 CUP MILK AND A DASH OF SUGAR AND MIX IT IN WELL TO MOISTEN IT UP BEFORE SERVING..ADD AS MUCH AS YOU NEED TO MAKE IT THE CONSISTENCY YOU LIKE.