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Swiss Onion Soup…move over Frenchy!

Thursday, October 16th, 2014


This soup has been haunting me for just over 25 years. I first had it when I was working night shifts at a large hospital in the Midwest. How often can you say you look forward to hospital food? It has taken me a few years but I have finally duplicated it! Its nutty, sweet, tangy and just a bit of heat at the finish. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do!

This soup starts like a French onion soup, lots of onions. Cut the onion in half for root end to top. Cut off the top and peel. Now cut it in half again and thinly slice. Repeat with the other half. (save those onion skins for stock!)

In a Dutch oven add olive oil and butter. When it’s melted turn down heat to low and add the onions. Stir to coat them all with oil and butter. They need to cook and start to caramelize, this is a slow process. It will take about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Gather your ingredients as the next part moves pretty fast.

Now add the flour and stir, allow this to cook on low for a couple minutes.

Once the flour has cooked we will begin whisking in the 4 Tbsp. Sherry, (this is optional) now whisk in the chicken stock (vegetable stock can be substituted). The mixture will be thick, just keep whisking in the stock.

Now whisk in the milk or cream and season with salt and pepper.

Add the shredded Swiss cheese and stir until melted.

Stir in the Dijon mustard and cayenne pepper (optional)
Allow to simmer a few minutes, taste and re season as need.

 

Swiss Onion Soup…move over Frenchy!

Swiss Onion Soup…move over Frenchy!

Ingredients

  • 3 large onions, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 4 Tbsp. sherry
  • 3 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock can be substituted)
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • Salt and white pepper (black pepper is fine)
  • 2 ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of Cayenne (optional)

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice onions
  2. In a Dutch oven or soup pot melt butter and oil together.
  3. Add onions and allow onions to sweat and caramelize on low heat for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over onions and stir, allow it to cook 2-3 minutes to cook flour.
  5. Whisk in sherry.
  6. Whisk in chicken stock and milk.
  7. Stir in mustard and seasonings.
  8. Add cheese and stir until melted.
  9. Allow to simmer on low for 5 minutes.
  10. Serve.

 

Sunny California Blend Cheese Soup

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

When I saw the California blend of veggies (carrots, cauliflower and broccoli) sitting In the refrigerator, I knew it had to become a beautiful soup. I kept remembering a soup from my childhood called Normandy blend soup. I remember it having big chunks of the California blend of veggies, and a velvety cheesy base. I searched for a recipe but never found one, so I decided to give it a try without one.

I chopped up the veggies in nice bite size pieces, and finely chopped an onion and celery, they are necessary for flavor but not the stars of the show.

I decided to blanch the California blend prior to putting it in the soup. I wanted the veggies to still have some texture but not crunch and to keep them vibrant. To blanch them bring a pot of salted water (it should taste like ocean water, this is your chance to bring out the flavor of the veggies) to a boil. Start with the carrots, let them simmer for 6-8 minutes. Using a strainer place the carrots into an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Remove the carrots from water and place back in their bowl. Repeat with cauliflower blanch 4-5 minutes and the broccoli only 3-5 minutes.

Sauté onions and celery in the butter and oil til translucent 4-5 minutes.
Add about 1/4 cup of flour and stir, making sure all the oil has been absorbed, now allow this to cook a couple minutes. If you don’t the soup will taste of raw flour.

Now use a wire whisk and whisk the soup base while slowly adding the chicken stock. It will be very nice and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Whisk in a cup of milk or half and half.

Allow this to come to a simmer. Stir in the shredded cheddar and stir until melted. Now carefully add the California blend of veggies. Allow to simmer 8-10 minutes, making sure the veggies are still al dente. At this point I also added 2 TBSP Dijon mustard to really finish the flavor and texture, as well as a Tbsp. Of Emerils essence seasoning to kick it up! (I use the salt free.) season with salt and pepper to taste.

Served with a couple warmed pretzel slider buns. Delicious.

Sunny California Blend Cheese Soup

Sunny California Blend Cheese Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite size florets
  • 1 pound of carrots scrubbed and cit into bite size coins
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 3 ribs celery finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk or half and half
  • 2 1/2 cups medium cheddar
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Emerils essence (salt free)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Prep veggies
  2. Bring large pot of water to a boil, add salt. Water should be salty like the ocean. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
  3. Add carrots to boiling water, let simmer 8-10 minutes. Remove to ice bath with a spider or strainer. Allow to cool, using spider it strainer remove to bowl. Repeat with cauliflower, blanch 5-6 minutes followed by broccoli, blanch 3-5 minutes.
  4. In a soup pot or Dutch oven melt oil and butter. Add celery and onion and cook until translucent 4-5 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle flour over celery and onion and stir making sure all oil is absorbed. Allow to cook 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Now whisk in chicken stock followed by milk.
  7. Add the cheese and stir while it melts. Carefully add in the California blend and stir. Add in mustard and Emerils essence.
  8. Bring to a simmer, allow to simmer 8-10 minutes.
  9. Season to taste, serve.

 

Fig Newtons, an old favorite!

Monday, August 11th, 2014

A guest blog from a Site Coordinator in Montana,  Devannie.

I saw a post for homemade fig newtons on a Facebook page and once I got my basket I decided the recipe looked easy enough so I tried it and am very glad I did.  I had two clam shells of figs which was the perfect amount for making the recipe.  I boiled the figs per recipe and stored in fridge overnight as the temperature outside was warming up fast and didn’t want to use oven.  I made the dough the next morning and it was all so easy.  Had the cookies done by 8am (I’m an early riser) and house smelled wonderful after baking them.  I did see a post where someone cut the sugar in half and I think that would’ve been fine, you drain the figs once cooked anyway and I think the figs have enough sweetness that it would’ve been fine.  Will try that and make with wheat flour or 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white next time I make them.  The recipe is definitely a keeper!!    Devannie

 

Fig Newtons, an old favorite!

Fig Newtons, an old favorite!

Ingredients

  • 1 pint fresh or preserved figs or 12 ounces dried figs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

Instructions

    If you are using:
    Fresh Figs:
  1. Remove stems and boil figs with a cinnamon stick and 2 cups of sugar in 1 cup of water for 45 minutes. Drain and cool.
  2. Dried Figs:
  3. In a bowl, pour boiling water over figs (stems removed) and let rest 10 minutes. Drain all but 2 tablespoons water and stir in 2 tablespoons corn syrup + ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
  4. Preserved Figs:
  5. Drain syrup. (Find a recipe for preserved figs here.)
  6. Then:
  7. Puree figs in food processor until a thick paste forms (if too thick or thin to spread evenly, add a little water or flour until spreadable consistency is reached).
  8. Combine flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
  9. Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  10. Add egg, vanilla, orange juice and combined dry ingredients to bowl and mix until dough forms.
  11. Roll dough out on a floured surface into a 8”x14” rectangle about ¼” thick.
  12. Cut rectangle in half lengthwise.
  13. Spread fig paste onto half of each rectangle, lengthwise.
  14. Fold dough in half lengthwise to cover fig paste and pinch edges to seal.
  15. Cut each log in half and transfer onto a greased baking sheet.
  16. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees until crust begins to brown.
  17. Slice into cookie-sized segments and cool.

Grilled Brussel Sprout and Broccoflower Pizza

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

 

Brussel sprouts! I have been waiting for them so I could make pizza! I know it’s sounds odd, but really good. My husband who doesn’t like them much actually likes the pizza! I also had a head of broccoflower, which we like roasted and then covered in buffalo sauce and blue cheese crumbles. As long as I was making one pizza I decided to make a second one using the buffalo broccoflower.

I always make my dough from scratch, I love the feel and smell of fresh dough. We didn’t want to heat up the house, so we fired up the gas grill instead. The temperature needs to be about 375-400 degrees F. Roll out your crust to a size you are comfortable handling on the grill. (we often do individual sized crusts) Brush the crust with a little olive oil and place it oiled side down, close lid and wait 2-3 minutes, open lid, with long tongs carefully flip the crust over and cook another 2 minutes. Pull them off the grill and onto a baking sheet.
Add sauce and toppings, then back on to the grill, close lid and cook 2-3 minutes or til cheese melts. The crust will be dark and crisp. Carefully remove them with tongs and grill safe spatula (we found a giant grill spatula; see photo) to a baking sheet or cutting board, cut and enjoy!

My husband made the grand declaration, “This is looking a little healthy for pizza!” and then he ate three slices of each! Yay! Score for me, he ate two green veggies in one meal and liked it!

Grilled Brussel Sprout Pizza

Grilled Brussel Sprout Pizza

Ingredients

    Grilled Brussel Sprout Pizza
  • One grilled 12 inch crust (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 pound brussel sprouts, shredded
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl place shredded brussel sprouts, and 1 Tbsp. Olive oil, 1 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to evenly coat.
  2. Place the grilled crust on a baking sheet, evenly spread the cheddar cheese on crust.
  3. Add the brussel sprouts, bacon and feta cheese.
  4. Slide pizza onto a hot grill, close lid and wait 2-5 minutes until brussel sprouts wilt.
  5. Remove by sliding to a baking sheet using tongs and or grill safe spatula.

Grilled Buffalo Broccoflower Pizza

Grilled Buffalo Broccoflower Pizza

Ingredients

    Grilled Buffalo Broccoflower Pizza
  • One grilled 12 inch crust (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2 head of broccoflower, in bite size pieces steamed or blanched to soften slightly
  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz blue cheese crumbles

Instructions

  1. Place grilled crust on a baking sheet, drizzle or brush grilled crust with buffalo sauce.
  2. In a small bowl place drained broccoflower, pour remaining sauce over it and toss to coat.
  3. Evenly place broccoflower on the crust, add celery and blue cheese crumbles.
  4. Slide pizza onto a hot grill, close lid and wait 2-5 minutes until cheese begins to melt.
  5. Remove by sliding to a baking sheet using tongs and or grill safe spatula.

 

Summer Asian Slaw

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Summer Asian Slaw

The Asian pack has always been one of my favorites! I love to make up large batches of egg rolls and wontons ( some fried and some raw to use for wonton soup) and stock my freezer. Who doesn’t love a wok full of colorful stir fry? (more…)

Z.O.M.B.I.E. Veggies

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Recently it seems that Zombies have made a real “comeback”. Television programs, movie, books, and even cellphone companies have gotten on the Zombie bandwagon. So it seems only natural that Bountiful Baskets should resurrect a few veggies.
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Stuffed Pepper Soup Freezer packs

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Its officially Soup Season!  Its my favorite go to lunch, a steaming bowl of soup and a sandwich really hits the spot on cold days.  I really love when I can go out to the deep freeze and grab a soup pack and have lunch or dinner on the table in an hour, or in the crockpot in minutes.  Several readers were curious how I make freezer packs from recipes, here is how I break it down.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

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Miranda – Pizza and a Movie

Friday, September 13th, 2013


Pizza and a movie…seems so simple right?  Where do I start?  My refrigerator of course!  I have Gala and Granny Smith apples from the last couple lunch box packs, lots of cheese (I think we could open a cheese shop), and a nub of fresh ginger from my last juice pack… Oh, I have a recipe for apple rhubarb chutney and I have rhubarb in the freezer (Spring rhubarb add-on). Sounds like the beginnings of a Fall inspired Pizza, and when I think of Fall I think of my childhood, which was spent in Europe (Father was in the Army). We spent many weekends touring around Europe in our old VW bus, seeing castles, farms, and beautiful English estates; this movie is my Fall “go to”!
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Soups, Stews And Chowders

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Our summer is coming to an end and I have already started dreaming of cool Fall evenings, with a brisk wind whipping up the crunchy leaves in a flurry, the autumnal colors decorating the outdoors, and a warming fire crackling in the back yard pit, sipping hot apple cider and filling our tummies with rich warm soups, stews and chowders.

Lasagna Soup, made from a soup freezer pack.

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Using The Entire Juice Pack

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

The Juice pack was introduced in January to  provide those participants that wanted to do a juice fast an easy and affordable option; for many it was a chance to add some extra fruits and veggies to their dinner table.  I tried juicing and actually liked some of the concoctions that I came up with, but I tend to use it to add some extra produce to the table.  I decided to try some “Retro” dishes and a couple you might not have thought of…ready?  Here we go!

Juice pack: celery, kale, pineapple, parsley, apples, carrots, ginger, beet with greens, lemons and limes

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