Friday, November 12, 2010

Potato Soup

As I made this soup for dinner last night, I decided to write down what I was doing so there would be a recipe to pass down.  If you're like me, pictures are helpful so I included some of those too!  Our family enjoys this soup in the winter and we always have plenty left over to heat up for lunch throughout the week.  Great when served with garlic cheese toast, wheat bread, or wheat biscuits (from the freezer, of course)!

Step 1:
2.5 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced 
(I sometimes use red potatoes and it is not necessary to peel those.  Just scrub them well first.)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 stick butter
2 T. Kosher salt (or regular if you prefer)
1/2 tsp. white pepper
4 c. water

Bring the above to a boil.  Turn down to medium heat and boil slowly for 10-15 minutes. 

Step 2:
3 cans evaporated milk
1/2 stick butter
8 oz. chopped ham
(This could be leftover baked ham or the pre-diced package one found in the meat section.)

Add and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes stirring often.  Careful not to scorch milk! 

Step 3:
(May be prepared while waiting on step 1 to cook.)
3 T. cornstarch
2 T. cold water

Mix until smooth in a small dish.  Add to soup stirring constantly as to avoid clumping.  This step is intended to thicken soup to your desire.  Feel free to repeat this step if desired thickness is not reached.  Once desired consistency is reached, move to step 4.

Step 4:
Transfer into a large crock pot and simmer on low until you are ready to serve!  It is best if left in the crock pot for an hour to allow the flavors to marinate together.  However, this step is not completely necessary and soup is thoroughly cooked after step 3. 


Hint:  This is excellent when topped with cheese, crushed Ritz crackers, crushed croutons, chives, or even bacon bits.  And don't forget the bread I mentioned in the opening paragraph... which is delicious when dipped in the soup.  GREAT soup to serve when you're expecting company as it requires very little clean up once transferred to crock pot.  Mix up a batch of pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie for a wonderful, complete, southern meal!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

Here is my favorite pumpkin pie recipe.  It's quick, simple, and delicious!

1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell
1 can (15 ounce) pumpkin
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a bowl, beat all ingredients together with a wire whisk or mixer.  Pour into crust, and bake 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake another 35 to 45 minutes.  Cool before serving. 

DELICIOUS!!!  I think I'll make this for the weekend.  =) 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pecan Pie Bars

I typically do not eat pecan desserts.  However, this is super sweet and a must try.  Great break from the traditional pecan pie.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter or margarine, cut up
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter or margarine
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl; cut in 3/4 cup butter thoroughly with a pastry blender (or fork) until mixture resembles very fine crumbs.  Press mixture evenly into a greased 13x9 inch pan, using a piece of plastic wrap to press crumb mixture firmly in pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. 
Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently.  Remove from heat.  Stir one-fourth of hot mixture into beaten eggs; add to remaining hot mixture.  Stir in pecans and vanilla.  Pour filling over crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 34 to 35 minutes or until set.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  Cut into bars.