Cauliflower Soup

Every year I make a ton of soup recipes throughout the fall and winter.  This cauliflower soup was one of the first that I made this year.

As usual I was pretty much winging it, but it is loosely based off the Pioneer Woman’s recipe.  I realized I didn’t have any milk in the house about half way through so I kind of panicked, but it all worked out in the end and I made it healthy in the process. Woohoo! {I mean, there’s still butter in it, but a lot less than the original.}

Go to the link below if you want to see PW’s original version.  She leaves hers chunky, and adds milk and cream.  I did not add any milk or cream, and I pureed the soup with an immersion blender.

Cauliflower Soup

Source:  Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

2 T. olive oil

one medium white or yellow onion, finely diced

2-3 carrots, finely diced

2-3 celery stalks, finely diced

1 large head of cauliflower, roughly chopped

2 T. dried parsley

salt and pepper

1 carton (32 oz) low-sodium chicken broth

2-3 T. butter

3 T flour

Sour cream for serving – optional

Directions:

Add the oil to a soup pot that’s over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook for a few minutes, until they are tender and starting to brown.  Turn the heat to low and add the cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine.  Let that cook for just a few minutes to allow the cauliflower to brown very slightly.

Pour in the chicken stock or broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer until cauliflower is completely tender.

*This is where I panicked.*  So, off to the side, I melted a few tablespoons of butter and then added flour to it.  I cooked that for a few minutes hoping to eliminate the raw flour taste.  Then I added it to the soup as a thickener.  {PW added whole milk and half and half to the roux to create a white sauce.}

Stir the soup as it simmers and thickens, taste and add s & p.  Total simmering time should be about 15-20 minutes, during that time I pureed it with an immersion blender but you could transfer it to a blender or food processor in batches if you would like.  Or like I said above, PW leaves hers chunky.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.

Enjoy!

Bob Andy Pie (custard pie)

I wanted to make a new pie recipe for Thanksgiving this year, possibly even an unusual or nontraditional pie.  That’s when I remembered the custard pie that was served at the restaurant that I worked at for (too) many years.  I went in search of a similar recipe and found one on Tasty Kitchen.  I have no idea where the name came from, but I guess it has something to do with the Amish??

It was pretty good, but not exactly like the one from the restaurant.  Next time I’ll reduce the amount of cinnamon and probably add a dash of nutmeg.

Bob Andy Pie

  • 3 whole large eggs
  • 9 Inch unbaked pie shell
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon – I will probably just use 1 tsp next time.
  • ½ teaspoons salt

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Crack eggs in a medium bowl; brush pie shell with a little of the egg whites. Whisk eggs until thoroughly mixed; whisk in milk. Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a separate bowl, then whisk into milk mixture.

Set pie shell on oven rack and pour filling into shell. Bake until custard has set and crust is golden, about 50 minutes.  {I baked it for 60 minutes and it was still jiggly, but it set up once it had cooled.}

Cool and serve room temperature or chilled.

Turkey Brine

I strongly believe that a brine is essential to a delicious and moist turkey.  I’ve done it twice now and will never look back.

Here’s my recipe which is definitely enough for a bird that’s in the range of 15 to 25 pounds.  The first time I used it on a 24 pound bird and the second time was on an 18 pound bird, and it worked great both times.  If you need to, just adjust the amount of water that you use for a smaller or larger bird but keep everything else the same.  You don’t have to be really precise here – the salt and liquid are the most important ingredients, the spices and everything else just add additional flavor.  If you have concerns about the salt use 1.5 cups of salt, but 2 cups is recommended.

In my experience, I saw no reason to heat all the liquid up just to cool it down again.  So, I only heat the cider with everything else, then I add the water to the cooled mixture.

And another note  – I feel that it is a two person job to pour the brine into and out of the bag.  The first year that I did it, Tim was on second shift and I had to do it by myself and I ended up with a river of brine flavored turkey juice running down my counter and onto the floor.  Needless to say, I was pissed and almost cried.  And you better believe I let the profanities fly…..and then I sanitized my whole kitchen.  This year, Tim helped me and we still laughed that it would be nice to have an extra set of hands to hold the bag open!  Good times!

Turkey Brine

source: adapted from Pioneer Woman

Ingredients {again, they are approximate, eyeball the peppercorns and cloves}:

2 cups apple cider or apple juice

1.5 to 2 cups kosher salt

2 cups brown sugar

peel of 2 whole oranges – peel only, no white part

5 dried bay leaves

1 Tbsp dried thyme

1 Tbsp dried rosemary

2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

3 Tbsp peppercorns

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

10 whole cloves

~1 gallon of water

You’ll also need a large bag {or two if you want to be extra safe and double up to prevent leaks}.  Sometimes these are sold as oven bags, turkey bags, or brine bags.  You can usually find them in any grocery store in the Ziploc storage bag aisle.

Directions:

In a large stock pot over med-high heat, combine everything but the water.  Stir to combine and bring to a boil.  Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve.  Allow to completely cool, then add the water, and store in the fridge until needed (3-5 days before is fine).

When you are ready to brine, remove all packaging from your turkey, check the cavity for the neck and giblets and remove them.  Rinse the bird and look it over for any feathers, remove any that you find. {Clean your sink well after the turkey has been in it.}  Place the turkey in the large bag and then place the bag in a cooler or other storage vessel.  Pour in the brine and add additional water to cover the bird.  Close bag, cover with ice if using a cooler and let set for 8-10 hours/overnight.  I have heard you can leave it for 12-16 hours+, but 8-10 hours has worked for me.  If possible, turn the turkey at least once during brine time.

Once brine time is up/in the morning.  Pour off and discard the brine, rinse the turkey and pat it dry, place on roasting rack.  {Clean your sink again.}  Fill cavity with aromatics – I like to add a quartered onion,  1 or 2 celery stalks cut to fit inside, 1-2 carrots cut to fit, 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, bunch of fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, and parsley), and a quartered orange &/or lemon.  Rub the turkey skin with butter if you like.

Roast as directed for the recipe you are following, a rule of thumb is 20 minutes per pound at 350 degrees or until internal temp reaches 170 degrees.

French Breakfast Puffs

I wanted to have a homemade breakfast item on hand for the week, so I did a little baking and whipped up these muffins.  Since cinnamon and sugar is one of my favorite flavors, I thought they were very good!  There’s nothing French about them necessarily, but that’s okay!

I made a few changes that include reducing the amount of salt, adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and subbing buttermilk for regular milk.  I just can’t make a baked good without a little vanilla and I just happened to have some buttermilk that needed to be used, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to use that instead.

I also reduced the amount of topping ingredients because I thought it sounded like an awful lot of butter and I didn’t want to have any leftover that would be wasted.  But it turned out that I ran out of my reduced toppings!  I could have melted up some more butter, but I was too lazy so I just left a few muffins {maybe 3?} plain.

French Breakfast Puffs

Source: Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Flour
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt {I used 1/2 tsp}
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ⅔ cups Shortening {I used butter flavored Crisco}
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Milk {I used buttermilk}

Topping

  • 1-½ cup Sugar  {I used one cup}
  • 3 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 sticks Butter {I used 1 stick, but ran out so I just didn’t coat all the muffins}

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups.

In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In your mixer bowl, cream together 1 cup sugar and shortening. Then add eggs & vanilla and mix again. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.

Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full {or more, mine were pretty much heaping}. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

In a bowl, melt 2 sticks butter. In a separate bowl combine remaining sugar and cinnamon. Dip baked muffins in butter, coating thoroughly, then coat with cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Eat them while they’re warm!  Enjoy!

Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Welp, it finally happened.  I made a Pioneer Woman recipe that didn’t turn out well.  These cookies spread out so thin in the oven that they basically baked into one giant cookie on the baking sheet.  However, I probably should have known better.  PW mentioned that they are very flat and crispy.  I should have spaced them farther apart.

On the other hand, we did like the flavor a lot.  Who doesn’t love a chocolate malt milkshake?  So with some adaptation in the future I think they could be great.

Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Source: PW

Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • ¾ cups Golden Brown Sugar
  • ¾ cups Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1-¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1-¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ cups (rounded) Malted Milk Powder
  • 1 bag (12 Ounce) Milk Chocolate Chips
Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream butter, then add both sugars and cream until fluffy. Add eggs and beat slightly, then add vanilla and beat until combined. Add malted milk powder and beat until combined.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture, beating gently until just combined.

Add chocolate chips and stir in gently.

Drop by teaspoonfuls (or use a cookie scoop) and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Bake less if you want chewy cookies; more if you want crispy cookies.

Optional: Allow to cool completely, then use two cookies to make an ice cream sandwich. Add sprinkles to the sides of the ice cream, then wrap individually in plastic wrap.

Chicken with Tomatoes and Garlic

I think I should change the name of my bliggity blog to  “copy everything that the Pioneer Woman makes.”  I feel like I make so many of her recipes!  But, the truth is that they never fail me.  They appeal to the style of food that Tim and I love which is just simple down home cooking with little or no frills.  And they are delicious.  The only drawback, if you can even call it that, is that her recipes feed an army so I always cut them back.

Chicken with Tomatoes and Garlic

Source:  PW

Sponsored by HPClick Here
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 1 Hour Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients
  • 8 pieces Chicken Legs Or Thighs {I used 4 thighs}
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil {I used 1 Tbsp}
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Diced Tomatoes {I used one jar of pasta sauce}
  • 1 can (14 Ounces) Whole Tomatoes {I omitted}
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • Fresh Herbs: Basil, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary {I used dried basil and parsley}
  • 8 cloves Garlic {I used 4}
  • 16 ounces, weight Pasta {I used bow tie}
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese, For Serving
  • ½ cups White Wine (or Red Wine)
Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Salt and pepper chicken thighs.

Heat ovenproof dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter. When oil/butter is hot, add chicken legs to the pan. Using tongs, brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Remove chicken from pan.

Pour in wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits. Cook for 1 minute. Pour in tomatoes with their juice and add tomato paste. Add salt and pepper to taste, stirring to combine. Bring sauce to a boil, then turn off heat. Add herbs, cloves of peeled (but whole) garlic, and the chicken. {Try to submerge the chicken in the sauce as much as possible.}  Put lid on pot and cook in the oven for 1 hour. {I cooked mine for 45 minutes since I used less chicken.}

Remove pot from oven and allow it to sit on the counter with the lid on while you boil the pasta.

Remove lid and check sauce. If it’s overly thin, remove the chicken from the pot {keep warm} and boil the sauce on the stove top for 5 to 10 minutes.   {my sauce was the perfect consistency and I didn’t need to do this step.} Check seasonings and adjust as needed.

To serve, pour sauce over cooked pasta, then arrange chicken pieces over the top. Sprinkle generously with fresh Parmesan and serve with crusty French bread.

Oven Fries

Oven fries and I have not always gotten along in the past.  They never turn out quite as crispy as I hope, a few always stick to the pan, and they take a long time to slice and bake.  And yet, I keep making them.  And when I do, I can never keep my hands off them.  These were particularly delicious though.  They got nice and golden brown and the seasoning was perfect!  And no matter what, they are always better than fried fast food french fries!

Oven Fries

{Source:  adapted from PW‘s tasty kitchen}

3-4 large potatoes

1 T. canola oil

1 T. or more seasoning {Cajun, Lawry’s, etc…}

cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cover a large baking sheet with foil and spray with Pam.

Slice potatoes into fries. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Pour about 1 tablespoon of oil over the fries and toss with fingers to coat evenly. Sprinkle fries with seasoning of choice. I used cajun seasoning.  Place in the oven. Bake for approximately 45 minutes – 1 hour or until golden and crispy.  Shake/flip the fries 3 or 4 times during the cooking process.

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