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Cauliflower Pepper Jack Cheese Soup

Growing up Christmas dinner was usually Cauliflower Cheese soup.  My mothers secret was pepper jack cheese which gave the soup the perfect amount of spice.  My sister came across Cauliflower-Cheese Soup Recipe – Allrecipes.com which is an exact recipe.  It adds carrot, celery, and potato which my mom never did.  I gave it a try but added a bit of the secret ingredient and blended it a bit like my mom did.

My two-year old ate two bowls and asked again for more the next day.  I loved the added carrot and celery.  The added potato allowed a bit less thickener.  The best part you don’t need must seasoning but salt and pepper.

Cauliflower Pepper Jack Cheese SoupCauliflower Pepper Jack Cheese Soup:

  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1-2 stalks celery,chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut in florets
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 4 Tbs flour
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups milk or half and half
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

In a medium pot combine water with celery, carrots, onions, potatoes, and cauliflower.  Bring water to a boil, cover with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes until vegetables start to become tender.

Cauliflower Pepper Jack Cheese Soup

In a large pot or dutch oven melt butter.  Add in flour and cook about 2 minutes  on medium heat.

Cauliflower Pepper Jack Cheese Soup

Stir in milk until smooth and mixture begins to thicken.

Add in the water and vegetables.  Continue to cook until all vegetables are tender, season with salt and pepper.

It you prefer a smoother soup, use an immersion blender at this time to blend to desired consistency.

Stir in cheese and taste again for any seasoning needed.

Enjoy piping hot with a good loaf of bread.

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Sweet and Sour Roasted Root Vegetables

I came across this recipe in Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2004 cookbook it sounded great.  I love beets and to make it a meal I added sausage brats similar to lazy day casserole.  I also added some potatoes and onions.  Either way you can serve it as a side dish or as a meal.  I think it would be particularly wonderful with a roast.

My son ate it along with the two helpings I had, my daughter thought it was sour and just ate sausage.  Mr.Picky was preparing his own dinner that night.

I thought these wonderful root vegetable had a bright herb flavor.  In no way did I think they were sweet or sour tasting.  The only thing I would do different is to cut my beets up a bit smaller.  With the leftovers I created a big pot of borscht.

Sweet and Sour Root Vegetables

Sweet and Sour Roasted Root Vegetables:

  • 1 lb. small beets, trimmed, peeled, and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 lb. potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbs cider vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon or 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 6-10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Sweet and Sour Root Vegetables

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare a 9 x 13″ baking dish with a bit of cooking spray.

Steam the first three ingredients covered in a pan for about 5 minutes.

Place vegetables in the baking dish.

Combine maple syrup and vinegar in a dish and set aside.

In a dish squeeze juice from lemon, add spent lemon halves to the beet mixture.

To the dish of lemon juice add oil, coriander, and tarragon.

Pour over beet mixture and toss well.  Add thyme sprigs and season with salt and pepper.

Sweet and Sour Root Vegetables

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Pour syrup mixture over the vegetables and toss to coat, return to the oven for an additional 30 minutes.

Discard lemon halves and serve hot.

*If you are wanting to add sausage like I did just brown brats in a pan during the first 30 minutes of cooking.  No need to cook them through.  Slice each sausage in half and place on top of the vegetables for the last 30 minutes in the oven.

 

Borscht

Borscht is essentially stew made with beets.  As a girl this was one of my favorite dinners my mom would make.  I would eat bowl after bowl until it was gone.  Although what is not to love beets are one of my favorite vegetables.

This is not only a healthy but a hearty soup to fill the bellies of the whole family.  You can blend it or dice your vegetables as fine as you would like.  I prefer it chunky as this is how I grew up with it.  I have never tried making it on my own but it turned out great.  My mother is an amazing soup maker and because she always throws things together I did my best.

Now if you think it is odd to add dollop of sour cream to you stew, you need to give it a try.  Borscht requires a dollop of sour cream and it just won’t taste the same without it.

Beet Stew with a dollop of sour cream

Beet Stew with a dollop of sour cream

Borscht:

  • 1 lb. beef stew meat, cubed
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 3 medium beets, peeled and diced
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and diced (if using new or red potatoes no need to peel)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 medium head of cabbage,diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash Worcestershire sauce

* This could easily be made in the crock pot.  After browning the stew meat combine all in the slow cooker and combine all ingredients.  Cook over low for at least 6 hours or until vegetables are tender.

In a 5 quart pot over medium/high heat oil and brown the stew meat.  Add in tomato sauce and beef broth.

Add in remaining ingredients  except cabbage and cover the pot with a lid.  Turn heat to low and simmer for about 2 hours.

Add in the cabbage and continue to cook and additional hour.

Taste and add any additional salt and pepper.  Remove the two bay leaves.

When the beets are tender and the meat is falling apart the Borscht is ready to serve.

Dollop each bowl with a bit of sour cream and serve.

Pesto Roasted Potatoes

Pesto Roasted PotatoesRoasted Potatoes are often the way I prepare potatoes in our home, due to the fact that Mr.Picky dislikes mashed potatoes.  I usually switch the seasonings up and toss my potatoes in olive oil.  Pesto Potatoes – Favorite Family Recipes was a great change of pace.  Mr.Picky said it lacked flavor but he always adds more salt than the sea and usually likes extra heat on his potatoes.  The kids on the other hand left only a handful on the pan and had the rest for lunch the next day.

I used to think I disliked pesto.  Which really makes no sense because basil is my favorite herb, parmesan Reggiano is one of my favorite cheeses, and I use olive oil for everything.  I think it is the pine nuts which have never done anything for me.  After making my own pesto I realised it is as wonderful as I imagined.

Pesto Roasted Potatoes:

  • 5-6 red potatoes, cubed with the skin on
  • 1/2 cup pesto sauce (store-bought or my pesto recipe works great)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • salt to taste

 

In a bowl place olive oil, cubed potatoes, and 1/2 cup of pesto.  Toss to coat potatoes evenly.  Add more pesto to taste and  salt to taste.

Pesto Roasted Potatoes

Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are golden.  Flip the potatoes about halfway through cooking.

Scalloped Potatoes and Onions

Scalloped Potatoes and OnionsMr.Picky is my meat and potato man.  He used to request scalloped potatoes so often, but we try to not eat white potatoes too much anymore.  Scalloped potatoes have become a real treat when we do eat them now.  I don’t remember where I came across this recipe, online years ago I believe.

This recipe makes a 9 x 13″ pan, so it will feed a crowd.  It is a great dish to bring to a potluck or family gathering, there are never enough hot dishes at these things.  Whether you feed a crowd or your family, the leftovers are great for breakfast with eggs.

Scalloped Potatoes and Onions:

  • 5 large russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 3/4 cup (14.5 oz can) chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups swiss cheese

I use a food processor to slice the onions and potatoes, and then to grate my cheese.  A mandolin would work just as well, I am lucky enough to have a food processor.

In a pan melt butter and add in the flour and garlic.  Stir until smooth for about a minute, gradually add in broth continuing to stir.  Season with salt and pepper and cook about 2 minutes until thick and bubbly.  Add in mayo and whisk until smooth, remove from heat and set aside.

In a 9 x 13″ glass pan layer half the potatoes, then onions, and then potatoes again.  Place the swiss cheese over the top of all that.

Scalloped Potatoes and OnionsPour sauce evenly over the casserole and cover with foil.  Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Remove cover and continue to bake for another 15 minutes until slightly brown.Scalloped Potatoes and Onions

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