Sausage & Kale Soup

Happy NEW Year! A new year brings such excitement, promise, and new adventures. Each year I take time to review my goals from the year before and create new goals to guide me. This year I went through a process to find a word that encompasses my goals. My word this year is PURPOSEFUL. One of my goals is being purposeful with my blog. I want to share my recipes, my heart, and encourage you along the way. My goal is to blog at least every two weeks. So I’m a little off to begin the year. I give myself forgiveness and know that I have been purposeful in other aspects of my life: spending every moment soaking up time with my sister and niece while they were visiting, taking care of little one with pneumonia, adjusting back to an alarm and school routine, and threw in a few dates and a getaway with Chris.

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I wanted to start this year by sharing this yummy soup my sister, Lesley, shared with me. This year I rang in the new year surrounded by friends and my family. My sister and niece joined us for the celebration all the way from Texas. The following week, Lesley and I shared a lot of time in the kitchen. Our new, improved, and beautiful kitchen creates great space for sharing life. We are there all the time. This Sausage Kale Soup was shared and enjoyed on a cold, relaxing evening. It has instantly become a favorite. Not only was it yummy for dinner but I enjoyed it for lunch the following two days. Lesley says that it is just as terrific if you make ahead, freeze, and serve later. Plus it has KALE!! I can’t get enough of that green stuff. This soup screams to be made for a family with a new baby, a friend who has had a bad day, or just a simple “thinking of you” meal. Bless those around you this year. Look for reasons to Sing and Dance in your kitchen.
Looking Forward- Amanda

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Complete Happiness in a Bowl

Sausage Kale Soup

1 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lb Italian sausage, remove casting
1 lb red potatoes, sliced thin circles
1 bunch kale, trimmed, chopped, stems removed
8 cups of chicken broth
1 c dry white wine
1 t crushed red pepper (use less if you don’t want it too spicy)
1/3 c heavy cream
3/4 shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil, onions, and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add the sausage. Brown sausage and crumble into smaller pieces. Once the sausage is ready, add potatoes, kale, chicken broth, wine and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Stir completely then reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. When ready to serve, stir in the cream and parmesan cheese. Serve in individual bowls topped with parmesan cheese and red pepper. Delicious with warm bread.

Chicken Tetrazzini

We all need a meal that does not need a lot of thought.  A little chopping, a little mixing, and throw it together over some heat.  This Chicken Tetrazzini was a complete winner at our house served with a green salad and warm, garlic bread.  Big score that we had a yummy lunch the next day.  Here’s to an easy night in the kitchen!- AmandaChicken Tetra

Chicken Tetrazzini

3 T butter

1 medium onion, chopped

3/4 cup celery, chopped

2 cups chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into bite-sized pieces

6 oz. uncooked spaghetti noodles, broken in half

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Paprika

Melt butter in a large skillet.  Add onion and celery.  Cook until clear.  Arrange chicken in a layer over the onion and celery.  Add uncooked noodles.  Mix salt, pepper, soup, and chicken broth together and pour the mixture over the noodles.  Make sure that all noodles are moistened.  Place mushrooms over the top and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and a little paprika.  Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

We all know the dish.  It is a staple at church potlucks, in cookbooks, and family gatherings.  Let’s change it up a little.  Add in quinoa instead of rice.  You still get the same creamy-yummy texture without all those carbs.  This is a perfect side dish to all to your upcoming festivities.

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

1- 10 oz can condensed Cream of Broccoli soup
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
2 T milk
1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 t Splenda
1/4 t black pepper
2 cups cooked broccoli
1 1/2 cups  COOKED quinoa (below)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

To cook quinoa:
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 t salt

Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve until water runs clear.  In a small saucepan combine the quinoa, water, and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for 18-20 minutes, or until fluffy and the white ring/tail is visible.  Fluff with a fork.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a shallow (8×8 in or 5-6 cups) casserole dish – or individual ramekins – with vegetable cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, shredded cheese, Splenda, and pepper until well mixed. Stir in the quinoa and broccoli.
Spoon mixture into prepared casserole.  Sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of Parmesan and bake for 35-40 minutes (20-25 minutes for ramekins) or until bubbly on the edges and golden.  Makes 8 generous 1/2-cup servings.

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

In an attempt to try out a few new holiday side dishes, I discovered a dish that makes me push away the typical potato casserole.  I will admit that I have not cooked with spaghetti squash.  What a pleasant surprise!  This creation had this carb loving family excited.  All the goodness with no guilt!  If you are a newbie to spaghetti squash, this video might help you out.  http://www.ehow.com/video_2346682_making-spaghetti-squash-strings-spaghetti.html
Start making your menus!- Amanda

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

1 medium spaghetti squash
3 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
¼ t red pepper flakes, or more if you like it spicy
1 t fresh thyme
½ cup sour cream
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds.  Place in a covered dish with a ¼ inch of water and microwave for 10 -12 minutes.  In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, add the butter, onions, red pepper and thyme and cook until the onions are slightly brown in color.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Using a fork, scrape the insides of the squash and transfer to a small bowl.  Combine the squash, onions, sour cream and half the cheese together and mix well.  Transfer the mixture to a buttered baking dish 8 x11 and top with remaining cheese.

Place into a 375º for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown on top.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

It’s that time of year where pumpkins are on the brain.  While whipping up your traditional fall favorites, you need to make time for these cookies.  It’s a perfect way to use that leftover pumpkin puree.  Soft and chewy with a hint of pumpkin, these goodies are like eating a piece of fall.  Feel free to add some pecans or walnuts.  The cookie monsters in my house approved this addition to our fall dessert assortment.  Taste the fall!- Amanda

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 t vanilla extract
2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
With mixer, cream together the butter and the sugars until fluffy. Beat in the egg, followed by the pumpkin puree and the vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture and the oatmeal until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 11-13 min. Cookies will be lightly browned at the edges when done. Don’t over-bake or they can dry out.
Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

Oh the happiness of a French Dip!  Let’s get a fact out there: A French Dip is not from France.  The name is derived from the actual bread that is used to create this delectable sandwich.  During my research, I discovered that Philippe Mathieu, inventor of the French Dip Sandwich, was French and living in Los Angeles. In 1914, according to the story at Mathieu’s  restaurant, Philippe was preparing a sandwich for a policeman and accidentally dropped the sliced French roll into the drippings of a roasting pan. The policeman liked the sandwich and came back the next day with some friends to order the sandwich “dipped” in the meat pan. From that day on, a new sandwich was born. See accidents in the kitchen can turn out to be a wonderful thing! There’s your history for the day.  So put on a little French music and fire up your crockpot.  It’s that easy.  Can’t trust a name of a sandwich! -Amanda

Crockpot French Dips Sandwiches

3 lbs beef chuck roast
16 oz. beef broth (1 1/2 cans)
1 can condensed French onion soup
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1 t garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
4-6 French rolls
sliced provolone cheese

Trim excess fat off of beef roast and season meat all over with salt and pepper.  Pour beef broth, French onion soup, onion slices, and garlic powder into slow cooker and place beef roast into liquid.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Since this is cooking in liquid, you don’t have to worry about the meat drying out in the same way you might if you were roasting the meat in the oven. I cooked our roast for 7 hours and it was so tender.
Take beef out and rest it, covered with aluminum foil, for about 15 minutes. Slice beef and return to slow cooker on low for 30 minutes.
Lightly toast the bread and evenly distribute cheese between rolls.  Divide beef onto rolls and spoon the remaining beef juice into ramekins. Serve each sandwich with its own dip.

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Pumpkin Bread

We have entered my favorite time of the year.  Baking in the fall just makes me happy.  The other night our kitchen was alive with the smell of pumpkin bread.  Seriously, nothing says “Hello Fall” like pumpkin bread.  This easy recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law when I first entered the Fuller family.  It has been a traditional recipe ever since.  Make it the night before to experience the ultimate goodness.  Oh the smell of fall!-Amanda

Pumpkin Bread

3 1/3 cup flour

3 cup sugar

1/2 t salt

1 t cinnamon

1 t nutmeg

2 t baking soda

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

2/3 cup water

1 can pumpkin

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

On a low speed, mix flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and soda.  Mix well.  Make a hole in the middle.  Add cooking oil, 4 eggs, water, and pumpkin.  Stir well.  Add walnuts.  Grease and flour 2 bread pans.  Split the batter between the two bread pans.  Cook 1 hour or little longer at 350 degrees.  Cool completely on rack.  Wrap bread and refrigerate.  Make the night before for total yumminess.

Crazy Good Roast

Okay, Roast!   Last Sunday I wanted to be all 1950’s and whip up a roast.  Now June Cleaver did not have a crockpot but if she did, it would have totally changed her life and the way she prepared a roast.  Honestly, just throw it all in the crockpot and curl up with a good book.  To make it a little exciting, I shredded some roast and served on small rolls.  It was a HUGE family hit.  Here’s to a restful Sunday! -Amanda

Crazy Good Roast

4 -5 lb. chuck pot roast

1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch mix

1 pkg. McCormick Au jus mix

8 T butter (1 stick)

6 whole pepperoncini peppers

If you want: Potatoes (cubed) and/or Carrots (chopped)

Place the pot roast in the crock pot on low.  Sprinkle ranch and au jus mix over the roast.  Place a stick of butter on top of the roast.
Put 6 peperoncini peppers on top of the roast.  Add potatoes and carrots now if you want them with your roast.  Let the roast cook at least 7 hours.  Trust me don’t add water.  Pull your roast out of the crockpot and prepare to serve.  If you want sandwiches, shred your roast and serve with rolls.

Minestrone Soup

Soup weather!  You know what I’m talking about.  The kind of weather that you can’t wait to get in your jammies and call it a day.  Well, our last rainy day called for minestrone soup.  It takes a little time to prepare but then you will have plenty of time to be lazy.  Serve it with warm, garlic bread to complete the goodness.  Feel free to experiment with veggies and noodles.  Stay dry and warm! -Amanda

Minestrone Soup

 

2 T extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 pound pancetta or thick-cut prosciutto, finely chopped

1 lb. zucchini, cut into strips lengthwise, then cut into small pieces

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

2 bay leaves

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

32 ounces  (4 cups) chicken stock

16 ounces (2 cups) chicken broth

15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed

15 ounce can  tomato puree

1/4 lb. whole wheat penne or other short-cut pasta

Handful basil, torn into pieces

About 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano

In a soup pot, heat the EVOO, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until browned, a couple of minutes. Add the zucchini, celery, onion, bay leaves and 2 cloves garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 7 to 8 minutes.

Stir the chicken stock and broth, beans and tomatoes into the soup and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Stir in the basil and lower the heat to low.

Serve soup in bowls and top with parmigiano cheese.  Add warm, garlic bread to complete the meal. This soup is thick and full of stuff.  Feel free to add a little more chicken broth to thin out the soup.

Classic Brownies

Classic Brownies

Sometimes you just want it classic!  No frills!  Yes, Betty Crocker has a brownie mix and it is completely fine to use a box mix from time to time.  These brownies just taste like your mom whipped them up and placed them on a sweet vintage plate.  So, put your snazzy apron and grab a whisk.  I know someone will thank you later! -Amanda

1½ cups sugar
¾ cup flour
¾ cup Hershey’s cocoa powder
3 eggs
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

By hand (you can do that) mix together the sugar, flour, salt, cocoa, eggs and melted butter.  Once the dry ingredients are mixed in, you are set.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

You know how much I love parchment paper.  Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment.  This will keep your brownies from sticking to the edge and make it ever so easy to get out of the baking dish.

Pour the batter and spread it out. If you get crazy, you will move around your parchment paper.  Take it easy and push the batter down with a rubber spatula.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes. It’s done when a toothpick inserted in the tallest part comes out clean. Keep in mind you’ve got chips in there. If you hit one with the toothpick it will have melted chocolate on it. You might need to poke a couple of spots to make sure you aren’t hitting a chip.

Carefully lift the parchment out of the baking dish. Get a spare set of hands if you can.  Then peel the edges and let cool for a few minutes before slicing.