Sausage, Bean, and Tomato Stew

sausagestew3

There’s that glorious period of about a week after a major grocery run where I am pretty sure of what the daily menu will look like. I have a good handle on what we have in the house and a decent idea of what is or is not expired. It’s always a mix of cool new recipes I’m wanting to try, and the routine family favorites.

sausagestew

After those sevenish days it gets tricky. I *could* go to the store, but ugh. Then we start running out of easy meal options and the fresh veggies dwindle. I rough it for as long as I can, maybe picking up some milk here, some bread there, eventually stretching that big grocery run for two weeks.

And then… it’s the dregs. The grocery dregs.

sausagestew2

This is where planning dinner becomes a major challenge and I get stubborn about not wanting to do another big grocery run.

Turning to the great Google god for help, I pick three or four major ingredients I have on hand that I think *might* work harmoniously for a meal for the four grown adults in my household. Usually it’s onions, [some kind of meat], [pasta/rice/legume], [frozen or canned veggie]. Sometimes I’ll throw in a wild card like “coconut milk” or “shelled walnuts.”

Thankfully, as I’ve become better and better at spotting good recipes online, these Google adventures turn out pretty well. I usually blend several of the recipes that pop up (taking from the best of the comments sections).

This time it was “onions,” “sage sausage,” “white beans,” and “crushed tomatoes.”

I ended up hitting pay dirt – the resulting stew is hearty, filling, and really delicious. I was completely out of bread and wanted something doughy to dip in the stew, so I paired it with my first-ever attempt at focaccia bread (carmelized (charred?) onion).

focaccia

Sausage, Bean, and Tomato Stew
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Stew
Cuisine: Italian-esque
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 sausage links
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons squeeze bottle garlic
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • ⅛th teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 10 oz. box of frozen spinach
  • 2 15 oz. cans white beans (cannellini are good)
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Add olive oil and sausage links into a large pot over medium-low heat.
  2. Once golden and firm, remove from heat and slice into rounds.
  3. Return to pot, add onion and garlic, and turn heat up to medium.
  4. Stir occasionally until onions are soft.
  5. Toss in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken bouillon, Italian seasonings, red pepper flakes, black pepper, water, and spinach.
  6. As the ingredients in the pot are heating up, rinse the white beans in a colander and drain.
  7. Add drained beans to pot and stir occasionally until bubbling and hot.
  8. If too thin, let reduce over medium-low heat. If too thick, add water ¼ cup at a time until desired thickness is reached.
  9. Salt to taste.
  10. Serve on its own, or pair with some kind of yummy bread. :)

What do you make when you’re low on ingredients?

Cheeseburger Soup

Cheeseburger Soup

Somewhere from the aether, the idea of a cheeseburger soup got into my head.

Something creamy and beefy and really filling.

cheeseburgersoup1

This soup did NOT disappoint.

Cheeseburger Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 ounces pasta (macaroni, ziti, bowties)
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 10 ounces Velveeta
  • ¼ cup potato flakes
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Dice the bacon and saute in the bottom of a large pot until cooked but not crispy.
  2. Dice the onion and add to the pot to cook in the bacon fat until transparent.
  3. Add the ground beef and saute until cooked through.
  4. Add the Worcestershire sauce and the ketchup and combine.
  5. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  6. To the pot add the beef broth, the water, and the pasta.
  7. Cook covered on high heat until the pasta is nearly done done to your liking. This should be about 10 minutes.
  8. Return the ground beef mixture to the pot along with the milk and the potato flakes. Cook for a few minutes on medium heat until warm (if the milk brought down the temperature).
  9. Cube the Velveeta and add that to the pot with all of the seasonings and stir until the cheese is completely melted.
  10. Season additionally to taste. Serve warm.

 

Soup Weather

As luck would have it, I somehow managed to get a cold right before needing to start my new semester of classes.

All I’ve wanted to do is lay in bed, watch Friends on Netflix, and eat soup (without having to get up and make it for myself). These things being the exact opposite of everything productive that needed to happen this weekend, I figured I would do a quick roundup of Qwerty’s delicious soups.

These recipes are perfect for the cold, or if like me, you’ve got one.

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

soup

Bacon Potato Cheddar Soup

IMG_20130909_185418_523

French Onion Soup

frenchonion

Corn Chowder in Bread Bowls

chowder2

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

soup

Apparently it’s soup weather here in the Bay Area, seeing as Brie just posted this delish beef stew recipe on Monday. It rained a ton last week (everything is so lovely and green!) and even more rain is predicted for Thursday/Friday. So – hearty soups, comfort food, and hot chocolate are in the forecast in this Qwerty household for the next few weeks at least.

I’m also so thrilled to announce that I’m full time freelancing again. After a short stint with a great group of people at Jelly Belly Candy Company, I am back working from home (it’s a good thing). This means more time and emotional energy to make food and publish recipes for you lovely folks. Also – puppy snuggles. :)

I missed her like mad while I was away. I mean, just look at this face.

ladyofnoms

I call that picture, “our lady of noms.”

Anyhoo, I finally had it in me to do some recipe exploring AND real cooking, so allow me to present to you this slow cooker chicken noodle soup.

soup2

It’s thick and lovely, subtle and comforting.

Here’s how you make it…

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • Large yellow onion, chopped
  • Frozen bag of mixed veggies
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 5 lb. whole chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ⅓ cup corn starch
  • 3 cups cooked egg noodles
Instructions
  1. Prep your crockpot with a liner and fill it with 8 cups of water.
  2. Add in the chopped onion, bag of mixed veggies, chopped celery, and bay leaf.
  3. Mix your salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley flakes in a small bowl.
  4. Now prepare to spend some quality time with the chicken - pat it dry, rub it all over with oil, then pat the mixed spices all over it.
  5. Place a sprig of thyme on top of the chicken, and place the rest inside the chest cavity.
  6. Lay that chicken down on the bed of veggies and water, set your crockpot to high, and cook for 5½-6 hours.
  7. Carefully pull the chicken out and place on a large pan. Allow to cool enough to pick off the chicken meat (separate it from cartilage, skin, and bone), and put the shredded meat back into the crockpot.
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk together ⅓ cup corn starch and 1½ cups of broth grabbed from the crockpot until thickened. Pour back into the crock pot.
  9. Add in the egg noodles and stir.
  10. Now salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Beef and Winter Vegetable Stew

Slow Cooker Beef and Winter Vegetable Stew

I’ve been craving a really good stew for several weeks now, and it finally got chilly enough that I just couldn’t hold out any more.

The end of the Fall semester  has had me pretty stressed and busy, but being able to throw everything into the crock pot  was so quick and easy, and incredibly wonderful once it was ready that evening.

beef stew resized1

My desire with this recipe was to make something super meaty with a nice supporting background of veggies. I definitely succeeded.

This stew was so delicious, and warm, and comforting, and amazing, and was a big hit with all.

Slow Cooker Beef and Winter Vegetable Stew
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds cubed stew meat
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 parsnip, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 5 cups beef stock
Instructions
  1. Place meat, flour, salt, and pepper in the bottom of a 6 quart crock pot, and stir to coat the meat with the flour.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Set crock pot on high for 6 hours, or low for 9-10 hours.
  4. Serve warm, and eat or freeze leftovers within 5 days.

 

I made such a large batch that I though we would have plenty of leftovers, but it’s already gone!

I highly recommend making this stew in the next few months; it will really warm you up

Bacon Potato Cheddar Soup

Bacon Potato Cheddar Soup

There’s something so comforting about warm soup on a chilly day.

IMG_20130909_185412_987

This soup is so creamy and filling, that it’s the perfect thing to curl up with while you watch holiday classics like “Home Alone” or “Die Hard”.

IMG_20130909_185418_523

It’s also really easy; just normal annoying prep work with potatoes, but then you’re good to go!

Bacon Potato Cheddar Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 12 pieces of thick cut bacon
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic (about a tablespoon)
  • 4 pounds potatoes (peeled and diced into ½" cubes)
  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • ½ cup cream or half&half
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Fry the bacon in a large (deep) sauce pan until just crisp, set aside to cool. Retain about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.
  2. Add to the bacon fat the diced onion and cook until translucent.
  3. Stir in the crushed garlic and saute for about a minute then add the cubed potatoes, milk, cream, cream of chicken soup, and salt and pepper.
  4. Stir until combined and then bring to a boil.
  5. Once boiling, drop to a simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Crumble your cooked bacon into the soup, and stir in your shredded cheese.
  7. Taste and add any additional seasoning.
  8. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
  9. Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream or sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

This soup is versatile and nearly fool proof. Make it soon and enjoy!

Homemade Corn Chowder

Homemade Corn Chowder

One of my favorite memories as a kid is from a family trip up to the Heavenly ski resort in Lake Tahoe. I spent a long and exhausting day exploring the intermediate slopes with a group ski instructor and eventually met up with my dad for food and fun.

chowder2

We stomped into the resort’s restaurant, (as I recall it, we’re still wearing ski boots, but typing that out now it doesn’t seem likely), and my dad sauntered up to the woman taking orders and got us hot chocolate (he’s a smart man) and big, steaming bread bowls filled with corn chowder.

chowder3

It was probably a mix of exhaustion and nostalgia, but that was the best damn soup I’d ever had.

chowder

Since then I often find myself craving corn chowder when I’m in a need of a little TLC. The following recipe is a combination of several found online, plus a whole lot of tweaking. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

chowder4

Homemade Corn Chowder
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 pound potatoes, cut into ½ pieces (peeled, if that's your preference)
  • ½ cup cream
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can cream of potato soup
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Fresh sage, finely chopped (I use an entire box of fresh sage leaves - but if you're not a big fan, reduce it to two tablespoons)
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Cook bacon in a large pan until crisp.
  2. Transfer bacon to paper towel.
  3. Pour off all but three tablespoons of drippings from the pan.
  4. Saute onions in bacon drippings over medium high heat until softened (about five minutes)
  5. Mix in potatoes, cream, milk, corn, broth, cream of potato soup, red pepper flakes and half of sage and simmer until the potatoes are tender and the soup is reduced to your liking (about ten minutes).
  6. Add crumbled bacon and remaining sage, then simmer for an additional five minutes.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
  8. Enjoy!