Taco Soup

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Have you ever filled out a recipe card? You know, the types our moms (if you’re in my generation) exchanged all the time, and they had notebooks or boxes filled with them? In this “All Recipes” / Google era, I don’t always appreciate what a labor of love it is to laboriously write all of the ingredients and the cooking instructions by hand onto a little card … until I do it once or twice. It is a serious labor of love.

Spiced Lentil Soup

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This is a recipe I’ve been meaning to blog for almost a year… I guess time flies when you’re … doing other things. A friend sent me this recipe, though, after it had been given to her as “good for moms right after having a baby” (I’m sure she said it more eloquently than that). I guess it has all sorts of vitamins and minerals and great protein and veggies to replenish what your body’s lacking after just creating and birthing a new human being. It’s also great for new moms because it makes a huge batch that will feed a too-tired-to-cook family for a few days.

New York Times No-Knead Bread

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This is my current favorite bread to make: New York Times No-Knead Bread. It takes a little bit more planning (but no more effort) than the method from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day, but I’m liking the flavor, crumb and crust better right now. Don’t get me wrong, both are great — it’s hard to go wrong with fresh bread no matter how you look at it, especially now that it’s cooled off enough in Montana to leave your oven on.

While we’re on the subject, though, I DID try cooking the “5 Minutes a Day” bread in my slow-cooker after seeing it on Pinterest. It turned out pretty well — not my favorite, but, again, even mediocre homemade bread is pretty fantastic and this is a way to have fresh bread in the middle of the summer when you don’t want to turn your oven on for hours on end. Here’s the link, for future reference.

(PS – we had half a loaf of this bread leftover this morning and it made for some great french toast!)

Butternut Squash Soup in the Crockpot

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“You have a food blog?”  Yes, and I start updating it, and then I get pregnant and stop cooking due to nonstop vomiting, and then it’s summer (too hot for most soup), and then I’m busy with a newborn/toddler. Rinse and repeat.

But, I made soup today, and I’m delighted to share it with you. I’m going to stop cooking again in about a month (due 10-10), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some butternut squash available so you can enjoy this soup all autumn.

Black Bean Soup for 1, 2 or 4

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I’m in the mood for Black Bean Soup for lunch. It’s 11:37 and I’m hungry; how on earth am I going to pull this off?  Easy! I’m going to pull the half-can of leftover tomato sauce in my fridge, the half-used box of chicken stock, a can of black beans and a few other ingredients and make myself some Black Bean Soup.

If you don’t have much time, you have a few staple ingredients on hand and you like a healthy, flavorful soup, have I got a meal for you!

Unassuming Artisian Bread

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I made Beef (well, elk)-Barley soup yesterday. It wasn’t blog-worthy. You could do a search for “Beef-Barley soup” and come up with dozens of better recipes. I mean, Beef-Barley soup is pretty basic and hard to mess up, but it’s also hard to come up with a truly outstanding recipe. I’ll probably try to follow this recipe the next time I get the Beef-Barley hankering. I’ll let you know if I come up with something extraordinary.

In the meantime, I made this bread to go with the soup, and it WAS blog-worthy.

Spaghetti Squash Soup

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I had half of a spaghetti squash that I needed to use up, and I didn’t feel like going the traditional marinara route. So I googled “spaghetti squash soup” and came up with a handful of recipe options. This is the one that I decided to try.

Gluten-Free Cornbread with Cheese and Green Chiles

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The hubby and I have been eating a lot lately; big meals, heavy meals. He asked that whenever possible this week, we eat light. So I’m obliging him tonight with a spaghetti squash soup [recipe forthcoming]. It’s simple and light and that will hopefully help us feel a little less thick around the waist when we enter the next weekend that will, once again, entail lots of fatty (and delicious) food.

Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup

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I alluded to this recipe the other day, but here it is in full: Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup.

I’d recommend making this soup “by the book” (if it can be “by the book,” given that it comes from the Internets) the first time, and then you can play around with it after that. This last time that I made it, I only had a 3-cup portion of chicken stock in the freezer, so I added a teaspoon of beef “Better Than Bouillon,” just to see what the beef flavor would do (didn’t notice much difference). I also had a big bottle of Pace salsa sometime earlier this spring that I was afraid would go bad, so I froze 2 cups worth and just dumped the frozen brick into the crockpot along with the frozen chicken stock. I was “quick soaking” the beans, so I added them after the other liquids heated up.

Also, this time around I didn’t have any sour cream on hand, but I did have some leftover cilantro cream sauce, so that’s what I added at the end of the day, after everything else had cooked on high for around 6 hours. Finally, I didn’t have any raw chicken, so I pulled pieces off of last night’s rotisserie chicken and sprinkled them on top of our soup.

To put it plainly, you can’t go wrong with these flavors. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top and you’re golden: cheese covereth a multitude of cooking blunders.

No-Knead, Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

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As promised yesterday, here is my new favorite bread recipe. It was developed by King Arthur Flour, and it’s great because it takes about 5 minutes of hands-on time (more if you’re juggling a cranky 10 month-old while mixing ingredients, etc). This bread makes great toast, it makes a good sandwich and, of course, it’s great right out of the oven with a bowl of soup.

Since it’s a proprietary recipe, they recommend that you use their brand of flour to make it. I’ve been using Wheat Montana, and my favorite is their Prairie Gold (whole wheat) flour. My only other advice is to make sure it’s a pretty wet dough – if your flour is older, you might want to add some more water, or the bread will be really dense. It should be wetter than chocolate chip cookie dough, though not quite pourable.

It makes one loaf of bread, but you can double it if you want to give a loaf away 🙂  Or, it makes a couple of nice, small loaves, and the other day I baked a batch in my 7″ Dutch Oven so I could hollow it out into a bread bowl for crab dip.

Be sure to have some butter ready when you pull this out of the oven!