One of the advantages of preparing soups in crock pots is the richness of flavour from the slow cooking process. Today, I am sharing with you three deligthful crockpot recipes for soups, great confort dishes any time of the year.16 BEAN SOUP1 package 16 Bean Soup3 bay leaves1 tablespoon crushed oregano2 cans no-fat chicken stockAdditional water to cover3 stalks celery chopped3 carrots diced1 large onion chopped3 cloves garlic sliced1 pound turkey Italian sausage sliced2 cans stewed (or diced) tomatoesCombine first 5 ingredients (liquid should cover mixture by 1"-2") inCrock Pot Cook on high for 2 hours Add remaining ingredients and shift cooker to low and cook for additional 3 hours For more zing, add cayenne or crushed red pepper when adding second set of ingredients. Serve as complete meal or over rice. Freezes well.VEGETABLE BEEF SOUP1 pound ground chuck1 cup chopped onion1 large (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes (chopped)3 cup diced potatoes1 (16 oz.) can cut green beans2 teaspoon chili powder2-3 dashes cayenne pepper sauce2 (10 1/2 oz.) cans condensed beef bouillon1 cup chopped celery1 cup sliced carrots1 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauceBrown meat with onion and celery; drain off fat. Stir in remaining ingredients and add 1 or 2 cups water. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.BARBECUED BEAN SOUP* 1 lb Great Northern beans, soaked* 2 tsp Salt* 1 med Onion, chopped* 1/8 tsp Ground pepper* 2 lb Beef short ribs* 6 cup Water* 3/4 cup Barbecue saucePlace all ingredients in Slow Cooker except barbecue sauce Cover and cook on Low 10 to 16 hours. Before serving, remove short ribs and cut meat from bones. Return meat to Slow Cooker. Stir in barbecue sauce before serving.
Milder weather not only means blue skies and blooming flowers, it's the start of outdoor gatherings. It's also a great excuse to switch up the menu. Salads and kabobs are favorites during warmer months and canned fruit can easily enhance a recipe. Canned Bartlett pears are always ripe, ready to eat and contain virtually no fat or cholesterol. So next time you host a get-together, add a little sweetness to the feast with this pantry staple. Try serving Blueberry, Pear and Apricot Salad with Almonds or Barbecued Pear and Chicken Kabobs to family and guests. Blueberry, Pear and Apricot Salad With AlmondsMakes 12 Servings1 can (15 ounces) Bartlett pear halves in extra-light syrup1 can (81/4 ounces) Bartlett pear halves in extra-light syrup1 can (15 ounces) blueberries in light syrup1 can (83/4 ounces) apricot halves in extra-light syrupJuice of 1 small lemon1/2 cup sliced almonds, roastedDrain both cans of pear halves; slice into bite-sized pieces. Drain apricots; halve. Drain blueberries; divide among salad plates and arrange; arrange pears and apricots as well. Top salads with lemon juice and almonds; serve.Nutritional information (per serving): Calories: 78, Protein: 1.5g, Carbohydrates: 14.5g, Fiber: 1.5g, Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 6mg. Barbecued Pear and Chicken KabobsMakes 4 Servings1 can (15 ounces) Bartlett pear halves1/2 cup bottled barbecue sauce2 tablespoons honey1 tablespoon Dijon mustard1 clove garlic, minced8 kabob skewers1 red, green or yellow sweet bell pepper, cut into 11/2-inch squares1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 11/2-inch chunksPreheat grill or broiler. Drain pears, reserving juice. Cut pears into 11/2-inch chunks; set aside. In a bowl, stir together barbecue sauce, honey, mustard, garlic and 3 tablespoons of the reserved pear juice. On 4 skewers, alternate the pear and bell pepper pieces. On remaining skewers, place chicken pieces. Brush all skewered ingredients liberally with the sauce mixture. Grill chicken skewers over medium coals for 10 minutes (or broil for 5 minutes), brushing occasionally with sauce.Add pear-pepper skewers; grill for 5 to 7 minutes (or broil 2 to 4 minutes) more, or until chicken is no longer pink and pears and peppers are heated through. Serve one chicken kabob and one pear kabob per serving. Nutritional information (per serving): Calories: 241, Protein: 25g, Carbohydrates: 29g, Fiber: 1g, Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 63mg, Sodium: 407mg. A "pear-fect idea" for outdoor gatherings is a Blueberry, Pear and Apricot Salad with Almonds.
When the weather's warm, it's almost too easy to rely on ice cream, soda, popsicles and other frosty sweets for refreshment. However, there are delicious ways to cool off without making the hope of a trim waistline melt away. For instance, you can eat something sweet, feel refreshed and still get your recommended five fruits and veggies a day with the recipes below. Easy to make and even easier to enjoy, smoothies and sorbets made with light and healthy canned Bartlett pears are a refreshing antidote to a hot afternoon. Added bonus: The pears contain no fat or cholesterol and are a good source of potassium and fiber.Pear Yogurt Ginger SmoothieMakes 4 Servings 1 can (15 ounces) Bartlett pear halves or slices, drained3 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt3/4 cup nonfat milk3/4 teaspoon ground ginger 5 ice cubesIn blender or food processor container, puree pears. Add yogurt, milk, ginger and ice cubes, process until well blended. Nutritional Information (Per Serving): Calories 183; Protein 9g; Carbohydrate 37g; Fiber 2g; Fat 1g; Cholesterol 4mg; Sodium 118mg.Blissful Pear SorbetMakes 6 Servings2 cups water1 cup sugar1 can (15 ounces) Bartlett pears, well drained2 tablespoons fresh lemon juiceIn saucepan, heat water and sugar until sugar is well dissolved. Cool syrup to room temperature. In blender container, combine up to one-half of the syrup and pears; blend until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and remaining syrup. Freeze in small (1-quart) ice cream freezer according to manufacturer's directions. Nutritional Information (Per Serving): Calories 166; Carbohydrate 0g; Fiber 0g; Protein 0g; Fat 0g; Sodium 7mg. Chill Out-These cool and refreshing treats, made with canned Bartlett pears, can be a nutritious and delicious way to beat the heat.
A Look at RiceWhen cooking rice the size of the grain is the most important thing. Due to the thousands of varieties of rice found all over the world which have differing flavors and aromas, it can be problematic to find the exact right one for your dish.Long-grain rice usually runs four to five times long as it does wide. It is typically dry and fluffy after it is cooked. The grains do not clump. Some examples of long grain rice are Basmati (aromatic, having a rich nutty flavor; used a lot in Indian cooking), brown long-grain rice (husk removed with a nutritious bran layer, slightly chewy, mild nutty flavor), finishing off with white or polished long-grain rice (most widely used; has mild flavor). Uses for long-grain rice mainly are steamed, baked, pilaf, and a rice salad.Short-grain rice has an almost round shape, is very starchy and tends to stick together after it has been cooked. Its sometimes known as sticky-rice. Examples of short-grain rice are Arborio rice (creamy texture to dishes) and glutinous rice or sweet rice (very sticky after cooked; used in lot of Asian desserts and snacks). Short-grain rice is great for puddings, risotto, croquettes, sushi, stir-fried rice, and molded rice dishes.Medium-grain rice has a size smaller than long-grain yet bigger than short-grain thus the name medium-grain rice. It is more tender than long grain rice and yet less moist than short grain rice. It is typically fluffy and separate when served hot and then starts to clump as it cools.Cooking RiceTo Steam Rice: measure the water and salt amounts suggested for the type of rice you are cooking. This is usually found on the box or bag. Mix the salt and water together and pour it into a saucepan and then bring the combination to a boil. Add the rice to the boiling salted water and stir. Bring the water to a boil again then cover the saucepan, steaming the rice, on a very low heat until the rice has engrossed all the salted water and is tender. This normally takes 15 to 18 minutes for white rice and 35 to 40 minutes for brown rice. Remove the pan from the heat and let set for about 5 minutes. Prior to rationing the rice to your troops fluff it with a fork. Troops love fluffy rice.To Saut and Steam Rice (pilaf): Measure some salt and water for your rice and bring to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil heat oil or butter in a saucepan at medium heat. You can also use a mixture of the two. Add the rice to the molten butter or what have you and rouse till the rice is fully coated. Saut for 2 to 3 minutes, rousing in a consistent fashion. Now add the salted water you have been boiling to the sauted rice and bring the mixture to a boil. Again we steam the rice by putting a lid on the pan, turn the heat down to low or lower and then wait till the rice and soaked in all the water and has become a tender spectacle.To Bake Rice: Preheat your sweet oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Get that salted water boiling, while waiting for boiling point add your measured amount of rice to a baking dish. When ready add the boiling water to the rice in the baking dish. Cover the dish tightly, for cleanliness, baking efficiency, and safety when removing the dish from the oven. Use tin foil or an oven safe lid and bake at the preheated temperature until the rice has absorbed the water and is a tender delicacy. White rice takes about 20 to 30 minutes, while brown rice takes any where from 35 to 45 minutes. Baking times differ depending on you oven, altitude from the moon or sun, and how tightly sealed your dish is. Almond Rice Recipe4 cups rice (Long Grain)8 cups chicken broth 4 Tbl parsley (substitute rosemary, sage, tarragon, or thyme, to taste of course)1 cup celery. chopped fine1 cup onion, chopped fine OR cup minced dried onion1 cup slivered almondsSaut onion and celery in just enough broth to cover. Add 8 cups chicken broth. Add rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let steam about 20 minutes. If there is too much liquid left when rice is cooked, take off lid and cook and stir until liquid is gone. Just before serving, add parsley and 1 cup slivered almonds. If you used dried parsley, add it while there is still a little water in the pan.
Traditional nursery food has made a come back in our family recently. I havent bothered making shepherds pie (or cottage pie, as it is also known) for ages, as the children just used to eat the potato from the top and leave the mince. Mince in general has been rejected too. If I use the same minced beef to make meatballs or burgers the kids devour it, but they hate picking out all the little bits of vegetables that I hopefully put into it, when I make the shepherds pie, in the hope of smuggling a few vegetables into their diet. Anyway my son actually requested shepherds pie the other day, so yesterday I made it and they gobbled it up, vegetables and all, several servings each, so Ive gained one more dish for the regular list.Recipe for Shepherds Pie - to feed four:500g/1lb good quality minced beef or lamb (hamburger beef)1 onion2 carrots1 stick of celery1 clove garlic2 large fresh tomatoes or half a tin of tomatoes2 tablespoons olive oila dash of winea few drops Worcestershire sauce2 bay leavessalt and pepperwater or stockpotatoessmall piece of butter - about 20g/1oz and milk to mash withFinely chop the onion and saute over a low heat in the olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the carrot, celery and garlic also finely chopped. Saute all together for five minutes. Turn up the heat and add the meat, breaking up the lumps and cooking until it has just lost the raw redness. Dont overdo it at this point. Add the splosh of wine, (white or red, whatever you have open. If you dont have any its not essential) and stir till it has evaporated the alcohol. Add the tomatoes skinned and chopped. Now put in the rest of the seasonings and pour in enough water or stock to only just cover the meat. Bring to a simmer, put on a lid and leave to cook at a simmer for 1-2 hours. The quantity of potatoes depends on how many you have to feed, you can have a thin layer of potato topping or if you need to stretch the meat to feed lots of people, a really thick layer of potato, which is what the children prefer anyway. Peel the potatoes and boil them till soft. Then drain and mash them with the butter, milk and salt and pepper until they are soft, but not too runny, mashed potatoes. In a roasting dish or any ovenproof but not too shallow dish, put the cooked meat in a thick layer, then top with the mashed potatoes. Smooth them out with a fork, so there are lines and swirls and peaks of potato that will brown nicely and put the dish into a preheated oven 200C/400F for twenty minutes or until the top has browned to golden. If the meat and potatoes have only just finished cooking and still hot you can just brown the top under the grill. This can all be assembled and kept in the fridge until needed too, then it would need at least thirty minutes to cook through again. Traditionally shepherds pie was made with minced lamb and cottage pie with minced beef but my family has always called both shepherds pie. It also used to be a dish to use up leftover cooked meat from a roast, rather than starting fresh with raw mince, but we like it like this - comfort food for winter.Copyright 2006 Kit Heathcock