Archive for the ‘Recipes’ category

Pea Soup

March 24, 2019

Here is recipe for Pea Soup. This is a recipe that Mary really likes. Picking meal menus for her can be troublesome. She doesn’t remember what she does or doesn’t like. She doesn’t care for steaks or chops, because they take to much work to chew. She just cleans her bowl. I don’t need to nag her to finish her soup. It also seems to taste better reheated in the microwave.

But before I get to the recipe, a plug. Reynolds makes plastic crock pot liners that make cleanup a lot easier. They can be found in the aluminum foil / plastic wrap section of the grocery store. four to a package.

2019-03-23 13.03.51

Ingredients:

  • 3 good sized carrots (pealed and sliced)
  • 2 Celery stalks (chopped)
  • 1 Medium onion (Chopped)
  • 1 16 oz package of split peas. (it’s the only size they come in)
  • 1 32 oz. carton of chicken stock (We use the low salt variety. Your cardiologist will appreciate it.)
  • 1 8 oz package of diced ham. (if you happen to have a leftover ham bone, that works. Usually we don’t.)

Directions:

  1. Chop all of the vegetables and add to the crock pot.
  2. Rinse the split peas in a colander. Add to the pot.2019-03-23 13.18.03
  3. Add the ham
  4. Add the stock. (You may need to add an additional cup of water to cover all of the ingredients. Use your judgement.)
  5. Cover and cook on high for about four-five hours. Check half way. Stir to mix all the stuff. When it’s done, it should be nice and smooth.

Oh, and don’t forget to plug in the crock pot. I’ve done that once or twice. BTW, our crock-pot is 41 years old. Got it as a wedding present (1978).

Here’s what the finished product looks like:

2019-03-23 19.11.47

 

Pea Soup

November 15, 2018

Today I am cooking pea soup in our crock pot. This is one of Mary’s favorite meals. She will usually eat a whole soup bowl without any nagging on my part. When I was a kid, my mother would make pea soup and I hated it. I guess when I came to adulthood my tastes had changed.

And it so easy to make. Prep time is about 20-30 minutes. Cook time about 4-5 hours.

Here are the ingredients:

So we have:

  • 4 Carrots
  • 2 Celery stalks
  • 1 bag of dry split peas (usually found in the grains section)
  • 1 Medium onion
  • 8 oz. Diced ham. (Our super market sells packages of 8 oz., just the right size.)
  • 48 oz. Chicken stock (We prefer the low-salt variety)

Peel and chop the carrots. Wash and chop the celery and onion. Add to the crock pot.

Then wash the split peas in a colander. Add to the crock pot.

Finally, add the diced ham. Add the chicken stock with enough fluid to cover everything in the pot.

Cover and cook on high for about 4-5 hours. Good idea to stir once or twice during the cooking. Don’t forget to plug it in. (I’ve done that once or twice.)

I use plastic crock pot liners to help in the clean up later on. Available in the plastic bag aisle of the grocery store.

Done. Take a nap.

Chicken Marsala

February 26, 2018

2018-02-25 19.35.55This is one of my favorite ways to cook chicken. Very easy to do. It takes about 5 minutes of prep and 20 minutes of cooking.

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 or 4 chicken breast fillets
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms (typically, mushrooms are sold in 8 oz. packages)
  • 1 c Marsala cooking wine

Here are the directions:

  1. Mix the flour and spices in a large bowl and stir.
  2. Pound the chicken fillets with a chef’s mallet so that they are about 1/2″ thick.
  3. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture
  4. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan (pref non-stick)
  5. Saute the chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes per side (until chicken is nicely browned)
  6. Add the mushrooms to the pan
  7. Add the Marsala wine to the pan
  8. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

Serve with the mushroom gravy on top of each fillet. There, that was easy. Tastes great.

 

Pea Soup

February 6, 2018

2018-02-06 10.42.21One of my favorite soups is pea soup. It is so easy to make. I cook it in our crock pot that we received as a gift long, long time ago.  This is one of the recipes that Mary will gobble down. Don’t have to nag at her to eat her dinner.

One other thing, related to crock pots. We found that Reynolds makes “crock pot liners”. Makes cleanup easy. You can find them in the food storage section in the super market.

I’ve heard of some new fangled thing called an “Insta-Pot”. Supposedly a combination of crock pot and  pressure cooker. One of these days I might get one but Paula will most certainly ask me “Where are you going to put it?”. So for now, no insta-pot. My crock pot is the old fashioned kind. Indeed, I’ve had it for about 40 years.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 bag of dried split peas
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2-4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 carton of chicken broth (usually 32 oz.)
  •  8 oz of chopped ham. (our supermarket sells chopped ham conveniently packaged all cut up ready to throw in the pot). Alternately, use a ham bone left over from cooking a ham shoulder.

Add all of the vegetables to the crock pot. Rinse the split peas in a colander. Add the peas to the pot. And then add the ham.

2018-02-06 17.20.02Add the chicken broth. Turn on the crock pot on high and cook for 4-5 hours. Stir occasionally.

If you go the ham bone route, remove the bone about 45 minutes before serving. Scrape all of the remaining ham meat off of the bone. It should scrape off quite easily.

Check the fluid level about a half hour before serving. If the soup seems a bit thick, you may want to add more water to the stew. I usually have to add about 8 oz. of water.

Joe’s Chili

July 24, 2017


Today we had our chili cook-off at LA Harbor Lodge in San Pedro. Here is the recipe for my entry. It didn’t win any awards but everyone who tried said that it was very tasty.  We all had fun doing it. And even I liked it.

Ingredients

  • 3 Stalks of Celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 Jalapeño Peppers, seeds and core removed, chopped (I usually use surgical gloves when handling jalapeños. If you skip the gloves you will soon learn why I use the gloves.)
  • 1/2 Red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb bulk Italian sausage meat
  • 1 lb stew beef, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cans of red kidney beans
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (14.5 oz)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 packet of chili seasonings

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil
  2. Sauté the onion and Jalapeños until they are soft and translucent
  3. Add sausage and stew beef.
  4. Sauté until the meat is completely browned.
  5. Drain off the fat
  6. Add the seasoning packet and mix
  7. Transfer the contents of the skillet to the crock pot
  8. Add the peppers and celery
  9. Add the cans of kidney beans (including water) and cans of tomatoes.
  10. Stir to combine.
  11. Important Step: Plug the crock-pot in and turn it on!
  12. Cook on high for about 4 hours. Stir occasionally

Pumpkins

November 2, 2016

So here we are in November and we are deluged with pumpkins. Paula and I went shopping at Trader Joe’s yesterday. It seemed about half of all the products had some pumpkin in it. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffin mix, pumpkin relish, and on and on.

So we came home with pumpkin flavored almonds, package of pumpkin muffin mix, pumpkin cheese cake and pumpkin cheerios.

So there is pumpkin patch vendor in San Pedro on the corner of 9th and Western. Every year at the beginning of October, they set up shop selling pumpkins (real pumpkins). And like clockwork, on November 1, the pumpkin signs come down and the Christmas tree signs go up.

Don’t get me wrong, I like pumpkin stuff. I just wish availability was more level. Why can’t I find pumpkin pie filling in March?  Maybe this year, I will persuade Paula to stock pile some cans of pumpkin puree, so that I can have a pumpkin pie in July. So here are some of my favorites. I’ve heard that there are people that actually cook stuff from real pumpkins. Bah, too much work.

Pumpkin Whoopee pies
It seems that my west coast friends  have never heard of Whoopie Pies. They are so culturally  deprived. Whoopie pies are two pieces of chocolate cake with a whipped cream filling. You won’t find them in stores. But, Paula has an excellent recipe. Whoopie Pies are the official state snack of the State of Maine.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 c canned pumpkin (15 oz can)
  • 2 c brown sugar
  • 1 c vegetable oil
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Filling

  • 3/4 c powdered sugar
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix cake ingredients. Drop Tbsp’s of batter on to cookie sheet. Use parchment paper, if you have it. Bake for 8-10 min. Cool on rack.

Spread filling on each pie and put together. Refrigerate over night.

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

This is also one of our favorites. pumpkin-crunchWe constantly fight over whether one puts whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I prefer whipped cream. Click here > pumpkin-crunch-cake to get the recipe.

Don’t wait too long. The pumpkin puree will be gone from the stores and you will have wait until next year.

 

 

 

Joe’s Chicken Soup

July 2, 2016

What does one do with the leftover carcass of a chicken? Last Tuesday we did a roasted chicken for our weekly family dinner. So we had a leftover chicken carcass. So I decided to do a chicken soup for dinner tonight.

Here’s how you do it. Put the carcus into a stew pot and cover with water. Boil/simmer for 3-3.5 hours. After the three hours take all of the chicken out of the pot and put into a sieve. Usually the carcass falls apart pretty much. Take all of the meat out of the pot and put into a sieve. Remove any of the chicken bones that you can find. Warning, the bones and cartilage pieces will be small. In our case we also had some leftover chicken in the refrigerator. That got thrown in as well. The concept is to clean out our refrigerator of leftovers before our family dinner next Tuesday.

This also works quite well for turkey. And if you are not ready to make the soup right away then freeze the carcas. It’ll keep. I first learned about this idea from an article about Michael Dukakis (former governor of Mass.)


Return the chicken to the pot. Add 1c of carrots and 1 c of celery to the pot. I like to add noodles to the mix. I cook 8 oz. of noodles for about 10 minutes. Drain and add to the pot. Add whatever vegetables you like. Perhaps, peas, maybe corn. Some folks prefer rice to noodles.  In that case add about 1 cup of uncooked rice to the pot. 

Also, this time I used a packet of chicken gravy mix. Cook according to the directions on the package, then add to the pot. It makes the soup a little bit thicker.

Cook over very low heat for another two hours. Serve with fresh bread. Very tasty.