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Sherry

Soup

Chicken, Asparagus and Pasta Soup

Soups on!

A good soup recipe is something I’m always up for trying. Growing up I remember delicious stews and chilis but those are really the only soups I remember. My grandmothers chili was great and I always loved how small she could get her ground beef chopped up. She must have stood for an hour making it. My mothers chili started with Chili-O seasoning pack and then she added her own ingredients. Now when it comes to my chili my husband use to say it never tasted the same twice. Over the years the only chili I have been able to make and like is using Wick Fowler’s 2 Alarm Chili seasoning; and of course I like beans and a bunch of other add ons to my chili.

What’s good about making a good chicken soup is that you can add just about any vegetable to it and it will be delicious. Even though we are having a cold front here in my part of Texas right now, Spring isn’t far away and asparagus will be plentiful in the grocery. Of course we can get asparagus years around but something about Spring makes me start thinking of asparagus recipes.

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Pork

Papa G’s Herbed Pork Chops

 🎼Anything you can do I can do better,

I can do anything better than you!🎼

No you can’t, Yes, I can, Yes I can —  Well that’s not true when it comes to the outdoor cooking in this family. Whether it’s grillin’, fryin’, or smoking.  GA (the person I have shared most of my life with and 53 years of marriage) has been taught by the best — my dad. Even back when we were dating in high school he was learning things that would stay with him and add to his cooking skills.

I’ve always done most of the cooking in the kitchen but over the last 10 years that’s changed. When I had both knees replaced years ago, he was preparing me wonderful “eats”. And, always for the family feast we had the day after Thanksgiving he had his own item he would prepare and present to the group. (These were the best dinners ever! See blast from the past below to get an idea of what went on at a MFF). 

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Appetizers/ Fish/Seafood/ HotApp

Scallops and Shrimp with Jalapeño Cream Sauce

All Shrimp or scallops or both and with or without pasta.

This recipe can be made as a first course appetizer or you could add some pasta for a main course.

The scallop shells I used to hold this recipe came from a friend who was cleaning out things she never used and I volunteered to take them off her hands. I will have a perfect place to put them when I get my very large pantry (top on my list for things I wanted in our new home); but for now they are in a under the bed box until I’m ready to use them again.

There are all kinds of cute little dishes hiding under my two beds right now (until we get out of this 800 sq ft house) that I want to use for dinner guest; especially my cute little glass espresso cups that will hold some kind of yummy decadent dessert and my tiny stemmed glasses that would be a great vessel for my date nut shake or mini chocolate martinis.

My first thought for these shells was to use them for a first course appetizer with one very large scallop with some kind of sauce poured over it. There are several other sauces I want to try once I can get larger scallops. Since I  couldn’t find the extra large scallops, I  had to settle for sea scallops so then decided to add shrimp to the recipe.

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Entree/ Legumes/ Pork

Hoppin’ John

This could be your New Year’s Eve good luck meal!

Hoppin’ John is a Carolina rice and pea dish made with either red peas or cowpeas. The recipe can be traced back to roots in West Africa. There are a lot of variations but basically peas and rice are the main ingredients. I’ve add some bell pepper, onion and garlic; a little ham hock and fried/crispy pork belly never hurt a recipe.

Most recipes call for Carolina gold rice but I could not find that; maybe I’ll have to check out Amazon or put it on my list of things to look for when we go to “the city”.

Awhile back I used these red peas to do a pea and grits recipe which was quite good also. I think the next time I make Hoppin’ John I will saute’ some fresh jalapeno in with the onions and bell peppers for a little added heat. I think the recipe can also benefit from some sliced celery. Really, you can add just about anything. Maybe a sliced smoked sausage in place of the pork belly would add more spice.

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Appetizers/ Entree/ Game/ Lamb

Lamb Chops with Huacatay Sauce

I love these little chops!

What’s not to love about these cute little lamb chops; a very tender piece of meat, a beautifully Frenched bone and they look just like little “meat lollipops”. They make a perfect appetizer or several for a meal. For an appetizer these little lollipops can be eaten with your hands; no knife and fork needed. And, who doesn’t like eating meat off the bone?

When my mother use to fried bread pork chops or pork steaks, my favorite part was what was left on the bone and I couldn’t wait to eat that part of the chop/steak. We never had lamb growing up, never; and I guess that’s why it took me well into my adulthood to even try them. I have to say that I don’t buy them often unless I’m at Costco and then I will pick up a couple of packages and throw them in the freezer for something special I may be doing.  

These would be great added to your holiday celebrations. My mouth is watering just thinking of making these again. I may be experimenting with some different sauces and dips for this little tidbits of juiciness. 

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Entree/ Poultry

Chicken with Blistered Tomatoes and Paprika Cream Sauce

A pasta dish to warm your belly on a cool Fall night.

I hope wherever you are living you are enjoying some cooler/colder weather. Even here in Texas we have cooled down considerably since all those 100° days of this past summer. Here in our area it may be cool/cold one week and warmer the next so you just never know what to expect. So as this recipe post it is in the 70’s but next weekend our highs are in the 50’s. Whatever the temperature, I think you will enjoy this dish.

Cooler temperatures have me wanting to make some good pasta dishes and since I have a pantry full of beautifully shaped pastas I will definitely be doing that. Usually, if I ask my husband what he wants on his pasta he says “olive oil” and cheese. BUT, I always convince him of a dish that is a little more interesting that pasta and oil. The pasta I used in this recipe just happened to be another one of my giant pastas I picked up and World Market.

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Soup

Winter Worthy Clam Chowder

The cold weather is here! Time for soup.

I love cold weather better than hot weather and the reason is I love making soups. After living in Texas for over 30 years now I decided long ago that you can’t wait for it to turn cold  to have a reason to make a good belly warming soup; you just have to go for it and if you have to, turn your AC really cold and you will think its one of those winter months that’s begging you to make soup.

There are almost thirty soup recipes posted to this blog so when you are wanting a one pot dinner, take a look at my archives. I’ve been making clam chowder for years. My sister, Terry, and I have always used the same recipe that was suppose to be from a Noah’s Ark restaurant in St. Charles, Missouri. We thought it was easy and a no-brainer of a recipe; all Cambell’s canned soups that we would add clams and a bottle of clam juice. We would use a can of clam chowder, cream of celery, cream of onion, and cream of potato soups and then add some milk and the clams and bottle of juice. Well, it was/is easy but you have all those “canned” not homemade soups. Try it sometime. If you have all these soups in your pantry and you are rushed for dinner some night you can throw this together in a matter of minutes. I also use to add half a stick of butter to the soup pot. It’s good but nothing like a nice homemade pot of soup.

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Entree/ Legumes/ Pork

Red Peas with Pork Belly and Cheesy Grits

P-P-P-P’s – Peas Please!

I’ve always loved peas (maybe not English peas when I was a kid); black eyed, purple hull, field, lady, cream, and of course snow and sugar snap. The first peas are legumes but still a pea in my book My dad use to grown black eyed, purple hull and field pieces and my mother would mix them all together when she cooked them. I don’t grow my own peas but sometimes I will buy a can of each, drain and rinse and mix them together; I love the different shapes and colors together

The red pea is a variety I’ve never tried and recently ordered a package of Sea Island Red Peas from Amazon and after looking at several recipes, I knew what I was going to serve with them. Some good barely cheesy grits, topped with the red peas/gravy and topped with some crispy pork belly chunks. I’m making Hoppin’ John this week using the remainder of my bag of peas. Hoppin’ John is a dish I’ve never made before so I’m anxious to make it and maybe have a good crusty bread instead of cornbread.

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Entree/ Poultry

Balsamic Chicken with Figs and Kale

Fall figs!

I spend a lot of my time off from cooking at the brewery looking at recipes. Can you believe that? After helping in the kitchen four days a week; I still want to look at food? Either I’m searching my favorite wineries for recipes or watching food shows or movies about food.

Cooking for company is something I love to do and hope to get back to doing that. I can spend hours trying to pick out the perfect menu; not to fussy (just yet) and not too very complicated (although I do like a challenge) just a perfect meal to enjoy with friends and family. I also think it is fun to get guest involved in the cooking, only if they are into that sort of entertainment. And, I can’t wait to have my first tea party. I should say “tea” because tea party makes me think of old ladies in hats and I’m definitely not a “hat” person. So, if you are ever invited to “tea” you know you do not have to wear a hat.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp

Pork Belly, Apple and Maple Glaze Crostini

Nice little app for your guest.

Don’t you just love using apples in recipes this time of the year? Fall weather is just begging for something homemade from apples whether it is something as simple as sautéed apples, an apple cake, apples cooked with your pork roast or as in this recipe a delicious appetizer made with pork and apple as two of the main ingredients.

Once I went on a field trip with one of my kids when we lived in Chicago (had to be one of the boys because my daughter was only about 3) and we went to an apple orchard somewhere in the north Chicago area.  All I remember about that trip was some kid getting hit on the head with a falling apple and we got to see cider/juice being made in the mill at the orchard.

My favorite apple use to be Jazz but I don’t see those in the market right now. I like just about any apple that is juicy and tart and especially crisp. Delicious apple has to be my least favorite of all apples; just don’t see how a mealy soft apple appeals to anyone.

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Salads

Frisee and Arugula Salad with a Bunch of Friends

Absolutely the best salad ever!

Roaming around some of my favorite sites from wineries I came across this salad and I have to say it has become one of my all time favorites. I couldn’t decide whether to post this or not but then decided I would hate for you to never taste the combination of all these ingredients.

Frisee which I have always called “scratchy throat lettuce” mixed with peppery arugula, some haricots verte, toasted almonds, some fresh peaches, and I added the avocado tossed with a wonderful dressing makes a salad that I won’t easily forget and it will be top of my list to prepare for dinner guest. If peaches are out of season I would try some apple, pear, or fresh figs.

The night I made this the kids came over for dinner and I actually had thirds on this salad. Usually I’m doing good to finish the salad I have on my plate.

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Entree/ Pasta

Giant Pasta with Baby Zucchini

A use for leftover Charcuterie meats.

After making my charcuterie board on our girl’s trip to Waco, there was quite a bit of meat left over and I just threw it in the freezer when I got home thinking I might use if for our snack one night while having our “front porch cocktails”. Then recently when I was at Cost Plus World Market I bought several of their pastas. Ya know, buying different pastas is my weakness. Well, they had a giant fussily pasta that I thought would go perfect with my baby (the size of your little finger) zucchini that I picked up at Trader Joe’s. And the results were amazing.

I’m only using the prosciutto and the pancetta out of the meats. I wasn’t sure how frying and browning salami would work and I knew I wouldn’t like the mortadella.  When I make this again I will have the pancetta sliced a little thicker so I can cube it and then cut the pancetta thin and in threads.

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