Category Archives: Cooking

Winter Warmers: Melanie’s Potato Soup

2013-12-11 18.11.34 (800x600)I have a love affair with potatoes. And cheese. And anything that I can put in a crock pot and not have to deal with all day. This recipe is one I found a while back and have made multiple times over the years – it usually gets fixed at least once each winter. Actually, I might have to make it this weekend…

You will need:

  • about 4 lbs of potatoes (I prefer golden potatoes, but russets also work well)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 to 1.5 cups)
  • 5 ¼ cups chicken broth (42 oz)
  • about 1 tbsp garlic
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 cup whipping cream or half and half
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 8 oz (1 container) of sour cream (optional)
  • about ¼ cup cooked and crumbled bacon or bacon bits (optional)
  • Extra shredded cheddar cheese (optional) Continue reading

Winter Warmers: Lea’s Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplingsMy dear mother-in-law, now 83 years old, is simply the best cook I have ever known. Cooking wonderful food for others remains one of her greatest joys in life and she continues to cook or bake for hours upon hours each week. Although she can compete with the chefs that rule today’s Food Channel, her upbringing in the hills of southeastern Oklahoma means she’s an expert with old Southern favorites as well. Our family has enjoyed many a cold winter day savoring her Chicken and Dumplings. This recipe is from her cookbook she penned for family and friends more than twenty-five years ago.

Chicken and Dumplings

Boil one fat chicken or use chicken pieces. Cover with water. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until tender. Remove chicken from broth and take out 2/3 cup of broth for the dumplings. Continue reading

Winter Warmers: Mary’s Ham Bone Soup

With the holidays upon us, in addition to turkeys on every table many of us will be cooking large hams to feed our loved ones. After you have eaten as many ham sandwiches from the leftovers as humanly possible, please do not throw out that bone!! The ham bone makes an excellent soup (especially if you leave some meat on the bone).

Ham Bone Soup

  • 1 ham bone with meat still clinging to bone (you can also include some leftover ham slices)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3-4 stalks of celery chopped
  • 4 large carrots diced
  • 2-3 potatoes cubed
  • 1 can of tomatoes diced (fresh tomatoes can be used as well)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 2 TBSP of ketchup
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • ½ to 1 tsp of garlic salt
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in large double boiler or in your crock pot. Add enough water to cover the bone. Cook until vegetables are soft. Serve with cornbread.

– Mary AAR

Easy, Ugly Cube Steak Casserole

I chose another dish when I submitted my “Winter Warmer”, cold weather, stick-to-your-ribs recipe – but this one ran a close second. Its delicious, easy and filling, but man, is it ever ugly. I’ll provide the ingredients and directions, and you can decide the quantities. Continue reading

Winter Warmers: Blythe’s Best Ever Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

IMG_1253I traveled to Milwaukee for work last summer, and discovered their wonderful local coffee chain, Collectivo, that has that rarest of combinations – good food and good coffee. (Yes, I know it used to be Alterra, because nearly everyone I met told me that). One morning I tried a pumpkin cranberry muffin, and couldn’t for the life of me think why I had never heard of this genius idea. Two great fall flavors that go perfectly together! I hunted for a recipe when I got home, rejecting several because they used craisins rather than fresh cranberries (I was sure the muffin I had used fresh). The one I settled on apparently comes from Preventionrd.com, by way of Gourmet Magazine and the Smitten Kitchen. The only change I made was to substitute regular all purpose flour for the wheat pastry flour, which worked just fine.

Best Ever Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins Continue reading

Winter Warmer’s: LinnieGayl’s Pumpkin Flan

pumpkinsEach year when Halloween rolls around my thoughts go to pumpkins. Not to decorating them, but to thinking of creative ways to use them in cooking. Over the last few years I’ve made pumpkin and peanut butter soup, added pumpkin to steel cut oats, made many loaves of pumpkin bread, and tried making pumpkin stews. But  as Thanksgiving draws closer I generally pull out a trusty old recipe for pumpkin flan.

Continue reading

Winter Warmers: Caz’s Steak and Kidney Pudding

steakandkidneypuddin_93128_16x9I thought I’d treat you all to the recipe for a classic British favourite. When I asked my esteemed colleagues here at AAR – the majority of whom reside “across the pond” – I was told that steamed puddings aren’t a big thing over there. Well, if that’s the case, then you guys over there are really missing out on the ultimate comfort food which is really tasty and very easy to prepare.

There are different ways of preparing this dish, but here’s the basic one that I usually use.

This recipe will feed four people.

For the filling:

  • 400g Steak and Kidney. If you don’t like kidney, don’t worry. I have to make it without it now, as one of my daughters dislikes it, so I just use 400g of diced beef. Because the pudding is cooked very slowly, you don’t have to use the most expensive cuts – something suitable for casseroles is fine – just trim the fat and cut into cubes of roughly the same size. (If you like, you could add a few chopped mushrooms instead of the kidney) Continue reading

Winter Warmers – Haley’s Apple Brickle Dip

I had originally planned a fun Halloween themed recipe to share today. I had two Halloween parties at my house over the weekend, so I tried out a few fun themed foods. I made my recipe I had planned to use for the blog and, well, it kind of bombed. The idea was to make these bone shaped sandwich cookies with raspberry “marrow” filling and dip them in white chocolate to complete the look. Sounds tasty, right? Not so much. They were so sickly sweet no one really wanted to eat them and, even though it was a Halloween party, people didn’t get the whole skeleton theme and thought they looked like dog bones. So, instead, I would like to share a nice, simple recipe that was a huge hit this weekend and is great for fall, Apple Brickle Dip. It is so easy and it is like dipping your apple wedges into a melted candy bar.

Enjoy!

– Haley AAR

Ingredients: Continue reading

Winter Warmers – Chicken Roast

This delicious, easy chicken dish is made on the stovetop, similar to the traditional pot roast. You have control over quantity, so you can feed two or a holiday crowd.

Boneless Chicken Breasts (3-6 or even more. I use tenders)
Minced Garlic
Chicken Broth (bouillon OK)
Potatoes (chopped into pieces)
Onions (minced or fresh, chopped)
Carrots (peeled and cut. I use packaged baby carrots)
Vegetable oil
Water
Salt and Pepper
Bay leaf (optional)

Heat a couple of tablespoons vegetable oil in a dutch oven on medium. (I use a nonstick spray first)
Brown thawed breasts.
Add garlic and onion, salt and pepper to taste
Add carrots

Fill pot 1/2 way with chicken broth, add water if needed until carrots are just covered. Cook on high to boiling and then reduce heat to slow simmer. Cover and cook for 30 mins or until carrots are about halfway done.

Add potatoes and cook until all vegetables are tender and ready to eat, adding broth or water as needed.

I didn’t provide measurements because the amount needed is subjective. If you’re cooking two breasts, obviously the pot you use and the amount of vegetables will be much smaller than if you’re feeding a large group. That’s the great thing about this dish. I’ve cooked it in everything from a sauce pan to a huge stock pot, as needed. It can be dressed up when serving or dumped into one bowl.

However you treat it, this meal will stick to your ribs!

Winter Warmers: Ad Hoc Scalloped Potatoes

potato2A lot of my recipes are those I’ve sort of made up through goofing around in the kitchen, not really having the ingredients I’m supposed to have to make the recipe I’ve got in mind to cook. So what starts out to be something out of a cookbook turns out to be a variation on a theme. My scalloped potatoes is one of those recipes.

You can make this in a deep baking dish (which I usually do) or in a lasagna-type pan (which I’ve done when the baking dishes aren’t washed and I’m too lazy to wash one by hand).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Ingredients
6-8 potatoes washed and sliced into about 1/4″ pieces (I leave the skins on since I heard that skins are good for you, but you don’t have to)

large onion or a bunch of green onions cut into bite-sized pieces

ham slice cut into bite-sized pieces (I usually use ham and about a third of a summer sausage cut into bite-sized pieces because the summer sausage adds some of its own spice, but this isn’t absolutely needed)

dill or another spice either fresh or dried, to taste

2 cups milk (I’ve used whole, 2 percent, and skim at one time or another; all work)

1/4 cup flour

1/4 butter or margarine

non-stick spray like Pam Continue reading