This is a hearty and flavorful soup. Perfect for cold winter dinners.
My only note for this recipe is to use baked potatoes. Boiled potatoes won’t do the trick. You need that special, nutty taste that only a baked potato can give you. Trust me.
4 baking potatoes
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper, white
7 cups lowfat milk
1 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Bake potatoes at 350 for 65-75 minutes or until tender. Cool completely. Peel and cube.
In a large saucepan or dutch oven, melt butter and stir in flour, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth. Gradually add milk while whisking. Bring to a boil and simmer while stirring for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Add potatoes, bacon, onions, and cheese. Simmer and stir for 10 minutes.
Add sour cream and remove from heat.
Garnish each bowl as desired with bacon, chives, grated cheese.
Makes 8 servings.
Christmas is over and I had an Amazon gift card burning a hole in my cyber pocket. I’ve been wanting to buy a rice cooker and I’ve read and heard that they can be used for lots more than cooking rice. So not only did I order a rice cooker, I also ordered a recipe book, full of recipes for this particular brand of rice cooker. The book says right on the front cover that the recipes are “tried and true”. What does “tried and true” mean to you? To me it means that every recipe in this book (hundreds of them) has been tested by the author or her agents. Am I wrong?
This morning Lee texted me from the barn and asked me to make hot cereal for breakfast. Our temps are in the single digits. I remembered when paging through the recipes in my new book I saw a couple of oatmeal recipes, so since I had some time before Lee finished chores I decided to try the one I found using steel cut oats.Oh my gosh! I put the ingredients into the rice cooker bowl and let ‘er rip. A few minutes later I heard a noise. It was the kind of noise that needs to be investigated quickly. Even though I was quick, I didn’t avoid THE MESS. The oatmeal was boiling over. It also boiled into. I managed to finish it by leaving the lid open. I ended up with a very small amount of oatmeal for us to eat, and a lot of oatmeal for me to clean up. It was all over the counter. It was running down the sides of the cooker. It had spilled into the heating area and burned there. It was under the lip of the lid. I blame the cookbook author. I followed her instructions to the letter.
I did google my predicament and I found that I’m not the only sucker trying to make oatmeal in a rice cooker and failing.
The whole “tried and true” phrase pulled me in and led me astray. The world is full of liars!
I’m going to stay with rice for a while. I’ve learned my lesson and I’m gun shy.
Beefy Pocket Pies
These are a variation of Pasties. I had a recipe for pasties and since I hate making any sort of rolled out dough I used crescent roll dough and they turned out nicely. The beef filling is similar to the recipe I started with but I made some changes to suit my needs.
Pastry: 2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls
Filling: 1 lb. lean ground beef
1 russet potato unpeeled and grated
1 turnip peeled and grated
1/2 white onion peeled and grated
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
Mix filling ingredients and set aside.
Remove dough from cans and unroll. This is where you need to get a little creative. I made 6 pies with these ingredients, so you need to have 12 square or rectangle pieces of dough. seal all of the seams of the dough from one can. Spread and flatten the dough and cut it into 6 fairly even squares. You’ll have to cut and piece a bit. Mine were more rectangular, about 4×5 each. Repeat with the second can. Divide the filling onto 6 of the dough squares. Cover each with another square of dough. Roll and pinch the edges and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve warm with brown gravy if desired, or with grainy mustard.
Notes: Add a grated carrot if you like. If you want more veggies you can cut the ground beef to 8 oz, and double up on the grated veg.
Smooshy faced dogs and cats often have a condition called stenotic nares. Their nostrils are too small to allow them to breathe efficiently. We’ve had 2 Boston Terriers, and both have had this problem. In both cases our vet surgically reconstructed the nostrils to improve airflow in their poor little noses. We had it done at the same time the dogs were neutered, so that they only had to be anesthetized once. There is an associated condition called elongated soft palate which is also found in these dogs and can be surgically corrected if necessary.
Here’s an article that explains the procedure. http://www.vetsurgerycentral.com/resp_brachycephalic_airway_syndrome.html
Frankie just had his surgery last week and once the swelling is down completely he will be a new puppy. Here are his before and after picturesYou can see he still has some swelling. It’s only been 4 days. I don’t know if it will stay pink, and the nostrils are not quite symmetrical but he’s not a show dog so that’s not important to me. I’m just happy he can breathe deeply.
A few weeks ago we took Charlie to the vet because he was having pain in his back. He probably injured it while jumping from furniture. The vet gave him steroids and by the time he was done with the prednisone he was feeling good as new. I think I must have had a premonition, because I had asked the vet to draw blood, just because he’s getting a little older, to keep tabs on him really. The blood results were a bit wonky…high white cells, low red cells. He was put on an iron supplement and antibiotics. Two weeks later there was virtually no change in his lab results. The vet suggested an ultrasound. We had to take him to a clinic that does ultrasounds and the vet there found a large, grapefruit sized tumor on his spleen. Long story shortened….he had surgery, spleen removed, tumor tested and it is cancer. Charlie is 11 years old and we had expected to have several more years with him. He truly is our furry little child and this diagnosis is heart breaking. The vet feels he could have 6 months left. Now that we know our time with Charlie is limited we’ll be enjoying every moment with this funny little guy.
There are a few posts about Charlie on this blog. You can search his name and come up with them if you want to read more about him. I’ve linked to 3 of them.
I’ve written about Violet before. At nearly 11 years old she’s my oldest barn cat. She lives a mostly solitary life because she refuses to associate with the other barn cats, and she’s terrified of most humans. Violet loves me. She chose me to be her person and so I’ve always watched her closely to be sure she’s doing well. This winter has been hard on all of us. I noticed Violet shivering at times, and because she’s pretty old for a farm cat I felt like she needed special care. So I brought her in the house. I’m hoping she’ll be ready to return to her previous life of freedom when the weather warms up. Her residency here has been almost trouble free. I’m surprised that Violet has taken to using a litter box as if she’d been doing it her whole life. She had never been in the house before. She learned quickly that the kitchen table is off limits.
We do have a serious problem though. Charlie. Violet hates Charlie. I hoped at first that they would meet, be wary, and tolerate each other. They rumbled twice. First time wasn’t too bad. Violet tried to kill Charlie, he backed off and left her alone. The second time was more violent and Violet clawed his face, very close to his eye. Charlie has typical Boston Terrier eyes and they are vulnerable. I’m now very afraid that Violet will scratch his eyes out, so I keep them safely apart. They each have plenty of roaming time, but just not together.
Violet’s favorite place to be is wherever I am and especially in my lap. I’m determined that she will not be a permanent house cat, but time will tell.
Competing with the computer
Snuggling in my lap.
Rachel Ray taught me how to poach whole chickens. I have poached chicken breasts many times, but after trying this method, I will always poach the whole chicken. It’s a big time saver, and the bonus is all of the home made chicken stock you get from doing it this way.
Here is the recipe for Rachel Ray’s poached chickens.
I modified it for our tastes (no lemon) and you should add or subtract ingredients for your own taste. I love that I’m poaching 2 chickens at once, which yields lots of cooked meat and stock. I have a pot that’s large enough for 2 chickens.
I bought 2 approximately 4 pound chickens. Using Rachel’s method I ended up with about 8 cups of meat, and 3 1/2 quarts of stock. I portioned the meat into 2 cups per freezer bag, and froze the stock in quart jars. I make soup about once a week, so I buy chicken stock every week. From poaching my chickens I saved about $7.00 or so on purchased chicken stock.
There are so many things you can do with your cooked chicken.
Tacos and burritos
Here are 2 of our favorite casseroles using precooked chicken:
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Pasta Cordon Bleu
You’ll love the convenience of having packages of cooked chicken and chicken stock in the freezer. Don’t be put off by the thought of having to get all that chicken off the bones. It took no time at all. The chicken skin peeled right off, and the meat was falling off the bones.