Soup & Sandwiches

ss meal

This was a very easy meal to make! I’ve had my eye on these sandwiches and have been wanting to try them for awhile. The domestic part of me gets a kick out of making soups from scratch, altho’ we don’t have soup very much. I’m more used to popping open a can when we do have soup, so there’s something kind of ‘fun’ about starting with raw potatoes and carrots! 

Quick and Easy Italian Vegetable Beef Soup    …This recipe comes from the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook , all the recipes use a crockpot.

1 lb ground beef or turkey, browned and drained
3 carrots, sliced
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
15 oz can diced Italian tomatoes or 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
6 oz can Italian-flavored tomato paste
4 1/2 cups water (I put in only about 3 cups to cut down on the broth, I like soups full of stuff without a lot of broth)
1 quart beef broth

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on high 6-8 hours, or until potatoes and carrots are tender. So easy. I had it in the crockpot by 10:00 a.m. and didn’t have to touch it till supper… well, ok, I couldn’t help but stir it now and then. It made about 12 cups, fit nice in my 4 qt crockpot. It was a good hearty soup. We liked it.
ss soup

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese    … This recipe comes from the 2001 Annual Quick Cooking Cookbook.

1 pkg (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup mayonnaise ( I used a little less than 1/2 cup the second time and that tasted better)
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp seasoned salt
10 slices Italian bread (This isn’t with the regular bread, at our grocery store anyway. It’s over by the bakery.)
2 Tbsp butter or margarine, softened

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and mayo until smooth. Stir in cheeses, garlic powder, and seasoned salt. Spread 5 slices of bread with the cheese mixture, about 1/3 cup each.
ss sandwch1 Top with remaining bread. Butter the outsides of sandwiches; cook in a large skillet over medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Yield: 5 servings. I buttered the bread, put the bottom piece in the skillet, then put the stuff on, the put the other buttered piece on top… seemed like it would be a little less handling and a little less messy that way. We had one left over and it was really good reheated in the oven! I made this meal Wed evening and it tasted like too much mayo in these sandwiches, so when my sis-in-law Liz came over yesterday, I made them again and put less mayo in and it was better. We had some of the leftover soup and Liz brought salad to go with it. Anyway, Shannon and I really liked these sandwiches (I’ll let Liz speak for herself ). It was a nice variation from reg grilled cheese.
ss sandwch2


This tip was in a “Sandwich Secrets”  section in the same cookbook:  “Here’s a hurry-up way to make grilled cheese sandwiches for a crowd: Prepare the sandwiches as you would for the griddle, but place them all on a cookie sheet instead. Bake in a 350 oven for 5-8 minutes on each side until they’re golden brown.” I just saw that tip, so I didn’t get a chance to try it yet, but I plan to do it next time I get the chance.  


On a different note: On the last post, someone commented on my smooth top range and wondered how I like it… I absolutely love it! I’ve had the other and this is much better… no getting down in under burners to clean and there’s a cleaning solution you get with the smooth top that works like a charm. My mom and dad built a new house and got new appliances. Mom got a smooth top and really likes it too. I’ve heard that it’s not good for them to do alot of canning on them, but that’s not an issue for either of us. I didn’t know that about the cast iron, ski_n_beach_bum. That’s interesting.

So, let’s hear from you… which do you like best, what are the pros and cons, or maybe you prefer gas over electric?

“Give Me 5 or Fewer”

5meal

Golden Potato Rounds
Tortilla Beef Bake
Salsa Strips
Chocolate Ice Cream Syrup

These recipes were all in a row in the “Give Me 5 or Fewer” section in the 2001 Quick Cooking Annual Cookbook . They all have 5 or less ingredients, so it was very fast and easy to throw this meal together. I actually halved the recipes so we wouldn’t have leftovers, if you wonder about how little the dishes look.

Golden Potato Rounds

1 cup crushed cornflakes
1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
4 med potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/2″ thick
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

In a bowl, combine the cornflakes and seasoned salt. Dip potatoes in butter, then coat with cornflake mixture. Place on greased foil-lined baking sheets.
5potato1 Bake at 350 for 55-60 min or until tender. Yield: 6 servings.
5potato2     These were great! They were even better with ketchup. I made this meal last night for supper, and this morning we were driving and just out of the blue, Lexi said, “Mom, those potato rounds were so good!”

Tortilla Beef Bake

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
2 1/2 crushed tortilla chips, divided
1 jar (16 oz) salsa
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in soup. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups tortilla chips in a greased shallow 2 1/2 qt baking dish. Top with beef mixture, salsa, and cheese.
5bake1   5bake2   5bake3   Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 25-30 min or until bubbly. Sprinkle with the remaining chips. Bake 3 min longer or until chips are lightly toasted.  Yield: 6 servings.
5bake4     The tortilla chips on here gave it a nice crunch. It was very good and SO easy! We liked the salsa giving the zip to it instead of the usual taco seasoning that’s usually in Mexican dishes. A winner!

Salsa Strips

1 tube (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3/4 cup salsa
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
Minced fresh cilantro or parsley

Unroll crescent roll dough and separate into 4 rectangles. Place on greased baking sheets. Spread mustard and salsa on each rectangle.
5salsa1   If you wonder about the crescent rolls in the pan, I halved the recipe, then had 4 rolls left over, so just made reg crescent rolls and sprinkled a little cheese on them too. Bake at 350 for 10 min. Sprinkle with cheese; bake 8-10 min longer or until golden brown. Cool for 10 min. Cut each into four strips; sprinkle with cilantro (or parsley). Yield: 16 appetizers.
5salsa2   These were good, Shannon thought they were really good. My problem was that I don’t like mustard and you could definitely taste it! Next time I’d put on only 1/2 of what it calls for… at least on my half! These salsa strips would be great to serve with a snack for company some evening.

Chocolate Ice Cream Syrup

6 squares (1 oz ea) unsweetened chocolate
3 Tbsp butter (no substitutes), cubed
2 cups sugar
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
Ice cream

In a heavy saucepan over low heat or double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate. Add butter; cook and stir until melted. Add sugar alternately with milk, stirring constantly. Cook for 15 min, stirring often.
5choc1   Serve warm over ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 2 1/2 cups.
5choc2   Editor’s note: If desired, add 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp orange or peppermint extract. Stir into syrup after removing from the heat. As I was making this, I was thinking about that Resees hard-shell stuff you can buy to go on ice cream and was sure this was the first and last time I’d be making this. But, it turned out so yummy and gooey and fudgey that I know I’ll just have to make it again now and then!!!! Just a tip: Let it sit (before putting it on the ice cream) while you eat, then by the time you’re done eating, it’s not so piping hot and stays on top of the ice cream better without just slipping down the side and melting the ice cream.

Grandma’s Pie

Here is my dear Grandma…
grandma

…and here is her delicious pie recipe…

Brown Sugar Pie

1 egg
1 cup brown sugar
2 heaping Tbsp flour (Grandma says by heaping, it means to heap it so much that you have about another whole Tbsp on top!)
2 cups whole milk (Grandma says ‘whole’ is VERY important!)

Beat egg good. (That’s an understatement, one of Grandma’s tips is to beat it like crazy.)  Add sugar and flour and beat some more. Gradually add milk. Pour into 9″ unbaked pie crust. As you can see, it’s very thin batter.
brnsugpie1      Bake at 350 until set, about 45 min -1 hour. Middle will be shaky. Not kidding when it says shaky… we’re talking nearly making waves when you get it out! No, but I always think ‘This will never set up!’ and sometimes it never has .
brnsugpie3 Grandma’s brown sugar pies always seem so much better, just the fact that she made them and they came from her kitchen. This pie actually turned out pretty good though. It’s supposed to turn into 2 layers like you see in the piece below, that’s not a mistake! The top lighter layer melts in your mouth and the bottom darker layer is about the consistency of fudge.
brnsugpie4

So delicious! I ate one piece, then within 10 minutes, I went back for another . You should really try this… it takes very common ingredients and doesn’t take long to make. You can add Whipped Cream if you want, but that’s actually against the rule… one time at a Graber get together, one of my aunts, I think it was, was putting whipped cream on pies and put some on a brown sugar pie and got alot of hassle for it! 

Adding an edit here: Someone asked in a comment about storing it in the fridge… yes, you do. Grandma usually bakes them the same day and they cool, then we eat them at room temp. I actually think it tastes better cold, so I put it in the fridge after it cools… but I have a room temperature piece first! Oh, and you may have caught on already, but this recipe is for one 9″ pie.

Anybody on a diet? This meal is for you!

  445 calories… including dessert! Not bad!

diet meal

Garlic Chicken Kiev
Chewy Pizza Bread
Cauliflower and Broccoli
Strawberry Pie

These recipes (except the caul and broc, that’s just cooked frozen veggies) all come from Betty Crocker’s Eat and Lose Weight Cookbook . After each recipe is a chart with as much info on it as you’d find on a nutrition label. I’ll just list the calories, carbs, and protein. If you want more info than that, let me know.

Garlic Chicken Kiev

3 Tbsp reduced calorie spead, softened (I used low-fat butter, half the calories of reg butter)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives or parsley (I used 1/2 Tbsp of each)
1/8 tsp garlic powder
6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (1 1/2 lbs)
2 cups cornflakes, crushed (about 1 cup)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk or skim milk

Mix spread, chives, and garlic powder, shape into rectangle, 3 x 2 inches. Cover and freeze about 30 min or until firm.     Trim fat from chicken. Flatten each chicken breast half to 1/4-inch thickness between wax paper or plastic wrap.     Heat oven to 425. Spray square pan, 9 x 9 x 2 inches, with non-stick cooking spray. Cut chives mixture crosswise into 6 pieces. Place one piece on center of each chicken breast half.
diet chic1   Fold long sides of chicken over chives mixture; fold up ends and secure with toothpick.
diet chic2   …yeah, as simple as that! Ha! It took me a long time to make these things and I used up to 4 toothpicks per piece! In a perfect world, chicken breast halves would all be shaped the same and be 4 ounces each!      Mix cornflakes, parsley, and paprika. Dip chicken into milk, then lightly and evenly coat with cornflake mixture.
diet chic3   Place chicken, seam sides down, in pan. Bake uncovered about 35 min or until chicken is no longer pink in center. 
diet chic4    6 servings. Per serving: 190 calories; Carbohydrates, 9g; Protein, 25g        These tasted great! Nice and moist chicken! The fresh spices (or is it herbs?) give it lots of flavor! I’ll know more what I’m doing next time and hopefully the whole folding thing will go smoother and faster!!! Will definitely make again! 

Chewy Pizza Bread

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup regular or non-alcoholic beer (Since I didn’t have beer on hand, I used Diet Coke)
1/2 cup speghetti sauce
1/3 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
Chopped fresh basil leaves, if desired (I didn’t do that)

Heat oven to 425. Spray round pan, 9 x 1 1/2 inches, with non-stick cooking spray. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Stir in beer just until flour is moistened.    Spread dough in pan. Spread speghetti sauce over dough. Sprinkle with cheese.
diet bread1   Bake 15-20 min or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with basil. Serve warm.
diet bread2     6 servings. Per serving: 145 calories; Carbohydrates, 29g; Protein, 4g      If you keep in mind that this is a diet dish, it’s actually very good! The problem was that there was too little cheese, but that’s diet for ya! I guess we’re just too used to stuff loaded with cheese… refer to previous post! I was surprised about this bread. I thought it would be biscuity, but it was actually more like regular raised bread, only more dense. It’s very filling, too. By the way, the Diet Coke seemed to work great as a substitute!

Strawberry Pie with Meringue Crust

2 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
1 pkg (1.1 oz) vanilla fat-free sugar-free instant pudding and pie filling
1 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cups frozen (thawed) reduced-fat whipped topping
1 pint strawberries (2 cups), sliced

Heat oven to 275. Spray pie plate, 9 x 1 1/4 inches, with non-stick cooking spray. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue beating until stiff and glossy. Do not underbeat. Spread mixture evenly on bottom and halfway up side of pie plate. I put it to the top of the pie plate instead of halfway up.
diet pie1   Bake 40 min. Turn oven off; leave meringue in oven with door closed 1 hour. Finish cooling meringue at room temperature. 
diet pie2      Beat pudding and pie filling with milk about 45 seconds, using wire whisk. Fold in one cup of the whipped topping. Layer half of the pudding mixture and half of the strawberries in crust; repeat.    Cover loosely and refrigerate till firm, at least one hour, but no longer than 8 hours. Run knife around edge to loosen crust. Top each serving with some of the remaining1/2 cup whipped topping. I put the 1/2 cup Cool Whip on top right away and garnished it with a strawberry so that it would look more attractive sitting on the table during supper.  Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.
diet pie3   8 servings. Per serving: 85 calories; Carbohydrate, 16g; Protein, 2g       This is just tops (for a low-cal dessert). The crust is great (meringue goes good with this pie), but it’s not too sturdy when you try to get pieces out of the pan. It kind of crumples up with the pie server sliding under it, so you don’t really end up with a picture-perfect piece. But the taste with fresh strawberries makes up for it! Yum!

By the way, one serving of the veggies was 25 calories . Not sure of the other specs on it.

Wet Burritos

This recipe came from my mother-in-law. It’s really good!!!!! Try it!

Wet Burritos

1 lb hamburger
1 sm onion
1 pk taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
8 soft tortillas (9 inch)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups sour cream
8 oz grated cheese

Fry hamburger with onion. Add seasoning and beans. Put 1/8 of meat mixture in each tortilla. Roll up. Mix mushroom soup and sour cream. Put 1/2 of it into greased 9×13 pan. Put rolled tortillas in next,
burritos1
burritos2  then put rest of sauce on top, then the cheese. 
burritos3   Bake at 350 for 40 min.
burritos4  Serve with sour cream and salsa. It’s so easy to make! With good babies and all, you can go from nothing to eating within an hour! In the 40 minutes it’s baking, you can easily get the rest of the meal around.

We had crescent rolls and salad with it.
burritos salad   I make my own croutons instead of buy them because I don’t like the hard ones that you can’t stab with a fork. It’s so easy… just take a couple pieces of bread, cut them into chunks with a pizza cutter. Put some melted butter in a pan (however much you want, I usually do around a Tablespoon, maybe a little less), then dash a few spices in, like oregano, basil, and onion power, or garlic powder. Throw the bread cubes in and mix them around till they seem to be pretty much coated with the butter. Put the pan in the oven for about 10 minutes, more if you want. Sometime during that time, I take the pan out and shake it around a little to try to get some of the croutons to flip over. They have a crunch, but yet you can stab them with a fork. Perfect!!!

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