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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Porky Potato Soup

I am telling you, that soup always sounds good.
This potato soup is a variation of what my mom, Mammie, makes.
Mammie's potato soup is pure and basic.
Potatoes, celery, onion, butter and milk.
The recipe I am giving you today does not have celery, because I was out of celery.
I added cheese and bacon, because I love cheese and bacon.
Hey, when you are the cook, you get to do that.

So peel and wash 5 medium potatoes.
Then chunk them up.

Add the potatoes to a stock pot.
Now here's where Daddio and I disagree about cooking potatoes.
Daddio would already have the water heating while he peels.
I put cold water over the potatoes and start it all cooking together.
Supposedly, my method makes a creamier (possibly another word I have made up)
potato than the other way. 
However, when Daddio cooks potatoes, I just shut up and eat. 

So, with that said, add that cold water and heat over high heat to boiling. 

While you are waiting for the boil, chop up some green onions.
(Mammie uses yellow onion.) 

Bacon, baby, cook it up.

Saute the onions in the skillet where you cooked the bacon,
after draining all that fat, of course.
More bacon flavor. 

When the potatoes have softened, drain and return to the pot over low heat for a couple of seconds
to dry up any remaining water.
Very important step in order to not have runny mashed potatoes or watery soup.
Add butter, and mash away your frustrations.
When they are mashed to your liking, add milk.

Chunk up the cheese.
(You know that is my favorite cooking phrase.)
This is Velveeta, probably half a large container.
I said I love cheese, right? 

Add all of the ingredients that are waiting.
Bacon, onion and cheese.
Now, don't leave, because you have to watch this and stir to prevent boiling.
Boiling makes gritty soup.
Can I say "Yuck", again? 

Stir, stir, melt, melt the cheese and you are all done.
As always, soup is better the next day.
We usually make it and refrigerate for the next night.
That's hard, cause look how yummy it looks!
I can say, that it was yummy and creamy and cheesy
and bacony (definitely, a word I made up).
All those things that I love. 
Give Mammie's potato soup with extras a try.
You won't be sorry.

Porky Potato Soup

5 medium potatoes, peeled and chunked
Salt to taste
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 stick butter
2 cups milk
Velveeta, 16 oz
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Boil potatoes in water to cover until soft when forked, about 15 minutes.  In the meantime cook bacon and saute onions in bacon pan with grease removed.  When potatoes are tender, drain water, and remember to put back on low heat for a few seconds to get all the water dried up.  Add butter to potatoes and mash.  Add milk, and other ingredients and stir over low heat until cheese is melted and soup is heated through.  Serve or store overnight for extra flavor.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pumpkin Love

I love pumpkin.
I confess.
Before Christmas sometime, I was over at some friend's house and
their beautiful daughter, Mary Beth, was making pumpkin muffins.
They were so delicious.
I took a picture of the recipe with my phone
and promptly forgot all about it.
I got a new phone and was deleting all the old photos and
there was the recipe.
Mmmm...pumpkin muffins.

While rifling through the pantry to see if I had all of the ingredients,
I found some peanut butter and chocolate chips and
some cinnamon chips.
Oh, and I did have the ingredients, because there are very few.
Another super-duper reason to try this recipe.
Did I say super-duper?
I have been trapped in my house for many snow days,
please forgive.

Muffin tin, muffin papers.

Dump the cake mix, pumpkin and spices in a mixing bowl.
Hope I'm not going too fast for you.
Seriously, it is that easy.

Stir, mix.
Looking very dry.
Stir and mix some more.
Everything is okay.

Now, in the 2hipchick fashion, add some stuff that the recipe does not call for.
All those half bags of chocolate and other various flavors of chips hanging out in my pantry, throw it in.
(Well, I was in a clear things out mood.)

So, do you have one of these?
I got mine from Pampered Chef.
I have two sizes.
This one and an even smaller one that I use for cookie dough.
Measures out the dough or batter, in this case, in precise little blobs that makes your baking look
very professional.
I need all the help I can get.

Glob. Glub. Scoop.

It is like an ice cream scoop.
Just click the handle together and the little metal piece moves the batter out of the scoop.
I live for this kind of stuff!

Just look at them!
Perfect little scoops.

These are the best, most moist little muffins you have ever tasted.
Easy?...oh, my!
What?  Four ingredients?
(If you count the spices as one, which I am.)
And if you didn't add the chips, only three ingredients.
But add the chips, because they are like little nuggets of goodness.


1 (18.25 oz) package yellow cake mix
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. Allspice
3/4 cup cinnamon chips (or chocolate, or peanut butter?)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare muffin pan with muffin papers.  In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pumpkin and spices.  Stir until completely mixed.  Add flavored chips, if desired.  Spoon or scoop, batter into muffin papers and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Yields 24 muffins.

I cooked for 20 minutes and they were just right.
If you have a left-over can of pumpkin sitting in your pantry from the holidays?
I have just given you a way to get rid of it.
You are welcome.

Try this recipe and get back with me.
Did you like it?
What kind of chips did you use?
I'm thinking pecans or walnuts next time.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Snow Update and 2Groovy Smoothie

We did it!
We dug out and left our home.
It was extremely frightening and I wished we hadn't done it.
But we made it back safe and sound, so now I'm glad.

Daddio in the trenches.

This took three adults one hour to complete.
It was hard.
I was one of the adults.
Snow shoveling burns over 400 calories in one hour.
(Really, I entered it in my calorie counter app.)

We did get out and make a grocery store run.
We were not technically out of food, but we could not stand to be at the house one more day.
We ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant and it was the best Mexican food I have ever tasted.
We got back home and the Mazda ended up in the ditch.
I say to Daddio, "At least it was the ditch in front of our house and not out on the highway."
He did not seem comforted.
That was yesterday.
Mazda is out of the ditch and the sun is shining today.
The snow plow also came to our neighborhood.
It was like Christmas.
It warmed my heart and lifted the mood of all neighbors.
And guess what?  More snow in the forecast.

Even Ms. Cluck stuck her head out of the coop.

Look at their little igloo. 
These girls are doing the best they can to stay warm.
Daddio has packed up their coop with hay and snow.
They are doing okay.

Ninja Belle coming at Rhubarb in  a power pounce.
They seemed unconcerned with the snow and freezing temperatures.
Anytime is a good time for a wrestling match.

We have been frozen outside, so what does 2Groovydude ask to make?
A frozen smoothie.

When you have not been to school all week because
of snow, you become very creative
and hungry.
I do not know what this face is about.
Probably his mom being too bossy.

Two berries, strawberry and blueberry
Powdered milk
Orange juice
Crushed ice

2Groovydude adds the ice and juice first,
because it blends better with the liquid on bottom.
That's the theory.

All the remaining ingredients added.

Blend, blend.
Look at your mom like she's annoying you.

The liquid theory did not quite live up.
More juice to keep the blend alive.

Thick and berrilicious!
(My spell checker says this is not a word, but you know what I mean.)
Wow, I have never made a smoothie that thick.
2Groovydude has got it going on.

Now there's a face for a mother to love.
Happy with smoothie.

2Groovy Smoothie
1 cup orange juice
1 cup crushed ice
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/3 cup powdered milk

First, add liquid and ice to blender.  (I increased the liquid for you, but feel free to add more if the blender bogs down.) Add remaining ingredients and blend. (Less juice will be needed for fresh berries.)  Pour in glass and enjoy.

Today we are gearing up for more ice and snow. 
I don't know how much more I can take.
I'm thinking of going to Alaska where it is warmer
and there is less snow.
Seriously, that's what they said on the news.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Stuffed Pasta Shells

Do you like pasta shells?
If so, this is the dish for you.
So, I saw an advertisement to replace your ricotta with
cream cheese in your lasagna recipe.
I've done that before, so I decided to try it with my pasta shells recipe.
Here goes.
I am using sausage for this recipe, but ground beef is great or no meat at all.
Brown the sausage.

I am also using purple onion, because Daddio used all the yellow
onions yesterday in French onion soup.

Drain the sausage on a paper towel and add onions to the pan.
Artichokes are my favorite in pasta dishes.
If you've seen my lasagna recipe, you know.

Little artichoke soldiers. 
 I stand them up so the liquid will drain out while I am chopping.
They still need a little squeeze to get all the liquid out.

Add artichokes to the onions to brown and bring out all
the great flavors.

I always keep a bag of bell pepper strips in the freezer.
Strips for fajitas that can be chopped for other recipes.
Mmm...fajitas sound good.
(So far, since we have been trapped in our home because
of the blizzard of 2011, I have gained a half pound from boredom eating.)

Add chopped peppers to saute.

Once the sausage and veggies are cooked, rinse out the pot and
fill with salted water to cook the shells.
Cream cheese out to soften.

Veggies and sausage have been transferred to mixing bowl and add cream cheese.
I let it sit on top of hot veggies for a few minutes to soften some more.

Mix it up, baby!
Wow, that looks really great.

While you are waiting for the shells to cook, shred up some cheeses.
I had Gruyere, Parmesan and mozzarella in the fridge.
Grate all and mix together.

This shells recipe calls for a can of tomatoes instead of pasta sauce.
I really like this.
You get more of the pasta flavor and filling/cheese without the sauce
overpowering everything.

The instructions for the pasta says to boil for 12-15 minutes.
I only cook for 8-9 minutes so the shells won't fall apart and they
will continue to cook in the oven later.
Add a little tomato juice to the pan.
Stuff them up.

After you stuff and place shells in the pan, cover with diced tomatoes.
Just tomatoes, nothing else has been added.

Sprinkle cheese mixture over all.

Now the most very important step.
Don't bake it.
Cover it up and put it in the fridge.
I made this first thing in the morning and I will cook tonight for dinner.
It is even better if you prepare the night before and let all the flavors mix and meld.
After this very important fridge time, take it out and bake at 350 degrees
for about 45 minutes.

Finished product.
Daddio liked it.
I like the original recipe better with ricotta.
But I'm thinking, if you mixed them together like I've
done with lasagna?
Now that would be tasty.
Also, I forgot the herbs.
That was probably the reason I wasn't hopping up and down about it.
But I have included them for you.
I will let you decide.
Don't get me wrong it was tasty.
I could have done better.
Hey, there's always another chance.


1/2 lb sausage and/or ground beef
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 15 oz can artichoke hearts, quartered
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
1 T. dried Italian herbs
6 oz (1/2 box) jumbo pasta shells
1 8 oz cream cheese
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Brown sausage/beef over medium high heat.  Remove meat from pan to drain on paper towel.  Add onion to pan and cook until soft.  Quarter artichokes and add to onions until color starts to appear.  Add bell pepper to saute and cook for 2 minutes.
Remove veggies from pan to a mixing bowl with browned meat. 

Cook pasta (with ample salt) according to directions, reducing cooking time by 4-5 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix meat, veggies, and herbs with cream cheese.  Grate Parmesan and mix with shredded mozzarella.

Spray 9x13 casserole pan with non-stick spray.  Pour some tomato juice from the tomatoes in bottom of pan to prevent over browning.

Stuff partially cooked/cooled shells with meat mixture and add to casserole pan.  Pour tomatoes over pasta.

Sprinkle with cheese mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Let me know how you liked it. 
Let me know if you added some other goodies or changed something up.
You know how I like to try new things. 
It's what I'm all about.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blizzard Warning!

Yes, we had a blizzard warning in Oklahoma!
But, that is not the warning I'm talking about.
It is the "Trapped in my house Warning".
I have discovered that it takes two days to make me get cabin fever.
I know some of you did not even last that long.
I do, however, have some great recipes coming your way.
I've had nothing else to do.

The first day, as you see, was fun and the snow was coming down.
Just an unexpected day off.
It was nice.

Crazy, man!  Belle and 2Groovydude go for a chicken check.
The chicks did not travel far from the house this day for sure.
They are still laying eggs, though, suprisingly.
Many of the eggs are freezing before we can get to them.
It is about 23 degrees at our house right now and was down to 3 below last night.

They made it through the trek back in low visibility.
It's only about 150 yards, so I wasn't too worried.

Next day, there was clean-up and other chores
to keep the boys and dogs occupied.
Daddio shoveled a path to the chicky hut and a path for the chickies
to get to their feed and water.
A couple came out, but mostly they stayed in their house.
Smart chicks.

2Groovydude waist deep in the snow and Belle coming to the rescue.
We have drifts around our house as deep at 36 inches.
Although, I have a feeling there may have been a little drama going on.

Newly shoveled deep path. 
A little wave from 2Groovydude.
I think he was mostly frozen at this point.

So, today all of the work I needed to catch up on was done yesterday.
The boys and dogs are bored.
We really want to get out of here.
But we can't.
Daddio tried.
Send good thoughts our way.
We need it.