Saturday, February 27, 2010

Boiled Peanut Soup

Serves 4

I started out with a recipe for “Hotel Roanoke Peanut Soup”, but of course I can’t follow any recipe exactly. I prefer different cooking techniques and usually less salt and fat. What I ended up with was sooo delicious! It reminded me of that addictive flavor of boiled peanuts.
The original recipe follows. Be sure to use a broth that is not too salty. This is a good time to use leftover broth from poaching chicken. You can use either smooth or chunky peanut butter. The butter can be left out.

2 Tbsp. butter (optional)
1 small onion, diced 
1 stalk celery, diced 
1 quart chicken broth 
1 tsp lemon juice 
2 tbsp flour 
1/2 lb (1 cup) peanut butter
Salt to taste 
1/4 cup ground peanuts

Heat a 2 quart metal saucepan until hot and dry. Remove from heat and coat with canola oil spray. Return to very low heat while preparing vegetables.
Sauté onion and celery in butter in the pre-seasoned saucepan over medium heat until onion is translucent.
Put sautéed vegetables in blender. Add 2 cups of broth, lemon juice, flour, and peanut butter. Blend well.
Pour back into saucepan and stir in remaining 2 cups of broth. Bring to boil and simmer until thickened, stirring frequently. Taste and add salt as desired.
Sprinkle ground peanuts on top before serving.

Hotel Roanoke Peanut Soup

Posted 2/11/10 by Sandy at

1 small onion, diced
1/3 tsp celery salt
1/4 lb butter
1 t salt
2 celery ribs, diced
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp flour
1/2 cup ground peanuts
2 quart hot chicken broth
1 lb peanut butter (creamy)

Melt butter in sauce pan and add onion and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes (do not brown). Add flour and mix well. Stir in chicken broth and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Add peanut butter, celery salt, salt, and lemon juice. Sprinkle ground peanuts on top before serving. Makes 20 1/2-cup servings.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chicken and Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf

Serves 6

1 tsp. butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup wild rice
3 cups water
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tsp. butter
1/2 cup pecan halves
2 cups shredded poached chicken

Season pan. Heat a 6 cup metal saucepan with a tight fitting lid until hot and dry. Remove from heat and coat with canola oil spray. Return to very low heat while dicing onion.

Sauté wild rice and onion in 1 tsp. butter in seasoned pan. Add water and cranberries. Cover tightly. Bring to boil. Turn heat to very low, keeping tightly covered for 45 minutes.

Sauté pecan halves in 2 tsp. butter.

When rice has cooked for 45 minutes, turn off heat and let rice stand for five minutes without removing cover.

Stir pecans and chicken into rice.

Serve with a salad.

Easy Poached Chicken

Poaching means to cook something in simmering (where little bubbles form, before it's actually boiling) or almost simmering liquid, about 160-185°. If you bring it to a full boil, it will break down the food instead of gently cooking it. Boiling tends to make meat tough. With poaching, the meat will stay moist and tender, and this cooking method requires no fat. Here is a technique that you will want to remember for those days when time is really tight, everyone is hungry, and can’t wait to eat. This is the best method for chicken salad. The meat has a texture you cannot obtain with any other cooking method. It is almost silky smooth.

You can also choose from a huge array of liquids in which to poach; the most common are simple water, wines of varying sorts, and stocks (concentrated broth). In addition to the liquid you choose, you can greatly affect the flavor of what you cook like this by adding 'extras'; onion, garlic, spices of all sorts, vegetables, and so on.

Put your chicken pieces, bone in or boneless, skinned or skinless, in a pan big enough to cover them with water. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain the water and use it for soup. Cover with cold water for 10 minutes until cool enough to handle. The skin and bones pull off easily. They can be saved for soup, too. Shred or dice the meat as your recipe directs.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Serves 8

This recipe started out as a copycat of Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup. But I have made it so many times over the last four years that I have improved it quite a bit!

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
1 medium Onion, diced
1 Tbsp. chopped Garlic
1 tsp. ground Cumin
1 tsp. Chili Powder (no salt)
dash of hot pepper sauce
1 cup Masa Harina
2 qt. Water (divided)
2 Tbsp. Chicken bouillon
1 can (15 oz.) diced Tomatoes
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles
1 pound American cheese

Heat a 4 quart kettle until hot and dry. Remove from heat and coat with canola oil spray. Return to very low heat while preparing vegetables.

Sauté chicken, onion, garlic and spices in kettle over medium high heat, stirring constantly until chicken is not pink and onion is translucent.

Stir in Masa Harina. Stir in 1 quart water until all lumps dissolve.

Stir in remaining quart of water, chicken bouillon, tomatoes and green chiles. Return to boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

Drop individual slices of cheese, about four at a time into kettle and stir until melted. Continue until all cheese has been added.

Serve with hot buttered tortillas.

Real Cheeseburger Soup

Serves 6

Thomas asked me to make Cheeseburger Soup for dinner. I read at least six different recipes and put together this one. It has everything on a cheeseburger and includes the fries!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 stalk celery, diced
4 cups diced peeled potatoes
1 can (10.5 oz.) condensed tomato soup
1 can (10.5 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 ½ cups milk (1%)
¼ cup diced dill pickles
¼ cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. prepared mustard
½ pound American cheese

Heat a 4 quart metal kettle until hot and dry. Remove from heat and coat with canola oil spray. Return to very low heat while preparing vegetables.

Sauté beef, onion, carrot, celery and potatoes over medium heat, breaking up beef into small chunks, until beef is browned and onion is translucent.

Stir in soups, milk, pickles, ketchup and mustard. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Drop individual slices of cheese, about four at a time into kettle and stir until melted. Continue until all cheese has been added.

Serve with a hearty sourdough bread and now you have the bun!

Yummy Caramelized Sweet Onion Sandwiches

Serves 4

My neighbor was telling me about these lunch meats that have been on sale at the Deli counter at the local grocery store. They are made by Kretschmar and called “Ham Off the Bone” and "Turkey Off the Bone”. They are pretty close to a real chunk of meat. I thought I’d try them. I happened to pick up a bag of day old onion rolls from Kroger and Sargento had a BOGO on sliced cheeses. Total cost for four deluxe sandwiches came to $7.00.

3 large onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
3 Tbsp. butter
½ lb. thinly sliced Kretschmar Ham Off the Bone
½ lb. thinly sliced Kretschmar Turkey Off the Bone
½ cup Ken’s Sweet Vidalia Onion Salad Dressing
4 Onion rolls
4 slices (3 oz.) Swiss cheese

Caramelize onions: Sauté onions slowly in a well seasoned skillet over low heat with 1 tsp. butter until well cooked. Do not burn! Keep heat low.

Fix loose meat filling: Slice lunchmeat crosswise into 1/2” wide strips. Sauté in well seasoned skillet over medium heat until nicely warmed up. Add sweet onion dressing. Stir and simmer over low heat until some of the liquid evaporates.

Grill rolls: Slice rolls in half. Butter each cut side with a tsp. of butter. Grill cut side down on a well seasoned skillet or griddle. Set on plates.

Assemble sandwiches: Put a slice of cheese on bottom roll. Layer ¼ of meat over cheese. Top meat with ¼ of caramelized onions. Put on top of roll.

Serve with a great soup!

Blue Cheese, Pear and Avocado Salad

I picked up a load of avocados at Wally World the other day. They were a quarter each! Then I got a basket of ugly pears for $.50/pound at another store. I had a little bit of pecans and Blue cheese leftover from the holidays. This was very yummy! Also a very nice presentation to alternate pear and avocado slices in a fan shape.

Serves 4

2 Tbsp. white sugar
1/2 cup pecans
4 cups torn salad greens
2 pears - peeled, cored and sliced
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and sliced
3 ounces Bleu cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/8 tsp. granulated garlic
dash salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste

In a skillet over medium heat, stir sugar together with pecans. Continue stirring gently until sugar has melted and caramelized the pecans. Carefully transfer nuts onto waxed paper. Allow to cool, and chop into pieces.

For the dressing, blend oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper.

On four individual salad plates, place a layer of salad greens. Lay out alternating slices of pears and  avocado in a fan shape. Sprinkle with pecans and blue cheese. Pour dressing over all and serve.