Cheddar Cheese Soup

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It’s been so cold here over the past few days like it has been in many places.  Soup seemed like a logical choice for dinner so off I went to search out a recipe in my cookbooks.

This recipe has a lot of ingredients but they all work together to make a wonderful, flavorful soup.  This recipe is not hard to make and it helps to get all the ingredients ready before you start since it cooks up quickly.

The croutons are from my recipe that I posted yesterday and they are great in this soup!  Here’s the link ~ Make Your Own Croutons

Cheddar Cheese Soup

Cheddar Cheese Soup

6 tbsps butter
3/4 cup minced onion
3/4 cup minced carrot
1/2 cup minced celery
4 tbsps flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsps dry sherry
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 chopped parsley for garnish
Croutons, optional

In a large pot, melt the butter and saute the onion, carrots, and celery for about 8 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and all the seasonings and blend. Gradually add the chicken broth, stirring constantly until thickened. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the cream and sherry, stirring. Add the cheese in cupfuls, stirring each until melted into the soup.

Garnish with parsley and croutons, if desired, and serve at once.

Cheddar Cheese Soup 2

Makes 4-6 servings.

Source:  Lagniappe

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Make Your Own Croutons

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I had bought a loaf of sourdough bread last weekend at our favorite bakery and never used it.  I hate throwing food away but this loaf was very stale.  What to do?   I turned it into delicious croutons.

This is one of those “non-recipe” recipes.  It’s really just a how-to and you can make them whatever flavor you want.

Make Your Own Croutons

Make Your Own Croutons

Loaf of stale bread
Butter or olive oil
Favorite spices ~ I used garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper
Cheese ~ optional ~ I used grated Parmesan cheese

Here is what I did:

Preheat oven to 325º.

I sliced the bread into 1-inch slices. I cut off the crusts and then cut the bread into 1-inch cubes.

I melted a stick of butter in a large bowl in the microwave. Added the cubed bread. I sprinkled on some garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and then the Parmesan cheese. I mixed being careful not to crush the bread.

I put this all on a baking sheet and made sure the cubes were all in a single layer.

I baked them for about 30 minutes until they were hard and browning nicely. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet.

Use on salads or in soups or for snacking.

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Hash Brown Quiche

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We LOVE this recipe!  On Facebook, one of my stated foodie goals for 2014 is to use my gazillions of cookbooks more often.  While going through one of them, I found this recipe and put it on my very short (for now) “to make soon” list.

The recipe is very easy.  I used a bag of those Simply Potatoes instead of frozen hash browns thawed and they worked perfectly when made in a deep dish 9-inch pie pan.  I think they taste better, too.  If you want, you could also shred your own potatoes ~ you’ll need 3 or 4 cups I would think.

This recipe is perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.  As all-around great dish.

Hashbrown Quiche 2

Hash Brown Quiche

1 pkg. frozen uncooked shredded hash browns, thawed ~ I used Simply Potatoes refrigerated hash browns
5 1/3 tbsps butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/8 cup chives, chopped
1 cup shredded jalapeno Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup diced ham
fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Heat oven to 425º.

Press hash browns into deep dish pie pan. Blot with paper towel to remove any moisture. Brush with melted butter. Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove dish from oven and reduce heat to 350º.

Combine the eggs, half and half, salt and chives. Set aside.

Sprinkle ham and cheeses into hash brown crust. Pour egg mixture over the top.

Bake 40-50 minutes until browned.

Before serving, top with chopped parsley.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Source: It’s a Shore Thing

Hashbrown Quiche 1

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Roast Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

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In my family, brussels sprouts are not a well-liked vegetable ~ except by me. I love them. Growing up I can’t remember ever having them and I have no idea what made me buy them and try them years ago.

I was baking a ham and brussels sprouts go wonderfully with ham so it was an easy choice for a side dish. I did want to do something a little different than just steaming them so I searched around until I found this recipe. Roasting brings out the flavor of the sprouts and the balsamic syrup brings some tang and sweetness. I did only make half of the recipe since I was the only one eating them. Give them a try!

Sprouts

Roast Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

3 lbs Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cups sugar

Clean and trim the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half. If they are small, leave whole. Arrange on a baking sheet ~ use two if you need it ~ and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 375º for 25 to 30 minutes or until brown being careful not to let them burn.

While the sprouts are roasting, combine the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil Watch carefully because it will boil over if you are using a small saucepan. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until reduced and the mixture become syrupy ~ about 15-20 minutes.

When the sprouts are done, pour the balsamic reduction over the top and mix and serve.

Makes 10-12 servings

Source:  Tasty Kitchen

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Mixed Berry Crisp

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Besides the fact that I love all kinds of berries, I love this recipe because I can make it all year round.  Since it uses frozen berries,  I don’t need to buy expensive fresh berries in winter when I am craving something berry-ish.

I think this crisp would be equally good as a dessert and as a breakfast dish.  Breakfast?  Maybe that’s just me but I love recipes like this as a breakfast side dish.

Berry Crisp

Mixed Berry Crisp

2 (12 oz) bags frozen mixed berries, unthawed
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour, divided
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
7 tbsps cold butter, diced

Preheat oven to 375º.

Combine berries, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour and lemon juice in a large bowl, blend well.

Transfer berry mixture to a glass baking dish.

Combine remaining 3/4 cup flour, oats, brown sugar, spices and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and rub together with fingertips until the mixture resembles small clumps. Sprinkle over berry mixture in baking dish.

Bake until berries are bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 1 hour. Let cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream.

Makes 8 servings.

SOURCE: Bon Appetit

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Oven Baked Parmesan Fries

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My love for potatoes is well documented as well as my search for an awesome baked fry recipe. I think I *may* have hit on it on Pinterest.

These fries are just so delicious. Besides being easy to make, they are tender on the inside and crisp on the outside. I think they would go with just about any main dish.  Even Mr. Meat Eater,  who has no love for potatoes, commented on how good they are.

I left out the rosemary because I don’t like it and added a bit more garlic powder because I love it. If you are going to do more than 1 pound of potatoes, you will have to remake the spices for each pound.

Fries

Oven Baked Parmesan Fries

1 pound of medium russet potatoes (3 medium potatoes)
1 1/2 TBSP of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Dried Thyme
1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1/8 tsp Dried Rosemary
1/4 tsp of Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp of Old Bay Seasoning
2 TBSP of Kraft Parmesan Style Grated Cheese

Preheat oven to 425º.

Wash and cut potatoes into eighths. Place on a cookie sheet that has been lined with foil and spray with a little Pam so the potatoes won’t stick.

In a small bowl, mix the spices and the Parmesan cheese.

Place all of the cut potatoes (one pound at a time if you are making more) into a gallon size freezer bag, add olive oil and the Parmesan cheese/spice mixture to the bag. Seal the bag and shake until the potatoes are evenly coated.  Remember that you will have to make a new spice mixture for each pound of potatoes.

Once potatoes are coated, empty bag onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread in a single layer.

Bake 30-45 minutes or until tender and lightly golden brown. Your baking times may vary due to the amount and size of fries that you make.

Source:  Playing with Sugar

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