Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hearty Winter Minestrone Soup

Serves 4-5 people...unless they become addicted to it, then it may be one...

1/2 an onion diced
1 diced whole head of garlic (peeled of course)
2-3 stalks of celery diced with leaves
1 carrot cubed
1 cup of fresh cut green beans
2 red potatoes cubed
1/2 a zucchini cubed
2 tsp of dry Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp of salt & pepper
Pinch of paprika (or cayenne if you want it spicy)
1 can of kidney beans (or your favorite, garbanzo or great norther are good too)
1 can of chicken broth
A splash of red wine if you have some handy
1/4 cup of pasta (your choice of shape)
A sprinkle of shredded parmesan cheese
Water to add as needed as the soup cooks down

Heat a splash of oil on medium heat in a large soup pot and saute onions and garlic until soft and golden. Next add chopped celery (and some celery leaves if you have them), carrot, potato, and all the spices. Deglaze the pan with a splash of red wine, scraping the bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon and reducing the heat to a low simmer. Add the can of chicken broth and mostly drained can of beans.

Stir in the zucchini and green beans halfway through the cooking time. Feel free to add more water if the soup starts to look more like a thick stew.

Let simmer for at least a couple of hours to let the veggies cook and the broth reduce. Turn the heat back up and stir in the pasta and let cook according to the directions on the pasta container.

Serve and top with parmesan cheese. Enjoy the filling and healthy meal!

Cinnamony Snickerdoodles

During the holidays I get the urge to bake. This is one of my favorite recipes. I love things that make the entire house smell good while baking and taste great hot out of the oven. 

I based this recipe off one in "The Cookie and Biscuit Bible." A great and very tempting book :) 

Makes around 24 cookies.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1/2 cup of soft butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
3 cups regular flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground cloves & nutmeg
Handful of chopped walnuts (optional)

First, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs and milk. Sift in the flour, baking soda, and spices (and nuts if you want). 
Combine the ingredients until it forms a ball of dough, you may want to use a spatula to help scrape down the edges. Refrigerate for an hour or so. 

Mix together a pinch of cinnamon with a tablespoon of sugar. This is what you will roll the balls of dough in before placing on the cookie sheet. 
Roll the cold dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the bowl of sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart on a silicone baking mat, parchment paper or a greased cookie sheet. Press lightly down on each ball of dough to help it spread out a bit.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Enjoy warm out of the oven with a glass of milk.