Monday, December 29, 2014

Sausage potato soup with spinach and carrots

I don't normally do sausage but this was good and had just enough spice to it and it was particularly good sitting in front of the fire while it snowed. I served it up with biscuits and honey.

What you need and what to do:

1 TBLS olive oil
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casing removed* (I used Mulay's Hot Italian Sausage)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional (turned out, I didn't need this with the hot sausage)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 cups chicken broth (you can use veggie broth here)
1-2 pounds potatoes, diced (peel them or not)
4 or 5 peeled and cut up carrots
3 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup 2% milk or leave it out all together

*Feel free to exchange for turkey or chicken sausage, but then I would add the red pepper flakes)

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat on paper towels and put in a soup pot.
Stir in garlic, onion, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes (if using). Cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and carrots and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir in spinach until it begins to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in milk if you are using until heated through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately. Adapted from Damn Delicious

Monday, December 15, 2014

Soft ginger molasses cookies

I really like a "gingerbread" cookie at Christmastime since I don't make gingerbread people anymore. This one is good, especially in the winter with a cup of tea.

What you need and what to do:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 TBLS dark molasses
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2+ cup granulated sugar, for rolling

In a larger bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with an electric beater, beat butter, brown sugar, and molasses until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs until smooth.

Add flour mixture; beat until combined. Wrap dough in plastic, flattened into a disk. Chill until firm, about 1 hour or overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make 1 1/2-inch balls of dough; roll each in sugar. Place them 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, keep cool while they wait in queue. Bake cookies until firm around the edges and slightly soft in the center, about 12 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Adapted from Martha Stewart

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cranberry Christmas rounds

Who doesn't like shortbread, and who wouldn't like to add little pieces of cranberries, and then enjoy them with a cup of tea for the holidays? They look all nice and neat and they taste simple but worth making every year. I doubled this recipe and got enough dough for about 80 cookies. Nice thing about it, you can freeze the dough for up to a month and then just cook them as you want. Perfect.

What you need and what to do:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries (I used kitchen scissors to cut them up, which didn't take long)

Beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add flour and salt; stir just until combined until it starts to stick together. Stir in dried cranberries. Divide dough into quarters, about a full cup of dough per quarter.
On parchment, shape each portion into a log about 1-1/2 inches in diameter and 4 inches long. Wrap logs tightly in parchment or plastic. Chill 30 minutes or up to 1 day. (Dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and frozen up to 1 month.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. With a sharp knife, slice dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Rotate log as you cut to keep it from flattening. Place rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets, 1 inch apart.

Bake, rotating cookie sheets halfway through, until edges just begin to turn golden, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks. Adapted from Martha Stewart.