Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Yesterday I made up a big freezer batch of cream of mushroom soup. I love using it in recipes, but I hate all the extras that come in store bought cans (BPA, a ton of salt, etc). So I made my own, turns out its not so hard. The recipe I used as a base can be found in the link above. Based on my needs I adjusted the recipe. I had recently purchased a large amount of mushrooms from a local food supplier and needed a place to use them up. This made a lot of soup, and was pretty simple to make. Using the food processor to pulse the mushrooms saved me a great deal of time as well. 4 tbls of olive oil 1 large onion, minced 4 cups of minced mushrooms 3+ tbsps of flour 4 cups of cream 4 cups of vegetable stock Saute the onion in the oil till soft, add in mushrooms and continue to cook a few minutes more adding in a pinch of salt and a couple good pinches of pepper. Sprinkle flour and adjust amount as necessary to get a wet sand consistency (a roux). Slowly add in warmed liquids whisking as you go to prevent lumping. Serve as is, or simmer till soup is reduced by one-third to one -half for storage. This recipe calls for very little salt (good for those who are monitoring intake). If you intend to eat it as a soup, additional seasoning is required, since I plan on using this in recipes that will be seasoned themselves, it would only be excessive to add more than a pinch of salt. I then placed reduced soup into 8 half pint mason jars and freezing them, as well as a small container in the fridge for immediate use. Whenever freezing in glass remember that liquids expand and to leave sufficient head-space. This can be used in place of canned condensed cream of mushroom soup in your favorite casserole, and I intend to use it in a chicken pot pie casserole this week!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tonight’s dinner was quick, simple, and absolutely delicious!
3 Cheese Tortellini in a tomato bacon sauce with sweet peas. 1 package of your favorite tortellini from the freezer aisle 1 small can of crushed tomatoes (I used Muir Glen so I know its BPA free!) 2-4 Cloves of garlic 1/2 lb of bacon medium dice (I like an all natural, uncured bacon) Pancetta would also be perfect here 1 small onion or a couple of shallots Favorite Italian herb blend Frozen peas Crisp up your bacon in a skillet, drain off most of your fat. Add in your onion and garlic, saute till translucent. Add in tomatoes, favorite spices, like oregano, basil, thyme, chili flake (to taste) (you prob won't need much or any salt with thanks to the bacon). Cook off your tortellini and drain then add to your sauce. Toss in your frozen peas and serve. Garnish with fresh torn basil. This dish would also do very well with spinach ribbons in place of the peas, or with a cheese and spinach tortellini. Keeping quick ingredients like tortellini and canned tomatoes on hand helps you make dinner in a snap!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Have you ever tried making butter? Does it remind you of times of old and endless churning? Well, its easier than you think. If you've got a food processor you're already halfway there! Just add a couple of cups of whipping cream to the food processor and leave it for a few minutes. In light of the growing evidence that fat is not in fact a leading cause of heart disease, that hydrogenated oils (i.e Margarine) are slowly killing us and are more dangerous than butter, perhaps its time to stock that freezer! Take a carton of whipping cream and set in the food processor and let it go at a low to moderate speed until it separates. You'll have solid fat (the butter) and a liquid (buttermilk). Strain well, reserving the liquid, and rinse, then pat dry. Once strained and dried store in the fridge or freezer like you would regular butter. You may need to use it more quickly, so freeze anything you won't use up in a week or two. An additional benefit, is this is unsalted, making it easier to manipulate for recipes as you want. The buttermilk can be stored in the fridge for a couple weeks as well. Use it in your favorite biscuit recipe, when making tortillas, pancakes or waffles.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fruit Leather! Who doesn't love fruit leather (or the common fruit flavored commercially available snack)? This recipe takes awhile, but it is delicious, and significantly more filling (i.e real fruit), and less chemical filled than any commercial snack even if they claim its made from fruit flavors. I made a large batch starting with 8 cups of fruit, bc I had a bunch of strawberries to use up, but the recipe can easily be halved. The process Im giving isn't exactly what I did, but more what I think would work better than the recipe I recieved. I started with 8 cups of washed hulled strawberries (or whatever fruit you have on hand-just no pits or stems) and puree in a blender/food processor In a saucepan pour in puree and add approx 4 tablespoons of sugar and 4 teaspoons of lemon juice. Taste your fruit here, something like ripe bananas wouldn't need the sugar, and many apples won't require quite as much. These were very early for berries and are quite tart. the lemon juice helps prevent oxidation and brightens your fruits natural flavors and sugars. Simmer mixture till reduced by at least half and rather thick and spreadable (this step consentrates flavor and reduces a lot of the moisture before the oven drying process) . Spread mixture evenly about a 18-1/4 inch thick onto parchment lined sheetpans Dry in a 150 degree oven for 3+ hours. You know the fruit is dry when the surface is no longer tacky. Cool completely and tear or slice the fruit leather. This will keep for quite sometime in the fridge, assuming it lasts that long. My toddler had this devoured in a couple of days!