Category Archives: farm stand fridays

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Vegetable Beef Soup and a Money Saving Tip!

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This was a part of my weekend adventure in cooking. Soup! It was so good, we got 11 inches of snow where I live Saturday, so I cooked all day. It was fun to stay home and just cook and hang out, because we couldn’t go anywhere.  The snow kinda happen perfect, we went out Friday night and stayed home the rest of the weekend.  We had plenty of food and a warm house and 2 fun girls to take outside and play with!

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They had a little soup too and thought it was quite tasty! Here’s the money-saving tip I’m going to give you about stew or soup meat.  If you go to the store and see a cheap steak or a steak that’s been marked down because the need to sell it, buy it, and freeze it and when you want to make soup, pull it out and cut it into small chunks and you’ll save yourself a ton of money.  Whenever I price stew meat, I nearly have a heart attack at the price.  And  that’s what the butcher does, is he takes a cheap piece of meat, cuts it into pieces and marks it up!.  Please do not worry too much about how you cut it up, it’s going to cook for a long time, either in a slow cooker or on the stove, so it will be tender and you’ll save big time for about 5 minutes worth of work.

Steak actually cuts easier if it’s slightly frozen, so if you’re just taking it out of the freezer, slice it into chunks before it completely thaws.

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I got a pound of little round steaks marked down a couple of months ago for around $3.00 and Saturday morning, I took them out of the freezer, let them thaw a little on the counter, and while they were still slightly frozen I cut them up into chunks.

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I put a little olive oil, the steak, some celery and onion and browned everything in the bottom of a dutch oven.

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Add some beef broth, vegetable-beef-soup-12

a bag of frozen veggies

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a can of tomatoes, a can of water and a couple of potatoes cut into chunks.  It’s important that when you start with the beef, you salt and pepper, and when you add the veggies, broth, tomatoes and potatoes you add salt  and pepper again.  Everything you’re adding, except the broth is bland, with no seasoning, so seasoning as you go along helps flavor everything.

I brought it up to a boil(wished I had used a bigger pot….hindsight!) turned it down to simmer, and let it hang out on the stove for a couple of hours.  If you were using a slow cooker, you could brown you meat and then dump everything in the crock pot, or you could just dump everything without brown the meat, if you do this, omit the olive oil.

This is a great meal for a cold and snowy day.  Just add biscuits, sandwiches or a salad for a great dinner.

Another great thing to do on a cold and snowy day

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Potpourri, just combine cinnamon sticks, an orange and some cloves in a pot of small slow cooker with water and your house will smell amazing!

Vegetable Beef Soup

2 TBSP. olive oil

1 lb. of steak, cut into chunks

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 small onion, diced

2 cups beef broth

1 14.5 can of dice tomatoes

1 16 oz. bag of mixed vegetables

3 medium potatoes, diced

1 can of water(use the tomato can)

salt & pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil, add steak, celery and onions, salt and pepper. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until brown, then add broth, tomatoes, vegetables, potatoes, water, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Bring it to a boil, and turn to low and let it just simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, as taste before serving to see if you need to add more salt or pepper.  In a slow cooker, you can still brown your meat in a skillet and then dump everything in the slow cooker or just dump everything in the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on low or 4 hours on high. And always taste to see if it needs seasoning.

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Spinach and mixed berry smoothie


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This is my attempt to start the year off right, however, at this moment there’s coconut cakes baking in my oven, so eating right could be short lived! coconut-cakes-smoothie-056

I think they turned out pretty cute!  They were thank you gifts for people I didn’t get to see on Christmas.  The stomach flu and sinus infections have stopped at our house and so far someone has missed every holiday since Thanksgiving! I completely skipped Christmas 🙁 On a healthy note, I didn’t over eat at Christmas and actually having a smoothie is pretty much all I’ve done for breakfast since Christmas.

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I like to start out with oats, just pop them in the bottom of the blender and grind them up.  Some people do protein powder, but I always have oats and they really fill me up and I just feel better about it, because I know what’s in it, oats!

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Then add spinach and water and give it a whirl

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One frozen banana

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Then some mixed fruit, give it a whirl and serve it up with a straw.  It keeps me satisfied until lunch time, I hope it does the same for you!

Spinach and mixed berry Smoothie

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1 cup spinach

1 cup water

1 frozen banana

1 cup mixed frozen fruit (I like blueberries, strawberries, peaches, pineapple, mango whatever)

1 tsp of flax-seed or chia seeds

extra water to thin out

Add oats to blender and blend until fine dust, add spinach and water and blend. Add banana and fruit, blend.  Add water until pourable.

 

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Twice Baked Potatoes – A weekend cooking adventure

It’s seems that I’m always cooking on the weekend for the week.  Lately, I’ve been cooking a lot for my mom, so I’m always looking for something I can make for us( my family) that can be stretched into a meal for her as well.  I’ve done a lot of casseroles and believe me, I love them, but I’m afraid everyone’s getting a little tired of them!  So this weekend’s cooking adventure, was smoke house chicken(recipe to come), twice baked potatoes, and Tortellini Tomato Soup with Spinach.

 

Anyway, I thought this was sort of ambitious meal plan, but it turn out very easy and not as time-consuming as I thought it would be.   On Saturday, I had the Op Shop at my church to work at, so before I left at a very early 7:30 on a Saturday morning(ugh) I put 7 potatoes in the crock pot wrapped in foil

 

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and cooked them on low and when I got home they were ready to come out of the crock pot.

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To make the filling, cut your potatoes in 1/2 and scoop out the filling. Mix in butter, sour cream and garlic powder

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While I was making the filling, I stuck the bacon in the oven while I was roasting some chicken breast for lunches this week and let the oven cook the bacon, so I didn’t have tend to it!

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Then I mixed in 1/2 the cheese and the crumbled bacon and filled the potatoes

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I saved out half of them for dinner and put half in the freezer for the next time we want Twice Baked Potatoes.

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This will such a god send in the future with all the holidays coming up.  Think about this, it’s so simple and such a time saver.

Twice Baked Potatoes

7 medium to large potatoes

1/2 cup of sour cream

3 TBSP butter

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

8 to 10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled*

You can bake your potatoes 1 of 2 ways, I washed my potatoes good, wrapped them in aluminum foil, put them in my slow cooker on low for 6 to 7 hours or you bake them in the oven in oven for an hour or so at 400 degrees, when you squeeze the sides, the sides should give some, then you know they are done.  Remove from crock pot or oven, unwrap and let them cool.  When you can handle them, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, and scoop out the pulp and put it in a bowl.  Add butter, sour cream, salt, pepper and garlic powder to the pulp and mash together. Stir in 1/2 cheese and all the bacon, and fill potato skins, top with remaining cheese and either baked them until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted or freeze them by putting them on baking sheet and flash freezing them, then put them in a zip lock bag and freeze until you are ready to use them.

*While I was roasting chicken breast at 400, I put my bacon on a sheet pan and baked it in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until it was brown.  I didn’t even turn the bacon while it baked.

This recipe was shared at  The Country Cooks Weekend Potluck Party