Google Amy's Cooking Adventures: January 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mom's Knoephla Soup

Knoephla soup is one of my favorite comfort foods.

During my college years, my mom would always have a huge steaming pot of homemade knoephla soup simmering on the stove every time I came home for a holiday break. 

If you’ve never had knoephla soup, it’s basically a German dumpling soup (many recipes call for potatoes & other veggies) that is similar to Chicken & Dumpling Soup, though the dumplings are smaller and denser and the soup is cream based.

I’ve included two recipes for Knoephla soup, the classic, which begins with a homemade stock and the weeknight version with a few shortcuts for a faster (but equally delicious) homemade soup!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Caramelized Onion Dip

I have one final delicious recipe before the big game this weekend!

No Super Bowl party is complete without chips, but why buy the dip? 

This year, make you own chip dip!  Caramelized Onion Dip is a twist on the classic onion dip.  The caramelized onions add an amazing depth of flavor that will keep your guests coming back for more!

Not a potato chip fan?  Then grab some tortilla chips and don’t forget the salsa!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

English Muffins

Have you noticed all the breads on the 30x30 list?  Yep, a lot. 

And yet, every time I make a new homemade bread, I am absolutely astounded.  Homemade tortillas, bagels, pitas, bread bowls, & pretzels…all amazing.  Homemade English muffins?  Totally epic.

I had no idea how soft and pillowy an English muffin could be!  Even after I toasted my English muffin, the outside was beautifully crisp, but the inside was still tender.

My only criticism of this recipe is that it is a lot of work to make only 6 English muffins.  I definitely plan to double or triple the recipe in the future and freeze them so I can homemade English muffins any time I’d like!

Recipe Notes:
*In this recipe, I used half buttermilk and half 2% milk, since that’s what I had on hand.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tortellini Skewers

Mini Tortellini Skewers are another one of those perfect game time foods.  They come together in a flash, don’t need to be heated, and are small and portable!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Simple Doctored Baked Beans

Baked beans are typically a summertime treat in my house, but if you’re making Mini Corndog Muffins for your Superbowl party, these baked beans just feel right.

This recipe originally comes from my mom and it’s one of those “recipes” that just takes a little of this, a little of that, and a whole lot of tasting to get it just right.  It starts off with Bush’s Baked Beans, since those are my favorite, but if you’re a Pork & Bean’s fan, by all means use those.  From that can of your favorite beans, we just add a bit of bacon and some extra sauce to give it just a little extra pizzazz.  It scarcely takes longer than it normally does to heat up some beans and they taste just fabulous!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wonton Soup {SRS}

So you know I love recipe swaps, right?

I love having the opportunity to delve in to blogs, sifting through the archives and finding great recipes.

This month, I was invited to be a part of the first ever Surprise Recipe Swap!  In this club, members are secretly assigned a partner, we cook up something fabulous from that blog and then share it on the 20th of each month.  Keep on scrolling to the end of the recipe for your chance to join up!  The more the merrier!

For the first ever SRS, I was assigned to Erika’s blog, Learning the Ropes, One Recipe at a Time.  Erika strives to live a frugal lifestyle and to incorporate fresh ingredients and whole foods into her family’s diet.  She also makes her own household cleaners and shares the recipes!

As I searched through her recipes, I was immediately drawn to the soups (I know, big shock, I’m always drawn to soups).  In particular the wonton soup, since that is one of my husband’s favorites.  I’ve already tackled Egg Drop Soup as one of my 30x30 recipes, so why not try wonton?

Overall the soup was absolutely delicious.  It hit the spot on a cold, blizzardy day.  I made a few changes from Erika’s recipe.  I swapped out the ground chicken for pork and added a bit more spice to the meat mixture.  Overall this was absolutely delicious and will definitely be made again in the near future!  Thank you for a fantastic recipe, Erika!

Recipe Notes:
 *Plan at least 1 hour for wrapping the wontons, especially if you are working alone.
*I had about ¼ pound pork mixture left over.  You may need additional wonton wrappers & broth or use the leftover meat in egg rolls or fried rice (recipes coming soon – stay tuned!)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mini Corndog Muffin

Are you ready for some football?

The Superbowl is coming up, so it’s time to prepare all those fun and easy appetizers.  Mini Corndog Muffins are perfect whether you are expecting a crowd or if it’s just your family sitting down to enjoy the commercials.

These little muffins are so addictingly delicious and I love that they’re not deep fried like those scary freezer corndogs.  But because they are so delicious, you can totally eat half a batch of these things in no time flat.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Maybe you should just plan to make a double batch…just in case.

Recipe Notes
*Yes, my hot dogs are red.  They are a specific brand I grew up with and are the only hot dogs my boys will eat!  If you can get them in your area, give them a try!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Baked Potato Soup {SRC}

Secret Recipe Club (SRC) is back today after a nice holiday break in December.

This month, I was assigned to Jean’s Blog, The Tasty Cheapskate!  Jean is a mom of four and a self proclaimed cheapskate.  She strives to make the most out of her food, stretching it wherever possible.  But while she may be a cheapskate, you will never see margarine in her pantry, because even a cheapskate has her limits!

As I see food prices constantly on the rise and along with them, my grocery bill, I am loving the concept of The Tasty Cheapskate!  Let’s stretch that expensive meat a little bit further!  Then we won’t have to hide the grocery bill from our husbands – ha!

As I perused The Tasty Cheapskate, I was immediately drawn to the soups.  It’s just something about this time of year that makes me yearn for soup.  And not just soup, potato soup!  I looked back in my blog history and realized that for the third year running, I have posted a potato soup of some sort in the third week of January!  Crazy!

I do love this soup in particular because of its simplicity (especially if you cheat like I did and use store bought bacon pieces instead of thawing and frying bacon).  The baked potatoes can be made ahead of time (maybe at dinner the previous day?) making this an extremely fast and easy weeknight meal.

Recipe Notes
*To save time, bake the potatoes the day before
*After I fry bacon, I save the drippings in a glass jar for later use (fried eggs are awesome in bacon grease, fyi).  That’s what I used in this recipe.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Braided Onion-Potato Bread

It’s 30x30 time again and this time it’s Potato Bread!

I’ve heard potato bread praised for many reasons.  The potatoes in the bread are supposed to keep you fuller longer.  They are also supposed to keep the bread soft and moist on the inside and crusty on the outside.  It is also supposed to keep longer than other homemade breads.

Now, I can tell you that this bread is delicious, but I don’t necessarily know that is does all of the above.  If I were to make this bread again I would do a few things.

1.      I would add more whole wheat flour, but that’s just me.
2.    I would add either more onion or some onion powder since I thought the onion was a bit too understated.
3.    I would split this in to two braided loaves since the one loaf was absolutely massive.

Despite those few changes, I thought this bread was delicious and the perfect accompaniment to a hearty beef stew.  We also used the leftover half to make pizza bread which was also divine!

Monday, January 7, 2013

French Onion Soup

Who doesn’t love a bowl of French Onion Soup?

French Onion Soup is perfect for those days when you want to put a lot of love into a meal.  If you make bread bowls at the same time, this meal can easily become an all day process.  It’s time consuming, but a labor of love.  It’s definitely one of those recipes that cannot be rushed.  French Onion Soup needs time to develop all of those beautiful flavors.

So if it’s a cold, blustery day and you feel like hunkering down in the kitchen for a couple hours, this is the perfect soup!

Recipe notes:
*The time it takes to caramelize the onions depends how aggressive you are with the heat.  I typically go for low & slow, otherwise I have a tendency to sauté my onions rather than caramelize.  If you decide to raise the heat a bit, your cooking time will be less.
*You can replace the wine with additional beef broth, if preferred, though you will sacrifice some depth of flavor.  If you aren’t a wine drinker, you can freeze the leftover wine to use in future recipes!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Whole Wheat Bread Bowls

When I was growing up, there was a huge street fair every fall.  Several streets were blocked off as all sorts of vendors unfurled their awnings and displayed their wares.  And of course, one entire street was dedicated to food trucks and stands.  It is there that my mom took me, every year, to one truck that served Wisconsin Cheese Soup in fresh Bread Bowls.  We’d take out bread bowls on their flimsy paper plates and squeeze onto a crowded bench to quickly eat the hot soup and devour the bread bowls.

It’s been many years since I’ve made it home for the street fair, but those bread bowls stick in my mind.  And since I’ve discovered my love for baking, I decided it was high time I made some bread bowls.

The recipe itself isn’t all that different from other bread recipes, it’s rather the handling of the dough that makes a loaf of bread into a bread bowl.  Also, the second baking to seal the inside helps create a very sturdy bread bowl.

Recipe Notes:
*Measure the olive oil in a measuring spoon just before the honey, then the honey will slide right out!
*When using a stand mixer to knead dough, never go higher than speed 2 or low.
*The vital wheat gluten helps keep the whole wheat flour elastic and less dense.  It is found in most grocery stores in a small box near the flour.



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