Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jalapeno Beer Cheese Soup

Jalapeno Beer Cheese Soup
Serves: 4

  • 4 slices of bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 roasted jalapeno peppers, diced plus 1 whole for slices on top
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 1  bottle of ale (I used Fat Tire)
  • 2 cups chicken broth ( Homemade Crock Pot Chicken Broth)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded - I used white cheddar and mixed shredded cheeses.
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne 
  • salt and pepper 


Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat and set aside on paper towels to drain, reserving  the grease in the pan.

Roast the jalapenos over an open flame, when completely blackened, place in zip-lock bag to steam a few minutes, then when cool enough to touch remove the skins. 

Add the onion, celery and jalapeno and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the butter and let it melt, then sprinkle on the flour and let it cook until it starts to turn golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the ale and broth and deglaze the pan and then let cook for 10 minutes.

Add the cream, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and cheese and cook until the cheese has melted without bringing it back to a boil.

Season with cayenne, salt and pepper and add in half of the bacon pieces to the soup.

Serve with warm crusty bread and top with bacon and jalapeno slices.

Breakfast Egg Cups

Breakfast Egg Cups
Serves: 2+

A super quick and delicious meal for breakfast, that can be made for large groups or just yourself!

Ingredients: (per egg cup)

1 egg
2 slices of deli ham
cooking spray
salt and pepper
grated parmesan cheese (if desired)
chopped scallions


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Spray muffin tin with cooking spray - I use the misto sprayer with olive oil - as I only use olive oil as a vegetable oil.

Line muffin tin with two slices of ham, overlapping them so that they cover the entire muffin tin.

Crack an egg into the muffin tin.

Season with salt and pepper.

Cook in oven for 10-13 minutes, checking to see if the egg whites on top are done.

Once finished scoop out of muffin tip with a spoon and top with grated parmesan and chopped scallions or other herbs would be great.

Recipe nutrition estimated on sparkrecipe.com for 1 egg cup.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup
Serves: 10-12


I bag dry split peas
1 can chicken stock
6 cups water
1 ham hock
1 carrot diced
2 celery stocks with leaves- chopped
1/2 onion diced
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dry thyme
Salt and pepper
1/2-3/4 cup half and half to thin
1 cup frozen peas


For this recipe I am using a pressure cooker to save literally hours on the stove. I place all of my ingredients except for the Half and Half and the frozen peas into the pot of my pressure cooker, and stir well.

Depending on the pressure level of your pressure cooker (mine is 80kaP) I set my pressure cooker on high until it begins to release steam, then turn to medium high to avoid burning my soup and let it go for about 20  minutes. Release pressure, either by the cold water method or by letting it stand on the stove (check your models instructions) and open up your pressure cooker.

I will mention, I have burned myself pretty bad in the past by not using a pressure cooker correctly, I does pay off to read the instructions and feel comfortable using it before making pea soup. Boiling potatoes or something that is in water the first few times is good to become comfortable. Cooking molted hot, thick pea soup is asking for serious burns if something goes wrong (I know from experience).

Once you've opened your pressure cooker, give it a stir, and see where your at. It should be thick and creamy with no discernible pea pods. Then I like to take the pressure cooker pot and add the frozen peas in. I cook it, open, on the stove for 5 minutes until the frozen peas have cooked. Then I add in my half & half and use an immersion blender to blend my soup to a smooth consistency.

You can adjust the thickness by added more half and half, it will continue to thicken as it cools.

I like to serve my soup along with a grilled cheese sandwich, and a dollop of sour cream on top. It is wonderful.

Homemade Potato and Cheese Pierogi - Great Grandma's Recipe

Great Grandma's Pierogi
Makes- 8 dozen or so


1LB of potatoes
6-8 large WHITE onions
6 sticks of salted butter
1 large tub of small curd whole milk cottage cheese

1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 egg
1/2 - 1 cup water
* you'll need three to four batches of this dough for this recipe. I typically make it as I need it so that it doesn't sit out too long. you want it to be soft and pliable, and letting it refrigerate or sit out too long will result in tough dough.


First you'll want to boil your potatoes, sorry I don't have an image for this, I forgot. But you all know how to boil potatoes anyways right? Cook them until they are fork tender and then remove from water, mash and allow to cool completely. You can also season your potatoes with salt and pepper at this point.

For chopping the onion it is best to use a food chopper, like I did, or even a food processor. They need to be chopped very fine and that kind of work by hand would result in a lot of tears.

After all of my onions have been chopped up I like to go through and see if any large pieces that didn't get chopped are in there, and pull them out.

Meanwhile, I melt 6 sticks of butter. I know what your thinking, how could you possibly use this much butter, but when your making 8-10 dozen pierogi and basically just topping them in butter to fry later, not that much butter is actually used.

Cook on LOW until butter has melted, and then add your onions, stirring in completely. Continue to cook on low until the onions are completly cooked and the butter has clarifyied. This is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 to 4 hours. It makes your house smell delicious and doesn't require much supervision other than to stir occasionally.

You'll also want to drain the excess liquid from your cottage cheese, by placing 1 tub of cottage cheese in a mesh strainer over a bowl to catch the liquid. We don't use the liquid for anything, but if you find that periogi filling it too dry you can incorporated a little of this liquid back into the mix.

Once your onions have cooked strain the onion butter mixture with your mesh strainer and reserve the butter in a large bowl. The butter can be covered with plastic wrap and placed in the fridge at this point. Your onions that have been strained, but not strained completly dry, we want a little of the butter in the filling, can now be added to your cooled potatoes along with your cottage cheese.

Mix well, taste and add salt if necessary.

Next is your dough, after making the dough in the food processor you can use it right away. Sometime I make it ahead a put it into the fridge, but it can become very elastic and harder to manage that way.

You'll need to roll out the dough as thin as you possibly can, the thinner the better- we want it almost thin enough to see through, thats what makes a light and airy pierogi.

I recently purchased a periogi maker, after years of using whatever large cup or glass we could find, this made easy work of peirogi making, and a worthwhile investment for sure at only a few dollars.

Trace the outline of your peirogi dough, this peirogi maker is a 4" diameter, which makes the perfect size.

Then using your press add the dough and a spoonful of filling.

Press closed and see this little beauty pop out!

Reserve on a dry plate until you have a few to boil. Then take a large pot and fill with water and a handful of kosher salt to season.

Add your peirogi one at a time to prevent sticking and stir the water gently to prevent sticking to the bottom. The peirogi will float to the top when they are finished.

It usually takes about 2-3 minutes for them to float.

The next part can be a bit tricky, you'll need to dry the pierogi as best as you can and then move the to premanent storage, we use paper plates that can be frozen and stacked on top of one another. I usually dry my peirogi on a regular plate and then transfer them to paper so they don't stick. You'll want to get out your clarified onion butter, melting it in the microwave at this point.

I then take a large spoon and spoon the butter mixture over the pirogi plates enough to coat each one so they don't stick to eachother or the plate after freezing.

Now for the best part, once the butter has solidified to the surface of the peirogi you can take one and pan fry it in the residual butter. They become toasty and delicious on the outside and are soft and warm on the inside. I eat these beauties for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they are amazing!