Hoppin’ Johns

We love soup. There’s a man at our church who says that “soup is for the weak and feeble minded.” If that’s true, I don’t want to be strong of mind or body. Also, to him I say, “No soup for you!”

Our good friends, Kate and Gilbert, introduced us to this awesome soup that you can just throw together. It gets better the longer it cooks, but we usually can’t wait that long – either because it’s time to eat, or because we just can’t resist it.

We make this soup often for family and friends when they come over because it’s delicious and easy and it warms you to the core. However, it’s one of the recipes that I don’t have written down anywhere. The first couple of times I make it each cold season, I have to dig around through emails, chat records, Facebook messages, and texts from Kate to see where it was that I last asked her for the list of ingredients. Lately, my family has asked for the recipe a lot, so I thought I’d put the list of ingredients here so that it’s easy for me to access and I can stop bothering Kate each Fall.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sausage (You could use a brand other than Tennessee Pride, but then I may not respect you as much. Just so you know.)
  • 1 onion, chopped, sautéed in sausage grease
  • 1 box Near East Long Grain and Wild Rice, prepared (You can use other brands, but Near East is the only one I’ve found that is gluten free. Unfortunately, the 90 second Uncle Ben’s microwave pouch has wheat in the ingredients.)
  • 1, 14.5 ounce can beef broth
  • 1, 14.5 ounce can chicken broth
  • 2, 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes (don’t drain!)
  • 2, 14.5 ounce cans of black eyed peas (Don’t drain! Also, we usually get the “southern style” ones that have been seasoned… and cooked in bacon fat…)
  • If you need a bit more saltiness (I find we usually don’t – the broths are usually plenty salty), use Liquid Aminos or Gluten Free Soy Sauce instead of salt
Hoppin' Johns: Loved by big people with big people bowls and little people with little people bowls alike.

Hoppin’ Johns: Loved by big people with big-people-bowls and little people with little-people-bowls alike. Also, those are corn muffins in our bowls. A must with Hoppin’ Johns. An absolute must.

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Cranberry Orange Relish

This. This is the Thanksgiving dish that is the most versatile. It makes an awesome snack, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I’ve had it, by itself, for all of those meal opportunities. It’s also great because you can make it way ahead of time, freeze it, and set it out on the counter to thaw on Thanksgiving morning and it will be ready by dinner. Simple.

Also, please note the awesome pumpkin tureen that I serve it in. No particular reason. Just notice it. Because it’s super cool.

cranberry relish

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 medium oranges
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Shred the zest from one orange. Peel and coarsely chop both oranges.

Pulse the cranberries and nuts in a food processor until finely chopped.

Mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. That’s it! You’re done. It’s delicious!

Italian-Style Green Beans

Simple side dish. My mom suggested this for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago and it’s perfect. It has awesome flavor and it doesn’t require the busy oven on that busy day. It also makes a great side any of the other 364 days of the year.

IMG_6487

Ingredients

  • Fresh green beans, as many as you’d like
  • Onion, as much as you want
  • Olive Oil, as much as you need
  • Kosher Salt, Freshly-Ground Black Pepper

Directions

Wash and snap the beans. Dice the onion. Sauté the onions in the hot olive oil. Add the beans. Add salt and pepper to taste. So simple. So good.

Yields: As much as you want.

Zesty Porcupine Meatballs

Note: I’ve moved this post over from an old cooking blog I started in February of 2011, but then kinda forgot about. There are good recipes there, but I really want all of my blogging to be in one place. Let’s be honest, I’m not good at keeping up with one blog, so how would I keep up with two? :)

February 26, 2011: We don’t normally eat a lot of ground beef – but it was on sale in a family pack recently so we ended up with 5 pounds of beef! So I’ve been trying to come up with healthy-ish and delicious ground beef recipes. I remember having porcupine meatballs from time to time when I was younger so I thought I’d throw some things together around that basic principle and give it my own flair. The seafood boiling spice made it pretty zesty and, overall, it actually turned out pretty good.
These meatballs are good over rice, egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or even on their own.
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice (I recommend jasmine rice… yum!)
  • seafood boiling spice (to taste… I used about a tbsp, but I tend to like things spicy)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 16 oz. canned tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Directions
In a bowl, combine onion, rice, seafood boiling spice and 1/2 cup water. Add beef and mix well. Form meatballs (Again, as with Swedish meatballs, I used my cookie scoop so they were all the same size, but not everyone is a slave to mildly OCD-like tendencies like I am).

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown meatballs.

Combine tomato sauce, 1 cup water, brown sugar and worcestershire sauce in a large bowl.

Add tomato mixture to skillet and simmer for at least 20 minutes, but it’s better for the flavors if you simmer slowly for longer – up to an hour.

Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Yield: 6 servings

I don’t have the nutritional stats on this one yet because I haven’t made it since I started using MyFitnessPal.com. Next time I make it, you can bet I’ll be coming up with Nutritional info so I can count the calories (although… I probably don’t want to know!).

Cooking Light Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Note: I’ve moved this post over from an old cooking blog I started in February of 2011, but then kinda forgot about. There are good recipes there, but I really want all of my blogging to be in one place. Let’s be honest, I’m not good at keeping up with one blog, so how would I keep up with two? :)
February 26, 2011: This is a light, quick, and simple salad that has a really fresh, bright taste. It goes quite well with Rotini with Chicken, Asparagus, and Tomatoes and it’s also great on its own!
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups washed baby spinach
Directions
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk. Add spinach and toss.
Yield: 4, 1 1/2 cup servings
CALORIES 52; FAT 3.5g; PROTEIN 1g; CARB 5.4g; FIBER 1.8g; CHOL 0mg; IRON 1.3mg; SODIUM 132mg; CALC 29mg

Cooking Light Rotini with Chicken, Asparagus, and Tomatoes

Note: I’ve moved this post over from an old cooking blog I started in February of 2011, but then kinda forgot about. There are good recipes there, but I really want all of my blogging to be in one place. Let’s be honest, I’m not good at keeping up with one blog, so how would I keep up with two? :)
26 February 2011: After Gina introduced me to Cooking Light, I’ve been all about it. I recently purchased Fresh Food Fast: Weeknight Meals which is a great C.L. book. One of the reasons that I love C.L. recipes is not just that the food is delicious and health conscious, but every recipe comes complete with nutrition facts.
I multiplied this recipe by 1.5 because I had 12 ounces of rotini and i didn’t want 4 ounces of leftover uncooked pasta. But, it made a TON. Sweet husband and I will be eating these leftovers for quite awhile. It’s a good thing it’s delicious!
In the cookbook, they recommend serving this with a Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette – which I did… and it was great.
This was an easy and quick meal!
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces uncooked, whole wheat rotini pasta
  • Olive Oil cooking spray
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into ¼ inch strips
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of 1 inch asparagus slices
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Directions

Cook pasta in boiling water (don’t add salt or oil) until al denté.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken. Add chicken and asparagus to pan; sauté 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute.
Remove from heat. Stir in pasta, basil, vinegar and oil to chicken mixture in pan. Top with cheese.
rotini
Yield: 4, 2-Cup Servings
CALORIES 419; FAT 9.5g; PROTEIN 33.9g; CARB 48.5g; FIBER 3.4g; CHOL 70mg; IRON 3.2mg; SODIUM 324mg; CALC 105mg

gluten freeEASY GLUTEN FREE SUBSTITUTION

Substitute your favorite Gluten-Free pasta to quickly and easily make this into a gluten-free meal!