Comfort Food is Food that warms the body and the soul. It makes you feel good and satisfied after eating it. I think Comfort Food is different for different cultures and different people but there are variations within the dishes that we call ‘Comfort Food’. The differences are not so much in the main ingredients but in the preparation techniques and the seasonings used. Here is another great Comfort Food that really warms you inside – Vegetable Soup – it can be served as a complete meal with the addition of some protein and delicious fresh bread. It can also be served as a first course and the leftovers are great for lunch.
I love to make Vegetable and it is one of my favorite ways of cleaning out the Vegetable in my refrigerator. If you have ever wondered what you are going to do with all those vegetables that you just can’t seem to getting around to use or even if like I do, you have little bits and little bits of that, Vegetable Soup is the perfect vehicle for using up those items. So when I taught school, I taught my students how to make ‘Clean Out the Refrigerator’ Vegetable Soup.
What you will need is a large pot and some Olive Oil and whatever you can forage from your refrigerator. If you don’t have items in your refrigerator that you can use, you can always visit your local Farmer’s Market or Grocery Store to pick up whatever you wish to put in your soup. For the last batch I made, I used Onions, (a must), Celery, Carrots, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Tomato Paste, Frozen Peas and Corn. For the batch before this one I used a Sweet Potato and Spinach. Visit vegetable-soup for the complete recipe.
Saute your Vegetables (starting with the Onion and Mushrooms) in Olive Oil. I always salt the Mushrooms as they do need and it helps to leech out some of the water in their pores. Once they have cooked and started caramelizing add the remaining fresh Vegetables and dried herbs. For the liquid I use either de-fatted Turkey, Chicken or Beef Broth, depending on what is in my freezer. Vegetable Soup does not need to cook for a long time – you do not want really mush vegetables. It is much better to have some texture left to bite into. About 10 minutes before serving bring the soup up to boiling and add about 1 cup uncooked Pasta. Once the Pasta is ‘al dente’ add fresh Herbs (in this case two kinds of Basil), and frozen Peas and/or Corn if you are going to use them. A couple of minutes is all you need for these frozen Vegetables.
To make a complete meal out of your Vegetable Soup, add some Protein such as Tofu (for Vegans), Chicken, Sliced Hot Dogs or Sausage or Turkey. Any one of the above make a great addition to your soup which is also delicious without it. Just serve it with some Hot Fresh Bread.
Thanksgiving is on the horizon and many families will be busy preparing food and enjoying it with their loved ones. If you love to cook and even if you don’t but are going to be cooking listed below are the links to some delicious recipes that you may enjoy for your Thanksgiving Meal. Take a look at them and then try out one or two or three or all. When you do, please let me know how you, your family and friends enjoyed them.
CREAMED SPINACH – Spinach is one of my favorite Vegetables and this version is delicious, even for non-Spinach lovers. It is also versatile and can be turned into a Creamed Spinach Soup just by adding some Vegetable Stock and a little more Cream or Milk. A great recipe for Thanksgiving and the days beyond.
CURRIED FRUIT STUFFING – a little different twist on Thanksgiving Stuffing – the Curry and Fruit give your stuffing additional flavor in a delicious way. This recipe uses Traditional Stuffing Ingredients with the addition of Apple, Apricots and Golden Raisins or whatever you wish to use plus Curry Powder. It is delicious and quite tasty with the addition of the fruit.
GOLDEN SQUASH JUBILEE – is a simple Vegetable Dish made with only 4 ingredients:
2 lbs. Banana Squash – shredded
1 cup dried Apricots – chopped
½ Cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
¼ cup Butter
This dish can be cooked in the Microwave or baked in the Oven.
MASHED POTATOES – be sure to use Russet Potatoes (you need to use a Potato that will crumble when baked so that they will mash easily
TURKEY FRITTATA – this is a great dish to use most any kind of leftover – it is an omelet made with Onions, Potatoes, Tomatoes and Cheese as well as the leftover Turkey. A Frittata is good for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.
TURKEY CROQUETTES – these are made with leftover Turkey, Onions and a smattering of other Vegetables – they are breaded and then fried and served with Remoulade Sauce.
TURKEY POT PIE – made with leftover Turkey, Vegetables and a Rough Puff Pastry or purchased Puff Pastry if you prefer. Great for leftover Turkey, Chicken or whatever else you have. Serve with a Salad and you have a complete meal.
Cold Winter Weather always makes me want something hot and hearty – today it is Vegetable Soup. When I was teaching High School Culinary Arts, one of the things I taught my students was to make ‘Clean Out the Refrigerator Vegetable Soup. Now, that may not sound too great, but how many times have you had small amounts of many Vegetables that you really did not know what to do with? Making Vegetable Soup is the best way to use up these odds and ends and at the same nourish your family and keep them warm. So, here we go with ‘CLEAN OUT THE REFRIGERATOR VEGETABLE SOUP’.
The Vegetables that I had on hand were Celery, Carrots, Red Cabbage, and Onions. Small amounts of Red Cabbage or any other color for that matter are good for Vegetable Soup. You do not want to use too much or it will overpower the other Vegetables in your soup.
The Vegetables that I purchased for the Soup were Golden Beets and Mushrooms.
The Golden Beets are pictured before being peeled and the Onions are pictured with the
Mushrooms. I also used Frozen Peas, Crushed Tomatoes and Turkey Broth.
The Turkey Broth was my hold-over from Thanksgiving. It is a waste to just throw out the carcass because there is always some pieces of meat clinging to it and the bones themselves do provide some flavor and of course gelatin. To make the Broth, I placed the Turkey Carcass in my largest pot along with Onion, Celery, Carrots, Bay Leaves, Peppercorns and Parsley. Just cover it all with water, place a lid on the pot (offset) and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, remove the lid and turn the flame down to a simmer and just let it cook until the liquid has cooked down to at least half. Even more is better. Shut off the flame, let it cool to room temperature and then pour through a colander into a clean container. Refrigerate if you are going to use within a day or two or freeze until you are ready to use it.
Before starting to cook the Soup, wash and towel dry your Vegetables and then prep them.
- Onions -peel and dice
- Celery – remove any loose strings and then cut into 1/4 to 1/2″ thickness.
- Mushrooms – Cut up your cleaned and dry Mushrooms (how you cut them depends on the size and type tht you have. Mine were small brown Crimini so I mostly quartered them. Cabbage – cut into pieces about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick and about 3/4″ long.Beets – Peel and then quarter and then slice the quarters into smaller pieces. (The beets are actually easier to peel if they are par-boiled first or microwaved. If you do par-boil them, Scrub them clean first and then save the water to add to the soup.
- Carrots – either scrub or peel and then slice in half lengthwise and then cross-wise into about 1/4 to 1/2″ pieces depending on how small you want them or on how large your carrots are. Generally, the smaller carrots have more flavor and are sweeter. The larger ones are older and tend to lose flavor as they age – also they are less tender
To cook, start with the Onion -by sautéing in a small amount of Olive Oil. Add the Mushrooms to the Onions and add a little Salt. The Salt not only seasons them but helps them to release their water and cook down faster. Add the Cabbage and Celery and then the Carrots and Beets. Adding some dried Basil (fresh is best, but mince and add at the end so the flavor is not lost) After all the Vegetables are in the Pot, add your cooking liquid and a couple of Bay Leaves (dried or fresh – remove them before serving). You can also add some garlic to the vegetables while they are sauteing, but this would be a personal choice. Not everyone likes garlic. After the soup has cooked for a while, taste for seasoning and add more Salt and some freshly ground Pepper. Oregano is also good added to Vegetable Soup. If you are using canned Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce or Crushed Tomatoes, add it now and then thoroughly mix in. If desired, you can add some tiny pasta at the end or cook it first and then add. Add the frozen peas and or corn if desired at the very end. They need only minutes to cook.
The soup does not need to cook for a lengthy time – one hour is more than enough – 30 minutes will probably suffice. This soup can be eaten right away or you can cool it and refrigerate it – the flavors will intensify if held overnight in the refrigerator.
Serve and enjoy – this will easily make a delicious and hearty one-dish meal. Serve with Garlic Bread or Croustades.
The other day my husband said “you know what you haven’t made in a long time and I would like to have”. No, what? “Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast’. Now, quite honestly, I have never ever made this particular dish for him. However, I did make it once or twice for my sons’ Father. Well, I don’t like it now and I didn’t like it then. But I do know where their desire for this dish came in. This is one of the few dishes that they both remembered from their Navy days. Why, I don’t know.
So, I told my husband that I would make it for him for dinner the next night. “Dry Chipped Beef” anyone? I don’t think it exists anymore except maybe in ‘camping stores’. I went to three markets and no one had anything close. Then, I figured that if I am going to make this dish, I would make as close to a Gourmet Version as possible. So I purchased some Rare Roast Beef from the deli and went home and made Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast for dinner.
I sautéed some diced Onion and Celery and some sliced Mushrooms in a combination of Olive Oil and Butter.
While the vegetables were cooking, I cut up the Beef into small pieces. Once the Vegetables were done, I added 3 Tablespoons of Flour to the pan and stirred it all around until the Flour had absorbed the Fat and coated the Vegetables. Next I added 1 ½ cups of Milk and Half & Half and stirred and cooked until a thick Sauce (Béchamel) had formed.
Next I added 1 cup of Petit Pois (baby peas) and the Beef. I seasoned this mixture with my ‘Basil Salt’ and White Pepper. I kept this mixture on low heat while we made the toast and put together a salad.
Since I had just made a ‘Country French Bread’ the day before we decided to use it for the toast. This was dinner, one of my least favorite ones, but Ev loved as did Arnold before him. I did tell him though that he would have to wait a long time before I made it again – at least one year. I can’t think of anything that I would like to eat less.
The Roast Beef would have been so much better as a sandwich with olive spread, mustard, mayo and tomatoes! Actually I did save a few pieces and that is what I will have for lunch tomorrow while Ev eats the leftover Creamed Beef!
This Spring on our ‘almost yearly’ trip to Hawaii we rented a Condo so that we would have a kitchen so that we could cook the fresh produce and seafood that we were able to purchase at the Farmer’s Markets and Seafood Stores. The following is about the food we purchase, cooked and ate.
Let’s start with Breakfast. On several mornings we arose very early to go Birding which is one of our favorite things to do on Vacation. On these days, we just brought along some pastries and drinks but on the days that we slept a little bit later and ate breakfast in the condo, I did cook for at least a couple of them.
For one of the mornings, we had a Cinnamon Pull-Apart loaf from Foodland which to our liking did not have enough Cinnamon so I turned it into French Toast. Cinnamon Bread, Egg Bread, Hawaiian Sweet Bread or Brioche make a delicious French Toast product. -french-toast/To make the French Toast, I first sliced the Cinnamon Bread into thick slices and then let it air dry overnight.
At Breakfast time, I made a Batter with Eggs, Cream, a little Sugar, Cinnamon and Vanilla. I then soaked the sliced Bread in the Egg Mixture and then fried it in Butter and just a little bit of Oil. The Oil helps to keep the Butter form burning. (Oil has a higher smoking point than Butter).
The soaked Bread Slices were cooked in the hot Butter/Oil combo to develop a nice brown crust on the outside. We ate it with Coconut Syrup for Ev and just Sugar for myself. This was a very good breakfast and we even had a slice leftover for a snack later in the day.
The second Breakfast that I made was Coconut Pancakes with Grilled Baby Pineapple. Unfortunately most of the Pineapple is now grown in the Philippines, but the Baby Pineapple that I purchased was grown on Kauai. (This was a Certified Farmers Market and all of the produce must be grown in Hawaii). The Pineapple was exceptionally sweet, but when you grill it in a little Butter the sweetness is brought out and becomes intensified. To give it just a little caramelization I used a small amount of Sugar in with the Butter. Not only did it give a nice golden/brown color to the pineapple but it did fortify the flavor of the pineapple.
Usually I make my Pancake Batter from scratch, but since we were on the Island only for 10 days, I did not want to start buying a lot of ingredients that we would not use. So therefore, I purchased a bag of Coconut Pancake Mix. The directions on the package said to add only water, but I never pay attention to that. We want our pancakes to have a lot of flavor and nutrition, so I added an egg and used milk instead of water. I also added a small amount of melted butter to the batter. In the photo of the batter you will see some small lumps. Pancake Batter should never be beaten until smooth. This will cause the panckes to be tough!
You will notice in the photo below that the Pancakes were cooked in a skillet rather than a griddle. When renting condos, you have to make do with what is available unless you want to bring your own equipment. Next time I am definitely going to bring my own knives, because the knives that were there were barely functional.
The pancakes were delicious with the Coconut Syrup (made in Hawaii) and the grilled Pineapple Chunks.
The rest of our breakfasts were cereal, eggs and bacon, etc.
Most of our dinners were eaten out, but I did cook on some of the evenings. One night for dinner we had a Huli Roasted Chicken from the market. Since it was too much for two people to consume at one time, I saved the Breasts and made a Chicken Salad in Papaya Boats for dinner the next night. I put diced Maui Onion and Celery into the Chicken and dressed it with Papaya Seed Dressing. Along with the salad we had sautéed Baby Bok Choy (from the local Farmer’s Market in Hanalei) with Ginger and fresh Garlic.
The next night we had sautéed Ono with Shitake Mushrooms and a Green Salad with Papaya Seed Dressing. I sprinkled the Ono with a Hawaiian seasoning mix and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Next I sautéed Shitake Mushrooms with some Ginger and fresh Garlic.
When the Mushrooms just started to soften, I pushed them aside and added the Ono which I lightly sautéed on each side. Ono is such a good fish and this was so fresh that It did not need to be cooked all the way through. Just browned on the outside and pink on the inside is the way to go! For an added boost to the sautee, I added just a touch of Sesame Oil at the very end of the cooking.
For dessert we had Pineapple/Coconut Ice Cream with Chocolate Cake.
Our beverage that night was Hawaiian Sun Tea which I made by placing some Tea Bags in a pitcher of cold water along with lime slices. This was put out on the balcony table to brew under the sun.
One of the items that we ate, but did not cook was a classic but made in an unusual way. This was a Bacon/Lettuce/Tomato and Avocado Sandwich on a Taro Brioche. What was unusual about it was of course, the Taro Bun, but in addition it was made completely to order. The Bacon was cooked just for our sandwiches and the Tomato and Avocado were sliced to order. We did have to wait about 15 minutes for our sandwiches, but they were well worth it.
One other food item that we ate out was Pizza at the Bakery in Kilauea. They make excellent pizza and we have been going there for years every time we go to the North Shore of Kauai. We had a pizza dressed with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Basil Pesto with Pepperoni and Mushrooms and of course Mozzarella.
One day in Ka Paa I had Lettuce Tacos at Pacific Bistro which is now actually a Chinese Restaurant. The Lettuce Tacos were actually what is known as lettuce wraps, except the lettuce wasn’t wrapped; it was actually just little lettuce cups.
The other two places that we ate at that were noteworthy was the restaurant at the St. Regis Hotel (formerly Princeville Hotel) and the Lighthouse Bistro in Kilauea.
For dinner at the St. Regis we had Steak with a Burgundy Mushroom Sauce, a very tasty Sweet Potato Dish, sautéed Spinach and a delicious dessert cobbler made from Mango and Strawberries.
At the Lighthouse Bistro Ev had Shrimp in a Coconut Sauce over Linguini and I had a steak again. Dessert was a Passion Fruit Crème Brule with Chocolate Sauce on the side for Ev.
- Aside from the food our vacation was a success as usual. We enjoyed the ambience, the sweet smelling Hawaiian Fragrances, the balmy breezes and our gorgeous ocean view.
St. Patrick’s Day, that most Irish of Holidays is close at hand. St. Patrick’s Day is usually symbolized with images of Leprechaun’s wearing green clothing and many of us will wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or put Shamrock’s in our Buttonholes. Restaurants will feature Corned Beef and Cabbage and even green ale. Our most well-known Fast Food Restaurant is already featuring Shamrock Shakes.
So with St. Patrick’s Day close at hand I am going to paraphrase that saying ‘The Wearing of the Green’ and turn it into the ‘Cooking and Eating of Greens’. The most prevalent color in nature is green and if you think about it, there are probably more green vegetables than that of any other color. So, for St. Pat’s Day let’s get healthy and eat our greens.
Let’s start with Salads and what you can put into them. Lettuce of course is the most well-known salad green, so let’s see how many Lettuces or Lettuce/like greens we can name and find in the market today: Arugula, Butter Lettuce, Boston Lettuce, Curly Lettuce, Endive, Iceberg, (the least nutritious of all), Red Lettuce and Romaine which is probably the most popular lettuce today. Spinach and Kale are also popular salad greens today. One of our popular Salads is Caesar Salad which is easily paired with other ingredients to make a whole meal salad. Caesar is simple to make (it is mainly all Romaine Lettuce). The dressing is made from Garlic, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil and an Egg cooked for 45 seconds. The Egg acts as an emulsifier binding the Olive Oil and Lemon Juice together. Lastly anchovy or anchovy paste is added for that distinctive Caesar taste along with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese. /caesar-salad/
A recipe for Guacamole, the perfect green dressing for St. Pat’s can be found at chunky-guacamole/
What other green vegetables can you put in salads? Cucumbers which come in at least the following varieties: English or Hot House, Japanese, Persian, Pickling and your usual normal market variety which you probably want to stay away from as the skins are waxed and need to be peeled before you can eat them. English or Hot House are long Cucumbers about 2 inches in diameter and usually come wrapped in a clear plastic covering. Japanese are long and skinny (about 1 inch in diameter). Persian are short and skinny and Pickling are about 4 inches long and about 1 ½” in diameter. Pickling used to be the sweetest cucumber available but now that Japanese and Persian varieties are available in the markets, they are no longer the only sweet ones.
Zucchini are green and are good raw if sliced thinly or shredded. Cilantro, Parsley, and Cabbage are also good in salads as well as celery. By the way, Celery is one vegetable that you can eat and end up with a minus calorie intake. If you notice the way celery grows, it is all fiber which is not digestible but which is good for digestion.
I will leave it to your imagination as to what else you can put in your salad and now we will go to cooked Vegetables, namely the Cruciferous ones. These are very healthy and are also touted to be helpful in cancer prevention. They certainly can’t hurt. So what are the Cruciferous Vegetables and why are they called thus. If you cut off the stem end or bottom of a cruciferous vegetable you will see the shape of a cross, hence the name. Most of the cruciferous vegetables are green and fit right into our St. Patrick’s Day theme. They are: Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower and Romanesco. There are probably a few more that I have left out. On the subject of Cauliflower, you will probably say that Cauliflower is white, not green. However, there is a vegetable called Broccoli-Flower which is a cross between Broccoli and Cauliflower and is green. There are also, purple and yellow Cauliflower. Romanesco Cauliflower (which is an heirloom Cauliflower) is green and looks somewhat like Cauliflower but it is not rounded and has little spurts which look like castle turrets. It almost looks like it should be a desert plant and not edible, but it is edible and is supposed to be quite delicious.
The next Green Vegetables are the leafy greens which can also be used in salads but are also easily cooked. These are Collard Greens, Kale, Mustard Greens, Spinach and Swiss Chard. Swiss Chard leaves are green and their stems are pale green but there are varieties which are either gold or rainbow. The rainbow as the name suggests has multiple colored stems.
So as you can see, there are lots of greens available to cook and eat and as many as I have listed above, there are probably at least that many more available. So, on Patrick’s Day go ahead and wear green but also Cook and Eat Green!
MY CULINARY DIARY
CURRIED CHICKEN SALAD
Friday, June 8th, 2012
It is Friday and we have gone through many culinary avenues this week and do not wish to repeat anything, so it is time for Chicken. We both love fried Chicken, but since the weather is warm and I really did not want to start frying anything, we decided on Chicken Salad. Since all we needed for the salad was enough chicken to feed the two of us, I decided on purchasing a chicken breast rather than the whole chicken.
Since it was only a breast that we needed, I decided to splurge and purchase a free range organic chicken breast. The difference in flavor and moistness, between this type of chicken and the normal supermarket ones is astronomical. The organic, free range chicken reminds me of the chickens that we used to get delivered years ago when we lived in Granada Hills. A poultry company called Bob’s Poultry use to deliver Chicken and Eggs directly to our home and there was nothing like those chickens. They were so good! In those days, I had to cook at least 2 Chickens at one time! Later on it was three!
Along with the Chicken Breast I purchased some white corn and an Orange Honey Dew Melon and some Croissants to go with the meal.
To make the Chicken Salad I poached the Chicken Breast in some Madera Wine with fresh Pineapple Sage Leaves, fresh Greek Basil and freshly cut Chives. All the herbs were direct from our garden. I placed the Chicken Breast in the poaching liquid, brought it up to a simmer and cooked them for about 10 minutes and then shut the heat off. You can cut the breasts in half to make sure they are done or you can use a poultry thermometer. One hundred seventy degrees is more than done!
Once the Chicken Breasts cooled off, I sliced them against the grain and then cut the slices into bite-sized pieces. (The pieces were a healthy size, as I didn’t want pate.) I washed and dried some celery ribs and cut them into bite-sized pieces. I cut the celery considerably smaller than the Chicken pieces as celery has a tendency to get stuck in between teeth.
Along with the Celery were some more snipped Chives, Gherkin Pickles which I diced and a Pink Lady Apple, which I quartered, cored and cut up into bite-sized pieces. I leave on the skin, because the color adds a nice contrast to the white Chicken Breast.
To season the Chicken Salad, I added ½ tsp. Salt, ¼ tsp. White Pepper, 1 tsp. Curry Powder and approximately ½ cup of Mayonnaise.
For the complete recipe please see curried-chicken-salad/
Ev husked the Corn and I washed it and made sure all the silks were off. To cook the Corn, I placed it in my steamer with water in the lower portion and steamed the Corn for 1 minute. Young fresh Corn does not need to be cooked for more than 1 minute – all you want to do is to get it hot – young fresh corn even tastes good raw. In fact, I always taste it before cooking it to make sure it is sweet. If it is not sweet you can add 1 Tbsp. Sugar and the Juice of half a Lemon to the Water and then just cook it directly in the water which should not be more than 1 inch deep. Again, do not cook it more than 1-2 minutes unless it is old and tough and in which case you should not even be eating it off the cob.
For our Beverage we had Ginger/Peach Sun Tea brewed in the sun with orange slices and fresh ginger.
Dinner tonight was the Chicken Salad, steamed Corn and warmed Croissants. We decided to keep the Honey Dew for Sunday night when we would again eat the Chicken Salad, since I can never make just enough food for only 2 people.
This was just one variation on Chicken Salad. There are hundreds of ways that you can prepare it. Chicken Salad can be an Hawaiian Variation, Chinese Chicken Salad, Thai Chicken Salad, and on and on. Just use whatever you have on hand and what you think will go well with Chicken. Don’t forget that Chicken Breast has somewhat of a neutral flavor that can be enhanced with most anything! Even nuts and noodles will work in a Chicken Salad!
Mushroom Barley Soup
Saturday, March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day and many of us will be making Corned Beef and Cabbage for the Green Event. Almost always when Corned Beef and Cabbage is prepared for dinner, there are bound to be leftovers. The usual leftover fare for Corned Beef and Cabbage is Corned Beef Hash or Red Flannel Hash as it is known in the New England States. Corned Beef Hash is a very good breakfast or supper item when served with poached eggs on top. However, if you are tired of this version of Corned Beef leftovers try my latest creation “Mushroom Barley Soup”. Mushroom Barley Soup is usually made from Lamb Broth but the cooking liquid from the Corned Beef serves as a perfect vehicle for this hearty Winter fare.
When you have finished cooking and serving your Corned Beef Dinner, skim off any meat particles or fat residue and cook the Barley in the same pot as the Corned Beef was cooked in. Set aside the leftover meat and vegetables and cover and refrigerate them. Follow the directions below and you will have a hearty meal for your family.
MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP
1 medium to large Onion (yellow or white)
2-3 ribs Celery
8 oz. Mushrooms
Cooking liquid from Corned Beef
1 cup Barley
1 Qt. Chicken or Beef Stock, as needed
Leftover Vegetables from Corned Beef & Cabbage (not potatoes)
2 large additional Carrots
Salt and Pepper as needed
- After you have removed the Corned Beef and Vegetables from the cooking liquid, add 1 cup of Barley to the pot with the liquid still in it.
- Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the Barley has softened.
- Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature; place in a covered container and refrigerate, being sure to retain as much liquid as possible.
- When you are ready to make the soup, remove the leftover meat and vegetables and the cooked Barley from the refrigerator.
- Cut the Vegetable up into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
- Clean and slice 8 oz. of Mushrooms and dice 1 medium Onion.
- Using a large pot, cover the bottom with a thin layer of Olive Oil or melt 4 Tbsps. Butter; add the Onions and Celery to the heated Oil or Butter and sauté until they start to soften.
8. Add the Mushrooms and continue sauteing until the Vegetables begin to caramelize or start to turn
a light brown.
9. Add the Barley and its liquid to the pot; add more water as needed or 2-4 cups of Chicken or Beef Broth.
10. Simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes (add more liquid if needed) and then add the remaining Vegetables and the leftover Corned Beef, if desired.
11. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary by adding Salt and Pepper as needed.
12. Serve hot in large soup bowls with Rustic Bread and a Green Salad.
Yield: 6-8 Hearty Servings
- NOTE: The Vegetables that I used in the Corned Beef and Cabbage dish were: Cabbage, Carrots, Golden Beets, Baby Red Potatoes (did not use the potatoes or cabbage in the soup)
There are actually many types of Tubular Pasta. There is Penne, rigatoni, ziti and more. Penne is my favorite of the Tubular Pasta. Rigatoni are so big that for my taste there is just too much pasta to bite into at one time. Penne are considerably thinner than Rigatoni, but they are still tubular and hold a lot of sauce. One of my favorite uses for Penne is a Tuna Noodle Casserole, one of my husband’s favorite dinners. So, every now and then I will indulge him and make it for dinner. Usually there is leftover so he then can eat it for lunch in the next day or two.
To make a Tuna Noodle Casserole rich in creamy cheese you will need the pasta, 2 cups shredded cheese (your choice, but cheddar or jack is a favorite). I used a blend of Cheddar & Jack. You will also need 2 Tbsps. Butter and Flour and approximately 1 ½ cups of milk. The instructions following will make enough for 3 hearty servings; for a larger amount, just double the ingredients and follow the same instructions. The doubled amount will feed a family of four with leftovers or five to six for one meal.
The pan I used is a stainless steel casserole and is my favorite for just about everything. If you have a large family though you will need a bigger pan and a large oven-proof casserole to put the finished product in.
I also use diced Onion in my casserole for added flavor. Following is the list of ingredients for the smaller dish. For more, just double the given amounts and adjust the cooking equipment to fit the ingredients.
2 cups Penne Pasta
½ cup diced Onion
2 ribs celery, diced
2 Tbsps. unsalted Butter
2 Tbsps. Flour
2 cups Milk
2 cups shredded Cheese
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. Salt
½ tsp. ground White Pepper
1 (5 oz.) can Tuna, packed in Water, well drained
2 Green Onions, minced
½ Red Bell Pepper, diced
- Fill a 4 Qt. Saucepan with Water and add at least a teaspoon of Salt; bring to a boil and then add the Pasta. Stir to separate the Pasta and then cook for 11 minutes or until the Pasta is al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium skillet or the same pan the pasta was cooked in, melt the Butter and then add the Onion and Celery. Cook until the Onion begins to brown and the Celery is softened.
- Stir in the Butter until a paste forms; slowly add the Milk, stirring constantly.
- Continue cooking until the mixture thickens; add the Mustard, Salt & Pepper.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the Cheese just until it melts. Taste for seasoning. If desired, add a splash of Tabasco® or your favorite Hot Sauce.
5. Flake the Tuna and add it to the Cheese Sauce mixture. ( The Tuna can be doubled if you wish)
6. Add the drained Pasta to the Tuna/Cheese mixture and carefully fold in, making sure all the Pasta is
covered with the Sauce.
7. Transfer the entire mixture to a buttered oven proof casserole; top with the minced Onion and
diced Red Bell Pepper.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until all the ingredients are hot and the top is slightly
Yield: 3-4 large Servings
Note: This is a great dish to make early in the day, refrigerate and then just heat it up before dinner. If you are a working Mother, then you can make it the night before and when you come home, just put it in the oven, make a salad and dinner is ready!