Prep2eat

January 13, 2016

Pizza Soup

Filed under: Cook, Food, foodblogs, Healthy, Homemade, Prep2eat, Soup, vegetables — Tags: , — prep2eat @ 4:23 pm
Happy New Year 2016

My blog has been a place for me to archive my recipes and food photos for the past four years.

It is my intention to save favorite recipes here as well as inspire and share the passion of homecooking with you. It gives me pleasure to prepare and serve a flavorful meal to my family and friends. The process of choosing quality produce, meats and grains is the start of a magical dining experience. Building textures and flavors round out a multi-sensational taste-bud awakening. The cooking process is total involvement, in-the-moment pleasure for me. Paying attention to details and timing is the creative flow of preparation.

Now cooler weather has finally arrived in New England, so I am returning to my hot soup creations. Just after the new year celebration, I wanted to “cook from the refrigerator” also known as using the leftovers from earlier meals. This is how my Pizza Soup was created. I had small amounts of Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese left over from a delicious Chicken Parmesan with Rigatoni meal. Oh my, the basic tomato-based vegetable soup was elevated to “The Pizza Level.” A genuine upgrade to an already favorite soup that I have posted in my blog previously.

Did I tell you how fast this soup is prepared? Oh, about under one hour. Please treat yourself and others to this foodie experience.

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What you will need:
cutting board
kitchen knife
vegetable peeler
can opener
large pot with matching lid
wooden spoon
cheese grater or box grater
measuring spoons
measuring cup
small spoon for tasting
soup ladle
serving bowl
soup spoon

Ingredients:
canola oil, 2-4 tablespoons. Amount depends on quantity of vegetables using.
onion, small or half of large, peeled and cut into small pieces
celery, one stalk, washed, peeled and cut into small pieces
carrots, two large or three small, washed, peeled and cut into thin slices like discs.
optional: zucchini, washed, cut into small pieces
canned crushed tomatoes size 28 oz. low sodium
box of chicken broth, low sodium, (4 cups)
cold water, 1-2 cups (personal consistency and flavor)
assorted spices and seasonings of choice:
kosher salt, a tablespoon or more depending on personal taste and flavor of canned tomatoes.
crushed black pepper, one teaspoon or more for personal taste.
cinnamon, one teaspoon ground
turmeric, one teaspoon ground
sage, one teaspoon dry ground
thyme, one teaspoon dry ground
optional: sugar, a teaspoonful at a time to correct for bitter tomato flavor at end of cooking the soup.
mozzarella cheese, sliced
parmesan cheese, grated
optional: pasta of choice for serving in bowl of soup.

Cooking process:
In the large pot, heat canola oil on the stove top, medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Add onions, celery, carrots, zucchini to the heated oil and stir with wooden spoon until vegetables are softened, about 4-5 minutes.
Add the canned tomatoes to the cooking vegetable mixture in the pot. Continue to stir the mixture until it bubbles, about 3-5 minutes.
Add the four cups of chicken broth and the water, continue to stir until soup bubbles, about 3-5 minutes.
Add the salt, pepper and seasonings, continue to stir.
Lower temperature under the pot to low setting, cover slightly to continue cooking for approximately 30 minutes.
With tasting spoon carefully taste the soup, adjust flavor by adding additional salt and pepper to taste.
Add sugar to adjust soup flavor of tomato base of soup.

Serve the soup in a bowl with a slice of Mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan cheese. Another add-in is a pasta noodle of choice.

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December 10, 2014

Vegetable Soup With Turkey Meatballs & Rice

Filed under: Food, foodblogs, Meals, Meat, Soup — Tags: , , , , , , — prep2eat @ 10:54 am
Hearty, Spicy Vegetable Soup

Hearty, Spicy Vegetable Soup

My spicy vegetable soup is a tomato base with vegetable options of the day, but usually begins with a  sauté in canola oil on medium-high heat of onions, celery and carrots.

In the photo above, I added 1/2 cup of brown rice, stirring along with the vegetable sauté,  following with a 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes (low sodium), two cups chicken broth (low sodium) and 2-1/2 cups of cold water. Stirring often with a wooden spoon, I bring the mixture to a rolling boil with the lid on the pot and then turn down the heat to a low setting.

Adding flavor begins after the soup boil with about one tablespoon of Kosher salt and one-half teaspoon of crushed black pepper. This is the time I add dry spices of choice, optional for using all, such as a quarter-teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, quarter-teaspoon each of smoked paprika, chili powder, cinnamon, turmeric and cumin. Choose spices and amounts for your soup depending on personal taste.

Cooking the soup covered on low heat setting for about 30 – 45 minutes allows flavors to blend and the rice to cook. Most times, more Kosher salt is added after tasting at the end of cooking. Add small amount, stir, taste and repeat until the soup is pleasing for your tastebuds. Sometimes, a small amount of sugar added slowly takes a bitter taste from the canned tomatoes. This is all personal taste at the finish of the soup.

The protein of choice for this meal in the photo is ground turkey meatballs. The meatballs can be baked on a lined cookie sheet with a rim or cooked in a large frying pan with some canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook over a medium heat on the stove or at 350 degrees F. in the oven until the meatballs are cooked fully and browned.

Serving the vegetable soup with rice included and adding the small turkey meatballs completes a hearty, spicy meal-in-a-bowl. Adding small soup crackers and/or a toasted piece of crusty bread turns this meal into satisfying comfort on cold winter days.

Option: if dairy is tolerable, shave some melting cheese on top of your bowl of soup, such as fontina or gruyere. Delicious.

November 5, 2014

Vegetable Beef Soup

Filed under: beef, Food, Meals, Meat, Soup, vegetables — Tags: , , , , — prep2eat @ 12:57 pm
Vegetable Beef Soup & Brown Rice

Vegetable Beef Soup & Brown Rice

Several ways to enjoy a meal-in-a-bowl by using potatoes or rice in this vegetable beef soup. A popular choice is to use barley if you prefer.

Hearty Vegetable Beef Soup

Hearty Vegetable Beef Soup

On cloudy, cool autumn nights, it feels good to prepare and enjoy a hearty bowl of soup. This recipe is a wonderful one-bowl meal. A large pot of this Vegetable Beef Soup makes about four quarts of soup. We freeze a couple of quarts to have an easy meal through the cold winter months here in New England.

The meat came from beef short ribs. Browning them in the soup pot first enhanced the depth of flavor in this rich soup. The costly meat is a reasonable price when divided into four quarts and the many people you can serve.

This recipe included cut potatoes and carrots. One could also add other vegetables of choice as well as beans to add more protein.

My recipe is based on “The Lady and Sons Beef Vegetable Soup” courtesy of Paula Deen

It is best to make this soup recipe when you have time for the multiple steps for this cooking process and allow refrigeration to bring the fat to the top of a large container. Skim the fat off the top of the cooled soup, discard the fat. Divide the cooled soup into four quart containers with matching lids.

Heat as much as you want for a meal, freeze the other quarts of soup for other times.

This hearty, rich Vegetable Beef Soup will satisfy all of your comfort food cravings.

What you will need

A large soup pot or Dutch Oven with matching lid

Tongs

Large bowl

Large fork and kitchen knife (to cut meat)

Large wooden spoon

Two large cutting boards

Kitchen knife (to cut vegetables)

Measuring cups and spoons

Soup ladle

Ingredients

2 tbs vegetable oil

3-4 lbs beef short ribs

3 quarts cold water

1 quart box of Beef Broth, low-sodium

1 – 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes, low-sodium

1-1/2 cups chopped fresh onions

two garlic cloves, chopped

2-3 tbs dried parsley

1 tbs Kosher salt

1 tbs Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 bay leaves

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup sliced celery

3 – 4 all-purpose white potatoes, cut into small pieces

Cooking process

Heat the oil in the soup pot on medium-high heat for 1 – 2 minutes and gently put some of the beef short ribs in the hot oil to brown on all sides. Turn the ribs on all sides with tongs. Remove the browned ribs to a large platter and repeat the process for all ribs. Turn the heat off under the pot. When the ribs have cooled a bit, cut the meat carefully off the ribs on a cutting board. Cut meat into small cubes.

Put the cut meat and the rib bones into the soup pot, add the water, tomatoes, onions, parsley, beef broth, salt, Worcestershire Sauce, celery, garlic, black pepper and bay leaves. Turn the heat under the pot to medium-high. Stir the soup with a wooden spoon and cover the pot with the lid.

When the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low setting, stir again, cover the pot and simmer the soup for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Add remaining potatoes and carrots, cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil on medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low setting, stir the soup and cover the pot with the lid. Cook the soup for another 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are soft.

Add more salt and pepper at this time to your flavor liking. Stir the soup.

Skim excess fat from top of soup before serving. Best to cool soup at room temp, put in large container, then refrigerate overnight to bring excess fat to the top of a container. Divide into quart containers.

October 20, 2014

Paprika Chicken Stew

Filed under: Chicken, Food, Food blog, Homemade, Meals, Stew — Tags: , , , , , , — prep2eat @ 11:27 am

Paprika Chicken Stew

This is the time of year in the northeast of the US when we bundle up to keep out the chill and crave hearty, comfort foods. This season of Autumn is just after warm summer temps and just before the really long, cold winter season.

Preparing this Paprika Chicken Stew each year takes on small additions or omissions of ingredients depending on the thickness of the gravy I am in the mood for. If making this dish for friends, I might add sweet potatoes and carrots or small cut new potatoes. The amount of liquid added during the cooking process will also determine the density of the gravy.

This basic recipe produces a sweet, comforting meal. The final dish is colorful as well as great tasting. I know you will go back for seconds. Since I know this usually happens, I choose butternut squash instead of potatoes and use less flour as thickener for the gravy.

My version of this recipe resembles a stew rather than chicken parts with potatoes in a skillet. I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs and thin chicken breasts, no skin or bones.

Here is the original recipe I found in a magazine years ago by Joyce Litz of Albuquerque, NM titled “Skillet Chicken and Vegetables.”

Makes 4 servings

4 chicken thighs with skin and bone
1 tbs paprika
2 tbs vegetable oil
3/4 lbs red-skinned potatoes, halved
8 boiling onions, peeled
2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tbs all purpose flour
1 cup canned or boxed low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
Chopped fresh parsley to sprinkle over cooked dish.

Sprinkle uncooked chicken with paprika, salt and crushed black pepper
Heat oil in heavy, large skillet over medium-high heat
Add chicken and sauté about 3 min. each side until brown
Transfer browned chicken to a clean plate
Add vegetables to the heated skillet for 2 min and stir
Sprinkle cooking vegetables with flour and stir to coat all around
Gradually stir in broth and wine, bring to a boil
Return browned chicken with juices to the skillet and bring to a boil
Reduce heat to med-low and cover while simmering for 30 min or until chicken is cooked totally.
Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parsley.

October 10, 2014

New Cookbook – UniChef

Filed under: Cook, Food — Tags: , , , , — prep2eat @ 3:57 pm

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Top Chefs Unite in Support of The World’s Children by Hilary Gumbel

“100% of the royalties to go directly to The U.S. fund for UNICEF”

Great gift for the Foodie in your life 😀

October 9, 2014

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Filed under: Food, Food blog, Homemade, Meals — Tags: , , , , , — prep2eat @ 4:38 pm

Our weather in New England is cool and crisp on most days now in October. This is our Autumn or Fall Season. Our trees turn from green leaves to orange, red, and yellow leaves before gently falling in piles to the ground. A gusty wind sometimes hurries the process.

People in New England prepare hearty soups and stews with colors to match the season with different Fall vegetables. We dress in layers and our taste buds long for richer flavors to warm our tummies.

Today I wanted to make an old favorite meatball recipe. I gathered my ingredients on hand and realized I did not have apricot preserves but I did have a jar of wild blackberry preserves. I knew a version of this recipe had been made with Concord grape jelly, so I was pretty sure the seedless wild blackberry preserves would blend in nicely into the sauce.

Sometimes playing with flavors enhances a special dish to wake up the taste buds and we enjoy a new favorite recipe.

Here is the original recipe I have for Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Cook for 1 hour in a covered pot (depends on the size of the meatballs)

1 lb ground beef (prepared as your favorite meatball recipe)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 tsp green tomato relish
Raisins, a small handful (optional)

Updates:

1/2 cup wild blackberry preserves (omitting the apricot preserves)

The Cooking Process:

Large bowl
Large platter
Fork
Wooden spoon
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Large pot with matching lid
Large serving bowl
Large serving spoon
Oven mitts

Prepare the ground beef and roll into small or medium balls.
Into the uncooked ground beef, mix in one beaten egg, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup Worcestchire Sauce, 1 tsp Kosher salt, 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper, and 1 cup Panko bread crumbs or more to allow the ground beef mixture to gently form a ball. Set the uncooked, prepared meatballs aside on a platter.

Put the large pot on the stove and add the water, chili sauce, preserves, tomato relish and raisins.
Turn the heat under the pot to medium high temperature until the mixture bubbles, about 2-3 min. and stir the bubbling mixture with a wooden spoon.
Gently add one meatball at a time and cover the pot.
Turn the bubbling sauce mixture down to a low temperature and keep covered.
Lift the cover to gently stir the half-cooked meatballs around in the sauce.
Continue to cook the meatballs in the sauce until the meat color turns from pink to brownish and the meatballs are firm.

Serve the cooked meatballs over your choice of grain, white or brown rice or quinoa.

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February 17, 2014

Turkey Meatballs in Cheesy Tomato Sauce

Filed under: Food, Food blog, Prep2eat, Turkey — Tags: , , , — prep2eat @ 6:47 pm

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Photo by The Souper at Prep2eat

What makes this recipe different from my usual turkey meatballs? The ground turkey is mixed with an egg, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Panko Crumbs. I am beginning to prepare food with hard cheeses as I have heard a person with lactose intolerance can digest the cheese. Hard cheeses are aged and supposedly have less lactose.

Once the turkey meatballs are formed, they are cooked in the prepared tomato sauce, same pot.

I will post a few more of my photos from this recipe process. I altered and added ingredients at times during prepping. This meal can be as easy as using prepared sauce from a jar or make your own favorite marinara sauce. I made my own sauce which had some vegetables added during the cooking process. (onions, carrots, red peppers)

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Here is the original recipe I was using as a guide.

 

 http://www.thethaikitchen.org/recipes/turkey-meatballs-in-tomato-cheese-sauce.html

February 11, 2014

Crispy Mustard-Horseradish Baked Chicken

Filed under: Chicken, Food, Food blog, Meals, Prep2eat — prep2eat @ 3:05 pm

It is refreshing to enjoy a new chicken dish. Many of my recipes are inspired by Ina Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa on the Foodnetwork shows. This post is a similar version of Ina’s Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken. I chose boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Ina used cut chicken parts on the bone with the skin on.

I chose a mustard-horseradish rather than Ina’s choice of Dijon mustard. The remainder of the recipe is basically the same. One difference in the breading process is Ina dipped the chicken in a mixture of white wine and the mustard, therefore, eliminating the popular egg mixture for dipping.

The crispness of the breaded, baked chicken provided a very flavorful tang from the mustard-horseradish, lemon zest, Panko crumbs and garlic. A very nice surprise and definitely not a boring chicken dish.

i can’t wait to serve this chicken dish to unsuspecting guests 🙂

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Above is my photo of Crispy Mustard-Horseradish Baked Chicken (The Souper at Prep2eat)

Here is the link to Ina Garten’s chicken recipe which I followed except for the exchanges mentioned above:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/crispy-mustard-roasted-chicken.html

 

February 10, 2014

Quinoa Kale Patties

Filed under: Appetizer, Food, Healthy, Prep2eat, Quinoa — Tags: , , — prep2eat @ 10:19 am

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My first attempt at Quinoa Kale Patties did not produce a perfect look but were so tasty I prepared them once again.

I was trying to cut down on the number of egg yolks so used only egg whites. I now realize a yolk or two would help the binding of the mixture to produce prettier patties.

Below is the link to the exact recipe:

http://www.cherylstyle.com/showcase/healthy-kale-quinoa-patties-recipe/?utm_source=facebook

I will definitely continue to make these healthy, full-flavored patties as a side dish or appetizer. Can’t wait for more, Mmm.

Easy prep, quick cook, huge flavor…try some soon!

January 20, 2014

Stuffed Peppers

Filed under: Chicken, Food, Food blog, Healthy, Meals, Peppers, Prep2eat, Quinoa, Turkey — prep2eat @ 8:17 pm

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Photo above by “The Souper” at Prep2eat

Inspired by Foodnetwork’s Guy Fieri, I followed his recipe for Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers and thought why not enhance the mixture with Chicken Sausage with Spinach & Cheese? Yes, the sausage addition put this dish over-the-top on the flavor scale. 

Here is my photo of the Chicken Sausage with Spinach & Cheese:

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Here are some more photos of the recipe process for my Stuffed Peppers. Included in the mixture is ground turkey, chicken sausage, quinoa, kale, garlic, chicken broth, red pepper flakes, Panko crumbs mixed with grated cheese.

 

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Some ingredients for my Stuffed Peppers

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Heating up Chicken Sausage with spinach & cheese already in the sausage. As the cheese melts from the sausage, it flavors the fat from the sausage therefore no additional oil is needed to brown the ground turkey.

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Adding garlic and red pepper flakes to the browning ground turkey.

 

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Above is Quinoa and fresh, chopped Kale added to the browned ground turkey. Low-sodium chicken broth (or white wine) was added to the cooked ground turkey to add liquid to the cooking mixture.

 

 

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Filled peppers are topped with a mixture of Panko crumbs & grated cheese, ready to be baked in the oven until brown on top.

 

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Finished peppers above. A lot of mixture was left over for the three peppers I had in the refrigerator at the time. I put the leftover cooked mixture in a container to keep in the refrigerator. The quantity of mixture from the original recipe by Guy Fieri would have filled 4-6 peppers. My recipe with the added chicken sausage made the original recipe stretch to several more peppers. 

This recipe came together easily with organization of ingredients and cooking utensils. Prepping the ingredients before beginning the cooking process made the cooking process flow with very little stress.

The presentation of this meal-in-a-pepper is an excellent buffet item for an informal gathering of family and friends.

 

Here is the link for the Stuffed Peppers by Guy Fieri of The Foodnetwork:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/guy-fieri/turkey-and-quinoa-stuffed-peppers-recipe/index.html

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