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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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 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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December 29, 2013

Rum Cake

Filed under: Food, Food blog, Homemade, Prep2eat — Tags: , , , , — prep2eat @ 9:48 am

Here is a new version of a traditional Rum Pound Cake served at our new year’s celebration with friends. The original rum cake was prepared by the mother of my friend, Marie. Many small rum cakes were flown around the country to a very large family. A wonderful gift to start off a new year with some confection love.

We all anticipated the first aromatic inhaling of rum vapors saturating the small rum cake. The rum enhanced the sweet, plain pound cake. Let the new year begin ūüôā

My updated version of this rum cake is combining my favorite lighter white cake mix which includes pudding mix, therefore eliminating one step in the preparation of ingredients. Also, I will be making cupcakes instead of a Loaf or Bundt Cake. (The photos below were a test of my cake mix in loaf form.)

This white cake mixture is soft, sweet and enjoyable as is. One option is to top the cake or cupcakes with a thin white Royal Icing with either a drop of rum mixed in the icing OR fresh lemon juice mixed in the icing.

Original Rum Cake Recipe by Virginia P.

1 package yellow cake mix

1 3-ounce package of instant pudding (flavor of choice)

4 eggs

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup veg. Oil

1/2 cup Rum

 

Glaze Topping

1/4 cup butter (one stick)

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup Rum

 

The Cake Process

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Grease and flour baking pan(s)

Mix all cake mix ingredients together for two minutes with hand mixer at medium speed.

Pour mixture into two-three loaf pans, Bundt Pan or cupcake wrappers in cupcake pans. (See recipe on cake mix box)

Bake above mixture for about an hour or for amount of time on cake mixture box

The test for the cake fully baked is a tooth pick coming out clean with no batter sticking to it after being pushed into the center of the cake.

Cool the cake before topping with prepared Glaze.

 

Preparing the Glaze

In a small pot on stovetop at low-medium heat setting, melt butter, stir in water and sugar while bringing mixture to a boil for five minutes, constantly stirring!!!

Add Rum from Glaze Recipe after butter, sugar mixture cools a bit.

 

Glazing the Pound Cake

With a tooth pick, poke holes all over the cooled cake, drizzle slowly all of the prepared Glaze.

Top the finished cake(s) with plastic wrap or foil.

Refrigerate in advance to help absorb the rum into the cake, then serve at room temperature.

 

My Rum Cake Version In Photos (made two pound cake loaves)

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Rum Cupcakes

Same cake mix and process poured into cupcake pans with liner paper. After baking and cooling put cupcakes on a baking sheet, poke some holes with a tooth pick, and gently spoon cooled glaze with rum on to each cup cake. Since the run off of glaze is a bit messy, peel away the paper liners and serve on a cake plate.
I sprinkled some gold sugar to add a little sparkle for New Year’s Eve Party.

Here is my photo: by “The Souper” at Prep2eat

Rum Cupcakes

November 12, 2013

Chicken and Rice Soup

Filed under: Brown rice, Chicken, Cook, Food, Food blog, Homemade, Soup — Tags: , , , , — prep2eat @ 2:04 pm
Chicken and Rice Soup

Chicken and Rice Soup

We saw our first flurry of snowflakes this morning in Boston. Not a major snow storm, just a visual of what is to come our way this winter. In November, the autumn leaves drop from the trees leaving colorful piles of mixed yellow, orange and red crunchy carpets on lawns and sidewalks. Trees are left bare showing their skeleton branches.

The sun was not shining brightly this morning, the wintery chill was in the air and our heating needed to be turned on in our home. Looking out the front window was a picture in grey. Grey empty tree branches against cloudy, grey sky. This was a very cold start to the day.

Fortunately I had chicken parts in my freezer to defrost. I knew I could prepare home made chicken soup easily with a few carrots, a stalk of celery and a whole onion. In a couple of hours I had a steaming mug of warmth to comfort the gloom of today.

November 11, 2013

Salad With Avocado and Sunflower a Seeds

Filed under: Food, Food blog, Healthy, Homemade, Prep2eat, Salad — Tags: , , , , , , — prep2eat @ 12:52 pm

Healthy salad made creamy with avocado.

Fresh salad with Avocado

Fresh salad with Avocado

November 8, 2013

Baked Turkey Balls with Sides

Filed under: Brown rice, Cook, Food, Food blog, Healthy, Homemade, Meals, Turkey — Tags: , , , , , , — prep2eat @ 7:38 pm

Good basic dinner

Good basic dinner


Photo by Prep2eat

Our meal tonight is a basic go-to healthy, no fuss dinner. We are trying to eat simply just before the big eating holidays. Lean protein, vegetables and brown rice.

My ground turkey balls recipe has been posted on this blog. One special ingredient is horseradish mustard among other mix-ins. These rounds are baked to keep calorie count down, less fat.

The brown rice is a good grain, no white flour as in a pasta. It is easy to prepare by following directions on package or jar of Organic Texmati Brown Rice.

The salad of baby spinach and assorted cut vegetables is dressed with my go-to simple fresh dressing made right in the bowl: juice of one half lemon, sprinkle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the salad, add a bit of Kosher salt, ground black pepper and optional pinch of sugar. Toss salad to coat all greens.

The simplicity of this meal is providing a well-rounded nutritional offering, not too heavy in any food group. There is balance eating this way.

October 24, 2013

Bruschetta

Bruschetta Two

Bruschetta makes a simple very enjoyable snack or a great beginning to home entertainment.  This is a scrumptious nibble in between a meal to totally satisfy your taste buds as well as a yummy welcome for your dinner guests In a very casual style.

I like to use quality ingredients to enhance a mouth-watering experience. A trip to my local Farmers’ Market in season, allows me to stock up on my favorite Five Grain Bread, crusty on the outside of the loaf, perfect texture inside to hold up to a hearty sandwich, a dip into a hearty stew and a fresh Bruschetta. I like to buy a couple of round loaves to slice and package for keeping in the freezer.

In season there is nothing like heirloom tomatoes. Another very satisfying tomato choice for me is Nature Sweet Glorys. These small round balls burst with flavor every time. Perfect to pop in my mouth for a healthy snack or cut in half for my Bruschetta topping.

A good quality extra virgin olive oil is always available in my kitchen as is balsamic vinegar. A head of fresh garlic is a staple in my kitchen for me to slice, mince, or chop depending on recipe preparation.

Special items for me to purchase occasionally include fresh basil and a block of Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese which can be stored in the freezer to grate as needed for use in a recipe or top a favorite Italian dish.

Today I prepared a special treat for myself using leftovers in my refrigerator and freezer. Oh, my, this Bruschetta was amazing. It is so easy to assemble.

Bruschetta One

The Process:

Toast a piece of your favorite hearty bread. Grilling the bread enhances the rustic flavor.

Peel a fresh garlic clove and rub across the toasted bread. Discard the garlic clove after using on the Bruschetta.

Grate the Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese on to the warm toasted bread.

Sprinkle a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil on top of the cheese.

Put a fresh, washed and dried basil leaf or two on top of the above layer.

Layer sliced tomatoes for the top of the Bruschetta.

Sprinkle a very small amount of balsamic vinegar on top of the tomatoes for the extra pop of flavor.

 

 

Prepare good, fresh food for yourself and share with your family and friends.

Be creative with your ingredients to be unique in a total, multi-food experience.

Warm regards,

The Souper at Prep2eat

March 17, 2013

Spicy Turkey Balls

Filed under: Cook, Food, Homemade, Meals, Prep2eat — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — prep2eat @ 10:08 am

Cooked Ground Turkey Balls Fav Ingredients for Turkey Balls

How do you make a favorite comfort food a little healthier? Without losing texture and flavor, all you have to do is switch from using ground beef to a good quality ground turkey, of course! That said, you will need to spice the turkey balls up with add-ins or cooking them in a flavored sauce. Update to this recipe: A wonderful pairing of flavor is to add White Horseradish and Sweet Pepper Relish. Yum. Note: I use Gluten-free Horseradish.

To cook a very simple, tasty version of turkey balls, I prepared fresh ground turkey with ingredients as if preparing a meatloaf. Everyone has their own version of meatloaf, but I find using Panko Bread Crumbs to be an ingredient giving a meat or turkey mixture some body so the compacted meat does not become too dense. By baking the seasoned ground turkey balls, one saves some calories by avoiding a frying process for cooking.

These baked ground turkey balls can be served as an appetizer with a favorite dipping sauce or served as a main dish along side of a healthy carb and a side salad. Either way, these tiny balls of comfort are satisfying to the palate and are fun to eat.

What you will need:
Lage mixing bowl
Small mixing bowl
Fork or Whisk
Wooden spoon
Lage baking sheet
Parchment paper
Spatula or cooking tongs
Pot holders
Large serving platter or large serving bowl

Ingredients:
Fresh ground turkey, one pound
One whole egg OR Two eggwhites
Ketchup, 1/4 cup
Worcestshire Sauce, 1/4 cup
Kosher salt, one teaspoon
Black pepper, one teaspoon, crushed
Smoked Paprika, one teaspoon
Panko Bread Crumbs, 3/4 cups or more for consistancy to form balls
Optional: add an herb of choice or vegetable such as chopped, fresh spinach or chopped fresh kale.
Update to recipe:
Horseradish, white, 1/4 cup (or more for personal taste.)
Sweet Pepper Relish, 1/4 cup (or more for personal taste.)

The Cooking Process:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook turkey balls for about 20-30 minutes until they are slightly browned. Do not overcook or they will be too dry.

With the fresh ground turkey in a large bowl, add a well-mixed egg (or only eggwhites) from the small bowl that has been mixed with the fork or whisk.
To the turkey egg mixture in the large bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix with the wooden spoon to a consistancy to form a small ball with clean hands.
Continue to form balls of mixture and put them on a lined baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put the baking sheet into the preheated oven to bake.
Check often to make sure the turkey balls are not browning too much.
When the turkey balls look browned on the top, shut the oven off and remove the baking sheet from the oven.
Remove the turkey balls on to a clean platter.

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