Prep2eat

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.

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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 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 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

 

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

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.

November 6, 2013

Baked Haddock

Filed under: Cook, Fish, Food, Healthy, Meals — Tags: , , , , , — prep2eat @ 9:05 am
Fresh fish, Haddock

Fresh fish, Haddock

Preparing fresh fish is truly stress-free. Knowing where to purchase fresh fish is important, trusting the source and knowing it got to market as soon as possible. As a consumer, ask questions about where the fish came from, how long has it been in the food display and ask to smell the piece of fish you intend to purchase. A fresh piece of fish has no smell, it should not smell like fish!!! Hint: if you smell an odor like ammonia just around the fish counter, walk away, don’t bother buying fish there.

The simplicity of preparing this healthy fish meal is a relief, knowing I can quickly serve a lean protein meal for my family and be satisfying to our taste buds.

What you will need:
Fresh haddock, about one pound for two to three people.
Medium baking dish
Olive oil, about 3 tbs. or (butter for enhanced flavor, more calories)
Panko crumbs or plain bread crumbs, about 1/4 cup
Salt and crushed black pepper, enough to sprinkle over fish
Pot holders
Large spatula

How to prepare this recipe:
Baking rack should be in the middle of the oven. Preheat setting of the oven should be 400 degrees F.

Put the fresh haddock in a baking dish
Put a little olive oil down the top center of the fish
Sprinkle Panko crumbs (or bread crumbs) on top of the olive oil
Salt and ground pepper on top of the fish (optional)

Put the baking dish with the prepared fish into the oven at 400 degrees F. for about 15-20 minutes or until fish looks white, browned on top and flakes easily.

Serving time

Serving time

October 28, 2013

Chicken Stew With Chicken Sausage

Updated recipe photos of Chicken Stew with Chicken and Cheese Sausages
(By The Souper at Prep2eat, 2014)

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Photos by Prep2eat 2013

New England is bursting with color now that we are well into autumn. At this time of year it is normal to see orange trees, yellow trees and red trees.  Crisp cool days followed by colder nights signal leaves to change from their summer green to bright autumn glow.

This photo was taken in late afternoon with part of the sky grayish and some sunlight just before dusk was shining upon this beautiful tree with bright orange leaves. Enjoy.

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The cool brisk air begs my taste buds to bring on some heat.  I decided to play around with my go-to Chicken Paprika Stew and take the recipe to a more intense level to satisfy my craving for something spicy. While watching one of my favorite cooking shows on The Cooking Channel called “Extra Virgin” about husband and wife, actress and Tuscan farmer, cooking together, I was inspired to cook with sausage.  While at the market to buy my chicken thighs, I also bought some Italian sausage with peppers and onions.  This proved to be an excellent choice in a very tasty way.

Food photos and recipe continued below:

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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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