Hearty Vegetable-Beef Soup

Yay! It’s soup/chili/stoup time of year!  I do NOT like cold weather, but I do like to make cold weather food.  I would be happy living in south Florida where I could wear flip-flops and shorts year-round. 

This soup is something I adapted from a recipe my mother made when I was growing up.  When I was really young and I would find out that she was making this for dinner, I moaned, groaned, bitched, and begged her not to make it- but I would give in eat it everytime anyway.  Then as I got older, I started looking forward to it.  Now it’s something I make a good bit during the cold months.   And Yes, even though I’m in Alabama, it DOES get cold……very cold – but we never get the snow.

Ingredients:

3/4 lb of rotini pasta (or seashells, or whatever your favorite is)

1 lb ground round

2 cans beef broth

2 cups water

1 can tomato soup

1 can petite diced tomatoes

1 can diced potatoes

1 bag frozen mixed vegetables

Ketchup (just have a bottle on hand; how much you use is up to you and your tastebuds)

In a large dutch oven, brown the ground round; drain.  In a bowl, combine the soup, broth and water, then add to the pan with the meat.  Stir over medium-high heat until starting to bubble.  Add the veggies, tomatoes and pasta and cover.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until pasta is tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add about 1/4 cup ketchup, combine and then recover, cooking for about another 5-10 minutes.  Taste and add more ketchup, salt and pepper if you think it needs it.  I always add more!

Just a little tip -make cornbread with this and crumble it up in your bowl with the soup.  I can’t eat it any other way.

I actually made corn muffins to go with this, but they were gone before I could take a picture 🙁

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Bacon and Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers

Sometimes its the little things that go along with your dinner that ends up being the star.  Every now and then you don’t intend on the little accompaniment or easy side-dish to steal the show…. but it does.  Do they burn your mouth?  Only a teensy bit.  Are they completely, utterly delicious and worth it?  Yes.  And what do you do?  You give in and take pictures. 

Tonight was taco salad/taco/quesadillas/nachos night.  The typical tortillas with meat and cheese accompanied by the typical (but oh-so-delicious and please don’t think I’m discounting their importance in our life, because I’m not) fresh guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, etc. 

So while preparing dinner, I noticed that I had these jalapenos in the crisper just hanging out; then I just so happened to see that I had this container of cream cheese that NO ONE had touched that was just aging.  OH but then I realized I had this little zip lock back full of bacon from this morning (it’s really turkey bacon and Mark told me this morning that he thinks it’s gross but little does he know he has eaten it many different ways and loved it..*heehee*).    I decided to crumble the bacon, mix with the cream cheese, and stuff it into the peppers. 

Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers

1 dozen jalapeño peppers, washed, sliced in half and de-seeded

1 block Philadelphia cream cheese, softened

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the cream cheese and bacon.  Stuff the pepper halves with the mixture and bake on a cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes, or until just beginning to brown around the edges.

You could ditch the rest of your dinner and just have these with a Sol and lime.  Or….

You could chop them up and throw them on top of a taco salad.

-Buen provecho- 

Dixie Chik

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New Giveaway! Comment To Win-

Just in time for Thanksgiving I’m giving away a wonderful basting brush by Mario Batali.  Wonderful for your turkeys!  Anything foodnetwork.com does is fantastic.  All you have to do is post a comment on this post answering this: 

What is the recipe you can’t wait to make this Thanksgiving??  Like, REALLY can’t wait to make – no matter where you are.

So, just post your comment and me and my foodie sidekick and editor, Joanna, will blindly pick a number to decide who wins.  Entry deadline is Wednesday November 10th, 2010.

Winner will be announced November 15th, 2010.

Good Luck!

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Iron Foodie 2010 – Why Dixie Chik Should Be Picked To Participate

Iron Foodie 2010 | Here's Why that will be me:
MarxFoods.com -- Fine Bulk Foods The Foodie BlogRoll

Over the next few weeks, Foodie Blogroll is challenging 25 bloggers to participate in Iron Foodie 2010 – where they are sent 8 secret ingredients from Marx Foods , and they have to pick only 3 of them to make a signature dish.   I visited the Marx website, and they have the most amazing variety of foods – kangaroo (yes, kangaroo), squid ink (very interesting; I’ll be looking into what this can be used for), but also Pecorino Al Tartufo Cheese, Balsamic vinegar with White Truffle, gluten-free pastas….it’s endless; you just have to visit

The answers to the following questions will determine if I am chosen to participate.  I need all fingers and toes crossed!  I want to do this!

1.Why do you want to compete in this challenge?

I want to compete in this challenge because I’ve found that given limited time and resources, I’ve been able to pull together some of my best recipes.  And it sounds fun.

2.Limitations of time/space notwithstanding, whose kitchen would you like to spend the day in & why? Julia Child, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, James Beard, Marie-Antoine Careme, or The Swedish Chef?

Julia Child.  She succeeded in closing the gap between classical French cooking and the average home cook.  She was an excellent teacher and I think she was the pioneer of recognizing that being in the kitchen is enjoyable rather than a daily chore.

3.What morsel are you most likely to swipe from family & friends’ plates when they aren’t looking?

French fries or nachos.

4.Sum your childhood up in one meal.

Turnip greens, salmon croquettes, butter beans and cornbread, fresh tomatoes and sweet iced tea.

5.The one mainstream food you can’t stand? 

Chain restaurant Italian food.  WAY too heavy on the oil and cheese.  I like Italian, but only from my kitchen.

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Dixie Chik’s Entry into Tastespotting’s Johnsonville Sausage Contest

I ran across this contest on www.tastespotting.com recently.  Use Johnsonville Italian sausage in an original or not-so-original way – should be fun, right?  It was.  My first attempt was a sausage, cheese and maple scone that looked great but didn’t quite make the cut in the taste area.  Needed probably more cheese and a bit more fluffiness.  Probably needs to be a biscuit.  A big, fat biscuit.  I wanted the sausage and cheese to combine with the pure maple syrup to make the ultimate breakfast bread. 

I will be tweaking this and trying to get it perfected because Joanna and I think it really has potential.  So stay tuned for all that.

So, here’s the final recipe.  Mr. Dixie thoroughly enjoyed it.

Italian Sausage Reubens with Caramelized Onions

1 pound Johnsonville Italian Sausage

10 slices Jewish Rye bread

5 slices Swiss cheese

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp coarse salt

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup sauerkraut

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup catsup (ketchup) what’s the difference? No one has ever told me

1 tbsp pickle relish

1 dash tabasco sauce

In a small sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat; add onions and sea salt.  Combine and reduce heat to low.  Cover, but leave a small opening for steam to escape.  Simmer onions for 2-3 hours, until caramelized and very soft.  Add sauerkraut and simmer for about 15-20 minutes longer.

Combine the mayo, catsup, relish and hot sauce in a small bowl; chill.

Remove casings from sausage.  Slice sausages vertically (to make two long halves).  In a large pan, saute them over medium heat until done in the middle and browned, turning about every few minutes; set aside.  Heat a panini grill over medium-high heat. (You can also put these back in your pan if you don’t have a panini grill to grill the sandwich and melt the cheese). Brush melted butter on one side of each slice of bread.  Spread the dressing on one side (unbuttered side) of 4 pieces.  When the grill is ready, place one bread slice (or two, depending on how big your grill is), buttered side down and dressing side up.  Layer the sausage first, followed by onion/sauerkraut mixture and then cheese.  Top the sandwiches off with the remaining bread and grill for about 2-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the bread is nicely browned.

Dip in the remaining sauce.

~Enjoy~

Dixie Chik

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