Vegetable Soup with Chicken Sausage

Finally it feels like Fall in these parts.  Possibly even what passes for winter along the Texas Gulf Coast.  A lovely if brief thunderstorm (yes, rain!) followed by a temperature dip into the 40s last night!

Perfect weather for a nice hot bowl of soup!

I think me head got in the picture.  😦  But the soup still looks scrumptious!

As usual, I started by sauteing onion and garlic in a little olive oil.  This time, I added some diced celery.

Smells wonderful.

The other day at the market, I ran across this mix of barley, lentils, and split peas.  I thought it would be good as a side dish, but even better in soup.  Into the pot it went.

Then I added about about 6 cups of vegetable stock.

I love this stock.  I use it in practically everything that needs stock.  Of course, wine is good, too, but I really can’t see putting an entire bottle of wine into anything…except my mouth perhaps.  😛

The day before I set the grill on fire, I had grilled some corn.

I cut a couple of ears worth off the cob, and also diced some of the the red bell pepper that I had grilled.  I love the way grilling brings out the flavour of veggies!

After I added the corn and bell pepper, I also sliced and added the chicken sausage with spinich that I grilled when I was grilling the corn.  I had planned to throw it together with some rice, but this seemed like it would be SO much more interesting

I also added some jalapeno.  We like the spicy!

Stir the whole mess together, adding more broth if needed. Salt and pepper to your taste.  Cover, and simmer a couple of hours to blend the flavours.

After a couple of hours, add some sliced zucchini, and cook about 15 minutes longer.

It’s warm, and comforting, and actually healthy.  Perfect for our little cold snap.  I like bread with soup, and served cornbread with this one, as Hubby has been asking for cornbread.  Honestly, we just love bread.  And soup.

Another 1 pot meal.  🙂

Fudgy Brownies

A week or so back, I was making Cream Cheese Brownies for Mom.  Hubby plaintively asked, “Why don’t you ever make us brownies???”  He likes the plain, fudgy kind.  And since he has been on vacation, I thought I could accommodate his request.

After all, he DID just give me a new bed!

And I’ve been dieing to use the bar pan that Aggie gave me.  So this was a perfect opportunity.


I think my head is in the picture.  😛

In a microwaveable bowl, combine 1/2 cup butter, cut up,  and 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped.  Microwave for 1 minute, stir well.  If lumps remain, microwave again, in 30 second increments, stirring in between until all of the chocolate and butter are melted.  Stir WELL.  Your arm will be very tired.  The mixture should look slightly glossy.

Slowly add (still stirring) 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar.  Stir until well mixed.  Then add 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Keep stirring.  The mixture will look a bit granulated from the sugar, but just keep stirring.

Add 2 large eggs, 1 at a time, stirring well to incorporate each egg.  The mixture should begin to look smooth.

Add 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 tsp salt.  Stir until incorporated.  Add 1/2 to 1 cup of any nuts that blow your skirt up (or shorts).  I used walnuts, half a cup, but could easily have used more.

Pour into a greased 9×9 inch pan.  I used 1 1/2 times the recipe, and baked the brownies in the 9×13 stoneware bar pan that Aggie gave me.  Go Pampered Chef and Go Aggie!!!  😀

Bake 25-30 minutes if using the 9×9 inch pan, about 1 hour in the 9×13.  Cool on the stove top, then chill in the fridge at least an hour before cutting.  These are VERY fudgy, almost molten brownies.  Delish!

Banana Walnut Waffles

Sunday morning I decided to treat Hubby and Rat Boy nicely for a change to breakfast, so I pulled out the waffle iron and made waffles…not from mix!

Also, I set the grill on fire Saturday evening.  And Hubby didn’t say a thing.  😛

They were delicious!

I even got some.  😀

And while it wasn’t effortless, it was certainly worth the small amount of effort that it actually took!

I need larger bowls, though.

In a large bowl, combine 3 cups flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar.  Wisk to mix and break up the sugar.

My bowl is pretty full already…

In another bowl…NOT SMALL…whisk together 4 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 1/2 cups buttermilk, 2 – 3 bananas, and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.

I started to get a little nervous that all of this was not going to fit into the large bowl I was using.

I also ran out of buttermilk, so actually used about 2 1/4 cup buttermilk, and another 1/2 cup skim milk (which was the only other milk I had).

Combine wet and dry ingredients all at once, and stir until just mixed…a few small lumps are okay.

I was stirring VERY carefully!  😛

Ladle onto the heated waffle iron…

I cooked these on medium.  I love my waffle iron.  Technically, it’s Hubby’s, as I gave it to him for his birthday 2 years ago.

It is a very smart waffle iron.  It dings when the waffle is done, so I don’t have to time it!

They really smell wonderful while they are cooking.  I ate one as soon as they were done.  (Had to check and make sure they were all right!  :-P)  The recipe made about 5 large waffles.  We ate 4 of them. They were scrumptious!

I don’t usually like maple syrup on waffles, but the banana walnut flavor really complemented the maple flavor.  I put all my bananas into the batter, but some on the top would have been nice, too.  Strawberries would be good as well.  😀  Needless to say, I’ll be making them again…in a larger bowl!

Chicken and Pasta

I realize I’m falling down on the job of posting every day.  Yes, already.  But I will offer up the only excuse I have at the moment…I’m a slacker BEEN BUSY COOKING!!!

LOL.  Kat meme pics are amusing, but that’s not what I intended for this blog to be about.  And while I’m trying to turn Groovy Noms into a real life business, I AM still feeding Rat Boy and Hubby daily.  Some days, it’s just nothing new or interesting.  😦

Today I have good stuff.  The Pioneer Woman gave me the idea, and this is a slightly twisted version of her Penne Pasta with Chicken ThighsDeliciously twisted!

We will begin with chopped onion.  I chopped one half, and diced the other…just to be different.

Add some garlic, of course.

And olive oil.  Saute until tender and glassy.  It will smell divine!

Insert chicken thighs, skin side down so they will brown obediently.  I used my fingers to scoot the onion/garlic mix out of the way.  You might want to use a spoon, however.

I know.  Raw chicken looks…well, raw.  But when it’s brown, it looks golden!

When they ARE brown, flip those thighs over, and drain most of the grease from the pan.  I accomplish this by using a wooden spoon to hold the thighs, and carefully pour out most of the liquid into the sink.

It’s best if the sink is clean, due to occasional unplanned thigh-flight.  Obviously, chickens are unaware they do not fly.

Once the pan is safely back on the stovetop, add a jar of pasta sauce and a can of roasted tomatoes.

Add about 1/2 cup of a nice red wine, and give everything a stir.

This one is very nice.  So I had to drink it.

Let the chicken simmer, uncovered, about an hour on low heat.

Then add zucchini slices, and whatever other veggies you might desire.

Veggies are looking lovely right now.  The corn is for today.  But it looked so pretty, I just had to take a picture while the chicken was simmering.

When the zucchini has cooked, about 10-15 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove chicken, zucchini, and tomato chunks from the pan.

Turn up the heat, and stirring constantly, reduce what remains of the sauce.

Boil some pasta.  I was feeling the farfalle last night, aka bow tie pasta.  In whole grain, even!

After draining the pasta well, without rinsing, pour the reduced sauce over it and gently mix to coat.  The pasta will soak up the sauce and yummy chicken juices.

Serve chicken over saucy pasta.

Garnish with basil, if so desired.  Hubby and Rat Boy are getting a bit tired of basil this year, but it’s still going strong.  😛

Eat, enjoy, and LOVE that there’s only 2 pans to wash!  (And the collander.  but I’m not counting that one.)

Braised Pork and Potatoes

Realizing that I recently did a Herbed Pork Loin, I originally intended to slice this loin into thick chops and then grill them.  Faced with a blustering windstorm yesterday, I reevaluated the wisdom of tying myself to the porch rail with a safety line and playing with fire.

Really, I enjoy sharing yummy food, and other wacky stuff about my merry-go-round life.  Being blown halfway across Texas would not be conducive, I think.

So I decided to cook inside!  😛

Braising is one of the most wonderful ideas I’ve run across lately, and since it works so well with beef, I figured pork would work equally well.  And how can it possibly be bad to cook with beer?

Begin by browning the loin in a heavy pan, preferably one that can go right into the oven.  I lurves my Dutch Oven!

A little salt, pepper, and olive oil here.

I like to turn it onto the side so that gets browned also.  I prop it up with tongs so I don’t have to hold it!

Slice some onion.  I like the purple.

When the meat is a lovley golden brown, disperse the onion over and around it, and pour a bottle of beer on top.

Welcoming back an old friend is always fun, don’t you think!  😛

Cover, and bake at 250 – 300F.  About an hour before you want to serve, throw in some small new potatoes.  Make sure the potatoes are in the liquid, and continue baking until the potatoes are tender, and the meat is basically just falling apart.

The Holy Grail Ale did NOT disappoint.  This made a delicious gravy for the meat.  I could have sliced the potatoes in half to absorb a little more of the juices.  Maybe I’ll do that next time.  Because there WILL be a next time!  😛

Manic Monday

Early this morning, Hubby and I set off on the motorcycles to ride to Angleton, Texas.  It’s not really a long ride, just about an hour, and fairly scenic through pastureland mostly with a couple of small towns on the way.

This is not something we would normally do on a Monday morning.

Thursday last week, when he was on his way out the door to work, Hubby mentioned that he had received a jury summons.  He wanted me to mail it back.  It was for today.

After he was gone, I noticed that he hadn’t signed it, which was a requirement for exemption.  After he got home, I had him sign it, and prepared to mail it Friday.  Then I noticed the date.

Obviously, it is all my fault that the USPS cannot deliver mail to the courthouse  that is mailed on Friday morning, and which needs to be received before Monday morning.  Especially since the courthouse is closed on weekends.

So dropping it off this morning seemed to be the only option.  I did suggest that we simply call, but that would perhaps be TOO easy.

Thus, I saw the foggy dawn arrive and then surrender to a gloriously bright blue sky.  Glorious, because it finally cooled down from the 100s into the 80s and 90s.  tomorrow it is rumored to be in the 70s!

Now it’s 1, and all I want to do is have a nap.

I really don’t care that yesterday was the actual day after Caturday.  We got up at 5:30 and went to the airshow.

So really, this fits today.  And this is exactly what I’m going to do.  For a while anyhow.

Then, I will create business cards for Groovy Noms, the catering company!   😛  (play superhero music in the background)

It’s not just a blog anymore…

Caturday Funneh

Somewhere in the Outer Limits…

If you’re still not on board, here’s some inspiration.

Of course, there must be food…

And the One Ring must go to the Mountain of DOOM!

Finishing up with testing.

That is all.  Have a great Caturday!

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