Cheddar Cheese Soup

A few years ago, our family took our first trip to Walt Disney World. As a kid, I wasn’t too excited about EPCOT and the World Showcase. As an adult, I loved it. Especially since we travelled during the Food & Wine Festival. We also participated in the Disney Dining Plan, and boy did we eat. And eat. And eat.

For readers that don’t know much about me, I love Disney. And I love cheese. So it should come as no surprise that one of my favorite dishes in all of Disney World was the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup served at Le Cellier Steakhouse. So delicious. And then a year after our visit, Disney published this wonderful recipe as part of their Food & Wine Festival promotions. Here it is for you in all it’s delicious, cheesy glory. Enjoy.

One note: as regular readers know, we prefer veggie broth to chicken broth in our cooking. That’s the only change I make to this soup.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound of bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 3 celery ribs, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock [we use veggie broth]
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • Course salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup pale ale, room temperature
  • Chopped scallions or chives, for garnish

Directions

  1. Cook bacon in a 4- or 5-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add onion, celery, and butter. Sauté until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour and stir constantly for about 4 minutes.
  4. Whisk in chicken stock and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add milk and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes. (Do not boil after adding milk,)
  6. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, Tabasco, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper until cheese is melted and soup is smooth. Stir in ale. If soup is too think, thin to desired consistency with warm milk.
  7. Serve hot, garnished with scallion or chives.

Makes about 6 cups.

30 March 2015
We just made this again tonight. Two notes to the recipe:

Note 1: In step 4, I found that the 3 cups of broth wasn’t quite enough; the mixture is very thick. I slowly added a little extra broth several times while it was simmering, I probably ended up at about 3 1/2 cups.

Note 2: We are not Pale Ale drinkers. We use Kona Brewing Company’s Longboard Lager when we make this soup.

Corn Chowder

Fall is here and our family loves to make (and eat!) soups and stews. This corn chowder is a great meal that everyone enjoys. A little prep work, and then it spends all day cooking and smelling delicious. I make a big batch and then freeze the leftovers, giving us a quick and yummy meal on a busy night.

Two notes on this one.

  1. I love to cook with yukon gold potatoes, but if you prefer another kind, feel free to substitute.
  2. We like the taste of veggie broth in recipes at our house. If you like chicken broth better, it will work fine in the chowder.

Ingredients

  • 10 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 can cream corn
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 to 1 package frozen white sweet corn
  • 3 to 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 lb diced ham
  • 1 diced onion
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 cups ½ & ½
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Add potatoes, corn, veggie broth, ham, and onions to the slow cooker, stir to combine. Make sure broth covers the ingredients; add more broth or water if needed. Cook on low for 7 – 8 hours. Using a potato masher, mash the chowder to your desired thickness. Add the butter and ½ & ½, cook on high for 30 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

9/11: A Day of Giving

9/11 is an event that touched us all. Everyone remembers in different ways. At our house, each and every year, we eat pizza.

Down south of Denver, we’ve got a great local pizza place: Big Bill’s NY Pizza. Today is their 14th Annual 9/11 Day of Giving. Right after the events of 9/11, Bill hosted a fundraiser for families of New York firefighters who had lost their lives on that tragic day. After that first fundraiser it became an annual event held on 9/11, and a tradition at our house. All day, the staff works for free. And instead of paying for your food, you make a donatation. Since 2009, every penny that comes into the restaurant goes to support the JoAnn B. Ficke Cancer Foundation. Bill has taken this day of tragedy, and turned it into a day of hope. A day of giving.

Now, not everyone reading this post is within driving distance of Big Bill’s, so what does this mean for you? Well, what if we all took Bill’s idea, and everyone turned 9/11 into a Day of Giving? Give some money to your favorite charity. Spend some time with a lonely resident at a nearby nursing home. Help a neighbor with their yardwork. Collect food for a local food bank. Or what about doing small things throughout the day? Buy coffee for the person in line behind you. Smile and say hello to a stranger. Hold that door open for someone else. Sometimes it’s the little things we give to others that can have the biggest impact.

Spread hope and joy as you remember today. Make 9/11 your Day of Giving. And eat some pizza.

Easy Beef Chili

We love to cook soups, stews, and chili in the winter. I have a meatless chili that my husband and I have enjoyed for years. Last winter, my boys wanted to eat chili, but weren’t interested in all those veggies. Here’s what we came up with. I got the basics from The Pioneer Woman, and then we added our own spin.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Two 14.5-oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • One 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 2/3 cup Guinness beer
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tobasco sauce (could use cayenne pepper)
  • One 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

Toppings

  • Shredded cheddar
  • Tortilla chips
  • Lime wedges
  • Sour cream

Directions

I used a big dutch oven to cook this. Put in the ground beef, onion, and garlic; cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off excess fat, then add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, Guinness, and spices. Cover, reduce heat to low. Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. If the chili looks too think, you can add water. Finally, add the beans and simmer another 30 minutes. Serve in individual bowls, topped with any desired toppings. Delicious with corn bread or beer bread.

Kentucky Hot Brown Bake

Someone just posted this on Facebook; I have no idea who the source is. I am posting here so I don’t lose the recipe. 🙂 Would like to try it later. One of my friends also made the comment, “Whoa you could mess with this and make all kinds of yummies – then cut them – freeze them individually and boom ! Lunches!” Great idea, Natalie!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz package refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 lb. package smoked turkey lunch meat
  • 8 slices cooked bacon
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 4 eggs, beaten

Directions

Unroll the crescent dough and separate into 2 squares. Place one square in bottom of 8″ pan that is greased or lined with parchment paper. Press dough to fit pan. Layer with half the turkey, bacon, cheese and tomatoes. Pour half the eggs over the top.

Repeat the layers. Top with remaining dough square. Pour remaining eggs over top.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, covered with foil. Remove foil and bake another 20-25 minutes. Let sit at room temp for 15-20 minutes before serving.

{in the kitchen} roasted red pepper and white bean dip

I need to try this. Looks delicious!

Last week I made a Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean dip for a NYE gathering at my friend’s house. The dip was so good that I had to make it again this week. Oh, and the best part? I used my new food processor from Christmas and it worked a MILLION times better than a blender. Big girl stuff. It’s funny how your love for things change over the years. When I was little it was friendship bracelets and dolls, now kitchen accessories. Real cool Katey.

roasted red pepper dip{KateyK Photography}

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Ms. Kay’s Southern Beef & Vegetable Soup

Here’s another recipe given to me by my second mother-in-law, Ms. Kay. She made this for us one night and it is a nice soup to have on a cold winter night. Her family crumbles the corn bread right into their bowl of soup to eat it. This makes a lot of soup, I freeze some of the leftovers for another night.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 – 6 potatoes – cut into small chunks (I use Yukon Gold)
  • 4 – 6 carrots – roughly sliced
  • 1 package frozen butter beans (Lima beans if you’re out of the south)
  • 1 package frozen okra (Kay uses canned okra, we don’t have that here)
  • 1 package frozen corn
  • 2 – 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup sugar (optional – Kay uses this to sweeten the tomatoes, I skip it)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 – 3 cups water

Directions

I use a large dutch oven to make this. On the stove, brown the ground beef until cooked through. Drain any excess fat. Add the vegetables, tomatoes, sugar (if using) and seasonings to the beef. Last add the water – cover the vegetables and get the soup to the consistency you desire. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook for about 2 hours.

Serve with corn bread.