Monday, March 18, 2013

Dutch Vegetable Soup

I love to cook and I am rarely turned away from recipes with a million ingredients, but every once in awhile, I too like a simple and easy meal! This is one of those, 20 minutes from stove to table and it is a family recipe to boot! One of those comfort meals that reminds me of my childhood. One my Mom used to make and my brother and I always loved. One I now make for my parents when they come to visit and we still all enjoy it just as much as we did 20 years ago! It is called "Dutch Vegetable" Soup..and there is nothing Dutch, or even really vegetable about it! It is more like "Meatball Kluski Vegetable" Soup, but heck, I am half Dutch, so Dutch Vegetable Soup is much more appropriate! Where my mom came up with the name remains a mystery, but it is darn good, super easy to make (just 5 ingredients) and oh so good! I made it for dinner tonight and I am heading back to the kitchen for seconds! 

Dutch Vegetable Soup

1 lb. of lean (90/10) ground beef
16 oz. bag of Kluski noodles
16 oz. bag of frozen mixed vegetables
1/3 cup instant beef granules
16 cups of water

Add 16 cups of water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the beef granules and stir to combine.

Roll the ground beef up into approximately 50 small (chestnut sized) meatballs and carefully drop into the boiling water.

Add the Kluski noodles and cook for the time recommended on the package, usually 16-18 minutes. 

When there is 5 minutes left on the time, add the bag of frozen vegetables and stir to combine

Eat and Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Baked "Fried" Pickles

Love fried pickles, but not that fat? Well then this is the recipe for you! Haven't tried a fried pickle before, well then you have no idea what you are missing!! This is a must try recipe. It is super easy, super flavorful and makes a great addition to any meal. With just a few simple steps, you can have this appetizer on your table for your guests to share. I recommend doubling the batch, as they will go fast and people will surely be asking for more!

Baked "Fried" Pickles

3 Large Kosher Dill Wholes (I used halves, so in this case, I used 6)
2 Eggs
1/4 cup Milk
1 cup Flour (All Purpose)
1/2 cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Seasoned Panko Crumbs

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Slice each pickle into 1/4" pieces, they should look like coins or half moons, depending on what kind of pickle you started with.
Take 3 small mixing bowls and put the flour in one, the eggs and milk in the second (and whisk them together), and the breadcrumbs (mix them together) in the third.
Coat each pickle piece with flour, then dip in the egg/milk mixture, and then the bread crumb mixture, and place on to an oiled cookie sheet.  

Bake @ 425 degrees for 7 – 10 minutes or until desired “crispiness” is reached.
Serve with a side of ranch dressing and ENJOY!  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pork Carnitas

If you like authentic Mexican food, than this is the recipe for you. You can eat this stuff by itself, wrapped up in a corn tortilla with some white onion and cilantro or as a addition to a salad! It is so good and so versatile! Carnitas means "little meat", which is just what it is. Little pieces of super flavorful meat! And the best thing is, this recipe makes a try it one or several ways! I promise you, despite the multi-step directions, you won't be disappointed!

Pork Carnitas

4 pound boneless pork butt, fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes (I have used both bone in and boneless, you still get the same, great result!)
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
2 onions, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tb fresh lime juice
2 C water
1 medium orange, juiced and keep the spent halves

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Combine all the ingredients in a large Dutch oven, including the spent orange halves and juice.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, uncovered.  Once the pot has come to a simmer,  cover and transfer it to the oven.  

Cook until the meat falls apart when prodded with a fork, approximately 2 hours. Discard the bone if using a bone-in roast.

Remove the pot from the oven and turn on your broiler.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pan and place it on a large foil-lined jelly roll pan.  Remove and discard everything from the pot except for the cooking liquid.  Place pot over high heat on the stove and boil until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes or until you have about 1 cup of liquid remaining.

While the liquid is reducing, shred the meat into small chunks or pieces.  Once the liquid has become a syrup, add the meat back to the pot and fold into the syrup.  Give it a taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.

Scoop the pork back onto the foil lined pan and spread evenly into a single layer. 

Place the jelly roll pan on the lower middle rack of the oven and broil until the top of the meat is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes.  Flip the pieces of meat and broil the other side until well browned and edges are slightly crisp, an additional 5 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Blueberry Crisp

I find it rather ironic that my first post is for something that needs to be baked, seeing that I am not a baker, do not like to bake and hate to measure anything. However, it is fitting since it is a recipe handed down to me from a fellow Trooper's Wife! :)
It all began when my husband came home after a long day of training, with a small to-go container filled with what I call "pure blueberry awesomeness!" Apparently he had had this blueberry crisp on several occasions, as it was a staple at these monthly trainings. He eventually couldn't take it anymore and decided to ask for the recipe and figured he would see if some part of me could attempt to make this. He knows my limitations all too well and thankfully loves me just the same when other wives are making homemade goodies and I am bringing home store bought ones! He handed me the recipe and I figured, what the heck, I will give it a try. Well thankfully the recipe was limited to very few ingredients and very limited was actually within my baking abilities! So I gave it a try and the end result had me patting myself on back. It was a success...I was successful...and it was "pure blueberry awesomeness!" Try it for yourself, I promise, you won't be disappointed! 

Blueberry Crisp

2 cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
2 eggs
2 pints of blueberries (you can use frozen blueberries during the winter)
1 stick of butter

 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the first 4 ingredients together with a fork in a large bowl. The mixture will be crumbly. 
Arrange the blueberries on the bottom of a 9 x 11 glass casserole dish. 

I halved the recipe (and used and 8 x 8 pan) in this picture and it still comes out perfect!

Top the blueberries with the crumbly mixture. 
Melt the butter and drizzle on top. 
Sprinkle with cinnamon. 

Bake for 35-40 minutes and enjoy

Pure Blueberry Awesomeness!