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  • Tuesday, September 8, 2009

    Cooking With Author Sandee Schoger-Foster

    Sandee’s Carrot, Potato, Cheddar Soup
    (The main recipe is carrot and potato soup, then it gives a lot of variations to make it different. I make this soup all winter and it is always different because of what's in the frig that day!)

    Add and simmer vegetables in chicken broth until tender:
    1 lb. carrots (8-10), shredded
    1 lb. spuds (3-5), shredded
    Onion, chopped (as much as desired)
    6 cups chicken broth
    1 tsp. dried thyme
    Sprinkle ground Basil
    1 bayleaf
    1/8 tsp. Tabasco sauce (or more to taste)
    1/2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce (or more to taste)
    1/2 tsp. sugar (optional)
    Salt & pepper to taste
    Add 1-2 cups cheddar cheese, stirring until melted
    1 cup milk (or use Half & Half)

    Tips: Shredded is the secret. It cooks faster and is easier to eat, especially in a hurry.
    (Watch the knuckles while shredding, and have Band-Aids at the ready)

    In a big pot, add cans of chicken broth, and add shredded carrots, spuds, and chopped onions. Let cook.

    Add, Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco sauce (to taste)
    Add 2 Tbsp. butter.
    Salt and pepper like crazy, and keep doing the taste test.
    Add sugar (if desired).

    On the sidelines, cook frozen chicken breasts in a skillet with water only. When done, add chicken-water to the pot if more liquid is needed. After the chicken has cooled down, cut them up in a stringy fashion and added them to the soup. Or, serve without adding chicken if veggie soup is preferred.

    Optional: Take a cup or so of milk, and put in a Tbsp. and about a fourth of flour for thickening. Best to put in blender so it wouldn't get lumpy, and put it in the pot.

    This is a recipe that I have changed a lot, but started with it as a base. As for the potatoes to make it easier, I used O’Brien frozen spuds. They are tiny squares which does very nicely and I grill those first. Those have peppers and onions in them which add flavor, but if you prefer just plain ole potatoes, the also make them without anything added. Another good way to do it is to boil the potatoes and mash / season them, then add them to the soup mixture. It serves as a thickening. Or, you could use a can or two of Cream of Chicken, Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Anything else your heart desires. That adds a good thickening in addition to the spuds, or without.

    Tabasco sauce is key here. It will add great flavor with a bit of a kick. Taste testing is also key. Add just a little T. Sauce and then keep adding to your taste. Also, Worcestershire Sauce is a good flavor, but in careful moderation and with taste test.

    My routine:
    Cut up chicken breasts and cook in skillet in water.
    Pour four chicken or vegetable cans of broth (or both) in a big pot and warm.
    Grill onions in butter in a skillet. After they’re browned nicely, add to broth. Grate a carrot or two and add to soup mixture.
    Cook frozen potatoes in skillet with butter. You probably won’t need them all, so start with half a bag or less. Stir often. Add to soup mixture.
    From there you can add about anything you desire. Grated zucchini and yellow necked squash is a great addition.
    You could open a can of peas, drain and add however many you want. Sometimes just a little of something is a nice touch.
    A can of red kidney beans (not all of them), and/ or a can of pinto beans.
    Put in the chicken last because it’s already cooked. I pull it apart and make it stringy and small pieces. The key to good soup is small pieces, thus the grating-action.

    Variations include … the very tops of dark green broccoli, spaghetti squash (cooked ahead in microwave), fried bacon and cut up finely, smoky link sausages grilled in onion skillet, and cut up or grated … you name it. I’ve added leftover casseroles. There’s really no mistakes with soup … it all comes out good.

    Instead of potatoes, if you prefer, boil elbow macaroni and use that. Or rice (cooked ahead). And cheese … yes on cheese … I stick with sharp grated cheddar. Oh, and the soup I made last week, I added capers. I liked it very much. Sometimes I’ll have sour cream available if someone likes to put a dollop on top.

    The secret is in the seasoning from here. The Tabasco Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, salt, pepper, Lawry’s Seasoning salt, ground basil, bay leaf, dried thyme and dried oregano.
    Yummy bread to go with it is a nice addition too.

    It’s better not to have too many tastes going on in a soup. Choose as many as you want, but not “all the above!”


    Mandarin Pasta Salad
    (Excellent as a main dish or side dish with or without chicken)

    DRESSING - Make day ahead, shake & refrigerate (I use qt. bottle/wide neck & double recipe for generous main dish servings)

    1 tsp fresh ginger root, grated (freeze remaining portion for next time & grate while frozen)
    1 garlic clove pressed or chopped (your preference - I finely chopped)
    1/3 C rice vinegar or white wine vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
    1/4 C orange juice
    1/4 C oil (I used extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil)
    1 tsp. Sesame oil
    1 envelope Lipton dry onion soup
    2 tsp sugar
    (Shake well & chill before adding to salad)

    8 oz Bow Tie Pasta
    ½ cucumber (peeled, sliced & cut in half)
    ½ C diced red bell pepper
    ½ C diced red onion
    16 oz pkg washed baby spinach
    1 can 11oz mandarin oranges, drained
    2 C diced cooked chicken - season with garlic, onion & pepper
    ½ C sliced almonds, toasted

    Cook pasta to directions & rinse well - drain; Add small amount of dressing - blend to keep from sticking- chill;

    To serve: Prepare salad & add dressing at least ½ hour before serving:
    In large bowl add spinach - cover lightly with dressing; add pasta and other ingredients, pouring dressing over each as you layer. Add remaining dressing on top & toss salad thoroughly; cover with foil & chill until serving.



    Chili Relano

    325 degree oven - 45 min. to an hour (depending on the size of the casserole dish that is used).
    2 eggs
    2 Tb. flour
    1 C. Half & Half
    1 C. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
    1 C. Cheddar cheese, grated
    1 - 7 oz. can chilies diced
    1 - 8 oz can tomato sauce (optional) This is for the top of it, and I haven’t used the tomato sauce on it.

    Mix eggs, flour, Half & Half in blender to ensure smoothness.
    Add mixture to grated cheeses and can of diced chilies in a bowl.
    Pour into buttered glass casserole dish.
    Place in oven carefully. Mixture is liquid.

    Check to see if it’s done by sticking knife blade into center. If it comes out "clean," it is ready.

    When it has five minutes to go, add tomato sauce to the top slowly and evenly, if desired.

    This recipe is excellent to take to a breakfast or brunch, as well as to serve with Mexican food. It’s also good, cut in small squares, for appetizers.