Saturday, December 01, 2007

’Tis the Season— For Home Cooked

As the weather chills, having a warm kitchen, filled with savory dishes and the aroma of good food, helps the spirit as well as the taste buds. If you are like me, this is a good time to grab up a cookbook or a collection of favorite recipes, and seek out a new dish or a forgotten favorite.

No one has ever confused me with Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray. However, I’m a wife and a mother, so being able to put together family friendly meals and snacks is a necessary part of my skill set. This month, I am going to share recipes and a few tips for fun with food. They are all easy, because everything I cook pretty much falls into that category.

Egg in a Basket

This simple dish makes children of all ages feel special. Take a hardy slice of French bread and cut a large hole in it, about the size of an egg. Heat a non-stick skillet sprayed with butter flavored cooking spray to medium, then place the bread in the skillet. Break an egg into the hole and cook the egg as the bread browns in the skillet. Place the “hole” in the skillet also, and when both sides are brown and the egg is done, slide both pieces onto a plate and serve it solo or with bacon, grits, or whatever you like for breakfast.

This dish has been one of my daughter’s favorites for many years.

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

• 1 pound size bag of frozen broccoli cuts
• 1 pound size bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower cuts
• 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
• 3 cans of lowfat/ low sodium chicken broth (14 & 1/2 oz size cans)
• 8 oz of light Velveeta Cheese, cubed
• ground red pepper (optional)

In a small stock pot or dutch oven, place broth, broccoli, cauliflower, and onions. Bring this to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for approximately 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Using a potato masher, mash the veggies to desired consistency. Add the Velveeta cheese cubes, cover and heat for five more minutes on low heat. Stir the soup to blend the cheese with the veggies. Ladle soup into warmed bowls and sprinkle with red pepper (if desired). Remember, red pepper is quite hot, so use just a small amount.

In cooler weather, soup is one of my favorites. This recipe makes about 10 cups of soup and is low in fat and calories. I like it with crackers as a main dish, but it works well as a first or second course. This soup is made with frozen and canned ingredients, except for the onion, which can be omitted if you don’t have a fresh one handy. Once made, you can refrigerate any leftovers for a quick lunch later on.


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