Sunday Family Feast Recap (Soup-er Sunday Name Change)

I haven’t posted a real Soup-er Sunday Recap in a while. There is a few reasons for that – and they really only amount to excuses.

The Soup-er Sunday schedule had gotten a little off kilter for the month of January. Family travelled, illness struck and then there was the Super Bowl! It’s not that we didn’t get together, but on one of them I actually ordered food and I can’t even remember all of the rest!

Alas, I think we are back to a bit of the normal again. Although March might be a little funky – we will be missing the son as he travels for business. We will still get together, we will just be down a man.

Additionally, I need to come up with a new name for these Sundays because here in the desert, soup is not going to be on the menu for many more weeks just because it’s getting warmer already. I think it will become Sunday Family Feast. That fits anything on the menu!

Ok…now that I’ve addressed the past and future….lets get to the present! We got together yesterday for our normal Sunday Family Feast as well as celebrating my mom’s birthday which is this coming Tuesday. Before I get to the main dish – let me say that I did make a dessert, but it didn’t come out photo worthy (I failed on getting my 2nd layer of the cake out of the pan successfully) in my opinion. Alas, since it was a hit taste wise with the crew, I will be making it again and will take photos then.

So, for lunch this week I made what our family has always called Gardner’s Delight. Initially it was a chicken pasta salad with cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage and the only veggies in it. I have changed it up several times over the years and my version of Gardener’s Delight is PACKED with veggies. Whatever I can find that looks beautiful and in season…it goes in (ok…I am aware of those I’m serving it to and what veggies they like so that I don’t include something that won’t be eaten at all.). Chicken is always my go-to meat for this dish, however, shrimp works well too.

The recipe below is the exact recipe I made for our lunch yesterday. This made enough for 6 of us at lunch – with several having seconds and I think there may have been some thirds. I also had a container for the kids to take home with them and a container still in the fridge (this salad is even better the next day!). This is a large batch and you can modify it down or up accordingly.

Gardner’s Delight Pasta Salad                                            

  • 1 Roasted Chicken – shredded (I roasted mine the day before, pulled it all off the bone and then put the pieces in a Ziploc in the fridge overnight until I was ready for the next step.)

  • 3 – 12oz pkgs Rotini pasta (I actually use Wacky Mac veggie pasta will all of the different shapes. You can also use shaped pasta – I find them a lot at Cost Plus World Market)

  • 2 cans medium black olives, drained

  • 2 Green Bell Peppers, diced

  • 2 Red Bell Peppers, diced

  • 1 Celery heart, diced

  • ½ Head Purple Cabbage, chopped

  • 1 Bunch Broccoli, chopped

  • 1 Head Cauliflower, chopped

  • 1 Small bag Snow Peas in the shell

  • 1 Large bottle House or Zesty/Robust Italian Salad Dressing

  1. In a large pot (I use an 8 quart pot for this amount) bring water to a boil and cook pasta until tender. Drain.

  2. While the pasta is draining (if you have a pot like I do, the strainer just lifts out of the pot, this is perfect, lift it out and set it in the sink. If not, pour your pasta in a large strainer to drain.) combine chicken, chopped veggies and drained olives in the pot. Mix well with your hands.

  3. Add in the pasta a few handfuls at a time.

  4. Once ½ of the pasta has been added, pour the entire bottle of salad dressing over the mixture. Combine with your hands (make certain you get to the bottom of the pot as you want everything incorporated well.).

  5. Add the remaining pasta and combine well until everything is coated with the dressing.

  6. Chill for at least 2 hours. Serve.

That’s it. Easy Peasy! Like I said, it is super quick, super yummy and a perfect meal in the warmer months of Summer.

Hope you like.

Super Bowl Sunday - Instead of Soup-er Sunday

Soup-er Sunday was last week. And yes, we did have soup – a simple beef stew. There truly was nothing magical about the recipe so I didn’t post on it last week. However, this week was Super Bowl Sunday and I wanted to try my hand at something a little different.

The Daughter in-Love and Lil Man are back in  Wisconsin for a funeral, the Son was home repairing the walls in his home after a full re-pipe needed to be done – so it was just the elder generations of the family. I called my folks and asked if they wanted to come over to watch the commercials, since none of us are really football fans – nor did we really care who won this particular game (although, it ended up being quite an amazing game!).

Enter my first attempt at a Low Country Shrimp Boil. Honestly – this was a dish I looked at and thought…it’s perfect for winging it! Given that the Sprouts down the road had bags of new potatoes on sale, I just jumped in! Here is my version of a Low Country Shrimp Boil.

Stacy Mac’s Low Country Shrimp Boil

  • 2 pounds uncooked shrimp (deveined, peeled and tail on…I used frozen as the fresh were not looking so great)

  • 2 packages Andouille Sausage, sliced

  • 3 pounds new potatoes, washed and left whole

  • 6 ears of corn, shucked, cleaned and cut into quarters

  • 3 lemons, washed and halved

  • Old Bay seasoning for the boil (I used about ¼ cup for the pot)

In an 8 quart pot, bring 4 quart of water to a boil. Place potatoes, sausage and Old Bay in the water and return to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Squeeze the lemons into the water and then drop the halves in as well. Add the corn and cook for 10 minutes more. When corn is tender add shrimp and cook until pink.

Drain off liquid and pour on to a large platter or a paper covered table. Sprinkle with Old Bay. I also used some Slap Ya Mama spice mix sprinkled over the top of the mixture. It was pretty darn tasty. You can see my paper covered table, with our names at our places as well.

 

We will be doing this again in the Spring, Summer and Fall – out by the pool!!

Soup-er Sunday Recap - FAILURE!

Empty Bowl.jpg

So, last Sunday was Soup-er Sunday here at the MacClan Abode. I told you I would be making Zuppa Toscana and that I would post a recap on Monday.

Well…I did make Zuppa Toscana, and I really did plan to post a recap. And then I don’ know what happened on Monday and Tuesday – but Wednesday I woke up with a mutant head cold in full on attack mode and I really don’t remember much after that. That is, until this morning when I woke up feeling as though a full Olympic sized swimming pool at set up residence in my nose. Sorry – over-sharing! (But seriously - I really think I've lost 3 days or more...I was just sitting here thinking it was Sunday. Good cold medicine!)

Another thing that I know – I didn’t take any photos of said soup. Thus, I don’t have any proof that I made this delicious meal – along with Caramel Apple Dump Cake for dessert – other than the happy faces of my satisfied family. But wait, I didn’t even get photos of that. EPIC FAIL!

I guess I will have to repeat this meal again and get photographic evidence!

However, to hold you over until the photos come forth, here is the recipe I used for Zuppa Toscana. Not exactly like the Olive Garden, but pretty darn close.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound(s) Italian Sausage (spicy)

  • 4-6 Russet Potatoes - sliced thinly (I used a mandolin)

  • 1 Onion - diced

  • 1/4 cup(s) bacon, cooked – coarsely chopped

  • 2 tablespoon(s) minced Garlic

  • 32 ounce(s) Chicken Broth

  • 1/2 bunch Kale, coarsely chopped

  • 1 cup(s) Heavy Whipping Cream  

  • Crushed Red Pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

Crumble and fry sausage in a pan (just as you would hamburger meat)

Place sausage, chicken broth, garlic, potatoes and onion in 6 quart soup pot with enough water to cover all ingredients. Cook on medium heat until potatoes become tender (about 30 o 40 minutes). Add cream and kale and cook for another 10 minutes until heated through. Sprinkle in crushed red pepper and stir. Serve.

My apologies for no photos other than an empty, albeit pretty, bowl - we shall return with another Soup-er Sunday recap next week, along with talk of a name change for this segment!

Soup-er Sunday Recap - Cazuela (Mac Style)

We had another Soup-er Sunday today. This was really our only one for the month of December since we have so many obligations and then Christmas. We also needed to celebrate the Rocket Scientist’s birthday, so we used today to do that as well.

The soup today was the Arizona version of Cazuela. There are many versions from different South American countries, but this one has been on my favorite list since the early 90’s. I used to work on the south side of the city, where some of the best Mexican food restaurants in town happen to be. My favorite little place is called Mi Nidito (my little nest). Perhaps you have heard of it…there is a famous person who visited there and apparently it’s a big deal!

At any rate – their version of Cazuela makes me so very happy. Served with warm, fresh tortillas (picked up from the tortilla factory down in the same area of town…so good!) this is a rib sticking soup. As I mentioned, there are several versions of it and the one here in Arizona is very heavy on potatoes and garlic! YUMMO! It is usually made with machaca or carne seca – both drier meats. However, I was running short on time and ended up just cooking a roast overnight in the crock pot – and it worked just fine. That being said – this is a recipe that you can play with, add to, take form…make it your own. My measurements are winging it for a family of 5 with leftovers!

Cazuela Mac Style

  • 4 pound Rump Roast

  •  8 cloves freshly chopped garlic (or 2T of the pre-chopped in a jar)

  • 2 cartons Beef Broths

  • One large onion, coarsely chopped

  • 5-6 large potatoes, skin on, chopped French fry style

  • 1 bunch Cilantro, coarsely chopped

  • 3 small cans chopped, roasted chilies (Hatch are the best)

  • Salt to taste

  1. Cook roast in crockpot on low for 10-12 hours with one carton of broth/stock and one can of chilies (I have a crockpot with a timer so I just set it and go to bed.). Remove roast from crockpot and shred.

  2. In a large soup pot place the shredded roast, the liquid contents of the crockpot, additional carton of broth/stock, ½ of the cilantro, chopped potatoes, onion and remaining cans of chilies.

  3. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Add ½ of the remaining cilantro and cook for another 10 minutes.

  4. Place soup in a bowl and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serve with fresh flour tortillas on the side (I love to dip them in my soup!).

Of course, it was a birthday celebration for the Rocket Scientist – a chocolate lover beyond compare. So, I made a dark chocolate layer cake with Chocolate Nutella Frosting. It was a hit!

Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. I will be back in 2015 with more Soup-er Sunday Recaps!


Soup-er Sunday Recap - Taco Soup

So good with a nice glass of ginger-ale or sweet tea!

So good with a nice glass of ginger-ale or sweet tea!

This past Sunday we had our 2nd Family Soup-er Sunday. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love these days. I hope the rest of the family feels the same. Some of the highlights this week were: Lil’ Man got his first haircut; Pops (aka: The Rocket Scientist) playing with the kittens cause Lil’ Man to burst into riotous laughter…which in turn caused all of the rest of us to burst into laughter; we talked a lot about the cooking adventure my daughter in-love are on right now. All in all, these are hours together I will treasure and I hope they all will too.

This week we had a good stand-by soup in this house – Taco Soup. I got this recipe from a friend, Lyn, many years ago. I have tweaked it a bit and this is what we have now. I can tell you that every time I make this soup, my son almost always has 3 helpings! I always make more than enough so that we have leftovers…it’s so wonderful the 2nd and 3rd days. This is the perfect soup for cool weather. And let me just stress…as much as people want to call this chili…it is NOT chili – there is not any chili powder in this soup! This is also one of those recipes that you can truly wing it on…almost like a kitchen sink soup. I don’t even really keep track of how much I use of anything each time – I just start throwing things in. So…this is my ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants’ Taco Soup Mac Family Version!

Taco Soup - Serves 8+

Ingredients

  • 2lbs. ground beef

  • 2 packets Taco Seasoning

  • 2 packets Ranch Dressing Mix

  • 3 cans Black Beans (do not drain)

  • 3 cans Kidney Beans (do not drain)

  • 3 cans Rotel

  • 1 small bag Frozen Corn

  • Grated Cheese

  • Sour Cream

  • Tortilla Chips

  • Green Onions, diced (optional)

Directions

  1. Brown ground beef in a skillet. Drain.

  2. In a large soup pot combine cooked beef, Taco Seasoning, beans (liquid and all – do not drain), Rotel, corn. Stir well. (All ingredients can been increased or decreased according to your needs.)

  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add in Ranch Dressing mix and stir to mix.

  5. When heated through serve in a layered manner: Soup, cheese, crushed tortilla chips, sour cream and top with green onions.

Again, this soup can really be what you make of it. I have even done it with shredded chicken! This is a perfect soup for a potluck, large party, small party, etc.

Go ahead…whip up a pot!

(FYI - I made Snickerdoodle Bar for dessert - but filed to take any photos. Darn, I guess that means I will have to make them again!)

Soup-er Sunday Recap (November 2, 2014): Potato, Sausage & Leek Soup with Stove Pipe Bread

(Full disclosure: I was not as prepared for the photos on the preparation for this meal as I should have been...therefore we have a mix of phone and slr camera pics. I apologize and will work to do better! Maybe...on a great 'got-it-together day!)

Yesterday was our first family Soup-er Sunday get-together. If you will recall my post HERE (the one where I admitted I may have freaked out at my son's impromptu request to gather!)– we decided a few weeks ago that we all live too close to each other to not get together more often. So, every other week we will be having a soup day over at our house.

I decided soup would be a good meal because you can make a ton, the left overs are great and, for the most part, soup is relatively quick and easy to make for a larger group.

For our first week I thought Potato Sausage and Leek soup would be great. Here in the desert we actually hit what feels like Fall this week. That might not mean much too many, but here when the temps get to a high of 70 and lows are in the low-50s…well…that’s a chill in the air for us! My Potato soup is the perfect way to kick off Fall weather (most of us are crossing our fingers this weather lingers for a while since we were over 90 on Halloween!). I also served Stove Pipe Bread…I learned how to make this from my pastor’s wife back when I was 17! It is amazingly yummy and super easy.

Potato Sausage Leek Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 large carton Chicken Broth
  • 7-8 medium to large potatoes, cubed (I don’t peel them…it adds flavor!)
  • 2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 2 cups Milk (whole or 2%)
  • 1 chub Sausage, fried and crumbled (I sometimes use spicy for an extra kick)
  • 6 Celery Stalks, chopped
  • 2 Leeks, sliced about an inch into the green (float sliced leeks in a bowl of cold water before adding them to the soup, this will allow the dirt and grit to fall to the bottom of the bowl – much easier than trying to wash all of that out by hand.)
  • 8 oz. Velveeta, cubed

Combine all ingredients with the exception of the Velveeta. Allow to cook at a medium heat until vegetables are tender (about 30-45 minutes). Add Velveeta and allow to melt, combining well. Serves 6. I usually increase my potato count to 8-10 and add another carton of chicken broth if I’m serving my family – then we have leftovers. This recipe is super easy and very customizable to your taste and amount to make…winging it is the name of the game for this one!

Stove Pipe Bread

I think this bread got its name from the fact that it is prepared in coffee cans, which resemble stove pipes? I’m not certain, but that is the story I’m going with.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ cups Flour
  • 1 pkg. Yeast
  • ½ cup Milk
  • ½ cup Oil
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 One Pound Coffee Cans (with lids), emptied and cleaned

Butter the inside of the 2 coffee cans well.

Combine the dry yeast and 1 ½ cups flour in a medium mixing bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, water, oil, salt and sugar. Heat until barely war, (should be unnoticed when dropped on the wrist…think of checking a baby bottle!). Once the correct temperature has been reach, add this to the yeast mixture. Using a slow speed, mix/blend together until smooth. Add in eggs and mix until blended. Gradually add 1 cup of the flour and blend well. By hand, stir in the last cup of flour.

Ready to rise...almost to the lids.

Ready to rise...almost to the lids.

Pour half of the dough into each coffee can. Cover with the plastic lids, place in a warm area (I set mine on my oven that was on low heat - 170 degrees - and covered with 2 kitchen towels), and allow to rise until the dough almost touches the lids.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, remove the lids and place cans on a baking sheet. Allow to bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the cans and serving.

No joke, I could eat a whole loaf of this when it is fresh out of the oven and warm with butter!

Mmmm...fresh baked bread!!!

Mmmm...fresh baked bread!!!

And that was our first Family Soup-er Sunday! The next one will be Sunday the 16thLet me know if you try these recipes and what you think!