Broccoli Soup Mac and Cheese

I made a big pot of cream of broccoli soup (with a little cheese) using the stems of the plant.  (Note to self: next time follow the directions and peel the stems).  With 2 quarts of soup left over I had to think of something.  And I did.  
Broccoli Soup Mac and Cheese
Several servings 

2 quarts broccoli cheese soup
1 pound processed cheese
2 pounds of macaroni 
Milk as needed

Heat soup and add cheese until melted.  The soup was still to runny so I added 1 pound of the macaroni to the soup to cook.  I let it simmer for a bit then covered it and let it sit until cooked, about 30 min.  Meanwhile cooked the other pound according to directions.  Add to macaroni soup mixture.  The concoction ended up being to thick so then I had to add milk.  Next time, if there is one, I will cook all the pasta in water and add to the soup already cooked. 

Spoiled Cream

Costco had heavy cream on clearance in December and I bought some.  I managed to control myself and only bought 6.  Then I even gave 4 away.  Baby steps.  The cream was dated December 12th so you can imagine how it smells and tastes on March 24th.  I just whipped it into shape and beat it into butter. 
Spoiled Cream Cultured Butter

Heavy Cream
Salt to taste 
Bowl of ice water

Pour cream into a bowl.  I used a stand mixer since it takes so long and I had a half gallon of cream.  I covered the mixer with a towel to avoid the cream from splattering all over the kitchen.  This is a messy process.  

Beat on medium until cream starts to thicken then turn on high.  Keep beating until the whey starts to comes out of the solids.  It really starts to spatter at this point so turn down the mixer.  Scrape the sides as necessary.  Keep beating until the butter balls up.

Place butter in the bowl of ice water and knead it.  This will wash off the remaining whey.  Squeeze water out of butter.  I washed my butter in stages as I had almost 2 pounds.  Knead salt into butter on a cutting board.  I used 1 t. for a half gallon of cream. 

Chocolate Egg Shake

While everyone else is having shamrock shakes, I'm enjoying chocolate egg nog shakes.  Why?  Well I forgot I had egg nog from Christmas in the basement fridge and am just now getting around to it.  However, it seems I am not behind the times, I am ahead of the times as per my title.  My shake is not a chocolate egg nog but a chocolate egg shake. 
Chocolate Egg Nog Shake

4 oz water
4 oz egg nog
1 scoop high quality chocolate protein shake powder
1 1/2 cups ice

Add to blender in order.  Blend until smooth.  

Variation: use vanilla powder

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Chili, good.  Canned Chili, bad.  Canned chili expired 2010, ugly.  And there's a lot of cans left. 
Chili-Topped Potatoes
Adapted from Southern Living 
Serves 4 

4 large baking potatoes
2 cans chili
1 can corn (or frozen) 
Shredded cheese
Sour cream
Chopped green onions or chives

Scrub potatoes; prick several times with a fork.  Bake at 400 in the oven for an hour or microwave according to manufacturer's instructions. 

Heat chili and corn.  Split potatoes, and top evenly with chili and corn. Serve with desired toppings.  Use more or less chili or corn as desired.

Clearance Cornmeal

I bought some cornmeal back in the 90's a $1.50 for 7.25 pounds.  And when I say some I mean lots.  And when I say lots I mean all they had.  Who could pass up a deal like that besides everyone but me?
Sour Cream Corn Bread 
From Ina Garten 
Makes 2 loaves

This all-American quick bread is usually served with dinner.  Ina bakes it in loaves, and then slices, toasts, and slathers it with butter and jam for breakfast.

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill medium-grind yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder (see note)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sour cream
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
Salted butter and strawberry jam, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line the bottom of two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-2-inch loaf pans with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, sour cream, and eggs and then slowly whisk in the melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix them together with a rubber spatula, until combined. Don’t overmix! 

Pour the batter into the prepared pans, smooth the top, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Place the pans on a rack and cool completely.
When ready to serve, slice the corn bread, toast it, and serve with salted butter and strawberry jam.

Note: Check the expiration date of your baking powder to make sure it’s still active.
Make It Ahead: Bake the corn breads, cool completely, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost, if necessary, slice 1/2 inch thick, and toast.

Leftover Ribs to the Nth Degree

I have been heating and refreezing some bbq ribs a bizillon times.  What used to be tender succulent meat is morphing to tough and chewy.  I'm hoping this gives it new life.  Or at least a clever disguise.  
Barbecue Chili
Serves 8
1 1/2 pounds shredded barbecue pork
2 (14.5-oz.) cans diced tomatoes with green pepper, celery, and onion 
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce 
1 cup barbecue sauce 
1/3 cup chili seasoning mix  
Stir together shredded pork and remaining ingredients in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Serve with desired toppings. (See "Toppings for Chili" below.)

Toppings for Chili: Good choices to add to your bowl include sour cream, salsa, diced plum tomatoes (they have a meatier texture and are easy to find in winter), shredded lettuce or spinach, shredded cheese, diced onion, sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, chopped avocado, sliced jalapeño peppers, cornbread croutons, and tortilla chips.

Those Were the Days

I had a cake mix with no expiration date on it.  That's how old it is.  Ah, the good old days.  Welp, it can only mean one thing; it's still good. 
Chocolate Chip Cake with Strawberries

Chocolate chip cake mix
Buttercream frosting (see below)
9-12 large strawberries, washed, hulled and dried

Prepare cake according to directions.  If you can't find a chocolate chip cake mix add some mini chips to a yellow cake mix batter.  I would say about one cup.  When cake is completely cool, frost.  Top with strawberries right before serving.  

Buttercream Frosting from Wilton
Makes about 3 cups of icing.

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1 t. vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons milk

Stiff Consistency: In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add cocoa and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Re-whip before using.
For Thin (Spreading) Consistency Icing: Add 3-4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

Some Old White Chocolate Chips

They have lost their fresh flavor, among other things, so its  time for them to go.  Oh, and some leftover popcorn.  
White-ish Chocolate Popcorn
Well I can't put yellow chocolate popcorn.
Adapted from C.C. 

24 oz white almond bark
5 bags of microwave popcorn (light)  

Pop popcorn, and remove kernels.  One bag of microwave popcorn makes 5-6 cups so I used 25 cups of leftover popcorn (the reason my popcorn is yellow).  Yes I did have that much.  And more.  Dump cooked popcorn into a big brown paper grocery bag.

Melt Almond Bark in microwave for 2 minutes, and stir.  Put in microwave for another 30 seconds and stir.  Or alternatively place chocolate in a heat proof bowl and place over a pot of simmering water.  My white chips were old, dry and clumped and seized up when I try to melt them.  I added butter, shortening or both during the melting process to re-emulsify them.  

Pour melted almond bark over popcorn and shake bag for a minute or two.

On a table, carefully rip seam of bag open and spread popcorn out with a spatula, ensuring all is evenly coated.  Good luck with that.  After shaking, I stirred a little then placed mine in a large bowl, mixed well and spread on waxed paper to cool.  

Calories: about 160 per cup

Storing Carrots Update

I am happy with the results of my carrot storage technique found here.  The picture is that of them brought up from the root cellar 3 months later.  There is some growth at the top.  I may cut off more of the top next time to see if it makes a difference. 

I finally did it.

I made something that even I couldn't eat.  The three year old salmon was too freezer burned to stomach.  It was so hard I couldn't tell if it was thawed or not.  But I shall rally again.  The following article has brought me hope.  

Recipes to rescue those aging frozen packs

Don’t discard them: Chowders, sauces and stews will usually hide the distress of a piece of fish or game that has spent a little too much time in the freezer.

HERE ARE SOME ideas for a New Year’s resolution that will give you some sense of accomplishment and help keep your food budget in line as you use food that you have hidden away in your freezer.

Most of us who hunt or fish have some kind of old or distressed fish or game in the shadowy depths of our freezers. These packages of frozen fruits of your hunting and fishing trips do not deserve to be relegated to the dump. Even if the fish or game has a bit of freezer burn, these recipes and instructions will usually make them more than palatable, even very tasty and nutritious.

First of all, unless you are stressed for time, pull out whatever package you want to use and let it naturally thaw.

Using your microwave for defrosting will usually degrade your game or fish even more.

We even have a technique to cook your main ingredient from its frozen state, without thawing.

We’ll start with fish and two recipes that work with all fish, even those that are often thought of as “too oily,” such as bluefish, mackerel or trout and salmon.

With these recipes, you may start your cooking with a frozen product, even if there is evidence of freezer burn.

Use whatever cooking vessel will allow you to cook your frozen block of fish by barely covering it with slightly salted water. Simmer until the fish will flake and then remove to a bowl large enough to prevent overflow.

Skim off any fat that is on the surface of the fish broth.

Reserve enough of the fat-free broth for your fish chowder.

Remove all skin and bones or any other waste, leaving only flakes of cooked fish.

In a pot large enough for your finished chowder, sauté a quantity of chopped onions until translucent in either butter or tried-out salt pork fat. Don’t skimp on the butter or pork. We like to use about a one-to-10 ratio of onions to fish flakes. If you like celery in your chowder, add equal amounts to sauté.

Cut up a quantity of white potatoes about equal to the amount of fish, skin on or off, whatever your preference. Add the broth, potatoes and fish to the pot and set to simmer at a fairly active pace. We like to season with ground celery seed and thyme and just a touch of garlic powder.

When the potatoes are cooked to a softness, add about the same amount of evaporated milk as you had for fish broth. For richer chowder substitute some light cream.

You’ll probably discover at this point that your chowder lacks the smoothness and richness you like. Add both salt and a bit of granulated sugar, a little at a time, continually tasting until you have reached a nice blend of tastes with no raw edge. Serve with a crusty white bread and plenty of butter.

For making creamed fish that is served over crackers, cooked potato or rice, prepare the fish as you would for chowder.

Using far less chopped onion, but also adding some finely chopped green or sweet red pepper, sauté in butter in a non-stick frypan and when translucent add fish flakes.

The amount of butter used will determine the richness, so go light for your first attempt at this dish and let the experience dictate butter amounts next time. Start with one or two tablespoons.

When the melted butter has been well dispersed into the fish, onions and pepper, stir in the same amount of white flour as your butter on light heat until the flour disappears.

If your fish is salmon or trout, you may want to add cooked peas to your taste.

Then slowly add whole milk, evaporated milk or cream until the desired thickness of the cream sauce is achieved. You may have to add liquid as you go to prevent the sauce from being too thick.

Serve over saltine-type crackers, toasted English muffins, boiled potatoes or cooked rice. Season to individual tastes with salt or pepper.

Here’s a real quick game stew recipe. Sauté chopped onions and/or peppers in a large pot. When translucent add cubed game meat and enough water to cover. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder (optional) and Bell’s Seasoning or sage.

When meat is cooked add cubed white potatoes and carrot rounds. Cook until veggies are soft.

In a pint jar with cover, put a couple of heaping tablespoons of white flour. Dip hot broth from the pot into the jar, stirring or shaking. (I use cooking mitts to prevent hand burn).

When the flour is absorbed, stir into boiling stew, a little at a time and stop when the preferred thickness of the broth is achieved. Then add salt and white sugar as needed to bring the richness out.

Serve with toasted garlic bread sticks or crusty, hearty bread. Voila!

Valentine Door

Metal flower container, red spray paint and flowers all from Hobby Lobby.