Saturday, January 28, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

by Ina Garten

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees

Combine the ground chicken, chicken sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, both cheeses, milk, egg, salt and pepper . . . . 

. . . .until well combined.

With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 1/2 inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  They don't have to be perfectly round.

Bake for 30 minutes until cooked through and browned, set aside.  Resist the temptation of popping too many of these into your mouth.  Otherwise, there won't be any left for the soup.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a heavy bottom pot.  Throw in the carrots, onions and the celery.  Saute' until  softened, about 5-6 minutes.  This is my favorite part, I just love smelling the wonderful aroma rising up to my nostrils, I could stand there all day.

 Pour in the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil.  Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6-8 minutes.  Add the fresh dill then the meatballs and simmer for 1 minute.  Taste for salt and pepper.

Add the spinach.  Can you believe this will wither down to almost nothing??  Cook for 1 minute until it has all wilted.

Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Barefoot Contessa is one of the cooking shows I DVR.  When it's my turn to watch whatever I want on tv, I choose my recorded cooking shows.  Ina Garten cooked this Italian Wedding Soup recently and I'm so glad I got to DVR it.  To say I was ecstatic is putting it lightly.  About 12 years ago, I was introduced to Italian Wedding Soup at a small, family owned Italian restaurant down the road from where I worked named, "Gaetano's".    I work in a college football office and the coaches were going there for lunch and asked me if I wanted something from there.  I couldn't decide so one of the coaches said he would bring me some "Italian Wedding Soup".  I'd never heard of it but since I love soup, I was all for it.  This soup was like no soup I had ever tasted.  I was also a little surprised that it didn't have any tomatoes in it.  It was a brothey soup, with little eeensy pasta bits, adorable small meatballs with a wonderful savory, Italian flavor to it. They also served it with an amazing bread roll smothered in garlicky butter.  I loved it so much that that was the only item I ordered from their menu up until they closed a couple years later :(  So sad.

I have tried the Progresso version, as well as the Wegmans version and neither one have come close.  I've seen recipes for it, never desired to give them a try I don't know until I saw Ina making hers!  Can I tell how you how excited I was when I decided to make this recipe?  As I watched Ina cooking it, I would pause the DVR as she threw out the ingredients and directions for me to type and keep a record of it.  I woke up the next morning, planning my trip to the store after work which is what I did.  I got home and already had dinner waiting for me (thx to my wonderful hubby) but I had to hold myself back to stop from making the soup.  I just couldn't wait!!  We had to take our kitty to the vet this morning so I couldn't wait to get home to start on the soup!!  

If you take a close look at those meatballs, I tell you, they can be eaten just by themselves.  I don't know how many I popped into my mouth until it was time to put them into the soup.  Even hubby said they were good by themselves.  We're both convinced they'd make a good fingerfood for our Super Bowl party.  Hope you're having a good weekend.  If it's frigid cold outside where you live, how about serving some delicious hot soup??

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Sweet Pea's Throwback Thursday

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Football Helmet Cookies are In the Top Ten!

My football helmet cookies are being featured at the Football 101 Women site.  Go check them out if you want to know anything and everything about football.  Click here.  These chicks are the coolest!!

Here are the steps on how I made these cookies and other similar ones:

I will feature my Super Bowl XVLI football helmet cookies as well as our menu next week, featuring food and goodies from each town represented, Boston and NY (Patriots and Giants).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Savoring the Weekend a Different Way

Have not been able to chop, dice, cut, mince, shred, cook, fry, bake, saute', boil, blanch, brown, stir, measure, pour, blend, mix nor whip something up in my kitchen this weekend even though I've been home the whole time.  I'm not sick at all, as a matter of fact as I put in my Facebook status, ".......if you don't hear from me it's because I'll be buried in Mickey Mouse videos, exploring new frontiers with a dog named Henry, climbing Mt. Rainier, chasing wild cats, hanging out with monkeys, eating purple pumpkin pie, sliding and dancing with some alligators and then swimming at Jennings pond."  So if you haven't guessed by now, we watched our grandson, for the first time ever A-L-L weekend.  Parental units arrive late this evening (during the NFC championship football game).  I was very nervous at first, not knowing how he was going to do but it all turned out better than expected.  We've gone through half of the adventures on my list but I'm sure we'll get through all of them before mom & dad get home.  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Turkey Apple Wraps

In a large pan or skillet, heat two tbsps. butter and a little bit of oil so the butter won't burn,  saute onions on low-med heat until translucent and carmelized, season with salt while they're still cooking.  Set aside.  Heat another tbsp. of butter and little bit of oil.

After I peeled and sliced the apples, I placed them in cold water until it was time to use them.  Drain the apples and pat them dry.  Add the apple slices to heated skillet.  Brown on both sides for about 5 minutes each but do not cook them until they're mushy.  Once all the apple slices are browned set aside.  Refresh hot pan with another 2 tbsps. of butter and a little bit of oil and keep heated, if it starts to smoke turn it down on low as you prepare the next step.

Once the onions and apple slices are cooked.  Form an assembly line of the following:
Tortilla, apple butter, turkey deli meat, sauteed onions, browned apple slices, muenster cheese slices.

Take a tortilla and spread it with some apple butter

Add four slices of deli meat

Top with sauteed onions down the middle

Top the onions with the apple slices

Finally top with a slice of cheese cut in half

Fold over twice

Add to heated pan with butter and oil and raise the heat to medium (I added two more wraps to this pan)

Press down flat with a spatula and let it brown on both sides, about 3 minutes on each side.  Cook longer if you like it toasted and crispy..

Cut each wrap in half and serve with some chips or your favorite side dish!  Doesn't it look delectable?  Oooey, gooey deliciousness :)

A couple of years ago, my daughter and I went to a locally owned sandwich shop (Roly Poly).  I was intrigued by their Turkey Apple Wrap and knew I had to order it.  It did not disappoint, the carmelized onions with the apples and Muenster cheese went so well together my mouth and tastebuds were very happy.  I figured something like this would be simple to make at home.  On the menu, it breaks down the ingredients for each sandwich they offer so I remembered what this wrap had and went out and bought all the ingredients to try it out on my family.  It was a hit!  I haven't made them since we moved to Spottswood Place only because I had forgotten about them.  They came to mind a few days ago and I sent hubby out to the store to get the ingredients.  I wanted them as we watched Wildcard Weekend, Saturday night NFL football.  This would make a great Superbowl treat.  Now, I have to figure out what to make for tonight's games....

Look what I got straight from across the pond??!!??  A Gabriela Austin apron!!  My favorite co-worker :) Adam - shhhh, don't tell the others ;) and his awesome beautiful wifey, Morgaine went to England (that's where Adam's from) for the holidays.  They shopped at the awesome Covent Garden London and thought of me.  So thoughtful of them.  So in honor of receiving this gift, I wore my Gabriela Austin apron while I cooked my Turkey Apple Wraps and I got a lot of kisses from my grandson :)  It's a WIN-WIN!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Kitchen Bookshelf Pt. 1

Hubby is building me a bookshelf.  In my kitchen.  For my cookbooks and whatnots :)
Cutting the hole was very hard and probably would have been easier if he had the right tools. It didn't help that the walls were NOT drywall but concrete!  It wore him out and my poor baby's in bed already. 

Hubby is so good to me and loves to surprise me.  I was thrilled when he told me about his plans in building me a kitchen bookshelf.

Here's a view from the other side.  It's above the steps that go down to the basement.  He had another concrete wall to cut through.  The bookcase will only stick out about 4" at the most, so need to worry about bumping our heads.

**UPDATE - FEBRUARY 11, 2012**

Yay, we're making progress.  Still not done as you can see.  I couldn't wait and since I had to put my Winter Glass Tumblers out of the way for last weekends Super Bowl party, I thought these shelves would be the perfect spot and I can already tell how good they're going to look once the shelf is done.  Hubby has to replace the top strip as he ended up cutting it the wrong way.  Nothing comes easy, eh?  That will be his project this week.  I'm struggling with whether I want to stain the wood or paint it, I just don't know what to do.  My daughter suggests staining it a dark coffee or a chocolate brown color.  I might go that route, I don't know yet.  Hubby is also ready to drill a hole at the very top to install some recessed lighting that will be on a dimmer.  The two outlets on the wall were there from before.  The one will hold the dim switch.  The one below will stay as is.  I'm not sure why the previous owner put there and I'm not too crazy about it being there, but it does come in handy to charge my cell phone ;)

**UPDATE - FEBRUARY, 19, 2012**

I used Rust-Oleum's Ultra Cover 2x
Ivory Silk
Yes, it's spray paint for wood as well as metal, wicker and more and my favorite feature, it's fast drying!!
Hubby still needs to insert the top strip, then cut a hole in the very top for recessed lighting and then we'll call it a night!  Hopefully this week!!!

I shared this with:

FEBRUARY 25, 2012
Click HERE to see the final product!!
You're going to be surprised :)

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