The Best Soup Ever!

I made my favorite soup today, Stuffed Bell Pepper! My fave soup use to be Green Chili Chicken Lime, but not anymore! It’s still delicious but I have to side with the Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup! If you like bell peppers and Italian sausage, you will love this recipe!

I will share the recipe with you but before I do that, let me tell you that you can morph this recipe to make it your own. There IS wiggle room to make changes! Of course, if you don’t like bell pepper then that will be a problem because it’s not Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup without bell peppers! BUT — there are other changes you can make.

If you don’t like spicy Italian sausage (the kind I use), then you can use sweet Italian sausage instead. You could also use ground beef or ground turkey if you like — but neither of those is not as flavorful as Italian sausage! This recipe calls for a can of diced tomatoes with green chilis, but you can use plain diced tomatoes if you don’t want the added spicy flavor of the green chilis. If you DO like green chilis you could add more to accommodate your tastes! I use boxed chicken broth but I have used beef. You can use canned broth, low sodium, and your own homemade stock is great too! If you’re in a pinch and all you have is bouillon then that works but bouillon adds a LOT more sodium. If you like onion, you can add onion. If you like green bell peppers better than other colors, that’s fine! You can use a variety of colors as I do sometimes. You can use white rice or brown rice, instant or regular. It’s totally up to you!

Now, on to the recipe! Be sure to let me know how you like it if you decide to make it and also, what you did to change it to make it your own!

Aunt Debbie’s Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup

Ingredients:

1 lb. spicy Italian sausage (bulk or removed from casings)

14.5 oz. canned tomatoes with green chilis

3 bell peppers (roughly chopped, green or variety of colors)

64 oz. chicken broth

2 cups cooked rice (if using instant, can be added directly to soup without cooking first. Be sure to use the amount that gives you 2 cups cooked)

Cheddar cheese, shredded, used for garnish if desired.

Directions:

Remove sausage from casings and brown in a soup pot. Drain fat. Add can of tomatoes and extra green chilis if desired. Add chopped bell peppers and chicken broth. Let cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes. Then add rice. Let cook an additional 30 minutes, or until bell peppers are tender. Scoop into bowls or large soup mugs and top with shredded cheddar cheese.

There ya go! Great for a cold, winter’s day!

 

March 13th & A Recipe!

Today, is my eldest child’s birthday. 24 years ago I gave birth to an 8 lb. 7 oz. baby girl. She had chubby red cheeks, hair as dark as coal, a “cone head” and regardless of that temporary deformity, I thought she was the most beautiful baby girl I had ever seen. She still is. She was born on the 13th of March, a Friday the 13th. Her Grampa called her Jason for years…and occasionally he still does! Many people are superstitious about Friday the 13th and fear the worst when that day comes around. Not me. Friday the 13th will forever be a day of good luck for me because that’s when I met my baby girl.

I have had the pleasure (and sometimes headache) of watching my grandson grow this past 2 years. It’s been 2 years of ups and downs, fun and laughter, with very little peace and quiet. As I look back, I know I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

In less than a month, S.R. and my grandson will be moving out. I will miss them very, very much and hate to see them go but at the same time I’m happy for them to be able to move on and live their own lives. We’ve had many of S.R.’s “obligations” to tend to over the last year and soon they will be over. The stress of working around those “obligations” has overwhelmed me at times. I hope that S.R. can make it in this world and be happy with her life. I hope she knows (and she should because I’ve told her) that boyfriends sometimes come and go but her family is forever. I’m not happy with her choice in men and it doesn’t really matter what I think. I just hope they are happy and that things work out. We all have great expectations when we’re young; I just hope she’s not disappointed or hurt in the end.

I do hope they will visit often and that D.M. will want to spend the weekend with Gramma sometime. I will miss him dearly.

Tonight we had S.R.’s favorite cake, and I have to admit it’s my fave too. We have it every year for her birthday. If you’ve not tried it you really should! The recipe for HEATH CAKE is below:

Heath Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar caramel sauce
1 8 oz. tub whipped cream
3 Heath bars, crushed

Mix cake and bake according to package instructions. While cake is in oven, mix together the sweetened condensed milk and caramel sauce.

When cake comes out of oven, and while still very warm, poke many holes throughout cake. (I use a metal skewer.) Pour the caramel mixture over the cake and let it seep into the holes you’ve poked. Once it has cooled down, smooth whipped cream over top. Sprinkle crushed heath bar pieces all over top. Chill cake before serving. Enjoy!!

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pie Recipe

I’ve been so preoccupied with the holidays that I haven’t had a chance to post the recipes I had planned to. Here’s a de-lish ice cream pie that I’ve made a few times for my family. It’ll be a big hit!

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pie

1 graham cracker pie crust
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. honey
1 qt. vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1/2 c. chopped cashews (or peanuts)
6 oz. chocolate fudge topping
8 oz. whipped cream

Mix peanut butter and honey. Stir mix into softened ice cream. Spoon half of the ice cream into pie crust. (Work fast, especially if you’re making during the warm months!) Sprinkle with half of the cashews. Drizzle 4 oz. of the fudge topping over nuts. Spoon the remaining ice cream onto pie. Sprinkle with remaining nuts and drizzle with remaining chocolate over top. Spread whipped cream over top. Freeze for 6 hours.

NOTES: You can add your own touch; a bit of caramel syrup or mini-chocolate chips, shaved chocolate, shredded coconut, bits of crushed heath bar or peanut brittle even! Have fun and enjoy!

Homemade Pizza!

When my children were small, I decided that I was going to create my own family traditions for the holidays. One of those traditions is homemade pizza on Christmas Eve. It’s very simple really. If I’m pressed for time, I buy the pre-made pizza crusts but homemade from scratch is sooo much better! All you need is a good crust, a good sauce and your favorite toppings and then you’ve got your own homemade pizza! Here’s my recipe:

The crust:

4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups warm water
2 envelopes yeast
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
 
Mix the yeast and warm water, then add the sugar. Wait for the yeast to begin to get bubbly. Then start adding the flour until all is combined and the dough is slightly sticky. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let the dough rise in a warm area for about 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a floured area and knead with your hands about 5 to 10 times. Roll the dough to desired thickness and put in your pans. I normally bake my pizza crust for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees before putting sauce and other toppings on. This keeps the dough from getting soggy. It doesn’t always get soggy so you don’t have to do it this way.

The sauce is a bit more difficult to put down since I actually just throw it together, so if you have a question just give me a holler!

1 (28 oz.) can stewed tomatoes, crushed
2 (28 oz.) cans of tomato sauce
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or 2 teaspoons garlic powder (or both, if you love garlic like I do!!)
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (if you like your sauce on the spicy side!)
1 – 2 teaspoons sugar (if you like your sauce on the sweet side!)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste (If your tomato sauce has added salt you may not need to add more.)

Notes: I wouldn’t use both red pepper flakes and sugar. Choose one or the other. You can choose to add finely chopped onion and bell pepper, sliced mushrooms and ground Italian sausage. If you like your sauce chunky, leave chunks of tomato, mushroom, bell pepper and onion in the sauce. If you like it smooth, then run your veggies in the food processor with a little tomato sauce before adding to pot. It’s just all about what YOU like and tweaking this recipe (or any other recipe) to satisfy your own family’s tastes. This sauce doubles as a Spaghetti Sauce so make a batch and then save some for your pizza! 

Let your sauce simmer while you prepare the pizza toppings. (It’s best if it simmers for at least an hour.)

Toppings:

I use a combination of Mozzarella and Monterey Jack chesses, Parmesan and /or Romano cheese, pepperoni, Genoa salami, anchovies, black olives, mushrooms, bell pepper. You can use whatever your heart desires! 
 
When your pizza is topped and everyone’s hungry, bake it at about 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.
 
Ta-da! Our Christmas Eve Tradition is alive again! Enjoy! 

Popcorn Cake Recipe – A Family Favorite

I’m going to share a family favorite with everyone who’s interested. I don’t do that often. Call me stingy. This favorite recipe came from a co-worker back 25+ years ago. If you know me, then you’ve most likely had this yummy dessert before OR I’ve given you the recipe. Trust me, this is so yummy your kids will be screaming for more! So, here’s the recipe – the first recipe in a series of my favorite holiday (or anytime) recipes. Enjoy!

Popcorn Cake

1 lb. miniature marshmallows
2 sticks margarine
1 lb. M&M’s*
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
16 cups popped popcorn
1 small bag M&M’s with peanuts*

*Seasonal M&M’s can be used for the holidays.

Melt margarine on the stove, not in the microwave. Add marshmallows and let them melt. Turn off heat. Add and mix the rest of the ingredients. (I usually transfer the melted marshmallow and margarine to a large aluminum bowl for mixing in other ingredients.) Put in angel food cake pan that has been sprayed with Pam or buttered. Press mixture lightly into pan. Chill and remove from pan.