Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Cup of Comfort

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday—I spent yesterday watching about 7 inches of snow fall from the sky, and more to come, which is why I found it necessary to buy new boots to add to my collection of about 15 pairs..I know, crazy a little excessive.




Last week on Tuesday I taught my monthly cooking class to the community as you might remember me saying. I had such a fun group of people show up! They were eager to learn and loved participating and interacting. I usually have one person help out with each recipe to keep everyone feeling as if they contributed to the end results!

This month’s class was called “A Cup of Comfort” due to the fact that Minnesota winters can chill to the bone, and soup is a mainstay November-March! And who doesn’t want to add fun and fresh new recipes to their line up of soups?

Here’s the recipe books I prepared for the students…


The menu:

  • Farm Rich Mini Philly Cheesesteak Appetizers
  • Homemade bread bowls
  • Homemade tortilla bowls
  • Pumpkin bowls
  • Taco Soup
  • Minestrone with Pesto
  • Ginger-Pumpkin Soup
  • Roasted Vegetable Chicken-Rosemary Soup

Setting up all the tasting bowls…


I teach in the Home-Ec room, so I have the convenience of using up to 7 kitchens, but I only used 2 this time around! 


First up were the appetizers courtesy (for free) of Farm Rich. It’s their newest line of frozen appetizers, the Mini Philly Cheese Steaks: "Savory steak, grilled onions, and 100% real, white American cheese in a crispy crust makes for a yummy snack or quick meal any time.”



Review: I really enjoyed the ease of just opening the bag, taking the sandwiches out, and baking for about 18 minutes. Everyone asked if they were homemade, so if you’re looking for a convenience item with a homemade charm, this is it!

Soup #1


Taco Soup


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
  • 2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
  • 1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
  • 1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional
  • 1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix 
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Grated cheese, for garnish
  • Chopped green onions, for garnish
  • Directions:

    • Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a stockpot.
    • Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove.
    • To serve, top with sour cream, cheese, and green onions.

    Soup #2


    Ginger-Pumpkin Soup


    • 2 can(s) (15-ounce) pumpkin puree
    • 3 can(s) (14 1/2-ounce) chicken broth
    • 1 can(s) (11 1/2-ounce) pear nectar, I used 11 1/2 oz pear juice 
    • 1/3 cup(s) creamy peanut butter, we all agreed chunky would be great too
    • 2 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped
    • 2 tablespoon(s) grated fresh ginger root
    • 2 tablespoon(s) finely chopped green onion
    • 1 tablespoon(s) fresh lime juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cayenne pepper
    • Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
    • Chopped chives (optional)


    1. In a 6-quart saucepan, combine pumpkin puree, chicken broth, and pear nectar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes.
    2. In a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with chopping blade, process 1 cup pumpkin mixture with peanut butter until smooth. Return to saucepan with the remaining pumpkin mixture. Add garlic, ginger root, green onion, lime juice, salt, and cayenne pepper; cook 10 minutes over medium heat.
    3. Divide soup among soup plates and garnish with pumpkin seeds and chives, if desired. Serve immediately.

    Soup #3


    Minestrone With Pesto


    • 8 ounce(s) dried Great Northern beans, about 1 1/3 cups
    • 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
    • 3 medium carrots, sliced
    • 2 stalk(s) celery, sliced
    • 1 large onion, diced
    • 2 ounce(s) pancetta or bacon, sliced, diced
    • 1 pound(s) redpotatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 2 medium (8 ounces each) zucchini, each cut lengthwise into quarters, then crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
    • 1/2 medium (1 pound) head savoy cabbage, sliced to equal 4 cups
    • 1 large garlic clove, crushed with garlic press
    • 2 can(s) (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth, (or 3 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth)
    • 1 can(s) (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
    • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
    • Pesto


  • Rinse beans under cold water and discard any stones or shriveled beans. In large bowl, place beans and 6 cups water. Allow to stand at room temperature overnight. (Or, in 4-quart saucepan over high heat, heat beans and 6 cups water to boiling; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour.) Drain and rinse beans.
  • In 4-quart saucepan over high heat, heat beans and enough water to cover by 2 inches to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 40 minutes to 1 hour until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Drain beans.
  • While beans are cooking, in 5-quart Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, and pancetta; cook 10 minutes or until onions begin to brown, stirring occasionally.
  • Add potatoes, zucchini, cabbage, and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until cabbage wilts.
  • Add chicken broth, tomatoes with their juice, and 1 cup water; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • In blender or food processor with knife blade attached, blend 1/2 cup beans with 1 cup soup until pureed. Stir salt, bean puree, and remaining beans into soup; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Serve soup with Pesto
  • Soup #4


    Roasted Vegetable-Rosemary Chicken Soup


    • 1  cup  (1-inch) cubed carrot
    • 1  cup  (1-inch) cubed onion
    • 1  cup  coarsely chopped mushrooms
    • 1  cup  (1-inch) pieces celery
    • 1  cup  (1-inch) pieces red bell pepper
    • 2  tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil
    • 1  cup  water
    • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh rosemary
    • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
    • 4  (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    • 2  garlic cloves, minced
    • 1  pound  skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 2  cups  uncooked whole wheat rotini pasta


    • Preheat oven to 375°.
    • Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; drizzle with oil, and toss well to coat. Arrange vegetable mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan lined with foil. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.
    • Combine water and next 5 ingredients (through chicken) in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Add roasted vegetables; simmer 30 minutes. Bring soup to a boil. Add pasta; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


    Homemade Bread Bowls


    • 1 Loaf Rhodes ™ Bread Dough or 12 Rhodes™ Dinner Rolls, thawed but still cold
    • 1 egg


    • Cut loaf into thirds. Form each third into a ball. If using rolls combine 4 rolls to make a ball. Repeat with remaining rolls.

    • Place on a large sprayed baking sheet. Brush with egg.

    • Cover with sprayed plastic wrap. Let rise until double in size. Remove wrap and bake at 350°F 25 minutes or until golden brown.

    • Cool and slice off top. Hollow out bread and fill with favorite dip, chili or soup.


    Tortilla bowl recipe here.

    See you all on Thanksgiving!!!!

    What soup do you think you would like best?


    sophia said...

    The ginger pumpkin, of course!! And served in that awesome pumpkin bowl, please! And DANG! You've sure been snowed in! Enjoy a warm day indoors! :)

    Erica said...

    I want to sign up for one of your classes! I just book marked this. i'm all about that minestrone! Happy Thanksgiving :) (almost)

    Amy at TheSceneFromMe said...

    I would like the taco soup best! I made some a few weeks ago and posted about it too!

    And a girl can never have too many shoes! I keep telling myself that!

    Kathleen said...

    This looks like a delicious line up of soups. After looking at your pictures I feel guilty ever saying its cold in southern California!!!

    Jessica@tastyandtrim said...

    Aw it's so great that you teach others how to cook! I think my favorite would be the taco soup - I love me some Mexican food :) Have an amazing Thanksgiving!!

    Mary said...

    All your soups are beautiful, but because I'm such a stick-in-the-mud I'd Have to say the chicken is my favorite. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

    Krista said...

    All the soups sound great btu I think I would try the taco one first. ;)

    I have the same view from my windows today. Got my boots just in time!

    Kerstin said...

    Ginger pumpkin please! But they all look so tasty - such a fun class you get to teach!

    Katrina said...

    All those soups sounds great. We have snow here today and soup sounds great!

    Jaclyn (ananda prana) said...

    The homemade bread bowls looks fantastic!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog so I could find yours :)

    The Healthy Hostess said...

    I loooooove the bread bowl! I am going to do this when I have company this weekend! GREAT IDEA!

    Chef Dennis said...

    it looks like you made some pretty great food! What a wonderful way to give back to the community and have fun at the same time...keep up the good work!

    Kevin said...

    Those are some tasty looking soups!

    Rachel said...

    That's so cool that you teach a cooking class. I would love to do that! How did you get into teaching?