Spring Onion Soup

Sun streaming through the breakfast room window on my little Spring Onion Soup!

Don’t be sad thinking you can’t have your beloved French Onion Soup just because the winter is over! I’ve skinnied it up for you! This comes in under 200 calories for a full cup and a half serving. So sharpen your pencil and take note of this. I’m playing for keeps good people, and cooking in a lively Spring has Sprung manner.

1/2 stick butter
3 sweet onions, sliced
1 cup dry sherry
6 cups water
6 envelopes of Herb Ox granulated beef bouillon*
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t salt
1/2 t dried thyme
6 slices French bread, toasted on both sides with olive oil, salt, and pepper
6 oz shredded Fontina cheese
Snipped chives for garnish

(This is a duo serving; hence the onions are scarce! Don’t want to mislead anyone.)

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.
Add onions and cook 12 to 15 minutes, or until onions are soft and lightly browned.
Stir in sherry and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Bring water to boil in soup pot.
Add in bouillon and stir to combine.
Add onions to broth pot.
Add Worcestershire, salt, and thyme.
Cover and cook on low 30 minutes.

Preheat broiler.
Ladle soup into 6 ovenproof ramekins.
Top with bread slice.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Broil until cheese melts.
Sprinkle with chives before serving.

*I use sodium free broth whenever I can. Do you know that one serving of canned broth can carry 800+ mg of sodium. SNAP. Who needs that? Am I right!

Topping the soup with toasty French bread slice

And then, the cheese please

Cinnamon Sugar Crisps (Mexican Toast)

A little sweetness for your morning or evening. Here’s the perfect little “pick me up” after a long day of errands that is inherent this time of year. And the bonus…your smallest children and grandchildren can participate in the creating. Spread the joy. Share the love.

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1/2 stick butter
6  7 inch tortillas
2 Tbs sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Place oven rack in center position of oven.
Preheat oven to 500°.
Melt butter in shallow baking pan in oven, about 2 minutes.
Spread tortillas in baking pan, overlapping slightly and turning each to coat both sides with butter.
Stir together sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
Sprinkle evenly over tortillas.
Bake until golden and puffed in spots, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Watch carefully!dessert-mexican-cinnamon-toast-iv

Slice into wedges and watch them disappear.

Onion and Pasta Soup

End of Summer Bummer? I don’t think so! Pep up sweet people. As we are officially in the final week of Regular Season Baseball, I give you one of my favorite soups, yummy in baseball weather, and on into the fall and winter. Then bring it out again for Spring Training next year! It’s just that and a bit more. To honor Big Papi and his retirement from the Red Sox this year (more on that coming soon!), Liam and I made this with pasta in the shape of a baseball glove. H.E.L.L.O. lunch or dinner for all Four Seasons. Grand Slam!

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Look at that sneaky pea that jumped out of the bowl and on to the plate!

Here’s what you need!

1/2 stick butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 large leek, white part only, thinly sliced
2 cups frozen peas
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
1 (or more) cups small pasta
1 t kosher salt
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
8 torn basil leaves
Lemon Sour Cream for garnish, optional
Fontina Toast for garnish, optional

And here’s how you do it:

In 4 quart Dutch oven, heat butter and olive oil over medium low heat until butter is melted.
Add sweet onion and cook 15 minutes until translucent, stirring occasionally.
Add leeks.
Cook, covered 10 minutes.
Stir in peas, chicken broth, water, pasta, and salt.
Bring to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered 5 minutes.
Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and basil.
Serve with Lemon Sour Cream and Fontina Toast.

Lemon Sour Cream:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs lemon juice
Season with salt and pepper.
Mix all together in small bowl.

Fontina Toast:
Sour dough bread, sliced
6 slices Fontina cheese
Arrange bread slices on baking sheet.
Top with cheese.
Broil 4 inches from heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until cheese is melted.

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Liam sorted the pasta, as we wanted to use only the natural color since there would already be green in the soup with the peas and basil. Sweet little sous chef!

 

Pumpkin Bread

©PEGhardee

©PEGhardee

Here’s your destination for holiday inspiration! SO happy to have a full house for the week of Thanksgiving, that I’m doing things now that can successfully be completed in advance. Admittedly the kitchen is my sanctuary most of the time, but I want to get out there and play with my gang..driveway hockey, big wheels, Heads Up, Hardee Pardee, and who knows what else. This is a fab breakfast bread. Bonus…it freezes fabulously (I tested that). Now just sit back and wait for the oohs and aahs. Note: Recipe doubles beautifully. And, I made a pan of mini loaves as well (see pic below) reducing baking time to 25 minutes. Can’t wait for the smiles!

2 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/8 t ground cloves
1 T baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs

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©PEGhardee

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1 cup flour and all other ingredients in mixing bowl.
Beat with electric mixer at low speed until blended.
Increase speed to high for 2 minutes.
Gradually add remaining flour while on low speed until well blended.
Pour batter into greased 9 x 5 loaf pan.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes, until knife inserted comes out clean.

Slice and savor!

Jalapeño Cornbread

Get back in the real world! Try this weekend warmer and you are sure to please yourself and anyone else fortunate enough to share in the goodness. Mmmm  mmmm Good!Bread Jalapeno Cornbread II1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 large eggs
3 Tbs nonfat sour cream
8 3/4 oz can cream style corn
12 slices of jalapeno peppers, drained and chopped
1 1/2 t vegetable oil
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°.
Heat an 8” empty oven proof skillet in oven for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, corn, jalapeno peppers and oil.
Add to dry ingredients, stirring until moistened.

Remove skillet from oven, and coat with cooking spray.
Pour batter into hot skillet.
Return to oven and bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool 30 minutes.
Invert on to your hand or a plate.
Place right side up on serving plate.
Cut into wedges.Bread Jalapeno Cornbread

Crispy Bread

A couple of weeks back as I was whizzing through FB posts I stumbled across this crisp bread recipe.  It just looked too easy to be true. Guess what? It’s not!

Bread Crispy I3 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 t salt
1/2 t Rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups water

Bread Crispy II

Not exactly a ball, but it worked for me!

In large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and yeast.
Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 – 18 hours.
Overnight works terrifically.
Preheat oven to 450°.
Place an empty cast iron pot, lid on, in the oven and heat pot for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.
Cover with dish towel and let dough rest while pot is heating.
Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.
Bread Crispy IIICover and return to oven.
Bake 30 minutes.
Remove lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then SLICE IN!

Perfect with a crisp salad on these steamy summer evenings. And don’t forget to add another crisp element…a cool glass of Skinny Girl California White, at a mere 100 calories per glass. Guess that depends on your pour style! Cheers!

Mozzarella Biscuits

Take me back to lovely 12,000 acre Primland where I took up residence last week on a house-party with fun, adventuresome friends…more on that coming soon. These biscuits are simple, quick, and just perfect when you find yourself in charge of breakfast in the mountain country of Virginia! Just add local fresh berries and coffee, and that’s my idea of breakfast away from home. This is straight out of Lee Bailey’s Soup Meals, published in 1989.  Bailey was a published author (18 books!), food and entertaining guru long before Ms. Stewart!

Bread Mozarella biscuits2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 t salt
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
8 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 450º.
Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda.
Cut in butter with 2 knives, crisscrossing and turning bowl.
Add 1 cup of the buttermilk and mix.
*You are trying to make a dough that is thick enough to drop from a spoon with a nudge.
Add more of the buttermilk if dough is too thick.
Stir in cheese.
Drop onto a well greased baking sheet by the tablespoonful.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.
*Check after 14 minutes, as ovens vary.
*These biscuits will brown.