I know it's hot outside but I had a hankerin' (where did that word come from anyway?) for some homemade vegetable soup. I have a big pot of it simmering on the stove as I type. Generally, when I make soup, it's done "by scratch" as my mom and mother-in-law used to call it, and I cook the potatoes and other vegetables to put in the soup. Today's offering was a short-cut version but I swear it didn't taste any different from the soup I make the long way, so why haven't I made it like this before now? Glenn quickly scarfed down his portion and proclaimed it "good", so I guess it passed muster. We didn't use crackers since it's thick and hearty. I added a smattering of grated cheddar on the top after I ladled it into the bowls. Here's what I used:
SHORT CUT VEGETABLE BEEF SOUP
1/2 pound ground sirloin
1 large can Campbell's tomato soup, plus 1 can water
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 can diced, cooked potatoes
1 can mixed vegetables
1 can yellow corn
1 cup uncooked shell macaroni
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)
In dutch oven, brown ground sirloin. Rinse and drain, then place back in dutch oven. Add celery and onion and stir until partially cooked. Add soup and water, stir, then add canned vegetables (after draining liquid contents from each can). I usually rinse the veggies under hot water to remove some of the sodium. Cook macaroni as soup simmers. Drain and add to soup. Serve with grated cheddar and/or crackers if desired. For vegetarian version, simply omit ground beef.
I've cleaned the kitchen and washed the dishes but now I'm thinking about making another mess. I'd like to bake some cookies to take to my mom's caregivers. I make them something every few weeks and they seem to enjoy the homemade goodies. They give my mother wonderful care and baking them cookies is one way I can offer my thanks.
I just finished baking Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip cookies and Glenn taste-tested them for me. He always wants to know, "Are these for us, or are you giving them away?" At least he thinks to ask now. He used to help himself to cookies and would later learn they were for a bake sale or special occasion. These days, I always set aside a dozen or so for him, since I know he's going to ask for some. Today he came back for seconds and thirds, so I think they tasted ok. Who doesn't love cookies warm from the oven? I don't take any shortcuts with my chocolate chip cookies. I have the recipe memorized but it's just the one from the back of the Nestles semi-sweet morsels package with a few of my own touches. For the flour, I use half unbleached and half whole wheat. I also use dark brown sugar instead of light brown. I beat the sugar, eggs, and vanilla about 5 minutes with the mixer to produce a nice crackle on the top of the cookies as they bake and I add about a cup of coarsely chopped walnuts to the dough. Now you know all my "secrets" for baking chocolate chip cookies.