Tag Archives: vegetarian

Soup Mix in a Jar


Soup Mix in a Jar
Your friends and family will love this pretty soup mix in a jar that makes a nice, easy supper!
Use different colored ingredients for a festive look.

Layer in a pint jar, as listed (top ingredient at the top
of the jar):
1/3 cup uncooked pasta (to fill the jar) (we used whole wheat mini-shells)
1/4 cup dry lentils (orange)
1/4 cup split peas (yellow)
1/4 cup uncooked rice
1/4 cup dry split peas (green)
2 T. pearl barley
1/4 cup lentils (dark green or brown)
1 bay leaves
2 T beef, chicken or veggie bouillon granules (or two cubes)
2 T cup dried onion flakes
1/4 t. black pepper
1 t. dried garlic powder or flakes
1/2 t. dried Italian seasoning

In a pint jar, layer the ingredients as listed. Using a jar funnel will help keep messes to a minimum. At the top, wrap the pasta in plastic wrap, and place in the jar. Add enough pasta to completely fill the jar all the way to the top (this will help keep the layers from shifting). Seal tightly. You can cover with decorative cloth and tie with a ribbon or string (Use a rubber band to secure, then remove the rubber band after the ribbon is tied).
Attach an instructions label to the jar.
Include the tomatoes, sauce, and some cornbread mix, if you like!

INSTRUCTIONS (tie this label to your jar)

How to make Soup in a Jar
1 half pound ground beef, turkey, pork, ham, or Italian sausage, or leave out the meat for a vegan version!
8 cups water
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

TO PREPARE SOUP: Remove pasta from top of jar, and set aside. In a 6 qt pot over medium heat, brown beef; drain excess fat. Add soup mix, tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover, and simmer 1 hour. Stir in the tomato sauce; bring to a boil, add pasta. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Serve with fresh cornbread. The person who finds the bay leaf gets to do the dishes! (serves 4-6)


Bruschetta (Tomato Cheese Toast)

Bruschetta (tomato cheese toast)

Bruschetta (Tomato Cheese Toast)

1/2 loaf Italian bread, cut into 1 inch slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 stick butter
1 clove garlic, pressed
3 large tomatoes, sliced or diced, and salted
3 T. chopped fresh basil
8 oz. fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced or shredded
1 T. Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven or grill to 400 degrees.
Place sliced bread on a baking sheet. Combine butter, olive oil and garlic in a small bowl; melt in microwave. Brush over bread.
Bake (or grill) 8 minutes, until bread is slightly toasty. Remove from oven. Place tomato on top of bread, then sprinkle with herbs. Top with mozzarella and parmesan.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or browned and toasty. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.
Variation: Use peaches instead of tomatoes.

Poppa Paul’s Breaded French Fries

Poppas French Fries

Everyone loves these special fries the way Poppa Paul makes them. Perfect with a burger or steak.

Poppa’s Breaded French Fries

4 medium potatoes (1 lb.)
1-2 t. salt, chili powder, or Tony Chacherre’s
1/2-1 cup flour

Preheat 1-2” oil in an electric skillet to 375°. Peel potatoes if desired and cut into 1/2” sticks. Rinse under cool water in a colander. Transfer potatoes to a very large plastic bowl with a tight-fitting lid. Add 1 t. seasoning and stir to coat. Add 1/2 cup flour, seal lid. Hold lid securely and rotate bowl to completely coat the potato sticks. Open the lid. Potatoes should look dry. If they still have moist places, add additional flour and toss until the potato sticks are completely dry and coated with flour. If the potatoes sit and get moist, add more flour and shake again.
Fry in at least two batches in hot oil, until golden brown. Do not crowd the oil or the potatoes will be soggy. Drain on paper towels or metal rack. Add additional salt and/or seasonings to taste.
Keep warm in 200° oven until all fries are cooked. Serves 3-4.

Favorite Yellow Squash

Favorite Yellow Squash
Favorite Yellow Squash. I actually like it a little more browned than this, but I was in a bit of a hurry here.

Favorite Yellow Squash

2-3 T. butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 cups yellow squash, washed and sliced
Salt and pepper
fresh thyme or other herbs

In a 10-inch skillet with lid, sauté onion in butter until soft. Add squash and uncover. Cook over medium high heat, stirring until lightly browned. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and fresh thyme or other herbs. Reduce heat; cover and cook a few more minutes until tender but not mushy. Serves about 4-6.

Summer Squash Timbales

Summer Squash Timbales

Summer Squash Timbales
An elegant way to serve summer squash. These rich, mild custards are perfect as a side dish for grilled meat, alongside a salad or as part of a vegetable plate.

2 cups grated or finely chopped summer squash
1 t. salt
2 T. butter
1/2 c. finely chopped sweet onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. fresh herbs, finely chopped
(parsley, basil, thyme, or chives)
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 t. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1-2 T. soft butter
1 cup plain dry bread crumbs
Grated parmesan cheese
Fresh herb sprigs

Place the squash in a colander set over a bowl. Generously sprinkle with salt, mix with fingertips to distribute salt evenly, and let stand for 30 minutes. Gather squash in your hand and gently squeeze to release any additional surface moisture.
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter the bottom and sides of five 1/2-cup ramekins. Dust ramekins with bread crumbs to coat completely; shake out excess crumbs.
Heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute longer. Add squash; cook and stir 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in the minced herbs. Add eggs, cream, salt and pepper.
Fill the crumb-lined containers with the squash mixture. Transfer to a deep baking pan and add hot water to reach two thirds up the sides of the timbales. Bake, uncovered, until set, 30-40 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool about 5 minutes in the hot water bath. Remove ramekins carefully and place on towels. (hint: use a jar lifter). To serve, place ramekins on plates, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh herb springs. Serves 5.

Fried Okra

food images

Fried Okra

My brother Gordon has loved fried okra all his life, and I admit I have learned to love it. The best okra is homegrown, but you can find good okra in a farmer’s market, too. When buying fresh okra look for firm, brightly colored pods under 4 inches long. Larger pods may be tough and fibrous. Avoid those that are dull, limp or blemished. Frozen okra is also available, or you can make your own.

Fried okra is a staple in the south, and there are several ways to make it. My mother uses cornmeal, my sister prefers flour, but I like a combination of the two.

1 pound fresh okra
2 eggs, beaten
2 T. milk or buttermilk
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt or Tony Chachere’s seasoning
Peanut or vegetable oil for frying

Wash okra and drain well. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices; discard stem ends. In a bowl, combine beaten eggs, milk, and salt or Chachere’s seasoning. Add okra and stir to coat all pieces well. In a large ziploc bag, combine cornmeal and/or flour.
Dredge okra pieces in cornmeal mixture to coat well. (At this point the okra may be refrigerated and held several hours until time to fry.) Heat 1/2” oil in an electric skillet to 360°. Fry okra in batches until browned, about 4 to 6 minutes for each batch. Do not overcrowd the skillet! Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
Serves 4.

FROZEN breaded okra:
After dipping and dredging the okra, spread in a single layer on cookie sheet and place in freezer until frozen. Store in a large ziploc bag. Frozen okra may be fried without thawing first, but allow more time for the temperature of the oil to adjust, and do NOT crowd the skillet.

Note: fresh sliced tomatoes are a perfect food to have with fried okra. Other ideas: yellow squash, butterbeans or purple hull peas.

My brother Gordon
My brother Gordon

Homemade Old-fashioned Low-fat Granola

granola with apricots

Old-Fashioned Low-fat Granola
2 lb. 10 oz. box regular rolled oats (12-16 cups)
1 cup wheat germ
5 oz. (2 cups) coconut
8.5 oz. (2 cups) sunflower seeds
1 oz. (1/4 cup) sesame seeds
3 oz. (3/4 cup) broken pecans
3 oz. (3/4 cup) sliced almonds (or any nut you like)
2 oz. (1/2 cup) pumpkin seeds (they add a touch of green to the mixture, but you could substitute a
different nut or seed)

Mix all dry ingredients in a huge bowl.

dry ingredients for granola
dry ingredients for granola

Meanwhile, heat together:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. vanilla

Stir together until warm and the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir to coat.

Spray two large, huge, gigantic pans with butter-flavor cooking spray. Or, bake in two batches on two large jelly roll pans. Spread the granola mixture into the pans and bake at 325 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Watch carefully toward the end of the time and do not let the mixture get too brown around the edges. When the granola is golden brown and dried out a bit, remove from the oven and let cool. Stir to break apart.

Stir in: 1 lb. dried apricots, cut up (I use scissors)
Or any type of dried fruit you enjoy—cranberries, blueberries, cherries, dates, prunes, or raisins.

30 cups—60 servings (1/2 cup each)

Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to a month. May be refrigerated or frozen. Thaw before eating—dried fruits can get hard!

I usually give away some of the granola, because it yields a gigantic amount. It makes a great gift. I have several people who look forward to getting it. Of course, you can also half the recipe.

The cinnamon and vanilla make your whole house smell wonderful while it’s baking.

The granola is perfect with milk or yogurt for breakfast. It can be used as an ingredient in breads, muffins, or cookies. Try using it as one of the toppings on ‘Magic Cookie Bars’ or ‘Hello Dollies’.

Make a parfait with a cup of fruits, a container of yogurt, and about 3 T. granola. It’s pretty, healthful and takes a good long time to savor and enjoy.