Dinner from what’s handy


By LISA L. BELL

Take a deep breath. We’re winding down from the holidays, and easy is the key word. So grab whatever is in the pantry, fridge or freezer, throw it together and you’ve got dinner!

During the holidays, Emily Slaven of Poland and her mother and next door neighbor, Jane Evans, prepared a standing rib roast. After the meal, they saved the bones and the juice left in the pan and made beef stock.

“My mom still remembers her mom doing that,” said Slaven.

The bones and juices are placed in a large pot with about 12 cups of water, onions, celery and about 8 peppercorns. The pot is then left to boil for 4 hours. The fat is skimmed off the top, and the vegetables and bones are discarded. The beef stock is then covered and left to cool overnight.

“On the second day, you have to strain all of the fat out of it,” said Slaven. “Once you have the stock, you can do anything you want with it.”

Evans is going to add barley this time. Vegetables such as onions, celery and carrots can also be added on the second day of the process. The stock can then be frozen and saved for future meals.

“[The recipe] is from an old cookbook called ‘The Women’s Home Companion,’” said Slaven.

If you want, Slaven suggests a good time to make stock is when you’re already at the stove making dinner for the evening.

“Just throw everything in the pot when you come home from work, or while you’re making dinner or doing the dishes during the evening. It helps you get a good start on dinner for the next evening,” she said.

Ham bones and leftover Christmas ham can also make a good bean soup. Slaven said, “Sometimes we like to have breakfast for dinner.”

She’ll save the best slices of ham and store them in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. “I’ll chop it up and throw it in with some eggs.”

Sometimes, she explained, she will just heat the ham slices and serve them with waffles.

Slaven said, “Sometimes you look in your freezer and say, ‘Now what did I buy that for?’”

When that happens, she said, it’s easy to throw whatever it is into the crockpot with whatever vegetables you might have for a quick meal.

“Just the other day I found a pork roast in the freezer,” said Slaven. She took that out to serve with sauerkraut for the new year.

According to Slaven, chicken pieces are good for crockpot meals this time of year. Also, you can save some for creamed chicken, and you don’t have to use all that much meat in soup.

Slaven said that she and her mother have been enjoying “The Ultimate Soup Cookbook,” by Reader’s Digest, which is available at local bookstores.

“I got one for my mom and she was so impressed that she went and bought a copy for my brother for Christmas,” she said. “Some recipes use canned broth and take only 30 to 45 minutes. Now you can even get vegetable stock at the grocery store.”

Slaven explained that soups make a wonderful meal because they’re so complete. “You get everything in one pot,” she said.

Turkey Chili

1 pound ground turkey

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 (16-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

4 celery ribs, diced

1 package taco seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon red pepper sauce

3 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained

Brown turkey with onions and garlic. Drain. Put in crockpot and add remaining ingredients. Stir. Cook on low 6-8 hours.

Macaroni Chili

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

5 cups water

1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (7-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies

1‚Ñ2 cup ketchup

1‚Ñ2 teaspoon ground mustard

1‚Ñ2 teaspoon salt

1‚Ñ8 teaspoon pepper

1 (7.5-ounce) package Hamburger Helper Chili Macaroni Dinner Mix

Salsa

Cheddar cheese, shredded

Sour cream

In microwave safe bowl, cook meat and onion on high heat for 5-7 minutes until meat is no longer pink. Drain. Pour meat into crockpot and add water, beans, tomatoes, corn and chilies. Stir in ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper and contents of macaroni sauce mix. Cook in crockpot for 4 hours on high. Add contents of macaroni packet, cover crockpot and cook for 30 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Serve with salsa, cheese and sour cream.

Source: ourohio.org

Potato Soup with Dumplings

5 to 6 medium potatoes, diced

1 large onion, diced

1 stalk celery, chopped

1‚Ñ2 cup butter

1‚Ñ2 cup butter

3‚Ñ4 cup flour

11‚Ñ2 teaspoon salt

6 cups milk

Pepper, to taste

Dumplings:

2 tablespoons butter

2 eggs

6 tablespoons flour

1‚Ñ4 teaspoon salt

Put potatoes, onion and celery in pan; add just enough water to cover and cook until just soft enough to pierce with a fork. Do not overcook. In separate pan, melt butter; add flour, salt and pepper and stir until smooth and thick. Add milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Add to vegetables and water and bring to a boil. Prepare dumplings ahead by creaming butter with eggs; stir in flour and salt. When soup begins to boil, spoon in dumpling batter, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes.

Recipe contributed by Marcia Morelli to “The Dining Car: Shenango Street Station,” published in 1982.

Barley Soup

3 ham hocks, washed well

4 quarts water (plus more to add later as needed)

1‚Ñ2 cup diced carrots

1‚Ñ2 cup barley

1 cup pre-cooked baby lima beans

2 potatoes, diced

Cook ham hocks in about 4 quarts water; add more as it boils. Cook about 2 hours.

Add carrots, barley and lima beans. Cook until they are done. Add 2 potatoes, cook until done.

Recipe contributed by Elaine McGraw to “Holy Trinity Mother’s Club Cook Book.”

Vegetable Soup

3 to 4 pounds beef soup bone

2 quarts cold water

1 small onion, quartered

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups fresh or canned tomatoes

6 sprigs parsley

1 cup noodles

5 or 6 carrots, sliced

1 cup cut green beans

2 cups diced potatoes

1‚Ñ2 cup chopped celery

Cut half the meat from bone and brown. Add remaining meat and bone to cold water. Add browned meat, onion and salt. Cook slowly for two hours. Add vegetables and noodles and continue cooking one hour. Serves 8-10.

Recipe published in “Holy Trinity Mother’s Club Cook Book.”

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 (46-ounce) can chicken broth

1‚Ñ2 pound boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces

11‚Ñ2 cups uncooked medium egg noodles

1 can sliced carrots

1‚Ñ2 cup chopped onion

1‚Ñ3 cup sliced celery

1‚Ñ2 teaspoon dill weed

1‚Ñ2 teaspoon black pepper

In a large saucepan, over medium high heat; heat chicken broth, chicken, noodles, carrots, onion, celery, dill and pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken and noodles are cooked. Makes 8 servings.

Recipe contributed by Jean Elmore to “A Cookbook of Treasures: Bazetta Christian Church.”

Split Pea Soup

1 ham bone

1 cup dry split peas

1 onion, sliced

2 quarts cold water

1 carrot, diced

Salt and pepper to taste

Wash peas and soak 2-3 hours, or overnight. Drain. Put peas, onion, carrot, dash of salt and pepper and ham bone in kettle. Add cold water and cook slowly 2-3 hours, or until peas are tender and soup is quite thick. Add more water, if necessary, while cooking. Season. Run through a sieve if desired. If too thick, add boiling water or milk.

Recipe published in “Recipes Old and New: Women’s Association, the Presbyterian Church.” Poland, Ohio.

Five Hour Stew

11‚Ñ2 pound beef stew meat

3 potatoes, quartered

3 strips chopped celery

3 carrots, chopped

3‚Ñ4 teaspoon pepper

3‚Ñ4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons tapioca

2 onions, diced

1 pound can stewed tomatoes

1 (16-ounce) can tomato juice

Mix all ingredients together and put in covered casserole dish and bake in oven at 250 degrees for 5 hours.

Recipe contributed by Karen Kreps to “Double Your Cooking Pleasure: Youngstown Mothers of Twins,” Copyright 1981.

Note: All soup recipes can be easily adapted to a crockpot or slow-cooker. Be sure to cook and drain fatty meats such as ground beef or sausage before placing in crockpot with other ingredients. Sausage and pork can be boiled prior to adding to recipes. This will eliminate extra, unwanted fat.

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