Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wishing For Fall

Okay so I have to be honest...my house is all decorated for fall.  I just wish it would get cooler already.  I am ready for sweatshirt wearing weather.  I have been itching to start cooking "fall menu" things like beef stew, soups, pot roast, butternut squash, apple crisp....but I need the weather to go with the meal, haha I already know I am crazy!  You just can't eat beef stew when it is hot out.

I have been really interested in freezing meals.  If I can cook once and eat one/freeze one for later that would be fantastic!  Do y'all freeze any good dishes?  Now that Gabe is in school I feel like some night's it's so crazy to get a meal on the table before we need to be out again.  When I was grocery shopping last week I picked up one of those tiny, over-priced little cookbooks by the register that was by taste of home, fall freezer meals.  I thumbed through it and debated wether or not there were enough good things in it but I got it.

Today I had my great friend, Shawna Hicks and her sweet kids over for lunch today and I decided to whip up one of those recipes from my cookbook.  I decided to make the Hearty Ministrone soup thinking it would kind of be fallish but not too fallish since it was still warm out after all.  :-)  It was SO yummy and it made such a big pot that we had enough to eat it for lunch, dinner, and have enough to freeze for another meal.  Woohoo!  It was SO good and pretty easy to make.  Also, it was quite cheap.  I had most of the ingredients in my pantry.

I also served a yummy "fall" salad.  It's kind of similar to the one Cracker Barrel makes, the Autumn Harvest I think it's called.  I might of just made that up I am not really sure but it sounds good.  I ate this same meal for lunch & dinner but it was SO good & healthy!

I thought I would share the recipe with you!  I hope you give it a try too!


Hearty Minestrone Soup
(by: Taste of Home)

Ingredients
         1 pound ground pork
         1/2 cup chopped celery
         1/2 cup chopped onion
         1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
         1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
         1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
         1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
         2 cups tomato juice
         1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
         1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth
         3 medium carrots, chopped
         1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
         1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
         1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
         1/2 teaspoon sugar, optional
         1/8 teaspoon pepper
         
ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS (for each batch):
         1/2 cup water
         1 cup uncooked ziti or small tube pasta
Directions
         In a Dutch oven, cook the pork, celery and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain.
         Stir in the tomatoes, beans, tomato juice, tomato sauce, broth, carrots, zucchini, Italian seasoning, salt, sugar if desired and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until carrots are tender.
         Transfer 6 cups of soup to a freezer container; freeze for up to 3 months. Add water and pasta to remaining soup; bring to a boil. Cover and cook until pasta is tender.
         To use frozen soup: Thaw in the refrigerator; transfer to a large saucepan. Stir in water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Add pasta; cover and cook until tender. Yield: 2 batches (6 servings each)


I did not use any pasta in mine and it was delicious!  I wanted to keep it gluten-free in case we have company.  :-)  Not to mention the extra calories...every little bit helps, right?

Apple Autumn Salad

Baby Spinach
Dried Cranberries
Cinnamon Pecans
Blue Cheese Crumbles
Fresh Apple Chunks


Dressing:
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 Grated Apple
Small dollop of dijon mustard
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of salt
Dash of dry mustard
Medium squeeze of honey
1/2 tablespoon sugar

whisk all ingredients together a drizzle a little over salad right before serving!

Enjoy!

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