16 Bean Soup

It has been a particularly cold week in Indiana.  We got at least 7 inches of snow and I ended up closing the store yesterday, which was a bummer because I was expecting a lot of people that work during the week to stop in.  I made the hard decision to close the store, so we’ve had a big sale going on.  Time is running out… I have about two weeks left to sell everything, pack up and go.  As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t done much cooking.  Unless you count the occasional coney dog and hamburger helper… ssshhh… don’t tell! lol
Today is Sunday and I’ve probably mentioned before that it calls for a real dinner… that’s how I grew up.  I wanted to make sure I cooked a real meal today.  This is the first time I’ve made 16 Bean Soup.  I have several other dishes planned for you this week.  I am excited to be cooking again!
I’m sure for most of you, ingredients like bay leaves are normal and not exotic.  This is my first time EVER using them.  My Mom was a fabulous cook, but some seasonings were never used.  I’ve been slowly adding new ones to my spice cabinet and I’m looking forward to using them.  Last year was the first time I used real garlic and not garlic salt or powder… I know, right?!  I’m 48 years old and heading into new culinary territory!
I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend with your family.  Have you ever made this soup before?  If so, comment below and tell me how yours turned out.
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INGREDIENTS
1 16-oz bag 16 Bean Mix
1 large ham shank or pieces of ham (1.5 to 2 lbs)
6 cups chicken, pork or beef stock and water
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 bay leaves
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
freshly ground pepper
salt (with caution)
(Feel free to add carrots, celery, fresh seasonings such as thyme and parsley.)  I did not add these things as I was trying to keep it close to the way I make pinto beans.
DIRECTIONS
1. SOAK THE BEANS:  Put beans in a pot with 3-4 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Boil 2 minutes, then cover, remove from heat, and let sit for an hour.  Drain and rinse. Beans will look gray  – that will cook out later.
2. LOAD POT OR SLOW COOKER  with beans and the ham.  Add the rest of the ingredients except salt.  Do not salt soup until cooking is done, since the ham is already salty. Use your judgment with thyme, parsley and pepper.
3. SLOW COOK on High for 4-5 hours, or on Low for 8-9 hours, until ham falls off the bone.
4. Remove bones (and bay leaves)
with a slotted spoon.  If soup is not thick, allow to cook for another hour with lid off.  Salt only after cooking is complete because the ham is salty already.
5. Serve with warm cornbread.
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Ham, Cabbage and Potatoes

I love comfort food.  It’s what I grew up on.  Today has been an especially cold day in Indiana and I was craving a hot meal in my warm home.  I fixed one of my favorites, but it’s one that is usually reserved for New Year’s Day and eaten for good luck.  My Mom always made it for us when I was growing up.  I highly recommend serving it with warm cornbread.  I took the easy road and used Jiffy mix this time.  Use whatever recipe you favor.

 

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Ham, Cabbage and Potatoes

 

 

Ingredients:

One large head cabbage

2-3 baking potatoes

16 oz ham (I prefer a lot of meat in mine)

3 TBSP butter

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

In a stock pot or similar pan, boil potatoes (cut into large cubes), cabbage that has been cut into wedges for 10-15 min.  Drain off some of the liquid, to keep it from being too soupy and add ham, salt and pepper.  Continue to boil for another 15 minutes.  Serve hot with warm cornbread.

 

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Meet Mabel

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Some of you that follow me through facebook may already know about Mabel.  For those of you that don’t, I purchased Mabel last Summer.  I had come across the idea of “glamping” and after a brief search, I found her.  I had  been looking at Class C motorhomes online, just for research of course,… and when I saw the price, I had to have her.  Forward to the day of picking her up.  The inside was worse than I had previously expected.  However, I jumped in the driver’s seat and she started right up.  I tried to talk myself out of it.  I even looked at a few others for more money.

 

It’s one of my traits… once I get an idea in my head, I can’t let it go.  I signed the papers, wrote the check and headed out of that parking lot.  I discovered that the gas gauge was broken, so I drove to the gas station next door and filled it up.  We got back on the road again and onto the highway… me driving Mabel and my daughter and nephews following behind me.  I think we made it past one exit.  That’s when I noticed it was getting HOT inside the cab.  Then, Mabel started slowing down.  I pulled over to the shoulder and she died.  I was fortunate enough to have had a nice salesman… I’m pretty sure he knew this would happen.  He gave me his cell number before we left.  I called him and he graciously let me use his AAA membership to have her towed the 3 hours back home.  What a long night!

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We finally got her back home and were able to park her in the store parking lot.  (My landlord rocks!)  After a few days of getting referrals, she was taken to an awesome mechanic.  He was nice enough to offer a spot at his shop to park her until we decided what needs to be done.  Just as I suspected, a new engine is in order.  I’m ok with that though, because I’ll be more secure taking her back out on the road.   I’m currently trying to put back a little money for repairs and once she’s up and running, I’m going to park her behind my house so I can start working on her interior.  It would be awesome if I can manage all this by mid-Spring!  I’d love to start planning our first trip!

mabel

 

I’m showing you these “before” pics of Mabel because this is going to be an ongoing feature at the Backroad Kitchen.  I’ll be posting when there are updates.  Once the mechanic is done, I’ll bring her home and take the before pics of the interior.  I am so excited to get started!!  I’ve been doing a lot of research online about remodeling old campers and life on the road.  At this time, I have no intention of living in Mabel full-time.  My plan is to take extended vacations.  I really don’t want to be too far from family, so the trips will be relatively short… probably a week or two at a time.  I’d love to hear from any of you that have taken on this sort of project and anyone who camps in an RV.  I’m also waiting for it to warm up a bit.  I’d love to see the Northeast and it’s a little cool for that right now.  Let me know about good campgrounds and any wonderful, little out of the way towns I need to see!

 

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Four Can Soup

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I found a recipe for this soup online about 6 months ago… I changed it to suit my taste and my lifestyle.  Since my daughter doesn’t live with me (technically… she has the one bedroom apartment on the second level of my home, with a separate entrance), I cook for myself.  I did that a lot anyway as she got older since she prefers a vegetarian menu.

I made my version with half the number of cans called for and added one of my own.  Even at half the amount, this made quite a bit of soup.  I also added seasoning.  You can tweak this recipe and make it your own as well!  As you can see by the picture, I prefer to top off my bowl with some shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  Delicious!

 

Ingredients

 

1 tsp garlic powder

1 (10 3/4 ounce) cans minestrone soup

1  (10 3/4 ounce) cans water

3  teaspoons beef bouillon granules, dissolved in the cans of water

1  (16 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained

1  (10 ounce) cans rotel

1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 lbs cooked ground beef

1 medium onion

1 medium bell pepper

salt and pepper to taste… you won’t need much.

macaroni – I didn’t measure… approx 1/3 cup uncooked

 

 

Directions
Brown ground beef in skillet (with onions and green bell peppers if desired).

Drain meat.

Combine all ingredients in large pot and simmer for 40 minutes.

Serve with corn bread or crackers.

 

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Italian Meatballs

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Some of you may already know that I post a lot of recipes on my facebook timeline.  The majority of those I share from friends or they are recipes that catch my eye online.  Everything I post here is something I have cooked myself and have eaten.  A few days ago, I was posting recipes that were most decidedly Italian and that made me hungry for an easy dish of spaghetti.  I love meatballs, but we never had them growing up… spaghetti sauce almost always had hamburger in it.  This was my first try… they were good!

 

Italian Meatballs

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tsp oregano

1 TBSP parsley

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp thyme

 

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand.

Use your bare hands to make sure everything is mixed together well.

Roll meatballs – approximately the size of a golf ball.

Drop raw meatballs into skillet with hot oil… turn as each brown.

Drop half-c00ked meatballs into a pot of spaghetti sauce and simmer for an hour.

Serve over spaghetti noodles.

 

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Savory Meatloaf and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

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The first two weeks here in Indiana were so cold!  Cold weather makes me want a hot meal of my favorite comfort foods.  This meal was delicious!  You may notice that the onion chunks are a little large in the picture.  I love onions! Depending on your taste, you may want to chop the onion more finely.  As with most meals, I don’t make my meatloaf the same way every time.  I rarely measure and I change the ingredients.  I like to think of it as a nod to both of my grandmothers.  My Dad has told me many times about when he and Mom were first married and she wanted to make him one of his favorite meals.  She asked my Grandma Stanton for her recipe and while she was happy to share, there were no real measurements.  It was a pinch of this and a handful of that… very frustrating for my Mom as a new wife.  I’m not sure if my Mom started out as a great cook, but she sure became one!  There were very few times that I ever remember Mom or Mammaw Hatfield using a recipe or cookbook.  If Mom used one, it was because it was a new recipe or one she rarely made.  I tend to use a recipe the first time or two that I make something… then I usually wing it.  What is your cooking style?  Do you follow a recipe to the letter, or do you make things up as you go?

Savory Meatloaf

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

1 TBSP Heinz 57 sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

1 TBSP mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

3 slices bread, torn in very small pieces

1/2 medium onion chopped ( I used approx 1/2 cup)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F.

Mix all ingredients.  I use my hands to insure everything is mixed thoroughly.

Spread mixture in ungreased loaf pan.

Bake uncovered 1 hour.

 

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

3 large baking potatoes

1/2 stick of salted butter

1/4 cup milk

1/2 – 1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 cup sour cream

Directions:

Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water.

Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.

Drain well.

Place potatoes in a mixing bowl.

Add  sour cream, milk, butter, salt and pepper; mash potatoes with a potato masher, then beat with a mixer until smooth.

 

For this meal, I added some easy Cheesy Broccoli.  Delicious!

 

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Slow Cooker Roast With Gravy

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When I was growing up, we had Sunday Dinner every week.  Just the five of us usually, but once in a while, Mammaw and Papaw Hatfield (Mom’s parents) joined us.  Mom made a special meal on Sundays.  As she usually did, she made things that were my Dad’s favorites.  One of those staples was Beef Roast.  Mom used a pressure cooker to cook the meat, then added carrots and potatoes.  I am not to thrilled about eating carrots, never have been… so as an adult, I wanted a new way to make my roast.  Another back story, I am fortunate (as are my sisters) to receive  1/3 of a beef every year for Christmas in our small chest freezers that our parents also purchased in the early 1990’s.  So!  I have a lot of beef and a sweet daughter who rarely ate it and now does not at all.

I found a simple recipe that I really like and have continued to make my roasts this way.  My daughter will even eat the potatoes and gravy in it.  I am a HUGE fan of one pot/dish meals and this is one of those.  The only problem for me is that I end up eating it for three days since I live alone. lol

Roast with Gravy

Ingredients:

2 lbs. beef roast, any cut

1 packet of dry onion soup

1 26 oz (family size) can of Cream of Mushroom Soup

2-3 Large Baking Potatoes

Directions:

Brown beef in skillet with a small amount of oil, such as Crisco or vegetable oil.

Add salt and pepper (to taste)

Add Cream of Mushroom soup and onion soup packet to crock pot.  Mix thoroughly.

Add beef to crock pot.

Cook on low for approximately 8 hours.

After 6-7 hours, add potatoes and return lid to crock pot.

 

*If You have leftovers as I do, please make sure your crock pot dish has cooled before moving it to the refrigerator.

 

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A Very Long Hiatus

I’m back after a very long break! Big changes in our household since I first started this blog. We are no longer in the house in the country. Long story, but best for my daughter and I! Everything happens for a reason. We are currently back in town, but in a good way… I am buying what was formerly my grandparent’s home. home2 Obviously, it needs a lot of work, but it’s the first place we’ve lived in a very long time that feels like home. My grandparents moved here in the 1940’s from Kentucky and did all the work themselves. Even with all of my furniture and decor, I still see the past in this home and I love it! I have started working on things inside that HAVE to be fixed/replaced and hoping to take care of the exterior appearance in the next year. Even though I’m back in town, I’m still a country girl at heart and that’s my style of cooking.

In addition to the move, I opened a store. It had long been a dream of my sisters and I… and our mother when she was still with us.

rusticsistersstorefront

Things are finally slowing down for me a little and I have more time to get back to blogging. I will continue to share recipes here and may even add some crafts and handmade items. Thanks for visiting Backroad Kitchen and I hope you’ll visit me again!

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Stuffed Meatballs and Egg Noodles

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Not sure where I first saw this recipe, but it seemed easy and that is my favorite kind of cooking! I especially love hearty and warm comfort food.

I kind of made up the recipe as I went… based on a recipe I saw in a magazine. I had the ingredients on hand and thought it would make for a yummy supper tonight.

Stuffed Meatballs Ingredients:

One pound beef hamburger
1/2 pound pork sausage
one egg
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
1/8 cup milk
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper
One box stuffing mix (prepared)

Additional Ingredients for Dish:
Egg noodles 12 oz bag
one can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup Family Size

Instructions:

Prepare the box of stuffing and set aside. Mix the ingredients listed for the meatballs in a large bowl. Make some small patties with the meat mixture. Make sure they are flat and thin. Put approximately a teaspoon of the stuffing mixture in the middle and shape the patty into a ball around it. Cook the meatballs in a skillet on your stovetop. Cook the noodles in a separate pot. When the noodles are done, drain some of the water and add the can of soup and the cooked stuffed meatballs. Let the mixture cook on low for an additional 10 minutes to thicken up, then serve!

This meal was tasty and hit the spot. I will probably make it again, but I think I’d prefer a homemade sauce rather than the soup.

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Hashbrown Casserole

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Ingredients
vegetable oil spray (I used Pam)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup queso cheese (chip dip in a jar)
1 (10 1/2-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 (8-ounce) package shredded mexican cheese blend
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 (30-ounce) package frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9 X 13″ pan or casserole dish.

In a large bowl, add the cream of chicken soup, milk, cheese, garlic powder, onions, hash browns, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper. Combine until well blended.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish (you could top this dish with potato chips for a crunchy crust) and bake for 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

I actually had to change my recipe around a little because the dish I was going to make would be missing some of the ingredients… but never fear, some day I will make my OTHER hashbrown casserole! Equally yummy! My daughter’s boyfriend said this dish was “Flame!” Whatever that means. LOL

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