Well, finally last night we were able to have another soup night. It is supposed to be a regularly scheduled thing, but with birthday celebrations, trying new places to eat on the first Sunday of the month, and one Sunday of just not feeling like it....let's just say it has been a while. So, yesterday it was back to routine. Hehe...if you can call something that has only occurred one other time "routine".
We had to pretend it was cold outside, because it really was only just a tad chilly. I like making soup when it is COLD outside. I opened some windows and got to work. Tonight's menu was a pot of chili and a pot of broccoli & cheese soup. Sides were cornbread, tossed salad and marshmallow fruit salad.
Saturday we ran to the store to get a few of the necessary ingredients. While I was there I automatically reached for my normal chili seasoning package. Sure, it makes yummy chili, but something stopped me. I actually had the package in hand and glanced up at the price. Yep...for $2.99 I could have the seasonings to make the chili. All I needed to provide was the beef, the tomato sauce, the beans and the water....while it provided seasoning. I glanced at the ingredient list and realized I had all that stuff(well, all the spices not the preservatives and additives) in my kitchen cabinet. The Internet is an awesome thing if you use it right and I just KNEW that I could find a chili seasoning recipe. So, in the interest of trying to actually stay WITHIN my food budget this month I put the seasoning package down.
The thing with the Internet is you have to have an idea about food. You should be able to decide by looking at a recipe if it is something that will fly in your household. It also helps to go to sites with lots of reviews!! ;) After 5 minutes of searching, I had picked the recipe for my first batch of homemade chili seasoning. Now...this wasn't a recipe for chili...just the recipe for the seasonings. Check it out HERE! I had all that in my cabinet and it said it made enough for two pounds of ground chuck and what was I planning to use, but two pounds of ground chuck. Perfect!! So how did I make it and how did it turn out? Glad you asked!
I browned some chopped onion with the beef. Drained off most of the fat, added one and a half cans of tomato sauce, one can full of water, one beer(that just happened to be in the fridge, lucky me) and the seasoning. I let that simmer and bubble for over an hour. Then I added some beans and some thickener. Now normally you would use masa de harina...but I didn't have anything, but flour. So, I mixed about a Tablespoon of flour with some water, added some chili liquid to it and got it all smooth. Then I poured it into the pot. Worked like a charm. The chili was crowned a SUCCESS! Due to a big lunch, I wasn't hungry for dinner, but I did manage to store away about 1/2 cup to try later. It was all that was left in that pan!! I heard lots of YUMs all around the table. (Warms a momma's heart!!) Of course, this was all served with tostito chips, grated cheese, chopped scallions and chopped onions, corn bread and sour cream. It was an assemble your own creation type layout.
For the Broccoli and Cheese soup, I decided to visit the Food Network's Site. I rustled up a recipe from Emeril Lagasse. You can find it HERE! Oh, you noticed it says with croutons. I didn't make them....but don't tell the kids. Yes, they would have loved them....but in the interest of time, I chose to do without them. ;o) The soup was also a hit!! WOOHOO!! You gotta love a double hit night. The only thing I did different here was added one tablespoon extra of butter and flour and added 1 cup more chicken stock. (oh, and then just a little extra broccoli and extra cheese) I didn't puree the whole pot of soup. Instead, I just pureed a couple of cups in the Vita-mix to add some thickness to the soup. It was all good.
Next week we have a double birthday celebration with some extra guests invited. It won't be soup night, but the menu is already planned and I will have some recipes to share. :o)