Recipes - Soups & Salads

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Cold Cucumber Soup

Cool as a cucumber on a hot summer day.  I love serving this cold soup and enjoy eating it even more.  Try this recipe with chicken salad and a fresh sliced tomato for a showy cooling summer luncheon.

4 large cucumbers (about 48 ozs.)
8 oz. non-fat plain yogurt
8 oz. low-fat sour cream
1 T. cider vinegar
1 1/4 t. salt
3/4 t. sugar
4-6 drops Lousiana hot sauce
2 T. fresh dill weed or 2 t. dry dill weed

Peel cucumbers, slice in half and if there are large seeds, remove them with the tip of a spoon.  Chop cucumbers (you may reserve 1/2 c. for garnish if you like)  Place in a food processor or blender and add remaining ingredients.  Blend until smooth.  Chill at least one hour; over night is better.  Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh dill and chopped cucumbers if you choose more texture.

Chicken & Barley Stew

While cleaning my pantry I realized a large stock of barley. I love to use things I have on hand to create new dishes. Do you cook with barley?  It's such a healthful grain; a real nice complex carb to use in place of rice or potatoes.  Most people know it only as an ingredient in Beef and Barley soup.  From a chicken soup recipe on the box, I added ingredients and made it my own. Here is my hearty and yummy result. Serves 20

3-4 large bone-in chicken breasts
Cook chicken in crock pot with water to cover (adding salt and pepper to taste) over night on low.  Lift out meat, cool, bone and chop in pieces.  Save broth, strain into narrow pitcher or jar.  Let fat rise to surface and skim fat off with a spoon.  (Cooking in this manner adds extra flavor.)

1 ½ qts. additional chicken broth or part beef broth
6 ribs of celery, cleaned and cut in 1’ slices
8 large carrots, peeled and sliced in thick diagonal slices
1 c. uncooked barley
2 – 14 oz. cans chopped tomatoes
1 T dry basil
1 t. dry thyme
½ t. dry oregano
1 t. salt
½ t. black pepper
Simmer in large soup pot while preparing other ingredients.
1 large onion, chopped in large pieces
2 T. olive oil and 1 T. butter
8 oz. mushrooms
3 large cloves of garlic
1 T. Worcestershire
2 T. brown sugar

Sauté’ onion in butter and oil until softened, add mushrooms and sauté’ until mixture begins to brown.  Add Worcestershire, brown sugar and garlic. Sauté’ a few minutes more, be careful not to brown the garlic.  Add mushroom mixture to simmering pot of veggies and cook until barley is tender, 45 min. Adjust salt, add chicken and extra broth as needed for the thickness you want. Let rest until serving time.  Reheat gently and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

Jan’s Potato Soup

This recipe was given to me when my sons were small by a friend, Jan Antwine. It has always been a favorite and I have passed it on to many other kitchens. A wonderful way to “hide” carrots in your family meals. After sampling this wonderful soup, several visitors at Holly Hill have asked for this recipe, I hope you will enjoy it too.

6 – 7 Potatoes, diced
2 Carrots
2 Ribs, Celery
1 Small Onion

Puree carrots, celery, and onion in blender (in batches) using 5 cups water. Pour into stockpot along with potatoes.

2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
1 t. Dried Parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste. Simmer 1 hour then,
1 Can Evaporated Milk
1/3 c. Butter
4 oz Velveeta

Heat gently to melt cheese.

Harvest Soup

From a newspaper clipping and shared by a friend, Luna Crocker, who frequents Holly Hill and brings her lovely creations. She expressed that she may never make this recipe but that it should be served at Holly Hill. One would never think this delicious hearty soup has the main ingredient of pumpkin. Try it on your family and share some with your friends. For a real harvest time presentation, serve it in a hollowed out pumpkin.

2 c. Finely Chopped Onions
2 Whole Green Onions, sliced
1/2 c. Finely Chopped Celery
1 Green Chili Pepper or 2-3 T. Canned Chilies
1/4 c. Vegetable Oil
3 Cans Chicken Broth or 6 c. Homemade Broth
2 c. Pumpkin Puree or 1 Can Solid Pack Pumpkin
1 Bay Leaf
1 t. Ground Cumin
1/2 t. Each Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
1 c. Evaporated Milk
2-3 T. Cornstarch

Sauté onions, celery and green chili in oil until onions look translucent. If using canned chilies, chop and add with broth.

Add: pumpkin, broth, bay leaf, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Remove and discard bay leaf. Mix cornstarch with milk using 3T if you like a thicker soup. Add slowly to soup while stirring. If milk is added to a hot liquid too fast it will curdle. Simmer until thickened and heated through.

Serve with a garnishing of grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.

Mincemeat Aspic

Several Holly Hill visitors have asked for this recipe so I have included it here as promised. A friend shared a recipe for a wonderful Pear Mince-meat that she makes for her family. I was so excited to be able to have mincemeat without meat. This aspic recipe was given to me by a lunch guest that said, “everyone always loves this salad”. She was right, I always get requests for the recipe every time it’s served. I like to serve it with a little topping of sour cream and cranberry sauce for color.

1 pkg. Lemon Jello
1/2 c. Cottage Cheese
1/2 c. Crushed, Drained Pineapple
3/4 c. Mincemeat
1/2 c. Chopped Pecans

Make Jello with regular directions from the box.
Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Pour in flat dish or in individual molds.

Serves 10

Puny's Cranbery Salad

Ashamed to admit it but I have not read the "Mitford Series" by Jan Karon; that's on my 2012 must-do list. The following recipe is taken from her "Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader" which I have placed proudly on my work island.  Back in the 60's and 70's most of our family and holiday events that involved food included at least three or four Jell-O salads.  Church and community cookbooks seem to have pages of Jell-O salad recipes.  If I think of fruit cocktail and lime Jell-O it's not a happy memory. However, this recipe is just an amazing compliment to festive meals of chicken, turkey and pork. Notice the secret ingredient is 1/8 t. salt.  Try to take note of odd ingredients in a recipe, usually it's good food-for-thought in your cooking.  Get yourself the Mitford cookbook if you don't have one.

3 (3oz.) pkgs orange jello
3 cups boiling water
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 c. sugar
1/8 t. salt
2 T. orange zest
2 1/2 c. fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
2 large navel oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 1/2 c. finely chopped celery
1 c. crushed pineapple in juice
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
 Leafy green lettuce

Place Jell-O in a large bowl and pour in the boiling water.  Add the lemon juice, sugar, and salt.  Stir for a couple of minutes, until the Jell-O is dissolved.  Add the orange zest, cranberries, orange pieces, celery, pineapple, and nuts and mix until well combined.  Pour into a 9X13 - inch pan and chill until set.  Place a square of salad over a piece of lettuce on serving plates.  This salad is best made 2 days before serving.

Sweet & Sour Black Eye Peas

This recipe is so versatile. It can be served cold as a salad or hot as a side dish and keeps very well in the frig. Shared by a dear, sweet lady and wonderful cook who has been a close friend in Tim’s family for many years.  Thanks Billye for sharing one of your family favorites.
Combine these ingredients:
3 cans black eye peas – rinse and drain
1 can carrots – rinse and drain
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 jar pimentos, drained
1 clove garlic, minced

Dressing: combine and mix with vegetables
¾ c. sugar and ¾ c. vinegar, stir to dissolve
2/3 c. oil and 1 can tomato soup
5 T. Worcestershire sauce

Chill covered for several hours or bake at 350 for 45 minutes and serve hot with a slotted spoon.  I have found that the dressing will cover a double batch.

Tomato Basil Soup

Many of us have large amounts of fresh basil during summer months.  One of my favorite ways to use fresh basil is in the following recipe.  My recipe box has several versions of this popular soup but I'm sharing our favorite and most requested.  Through trial and error this recipe came about.
48 oz. tomato juice or V-8 juice
28 oz. canned diced tomatoes or equal amount of fresh tomatoes
3 large cloves garlic finely minced or 2 t. garlic powder
2 T olive oil
18 fresh basil leaves chopped fine
1/2 t. black pepper

Using a large soup pot, saute garlic in olive oil for 1-2 minutes.  Do not brown.  Add tomato juice and diced tomatoes.  Bring to boil then simmer for 30 minutes.  Add basil and pepper and simmer another 15 minutes while preparing white sauce.
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
12 oz. half & half, milk, cream, canned milk or a combination to equal 12 oz.

Melt butter in small saucepan, add flour and whisk together for a few minutes.  Slowly whisk in cream, stirring while mixture comes to a bubbly simmer.  Cook until smooth and thickened.  Slowly stir in 1-2 cups of the tomatoes then add this creamy mixture back to soup pot.  Stir well to blend, adjust seasonings and heat gently.  Do not boil.  Garnish with additional basil. (sometimes the acid of tomatoes will cause a dairy based mixture to have a curdled texture; adding a small amount of tomatoes to the white sauce first prevents this from happening)