Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wintergold Stew

During the fall months I decorate my dining room table with fresh fall fruits and vegetables.  I do this for a few reasons, one is that it celebrates the harvest and the other is that it teaches my children the different fruits and vegetables available during the changing seasons.  This is something that our culture has taken for granted, the supermarket allows us to have most fruits and vegetables year round regardless of season because they've shipped them from half way around the world. I prefer to buy items that are locally grown or harvested, and yes this includes my meat! lol. I buy most of my meat from local butcher shops because I've found the quality of the cuts is better plus I can custom order!
Anyways, back to the center piece and why its important.  Because the fruits and vegetables are fresh that I put on my dining room table, they of course need to be eaten.  Today we're eating butternut squash that was grown locally and we are using onions and parsley in it that I grow myself.  The other vegetables, sadly were bought at a supermarket that did not tell me where they came from, so I'm just hoping that they were purchased from local buyers, though I know that sadly the bell pepper was not... and there were no rutabaga's where I shop.

 Wintergold Stew
(recipe from

1 tablespoon  vegetable oil
1  onion, peeled and diced
2 stalks  celery, chopped
1  red bell pepper, seeded and diced
4  garlic cloves, peeled and minced
6 cups  water
2 cups  diced peeled  butternut squash
2 cups  diced peeled rutabagas
3 teaspoons  crushed  dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons  paprika
1 teaspoon  salt
1/2 teaspoon  ground black pepper
2 cups  chopped  kale
1/4 cup  chopped  fresh parsley


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. When oil is hot, add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add water, squash, rutabaga, oregano, paprika and salt; bring to a simmer. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes over medium-low heat until the rutabaga is tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the kale and cook for about 10 minutes more.
  4. To thicken, mash the squash and rutabaga against the side of the pan with the back of a spoon. Stir in the parsley and let stew stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  5. Ladle into bowls and serve hot.

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Taco Soup

Taco Soup... just reading the name makes you wonder what the heck! The name is a contradiction unto its self, taco's are not soups! Or are they? Well, no... but they can be!
I first learned about Taco Soup when I was in Junior High School foods class, I was surprised at how incredibly good it tasted.  I mean hello, its a taco in a soup!
Sadly enough when I went to find that recipe for the massive craving I had for Taco Soup, I could not find my over-stuffed binder of recipes.  So I did the next best thing, I looked on the internet for a recipe! (Imagine that *giggle* ).  I found a lot of recipes that have ranch dressing mix in the soup, and Im sorry, but last time I had a taco I did NOT add ranch.. in fact the very idea of ranch in my tacos makes me queasy. It could have something to do with my severe dislike for ranch, but my husband agreed that it just did not sound right.  So I found this recipe, and while I did add more meat and less kidney beans, it tasted just like a taco. Imagine that ;) Enjoy.

Taco Soup 
(Recipe from Our Best Bites)

1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
 1 1.25-oz. packet taco seasoning (about 1/4 c.)
 3 c. water, divided
 2 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes
 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
 2 15-oz. cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
 1 can corn, drained

Toppings: Pico de Gallo, light sour cream, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, tortilla strips, guacamole, etc.

Heat a large soup pot over medium.
When ready, brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic.
When almost brown, add the taco seasoning and 1 c. water.
Add the remaining ingredients, including the remaining 2 c. water, bring to a medium boil, then, cover and reduce heat.
Simmer for at least 15 minutes.
Serve with desired toppings.
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