SO on Comfort Food: v 2, Issue 2: Potato Bacon Soup

Today is a raining, dark day suitable for bundling up, reading books, watching TV, and eating food that makes you feel better.  Before we moved here we lived near several Tim Horton’s.  For those not in the know, Tim Horton’s is a coffee shop from Canada.  Barb loves Tim Horton’s.  As the resident non-coffee drinker I like Tim Horton’s soups.  When we were stuck in the hell that was our residence before we moved up here we learned how to make a pretty good homage to Tim Horton’s Potato Bacon soup.

I present to you our Potato Bacon Soup from FU! Crockpot.

Potato Bacon Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Applewood Smoked Bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 pound Pepper Bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, sliced thin
  • 4 large potatoes, cubed, skin on
  • 2 red potatoes, cubed, skin on
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 cups 1/2 and 1/2
  • OR 3 cups of milk and 1 cup of cream

Directions

Cook the bacon until crisp.  Do not cook until turned into carbon, but until very crisp.  You want as much bacon grease out of the bacon because whatever grease is left in/on the bacon will get into your soup when you add the bacon in (see below).

Pre-heat the crockpot on HIGH.  Into the pre-heated crockpot, put everything except the bacon.  Make sure that the milk, cream, and/or half-and-half is to the top of the ingredients.  Allow everything to cook for two to three hours.  Check to see if potatoes are fork tender.  If the potatoes are fork tender, add in the bacon and taste.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for an additional half-hour to hour.  Check potatoes they should be very soft.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve with bread.

Enjoy.

Speaking Out on Comfort Food: v2, issue 1: Shredded Pork and Slaw

Yesterday I gave you an overview of the cooking that was going on here, but I was in a hurry and didn’t give recipes…okay I thought that I had put them on here already. Oops.  Today I make amends.

This recipe is in FU! Crockpot, just in case anyone happens to own my cookbook and says “Hey, you are plagiarizing this guy.”  Yes I am plagiarizing myself and I revel in that fact. 🙂

Shredded Pork

This is just how I get the pork shredded and juicy.  The BBQ sauce is a separate recipe and yes I will include that.

Equipment

  • 1 5 quart crockpot

Ingredients

  • 1 Pork Roast, 3 lb
  • Seasonings of your choice
  • 1/4 cup of water

Instructions

Into your crockpot pre-heated on LOW put your pork roast, butt, shoulder (just depends on what your local store calls it).  For best results slice pork into large chunks.  Coat the entire pork in seasoning.  Do not go lite on seasoning.  Go overboard.  When it comes to seasoning I do not have one particular mix.  If you will be using the pork for shredded BBQ sandwiches use a mix that goes with that flavor.  Add water to cover the bottom of the crockpot.  Put cover on and walk away.

Six hours later check pork.  Take a fork and stick into pork, if the meat falls apart easily then you can remove the pork from the crockpot.  If the pork does not fall away easily, put cover back and check in an hour.  You cannot over crockpot the pork, so do not worry about that.  I left my last pork in the crockpot for over 12 hours and the pork was still juicy and tender.

Not Making BBQ

Now is the time to shred the pork. Pork and fat will be HOT so be careful, but now is the time to get all of the chunks of fat out and off of the pork. Chunks of pork without fat should break apart in your hands easily making the task easier.  You are now done.

Making BBQ

If you are making BBQ follow these instructions.  After the pork has been removed from the crockpot, empty the crockpot of the most of the liquid.  Leave just enough liquid to cover the bottom. Leave the crockpot ON.  Now is the time to shred the pork. Pork and fat will be HOT so be careful, but now is the time to get all of the chunks of fat out and off of the pork. Chunks of pork without fat should break apart in your hands easily making the task easier.

Toss the pork back into the crockpot.  Add the following:

  • 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s) You can add more sauce if you want a saucier BBQ or less.
  • 2 tablespoons of honey or one generous squirt around the crockpot
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar

Then mix together and leave on LOW for a half-hour to an hour to cook and mix together.  Again, there really isn’t a cooked to long for this.  You can modify your BBQ sauce as you desire.  If I want more kick I will add a tablespoon of sriracha or other spicy kick.  For deeper flavor, a teaspoon of garlic infused balsamic vinegar and/or two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.  What I am trying to illustrate is that you can modify the BBQ base in any direction you want to go.

Apple Slaw

This is a quick and easy slaw recipe that Barb came up with.

Equipment

  • 1 Food Processor

Ingredients

  • 1/4 head of cabbage
  • 1/4 head of red cabbage
  • 1 big carrot
  • 1 big granny smith apple
  • 1 jar slaw dressing (we use Marzetti’s)

Instructions

Use the food processor to chop everything up.  Make sure to core the apple and peel the carrot first.  Mix together in a bowl.  Add slaw dressing of your choice and season with salt and/or pepper.

There you go.

I personally like a good bun with a bit of mayo on one side, some shredded swiss on top of the mayo, then some BBQ pork, and top with some slaw for one hell of a good, but messy sandwich.

Speaking Out on Comfort Food: Volume 1, Issue 5

I will be the first to admit that this is not for everyone, this will be viewed as pretty damn gross by some, and is near the bottom of the healthy scale, but for me this is comfort food.  What is this?  Faux hot wings.  I love spicy, not spicy for spice heat sake, but spicy flavor wings.  However, making good wings is a time consuming procedure that I am not always in the mood to do. Which is where this comfort food came from.

Ingredients:

Chicken strips

Hot Sauce:

1/3 cup Frank’s Wing Sauce

1 tsp butter

1 tsp brown sugar or 1 squirt of honey

Directions: Fry the chicken strips, yes fry, per package instructions.  While the strips are frying toss the sauce ingredients into a pan over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar is integrated.  When the strips are done, dry, then cut into chunks.  Toss chunks into sauce and reheat.  Pour entire mix into a bowl or onto a plate and enjoy with some ranch or blu cheese dressing.

For some variation I have added the following to the Hot Sauce at one time or another and even mixed and matched:

1/4 cup Frank’s BBQ Sauce or replaced the Wing Sauce with the BBQ Sauce.

1/4 cup of your favorite non-Frank’s BBQ Sauce

1 squirt of sriracha

1 tsp Jalapeno Wine

1 tsp #3 or #5 Gojuchang (spicy Korean bean paste)

To make a sweeter sauce add more brown sugar and/or honey.

And there you have a comfort food for me and what others have called “a bloody mess of chicken in a bowl.”

Speaking Out on Comfort Food Volume 1, Issue 4: Mexican Cheese Soup

This is a recipe from my crockpot cookbook.  Mexican Cheese Soup was a delight to find and a pain in the butt to store.  A very versatile dish, Mexican Cheese Soup can be eaten as is, on a potato, with nachos, and even as a cheese sauce on tacos.   This recipe has been cut down from the original which made eight to ten servings to a more manageable two to four servings.

Main Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cubed Velveeta or other processed cheese
  • 1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained (get the best ground beef you can)
  • ½ can (8 ¾ ounces) whole kernel corn, undrained
  • ½ can (15 ounces) kidney beans, undrained
  • ½ can (14 ½ ounces) diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • ½ can (14 ½ ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 package taco seasoning (Old El Paso brand is what we use)

Toppings:

  • Sour cream to taste
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese to taste
  • Nacho chips

Instructions: In the pre-heated crockpot, brown and drain the ground beef; you can brown and drain the ground beef on the stove if you have access to one.  Once the beef is done, put everything into the crockpot, stir a couple of times and cover.  Cook on the low setting 3 to 4 hours or on the high setting for 2 to 3 hours.  Mexican Cheese Soup is done when the processed cheese has fully melted and a stir or two integrates the cheese with the rest of the ingredients.  Serve in bowl with or without nacho chips.

Variants: Through experimentation and one accident we came up with these variants.

  • Instead of just tossing the packet of taco seasoning into the mix follow the instructions and make the seasoned meat.  DO NOT drain, then toss in everything else and cook.  The result is a thinner soup version, but the meat has more flavor.
  • Add 1 to 2 shredded chicken breasts to the soup.  This will seriously thicken up the soup and it can be put into taco shells or on tortillas.
  • Adding more Velveeta will thicken up the soup and give it a cheesier flavor.  This variation went great on a baked (microwaved)* potato with broccoli florets and sour cream, making a very hearty dish.

* Microwaved potato: Lightly wash potato; poke some holes on each side with a fork or knife.  Toss into the center of the microwave (ours is a 700 watt model) for 5 to 6 minutes on high.  Check by squeezing the potato.  If the potato yields (is very squishy) it is done.  Let cool for a minute before splitting open and topping with Mexican Cheese Soup.  If potato is still hard or not as soft as desired, microwave for another 2 to 3 minutes until reaching desired consistency.

Speaking Out on Comfort Food: Volume 1, Issue 3

Welcome back.  Seems that I owe you a recipe and I intend to live up to my promises.  Today’s issue is all about Firecracker Shrimp.  A long time ago I had a spicy Chinese dish that has shrimp, peanuts, and a spicy sauce.  When you bit into the peanuts the spicy sauce “popped” out like a firecracker exploding.  I have never seen an actual recipe for this, but over the years have been working, crafting, and creating to get the best version of this I can.

I warn you this dish can be very spicy.

Ingredients

  • 12 to 20 shrimp, peeled and deveined (26/30 count shrimp or larger)
  • 1/2 cup of peanuts
  • 1 to 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1 bundle of udon noodles

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup of vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp soy
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 Serrano or Jalapeno or other chili pepper, minced
  • 1 tsp sriracha (chili sauce in clear bottle with rooster on front and green top)
  • 2 tbsp. gochujang #3 or for really spicy gochujang #5 (Korean spicy bean paste)

Directions

Peel and devein the shrimp.  Pat dry and set aside.  Cut, wash, and dry the broccoli.  Cook udon noodles according to package directions-mine require salted water, a cook time of 12 minutes, then shock in cold water.  While noodles are cooking in a separate sauce pan mix all of sauce ingredients together and cook on medium high heat until sauce is boiling.  Add peanuts to the sauce. Then reduce to a simmer and reduce sauce by 1/3.

When noodles and sauce are done cook the shrimp in 1 tbsp. of butter over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add sauce to shrimp, then add the broccoli.  Continue cooking until the shrimp are finished and broccoli is warmed through (2 minutes).  Before removing from heat add udon noodles, mix well, let cook for an additional minute and then serve.

There you have my version of a dish I had a long time ago.  I have tried battering the shrimp, but the batter does not do anything other than fall off the shrimp into the sauce.  Over the years I have added other vegetables, but I have found that less is more with this dish.

Speaking Out on Comfort Food: Volume 1, Issue 2

I’m in the mood to make some French onion soup or as one person told me onion soup. I have three different recipes for French onion soup this one that I’m about to share is my favorite.

Ingredients

  • two medium yellow onions sliced thin
  • one small to medium red onion sliced them
  • four or five button mushrooms sliced thin
  • one beef bouillon cube
  • 4 cups of beef broth or stock
  • 1 teaspoon Worchester sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cooking sherry
  • and lots of pepper

Instructions

In a pan over medium heat put 2 tablespoons of butter and all of the onions. Cook the onions until they are caramelized, have a brown color. Do not worry if onions stick to the pan, do not burn the onions, but you do want them well cooked and caramelized.

Once the onions are caramelized add the broth or stock, cooking sherry, Worchester sauce, bouillon cube, in the mushrooms. Bring the entire mix to a boil, taste add any salt or pepper, and reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer until half volume. Taste frequently adjusting flavor with pepper and some salt.

Toast slices of bread with Swiss cheese as a topping for the bowl of soup. Serve soup hot with toasted bread on top. Something we like to do is serve with shredded Swiss cheese and place a small piece of toast at the bottom of the bowl as well.

Speaking Out on Comfort Food: Volume 1, Issue 1

I am in the mood for some comfort food, comfort food for me is that food that brings back that warm comfortable feeling in your body. For most people comfort food is food from their childhood, usually made by their parents. Me I have different food that is comfort food, a bowl oframen is one of my favorite comfort foods. Yes I said a bowl of Ramen.

I like to take a package of Ramen, yes the cheap Ramen you can find at the store, and spruce the bowl up. Why do I use the package Ramen? I do have noodles that I could make, but for whatever reason the package Ramen this comfortable to me. So what do you do to make cheap Ramen better? Why you add ingredients such as vegetables, meat, and spices.

My favorite way to prepare Ramen is the following:

take one package of Ramen, put all or half of the seasoning packet into a bowl, get your water boiling, and while waiting for the water to boil gather my ingredients. I use carrots sliced thinly, deli ham sliced into strips are squares, green onion is always good sliced, and for extra flavor tie chili paste or other spicy paste. Once the water is boiling put the Ramen into the water for two minutes, no more, no less. I usually take a ladle full of water and put that in the bowl with the seasoning before adding the noodles.

The noodles go into the bowl along with enough water to just cover the noodles. I add the spices and mix. Then I put the rest of the ingredients on the top of the noodles. There you go one bowl of comfort food that is inexpensive and tasty. If you use less of the seasoning packet then you drastically reduce the amount of salt.

Next time my recipe for another comfort food firecracker shrimp.