Aylmer’s Old-Fashioned Cream of Tomato Soup

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Back when I was first awakening to the world of cooking, food brands of all kinds were competing to capture our attention with FREE leaflets of mouth-watering recipes in the grocery stores. These recipes were some of my first as I ventured into the kitchen as a teen.

I found this recipe for Old-Fashioned Cream of Tomato Soup years ago at an IGA, and have made it numerous times over the years, though not recently.

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Besides its yumminess, my biggest memory with this soup was blending it to perfection before the time of a hand-blender in our house:
Step #1: Pour hot soup into blender; put on lid.
Step #2: Put hand on lid, press “puree”.
Step #3: Stop blender, remove lid, check the state of the soup.
Step #4: Decide it’s too chunky still; replace lid, hold lid, press go.
Step #5: Hot soup flies up and hits lid, scalding hand. Hand releases juuuust enough to release soup in a perfect circle spray pattern, all over the kitchen.

Yup. That’s what they told me to do! Ummmm….. no. But jeepers, what a mess that was to clean up! – imagine hot red soup sprayed in a perfect radius all. over. the kitchen.  Worth it, though – so yummy! And thank God for hand blenders now to avoid the blender shenanigans!

Without further ado, let me share this awesome recipe with you as it was originally published:

Old-Fashioned Cream of Tomato Soup:

You Will Need:
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 med. carrots, diced
1 med. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. diced celery
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1-28 oz. can Whole Tomatoes
1.5 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 c. milk or light cream

To Make It:

MELT butter in large heavy saucepan over medium heat.
SAUTE carrots, onion, garlic and celery about 5 minutes or until tender.
STIR in flour; add tomatoes, breaking apart, chicken broth, sugar and pepper.
BRING to a boil; cover and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.
PUREE in batches in blender or food processor; return to saucepan.
WHISK in milk and heat through.

Makes 4-6 Servings.

Enjoy!!

ps – this is a wonderful tomato soup recipe to make for using in this cute Valentines Day idea: mugs of soup garnished with heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches. Grab Pampered Chef’s Fruit and Cheese Cutters for this project – they’re perfect!

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BBQ Bacon-Stuffed Meatloaf… or, Let them Eat Comfort Food! (It’s the least we can do….)

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‘k. It’s like minus-bazillion out. No word of a lie!!… well, maybe a stretch. But -51 Celcius with windchill makes for one cold kitchen. Time to heat it up with some comfort food!! 🙂

Today’s recipe is brought to you by the letter ‘B’ and the number ‘5’….. ‘B’ for BBQ and Bacon, and 5 as in 5-stars!! 🙂

This recipe is featured in Pampered Chef’s recipe book entitled “The Pampered Chef Dinner in Your Deep Covered Baker” which you can find chock-full of deliciousness. Om-nom-nom.

Let’s see it, shall we? Drumroll……..

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They had me at Bacon. You? 😉

Some great Pampered Chef tools for this recipe include:

– our Deep Covered Baker

– our Garlic Press (best e-ver!)

– our Mix ‘n’ Chop for scramble-frying your ground beef

– our Microplane Adjustable Course Grater

If you don’t have these tools, you won’t be lost… don’t worry. (But if you ever do try them, trust me, you’ll be hooked on the ease they bring to your kitchen.) 😉

Without further ado, let’s get cookin’ !!!

BBQ Bacon Stuffed Meatloaf

What you need:

8 ounces fresh mushrooms (canned can work, too)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled, divided
3 slices white sandwich bread, crust removed
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp Smokey BBQ Rub, divided (or your favorite Rub… but try ours, you’ll love it!)
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 tsp or each salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup ketchup

What to do:

Thinly slice the mushrooms. Heat oil in a 12 in. skillet over medium high heat 1-3 minutes or until simmering. Add the mushrooms; cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown. Remove your skillet from the heat. Set aside 1 tbsp of the crumble bacon. Add remaining bacon to mushrooms and mix well.

Meanwhile, cut the bread into cubes. In a mixing bowl, combine bread, milk, parsley, egg yolk, 2 tbsp of the rub, pressed garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Add your raw beef to the bread mixture; mix. Place two thirds of the meat mixture in Deep Covered Baker. Form into an 8.5″ by 4.5″ loaf.

Gently press down on the center of the loaf to create a well. Sprinkle a 1/2 cup of the cheese in the well. Top with the bacon mixture and an additional 1/2 cup of the cheese. Place remaining meat mixture over filling; press to seal.

Microwave, covered, on high for 14-17 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 F in the center.  Meanwhile, combine ketchup and remaining rub; stir. Carefully remove the baker from the microwave, using oven mitts. Brush Ketchup mixture over meatloaf. Microwave, covered, on high 3-5 minutes or until internal temperature is 160 F in the center. Sprinkle remaining cheese and reserved bacon over top of meatloaf; let stand, covered, 10 minutes before slicing.

Paula’s TIP: want to make it Gluten-Free (GF)?

  • replace the bread crumbs with either ~1/3 cup of GF oats, ground fine in our Manual Food Processor, OR ~1/3 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed and patted dry.
  • replace our Smoky BBQ Rub with your favorite GF rub (Pampered Chef rubs may not contain gluten, but they are not made in a GF facility… so no guarantees).

Bon appetit! Let me know what you think of this recipe. Winner-winner-[meatloaf]-dinner?? 😉

Taco Buns

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So,once upon a time, back in the less busy time of my life a few months ago, I became a menu planner. We sat together, myself and my four kids, and devised our tempting culinary delights for the week. I love spontaneity, but spontaneity under a time crunch is just stressful!… so my brain is happier on a menu plan. Why I have gotten away from this habit, just when I need it most, is beyond me. Do you abandon reason in your crazy moments like I do sometimes? 😉

Sometimes, though, when it comes to the execution of a thing, we (I) run out of time to actually make what was on the list, or I don’t have (or don’t want) an ingredient for the prescribed dish-of-the-day. Like the Crustless Quiche that takes 40 minutes to bake… yeah. That one became fried eggs in 10 minutes on my Double Burner Griddle the other night. LOTS and LOTS of eggs! 😉

These Taco Buns were one of those changey-uppey things.

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My family loves the old classic Taco Ring from The Pampered Chef. However, I am getting to a point in my culinary journey that, although it can be quick and great, my gut is not loving Pilsbury so much anymore…. and the alternative – to make my own homemade croissant dough, like this one – was more than I could manage in the 60, 59, 58, 57 minutes I had until dinner time. Gah!!! Time pressure!!!!

So, enter the idea of a Taco Bun. I found a quick sweet dough recipe on allrecipes.com (this one – it’s great!) and mixed up my taco filling, then made it into basically a savoury bun prepared cinnamon bun-style.  I tried to capture the steps so that I could share it with you. They were a hit with the family, and no one complained about the lack of Pilsbury dough. 😉

So let’s get to it, shall we?

Mix up your favorite sweet dough (or try this recipe: Rapid Bake Sweet Dough).

While the dough is rising or resting, prep your meat filling.  You will need:

1.5 lbs. of ground beef

1 Tbsp. of chili powder, or my favorite, Chili Lime Rub

1 cup shredded medium or old cheddar

Scramble fry the beef, draining excess grease from the pan.[Use your Mix ‘n’ Chop if you have one – it ROCKS!!] Add 2 Tbsp. of water, then add the chili powder or rub and mix well. Stir in your cheese and mix until it gets all melt-y and happy. (Technical terms, of course!)

Now the bun-fun begins! 🙂

Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface. I LOVE my Baker’s Roller for this job. I split my dough into two parts to make this a little simpler. And yes, this is whole wheat dough. Go a little light on the measuring if you decide to swap the white for whole wheat. I usually leave out about 1 Tbsp of flour per cup when I convert from white to whole wheat flour.

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Spread your meat mixture over your dough. Try not to have it too wet… don’t want soggy buns! 😉  Also, leave a 1″ meat-less gap around the edge – your filling will spread!

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(See my 11″ Covered Skillet there? Ain’t she purty?  I love her. White Ceramic cleans up like a breeze.)

ANYWAYS! 🙂

Roll the dough away from you, then pinch it closed.

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Once you’ve rolled and pinched, use a serrated knife to cut 1″ tall buns from the taco log you’ve got there.

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Lay your buns cut-side down on your favorite pan… my favorite is my stoneware…. the Large Bar Pan, to be exact!

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Pop them in a 375ºF oven for about 20 minutes.  You will have about 2 dozen buns out of this…. fed our family of 6 just fine, with a nice side salad.

YUM!

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Give these a try and tell me what you think!  I’m thinking these might do well for camping and/or freezing, too! – the alternative to the pizza bun!