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Archive for November 14th, 2011

Good soup on a cold, fall/winter day. Many variations of Minestrone soup available, this is one version we enjoy. We prefer to cook our pasta and add it separately so as it sits and/or overnight it does not soak up all the soup broth.

Adapted from Mable Hoffman’s Crockery Cookery

Beef Minestrone Soup, Crockpot

1 lb beef stew meat
6 cups beef broth
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced (dried works too if you do not have fresh)
Splash (tbsp) worcestershire sauce
Splash hot sauce
1 (16oz) can diced tomatoes
2 cups napa cabbage, chopped
1 (15oz) can cannellini or white navy beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 cup zucchini, grated
1 1/2 cup cooked macaroni
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Let’s begin…
In a skillet over medium high heat, add a little oil and quickly sear your stew beef in small batches. Transfer to crock pot.

Next add in your broth, onions, thyme, parsley, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, tomatoes, cabbage and salt/pepper to taste.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. At about 8 hours add in your beans, zucchini and cook another 30 minutes or so.

Meanwhile cook your pasta, drain, mix in some butter and set aside.

When serving ladle some soup into a bowl, add some macaroni and top with a good heaping of parmesan. Yum.

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The breadmaker is one of those great inventions that never grows old.  One day while in a book store I stumbled across a bread machine book called “Canada’s Best Bread Machine Baking Recipes” and was amazed at all the things you could make in a bread maker.  Since the price was right ($3) I decided it was a want. 

We tried this pizza dough recipe, were hooked and have been making it for several years.  You should allow for about 2.5 hours from when the ingredients go into the bread maker until you are ready to assemble pizzas.  Once the dough comes out of the bread machine it needs a little time to sit.   Then we roll out the dough into a pizza and prebake it (pizza stone) for 8-10 minutes.  While the pizza is prebaking let the kids help cut up the fixins.  Give them a cutting board, kid safe knife (we use choppers), bowls, the fixins and away they go.  You can even let them roll their own dough if they are older and willing.

The real work is in preparing all the fixins.  We place them in bowls, put them on the table and since we all have unique tastes, everyone gets to make their own pizza. 

We always double the recipe for 4 (2 bigger for adults, 2 smaller for kids) but you could easily stretch this into 5 medium sized pizzas.

Adapted from Canada’s Best Bread Machine Baking Recipes

Herb Pizza Crust

1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour or bread flour
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

Measure ingredients into baking pan of bread machine in the order listed above. Insert pan into bread maker and select Dough Cycle.

Preheat Oven to 400F (200C). If using a pizza stone have it in oven warming up.

When cycle complete remove dough to lightly floured surface; cover with a large bowl and let rest 15 minutes. Seperate into 4 (for 4 pizzas although this is enough dough for 5 pizzas) and roll out dough or press into pizza pan.  Place pizza pan into oven or dough onto pizza stone to prebake.

Note the dough does tend to bubble, sometimes.  To stop air pressure build up poke a few times all over with a fork (like a pie crust).

Partially bake pizza crust in oven for about 10 minutes.  Take out of oven, let cool slightly for little hands and start makin your pizzas to your liking.

Once ready we bake them again just until cheese starts to melt and bottom is nicely browned approx. 10 minutes. Spread with your choice of toppings.

Kids pizza below (with a thicker crust).

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