March 14, 2013

Dinner Club: Theme - Soup

Thank you Shannon for hosting February's Dinner Club!  I loved the theme this month because I'm a huge soup lover and I like to see what other people have in their arsenal of recipes.  Shannon is always a great host because she makes everyone feel very comfortable and her house is warm and inviting. And last but not least, she's an incredible cook!

Shannon made a wonderful black and white soup.  Half of it was black bean soup and the other was cheese soup and you pour them into the bowl at the same time which makes this nifty black and white look.  

Cheddar Cheese Soup

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into matchstick sized pieces
  • 1/2 large yellow bell pepper, cut into matchstick sized pieces
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, cut into matchstick sized pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large pot over medium heat add the butter and then the peppers, onion, and garlic. Sauté for about 6 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Add the flour and stir for two minutes.
  3. Whisk in the stock, then the milk and cream and cook at a simmer for three minutes.
  4. Stir in the cheese 1/2 cup at a time and whisk until smooth.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Black Bean Soup

    • 1 1/2 cups dried black beans
    • 4 1/2 cups water
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 large carrot, chopped
    • 3 slices bacon, chopped
    • 5 large fresh thyme sprigs
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 1/4 tsp ground cumin
    • 2 cups chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth
    • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

    Cooking Directions

    1. Place the beans in a large pot and cover with cold water by 3 inches. Soak overnight.
    2. Drain the beans and transfer to a large heavy pot.
    3. Add 4 1/2 cups of water and the next 7 ingredients.
    4. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until the beans are tender (about 1 hour and 10 minutes).
    5. Working in batches blend the black bean soup with the 2 cups of chicken stock.
    6. Return the soup to the pot and add the chopped cilantro.
    7. Add more stock if needed to thin it out.
    8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, pour 1/2 cup of each the cheddar soup and the black bean soup together at the same time. Top with sour cream if desired. 

TiNeill wins the cook of the night award for bringing FOUR items!  This girl loves to cook and it's so obvious because her dishes are incredible.  I'm a dessert hound as you may have guessed and I fell in love with these brownies.  Mixing an Oreo with a brownie, good heavens!

Cookies 'n Cream Fudge Brownies

  • 1 box fudge brownie mix
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 to 4 tsp milk

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large bowl, stir brownie mix, oil, water and eggs until well blended. Spread in pan. Sprinkle cookies over batter.
  2. Bake 24 to 26 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
  3. In small bowl, stir together powdered sugar and milk until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over brownies. For brownies, cut into 5 rows by 4 rows. Store covered at room temperature.
Makes 20 brownies

Everyone loved these breadsticks, very soft and light in texture and the seasoning on top really added a nice saltiness and spice. 

Bread Sticks

  • 1 package yeast
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning
Cooking Directions
  1. Dissolve the yeast into 1 1/2 cups of warm water.
  2. Add the sugar and salt and stir until it dissolves.
  3. Add the flour and stir in with a fork until the dough isn't sticky anymore and you can roll it into a ball. Add more flour if needed.
  4. Put the dough into a greased bowl and cover with cheesecloth (or plastic wrap) in a warm spot. Watch for it to begin to rise, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle some flour on a clean surface and roll and shape into an oval, use a pizza cutter to cut breadsticks.
  6. Melt the butter in a dish and dip the breadsticks into the butter and then place them on a cookie sheet.
  7. Sprinkle with McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning.
  8. Let the breadsticks rise in a warm place for another 10-15 minutes or until they are fluffy.
  9. Cook at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. The breadsticks will probably not look golden and you might not think they are done. When they are fluffy and dry they are done.

The name of this recipe says it all.  Creamy deliciousness is how I would describe it. 

Creamy Slow-Cooker Tortellini Soup

  • 6 cups favorite homemade meaty spaghetti sauce (recipe to follow) or 24 oz jarred sauce with 1/2 lb hamburger and 1/2 lb ground sausage
  • 4.5 oz fresh spinach leaves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 16 oz frozen cheese tortellini
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine spaghetti sauce (and meat if adding it in separately), spinach, cream cheese, chicken broth, and mushrooms in a slow-cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours, on high for 2-3.
  2. 20 minutes before serving, turn heat to high if it isn't already an stir in frozen tortellini. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until tender and hot.
  3. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

  4. Sort of Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

    • 1/2 lb ground beef (browned) do not drain
    • 1/2 lb ground sausage (browned) do not drain
    • 6 oz tomato paste
    • 15 oz tomato sauce
    • 1 small tomato puree
    • 1 package Mild McCormick Spaghetti Sauce Seasoning
    • salt, pepper, minced garlic, oregano, basil - to taste

    Cooking Directions

    1. Simmer all ingredients together for 1 hour with lid on lowest heat, stir occasionally

Lisa F. brought this yummy salad which was perfect with the soup. TiNeill brought the salad dressing.

Poppyseed Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
Cooking Directions
  1. Blend all the ingredients in a blender and refrigerate.

Lynn brought this fantastic hot artichoke dip.  Everyone dove in and came up smiling.  Seriously good dip that I cannot wait to add to my party recipes!

Three Cheese Hot Artichoke Dip

  • 1 (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded mozerella
  • dash hot sauce
  • dash Worcestershire
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the cream cheese.
  3. Add the mayonnaise and beat until smooth.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
  5. Transfer to a pie plate or shallow oven proof dish and bake for 30-40 minutes. The top will be golden brown and bubbly.
Lynn also made an incredible Lemon Pound Cake (which I failed to take a picture of).  Just trust me, it was goooooood.

Starbucks' Lemon Pound Cake w/Icing

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract and lemon juice.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Mix until smooth.
  5. Add the oil and mix well.
  6. Pour the mixture into a well greased 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the center coms out clean.
  8. Let cool in the pan.
Lemon Icing
    • 1 Cup plus 1 Tbsp powdered sugar
    • 2 Tbsp whole milk
    • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  1. Mix all the ingredients together until smooth. 
  2. Remove the cooled cake from the loaf pan and frost with the icing.  Wait for the icing to set before slicing. 

Melissa Y. brought a cheese and cracker plate with two flavors of preserves.  We sandwiched the cheese in-between two crackers slathered in preserves, talk about good!  Glad she taught me this little trick so I can use it in the future.

On this try was Sharp Cheddar, Brie, Goat Cheese, Muenster and an Artisan marinara and pepperoni cheese (delish).
Strawberry and Raspberry Preserves.
Assorted Crackers.

My contribution for the evenings soup dishes was this Butternut Squash and Apple Soup.  I have the full post here.

As always, I'm super excited for the next gathering.  I think every time we get together we learn more about one another. Great excuse for us to EAT!

Cuisinart Cook Central Multi-Cooker, 7-Quart - 7 quart (Google Affiliate Ad)

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