Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Prairie Dog Woman Cooks

During our latest Girls Gone Wild vacation in Kentucky our talk turned to a well-known show on Food Network.  Somehow the title of that show skewed into "Prairie Dog Woman."  We proceeded to demonstrate that we five sisters also had the right stuff to make us great cooks, too.

Our pre-Thanksgiving supper consisted of a choice of two soups: Cheeseburger Potato Soup and 8-Can Taco Soup.  Both were rated "delicious."

Cheeseburger Potato Soup
Serves:   8

1/2 to 1 lb. ground beef
3/4 C. chopped onion
3/4 C. chopped carrots
3/4 C. diced celery
1 tsp. dried basil (no substitutions)
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
4 Tbsp. butter or margarine, divided
3 C. chicken broth
4 C. cubed peeled potatoes
1/4 C. flour
8 oz. cheddar cheese or American cheese, cubed
1 1/2 C. milk
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

In a Dutch oven, brown beef; drain and set aside.

In the same pan, saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.  Add broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small pan, melt remaining butter.  Add flour; cook and stir for 3-5 minutes until bubbly.  Add to soup; bring to a boil.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes. 

Reduce heat to low.  Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts.


8-Can Taco Soup
Serves:   8

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz.)  pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 oz.) sweet corn, drained
1 can (12.5 oz.) chicken breast, drained
1 can (10.75 oz.) cream of chicken soup
1 can (10 oz.) green enchilada sauce
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
1 packet (1 oz.) taco seasoning
Shredded cheese
Tortilla chips
Sour cream

Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Dump all the ingredients into slow cooker and stir together. Cook on Low heat for 2-3 hours. Serve with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and a dollop of sour cream.

Note: Can also be prepared on the stovetop.

left: Susan prepares Cheeseburger Potato Soup
right: Nancy stirs together 8-Can Taco Soup

Thanksgiving morning began with two breakfast casseroles.

Cheese-Spinach Breakfast Casserole
Serves:   8+

1 lb. (16 oz.) shredded hash browns, well thawed
8 or 9 eggs, beaten
16 oz. (2 C.) cottage cheese, small curd, drain if extra wet
10-12 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
1/3 C. melted margarine
1/3 C. grated parmesan cheese
Pepper, to taste
2/3 C. chopped onions
2/3 C. chopped bell peppers
2 3/4 C. finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Place hash browns in a Pam-sprayed pan.  Bake at 350-degreese for 10 minutes.  (If assembling the night before, skip the pre-baking step.)

Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

Pour egg mixture over potato base.  Bake 40-45 minutes or until set.  Let sit 5 minutes before cutting.

Optional ingredients can be added: feta cheese crumbles, well-drained petite diced tomatoes, capers (to taste).


Sausage and Egg Casserole

1 stick margarine
1 lb. hash browns
1 small onion, chopped
2 C. (1 lb.) sausage, browned
2 C. shredded cheddar cheese
1 dozen eggs
2 C. milk
1 tsp. salt

Melt margarine. Place hash browns and onion in greased 9x13 baking dish. Drizzle margarine over top. Salt and pepper lightly. Bake 20-25 minutes at 350-degrees. Remove from oven and cool if not using right away.

Layer sausage and cheese on the potatoes. Beat together eggs, milk and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour over top. Bake at 350-degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Can be prepared the night before and baked the following day.

Left: our two breakfast casseroles
Right: Rod and Jerry on KP duty

Later in the day we feasted on our Thanksgiving dinner: ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, green beans, can o' cranberry sauce, and Beef House rolls.  The meal concluded with pumpkin pie and apple pie.

Crumb-Topped Apple Pie

1 pie crust
1/3 to 2/3 C. granulated sugar
     (depends on how sweet your apples are)
1/3 C. flour
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of salt
2 Tbsp. butter
10 C. thinly sliced pared apples
     (Martha says: 10 cups sounds like a lot to me)

Heat oven 425 degrees and prepare pastry. Mix together all of the ingredients and put into pie crust. It will be very full.

Crumb topping:
1 C. flour
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. firm butter or margarine (1 stick)

Mix flour and brown sugar in bowl. Cut in butter. Mound over the top of the pie. It will appear to be really full but it will sink as it cooks. Bake 40 to 50 minutes.

left: Jane preps our Thanksgiving ham
right: Martha adds the topping to the apple pie

It's important to note that not all the kitchen duties were handled by the sisters.  An occasional brother-in-law stepped in to help speed things along.

Left: Amy relaxes after dictating to Jerry
Right: Jim avoids dishpan hands by offering to dry the dishes