Archive for the 'Onions' Category

Recipe: Creamed “Refrigerator” Soup

|October 1, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

It's been two solid weeks of this flu – I must be very lovable because it just will not leave me. Just when you think it is going away, and you start to feel better for (almost) a day – then it knocks you back down.  Seems like everyone has it too.

Soups – homemade soups – that has helped me so much. Everything from chicken noodle, creamy onion, sausage and cabbage, tomato rice and today's concoction –

Creamy "Refrigerator" Soup

It's to the point that whatever is in the fridge is going into the soup – something has to help with this flu.

I melted a bit of butter in my soup pot, then I added a LARGE diced onion and 2 stalks of celery (diced), minced celery leaves, kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, parsley and a bit of water – just to soften for a bit – which of course I am sick and impatient so I immediately added about 6 to 7 cups water and some instant chicken bouillon.

I know the onion and the cracked pepper will help.

Cleaned and sliced 3 skinny carrots – those were the ones hidden in the middle of the bag – added to pot.

There's a ham steak in the fridge and I cannot eat a whole ham steak – way too much for me. So I cut off a piece to enjoy with some pineapple for tomorrow's dinner and I diced up the rest of the ham steak and added that.

Bring to boil and simmer for about 20 minutes; add diced cabbage and frozen peas; simmer until cabbage is tender. Add milk and heat through – do not boil milk!

Even if you're not ailing – it's still a very good soup!

Recipe: Creamy Onion Soup

|September 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

 This Sunday I came down with the flu – hit me dang hard too.

Definite soup time!

Thank heaven I had homemade broth in the freezer to use – it made making a pot of soup so easy.  Just added my noodles and veggies.

For the past couple of weeks I have been craving onion soup – a nice bowl of hot, steaming, creamy onion soup.

Finally today, I felt up to making it – I still feel like crap and look like crap – but my soup was good – easy to make, easy on the budget, and so good.


I started by melted a knob of butter in my pot, adding a rough grated carrot, a stalk of celery (diced), chopped fresh celery leaves and a small cooking onion.  I let the cook just a couple minutes, adding a spoon of flour and let that cook an additional 2 minutes.

Added 6 cups water and some instant chicken bouillon; fresh cracked black pepper (which I was quite generous with to help clear up my chest), some Kosher salt, parsley, and a bit of garlic powder.

Added my diced onions and brought to a boil – let it boil about 5 minutes and then reduce the heat so that it simmers slowly for about 25 minutes – just enough to make the onions the right tenderness for me.

I then added a handful or so of instant potato flakes to use as a thickener and let that simmer for 5 minutes before pouring in approximately a cup of milk – allow to heat through BUT DO NOT BOIL!

This really helped open my chest and I am not as congested – onions and cracked black pepper – just what the doctor ordered!

(Dr. Mama, that is!)

Recipe: Chicken, Roasted Veggies, Cream Sauce, Cole Slaw, Cheese Salad

|August 26, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

From February 2011 –

I don’t think it could be any colder than it is today and yet it is going to get worse. I’m tired of shoveling and I thought it was too cold to snow – but of course – I should not have even thought of that. I should know better. My driveway is calling me now – but it will just have to wait until later.

Yesterday the roads were atrocious and I had to drive into the city to watch the babies, get them ready for school and take them to the bus stop and then pick them up after school. The morning commute was a nightmare – took me 3 times longer to get there and had to park in a parking lot and walk the rest of the way to get to their house. No city plows.

After school was better – arctic cold – but the roads were in better shape and the snow subsided. So I drove through the drive thru at BK and got 3 hot chocolates before I picked them up from the bus. Believe me – they were really appreciated! I know I needed it because their bus was late and I freeze in the car waiting for them.

On my way home in the morning – even with it storming, I stopped at the market and picked up a package of chicken thighs to make for today’s dinner. Once I got home and shoveled again – I got to start making dinner for today. I have an abundance of various block cheeses and we absolutely love cheese salads. You can see that recipe and the pictures at my post – A day to spend in the kitchen –

This morning I decided to make my coleslaw for today. Using a simple hand grater I shredded my cabbage and carrot and grated a bit of sweet onion to add to it. For the dressing – (eye balling it all)

In a small bowl, combine:
About 2 T. sugar
2 – 3 T. white vinegar – whisk to dissolve

Whisk in:
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
A drizzle of vegetable oil (about 2 T.)
About 1/3 cup mayo (salad dressing is fine – but I had mayo opened already in the fridge)

Whisk well, pour over cabbage mixture, mix well; cover and refrigerate until dinner time.

As far as the cabbage mix –
3 – 4 heaping cups cabbage, shredded
½ large carrot, shredded
A few tablespoons grated onion

I didn’t want to make too much.

Moving on to the “chicken department” – which I will post another continuing saga with Tyson at the end –

You just have to love buying packages of Tyson chicken thighs – I swear it. You never know just how much of what is tucked under the perfect looking thighs. I know I cut off more than a pound of fat and excess skin from them – and I only purchased eight of them. You grab a thigh out of the package and there is enough skin on them to wrap around them twice! But I trimmed them of excess skin and fat, thoroughly washed in cold water with salt – twice, and rinsed well; pat dry.

Placed in my roasting pan and drizzled with olive oil, turning to coat. Seasoning:

Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
Just a bit of onion powder

I seasoned the inside first, turned and seasoned the skin side; covered with foil and roasted at 350* F. for about 1 3/4 hours or so until done.

Meanwhile, I prepared my veggies for roasting:

Russet potatoes, cut into chunks (** see AFTER my Tyson “report”)
Cauliflower, cut into florets
Carrots, cut into chunks
Cooking onions, cut into wedges

Just toss with olive oil and season with Kosher salt, cracked black pepper, garlic, and parsley – transfer to baking dish and cover with foil – placed on the top rack about an hour into cooking the chicken and the veggies were done in 45 – 50 minutes.

Instead of making pan gravy, I decided to make a cream sauce –
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup whole milk
About ½ cup sour cream

Heat through without boiling.

Chicken thighs, roasted veggies, cream sauce, cheese salad and coleslaw:

Made a delicious hot meal for us today!

And now for the continuing saga – Tyson chicken –
I’ve been cooking chicken for decades – I know my chicken. Granted, chickens were better years ago – let’s face it – what wasn’t? Well last week I purchased a Tyson Roasting chicken. Looked good. It wasn’t frozen (just a note here.) I remove it from the bag, drain all the yucky liquids out of it, cut off it’s ass – yeah, you know me – asses off first! Then I proceeded to rip out all the fat and innards they didn’t clean out, cut off all the excess fat and skin and clean in cold salted water – TWICE. Rinse well, pat dry, and place in my roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, season, shove a cleaned carrot stick and celery stalk with the leaves in the cavity, tie the legs, pour in some chicken broth, cover, and into a 350* F. oven. Looks good. Smells good. I wanted to use the carcass to make homemade soup.

Mind you – my chickens, just like my turkeys – fall apart. Always tender, juicy and good.

I basted several times. And when I removed it from the oven – I had met up with an armored chicken from the Twilight Zone. A sharp knife would not penetrate the skin. It was rock hard.


Something is wrong – really, really wrong here. So I pull out my weapons of mass destruction (heavy duty knives) and I start to SAW this bird apart. Sure didn’t get too far with it. The sound of sawing the skin was scary alone.

Needless to say – it was a meatless – or should I say – chicken-less meal that day. A real disappointment.

No we didn’t starve – I have meat in the fridge and some turkey leftover from a previous meal that I was able to quickly cook for us to eat.

But as far as that chicken goes – I don’t know where the hell it came from! The thighs I made today were good – but that bird – scary thought of what it would have done to us if we ingested it. Although I don’t think we would have been able to bite into it. Never in my life did I ever encounter anything like that! Even the turkey cooked for Christmas in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation was more tender than this thing.

**And – now to start on the Jolly Green Giant and his ho-ho-ho valley of veggies. I purchased a 10 pound bag of Russets – and I have only found 3 potatoes so far in the bag that were not rotten inside. They look good on the outside – and I was going to make baked potatoes the other day when I bought the bag (on Thursday) but something told me to cut them open and check them out. Yucky brown!

Oh well – is it just me or do you have problems with lousy produce as well?

And I won’t even ASK if anyone has ever encountered a chicken that could not be cooked and cut!

Recipe: How to make your own onion powder and minced dry onion

|June 12, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

What a money saver this is!  Especially if you grow your own onions!  If not – watch those weekly sale papers –


Preheat your oven to 150* F. if you are not using a dehydrator.

Peel your onions and remove that dry papery skin that is on them.  Slice thin and place in your dehydrator or on baking trays in single layer.   When they are dry they will be brittle.

When dry, remove to clean, dry paper towels to cool completely.

Grind or minced to your desired consistency using your coffee grinder, food processor, mortar and pestle – your choice.

Store in airtight in glass containers in cool dry place.

And don't ask me if I would freeze this – no – I do not want the moisture in it.

Recipe: How to caramelize onions –

|June 1, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

In our house we absolutely love caramelized onions.

Their unique, sweet flavor goes well with just about anything and they can really dress a meal. I don't believe in eating "dry" when it is so simple to add something to make a meal really standout for your family and guests.

Take a plain hamburger and add caramelized onions and maybe even some mushrooms (or mushroom slices) and a simple gravy and it's so much better; it's not a dry, dull sandwich – and it makes it more of a meal than a fast food item.

They are excellent with beef, pork, chicken and caramelized onions can even be added to pasta as a meal or a side dish!

Not into eating meat? Enjoy them with portabella mushrooms or baby bellas.

Try them on hotdogs, sausages or brats. Use as a spread at your next gathering. Serve on crostini. How about as a pizza topping? Use them as the gravy for your meat. Try making a potato gratin with caramelized onions. Use these on your next Philly Steak sandwich. Stuff tortillas. Wonderful with liver. I even enjoy them on homemade bread as an open-faced sammmie!

So simple to do – takes time – but is well worth it. Slice or cut your onions into wedges and begin cooking, stirring, cooking, stirring, cooking, stirring – a real no-brainer.

Although it is so simple – onions do come close to scorching so you need to use the heaviest pot you have and cook over the lowest possible heat setting. Once you get that awful bitter taste from the scorching – you never get rid of it and your caramelized onions will need to be tossed. Then you need to start over again.

Stir your onions very often – every 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the amount your are making) and once they are closer to being done – stir every 5 to 10 minutes.

Remember that onions shrink and wilt during the cooking process, so you will need a very large pan. Use enough oil to keep them from sticking, and season with salt to help draw the moisture out. You NEED to use salt – I use Kosher.

I start mine out in a heavy Dutch oven over a medium-low heat. First I heat my oil (which I use olive oil or vegetable oil) and I add my onions; sprinkle with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Cover the pot and within 15 to 20 minutes the onions begin to soften and the moiisture is being extracted from them. At this stage they may be swimming in moisture. Since you want most of this to evaporate, remove the lid and increase the heat to medium; continue stirring every 15 minutes.

In about an hour or so (the "critical period") the moisture is reduced quite a bit and the onions are a light beige-brown color. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting (I put a trivet under my pot as well when I do this) and stir every 10 to 15 minutes. This is the point where they will begin to scorch and be ruined.

After about 2 hours, the moisture is gone, the onions have darkened and have a sweet taste. Stir every 5 to 10 minutes.

After three hours of cooking you'll find that your onions have darkened considerably and you will hear them begin to sizzle – now they are done. It may have taken you 3 to 4 hours – but you have the best caramelized onions! And they should still be moist and flexible.

It took time – but it is worth it. You can use them immediately or you can transfer to a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool completely and when cooled completely you can cover and store for a day or two or you can transfer to freezer containers (not until completely cold) and freeze for future use. After all that slicing – you'll only end up with a couple cups of onions.

A few notes: Sweet onions (Vidalias included) are great in salads and on sandwiches. Believe it or not – they actually contain less sugar than regular onions and more acrid sulfurous compounds (that make your cry) than other onions which makes them turn out bland after cooking. Always use your regular brown storage (cooking) onions which caramelize much better. You can use red onions, but the end result won't be any better than using brown onions. And regular cooking onions are much cheaper as well.

Another thing I do: Sometimes I use half olive oil and half butter for a truly great flavor.

I have also found that it takes about 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter for about 4 cups of prepared onion. If watched carefully, you can caramelize in 30 minutes or so – stirring often. But the longer process gives a much better result.