Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hamburger Soup

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Mmmmm...lately it's just all comfort food all the time on this blog!

This is another family favourite...Best of Bridge's delicious Hamburger Soup!  This is one of my mom's best-loved recipes, and totally reminds me of home.  At under 300 calories per bowl yet satisfyingly filling, this is the soup that eats like a meal baby!  When I cook this bad boy I usually make a double batch and freeze half, and that way I can simply defrost for a quick and easy dinner or work lunch a few weeks later.

Ok, so two quick disgusting stories about this soup that should never be told by a food blogger on a food blog that I want people to return to, but I am going to tell anyways.  If you are planning on making this soup today and have a queazy stomach then maybe just skip right below to the recipe.  Here we go...

Story 1:  When I was a teenager, one time my parents left my brother and I at home when they went on vacation.  My mom wanted to make sure we were well fed while they were gone, so before leaving she made a slow cooker full of this Hamburger Soup.  Not knowing my way around the kitchen at all (like, at all!) when I was a teenager, when the slow cooker finished cooking and turned off, I didn't know that meant that eventually I should put into the fridge.  I happily fed my brother and myself leftover counter-top (microwave reheated) Hamburger Soup for a few days, finally noticing near the end of the batch that it was starting to taste a little off.  Ummm...try rancid!!!  I had essentially left a soup with ground beef out of the fridge for days and kept eating it.  My mom honestly must have wondered where she went wrong in raising such an incompetent child.  It took awhile to eat Hamburger Soup again after that.

Story 2:  When I moved out of my parents house into my first apartment, I was missing my mom's cooking from home.  I went to the store and bought all of the ingredients for Hamburger Soup, and spent the entire afternoon making it (I was a slower vegetable chopper back then!).  The final ingredient to add was the barley, which I had purchased in the bulk section of the grocery store.  I dumped the barley in and started noticing that the soup appeared to be crawling.  Ummm....crawling with bugs!!!  The container of barley must have been infested, because only then did I realize that the bag that I had put the barley in was crawling on the inside.  All of my hard work went to waste and I had to dump the whole double batch down the garburator.  The good news was I went back to the grocery store to let them know to clean their bin, and they comped my whole grocery bill from that day!  It took me awhile to eat Hamburger Soup again after that too.

End of gross Hamburger Soup stories.  I'm sorry.  And if you still feel like making it, the recipe is below.

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  White Chocolate and Cranberry Cheesecake
Two Years Ago:  Easy Peasy Cauliflower Cheesy Soup
Three Years Ago:  Minestrone Soup

Hamburger Soup

Serves: 8

  • 1 & 1/2 lbs. extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 x 10-ounce cans consomme
  • 1 x 10-ounce can condensed tomato soup
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook ground beef and onions until the beef is brown.  Drain off all liquid from the pot.  Add all remaining ingredients to pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low for at least 2 hours, or all day.

Recipe Source:  Best of Bridge 'Best of the Best' Cookbook

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Land of Nod Cinnamon Buns

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Happy New Year!!

Just had to do a quick blog post today about these cinnamon buns that we ate for New Years Day brunch this morning.  This is a recipe that we make in my family as a tradition for almost every holiday or special occasion brunch since I was a kid.  The whole family loves it.  It's ridiculously easy to make, and you prep it the night before so you just have to quickly pop it into the oven in the morning and, voila!, delicious home-made cinnamon rolls on your table in 25 minutes.  Everyone will think you are a genius who has been up baking cinnamon buns for hours!  The recipe comes from the Best of Bridge cookbook series, and the page for this recipe in my cookbook at home is worn out from overuse.

We served this as one of the dishes for our friends this morning after a very fun New Years Eve games night* at our place with us and three other couples.  The cinnamon buns were served alongside a hash brown casserole, an egg frittata, and fresh fruit.  Oh, and Baileys/coffee and champagne mimosas too, because if you are with some of your best friends then why not be drunk twice in 2015 before noon on January 1?

*no games were actually played.

Ainslie, Kendra, Sara, and me!
I wanted to get the recipe up on the blog today because I was asked for it a couple of times.  We didn't turn off the lights last night until past 4am, and I was in bed nodding off before I realized that I hadn't made the make-ahead night-before cinnamon buns!  Out of bed and off to the kitchen I went (with Hubby sawing logs already).  Good thing they are super easy to make and take no longer than five minutes to assemble, if you don't spill half of the melted butter on the floor (I did), which does in fact delay the process.  I was still back in bed in a matter of about five minutes, and the effort was worth it this morning!

Speaking of beds, I just want to show off our new bed and bedding because this is my blog and I can do that!

The bed is from Costco (my favourite store in the world), the bedding is from West Elm, and the new mattress is so high that we almost touch the ceiling!  The Hubby says he is excited for hot summer nights since he will be so close to the ceiling fan!  I always thought I just was a person who has a sore back all the time, but ever since getting a new mattress my back pain has disappeared....hooray!  It's the most comfy bed in the world.  New year, new bed...woo hoo!  But, I digress...

Definitely make these gooey, sticky, delicious cinnamon buns for your next brunch and then the one after that too...you won't regret it!!!  One quick word to the wise...the recipe calls for a bundt pan, not an angel-food cake pan.  You cannot use an angel food cake pan for this recipe.  I have tried to do so, my mom has tried to do so, my best friend has tried to do so, and each time the recipe fails miserably.  You can pick up a cheap bundt pan at the thrift store if you don't have one already.  I'm not sure how this would work in a loaf pan, but if you try it with success (or with a failure), please let me know!

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Chocolate Mocha Roll
Two Years Ago:  Meyer Lemon Chicken Piccata
Three Years Ago:  Egg Nog Supreme (another Best of Bridge winner!)

Land of Nod Cinnamon Buns

  • 20 frozen dinner rolls
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vanilla dry instant pudding
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
Grease a 10-inch bundt pan, add half of the frozen dinner rolls, then sprinkle with half of each of the brown sugar, pudding powder, cinnamon, and raisins.  Repeat with the other half of the rolls, sugar, pudding, cinnamon, and raisins.  Pour the melted butter overtop.  Cover the bundt pan with a damp cloth (make sure not to omit this step as it is important), and leave out on the counter overnight at room temperature.  In the morning, preheat your oven to 350F and bake for 25 minutes on the middle rack.  Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes, then flip it out onto a serving plate.  Enjoy!

Recipe Source:  Best of Bridge Land of Nod Cinnamon Buns

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