the big soup

The Big Soup Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Soup

This “BIG SOUP” recipe is insanely flexible! It starts with a base of chicken broth and our familiar friends onion, celery, carrot and herbs. But then the party gets a little crazy – you add whatever fresh, canned or frozen veggies, pasta and or meats that you have loitering around the kitchen, making this soup “soup-er” flexible.

Some of the best cooks never follow a recipe to the “t” and this is surely one of their favorites!

Foodie Tips ~

  Note the variations on the original scan –

  For more soup: Add additional vegetables and broth.
  For two meals: Freeze the leftovers.
  For creamed soup: Add ½ to 1 cup cream 5 minutes before serving. Do not boil the cream!
  For pureed soup: Put all ingredients (no bones) into a blender and work your magic, until smooth.

  If you discover a version you really like, make record of the ratios so you can make it again on the next go.

  I was 10 when this recipe appeared in the 1976 edition of Apartment Life Magazine. How alarming it is to see the office phone hanging on the wall in the photo below! PS ~ I also love the bananas T-shirt!

i. base ingredients

2 cans | chicken broth
4 | chicken breasts
1 | large onion, chopped
| celery stalk, chopped
| carrot, chopped
2 sprigs | parsley
1 teaspoon | thyme (or dillweed)
| bay leaf
to “cover” | water

ii. “scavenge” for these accessory ingredients

1 small can | pinto beans, chickpeas and or plum tomatoes
1 medium can | corn
½ package | frozen okra, asparagus, artichokes and or pea pods
2 | potatoes, chopped
1 small | zucchini, chopped
| green pepper, chopped
¼ pound | mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup or more | pasta or rice
1 length | seasoned sausage
cubes | leftover meat
1 | kitchen sink (just checking if you’re paying attention!) :)

iii. what to do

1. In a medium/large pot over medium heat, add the first eight ingredients in step “i” above. Add water to cover.

2. While waiting for the soup to simmer, scavenge for your step “ii” ingredients above, whatever form they take.

3. Add fresh veggies and rice after the soup’s been simmering 15 minutes or canned, frozen ingredients and pasta after 20 minutes. Simmer soup for 30 minutes or until everything’s done.

Shazam!
An Original Scan Mom's Big Soup Recipe

Click To View –> An Original Scan Of The Big Soup Recipe


corn fritters

Before Twitter, There Was The Fritter

delicious corn fritters

If you knew me when I was a young pup, in addition to finding me shy, you’d also consider me a great bad-gift-giver.

One Christmas I gave my family (ahem, let’s be clear… MYSELF) the Activision Skiing video game (see the mind-numbing action here). Me aside, a Kiker family flop. Probably the worst gift I gave anyone ever, was when I gave dad a butter slicer for his birthday.

A butter slicer? What was I thinking. More importantly, what was dad thinking?

behold dad's butter slicerI still have the butter slicer (at left) and while it sat dormant in my kitchen drawer during my college and early-adult years, it now makes a debut in my kitchen every week or two when perfect butter slices are a must. And perfect butter slices are always a must.

I have to admit the butter slicer is really handy… especially for days like today when I whipped-up a batch of these savory and delicious corn fritters. I’ve heard of fritters, but reuniting with these gave me the good-time jitters… I loved them and watched my belly swell with pride as I popped these out of the skillet and into my mouth.

Thank goodness I found this recipe in mom’s cookbook.

When was the last time you enjoyed a fritter?

i. ingredientsthe ingredients for making your own tasty corn fritters

17 ounce can | del monte brand family style corn
1 | cage free egg
2-1/3 cups | all-purpose biscuit mix
salad oil
to taste | syrup
to taste | butter

ii. what to do

1. Heat 2-3 inches of oil to 375°F in a heavy skillet.

2. Pour liquid from corn into medium-sized mixing bowl.

3. Add egg and biscuit mix; stir until smooth. Fold in corn.

4. Drop tablespoonfuls of batter into hot oil. Fry to golden brown, turning once.

5.  Drain on paper towels.

flying up the corn fritters6. Serve jitters hot with syrup and a slight brushing of butter.

Shivver, Me Fritters!

Foodie Tips ~

 Salad oil is vegetable, canola, peanut, sunflower or the like.

 Serve with syrup + BUTTER = Yes! (remember to make it Falfurrias brand butter per Nanny). You can melt the butter and brush it atop the fritter just before dipping it in your favorite syrup. De-li-cious!

I haven’t tried this yet, but I bet the fritters are also great with a dusting of powdered sugar.

A 17 ounce can of corn? They come in 15.25 ounce cans these days. Go figure.

corn fritters spectacular

mom's corn fritters recipe





beef tamale pie

the beef tamale pie finale

Growing Up, Christmastime Meant “Tamaletime” For The Kikers

And living in San Antonio meant we had easy access to some of the best hand-made tamales on the planet.

This tamale pie recipe is a variation on the handmade tamales we enjoyed during the holidays. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do; you’ll find this savory pie won’t last long … In fact …

… Here today, gone tamale!

i. ingredientssome of the ingredients for mom's beef tamale pie

1½ pounds | lean ground beef
1 | white onion, chopped
½ cup | chopped green pepper
1 teaspoon | lawry’s brand seasoned salt
1 package | chili seasoning mix
1 pound | tomatoes, chopped
1½ cups | cooked and drained whole-kernel corn
1 cup | pitted black olives, sliced
1 cup | yellow corn meal
1 teaspoon | salt
2½ cups | cold water
1 cup | shredded cheddar cheese

ii. what to dobeef tamale pie in the works

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Brown the beef in a medium skillet, breaking up meat with spoon; drain and return meat to skillet.

2. And the next 5 ingredients and simmer 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the corn and olives; transfer to a 2-quart baking dish.

4. In a separate pot, combine the corn meal, salt and water, stirring until thick over medium heat.

the corn meal mixture atop the beef tamale pie5. Spread corn meal mixture over the beef mixture and bake about 40 minutes.

6. Remove your pie from oven briefly to sprinkle with cheese then return to bake for another 5 minutes.

Makes 6 servings

Foodie Tip ~

 Let’s go all the way – why not garnish your pie with sour cream, chopped scallions, guacamole and jalapeño?!

a close-up view of the pie fresh from the oven. me? about to dive in!

I found the original recipe (below) in mom’s 3-ring black binder. I think mom was more likely to “clip” recipes in her early days until she learned the art of freestyle cooking; the green index card file contains many of the recipes that are handwritten indicating they were favorite creations of hers… or her friends.

mom's favorite beef tamale pie recipe




patrick’s chicken tortilla soup

This recipe is dedicated to my special niece Melissa ~ Her zest for food taught me
the more spice you add to life, the merrier!

~   
  ~

my tortilla soup recipeIf my Mom “Betty” was still alive, I would have made sure she put my own favorite recipe in her cookbook. And better yet, I would have made her some bowls of this great-tasting soup.

I’ve tweaked this recipe over the years, and you can also edit it to please your own personal taste buds. I’ve had several friends say it’s the best tortilla soup they’ve had … plus, it’s easy to make. My secret? Squeezing lime juice on top just after the cheese starts to melt.

As temperatures start to “dip,” what better way to warm-up chilly evenings, than with this all-time favorite tortilla soup recipe? Perfect as an appetizer, or as a main course, one bowl of this soup usually leads to two … or more! Totally a comfort food staple for the Fall Foodie in you.

ingredients

2 cups | cooked chicken breast (cubed)
1 cup | chopped onion
1 tsp. | olive oil
1 – 4 oz. can | chopped green chilies
1 – 1.25 oz. package | taco seasoning mix ~ the hotter, the better
1 – 16 oz. can | stewed tomatoes
6 cups | chicken broth
1 – 10 oz. package | frozen corn
1/3 cup | fresh chopped cilantro
to taste | tortilla chips, broken into pieces
4 cups | your favorite grated cheese (we prefer pepper jack, monterey jack or cheddar)
1 | avocado
garnish | sour cream
garnish | green onion (scallion)
to taste | fresh ground black pepper
garnish | a squeeze of lime juice

what to do

1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and place into a medium pot filled with water. Bring to a boil for 5-7 minutes and cook until done. Drain and set aside.

2. In a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion in oil 3 to 4 minutes, until soft.

3. Stir in chilies and the seasoning mix, cook 1 minute.

4. Add tomatoes and juice, breaking them up with a spoon.

5. Stir in broth and bring to a boil.

6. Add corn and chicken, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

7. Top with the cilantro.

8. Spoon into bowls and top with chips, cheese, avocado, and sour cream. Garnish with scallion, black pepper, and a squeeze of lime.

Serves 4-5 hungry folks. The soup refrigerates well; keep the garnish (chips, cheese, avocado, sour cream) as last minute additions. 

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

 


calabacita

This special recipe is dedicated to our dear family friend Bristol ~
thanks to her, mom’s recipes live on; the greatest treat I’ve ever received.
~      ~

tasty calabacita

My mom’s great friend “Bristol” said “calabacita” was one of mom’s absolute favorite recipes because she loved its spicy taste. Now I know where I get my love of spicy food!

I didn’t even know how to spell calaba-HUH?, but thanks to Google, I do now. Calabacita means “little squash” in Spanish and is often made of a variety of summer squashes with thin, edible skins, including zucchini, yellow crookneck, Mexican straight-neck and sunburst squashes (per the research I did online). We’ll see what mom used!

I remember something squashy as a kid, but not sure of the name. I think mom “dumbed” the name calabacita down to “squash” for me since my tiny tongue was too young to pronounce “ca-la-ba-ci-ta.” Although I do remember the young ability to say “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!”

5/14/11 UPDATE ~ I received mom’s cookbook this very week and scoured both the cookbook and the little recipe card file… and no calabacita recipe! All I can figure is that mom probably had the recipe in her head and didn’t need to write it down. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t share it with her friends! I’m on the hunt for the recipe, so in the meantime, enjoy the recipe below from the other Betty (Crocker)… the ingredients look similar to what I remember eating… except I don’t remember mom using chicken… but she did use both yellow crookneck squash and green zucchini.

i. ingredientsingredienti di calabacita

1 tablespoon | extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 lb | uncooked chicken breast tenders (not breaded)
8 to 10 small to medium | zucchini (2 1/2 lb), peeled, thinly sliced (8 cups)
1 medium | white onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 can (15.25 oz) | Green Giant® whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can (14.5 oz) | diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion, undrained
1 can (4.5 oz) | Old El Paso® chopped green chiles, undrained
1-1/2 teaspoons | garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon | ground cumin
to taste | salt and pepper, if desired
1/2 cup | chopped fresh cilantro

ii. what to do

1. In 5- to 6-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cover and cook 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink in the center.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients except cilantro. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender.

3. Stir in cilantro; cook 3 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

the simple joy of calabacitaFoodie Tips ~

While I don’t remember mom serving calabacita over white rice, consider it (from me to you).

Making instant rice? Why not substitute water with chicken or beef broth?