Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Week's Menu, and an Alsatian Vegetable Soup Recipe

1. Hearty Chicken Strata (adjusted down for five people)

2. Cheeseburger Casserole from the Saving Dinner Cookbook (p. 42)

3. Bowties and Broccoli (with some changes-- penne instead of bowties, and mozzarella instead of parmesan)

4. Chicken Enchiladas (I'm going to improvise this with chicken breast, Ro-tel and colby-jack cheese.)

5. Grandma's Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili with some variations

6. Caribbean Rice and Beans from the More with Less Cookbook (p. 103)

7. Alsatian Vegetable Soup, a recipe I got from my sister-in-law the first year of my marriage. Here is the recipe:

Alsatian Vegetable Soup
(makes about 6 cups)

4 T. butter
1 green onion, chopped (optional)
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
2 medium turnips, peeled and diced
1/8 t. marjoram leaves
1/3 cup milk
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup sliced celery
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
2-14 oz cans chicken broth
2 t. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
parsley or chives
sour cream (optional, but we love it)

1. In a 3-quart pan over medium heat, melt butter.

2. Add onion, green onion, celery, mushrooms; cook till onion is soft.

3. Remove and set aside about half the mushroom mixture.

4. Add potato, turnips, broth and marjoram.

5. Bring mixture to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until turnips are very soft (about 20 minutes).

6. Puree mixture in a blender or food processor and return to pan. Caution is needed for this step-- do not fill the blender or food processor more than halfway, and keep your hands on the thing while pureeing, because hot soup sometimes causes the lid of the appliance to pop off. Ask me how I know. It is not fun to clean pureed soup off the ceiling. ;o)

7. Stir in lemon juice, reserved mushrooms, and milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat through. Garnish with parsley or chives and sour cream.

And in case anyone else wonders about words like I do, things that are "Alsatian" come from a place on the border of France and Germany: Alsace. The ruling of this region was the subject of a hot contest between France and Germany for many centuries, from the Dark Ages (before France and Germany were actually called France and Germany) through WWII. The beleagured people of Alsace once actually declared themselves a republic, they were so tired of being used as pawns in wars between Germany (originally Prussia, and for a time known as the Holy Roman Empire) and France. Both the French and Germans imposed their own languages onto the people of Alsace, who actually have a language of their own, Alsatian. Isn't that interesting? It's just a little place, but the people have a strong regional identity. And they make yummy soup.

Betcha didn't realize you were going to get a geography lesson. ;o)

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