Recipes · Soups & Sauces

Soups & Sauces…Stir in a little confidence

I have been a little busy over the past week! Finally, I think I’ve got myself back together and refocused. Now, it’s time to organize every little piece of papern and relay the information I’ve got.

Last night I taught a class at our local Hunger Coalition! I had an amazing time with Kat – I love to see people’s faces come to life when they are interested in something and see something different; something they feel they can do. Last night I got to see that enthusiasm and get some comments.

I’ve had ongoing requests to post more recipes and am planning to do so, but, I would like to do it just a bit differently than all the recipe sites out there; there are hundreds of them and all wonderful in their own way, I just feel this site needs to stand apart in some way and offer a different kind of vibe; a new confidence because Inspired Home Cooking is a redirection of confidence – from premade/processed food to your own kitchen to your own empowered hands.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and know that no recipe is written in stone. Once you make something you can call it your own!

Cranberry Chutney1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
12 ounce pkg cranberries
1 apple, peeled and diced (any kind will do)
1 orange (juice and zest)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves

Supplies: measuring cups and spoons, knife, zester and hand reamer (juicer).

All ingredients into one saucepan. Bring to boil until sugar melts and cranberries pop. Cook until sauce muxture coats the back of a spoon or nappe stage.

Serve with turkey, chicken or pork as a condiment. As an appetizer with cream cheese – cheddar is really good – and crackers. Or, as a spread on sandwiches.

Mire Poix
Mirepoix is commonly known as aromatics, which is a combination of vegetables sauteed for soups and sauces.

Adding mirepoix to your cooking adds flavor, as opposed to water.

Mirepoix variations:
Basic – 1 onion, 3 celery, 2 carrot sauteed in butter or olive oil.

Italian Sofrito onions, garlic and celery sauteed in olive oil.

Spanish – onions, garlic and tomato.

German – leek, carrot and celery.

Ham, carrots, onions and herbs (in a bouquet garni)

Holy Trinity in cajun cooking is onions, bell peppers and celery in equal quantities. With substitutions of garlic, shallots and parsley, or the addition of these ingredients.

Bouquet garni is a bundle of herbs tied together. There is no recipe, but, typical bundles are thyme, parley and bay leaves. Rosemary, peppercorns or loose herbs can be put into a sachet or a tea strainer. The reason is that the herbs become bitter if they sit in the liquid, so they will need to be removed for the broth.
When the broth is finished, it is strained through a strainer lined with paper towels or a coffee filter.

Basic Broth
2 pounds chicken parts
1 large onion roughly chopped
2 carrots chopped
1 celery stock chopped, leaves and ends included.
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
4-6 peppercorns
sprig of thyme and or rosemary
sprig of parsley
2-3 quarts cold water
Salt to taste
Start with the mirepoix. Onion, carrots, celery and garlic can be roughly cut in chunks; Sautee in olive oil for a few minutes. Add water and bones or meat parts. Scrape the bits off the bottom of the pot. The amount of water should completely cover the pieces by about 2 inches in the stock pot. More water can be added, if needed.
Simmer on low heat for about 2 hours, or up to 6 (watch so the liquid does not get too low). Sccop off the foam as it cooks. Strain off all the bones and the over-cooked vegetables. Drain or scoop off the fat after refrigerating for 30 minutes or let it sit at room temperature until fat is on the top. Store in containers for soups and gravies. For soup, you may just want to leave the vegetables in the soup and remove the herbs.
Use this as a base for soups, it can be thinned with water, and as a stock for flavoring sauces and to make food richer and more flavorful.
Note: If you have a roasted chicken from the market, save the bones and make a stock.

Corn & Potato chowder
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 potatoes, diced
1 bag frozen corn (about 10 ounces)
2 cups water (check consistency later)
Seasoning salt – Lawry’s or Old Bay or similar
1 Bay leaf
Pepper to taste
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter

Supplies: Soup pot – 4 or 5 quart.

Cook bacon, remove and drain on paper towel. Drain grease from pan, leaving a little in pan. Add onions and sautee a couple of minutes. Add all other ingredients with bacon, except milk and flour – and cook on medium heat until potatoes and carrots are tender 20-30 minutes. Warm the milk to just a simmer, slowly pour into soup alternating flour and milk. Add butter. Slowly stir soup until thickened. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Talk about variations – ham or smoked turkey leg. Broccoli and cheddar. Baked potato soup topped with cheddar and green onions.

Basic White Sauce – for Macaroni and Cheese and gravy during the holidays.
 4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk

2 cups cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni

Prepare macaroni ahead of time.
Melt butter and add flour for a paste. Very slowly add milk. Whisk slowly until sauce thickens. Add cheese and whisk until cheese is melted. Pour pasta into a baking dish. Pour sauce over top, stir to make sure all pasta is covered. Sprinkle a handful of grated cheese over the top. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Variations: Add 1 cup ground sausage for sausage gravy. Add 1 cup sauteed mushrooms for mushroom gravy with a couple tablespoons of sherry. Chopped herbs. Broccoli can be added to the macaroni and cheese. Garlic, bacon and parmesan for a pasta sauce.
If gravy becomes too thick, slowly whisk in broth or milk to get the consistency you desire.


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