Sunday, January 12, 2014

Smoky, Hearty Ham and Potato Soup

There's nothing that helps beat down this cold weather that creeps into your bones better than a thick, hearty soup. Something that really fills you up and warms your core. This is probably my favorite soup ever. I remember the first time I made it and I sat down and took my first bite, I nearly cried it was so delicious!! I like to serve this with a good, crusty bread to soak up all the yummy juices.


4 tbs butter
4 ribs celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 med onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, SLICED thinly
6 to 7 med/large potatoes (I use red or Yukon gold), cubed into 1-inch pieces
1.5 lbs ham, cubed like taters
1 jar real bacon bits (I prefer hormel)-OPTIONAL
2 boxes COLD chicken stock (roughly 8 cups)
2 cups water
Cayenne pepper

Half pint heavy cream


1.) Brown butter in stockpot. 
2.) Add in chopped veggies, ham, and garlic. Cook on med for about 6-7 mins or until veggies start to soften and onions are translucent. 
3.) Add enough flour to make a roux. Cook for about 3 mins. 
4.) Add in chicken stock 1 cup at a time and thoroughly mix. 
5.) Mix in water. 
6.) Throw in bacon bits. 
7.)Bring to a boil. (You can crank it to high for the time being)
8.) Add potatoes. 
9.) Bring to boil and turn back down to med. 
10.) Cook for about 15 mins, or until potatoes and carrots are soft.
11.) Once potatoes are soft take a potato masher or heavy slotted spoon and mash down some of the potatoes to release the starch, I usually mash it down around 7 times. 
12.) Salt and pepper to taste, I do about 2-3 tsp salt and 2 tsp pepper. 5 dashes cayenne, or more if you like it spicy.
13.) Turn burner off and mix in heavy cream.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Glazed Venison Meatloaf (with BACON!!)

Have you ever started spot cleaning and then found yourself deep cleaning for hours? Yeah, that totally happened to me last night. I started out picking up toys in my living room (it doesn't matter how many times I ask my 5 and 3 year old to pick up after themselves, it just doesn't happen) and the next thing I knew I had cleared all the cobwebs in the corners, cleaned out behind our corner entertainment center, and ran a sponge across the baseboards! I didn't even go to sleep until well after 3 am. But, alas, this is the life of a mother of little'ns.
This week we're trying to clear out our freezer a bit so we're only eating things we have at home already. Last week we had a friend give us some venison from the deer he shot this season and I decided to make a meatloaf with the ground meat. Now, just an FYI, my kids didn't really go crazy for this, but hubby and I loved it. I served it with honey maple glazed carrots and homemade mashed red potatoes (skin on, of course!).

Glazed Venison Bacon Meatloaf

Approx. 1.5 lbs ground venison
1 lb uncooked bacon, chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup ketchup
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cups dry bread crumbs/crushed crackers
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1.5 tsp garlic powder
4 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp prepared mustard
4 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. This step is very important to me, as it requires my very best friend in the whole world, PAM Baking Spray. Yes. With flour. It's the best. I seriously use no other nonstick spray. It doesn't leave that yucky baked on residue other sprays do, and it actually keeps meat as well as baked yummies from sticking. I use it for anything and everything I put in my oven. So anywho, spray a loaf pan or 9x13 cake pan with your favorite nonstick spray.
3. Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl. Add in chopped onion, ketchup, salt, pepper, and bread crumbs and mix well.
4. Add in chopped bacon and mix again.
5. Time to get messy! Add ground venison to your eggy crumby bacon mix... And mush it all up with your hands! Really get in there and just squeeze it between your fingers. Do this until you're satisfied that all your ingredients are well incorporated.
6. Form meat mixture in prepared pan.
7. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, and cayenne. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, go ahead and throw in a squeeze or two of some liquid smoke and mix well. Pour over meatloaf.
8. Bake in oven for 70-90 minutes, depending on the depth of the pan you've used. Meatloaf is done when meat thermometer reaches 160 in center of loaf.

 Variations (because it's always fun to change it up a bit sometimes!)
Add these in to step three (pick your fave or do them all!):
1 chopped bell pepper, any color
1 cup sliced jalapeƱos
1.5 cups julienned carrots
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

You could also add a handful (or two... Or three or the whole bag because there's no such thing as too much cheese!) of shredded sharp cheddar to the top of the meatloaf the last twenty minutes or so of cooking.


(I accidentally deleted my intro, so now it's going to be out of order, but 'tis how my life is anyway! Haha)

Well hello! I'm Ms. Newbake (no, that's not my real name, but I'm in the middle of a divorce, so meh, didn't really want to use that name)! Welcome to my food blog! I'm new to this whole blogging thing, so excuse me if I bore you ;) Just a little about me, I'm 23 and I have two children, a boy (4), we'll call him Batman, and a girl (2), and we'll call her Princess Jellybean. I currently reside in the middle of nowhere, 20 minutes away from any store or fast food restaurant, so consequently I've been baking a lot lately. Just boredom :) So I decided, hey! Why not do a food blog so I can share all of my successes and failures with the Internet world! And so I am here, as are you, and these are my food adventures! Bon appetit!

Old Fashioned Fudge

Well, it's been a while! In all honesty, things got a little crazy around here last year around the time that I created this blog so I've got some updating to do; I had a baby! Lol. I found out last December that my boyfriend and I were expecting and our little (fat) bundle of joy was born in late August. We'll call him Chunk. Batman and Princess Jellybean just love him to pieces!

FUDGE! When I was little one of my favorite things in the world was when my grandma would pop popcorn on the stove and make fudge. Seriously, my whole family will devour a pan of fudge in the blink of an eye. She got the recipe from her sister, my great-aunt, and I've not a clue where she got it! They've been making it for over 50 years, though! My kids go crazy for it, and I gotta say I indulge (over, that is ;) ) in it as well. The recipe is as follows:
(NOTE: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DOUBLE THIS RECIPE IN ONE POT!!!!!! IT DOESN'T WORK! You can, however, halve it, and it turns out beautifully.)


5 HEAPING tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5 cups milk
3 cups sugar
Dash salt

Mix first 4 ingredients in large pot (I use a small stockpot) on medium heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat down slightly, about low-medium. Adjust flame accordingly to keep fudge at rolling boil, but not over medium. Mixture will rise while cooking so make sure to have a large enough pot to accommodate. Stir with a metal spoon occasionally to help with sticking. After about 15-25 minutes the mixture will have boiled back down and have become thick. To test readiness, drop a small amount of mixture into some cold water. It should be in soft ball stage. If not, keep boiling, stirring often to avoid burning, until it reaches soft ball stage. Once stage is acquired turn off heat and  mix the following right into the pot:

3 tbs butter OR 1.5 tbs butter and 3 tbs peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

1.5-2 cups marshmallow fluff  OR 3 cups mini marshmallows

Stir last ingredients in well. Fudge should be thick and have a milk chocolate color. Pour into well buttered 8x8 (if halving) or 9x13 pan and allow to set, about 2 hours depending on how well mixture cooked. I usually just allow mine to set overnight on the counter (mostly, though, because I never even think about making it until it's almost bedtime!). Tada! Yummy fudge with a delicious flavor and amazing texture. Nothing like fudge made from chocolate chips or with sweetened condensed milk, it's soooo much better!