Homemade French Onion Soup

It’s cold out-EW! Dad doesn’t feel well- double ew. I am home on break and in between jobs right now- YAY! This combination means killer dinners. I was going to make French Onion soup last night but decided on the Tortellini instead. When my dad found out that French onion had been an option, he was quite upset, hence making it tonight. It also happens to be one of my favorites! Between last nights dinner and tonights, we are going to have a killer left over night tomorrow night!

Ingredients:

1 pack beef stew meat/cubes- I know, FOS doesn’t usually have meat in it, well, mine does.

2-3 onions, we used yell

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tablespoon gravy master

5 beef bullion cubes or 6 cups of beef stock

6 cups of water *if using beef stock you will not need the water!*

Shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese

1. Cut stew meat into smaller bite sized pieces- halves or quarters. In a pan on medium heat, brown the cubes.

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2. While the cubes are browning, slice up your onion! We used 2 1/2. You can choose how you’d like to cut them. We quartered them and sliced them length wise so we had onion strips about an inch to 2 inches long.

3. After the cubes have browned, add the onions, stir and put a lid on them. You want the onions to sweat, soften and mix in with the cubes. This took about 10-15 minutes.

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4. Once the onions and cubes are done, put them in the crock pot. Add 3 cups of water or stock, depending on which you are using. Put the pan back on the stove and turn the heat up to high.

5. Add the remaining 3 cups of liquid to the pan, using a spoon, make sure there’s no good stuff stuck to the bottom. Add in the Worcestershire sauce, gravy master, and if you are using water, the bullion cubes. Bring to a boil and stir until the bullion cubes are pretty much dissolved.

6. Pour the yummy mixture into the crock pot with the onions, beef, and other liquids. Set on low and let simmer for the day.

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As with most of my crock pot recipes, this can be “sped up” by just doing this all in a big pot on the stove. This could technically all be done in the crock pot as well by just throwing everything in and turning it on high, but I feel like the flavors would not be as developed. It would be great to throw in the night before to have for lunch the following day as well!IMG_4718

If you’re like us and don’t have the cute little crocks, have mozzarella cheese shredded/sliced to put on top of the soup with a good, hearty crust of bread. Best if served nice and HOT. Nothing beats that stringy mozzarella with that bread dipped in the beefy, onion broth!

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Creamy Crock Pot Tortellini Soup

One of the joys of being in a relationship is collecting and learning recipes. This happens to be one of my new favorites! Filling, easy, warm, and perfect for a cold winters day, this crock pot soup takes about 5 minutes to throw together. Seriously. There’s almost no prep time.

Ingredients:

1lb bag tortellini- cheese or meat

1 8oz pack of cream cheese

16 oz can/jar of tomato sauce

1 lb ground beef

1-2 garlic cloves

1/2 onion

Basil

1. Dump in the tortellini, tomato sauce, and thawed ground beef into the crock pot. Make sure the ground beef is broken up.

2. Add in the cream cheese and split it up a bit so that it is not in one giant block.

3. Mince/chop garlic and onion and add to the pot.

4. Add in a few fresh basil leaves or about a table spoon of dried

5. Set on high and stir occasionally for at least 3 hours. The tortellini should be soft, any meat should be cooked through, the cream cheese should be melted and incorporated.

This whole process could be sped up by doing it in a pot on the stove if needed, or put in a crock pot on low for the day. Serve with a good hearty bread and eat up! Possible additions or substitutions include: diced tomatoes, chicken or a ground meat like turkey or venison, meat tortellini, or meatballs.

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Canned Homemade Apple Sauce

I finally went apple picking. It was everything I had hoped it would be and MORE. Not only was the weather perfect, but the fruits of our labor were exceptionally sweet! I am fortunate to live by an awesome little place called “Weaver’s Orchard.”
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Weaver’s boasts a beautiful orchard with over 30 varieties of apple. Not to mention the raspberries, pumpkins, blueberries and all of the other pick your own yummy treats. They also have a farmers market and lots of other fun, delicious things on site.
Ethan and I went on the perfect September day. I bought a 16lb bag and went to town. I got a few of as many kinds of apples as I could get. Honeycrisp, Red Delicious, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Sun Crisp and a few others. They looked quite pretty all piled up in my mom’s green fruit bowl.
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After washing the apples in a warm water and vinegar mix in the sink, it was time to SAUCE!
Ingredients:
8-12 apples peeled and chopped (I used a variety of apples)
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup Maple Syrup (YES! That is the secret!)
1/4 cup good honey
3-5 canning jars/lids

I like my apple sauce nice and spiced so that it tastes like apple pie. It even lends itself to be a bit closer to apple butter. ANYWHO.
1. Peel and chop your apples. Add all ingredients to a crock pot set on high and stir.
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Your house will smell AWESOME! This is great to do in the fall because it smells AH-MAZING.
2. Cook on high until the apples are completely mushy and soft- this takes about 6-8 hours depending on the apples you use and how many.
3. Using a blender or hand held blender, blend the apples until smooth, or your desired consistency. Some people like chunkier apple sauce- what ever floats your boat.
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4. While blending, I started my boiling water for my jars/lids.
5. After blending I dumped the blended apples into a large pot on the stove and brought them up to a good boil. Be careful, it will pop and splatter and it is VERY HOT!!!! Homemade apple sauce is much darker than the stuff bought in the store. It is also darker because of the spices added.
6. This next step is a two-three person job that my mom and or dad usually help with so that it is done quickly before anything can cool! (Thanks guys!) Once jars and lids are brought to a boil in the water, pull them out and ladle in the hot sauce. As long as the jars, lids, and sauce are all nice and hot, you will not need to water bathe them again. It took about 3 ladles of sauce per jar. Set them aside on a towel with space in between so that the air can get in and cool them. Do NOT put them in the fridge they will crack and break. They must cool slowly. The tops should pop within an hour or two. If not, you may need to put the jar in boiling water for 5-10 minutes to heat everything back up to induce the sealing of the lid.
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This batch made 3 pint jars and enough at the bottom of the pot for everyone in the family to have a spoonful. I have been trying to share my apple sauce, but it’s so hard when I want to keep it all for myself! I got two batches out of my 16lb bag from the orchard. I definitely plan on getting at least a 24lb bag next year. The two batches made 7 pints and 3 of the smaller sample size jars to share with friends.