It's a great afternoon to write. I've decided to start sharing recipes. You just don't know how challenging doing that is for me. First, I cook by the seat of my pants most of the time. And secondly, I cook by the seat of my pants! Which is my way of saying I make up a lot in the moment, I very rarely use recipes....or use them as-is only once and I am NOT good about measuring anything. I go by smells, tastes, looks, etc. It's a 5 senses thing. And for those of you that MUST use exact amounts of everything, maybe this isn't the blog for you. Or learn to lighten up and learn to generalize a little. I'm ALL about generalizations. I CAN be about details if a job requires it, but about my cooking......(shaking head). And I'm now wishing I had taken a picture of this "recipe" for you. I thought just getting a blog up and going well is challenging enough for me and I didn't expect to really be sharing recipes, thus no reason for photographs. So bear with me. If this works out, I'll try to get some pictures for future recipes.
As I've said in the past, I am a bit famous in my house for taking leftovers and making something new out of them. Doing leftovers as-is ISN'T something my family likes to do much. There's only three of us and I tend to make enough for a few lunches or another couple of people's hearty appetite. I like to make sure everyone has as much as they want. So we have leftovers. These creations from leftovers are usually my most successful dishes. Which is irritating to my husband because how often do you have the exact same leftovers so you can do it again? So most of these great meals are not only originals, but once-and-only meals. I'm going to work on that. But for today I'm going to share one of the easiest things to improvise....using leftover sauces for the base for fabulous soups. Soups are COMPLETELY improvisable. Is that a word? Well, it is today. I will try to give you the ingredients and approximate amounts of the sauce that I made for a pasta dinner and how I added to it to make soup a few days later.
I will always gravitate to creamy and cheesy over tomatoey or brothy. Although I will eat the others also. THIS recipe went with my first choice. For the base of it all, I used a jar of creamy, garlic alfredo sauce. Being glutenfree, I warn you to always look at the ingredients list when choosing the type and brand of things like this. Even if the ingredients look good, there's often the disclaimer of "processed in a facility that also processes....." or "may be trace amounts of......", which is enough for me to turn away from. But there are some good choices available. I DO often make things from scratch but other times, when I know I can get ready-made of some items, I will. I would rather talk my way thru the recipe but I know many need to see a recipe in recipe form, so here goes.
1 jar garlic, alfredo sauce (or any flavors you prefer)
1 t. onion powder
2 t. minced garlic (we love garlic)
2 heaping T. pureed pure pumpkin (yes, pumpkin. It really didn't taste pumpkiny. But you add color and GREAT health benefits of pumpkin!)
finely chopped roasted red pepper --- now I did roast them myself and I have no idea how much to tell you to use. If you like it...be generous and enjoy. If not, use sparingly or leave it out completely. I used a couple of sizeable pieces.
2-3 cups chicken stock I often make my own from roasted chicken bones but this time I used boxed. And the amount is dependent on how much sauce you need and how cheesy or thin you want it.
Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
Now for the soup. In a large pot add....
Saute 1 diced onion
add and brown 1 lb bulk sausage
add 1 T minced garlic
add more roasted pepper to taste (I added another couple of large pieces, finely diced)
the rest of the can of pure pumpkin (the can was approximately a 15 oz sized can)
1 box chicken broth
4 T chicken boullion
4 cups water
1 t black pepper
add approximately 1 cup milk as it simmers
chop 2 large fistfuls of fresh spinach and add to pot.
Stir and simmer for 10 minutes
Wow, I did it. I actually wrote this down as a real recipe. I encourage you to take this and make it your own. Wing it. If you don't like something about it, leave it out! Substitute something! It's not rocket science and it WON'T be horrible. I promise. My family loved THIS. And I will do my best to pull it all together and replicate it again very soon.