these 2 recipes were great at our house for a family night for 2 reasons, the first recipe is a great dumper. tons of stuff to dump into the bowl, enough that 2 young kids felt busy and helpful. older kids would be a great help chopping. the second recipe brings the best spirit of love into your home - period.
my onion trick-
Aunt Susan's Minestrone Soup
1 lb. sausage browned
2 onions chopped - the above picture is something a good friend, Mindy Georgi, told me to do when chopping onions, the bread absorbs the pain. opt. - i am obsessed with dried onions right now, i love that they sop up the flavor of everything you are cooking with, use 4-5 TB. if you go this route
3 carrots chopped
3 stalks of celery chopped
3 c. chopped cabbage - i use the bagged coleslaw to save time
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
simmer above in 5 cups of water until tender
1 small can of beans, rinsed and drained (great northern or red kidney - or both)
1 can corn
1 can green beans
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
4 t. salt
4 TBSP. parsley
bring to a boil and simmer about 30 minutes
last 15 minutes, add a handful of cooked pasta. elbow or seashell work.
serve with Parmesan cheese.
side note- my aunt susan makes this soup every year on a fun fall picnic we do in the mountains a few minutes from our house. my aunties come with my grandma and we have an afternoon of hiking, eating and laughing. there is a long standing tradition of good everyday food on this side, it is where my passion to make ordinary everyday food the best it can be. we can have a family party of all salads and have a different salad from everyone with simple ingredients that tastes so good. so here's to the christensen women in my life!
this next recipe is great for family night because i truly think that when you make homemade bread there is a tangible spirit of love left in its wake. it is a time consuming process and is always appreciated by all who partake. this is from my friend Cara.
preheat oven to 150 or warm
5 1/2 cups warm water
2 TBSP yeast
2 TBSP salt - kosher or sea
2 TBSP dough enhancer - you can find this at a specialty store, it helps lighten the bread, i try to use less flour to keep it light. it is optional
2/3 c. olive oil, if you measure this first, the honey slides right out
2/3 c. creamy honey
12 c. flour - i use about 8-9 cups white and 3-4 cups wheat. i try to use the best flour, unbleached, not enriched, stone ground wheat. i love this wheat mountain from montana, they say it is better than organic
dough will be sticky, that helps to have lighter bread. i use 4 large bread pans, make sure you spray them.
also, to work with the dough, i spray the counter top with nonstick spray and divide dough into 4 parts with a knife.
turn oven off and put pans in oven for 20-40 minutes.
while pans are still in oven, preheat oven to 350 and cook for 30-35 minutes.
tip-remove your bread promptly from pans or they will sweat and turn the bottom soggy and wet.
this, is what you will get with homemade bread - a daughter that loves it and asks when you are making it again. she sees how much work and how good a hot slice from the oven is.....payment enough.
sidenote - i did bread just to say i did it a couple months back and i now make all of our bread. i want to become a bread master and i am on loaf 31. (becca is working on pie master, almost 100) i love that i am in control of the ingredients and the quality. there is so much goodness in this tradition. can i just say that i think of deanna every time i make this. she grinds her own wheat and i have fond memories of seeing my ebbert friends with toast or slices of her fresh homemade bread with fabulous toppings.