BLT Soup

Soup is far and above my favorite food. I eat it in the heat of the summer. I eat it in the cold of winter. It is my go-to food for a quick meal or for a special occasion. So when I found this soup in Taste of Home’s Family Collection Cookbook, I made it that very night. And my friends, it was very good!!

3 T. butter
2 T. vegetable oil (I used olive)
3 c. cubed French bread
1 lb. bacon, diced
2 c. finely chopped celery
1 medium onion, chopped
2 T. sugar
6 T. all purpose flour
5 c. chicken broth
1 jar (16 oz.) picante sauce
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/8 t. pepper (I used 1/4 t.)
3 cups lettuce, shredded

In a large saucepan heat butter and oil over medium heat. Toss in bread cubes and stir until crisp and golden brown. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 1/4 c. drippings; set bacon aside.

Sauté celery and onion in bacon drippings (1/4 c.) until tender and onions are translucent. Add sugar, cook and stir for one minute. Add flour, cook and stir for one minute. Slowly stir in broth, picante sauce, tomato and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil and stir for two minutes. Just before serving, add lettuce and heat through. Garnish with the croutons and bacon. Yields 8 servings (2 qts.)

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about,

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Lettuce Wraps

When I first tried these at a restaurant, I was wary of a “lettuce” and “wrap.” Could they be good or tasty?  Oh, they are indeed both!  Crispy, flavorful and hearty offering for any gathering.

4 T canola oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed and sliced in strips
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 c. water chestnuts, chopped
1 c. mushrooms, sliced finely
1 medium vidalia onion, chopped finely
1 t. minced garlic
8 large pieces lettuce, your favorite kind
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. water plus 4 t. separated
8 T. soy sauce, separated
4 T. brown sugar
4 T rice vinegar plus 1 t., separated
4 T. ketchup
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 t. sesame oil
2 T. hot mustard
3 t. garlic and red chili paste

Heat oil over medium high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Sauté onion garlic, mushrooms and water chestnuts for 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl, retaining oil in the pan. Sauté chicken strips for 10 minutes or until golden brown on both sides and thoroughly cooked inside. Remove and when slightly cool, cut into smaller pieces. Add to onion mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix together 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 4 T. brown sugar and 1 t. rice vinegar.
Blend into chicken mixture. Return mixture to pan and heat through over medium low heat for about 5 minutes. Spoon this mixture evenly into lettuce pieces, rolling them up like a burrito.

In a pyrex measuring dish, heat 1 c. water in the microwave for 2 minutes. Blend in 1/2 c. sugar. Add 4 T. soy sauce, 4 T. rice vinegar, 4 T. ketchup, 2 T. lemon juice and 1/4 t. sesame oil. Blend thoroughly. In a separate bowl, blend 2 T. hot mustard and 4 T. water. Add this mixture and 3 t. garlic and red chili paste to pyrex dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Serve lettuce wraps on a plate with sauce in a small dish in the middle with a spoon. You may dip it or cover the lettuce with this sauce. Enjoy!!

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