Soup-er Bowl and Salad

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If you’re curious, my parents’ farm no longer has any animals (not counting Reggie – the chunky pup – and Hopsing and Patty – my Dad’s coonhounds), but they still run the crop land. If you hadn’t guessed, this is Reggie. What a goon!

What a game, am I right?! I set aside my cheesehead to cheer for the 49ers, and I loved the rally they had in the second half. Still, nice work Ravens. The power outage was crazy too, but it was perfect timing for the post-halftime kitchen clean up. Woo! All that said, when E asked me on Saturday morning what I was most looking forward to this weekend, I said “the Superbowl food.” Leave it to the big girl to say her favorite thing is the food.

This past weekend my family came to visit. My parents live in Wisconsin on the farm that my sisters and I grew up on. Both my sisters live in Minnesota now; one just started college here this year. When my parents come up to visit, they’re visiting all three of us in a weekend and it’s always a whirlwind! We knew we had to squeeze in the Superbowl and all the goodies that come with it. So rather than trying to find time to put together a full menu, I just called my favorite soup place and put in a party order for Wisconsin Cheddar (duh.) and Beef Chili. I figured we could have a Soup-er bowl.

Allow me an aside here about our soup order. I put this order in last week and the person taking the order wanted to talk about how I’d be heating it, how I planned on warming the (included) 100 breadsticks, and what time I planned on serving the meal. I was happy to have the insight on how to prepare and I thought with all that effort, they must have their ducks in a row. When E arrived he found out that they didn’t undercook the breadsticks as discussed (to allow for reheating) and they didn’t have one of the soups I ordered! (Anyone else imagining the Seinfeld Soup Nazi episode? “NO SOUP FOR YOU!”) They simply said “what would you like instead?” Ugh. E called me and I decided to go with the White Chicken Chili, knowing in the back of my mind that it’s a bad choice. I love it, but it’s spicy, man. I knew my meat and potatoes family wouldn’t like the fire. When E checked out no discount was offered and he shared his irritation. In response they told him we could have the Beef Chili they had in stock, though it wasn’t my full order. Great! After all, we’re only feeding seven people. Apparently they meant we could have that for free, in addition to my initial order. So we had three soups, rounding out to about a gallon and a quarter of soup and 100 breadsticks. For seven people. I knew I’d have lots of leftovers to send home and freeze, but this is ridiculous!! Suffice it to say, the food there is amazing and we’re all very happy. Everyone took home lots of breadsticks and some soup. Unfortunately the bulk of the soup was White Chicken Chili and, as I had guessed, it was WAY too spicy for everyone. E and I will be dining on chili for the next decade.

Whatever you do, don't make him eat carrots!

Whatever you do, don’t make him eat carrots!

Anyhow… My middle sister (I’m the oldest), only eats local meat. So I knew I should have something for her besides the Wisconsin Cheddar. I scrolled through a few salad recipes and came up with the obvious choice. Papa’s Salad with Sweet Basil Vinaigrette by Simply Scratch. I say obvious because to Little K, my parents are Papa and Nana. So I figured, Papa’s Salad was a no brainer. Of course that didn’t take into account the fact that my Dad isn’t really what you call a “veggie guy.” He eats his greens and all, but if you put three crockpots in front of him and one bowl of salad, you can count he won’t spend much time looking at the salad. To his credit though, he did take a couple bites of lettuce.


Papa’s Salad with Sweet Basil Vinaigrette

Overall: four-star

DSCF4699Ease to Prepare: three-star

I don’t think this salad was overly complex, but since it meant making your own salad dressing I say it wasn’t all that easy to prepare. I don’t think the average person makes their own dressing, but it’s something I hope becomes habit for me. Once you get comfortable with the added time of processing your dressing, I think it’s a win.

Instructions: three-star

My only two concerns was that this recipe doesn’t have any information about the prep time or yield. I noticed her recipe today does, so perhaps it’s something Simply Scratch wasn’t including on the earlier recipes. Also, the recipe called for two heads of romaine, but I only used one. If I had used two I don’t think there would have been enough dressing and there would have been so much leftover. We don’t need any more leftovers in this house, foo.

Food: four-starDSCF4702

Yum! Who doesn’t love basil and honey and garlic and blue cheese and kalamata olives? I thought the dijon was a teeny bit overpowering, so I would cut that down a little bit the next time I make this. Also, my sister wouldn’t have been able to eat the bacon, so I subbed it out for mushrooms. I think this dressing would really work well with any salad topper.

Clean up: five-star

Everything is done in the food processor, so it’s super easy. Also, assembling the actual salad is no problem either. I bought the pitted olives and sliced mushrooms, so it was just a matter of chopping the lettuce and layering everything.

  Cost: two dollar

A hearty salad with entirely scratch and fresh dressing – it costs a bit more than pre-packaged salad in a bag or even just what you’d get out of a jar of dressing. It’s another case of you get what you pay for. You could make a cheaper salad, but you wouldn’t have the same nutritional content and fresh flavor. And, at the same time, this recipe doesn’t call for anything crazy. No caviar and truffle oil, so it’s ingredients you can easily find and afford.

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