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The Secret Is In The Sauce

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North Carolina, United States

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inmimiskitchen@yahoo.com

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My Disclosure Policy

1. All my posts are written for myself first (with my followers in mind of course). If I make money from a post due to third party advertising such as Google or Foodbuzz, then so much the better.
2. If I write about a product, cookbook or restaurant, chances are that I received the product, cookbook or meal for FREE.
3. If I write a review about a product, cookbook or restaurant that was not FREE, I will disclose that in my post. I will always write about local establishments and businesses (non-chain) gratis- I support local businesses and hope you will too.
4. FREE product does not guarantee a positive review.
5. If you are interested in sending me a book or product to review, or want me to review a restaurant, please know that I make every effort to post reviews within 4 weeks of receiving a book, within 2 weeks of receiving a product, and within 1 week of dining at a restaurant.
6. I write for several websites and print publications in addition to my blog and my writing interests are strictly food or cooking-related, so please make sure that your book or product is food-related in some way.
Sunday, January 31, 2010

Down-South Winter Wonderland


I apologize in advance that this has nothing to do with food, but I just can't resist posting a picture of our house during the winter storm that just blasted North Carolina. I realize that 8+ inches of snow is no big deal to some of you, but this is North Carolina and with the exception of the western part of the state, we only get a storm like this every 10 years or so. Credit for this picture goes to my sweet hubby who braved the snow, ice and cold to go out and take it so I didn't have to. That just proves chivalry is alive and well in the South don't ya'll think?
Friday, January 29, 2010

Year of Soup Recipe Challenge Week 4- Italian Style Meatball and Vegetable Soup



The soup for week 4 of my Year of Soup Challenge is one I developed for a recipe contest a few years ago. Even though my recipe wasn't chosen in the contest, I still think it's a winner because there are only 7 ingredients, it takes 5 minutes or less to prep, and my slow cooker does all the work! The result is a tasty, savory soup that's chock-full of Italian flavor, and that leaves me time to do other things like work on this blog! I like to serve this soup with Rosemary Foccacia and seasonal fruit salad (Foccacia recipe is in $2 Dinners article...end of the column).

Italian-Style Meatball and Vegetable Soup (serves 4)

1 (16-18 oz.) bag frozen cooked meatballs
½ of a 16 oz. bag frozen mixed vegetables (about 2 cups)
1 (14 ½ oz.) can diced tomatoes (any flavor), undrained
1 packet dry mushroom gravy mix (you can use onion or brown gravy too)
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup broken spaghetti noodles
1 ½ tsp. dried Italian-style seasoning
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Put meatballs and frozen mixed vegetables in a 3 ½ - 4 qt. slow cooker. In a medium bowl, combine undrained tomatoes, gravy mix, water and Italian seasoning; pour over meatballs and vegetables in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

$2 Dinners- Dried Beans are Budget-Friendly and Nutritious Too (Part 3)



Today is the last post in my series about a favorite $2 Dinners ingredient, dried beans. In this last post, I'll tell you exactly how to cook dried Great Northern beans to perfection, and then give you a recipe for Italian Sausage with Beans and Tomato that is pure comfort food heaven!

Read on and get started cooking the $2 Dinners way!
Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Word About Comments


I wanted to say a word about your comments on my posts. I welcome your comments and suggestions, and after I read them, they are always posted...good or bad. However, this evening I was sent a comment on my blog that I am unable to post because I can not read it...it is apparently in Japanese. I'm not saying that to be funny ya'll...it was in Japanese!

Now I'm a reasonably intelligent lady (married Numbers Man didn't I?), and I can fumble my way through most of the Latin-based languages like Spanish, French and Italian. Heck, I can even speak a little of each (especially the bad words) but Asian languages are out of my league! I tried using Altavista's Bablefish translator, and it was not much help, although I gather that Cathi is trying to tell me about a mistake in my post.

So gentle readers, as much as I hate to be so picky, please have mercy on Mimi and send me your comments in English so I can read and post them. Thanks everyone! And, Cathi? I'm still interested in what you have to say...would you translate and send again? Thanks!
Thursday, January 21, 2010

$2 Dinners- Dried Beans are Budget-Friendly and Nutritious Too (Part 2)


Dried beans are one of my favorite food bargains, and they're perfect for cooking the $2 Dinners way! In part 2 of my series on these budget-friendly little gems, I'll give you a recipe for cooking another type of dried bean and then a great recipe to use them in! Read on......

Year of Soup Recipe Challenge Week 3- Easy and Delicious Creamy Tomato Soup


Woo hoo! This post catches me up for my Year of Soup challenge!! Been so busy and have so much I want to write about, I just wish I had more time (blame that pesky full-time job of mine...just kidding).

So here we are in week 3 of the Mimi's Kitchen Year of Soup challenge, and the recipe I have for you is quick, easy, and fabulous! I came up with this recipe one day when I was trying to figure out what to do with a half-full jar of leftover pasta sauce (hubby had been making Lasagna). I did some experimenting, and the end result was a creamy tomato soup that was better than anything I had ever had from a can! I like this recipe because it takes a plain ole' jar of pasta sauce, an inexpensive ingredient most of us already have in the cupboard, and turns it into a rich, herb-infused creamy tomato soup you have to taste to believe! Trust me, once you experience the depth of flavor is this awesome soup, you won't be in a hurry to open that little red and white "cream of" soup can anytime soon!

Easy and Delicious Creamy Tomato Soup

1 (24-oz.) jar pasta sauce
2 cups chicken broth or water
½ cup half and half
Pinch of nutmeg
1 (14.5-oz.) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Combine all ingredients in a large soup pot. Simmer over medium heat until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Year of Soup Recipe Challenge Week 2- BBQ Baked Bean Soup


Today I'm trying to play "catch up" by getting week 2 of my "Year of Soup" challenge posted. The recipe for week 2 is something a bit different, and perhaps even unusual...it was inspired by the amazing BBQ baked beans my cousin Wendy makes for every family picnic at my Aunt Pat's house in PA. They are so good, I really believe that there would be a family riot if she ever showed up without those beans!

So how did I make Wendy's yummy beans into soup? Well, I have a colleague and foodie friend, Anne Coleman, who loves to take entrees, sandwiches and other non-soup foods and "morph" them into soups (check out her great blog, A Thousand Soups). I just love her idea, and I wanted to try it for a contest recipe I was developing. So, even though I have never gotten that wonderful bean recipe from Wendy, the taste of them is a delicious and unforgettable memory that I called on to create my new soup recipe, BBQ Baked Bean Soup (thanks Wendy!).

BBQ Baked Bean Soup (serves 4-6)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 ½ tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 (15-oz.) cans stewed tomatoes, roughly chopped, reserve juice
2 (15-oz.) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed, 1/3 cup of beans reserved and mashed
¼ cup molasses
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch slices
4 cups water
Salt
Pepper

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onions and cook over medium-high heat until soft. Add chili powder, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Add stewed tomatoes and their juice; add whole beans, 1/3 cup mashed beans, molasses, brown sugar, smoked sausage, water, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce temperature to medium, and cook uncovered 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 Is the Year of Soup in Mimi's Kitchen!

Happy New Year from Mimi's kitchen! I'm sorry this post is a bit late...it was intended for New Year's day, but we have been dealing with some family stuff, and so real life had to come first. Now I'm ready to get back into Mimi's kitchen and do some cookin', and I want to tell ya'll about an idea I have for my blog this year.

For the last few weeks I have been thinking about posting some kind of challenge for myself on the blog in 2010. I see lots of good ideas on other food blogs; things like cooking your way through an entire cookbook in a year, or posting a recipe a day for the whole year, but I also know myself well enough to know that those are not realistic goals for me. So, after coming up with and discarding several ideas, I finally decided that 2010 would be "The Year of Soup" here in Mimi's Kitchen! My goal (I just love goals!) is to challenge myself to post a different soup each week for all 52 weeks of the year. Easy...right? I guess we'll find out together! So, I hope you all will check in every week to see how I'm coming along with my "Year of Soup" challenge, and I invite you to join me by trying all 52 recipes and making 2010 "The Year of Soup" in your kitchen too!

To get things started off right, my first soup is one of my favorites, a hearty corn chowder with potatoes and ham. This soup is everything a chowder should be...thick, savory, and chock-full of yummy goodness! However, the best thing about this soup is that it has less than 10 ingredients and you can have it on the table in 30 minutes! So grab your soup pots ya'll and let's make some chowder!


The Year of Soup- Week 1
Corn Chowder with Potatoes and Ham

1 ¼ cups water
1 cup diced raw potatoes
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup diced ham
2 cups cream-style corn
1 cup skim milk
1 (10 ¾ oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
¼ tsp. ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine water, potatoes, and onion. Cook over medium heat until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in ham, corn, milk, mushroom soup, parsley flakes, and black pepper. Lower heat and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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$2 Dinners- Dried Beans are Budget-Friendly and Nutritious Too (Part 1)

Dried beans are one of my favorite food bargains, and they're perfect for cooking the $2 Dinners way! Read my latest column for cooking tips on preparing dried beans and a great recipe to use them in!

Food for Thought:

"In the childhood memories of every good cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom."

- Barbara Costikyan

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