Chicken Meatball Soup

Chicken Meatball Soup in a bowl
Chicken Meatball Soup

Chicken Meatball Soup is one of those wonderful soups that bring back childhood memories for me. I can remember smelling the aroma of different ingredients being prepared in the kitchen while the chicken broth was cooking on the stove. We’ve all heard stories of the Jewish mother who swears by chicken soup to cure a cold and as kids, we all wanted the soup to have plenty of noodles in it LOL!

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However, as an adult, my taste buds have become more discriminating and it takes more than noodles to satisfy them. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with good old-fashioned chicken noodle soup, but we all need and desire variety in the foods we eat. So, why not start by changing up some of the old favourites now and again?

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Who doesn’t like meatballs?

Who doesn’t like meatballs you might ask? Well aside from vegetarians and vegans, you’ll be hard-pressed to find people who don’t enjoy soft, succulent, savoury meatballs. That was one of my first goals: to make sure the meatballs going into this soup were not rubbery or mealy or even dried out. To accomplish that, my wife Vicki suggested I add some oatmeal and milk, which would also make them Gluten-Free. I thought that was a terrific idea since the more people that can eat and enjoy a recipe, the better!

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How do you go about making a meatball that’s both savoury and moist? Well, one way to do that is to make a few and try them—pretty simple really and it beats making a big batch that might not be any good. Plus, it’s a great way to adjust seasonings like salt and pepper to your taste. So, before you prepare the whole batch, make a few with different herbs and/or other additions and fry them up to conduct a taste test. Once you find your preferred flavours, add the ingredients to the bowl and mix them up—now you’re all set!

Makes 4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb. ground lean chicken meat
  • 5 tbsp (about 1/3 cup) quick cooking oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup finely grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground Szechwan pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • Season to taste

For the soup:

  • 32 oz. No-Salt Chicken Broth (preferably organic)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, slice into coins
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups of water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 large handful of washed baby spinach, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • In a small bowl, add the oatmeal and milk, stir and let rest.

oatmeal and milk being addedground chicken with egg added

ground chicken with oatmealonion being added to meatball mixture

  • In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the balance of the meatball ingredients, as well as the wet oatmeal mixture.
  • Fry a few test samples of the meatball mixture and adjust seasonings to taste.
  • In a large pot, add the chicken broth and water and bring to a boil on medium-high heat.
  • Add celery, carrots, onion, and boil for 10 minutes.

chicken soup being stirredmeatballs being made using a scoop to add to boiling soup

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  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • Using a small (2 tsp sized) ice cream scoop, begin adding scoops of the meat mixture to the boiling soup to cook the meatballs. Ensure that the soup remains at boiling while adding the meatballs.

Chicken meatballs in the soupchopped spinach added to the bowls

  • Cover and simmer on low heat for 3o to 40 minutes.
  • To serve, add a handful of the chopped spinach to each bowl and ladle soup over top with 5 to 6 meatballs—enjoy!
Chicken Meatball Soup with spinach
Chicken Meatball Soup Served

Note:

Tip: use a dedicated coffee bean grinder to grind the Szechwan pepper, otherwise it will be gritty.

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Chicken Meatball Soup

Chicken Meatball Soup is one of those wonderful soups that bring back childhood memories for most of us. This is one recipe you’re sure to enjoy and will want to make regularly. Plus, it’s a Gluten-Free recipe!

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • Author: Bill Wilkat
Scale

Ingredients

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb. ground lean chicken meat
  • 5 tbsp (about 1/3 cup) quick cooking oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup finely grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground Szechwan pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • Season to taste

For the soup:

  • 32 oz. No-Salt Chicken Broth (preferably organic)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, slice into coins
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups of water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 large handful of washed baby spinach, chopped

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, add the oatmeal and milk, stir and let rest.
  • In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the balance of the meatball ingredients, as well as the wet oatmeal mixture.
  • Fry a few test samples of the meatball mixture and adjust seasonings to taste.
  • In a large pot, add the chicken broth and water and bring to a boil on medium-high heat.
  • Add celery, carrots, onion, and boil for 10 minutes.
  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • Using a small (2 tsp sized) ice cream scoop, begin adding scoops of the meat mixture to the boiling soup to cook the meatballs. Ensure that the soup remains at boiling while adding the meatballs.
  • Cover and simmer on low heat for 3o to 40 minutes.
  • To serve, add a handful of the chopped spinach to each bowl and ladle soup over top with 5 to 6 meatballs—enjoy!

Notes

Tip: use a dedicated coffee bean grinder to grind the Szechwan pepper, otherwise it will be gritty.

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Cheesy Muffin-Style Hasselback Potatoes

Cheesy Muffin-Style Hasselback Potatoes on a plate
Cheesy Muffin-Style Hasselback Potatoes

Cheesy Muffin-Style Hasselback Potatoes are truly delectable and robust with flavour. This unique take on a classic recipe is as fun to make as it is to eat! Vicki and I like Hasselback Potatoes but also wanted a way to add cheese and other ingredients in an easy fashion without creating a mess. Having previously made mini pizzas and lasagna in a muffin pan, we thought why not try doing the potatoes the same way? The result was so satisfying that we’re glad we did. Cheesy, tasty, & delicious individual servings of perfectly cooked herbed potatoes with a crusty cheese topping. 😃

Aren’t they fattening?

Aren’t they fattening you might ask? Well, I won’t lie to you and say absolutely not. LOL! But, now and again we need to indulge a little and satisfying our cravings for some carbs, and cheese. We did use olive oil instead of butter and if you limit yourself to one of these with your dinner, you won’t need to worry about blowing your diet. Since we used only 4 small potatoes and made 6 servings, limiting yourself to one will only be about 250 calories. So balance your meals properly, and you probably won’t even exceed your required daily calorie intake!

Incidentally, we actually have the Swedes to thank for making Hasselback Potatoes popular and the recipe dates back to 1953. Thinking about how fit and trim people are in Sweden, I certainly won’t spend time worrying about eating one of these! 😄

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Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 red potatoes (about one pound), washed, scrubbed clean, & thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated Extra Strong Aged Cheddar Cheese (we used Cabot’s Extra Sharp Cheddar)
  • Vegetable spray oil (as needed)
Sliced red potatoes, shallots, garlic, cheese, and herbs on cutting board
Sliced red potatoes, shallots, garlic, cheese, and herbs

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DIRECTIONS:

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 F on convection setting.
  • Line muffin tin with six pieces of aluminium foil cut into 6” x 6” squares, lightly sprayed with vegetable oil. 
  • In a small frying pan, add olive oil, shallots, garlic and fry at medium high heat just until tender (about 2 to 3 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Using a Mandolin, slice potatoes to a thickness of about 1/8” or less.
  • In a bowl, mix the potato slices together with the shallots, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper until fully coated. 
  • Create a layer of potato in the bottom of each muffin cup using about 3 to 4 slices.

sliced potatoes in a bowl with herbs and oilLayering potatoes in muffin pan with aluminium foil

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  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of the cheddar cheese into each cup. 
  • Repeat the layering process until all ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of cheese on top.

Final layer of cheese on top of potatoes in muffin panCheesy Muffin-Style Hasselback Potatoes removed from oven after baking

 

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  • Bake for 40 minutes on the middle rack of oven until cheese is golden brown and potatoes are fork tender. 
  • Remove from oven and allow them to rest for about 10 minutes.
  • Carefully lift out each one using the aluminium foil ends as handles.
  • Peel back the aluminium foil and carefully remove each stack of potatoes for serving.
Cheesy Muffin-Style Hasselback Potatoes Ready To Serve on a plate
Cheesy Muffin-Style Hasselback Potatoes Ready To Serve

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Note:

We enjoyed our Cheesy Muffin-Style Hasselback Potatoes with leftover Pot Roast and asparagus but you can match them up with almost any dinner. Or how about with our Braised Pork Roast, Fennel & Carrot or maybe our Barbequed Blade/Chuck Roast?    Heck! I’d even have one with eggs and bacon for breakfast! 😂

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Cheesy Muffin-Style Hasselback Potatoes

Cheesy Muffin-Style Hasselback Potatoes are truly delectable and robust with flavour. This unique take on a classic recipe is as fun to make as it is to eat!

Makes 6 Servings

  • Author: Bill Wilkat
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 red potatoes (about one pound), washed, scrubbed clean, & thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated Extra Strong Aged Cheddar Cheese (we used Cabot’s Extra Sharp Cheddar)
  • Vegetable spray oil (as needed)

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 F on convection setting.
  • Line muffin tin with six pieces of aluminium foil cut into 6” x 6” squares, lightly sprayed with vegetable oil.
  • In a small frying pan, add olive oil, shallots, garlic and fry at medium high heat just until tender (about 2 to 3 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Using a Mandolin, slice potatoes to a thickness of about 1/8” or less.
  • In a bowl, mix the potato slices together with the shallots, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper until fully coated.
  • Create a layer of potato in the bottom of each muffin cup using about 3 to 4 slices.
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of the cheddar cheese into each cup.
  • Repeat the layering process until all ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of cheese on top.
  • Bake for 40 minutes on the middle rack of oven until cheese is golden brown and potatoes are fork tender.
  • Remove from oven and allow them to rest for about 10 minutes.
  • Carefully lift out each one using the aluminium foil ends as handles.
  • Peel back the aluminium foil and carefully remove each stack of potatoes for serving.

Notes

We enjoyed our Cheesy Muffin-Style Hasselback Potatoes with leftover Pot Roast and asparagus but you can match them up with almost any dinner. Or how about with our Braised Pork Roast, Fennel & Carrot or maybe our Barbequed Blade/Chuck Roast?    Heck! I’d even have one with eggs and bacon for breakfast! 😂

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Hearty Rustic Bread

Hearty Rustic Bread on cutting board
Hearty Rustic Bread

Hearty Rustic Bread done in the bread machine is perfect for guys like me. That’s because I like things that are quick and easy–and what could be better than saving time for other pursuits?

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Bread Machine Recipe:

I developed this bread machine recipe for Hearty Rustic Bread from my recipe for Old-Style No-Knead Bread. They use pretty much the same ingredients but the bread machine version is a quicker way to bake a loaf—although an equally lazy method LOL! 😃

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More Nutritious Recipe:

I’ve made this a more nutritious recipe by adding whole wheat flour and oatmeal but it uses very few ingredients and that’s another thing that makes it desirable. I used my bread machine, which is my usual lazy solution LOL! However, I usually prefer to bake it in a regular oven after the kneading and rising are done in the bread machine. Instructions are provided below for that option.

My wife Vicki is normally the baker in our house except for bread and pizza which are things I really enjoy making. I’ll bake cookies now and again too, but I prefer the aroma of freshly baked bread permeating from the oven. That wonderful aroma takes over the entire house and reminds me of the days I used to walk home from the skating arena and pass by the bakery. The smell of freshly baked bread was a darn good reason to linger outside in the winter cold just a little longer 😁

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Makes one  loaf

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/8 cups warm water (about 80 deg. F)
  • 1 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup quick cooking oatmeal (plus 1 tbsp to sprinkle on top)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 egg (to brush loaf with)

 

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Add all the ingredients into the bread machine’s pan in the order they are listed except for the egg and extra tablespoon of oatmeal. Place the salt and sugar at opposing corners of the bread pan and make a well in the centre of the flour to add the yeast into.
  • Select the one pound loaf setting, and the choose the whole wheat or artisanal selection for the type of bread.
  • Start the machine and once the baking action has started, brush the top of the load with the egg wash, and sprinkle evenly with the remaining tbsp of oatmeal.
  • Sit back and wait for the program to be completed.
Hearty Rustic Loaf Sliced on cutting board
Hearty Rustic Loaf – Delicious!

Alternative Baking in a Regular Oven:

  • Follow the steps above except choose the Pizza Setting and remove the dough once the rising is done.
  • Then punch done the dough, fold it over and form it into a loaf shape.
  • Transfer the dough to a greased a loaf pan, cover and place in a warm location to rise again (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours).
  • Brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining oatmeal.
  • Bake in a pre-heated 400 F oven on the middle rack for 25 to 30 minutes. Baking time can vary from oven to oven so test for doneness by tapping the bottom of the loaf—it should sound hollow.
Hearty Rustic Loaf Slices Beautifully shown on cutting board
Hearty Rustic Loaf Slices Beautifully

Note:

For this recipe, I used all-purpose white flour in lieu of bread flour. However, if you desire a less dense loaf of bread, I recommend using bread flour.

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Hearty Rustic Bread

Hearty Rustic Bread done in the bread machine is perfect for guys like me. That’s because I like things that are quick and easy–and what could be better than saving time for other pursuits?

Makes One Loaf

  • Author: Bill Wilkat
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/8 cups warm water (about 80 deg. F)
  • 1 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup quick cooking oatmeal (plus 1 tbsp to sprinkle on top)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 egg (to brush loaf with)

Instructions

  • Add all the ingredients into the bread machine’s pan in the order they are listed except for the egg and extra tablespoon of oatmeal. Place the salt and sugar at opposing corners of the bread pan and make a well in the centre of the flour to add the yeast into.
  • Select the one pound loaf setting, and the choose the whole wheat or artisanal selection for the type of bread.
  • Start the machine and once the baking action has started, brush the top of the load with the egg wash, and sprinkle evenly with the remaining tbsp of oatmeal.
  • Sit back and wait for the program to be completed.

Alternative Baking in a Regular Oven:

  • Follow the steps above except choose the Pizza Setting and remove the dough once the rising is done.
  • Then punch done the dough, fold it over and form it into a loaf shape.
  • Transfer the dough to a greased a loaf pan, cover and place in a warm location to rise again (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours).
  • Brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining oatmeal.
  • Bake in a pre-heated 400 F oven on the middle rack for 25 to 30 minutes. Baking time can vary from oven to oven so test for doneness by tapping the bottom of the loaf—it should sound hollow.

Notes

For this recipe, I used all-purpose white flour in lieu of bread flour. However, if you desire a less dense loaf of bread, I recommend using bread flour.

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Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup

Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup in a bowl
Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup

Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup is the perfect healthy meal for today’s lifestyle. An ideal choice for cold winter days or for when you’re feeling under the weather or suffering from a miserable cold. Everyone knows that chicken soup helps ease the symptoms of the common cold and makes us feel better. However, going with barley instead of noodles is a better decision for your health so Vicki and I decided to make our chicken soup with pearl barley.

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I’m a big fan of barley. Not just because it’s used in beer making (LOL) but because reportedly it improves digestion, helps with weight loss, and lowers bad LDL cholesterol levels. All great benefits for improved heart health and who doesn’t want that. This soup is a terrific recipe for the entire family and together with the chicken and vegetables is a delicious complete meal in a bowl.

White or Dark Chicken Meat?

You can make this recipe with either white or dark chicken meat but Vicki and I chose to use dark meat because of it’s richer flavour and less dry texture. Ironically, even if cooked in liquid, white chicken meat can become dried out. Perhaps the best solution would be to go half and half? Enjoy!😃

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INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 12.5 oz skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cubed into 1/2” pieces
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 1/2 stalks of celery, chopped
    • 1 large carrot sliced into coins
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 4 cups unsalted organic chicken broth
    • 3/4 generous tsp thyme
    • 3/4 generous tsp tarragon
    • 2 cups of water
    • 1/2 cup pearl barley, thoroughly rinsed
    • 3/4 cup canned green beans
    • 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

 

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Add the olive oil and chicken to a large pot and cook on medium high heat stirring occasionally.

chicken added to pot with olive oilvegetables added to the pot

  • Once a bit of fond begins to form at the bottom of the pot, add the onions, garlic, celery, carrots and season with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally.
  • Continue cooking for about 5 to 7 minutes, then add the chicken broth, water, thyme and tarragon and stir to combine.

organic no-salt chicken broth being added to the veggies in the potsoup being stirred after addition of the water

  • Bring the soup to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 45 to 50 minutes and add the canned green beans during the last 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle in the parsley, taste the soup and adjust seasoning as desired.
The completed Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup in the pot
The completed Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup
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Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup

Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup in a bowl

Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup is the perfect healthy meal for today’s lifestyle. An ideal choice for cold winter days or for when you’re feeling under the weather or suffering from a miserable cold.

Makes 4 servings

  • Author: Bill Wilkat
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 12.5 oz skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cubed into 1/2” pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 large carrot sliced into coins
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups unsalted organic chicken broth
  • 3/4 generous tsp thyme
  • 3/4 generous tsp tarragon
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley, thoroughly rinsed
  • 3/4 cup canned green beans
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

Instructions

  • Add the olive oil and chicken to a large pot and cook on medium high heat stirring occasionally.
  • Once a bit of fond begins to form at the bottom of the pot, add the onions, garlic, celery, carrots and season with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally.
  • Continue cooking for about 5 to 7 minutes, then add the chicken broth, water, thyme and tarragon and stir to combine.
  • Bring the soup to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 45 to 50 minutes and add the canned green beans during the last 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle in the parsley, taste the soup and adjust seasoning as desired.
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Homemade Buttermilk Bread

Homemade Buttermilk Bread on a cutting board
Homemade Buttermilk Bread

Homemade Buttermilk Bread is something I’ve wanted to try for a quite while and I came across this recipe online. The timing was perfect because Vicki and I had recently made buttermilk pancakes (they were delicious LOL!), and we had leftover buttermilk in the fridge. Since the recipe I found said it could be made in a bread machine and we happened to have one, I opted to be lazy and tossed in the ingredients to give it a go. I’ve enjoyed making bread for many years and this recipe was no exception.

Here’s the link to fellow blogger Jessica’s recipe for Homemade Buttermilk Bread  Be sure to thank her for posting it in her blog!

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So for my loaf, I changed:

So, for my loaf, I opted to change 1/2 cup of the white flour to whole wheat flour because I enjoy whole wheat and light whole wheat bread and I wanted to see if it worked well with this recipe—and it did! The only issue I encountered was that the bread more than doubled in size in the bread machine and then collapsed while baking. Luckily it didn’t affect the flavour, just the appearance LOL! (see photo below).

Homemade Buttermilk Bread--1/2 of the loaf on a cutting board
Homemade Buttermilk Bread–1/2 of the loaf

Maybe the best thing to do is to reduce the ingredients for the bread machine or to let the machine do the kneading and first rising, and then bake a single large loaf like Jessica did, or to use two smaller loaf pans. Either way, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious light loaf with a slightly tangy flavour that’s ideal for sandwiches or toast. If you use it to make toast, be sure that you’ve baked it with a light crust as a dark crust will become bitter when toasted.

The Bread Machine:

The bread machine that Vicki and I bought and have used successfully for many years is a Cuisinart model that’s super easy to use and most recipes can be adapted to it. A few of things to remember are: put your liquid ingredients in first, add dry ingredients evenly on top of the liquids, add your sugar and salt on opposite sides of the pan, and make a small well in the centre of the dry ingredients to add the yeast.

Experimenting with bread recipes:

If you prefer to use honey in place of sugar, be sure to add it before the dry ingredients as well. I’ve often used olive oil in my bread recipes and I have a hunch it will work beautifully in this recipe as well, so consider that if you’ve run out of butter. Experimenting with bread recipes can be a lot of fun but be sure to measure your ingredients carefully for the best results.

Homemade Buttermilk Bread--1/2 of the loaf sliced on a cutting board
Homemade Buttermilk Bread–1/2 of the loaf sliced

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….you’ve got what I need!

In the 70s I worked with a fellow who used to make his own bread using Lipton Onion Soup Mix as one of his “secret” ingredients and the onion bread he made was simply awesome! It was a light rye bread bolstered with the onion flavour. When I asked him why he chose the onion soup mix, he simply told me that it made a great dip when added to sour cream, so he figured it would be perfect for his onion bread, and it was. RIP George, I will always remember enjoying a slice of your fantastic onion bread and will try to replicate it one day. In the interim, we can all enjoy this Homemade Buttermilk Bread and look forward to the next great loaf to come along! 😍

Homemade Buttermilk Bread--1/2 of the loaf sliced on a cutting board
Homemade Buttermilk Bread–1/2 of the loaf sliced
Like making bread? Check out some of my recipes:

Delicious Homemade Light Rye Bread

Old-Style, No-Knead Bread

Fantastic Cheddar Cheese Bread

East Terrific Pizza Dough Recipe

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Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls in casserole dish
Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls is actually a terrific casserole dinner that you can prepare rapidly compared to conventional cabbage rolls that can be time-consuming and sometimes troublesome to make.