German Knephla Soup with made-from-scratch broth

Let me tell you, I’ve always been amazed at people that can make meals from scratch. Somehow, the thought of just throwing stuff together and hoping that it turns out has always terrified me…but that’s not so much the case any longer.

You see, I have four boys – and aside from one on a very special diet – they will eat anything. And lots of anything. Lots and LOTS of anything.

Scooter and his older/younger brothers. He's the one in the football gear.

Scooter and his older/younger brothers. He’s the one in the football gear.

Yesterday I started what was to be supper last night, but Boss Man surprised me by having put something in the oven for supper already. So I saved it for today (which actually made it healthier).

This post is actually two recipes in one, so be sure you read all the way to the end, you don’t want to miss it!

Soup base

  • 1 soup bone (in this case, I used a whole half-smoked turkey, you can use a beef bone, ham bone, chicken, etc – leave the trim meat on it…whatever type of base you want to make)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • celery salt, approx. 1 tsp. (you can also just use 3-4 stalks of celery)
  • couple shakes of pepper (I apparently have inherited my Grandmother’s gift of measurement)
  • 3 bay leaves

Put all together into a stock pot or kettle with water. I filled my kettle about 2/3 full of water. It depends on how strong you want your broth, how much you’re going to need for the final recipe, etc. Turn the temp up to medium and bring it to a boil. Keep it boiling for 30-45 minutes. The longer it cooks, the more flavor you’ll draw out. As the meat starts to fall off, you’ll know when it’s about done.

Getting ready to make my broth.

Getting ready to make my broth.

When the broth is to your flavor desire, take out the bone and discard. I always leave the meat in for my soup. (It usually doesn’t have much flavor left, but adds to the texture.)

Notice how most of the meat has fallen off? I picked a little more off as I was pulling out the bones.

Notice how most of the meat has fallen off? I picked a little more off as I was pulling out the bones.

Warning – chicken will cook faster than a beef or ham bone. You’ll want to be sure to get all the bones out! (Lesson learned the hard way.)

If you’re making soup that day, just add your other ingredients and enjoy! If your soup-making day is a little ways off, place the broth in the fridge and let it cool. If you let it cool first, all the fat will harden at the top, making it easy to skim off.

If you’re soup seems to be lacking a little something, you can easily play with it, by adding a little extra chicken bouillon, beef bouillon, etc.

Now, on to the good part:

Knephla Soup

Knephla soup is simply a dough-based soup. Super easy to make, especially with the broth above.

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. salt (to your taste)
  • package frozen veggies (again, to your taste)
  • 3 chicken breasts, browned and chopped

To make knephla dough, simply add the flour, egg and water and mix until a dough ball forms. You know the dough is done, when it doesn’t stick to the side of your mixer. If the dough is dry (flaky in the bowl), add a touch of water…if it’s wet (sticky mess), add a touch of flour. When adding to the dough, do so in small amounts. It doesn’t take much to get it to just the right consistency.

To the broth above, add in the vegetables (you could also use fresh carrots, celery, potatoes, whatever you’d like…I just happen to have a bag of frozen handy) and the chicken. (I cheated this time and used some chopped ham that we had leftover. The smoked turkey tastes a lot like ham, so it was an easy add in. With the salty ham, I skipped salt in the broth, so that it wasn’t too salty in the end.)

Bring the broth with all your goodies in it to a boil.

To make the actual knephla, tear off a chunk of dough and roll it into a strip. Think about half the width of a paper towel roll. Take your kitchen scissors (or your kids’ scissors…washed) and cut small pieces off the strip, directly into the broth. They may sink right away (unless you have a ton of stuff in your kettle, like veggies, meat, etc.), but they’ll float when the dough has cooked through (about 2-3 minutes). Keep cutting and rolling and cutting and rolling, until all the dough is in your pot.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy!

German Knephla Soup - No matter how you spell it, it all ends up the same...GONE!

German Knephla Soup – No matter how you spell it, it all ends up the same…GONE!

 

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Hunk of Meat Monday – Spare Ribs

I was thinking all weekend about something that I could make for a Monday lunch for Boss Man. I don’t normally make him lunch (he has 2 fridges, 2 freezers, a pizza oven and a microwave in the shop…there are times where I don’t see him for days), but since it rained most of the weekend, I thought I would surprise him with a little surprise…spare ribs, slightly barbecued.

Let me tell you that I have never successfully made ribs. I mean, they usually taste good, but never look quite right, never taste quite like I hope and I either douse them in too much sauce or they get all greasy. Not today. Today I conquered my fear of ribs! (I can hear the theme to “Rocky,” can’t you?)

And I’m sharing my secrets with you…lucky you.

Spare Ribs

Ingredients:

  • Package of ribs
  • Rib seasoning (I used Pampered Chef’s Smoky Barbecue Rub, but you can use any type of seasoning that pleases you, bought or home-mixed…I just have no luck with finding my own combination…yet.)
  • Oil (I used Wildtree’s Natural Butter Flavored Grapeseed Oil. If you aren’t familiar with Wildtree and their grapeseed oil, you need to find a distributor…now. It’s amazing stuff. Really. Truly.)
  • Barbecue sauce (I just used an original flavored store-brand sauce…and not a whole lot of it. We all have our faves, just pick whatever is yours.)

That’s it. Again, for me, the big thing is getting ribs to look like ribs. And I found the secret…but let me walk you through it.

First, start with a nice package of ribs:

Now, that's a hunk of meat that I could love!

Rub them down with a bit of oil. I have a spray pump at home that I can fill with whatever liquid of my choosing and turn it into an aerosol-of-sorts (minus the aerosol)…I use this with my oil and LOVE making my own oil spray! 🙂

Coat with seasoning. I don’t use a ton of it, but that’s to our taste. Coat to your hearts content.

Those ribs are ready for an oven!

Place ribs on a shallow pan and broil in the oven for about 10 minutes on each side, or until browned nicely.

When done, remove ribs from the pan and place directly on the rack. Yes, it’s crazy. Yes, it’s a bit uncouth. But it really made a difference. (And place the pan under the ribs to catch drippings…we don’t want to start any fires!)

Place directly on rack...don't flinch, I promise it won't hurt!

Bake at 250* for about 2 1/2-3 hours. In the last half-hour, brush on a light coating on one side for 15 minutes, then flip and do the other. (You can do this earlier and keep repeating, as your taste demands. I’m truly a northern gal, complete with pretty tame tastebuds.)

I teamed it up with butter-fried potatoes and fresh steamed-asparagus from the garden. Yes, it’s April and we have asparagus ready to go in North Dakota. Crazy spring.

Here, check it out:

Go ahead, it's OK to drool...I promise.

Scrum-diddly-umptious!

Oh, and don’t forget about my giveaway! You’ll definitely want to enter today! Winner tomorrow! 🙂

Hunk of Meat Monday – Gooseberry Patch Recipe #2

It is Labor Day, our first week of school is done, a fun weekend was celebrated and here we are…back at Monday.

I promised last week that there was going to be a special surprise added to my “Celebrate a Year of Blogging” celebration, so here it is: added to the prize package is a Smart Pot 5 1/2 qt. Crock Pot and a Gooseberry Patch Slow Cooker cookbook!!! With the crock pot craze of late, and with school starting and activities picking up, I thought that a crock pot would be a perfect addition to my celebration! Be sure to go to this blog post, and post a comment…or go to Facebook and “like” Wag’n Tales!

Celebrate a year with me! Win a Crock Pot!

I know that I L-O-V-E my crock pot…and I know many of you do as well! This crock pot is great! It cooks to your desired time, and then switches to keep warm! As soon as my old crock pot decides to kick the bucket, I’m getting myself one of these babies!

Well, enough about that, on to my Hunk of Meat Monday recipe!

Easy Cheesy Potatoes & Sausage

All ya need!

Ingredients:

  • 6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 lb. smoked pork sausage, cubed
  • 16-oz. pkg. pasteurized process cheese spread, cubed
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. milk

I left my sausage in bigger chunks, that way it's easier to pick out for George.

Mix all ingredients together and transfer to a greased 10X8 baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for one hour, or until potatoes are tender. (I would suggest stirring occasionally.) Makes 6 servings.

All done!

Cost for this meal:

  • Potatoes – $1.77
  • Sausage – $1.50
  • Cheese spread – $2.50
  • Total – $5.77 – and since it makes 6 servings, that’s less than $1 per serving!
Hunk of Meat Mondays

Hunk of Meat Monday – Bow Tie Hotdish

This is my first official Hunk of Meat Monday post…but I’m hoping as summer winds down and school activities start up, I’ll have a little more time to post things like this. This summer has just been CRAZY!

But here it is…Bow Tie Hotdish! This was a new recipe for us, and it came out of the Fullerton, ND, 125th Cookbook. (And just a heads up, I’ll be giving away a copy of this book later this week…more details in a second.) Fullerton will celebrate next summer (June 29th, 30th and July 1st, to be exact), and this cookbook is a GREAT keepsake, as well as having some awesome recipes and other information.

Fullerton Cookbook, soon to a kitchen near you!

 

Let’s get to the recipe:

You need:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. hamburger, browned
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 box of bow-tie noodles, cooked
  • 1 jar or can of spaghetti sauce
  • shredded cheese of choice (I like the pizza blend)

    Everything needed (minus cheese)

My Hunk of Meat - hamburger!

 
 

Add soup, spaghetti sauce and browned, drained hamburger to cooked noodles in a baking dish. Top with shredded cheese and bake at 350* until the cheese is melted.

Hotdish finished, and served with garlic toast!

 
Yep, that simple…and DELICIOUS! And here’s the cool part: I will give away one copy of this cookbook to a lucky blog reader! Just comment on this post to be entered in the drawing. I will draw a winner Friday evening! Can’t wait to win a copy and want to order one of your own right now? They are $15 per book, plus $5 shipping and handling. Contact Christy Peterson at (701) 375-7261 or email spetey@drtel.net, or Tenille Ulmer at culmer@drtel.net. (They make GREAT Christmas gifts too!!!)
 
Want an extra entry? Subscribe to my blog and leave another comment saying that you did so, or follow me on Twitter at wagfarms, or our tweeting cow at Cows_Life (just leave a comment for each, saying that you’ve followed). Take care and good luck!
 
And don’t forget to head over to the Real Farmwives of America and Friends and vote for which Gooseberry Patch coookbook that I should cook from, I’ll be giving away a cookbook from there as well!
 
 
Hunk of Meat Mondays