Big Poppa’s Kitchen Notes

Move over Paula Dean … Hey Emmeril … BAM! on out of here! Martha Stewart? She would faint if she had to work in our kitchen! I’ve got some things from our kitchen I wanted to share with you. The number one rule at our house is SIMPLE…it cannot have 40 ingredients and take two hours to prepare! This could become a regular feature of the blog if I get a lot of great responses! (how’s that for trolling for comments?). Ready? Here we go!

Instant Cream of Wheat. Now Cream of Wheat has been around a long time. I personally never ate it until…. Katrina hit and took out our home. We were staying with some friends and they broke out the Cream of Wheat in the morning for breakfast. I looked at it and thought to myself that I would have a hard time refusing their hospitality. So I took a bite … and it was great! I have since tried to make it myself, but I don’t have Julia’s touch …so it wasn’t good. This week I bought some that is packaged individually with simple instructions. I made my own and it was great. So thank you … whoever makes Cream of Wheat … for making it a little easier for kitchen simpletons like me. I will admit that Maggy wrinkled her nose at this product purchase and will likely not eat the Cream of Wheat. If you haven’t tried it, it’s sort of like grits, but smoooooother and sweeter.

Next up I wanted to share a great new(ish) product that has made my life simpler. We all know how bad carbonated drinks are for us. We’re piling up unnecessary sugars and ruining the lining of our stomach with this carbonated corn syrup. Our kidneys hate us for it. And we all know that it is beneficial to drink tea. But it’s also a pain to boil (correct term might be steep) the tea … and it takes up time. Well my mother introduced me to Cold Brew. I know what you’re thinking, but rest assured that I’m not advocating knocking down a six pack of brewskies a day. Cold Brew is a new way to make Lipton tea. It is SO easy. You just put a couple of tea bags in the pitcher … wait about 10 or 15 minutes … and you’ve got tea. Now…they say you can do it in 5 minutes. That could be some Northerners writing those instructions. But in the South, tea has a taste…and is not just colored water. This makes making a pitcher of tea a breeze and I recommend it from my kitchen to yours!

And now, my culinary friends, I will share the recipe for our famous Taco Soup.   Well, it’s not famous … and it’s not ours … but it is Taco Soup. Remember, it has to be EASY to qualify for a regular appearance in our kitchen. This fits the bill. I’ve seen other versions of this church pot-luck cold weather favorite, but this one is the easiest and goodest.

Ingredients

1 lb of ground beef, cooked and drained (always drain the meat! It’s ickysticky if you don’t.)

1 can of Black Beans

1 can of Kidney Beans (We prefer light red)

1 can of Pinto Beans

1 can of corn

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 pkg of Taco seasoning

1 pkg of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix

After you brown your ground beef, you just open cans and packages … mix it all together and let it cook a while. Do not drain the vegetables – pour the entire contents of the can into the soup. It’s always better the next day. I like to have it with Mission Tortilla Strips, shredded cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. This is a two-bowl soup … it warrants a second bowl.

Now you have, free of charge, some of the secrets of Big Poppa’s Kitchen. Hope that was helpful and enjoyable. Have a great weekend!

John

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