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What Leftovers? Mashed Potato & Cheddar Soup with Stuffing Croutons

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‘Tis the season for leftovers, because this mama is pretty cooked out. Really, I’ve spent weeks cooking, cleaning, shopping, serving, etc… I just want to plop on the couch and ignore the impending doom that is the end of my long weekend.

Usually, I don’t get into the leftover craze. I either try to plan my meals well enough to prevent a huge surplus of food, or I divvy them up among my guests so that everyone has a second taste of the meal, but this year, I have a lot of stuffing and mashed potatoes. I chose to freeze some, but I was also in the mood for some soup. Potato soup is the perfect dish to compliment a cold beer and a good football game! This soup is so creamy and full of flavor, you will find it hard to believe that it was simple mashed potatoes in a previous life.

Mashed Potato & Cheddar Soup with Stuffing Croutons

Ingredients:

2 cups of mashed potatoes (I used roasted garlic mashed potatoes)

1 1/2  cups of chicken broth

1/2 cup of light cream

4 oz. of extra sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup of leftover Simple Sausage Stuffing

2 scallions, sliced thin

Preparation:

The Croutons—Spread 1 cup of stuffing onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, until the bread is toasted and crispy on the outside.

The Soup—Meanwhile, on the stove top, pour cream and broth into a large stockpot and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add mashed potatoes, 1 cup at a time, whisking briskly. Once all of the mashed potatoes have been blended into the soup, simmer until it’s hot.  Chop cheese into small chunks, or shred it, then add to the soup and stir until it is melted and incorporated. Once the cheese is melted, and the soup is hot, it is ready to be served.

Presentation—Spoon the soup into individual bowls, then top with the toasted stuffing and scallions. Serve immediately. This soup pairs well with a fall beer.

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4

Braised Short Ribs (That will cause you to lose your manners)

This was good. This was so good that I wanted to abandon all the manners that I have taught my children and lick the plate! And then, when dinner was over, and we were doing the dishes, I yearned for lunch the next day so that I could have leftovers. This is just one of those meals.

Don’t save this for company. Make this for yourself. It is perfect for a lazy Sunday. Oh, and put your pajamas on before you eat, because when you are done, all you will want to do is lay on the couch and not move your overstuffed belly.

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless short ribs
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper
  • 1 cup of flour
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 shallots, peeled & chopped
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1 750mL bottle of Cabernet, or dry red wine
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme & rosemary, tied with kitchen string
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups of beef broth

Directions

Sprinkle each short rib generously with salt & pepper.

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Then coat each rib in flour, shaking off any excess.

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Coat a large dutch oven or stock pot with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

While the short ribs are browning, chop all the vegetables coarsely in the food processor.

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Don’t forget the shallots & garlic!

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When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan.

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In the same pan, and remaining oil, saute the vegetables until soft.

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Use a wooden spoon to scrape the schmuge* off the bottom of the pan. Once the vegetables are soft, transfer them to a food processor and puree.

* Schmuge– n. 1. The very browned bits at the bottom of a pan that contain all the good flavor for your dish. 2. n. The gross, grayish gook that collects at the corners of your child’s mouth, usually when your mother-in-law is about to come over, or when you are walking into a fancy function with your children in tow.

Return the pureed vegetables to the pot and add the tomato sauce and add the wine. Heat until it starts to boil.

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Return the short ribs to the pan and add the thyme/rosemary bundle and bay leaves.

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Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add beef broth, if needed. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. The meat should be very tender but not falling apart. Serve over mashed potatoes with the braising sauce.

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Now, this is where the sweat pants come in handy. Just look at how yummy!

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And then…you get this!

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…which is where it all gets awkward, because you will want to lick your plate, in front of your children, and husband. Plus, you may find yourself “stealing” bites from the pan, or your family member’s plates. But it is all good! You can now retire to the couch with a full belly, and a happy heart knowing that you produced something so fantastic!