MC Spoo

Tomato Bean Soup

Salt is not an ingredient in this awesome soup. You'll get plenty of salt from some of the included ingredients...

2 15oz cans of beans (white beans)
2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes (no salt)
1 15 oz can of Peas or Corn (low/no salt)
1 7 oz can of tomato sauce (no salt)
3/4 to 1 box of elbow macaroni (or whatever small pasta you prefer. Ditalini would work well too.)
16 oz of Chicken or Beef Stock (low/no salt)
12 oz of water
3 tablespoons of Frank's Red Hot
3 tablespoons of Paprika
3 Tablespoons of Black Pepper
1 tablespoon of Marjoram
3 Smoked Hamhocks
about 4 to 6 strips of Bacon, diced
1 small onion, finely diced
4 stalks of Celery diced
3 medium carrots, cut into dime/quarter size slices
5 large Button Mushrooms, sliced or diced

In a Soup Pot, toss in the bacon, onions, celery, carrots and half of the mushrooms. Sweat these down until the bacon gives up a wee bit of grease and the onions become translucent.

Add in the Ham hocks now. 2 or 3 is sufficient. You are basically going to render these to near fall apart consistency. It takes TIME. You are basically rendering the flavor from the hammocks into the stock.

Now add in the Chicken or Beef Stock AND the water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the temp to a rough simmer. You will allow this mixture to simmer for up to 3 hours.

After up to 3 hours, REMOVE the ham hocks and SLICE off the skin and any meat. Return that to the pot.

With the mixture at a simmer, add in the TOMATO SAUCE and 2 cans of tomatoes. Add in the remainder of the mushrooms and all associated spices (marjoram, Frank's red hot, black pepper). Add in the pasta.

Now allow this to all steep together for about 30 minutes. The pasta will soften.

Ladle to a bowl and serve with some warm corn bread.

This keeps amazingly well, and tastes better the second or third day.


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Kick Ass Chicken Wings

I had not tried to make chicken wings before, but the Super Bowl inspired me to do so... what resulted was so good, I have craved it ever since. I made it again this evening, and it's still a kick in the pants.... which means I should probably share the recipe.

The sauce:
Texas Pete's Buffalo Sauce - 1/8 cup
Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce - 1/8 cup
A1 Steak Sauce - 3 Tablespoons
Tiger Sauce - 2 tablespoons
Honey - 3 Tablespoons
Poultry Seasoning - 1 Tablespoon

Mix all of the above in a bowl until smooth. Set Aside.

The Chicken Wings:
1 bag (5 lbs) of Chicken Wings (I used Kroger store brand)

Thaw the wings out and let them sit in the fridge, uncovered for at least 30 minutes (this will help them crisp)

PREHEAT THE OVEN to 400 degrees.

The Rub:
Garlic Salt
Celery Salt
Black Pepper
Paprika - Hungarian  Smoked

Mix with a fork until uniform.

The Rub + The Chicken:

After a minimum of 30 minutes in the fridge, place the wings on a non-stick cooking grate over an oven sheet (to catch the drippings).

Liberally cover the wings with the salt rub.

Let the Wings rest at room temperature for at least 15 to 30 minutes.

Yes, I know. It smells good, and you're getting hungry... but this takes time.

The Cooking:

Place the rested Wings, coated with the rub, in the oven preheated to 400 degrees.

Cook for 35 to 45 minutes until browned and crispy.

The Coating: 

Using a large steel bowl (or plastic, your choice)...

Place all the wings into the bowl, and pour/slather/bathe the sauce over everything.

Shake that bowl up, until all the wings are covered.

Serve IMMEDIATELY. I do not recommend serving with Ranch or Blue Cheese. Eat 'em as they sit.


The aftermath:

Your lips will tingle and your taste buds will salute you. Lots of napkins and a bunch of those moist finger wipes or just a towel depending on your style.... Lots of pop and beer. Lots of "ohmigosh" and licking of fingers.

The rub is IMPORTANT. The salt draws moisture from the wings. All the resting draws moisture from the wings. This results in CRISPY WINGS from the oven, and since you'll set the wings in a non-stick grate, they won't soak up the drippings. Is this health food? Heck no. But it's good food.

Want to make your wings NUCLEAR? Get some Doichan sauce... moohahahahahaha!

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Apple Cranberry Caramel Crunch Pie

This recipe will make 2 whole pies.

Your hardware includes:
2 (TWO) ready made pie crusts.
2 LARGE Honeycrisp Apples (or other SWEET red apple) or 3 Medium Red Sweet Apples
2 1/2 cups of Quick Oats (finely chop 2 1/4 cups into Oat Flour. keep 1/4 cup aside.)
2 sticks of butter (not margarine, but an olive oil butter works well.
2 cups of Truvia Baking Blend (a mix of Stevia and Sugar... 75% less calories)  blended with 1 tablespoon of Molasses (imitates brown sugar)
3/4 to 1 cup of fresh Cranberries (fresh or frozen, but not out of a can. You want them to POP while cooking!)
1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon of Allspice

Step One:
Cut your apples into bite size chunks. Place them into the pie crusts. Put in half of your cranberries into the crust now as well.

Step Two: 
In a blender, combine the finely chopped oats with the cinnamon, allspice and your faux Truvia brown sugar. (as an alternative, you can use sugar and brown sugar in similar amounts, but the calories in this pie will explode.)

Step Three:
Add 1 3/4 sticks of melted butter to the mixture in the blender. It will loosen up. Blend until the mixture looks gritty.

Keep 1/4 stick of butter aside. You'll be using that later.

Step Four:
Spoon the mixture from the blender into the pie. Use it like mortar, and fill the nooks and crannies between the apples and the cranberries.
Add any remaining cranberries, so a few are "sticking out" of the top.

Step Five:
Mix the remaining oats with about 1/2 tablespoon of Truvia, cinammon and allspide. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the pie and press it down into the mix a bit with a spoon.

The pie is now ready to cook.

Cooking Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the pies on a cookie sheet and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sugar mixture in the pie begins to bubble. Don't take it out immediately. The sugar bubbling is GOOD. That's the "Caramel" part of the recipe.

Serve with some whip cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


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Brutal Pickles

Instructions for making one jar of Brutal Pickles. Use a wide mouth Ball's Jar, or other pickling jar. Recipe assumes a 16 oz jar.

ONE (1) LARGE Fresh Cucumber, sliced into 1/4" slices OR into 4 spears (cut in half, then cut the halves in half.)
4 oz of Pickling or White Vinegar
4 oz of cold water
1 tablespoon of Pickling Salt
1 Tablespoon of Penzey's Pickling Spice
1 tablespoon of Frank's Red Hot
1 medium Ghost Chili Pepper, sliced into coins and keep all the seeds. Wear some rubber gloves when doing this, and when moving the sliced pepper and seeds into the jar. You'll thank yourself for this precaution.

In order, put the salt, pickling spice, and Frank's Red Hot into the jar.

Then CAREFULLY place all slices and seeds from the Ghost Chili into the jar.

Then add your cucumber slices and/or quarters. You can use more than 1 cucumber, but do NOT fill the jar further than the top.

Now you can add the Vinegar and then the water.

Screw the top onto the jar. Shake to dissolve all dry ingredients into the mixture.

CLEAN UP ANY JUICE FROM THE PEPPER. I AM NOT KIDDING YOU. IT IS NASTY STUFF. :) Don't take off your gloves (OR RUB YOUR EYES) until this is cleaned up.

Allow to refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Your patience WILL be rewarded.

The taste is BRUTAL and delicious.




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Geek Lemon Rice Soup with Mushrooms

4 cups of chicken broth
1/2 lb to 3/4 lb of Diced Chicken Thighs
1/2 tablespoon of Olive Oil
3/4 cup of Minute Rice
3 eggs
1/8 to 1/4 cup of lemon juice (more or less to flavor)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1/4 Cup of Diced Carrots
1/4 Cup of Diced Celery
5 Medium Button Mushrooms, Quartered and Sliced

Use a nice soup pot, place the Olive Oil and Diced Chicken thighs. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink.
Add in the Carrots and Celery. Cook about 3 minutes until Chicken is done and the veggies are tender.
Now, add in the chicken broth and bring that to a boil.
Reduce heat, add rice and mushrooms.
Cover and simmer until Minute Rice is done, about 5 minutes.

While Rice is cooking, in small bowl, beat eggs and lemon juice.
(Note: You can add more lemon juice later if you want more of a tang to the flavor. Start at the low end (4 tablespoons or 1/8 cup )

Stirring constantly, add 1 cup of hot soup stock (use a ladle), a little at a time. Stir mixture into soup in pan. The soup WILL change color, like a chemical reaction as you pour the egg/lemon mixture. Keep the heat on low. DO NOT BOIL THE SOUP at this point (the eggs will curdle).

Season with salt and pepper. Add up to 4 tablespoons or 1/8 cup  of lemon juice to your taste).

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Sloppy Joes (Healthy!)

2 cans of Campbell's Healthy Request Tomato Soup
1 lb of 99% Fat Free Ground Turkey (Jennie's or other)
1 small or 1/2 medium onion, diced
1 medium Green or Red Pepper, diced
1/2 to 3/4 cup of diced mushrooms (button mushroom, stem and all)
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon of cumin
Black Pepper and salt to taste (careful with the pepper... it can overpower the mixture)

In a frying pan, combine the ground turkey and olive oil at medium heat. Add a little salt at this time (it helps cook it better).
Once cooked through (no pink showing), add in the onions, peppers, mushrooms, and spices.
Continue to cook at medium heat until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes)

Now add in the 2 cans of Healthy Request Tomato Soup (no water added).

Continue to heat through until the mixture is simmering (about 3 to 4 minutes). You can let it go a little longer to thicken it.

Serve with fresh pita bread or other health bread.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

1.5 lbs of deboned chicken thighs or 1.5 lbs of CHicken Breast
1 tablespoon of Paprika (smoked or spicy)
1 tablespoon of Chili seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 (15 to 20 ounce) jar of fresh salsa
1 (4 oz) can of chopped green chiles
1 medium onion, diced
1 (10 oz) bag of Frozen Corn (or 1 can (15 oz) of corn)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 roasted and peeled jalapeno, finely diced
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 (14.5-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons of Cumin
1 packet of Taco Seasoning
1 can of Black Beans, Rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


First, diced your chicken up into bite size pieces.
Then, place the chicken in a frying pan and coat with the paprika and chili seasoning.
Fry this until the chicken is nicely browned.

Now, Place chicken, tomatoes, salsa sauce, onion, green chiles, roasted and peeled jalapeni and garlic into a slow cooker.

Pour in chicken broth, and season with taco seasoning, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir in corn and black beans.

Cover and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.
Garnish with crushed tortilla chips and sour cream.

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Spoo’s Beer Cheese Soup

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 chopped medium sized onion
1 leek (cleaned, chopped and diced)
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 (12-ounce) beer of choice (Sam Adam's Irish Red or Killian's work very well)
6 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, shredded
6 ounces processed Swiss cheese, shredded
6 ounces processed Pepper Jack, shredded
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 lb of diced Canadian Bacon (lower fat option) or Smoked Sausage

Melt butter in a stockpot over medium heat. Add chopped onion, carrot, and celery. Saute until softened. Add flour.
Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add chicken broth and beer. Heat until it comes to a boil.
Slowly add cheese while stirring until just boiling and smooth. Add half-and-half, salt, dry mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
Reduce heat to low and cook until soup has thickened. Cut smoked sausage into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a saucepan.
Saute sausage over medium heat until heated through. It will probably take about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add sausage to the soup, transfer to a large serving bowl and serve hot.

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BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza with Artichoke

3/4 lb or so of Pulled Pork (see recipe for Pulled Pork)
1 or 2 Boboli Pizza (I prefer the Whole Wheat crust)
about 1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 pickled Artichoke (available in a can or small glass jar)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 Red Pepper (diced)
3 large button mushrooms, sliced thin
(optional) sliced Jalepenos
1/2 to 3/4 cup of low fat Mexican shredded cheese

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Put about half the BBQ sauce on the Boboli crust
Layer on the Pulled Pork. You may want to squeeze some of the extra juice out before putting it on the pizza crust.
scatter in the onions, red pepper. Sprinkle some chili powder at this point. Drizzle a bit of BBQ cause before you
Cover the pizza with the low fat Mexican cheese, shredded.

Now top the pizza with another drizzle of BBQ sauce, sprinkle some more chili power, and finish with the sliced mushrooms.

Pop in the oven for about 10 minutes at 425 degrees.


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Faux Jambalaya

1 Packet of Uncle Ben's Microwave Ready Rice (8.8 oz)
1 12-oz can of Diced Tomatos
1 medium green pepper (diced)
2 Celery Stalks (diced)
3 large Button Mushrooms (sliced into sticks)
1 medium onion (diced)
1 Turkey Smoked Sausage (sliced on a bias into 1/8" pieces)
1 bag of Raw Shrimp (12 to 16 oz)
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 tablespoon of Black Peppr
1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning
1/2 tablespoon of Chili Powder
(optional) 2 squirts of Frank's Red Hot or Tabasco Sauce

In a medium saucepan, add the Onions. Sweat the onions on medium heat until translucent (about 3 to 5 minutes)
Add in the Green Peppers, Mushrooms, Celery, and Sausage. Continue to cook at Medium Heat for another 3 to 5 minutes. Stir about once each minute. Add the Salt and Pepper about half way.

Now add in the Shrimp. Continue to cook on Medium High until the shrimp turns pink.

Add in the diced tomatoes, chili power, cajun seasoning and the hot sauce. Stir to cover everything.

Allow this to heat for another 3 to 5 minutes at medium heat.

Presto. "faux" jambalya in about 30 minutes or less.

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