Copycat Outback Steakhouse Walkabout Soup

copycat-outback-steakhouse-walkabout-soup2

Ingredients
White Sauce
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk
Soup Base
2 cups thinly sliced yellow sweet onions
3 tablespoons butter
14-15 oz. can chicken broth
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 oz. processed cheese (the kind that melts easily)
Shredded cheese for garnish

Directions
1.    Prepare white sauce in a saucepan or microwave.  Set aside.
2.    In a 2-quart saucepan, place 3 tablespoons and the sliced onions.  Cook on low to medium heat, stirring frequently until soft and clear but not brown.
3.    Add chicken broth, bouillon cubes, salt, and pepper.  Stir until completely heated through.
4.    Add white sauce and processed cheese. Simmer on medium low heat until cheese is melted and all ingredients are blended, stirring constantly.
5.    Turn the temperature to warm and let cook for an additional 30-45 minutes.
6.    Serve with a garnish of shredded cheddar cheese.

Yield:  3-4 servings

Egg, Dairy and Chicken Prices Down, Beef Too

CS16_167 2016 Fall Harvest Marketbasket SurevyLower retail prices for several foods, including eggs, whole milk, cheddar cheese, chicken breast, sirloin tip roast and ground chuck resulted in a decrease in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Fall Harvest Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $49.70, down $4.40 or 8 percent compared to a survey conducted a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, 13 decreased and three increased in average price.

Egg prices dropped significantly due to production recovering well from the 2014 avian influenza, according to John Newton, AFBF director, market intelligence. Milk prices are down substantially from prior years, particularly compared to record-highs in 2014, due to the current global dairy surplus.

“For all commodities in agriculture there is a lot of product on hand and prices are depressed,” Newton explained.

The following items showed retail price decreases from a year ago:

  • eggs, down 51 percent to $1.48 dozen
  • chicken breast, down 16 percent to $2.86 per pound
  • sirloin tip roast, down 11 percent to $5.04 per pound
  • shredded cheddar, down 10 percent to $4.09 per pound
  • whole milk, down 10 percent to $2.84 per gallon
  • ground chuck, down 9 percent to $4.13 per pound
  • toasted oat cereal, down 9 percent to $2.80 for a nine-ounce box
  • vegetable oil, down 9 percent to $2.39 for a 32-ounce bottle
  • flour, down 7 percent to $2.21 per five-pound bag
  • white bread, down 7 percent to $1.58 for a 20-ounce loaf
  • orange juice, down 5 percent to $3.26 per half-gallon
  • bacon, down 3 percent to $4.40 per pound
  • sliced deli ham, down less than 1 percent to $5.45

These items showed moderate retail price increases compared to a year ago:

  • bagged salad, up 16 percent to $2.85 per pound
  • apples, up 10 percent to $1.59 per pound
  • potatoes, up 3 percent to $2.73 for a 5-pound bag

“Dry conditions in the Northeast and Northwest the last few years likely contributed to smaller supplies and higher retail prices for apples,” Newton said. In addition, he said salad prices are up due to lower output in the West, particularly in California and Arizona.

Price checks of alternative milk and egg choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon regular milk, $1.86; 1/2 gallon organic milk, $4.26; and one dozen “cage-free” eggs, $3.48.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 17 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Newton said.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $49.70 marketbasket would be approximately $8.45.

AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, began conducting informal quarterly marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The series includes a Spring Picnic survey, Summer Cookout survey, Fall Harvest survey and Thanksgiving survey.

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 59 shoppers in 26 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in September.

Honey-Garlic Glazed Meatballs

honey-garlic-glazed-meatballs2Ingredients
2 large eggs
¾ cup milk
1 cup dry bread crumbs
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons salt
2 pounds ground beef
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon butter
¾ cup ketchup
½ cup honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions
1.    In a large bowl, combine eggs, and milk.  Add the bread crumbs, onion, and salt.
2.    Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.
3.    Shape into 1-inch balls.  Place the meatballs on a greased rack in a shallow baking pan.  Bake, uncovered, at 400º for 12-15 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
4.    Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute garlic in butter until tender, but not brown. Stir in the ketchup, honey, and soy sauce.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
5.    Add meatballs to the sauce.  Carefully stir to evenly coat.  Cook for 5-10 minutes.
6.    Serve as appetizers or as a mealtime meat dish.
Yield:  5-4 dozen, depending on meatball size

Hot Milk Cake

Hot Milk Cake3

Ingredients
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter

Directions
1.    In a medium bowl, beat the eggs using a hand mixer.  Add the sugar and vanilla; mix well.
2.    In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3.    Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture.  Beat until just combined.
4.    In a small saucepan (or microwave), heat the milk and butter until very hot but not boiling.
5.    Slowly pour the milk into the cake batter and stir until thoroughly combined (batter should be smooth, yet thin).
6.    Pour the batter into a greased and floured 9”x13” cake pan.  Bake at 350º for 30-35 minutes.
7.    Frost as desired.

Yield:  12 servings

All-American July 4th Cookout Ticks Up, Still Under $6 Per Person

A cookout of Americans’ favorite foods for the Fourth of July, including hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pork spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, lemonade and chocolate milk, will cost slightly more this year but still comes in at less than $6 per person, says the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Farm Bureau’s informal survey reveals the average cost of a summer cookout for 10 people is $56.06, or $5.61 per person.

CS15_075 July 4th Marketbasket Survey_2015Although the cost for the cookout is up slightly (less than 1 percent), “Prices in the meat case are starting to look better from the consumers’ perspective,” said Veronica Nigh, an AFBF economist. “Retail ground round prices are trending lower,” she noted, pointing to the nation’s cattle inventory and commercial beef production, which continue to rebound from dramatically low levels in 2014 and 2015.

In addition, “On the pork side, commercial production also continues to grow and is at the highest level in 25 years,” Nigh said. Spare rib prices are about the same as a year ago, while the amount of product in cold storage is up 121 percent, Nigh pointed out. “This is helping mediate the normal seasonal upswing in spare rib prices we typically see around the July 4th festivities,” she said.

AFBF’s summer cookout menu for 10 people consists of hot dogs and buns, cheeseburgers and buns, pork spare ribs, deli potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, lemonade, chocolate milk, ketchup, mustard and watermelon for dessert.

Commenting on factors driving the slight increase in retail watermelon prices, Nigh said, “While watermelons are grown across the U.S., most come from four states – Texas, Florida, Georgia and California – which together produce approximately 44 percent of the U.S. crop. Shipments of watermelons are down nearly 8 percent compared to the same time period last year,” she said.

U.S. milk production is up 1 percent compared to the same period last year. During the first quarter of 2016 (January-March), U.S. milk production reached historic levels, putting significant downward pressure on the price farmers receive for their milk.

Nigh said the increase in the price of cheese slices highlights the spread in prices that often occurs between values at the farm, wholesale, and retail stages of the production and marketing chain.

A total of 79 Farm Bureau members (volunteer shoppers) in 26 states checked retail prices for summer cookout foods at their local grocery stores for this informal survey.

The summer cookout survey is part of the Farm Bureau marketbasket series, which also includes the popular annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey and two additional surveys of common food staples Americans use to prepare meals at home.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 17 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Nigh said.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $56.06 marketbasket would be $9.53.

July 4th Cookout for 10 Costs Slightly More

Items Amount 2014 Price 2015 Price 2016 Price % change
Ground Round 2 pounds $  8.91 $  9.10 $  8.80 -3.3%
Pork Spare Ribs 4 pounds $13.91 $13.44 $13.36 -0.6%
Hot Dogs 1 pound $  2.23 $  2.19 $  2.09 -4.6%
Deli Potato Salad 3 pounds $  8.80 $  8.58 $  8.76  2.1%
Baked Beans 28 ounces $  1.96 $  1.83 $  1.90  3.8%
Corn Chips 15 ounces $  3.37 $  3.26 $  3.17 -2.8%
Lemonade 0.5 gallon $  2.00 $  2.05 $  2.04 -0.5%
Chocolate Milk 0.5 gallon $  2.82 $  2.65 $  2.50 -5.7%
Watermelon 4 pounds $  4.53 $  4.21 $  4.49  6.7%
Hot Dog Buns 1 package $  1.63 $  1.57 $  1.61  2.5%
Hamburger Buns 1 package $  1.68 $  1.50 $  1.59  6.0%
Ketchup 20 ounces $  1.36 $  1.46 $  1.44 -1.4%
Mustard 16 ounces $  1.25 $  1.14 $  1.24  8.8%
American Cheese 1 pound $  3.12 $  2.86 $  3.07  7.3%

Total $ 57.57 $ 55.84 $ 56.06  0.4%
Per Person 10 $   5.76 $   5.58 $   5.61  0.4%

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake2Ingredients:

STREUSEL

½ cup flour

½ cup packed brown sugar

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons butter, melted

COFFEE CAKE

½ cup sugar

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

¼ cup sour cream

¼ cup milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 ¼ cups blueberries

GLAZE

¾ cup powdered sugar

1-2 tablespoons milk

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Prepare a 9-inch cake pan or springform pan with a circle of parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
  2. Combine streusel ingredients in a small bowl. Mix with a fork until well-blended.  Set aside.
  3. To make the cake batter, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add sour cream and milk and mix until well incorporated.  Add egg and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
  4. Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to batter and mix until smooth.
  5. Spread half of the cake batter into the bottom of the cake pan. Top with about half of the streusel mixture, then half of the blueberries.
  6. Spread remaining batter over streusel. Sprinkle remaining streusel and blueberries over the top of the cake batter.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs.
  8. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  9. To make glaze, combine powdered sugar and milk in a small bowl. Mix until smooth.  Drizzle the glaze over the coffee cake.

NOTE:  Frozen blueberries may be used, but baking time must be lengthened.

 

Yield:  8 servings

Cheddar Green Bean Casserole

Cheddar Green Bean Casserole2Ingredients

6 cups fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (use canned green beans if you must)

4 ½ teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

½ cup finely minced onion

8-ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

1 cup low-fat milk

2 cups (8 oz.) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided

3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon onion powder

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425º. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan cook the fresh beans until crisp tender (about 4 minutes) or cook by steaming if possible. Drain off all liquid.
  3. Heat 4 teaspoons oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until just starting to brown, 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms have released their juices and the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Sprinkle flour over the mushroom mixture and stir to coat. Add broth and milk and bring to a simmer stirring oftn until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 ½ cups shredded cheese. Add the green beans and stir to combine.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Top with the remaining ½ cup shredded cheese.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs and the remaining ½ teaspoon oil. Add paprika and onion powder and stir until the breadcrumbs are evenly moist and bright orange. Sprinkle over the casserole.
  7. Bake the casserole for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden brown on top. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

 

Yield: 10 servings

Recipe source: healthyseasonal recipes.com