In her Bible studies, Kelly Minter does something unique: She shares well-tested recipes from her own table with her readers. It’s what makes her Living Room Series a little different from your average study. These delicious favorites will bring your family or study group together for a relaxing evening.
Mom’s Ginger Snaps
Makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
2¼ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
White sugar for rolling
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- With a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Beat in egg; add molasses.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt.
- Add dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir well.
- Form into 1-inch balls, then roll in white sugar.
- Bake on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
“I love ginger snap cookies. Pair these up with a cup of tea and your friends will love you. Or, if you’re like me and your mom makes them for you, you will love your mom even more than you already do.” ~ Kelly
Don’t overbake! You want these crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. Once they come out of the oven, let them cool on the cookie sheet for one minute before moving to a cooling rack.
Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup
Makes 8-10 servings
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 to 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
9 cups chicken stock
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 large bunch kale, large ribs removed, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Shaved Parmesan cheese
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add garlic and oregano, and sauté until garlic is translucent.
- Stir in vinegar and tomato paste and cook an additional minute, stirring, until tomato paste and oil have mixed together.
- Add drained and rinsed beans and stock. Bring soup to a simmer and let cook 30-45 minutes.
- While soup simmers, partially cook Italian sausages in a small skillet. Let cool, then cut into bite-size pieces and add to the soup. (Letting them cook the rest of the way in the broth will flavor it.)
- After simmering, add chopped kale to the pot and partially cover. Cook 15-30 minutes, until sausage is cooked through.
- Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve with shaved Parmesan cheese on top.
“Kale has rocketed to celebrity status. Perhaps it’s because of the nutritional benefits it boasts or its versatility in salads, soups, and even chips. I love making this recipe that marries the texture of kale with the flavorful seasonings of sausage, the heartiness of beans, and a hint of tomato and garlic.” ~ Kelly
Add some bruschetta or a toasted baguette and you have an easy, tasty meal you can throw together even in the busiest of seasons.
Nonna’s Meat Sauce
Makes 6-8 servings
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 medium yellow or white onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
4 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 Tablespoon freshly ground fennel seed
½ pound ground beef (or veal)
½ pound ground pork
2 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup dry white wine or chicken stock
2 (15-ounce) cans whole plum tomatoes, undrained
3 Tablespoons orange juice
- Heat a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat; add the oil and two tablespoons of butter heat until melted.
- Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot and lightly sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft but not brown, about 15 minutes.
- Add the fennel seed and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the ground beef, pork, pancetta, and a pinch of salt. Break up the meat while cooking, until the meat is no longer pink, but not overdone, about 10 minutes.
- Add the wine or chicken stock and simmer until it has reduced completely.
- Add the tomatoes and their juices along with the orange juice; reduce the heat to very low and barely simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
- Right before serving, and after you’ve taken the sauce off the burner, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and allow to melt into the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
“You’ll love this pasta sauce recipe for its flavor. I think the ground fennel seed and pancetta are what make the noticeable difference, but you don’t have to actually tell people this. Again, just resort to the phrase, ‘This old recipe? It was nothing. Really.’” ~ Kelly
Grinding your own fennel seed really gives this extra-fresh flavor. Serve over rigatoni with warm bread and a crisp salad on the side.