Tummies

Last night I made a delicious BLT Chicken Salad.  I thought I’d share the recipe here today.  As I write I have corn soup simmering on the stove.  If it turns out well I will share it later.

BLT Chicken Salad

  • 3 thick slices bacon
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
  • garlic powder

Cook 3 thick slices of bacon till crispy.  Chop.  Poach a boneless skinless breast of chicken.  Shred.

Whisk 1/4 cup mayo with 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt.  Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of lime or lemon juice.  Also add salt pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.

Chop 1/2 cucumber, 1/2 bell pepper, 1/2 small red onion.

Mix everything together.  Serve in lettuce wraps, tortillas, or on toast.  Yum!

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Soup Day: Bean and Vegetable Soup

Soup Day:  Bean and Vegetable Soup

Well, it’s soup day and my son is sick again…It feels like someone is sick in this house more often than not these days. I guess illness goes hand in hand with fall and preschool. Hopefully we build up an immunity to these bugs sooner than later.

For my sanity, I chose bean and vegetable soup for tonight’s dinner because it is easy and delicious. For bread today (because you have to have freshly baked bread with soup) I will be getting out my bread machine and letting it do all of the work (I don’t have my son’s helping hands today).

Bean and Vegetable Soup:Start with 1.5 cups of dried beans (soaked over night in water). Drain the beans and set aside.
In a large soup pot brown an onion chopped up in olive oil. The goal here is to get a nice brown coating on the bottom of the pan.
Add a little broth or wine, or juice (about 1/2 c) to onions and let it cook down. I think I’ll use the apple cider that’s left over from our apple picking trip last weekend.
Add the beans and a bay leaf or 2 to the pot and pour in a box of store-bought stock (about 3 quarts). You could make the stock, but I’ve never been successful at making flavorful stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for a few hours.
Add a can of tomatoes and fresh herbs. I use whatever I have an abundance of in the garden. Be creative!
Add about 1/2 c. of uncooked rice. I like brown or black rice. Keep simmering until the rice is cooked (about 30 min).
Add frozen or fresh veggies (about 5 c. give or take depending on the thickness you like for your soup). I use what ever I have left over in the fridge plus whatever I find in the freezer. You can’t go wrong. Just remember to add fresh root vegetables earlier in the cooking process so that they have time to get tender. Cook for a few more minutes (just to get everything hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a little more herbs if you like.

The best part of this recipe is it’s flexibility. You can use up left overs in the fridge and veggies that are nearing the end. You can even throw in left over rice or meat. Have fun with it!

Happy soup day!

Beef Stew for Dinner

Monday, with crisp autumn temperatures, felt like a perfect day to simmer beef stew (today’s humidity is a stark contrast).  The house smelled deliciously cozy and WOW it tasted good!  The first stews and heartier cold weather meals always taste so indulgent after a summer of lighter cooler dinners.  Here’s my family’s stew recipe:

1/2 to 1 lb. lean stew beef (most butchers will cut any beef roast that’s on sale into bite size stew pieces if you ask)

1 onion

6 potatoes

6 carrots

Any other root vegetables that you have on hand.

Frozen corn and peas

worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper

Corn starch

Start by browning the meat in a large pot (I usually pour a little olive oil to cover the bottom about 1 Tablespoon).  The goal here is to get that nice brown color coating the bottom of the pan.  About 1/2 way through browning the meat add a chopped onion and salt and pepper.

Next, fill the pot with enough water to cover the meat and onions.  Pour in a couple of teaspoons of worcestershire sauce.  Bring water to a simmer and continue to simmer for 1 or 2 hours adding water as needed to keep the meat covered.

Then, toss in chopped potatoes, carrots, and other roots if you’re using them.  (I like to use bite size pieces.)  Add enough water to cover again and return to a simmer.  Continue to simmer 1 hour or at least till the vegetables are tender. 

I thicken it with cornstarch.  I pour about 1/2 cup of corn starch into a bowl and add a little water to make a runny paste.  I stir it together until it’s smooth and pour it into the stew.  Stir stew.  Keep adding cornstarch-water mixture until the stew is your desired thickness. 

Lastly add frozon corn and peas and return to simmer for 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Cold Turkey & Wild Rice Salad

Cold Turkey & Wild Rice Salad

Monday night I made a delicious turkey wild rice salad for dinner. I had a left over turkey breast in the fridge (a local market had a sale on rotisserie turkey breasts). Here‘s a link to the recipe.

I altered the recipe by adding chopped bell pepper, and chopped parsley (both already in my fridge) and I omitted the almonds because I didn’t have them.

The salad was delicious on a sandwich, over a bed of lettuce, or just on its own! I hope you give it a try and let me know what you think.

Refrigerator Pickles

Refridgerator Pickles

Few things make me feel more lucky and secure than a full fridge. Right now with the garden and farmers markets so abundant with veggies, I’m finding it necessary to think up new and creative ways to prepare and preserve the bounty.

Last week my husband and I made up a big batch of refrigerator pickles. The above picture is what is left. The whole family sneaks a pickle of two every time we pass the fridge 🙂 Here is a link to my favorite recipe.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Refrigerator-Dill-Pickles

Today, more zucchini bread is in the oven as I type. I plan to make a few more loaves as gifts. Then this afternoon we are pickling some sweet banana peppers from the farmers market and I think I’ll try to pickle some carrots too. If they turn out, I’ll share the recipe.

Anyone have any ideas for all of my tomatoes?

One Pot Spaghetti

One Pot Spaghetti

I learned that this was even possible from an article in a Martha Stewart Living magazine a couple of months ago. The key to this recipe is the liquid to pasta ratio. About 5 cups water to 16 oz. pasta and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Then just let your imagination run. I used about 4 tomatoes from the garden, an onion, lots of basil from the garden, about 5 cloves of garlic, button mushrooms, and water. You don’t need a lot of produce, but I’d go heavy on the herbs. Sprinkle in a little salt and pepper and boil for about 10 minutes (until the water is mostly gone). I served it with grated parmesan and red pepper flakes on the side.

I can’t believe I never knew you could do this, because it is so easy and fast! It’s also an excellent way use up produce and makes a light summer meal.

I’m looking forward to experimenting with different liquids (stock, wine — with water of course) and different veggies. I might even add some cooked meat (chicken, sausage) next time. Please let me know if you try a yummy combination. I’d love to try yours 🙂

Here Come the Zucchini!

Here Come the Zucchini!

With zucchini beginning to come from the garden, the dance of trying to use them is ramping up! I attempted a new recipe for zucchini fritters that was delicious, but the texture was awful (and I had to take them to dinner at our neighbors). So yesterday, with a brand new large one picked fresh the day before my son and I set out to make zucchini bread…Yummmm…

I used a recipe from my old trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (you know the one with red and white plaid) handed down from my grandmother. But there are many good recipes online too. Check out these links that are close to the recipe I used:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/zucchini-bread-recipe/index.html

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/07/summer-of-the-bats/

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/moms-zucchini-bread/

Like the Paula Deen recipe, I used nutmeg and lemon juice. Like the Smitten Kitchen recipe, I used chocolate chips in one of my loaves. I used whole wheat flour.

The point of this post is to simply celebrate the abundant zucchini that promises to take over my kitchen soon enough. Right now though, my family can’t get enough zucchini bread! We’ve just about polished off two loaves since yesterday afternoon, and we plan to make a few more loaves today. One for us, one for Grandma, and one for the neighbor that keeps bringing tomatoes to our porch. He’s taken pity on us and our tomato plant planted late and not doing very well in our garden.