Aug 202016
 

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101 Soups, Salads & Sandwiches by Gooseberry Patch

Whether you’re looking for lunch recipes, side dishes, or hearty mains, you’ll love the variety in 101 Soups, Salads & Sandwiches Cookbook. Chicken & Dumplin’ Soup, Spicy Sausage Chowder and Pioneer Beef Stew and BBQ Sloppy Joe Soup will all hit the spot! Tarragon Steak Dinner Salad and Pasta Taco Salad make tasty mains, while Mustard-Thyme Potato Salad and Raspberry Chicken Salad are great for toting to potlucks and picnics. Bite-sized or stacked high, friends & family will love sandwiches like Cheeseburger Roll-Ups, BBQ Chicken Calzones, Tuna Paninis and Lasagna Buns. Plus, with the “Terrific Toppings” chapter, you can sprinkle soups and salads with homemade garnishes like Zesty Pita Crisps and Bacon-Onion Croutons, and pile more flavor on sandwiches with Lemony Sage Mayonnaise or easy Refrigerator Pickles.

Thoughts
I’ve been a fan of Gooseberry Patch for so many years so when I saw this book I couldn’t resist buying it. I love that it’s spiral bound, and the pages are easy to wipe clean if something splatters on them.

This book will come in handy when I’m looking for a soup, salad, or sandwich recipe to post for Souper Sundays (soup, salads, or sandwiches) or Weekend Cooking.

Here are some of the recipes I want to try:
Soups
Chicken Cacciatore
Kielbasa
Meatball Vegetable Cheese

Salads
Berry Chicken
Layered Caribbean Chicken
White Bean & Tomato

Sandwiches
Scott’s Ham & Pear
Toasted Chicken Salad Bagels
Yiayia’s Chicken Pitas

Each recipe has the name and place of the person who submited it, and a few of their thouhts on the dish. The last page has U.S. to Canadian Equivlents, Baking Pan Sizes, Recipe Abbreviations, and Kitchen Measurements.

I love this book and want to add more Gooseberry cookbooks to my kitchen library.

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wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Souper Sundays2
Souper Sundays is hosted @ Kahakai Kitchen
Aug 062016
 

This is not the sandwich I had planned to make and share today, but someone left the Chipotle mayo at work (shhh, it was Anthony). I’ve been seeing a commercial for some brand of mayo, can’t remember which one, that says a grilled cheese with mayo instead of butter is so much better. Since my son Anthony and I both love grilled cheese sandwiches every once in a while, I wanted to test that out for myself. Luckily I had all the ingredients.

Not the best photos, but I was in a hurry.

mayo

 

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Thoughts
Anthony and I both thought these tasted almost the same as when made with butter except that there was a slight sweet taste to it. We both said we’d rather stick with butter, but mayo would be good for anyone who wouldn’t mind a slightly sweet grilled cheese sandwich.

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads
Souper Sundays2
Souper Sundays is hosted @ Kahakai Kitchen
Jul 292016
 

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The July movie pick @ Food N’ Flix was Popeye, chosen by Elizabeth at The Lawyer’s Cookbook. The cast includes Robin Williams, Shelley Duvall, and Ray Walston, who by the way was on one of my favorite tv shows when I was a kid, My Favorite Martian.

I loved the Popeye cartoon when I was a child and was really excited to watch this movie since it’s been many many years since I saw it. To be honest, unlike the first time I watched it, all the singing and “silly” talk got to me a bit. I almost stopped watching it a few times, but I didn’t, and am glad I didn’t. It must have been the mood I was in, because it never bothered me before, in fact I always found it “cute”. Still, when the movie was over, my thoughts were that I loved the movie and wouldn’t mind watching it again.

There were a few times food was mentioned or seen in the movie, other than spinach and hamburgers of course, but the one that grabbed me the most was a conversation between George W. Geezil and  Wimpy. Here’s what was said:

 

 

George W. Geezil: What is that glop you’re eating?

J. Wellington Wimpy: It’s a soup burger.
These are difficult times. Burgers can’t be choosers.

 

So, I decided to make this recipe, which I found HERE, and adapted it a bit.

Burger Soup
1 lb. extra-lean, ground sirloin

1 chopped onion, about 1 cup

2 clove garlic

1 15 oz. no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 14 1/2 oz. canned, chopped, no-salt-added tomatoes

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 16 oz. packaged, frozen mixed vegetables

1/3 cup brown rice, uncooked

In a large pot, cook the meat, onion, and garlic over medium heat until the meat is done.

Drain excess liquid.

Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, broth, mixed vegetables, and rice.

Cover the pot, allow the mixture to come to a boil, reduce heat, and cook 35 minutes or until rice is done.

 

Popeye Hamburger Soup

Adaptions
I didn’t think this had very much flavor, so I added 1 tsp. each of cayenne pepper, garlic powder & onion powder. That made it a lot better.

Thoughts
This was a good soup. The ingredients didn’t cost much to buy, and it was easy and quick to make. The next time I make it I’m going to use a few each of Yukon potatoes, carrots, and a small bag of frozen peas, and maybe celery, instead of using a bag of mixed vegetables. was good good, but I like to try different ingredients to see which way tastes the best. I served it with a crusty bread which I didn’t take a photo of 🙁

Also linking to:
Weekend Cooking
Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sunday

 

Jul 162016
 

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The June/July book selection @ Cook The Books is Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy

I’ve never read this author before so I was excited to read this book.

The book is about Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather who are starting a catering business in Dublin. Add some relatives, friends, and some minor characters here and there and well, I thought there was just too many characters.

It’s a bit longer than what I prefer, and I do think it could have been a shorter and still had the same impact on the reader, but it did flow along well enough to keep my interest.

The book ended rather abruptly I thought, and kind of left me wondering what was next. Overall, this was a good book and I’m glad I read it.

There were so many foods mentioned in the book, and I wrote the name and page number of all the ones that I thought I might make. I finally narrowed it down to  two, Paella, which is mentioned on page 156 and Irish Stew which is mentioned on page 480.  I finally settled on Paella since I’ve never had it.

Here is what is said when the Paella is mentioned:

 

Tom said that the whole trick for the estate agents’ reception was setting up the Spanish atmosphere. Cathy said that was all very well certainly, but they must have a whole range of tapas to start. Followed by a knockout paella with all the right flavors.

 

I found a recipe here, and adapted it a bit:
Quick Chicken & Chorizo Paella
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
14 ounces chorizo, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pimenton or paprika (I used pimenton, which is just smokier)
2 cups short- or medium-grain rice
1 pinch saffron threads
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/4 pounds chicken, cut into chunks (didn’t use)
1/2 cup frozen peas (I used a cup)
1 tomato, chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400°F.
Heat oil in a large casserole or paella pan over high heat.
Add chorizo and cook until browned and fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add onion, red bell pepper, and garlic.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.
Add rice (medium or short grain rice), pimenton, saffron, and bay leaves.
Stir to combine and coat the rice, about 1 minute.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Add roast chicken, frozen peas, and tomato; stir to combine.
Transfer skillet to oven.
Cook uncovered until rice is tender and no liquid remains, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Fluff with a fork and serve immediately.

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I had both the chicken and chorizo on the counter to use, but decided to go with just the chorizo. The next time I make it I’ll use just the chicken, then both.

This was really good and very easy to make. The paella was full of flavor and was all I needed as a main dish. The recipe made enough for 6 bowls, so there’s plenty leftovers, saving you from having to cook the next night and/or trying to figure out what to take for lunch.

Cook The Books

Weekend Cooking

Jun 272016
 

Last week I was searching for sandwiches to see if I could find one I had never tried before. I kept seeing “Monte Cristo” and so I wanted to try one. I had the one I wanted to try, but because I am who I am,  I kept searching and then I found one here. It uses turkey along with ham.

Monte Cristo (I adapted it)
2 slices bread
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
2 slices cooked ham (I used thick sliced Boar’s Head ham from the deli)
2 slices cooked turkey (I used left over crock pot turkey breast)
1 slice Swiss cheese (I used Gruyer)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

Spread bread with mayonnaise and mustard.
Alternate ham, Swiss and turkey slices on bread.
Beat egg and milk in a small bowl.
Coat the sandwich with the egg and milk mixture.
Heat a greased skillet over medium heat, brown the sandwich on both sides.
Serve hot.

 

Half one

Thoughts
This was so good! The bread was nice and crispy and the flavors of the turkey, ham and melted cheese was amazing. I normally don’t use so much meat, but sometimes you just want a sandwich that’s thick and meaty. Today was one of those days. I only ate half of the sandwich because it was so filling. I’ll eat the other half tomorrow for lunch. The next time I’ll make it with thin slices from the deli and see which one I like the most.

Try it, you’ll like it!

 Linking to:
Jun 182016
 

I’ve been on a cookbook kick lately and when I saw this the other day I couldn’t resist it. I love that it has a collection of “the best of the best”.

14633739 Food & Wine: Best of the Best, Vol 15 by Mary G. Burnham (Editor), Food & Wine Magazine
Here, in one definitive volume, is Food & Wine Magazine’s collection of the most exceptional recipes from the 25 best cookbooks of the year.

115 Delicious recipes, all vigorously tested by the cooks at Food & Wine, for everything from salads and soups to pastas, chicken and desserts.

The latest dishes from superstar authors such as Jacques Pepin, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali & Nancy Silverton along with simple, fail-safe wine pairings.

More than 20 exclusive, never-before-published recipes, including Smoky Eggplant Dip, Braised Chicken Thighs with Green Olives, Crispy Fresh Salmon Cakes and Lemon Cloud Cake.

Thoughts
There are so many recipes in this book that I want to try. I went through the book pretty fast because I wanted to check out all the recipes, so I’ll have to go back through it and mark them with Post-it tabs. There’s something for everyone in this cookbook, even desserts.

A few of the cookbooks and their recipes are:
A Girl & Her Pig by April Bloomfield~ Merlot Braised Smoked Pork Belly with Apples

Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid~ Kachin Chicken Curry

Baking Out Lou by Hedy Goldsmith & Abigail Johnson Dodge~ Old School Raspberry Bars

The Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perlman~ New York Breakfast Casserole

Michael Symon’s Carnivore by Michael Symon & Douglas Trattner~ Spicy Sriracha Chicken Wings

Simply Mink In Your Kitchen by Ming Tsai & Arthur Boehm~ Chile Miso Pork Stew

I think this is a great addition to any cookbook collection.

 

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Jun 112016
 
Crock Pot Chicken Thighs With Vegetables
Adapted from this recipe
1 cup chicken broth
12 medium chicken thighs
1 1/2 tsps leaves dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground curry powder
1 package mixed vegetables

Rinse chicken and remove skin, leaving the bone in.

Place a layer of thighs in the bottom of the crock pot.

Sprinkle with seasonings. Repeat until all thighs are in the pot.

Pour a cup of chicken broth down the side of the pot, being careful not to disturb the seasonings.

Cook on low setting of crock pot for 6 hours.

Add mixed vegetables, recover and cook for 1 1/2 hour or until vegetables are heated through.

Adaptions
I had a pack of 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs thawing in the fridge so I checked online to see what I could make with them and found this recipe. The original recipe called for turmeric which I thought I had, but I didn’t, so I used curry powder instead. I had a bag of frozen vegetables in the freezer which had peas, baby carrots, baby corn, and sugar snap peas so that’s what I used.

The original recipe said to cook on high for 4 hours, but I like cooking with the crock pot on low, so I cooked it for 6 hours. After I added the vegetables I cooked for an hour but they were still not warm enough, so I cooked for another 30 min. or so.

Thoughts
This was SO good! The seasoning on the thighs stuck really well and I thought it was perfect. If you don’t like your food really spicy you might want to cut back a little on the seasonings.

The chicken was mostly falling apart and it was all very tender. You could eat the chicken and vegetables without the broth, but I added quite a bit and it was more like a soup or stew.

This was really quick and easy to prepare, and was very yummy. I liked it so much I had it the next day for lunch. I will be making it again.

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Hosted @ Kahakai Kitchen

May 302016
 

IHCCLocalSeasonal

This week at I ♥ Heart Cooking Club it’s time to make a recipe with ingredients grown locally. Black-eyed peas are grown in Florida during this time so I chose this recipe. I love black-eyed peas!

Black-Eyed Peas and Greens Soup  (adapted from this recipe)
1 lb. boneless country pork ribs, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-in chunks (I used boneless pork chops)
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 white onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp. Winn-Dixie crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup cider vinegar  (I used white wine vinegar)
1 tbs. dark brown sugar
6 oz. Winn-Dixie dried black-eyed peas, rinsed
2 bunches green kale, (about 1 lb.) stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
Season pork generously with salt and pepper

Heat a large heavy pot over medium-high heat until hot

Add 2 tbs of oil and pork and cook, turning occasionally, for about 6 minutes, or until browned all over

Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a plate

To pot, add remaining 2 tbs of oil, onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes

Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until onions soften

Add vinegar, sugar, 1 tsp of salt, and 10 cups of water and bring to a simmer

Return pork and any of its accumulated juices to pot

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes

Stir in black-eyed peas, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, or until peas have softened slightly

Working in batches, add kale, letting each addition wilt before adding next

Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until pork and beans are tender

Season soup with salt and pepper

Ladle into bowls and serve

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Thoughts
I had all the ingredients on hand and the pork chops were getting close to the “use by” date so I cooked them the way the recipe said and then stored in a baggy in the fridge until I was ready to make the soup. I  added it back to the pot when the recipe said to. I was afraid being cold for a few days would make them tough, but they simmered in the soup and  were so tender and yummy. I thought this soup was amazing, but my son thought it was a bit too spicy, so next time I make it I’ll cut back on the red pepper flakes. I’ll also use less kale because we both thought there was too much compared to the amount of peas. I made cornbread to go with the soup.

This is another “will make again” recipes!

Also linking to:
May 142016
 

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This week at I ♥ Heart Cooking Club we’re making any recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi. I decided to make:

Seriously Zesty Bread Salad (adapted)

5 oz.  rustic bread,stale or fresh (I used ciabatta)
Salt and pepper
2 small cucumbers (15cm long), cut into 2cm pieces (I used 1)
3 tomatoes, cut into wedges (I used 1)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (I used 1/4, and cut them up in small pieces)
1 red pepper, cored and cut into large pieces (I used 1/2)
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped (I used dill)
2 tsp sumac (optional)(I didn’t use this ingredient)
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon (I used 1/4)
1 garlic clove, crushed (I used 1/2)
1 1/2 tsp red-wine vinegar (I used 1 tsp.)
3 tbsp olive oil (I used 1 1/2 tbs.)

Preheat the oven 325F

Spread out the bread on a roasting tray, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with some flaky salt

Bake for 20 minutes until crispy and golden, then leave to cool

Mix all the other salad ingredients and adjust the seasoning to taste. Just before serving, mix in the toasted bread, using your hands

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Thoughts
YUM! I loved it! It was light and fresh and one of the best tomato/cucumber salads I’ve ever tried. I loved the toasted bread, it gave the salad a nice crunch. It was simple to make and had easy to find ingredients. I plan on making this again!

 

I’m linking this recipe to:

I ♥ Cooking Club

Weekend Cooking

Souper Sundays 

Apr 292016
 

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Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup
1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 28 oz. can Rotel (diced tomatoes & green chilies)
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 package taco seasoning

Combine all ingredients except chicken in slow cooker and stir.
Place chicken breasts on top.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Prior to serving, remove chicken breasts, shred them, and return to soup.
Garnish with low-fat sour cream & shredded cheese, avocado, cilantro, etc.
Serve with warm corn tortillas.

Adaptions
Oh boy did I adapt this recipe!
1. I used 3 large breasts.
2. I left out the can of tomato sauce and the onion.
3. I added a package of ranch dressing mix.
4. I used two cans each instead of one of the 3 beans and the corn.
5. I used 2 taco seasoning mixes.

When it was time to take the chicken breasts out and shred them, I took half the soup (no chicken) out of the slow cooker and put it in a container to freeze.

I garnished with sour cream, chopped onion, shredded mild cheddar cheese.

When I want it for dinner again I’ll take it out to to thaw, add a pound of browned ground chuck and reheat it.

 

Thoughts
This was really good, lots of taco flavor and the ratio of the ingredients was perfect. I was going to eat a hard crusty bread with it but we had some left over cornbread from the night before and Anthony said he was going to eat that instead. So I did too, not sure I’d like it with the soup. I shouldn’t have worried, they were really good together. Anthony buttered his and then crumbled it up in his bowl. I just ate mine buttered, but did occasionally dip it in the soupy goodness.

This got a thumbs up from both of us.

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Souper_Sundays2

Hosted @ Kahakai Kitchen

Apr 232016
 

The other day my daughter Kilah and I drove to a new shopping mall, I’ll post about that in a week or so. Anyway, while driving home, Kilah told me there was a store nearby that she’d never been to but would like to go. Well, of course I was curious so we checked it out. The store was The Fresh Market. It’s similar to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

I really loved how they displayed everything, and the lightening  really made it have a comfy feeling. I don’t remember seeing any fruits or veggies but Kilah does. I guess I was just engrossed with the all the different kinds of coffee they had, that I forgot to take a photo of. The meat section was amazing, and they had rows and rows of nuts, cheeses, wine.  Here are a few photos I took:

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wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Apr 162016
 

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Mexican Taco Salad

Taco Casserole (adapted from this Betty Crocker recipe)

1 lb lean ground beef
1 can (16 oz) Old El Paso™ refried beans
1 jar (16 oz) Old El Paso™ Thick ‘n Chunky salsa
1 package (1 oz) Old El Paso™ 40% less-sodium taco seasoning mix
2 1/2 cups coarsely broken tortilla chips
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped (didn’t use)
4 medium green onions, sliced (I used a yellow onion)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (4 oz)
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives (um, nope)
1 cup shredded lettuce

Heat oven to 350°F.

In 12-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain.

Stir in refried beans, salsa and taco seasoning mix. Reduce heat to medium. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.

In ungreased 2-quart casserole, place 2 cups of the broken tortilla chips.

Top evenly with beef mixture.

Sprinkle with bell pepper, onions, 1 cup of the tomato, the cheese and olives.

Bake uncovered 20 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.

Top baked casserole with lettuce, remaining 1/2 cup tomato and remaining 1/2 cup tortilla chips.

 

Thoughts
This was really really good. Even my son who doesn’t like any kind of taco stuff other than the taco salad I made, liked this. He’s not a fan of tomatoes that are baked so did say next time he’d like the tomatoes added after it was baked. I love them baked so I’ll probably just leave them out of half when I make it again. If you like stuff like this, give this a try. It was so good.

 

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads
Apr 082016
 

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This week at I ♥ Cooking Clubs, we are saying G’day to Curtis Stone. We can make any recipe from online or one of his cookbooks to welcome him to IHCC.

Since I LOVE Brussels Sprouts and am always looking for new ways to make them, I decided to try this recipe but adapted it a bit:

Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved and tough outer leaves removed
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/3 cup diced Spanish chorizo
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small heavy skillet, stir the caraway seeds over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until toasted and fragrant. Transfer the seeds to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind to a powder.

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, then add the Brussels sprouts, scallions, and chorizo and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the Brussels sprouts are tender and beginning to caramelize. Mix in the ground caraway. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

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BS

 

I can’t tell you how much I love Brussels Sprouts. Yes I can, a lot. A whole lot. A bunch.

So, I didn’t have any caraway seeds so I substituted curry. Yum! I also couldn’t find any fresh Brussels Sprouts so I used a bag of frozen, and I couldn’t find any bulk chorizo so I used chorizo sausage. I probably could have found these ingredients if I had wanted to store hop, but I didn’t. And I don’t think this could have tasted any better if I’d followed the recipe exactly as it’s written. It was yummy.

I had never had Chorizo before and wasn’t sure if I’d like it, especially with Brussels Sprouts, but this was so good. My son doesn’t like Brussels Sprouts at all and I couldn’t get him to try them, but he did try the chorizo. He liked it, said it was good other than it was tainted by Brussels Sprouts 🙂

I’ll be making this again, but will cut the recipe in half, maybe even in thirds, since I’m the only one that eats it. This was a win!

Also linking to
wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Mar 192016
 


08179569-be5b-4ee8-968b-2842b0e5426aKung Pao Pork Stir Fry

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
About 1 lb of boneless pork chops, sliced into chunks
10 tbsp Panda Express Kung Pao sauce
Half a bag of Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry frozen vegetables (2.25 cups)
1/2 onion cut in chunks

Put olive oil, garlic and a small part of the chopped onion in a large frying pan or wok to heat on medium.

Chop pork into chunks, removing large parts of fat as necessary.

Add to pan with olive oil and 2 tbsp of Kung Pao Sauce.

Once pork is cooked through, add remaining onions, frozen vegetables and remaining Kung Pao Sauce.

Stir and fry until vegetables are cooked and sauce is bubbly.

Serve with brown rice or noodles as desired.

 

We thought this was just ok. It didn’t have the kick we thought it would, the sauce was a bit too runny, and it didn’t have enough veggies. If I make it again, I think I’ll use chicken (just because I love chicken), use a thicker sauce, and double the veggies. Overall it was ok, but I think these changes will make it even better.

I know the photo makes it look like there was plenty of veggies, but that’s because I didn’t put many pork chop chunks in my bowl.

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads
Feb 202016
 

ELLIE KRIEGER POTLUCK BADGE

This week at I ♥ Cooking Club we’re making any recipe by any of the IHCC chefs that you can eat in a bowl

I decided to make Giada’s One Pot Chicken Stew, and adapted it to suit us, of course.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery, cut into bite-size pieces
1 carrot, peeled, cut into bite-size pieces
1 small onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 chicken breast with ribs (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
1 (15-ounce) can organic kidney beans, drained (rinsed if not organic)
Crusty bread, for serving

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Heat the oil in a heavy 5 1/2-quart saucepan over medium heat.

Add the celery, carrot, and onion.

Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, basil, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme.

Add the chicken breasts; press to submerge.

Bring the cooking liquid to a simmer.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken breasts over and stirring the mixture occasionally, about 25 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken breasts to a work surface and cool for 5 minutes.

Discard the bay leaf.

Add the kidney beans to the pot and simmer until the liquid has reduced into a stew consistency, about 10 minutes.

Discard the skin and bones from the chicken breasts.

Shred or cut the chicken into bite- size pieces.

Return the chicken meat to the stew.

Bring the stew just to a simmer.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the stew into serving bowls and serve with the bread.

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So, I changed this recipe up a bit by putting all the ingredients into the slow cooker at the same time (instead of making it on the stove) and setting it on low for 8 hours.

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It turned out great and was very good. I couldn’t find any fresh basil at the store, so I used dried. The conversion called for 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons, but that seemed like way too much, so I only used 1 tablespoon.  That was plenty. Next time I’ll make sure I have fresh though, just to compare it.

We ate it with crusty bread and it was really yummy. It was quick and easy too, so I plan on making it again.

wkendcookingHosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Souper Sundays2

Hosted @ Kahakai Kitchen

Feb 062016
 

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This week at I ♥ Cooking Clubs we’re making Oodles Of Noodles with Ellie Krieger. After doing quite a bit of searching, I decided to make an adapted version of her Family Favorite Minestrone.

Family Favorite Minestrone
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced (1/2 cup)
1 large carrot, scrubbed well, then diced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces), diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
28 ounces canned, no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
48 ounces (6 cups) no-salt-added vegetable broth or chicken broth
15 ounces canned, no-salt-added small red beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dried, whole-grain elbow pasta
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish

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Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion, celery, carrot and bell pepper; cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften.

Add the zucchini, garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and broth; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Partially cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, then add the beans and pasta.

Uncover; increase the heat to medium-high just long enough to return the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, until the pasta and vegetables are tender.

Divide among individual bowls; garnish each portion with the cheese.

Serves 6

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So yummy!

I’ve only eaten Minestrone a few times, and that was canned. This recipe was so much better. I loved it. It was easy to make and didn’t take much time and it tasted so good! The next time I make it I think I’ll add garbanzo beans, corn and baby spinach. We had a French Baguette (you can see it in the first photo behind all the ingredients) to go with it and it was a very satisfying meal. I took the photo before adding the cheese, just so you could get a good look at the soup. I adjusted the recipe a bit by adding 2 cans of un-rinsed beans instead of one rinsed (I added the other can after the picture), and used plain Parmesan cheese. Also, I was going to use vegetable broth but the store only had chicken and beef with no-salt added.

wkendcooking

Jan 302016
 

Since I live at least an hour from any city that has a Whole Foods, I’ve never been to one. I usually just go to where I need to and go back home. Once in a while we’ll roam around a bit to see what we can see. That’s how I found a Trader Joe’s a few months back, and then yesterday after my son had some drs. appts. in Tampa, we decided to go to some pet stores we’ve never been to (don’t you love GPS?) and passed a Whole Foods and stopped on the way back to check it out. That store is amazing! I loved it! They’re a bit more expensive on some things, but we saw some food we’ve never seen before like 4 strange varieties of sweet potatoes. We bought one of each to try them. I also found Kiss My Face products. I love this brand and can’t find them anywhere in the area I live. I bought a bottle of their deep moisturizing lotion for 50% off! I’ve also been looking for Garam Masala and found some there.

I was surprised to see that they had so many different departments. Their meat looked amazing as did the seafood. If we had been going straight home I would have bought some. They also have a floral section and cheese shop, but what surprised me the most was their buffet style food tables. They had one for soup, one for all kinds of different foods, and one for olives. What? Yes, they had an olive bar. I was amazed at how many different types of olives they had. Neither one of us knew there were that many different varieties of olives. When we told my daughter about it she said the same thing. The soup bar was amazing too and we smelled every one of them. There was one that smelled over the top yummy and I plan on making it soon. We didn’t get a photo of all the bars (wish we had) but we did get one of the olives. There’s even a little section where you can sit down at a table and enjoy the food. We were there around noon and quite a few people were eating their lunch there.

If you haven’t been to a Whole Foods (and Trader Joe’s) before, you really should find one and go. I love them both.

whole foods olive bar

 

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

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