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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Potato and Leek Soup


If you know me, you know I love to make soup, I love the process of making the broth from scratch and hand crafting soup.  My Mother In Law who has Celiacs Disease cannot eat Wheat, so I enjoy making soup she can consume.  I try to make her soup every two weeks or so, and this time I decided to try something a bit lighter.

I started with Alton Brown's recipe and tweaked it quite a bit actually.  It was smooth and delicious.  My husband likes more of  a Thick Soup or in the words of Rachael Ray, Stoup!  He thought it was good but needed more substance.  Mom and I loved it just as it was.



  • 1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, approximately 4 to 5 medium
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • 14 ounces, approximately 3 to 4 Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced small
  •  2-3 quarts chicken broth, homemade if possible
  • 1 fat free half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

  • 1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese

    Slice the leeks.

    In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Add the potatoes and the broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.

    Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the half and half , white pepper and cheese. (I broke my immersion blender, so I ladled it into my Blend Tec blender and pureed it, be very careful doing it that way)

    Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately, or chill and serve cold.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014

    John's Special Hot Cereal


    I was never a fan of Hot Cereal for breakfast, that is until my Husband started making it for me after we were married.  I love his version of hot cereal it is full of yummies and so good for you!

    Here is how he makes it so delicious!  I think part of why it is so good is he uses Bob's Red Mill 7 Grain Cereal.

    1/4 cup Udi's Cranberry Granola (or any kind would work)
    3 1/4 water
    1/4 cup raisins
    1/4 cup blueberries fresh or frozen
    1/8 cup dried strawberry slices (you can omit)
    pinch of salt
    butter and brown sugar for topping the cereal

    Make the cereal according to the package directions, adding in all ingredients, cook for suggested time.  If you are using fresh blueberries save them back and put them in right at the end of the cooking time.


    Wednesday, September 3, 2014

    Caprese Tart



    I have made tomato tarts for a few years now and decided to do it again, but with a twist!

    I grow my own Sun Glow Orange Tomatoes this year as well as a ton of Basil, so I thought Caprese Salad but in Tart format.  I purchased some gorgeous Buffalo Mozzarella and got started.  It was fresh, tasty and seasonal.  I highly recommend it!

    1 basket of Cherry Tomatoes (I used my home grown ones, about 25 of em)
    1 package Puff Pastry (you will only use 1) at room temperature
    Sliced Buffalo Mozzarella
    10 Basil leaves washed and cut into a chiffonade
    2 tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    salt and pepper to taste
    1 beaten egg

    Heat your oven to 400 degrees and mix the tomatoes with the olive oil and a bit of salt

    Roast on a sheet pan in the oven for about 20 minutes, remove and let cool

    Reduce heat to 350

    In the meantime, get your puff pastry out and place on a cutting board, you may need a bit of flour, I did it right on the sheet pan I was baking it on

    You will cut off about 1 inch strips all the way around, you are going to build a dam to hold your ingredients

    Brush your puff pastry with the beaten egg, then place the strips on each side (cutting off excess), bake for 20 minutes until lightly brown, remove and set aside

    Place your tomatoes on top and add your sliced Buffalo Mozzarella.

    Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese melts a bit.

    Sprinkle on your Basil, let rest a few minutes and serve.



    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    Lemon Chicken Piccata


     I have been meaning to make this again for quite sometime, we loved it the first time we had it several years ago.  We were tired and wanted something fast and easy for dinner and I knew I had a handful of lemons to use.  It was lemony and delicious, I paired it with Roasted Red Potatoes and Sweet Corn on the Cob for a wonderful summery dinner!

    • 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breast
    • halves - cut into 1/2-inch medallions
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
    • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
    • 3 tablespoons butter

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F  Place a serving platter into the oven to warm.

    2. Season the chicken breast pieces with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour. Shake off excess flour. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet; pan-fry the chicken pieces until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side, adding oil as needed . Place the chicken pieces onto the warmed platter in the oven. When finished with all the chicken, drain most of the oil from the skillet, leaving a thin coating on the surface of the pan.

    3. Cook and stir the minced garlic in the skillet until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Pour in the chicken broth. Scrape and dissolve any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the lemon slices and bring the mixture to a boil. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces to about 2/3 cup, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the lemon juice and capers; simmer until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes more. Drop the butter into the skillet and swirl it into the sauce by tilting the skillet until the butter is melted and incorporated, remove from heat and set aside.

    4. Arrange the chicken medallions on serving plates and spoon sauce over each portion to serve.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    Ham, White Cheddar, Mushroom and Green Onion Quiche



    I love Quiches and my husband does as well, even though "real men don't eat Quiche" he is a real man who does eat Quiche!   I had a hunk of Ham leftover and decided it had been awhile since I had made a Quiche.

    I had some Green Onions, Mushrooms and I was all set.  I still cannot make a decent pie crust so I use pre-purchased ones.  I do not pre-bake my pie crust, do you?  I did put a pizza stone in the oven and placed the Quiche on top of it, I hope it makes the crust nice and crispy.  I also used Egg Substitute and only two eggs.

    1.5 Cups of Diced Ham
    4 Green Onions sliced (green parts included)
    2 big or 4 small Mushrooms, I used Crimini
    1.5 small size containers of Egg Substitute
    2 large Eggs
    1/4 cup of half and half or milk
    2 Cups of Cheese, I used a sharp white cheddar
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/4 tsp Cayenne
    few shakes of Tarragon

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, place pizza stone in the oven if you have one

    Place the Ham, Green Onions, Mushrooms and Cheese into your uncooked pie crust, try to even it out

    Mix the eggs, egg substitute, milk, salt, pepper and spices, using a whisk mix well

    Place in the oven for 40 minutes, checking for doneness, it should not wiggle around.  My Quiche took well over an hour to cook.

    Let cool and serve.  This Quiche is good for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    Sausage and Potato Skillet




    I found some Johnsonville Turkey Sausages in the Freezer and decided I wanted to do a Skillet dinner.  I used Red Potatoes, Onion and a Jalapeno.  It was quite delicious and very easy.  I served with a Tomato and Cucumber Salad for a bit of freshness.

    2 Johnsonville Sausages (I used Turkey but any would do)
    4 Red Potatoes (clean and microwave for 4 minutes)
    1/2 Onion, diced small
    1 Jalapeno seeded and diced
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    1/4 tsp Thyme
    1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

    I sliced my Sausages into coins, and placed them into a hot pan with some peanut oil (it is a high heat oil)

    I cooked them at high heat to get some caramelization, then I transferred to a plate

    Microwave your potatoes for 4 minutes and let them cool, then cut in half and make slices

    Dice your onion and jalapeno finely

    Once your potatoes are about 3/4 of the way done add the onion, jalapeno and spices, let cook for another 10 minutes or so

    Add your sausages back in, stir until everything is hot

    Top with grated cheese if desired

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    Pork Posole


    My husband is a nut for Posole, he has eaten it a few times at Mexican Restaurants and always raves over it.  I finally decided to put my soup skills to the test and make it myself.  It is actually fairly easy to make, all the toppings add to the flavor profile!  Since I was unfamiliar with the process I used a recipe I found online, next time I will tweak it more for our tastes!

    Ingredients:
    • 4 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
    • 2 cups boiling water  
    • Cojita Cheese
    • Red Cabbage
    • Avacado
    • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
    • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
    • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin, trimmed and cut into (1/2-inch) pieces
    • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion  
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced  
    • 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth  
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 (15.5-ounce) cans white or yellow hominy, undrained
    • 6 tablespoons sliced radishes  
    • 6 tablespoons chopped green onions  
    • 6 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
    • 6 lime slices  
    • Cotija Cheese
    1. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Place chiles in pan; flatten with a spatula. Cook 10 seconds on each side or until blackened. Combine toasted chiles and 2 cups boiling water in a bowl; let stand 10 minutes or until soft. Place chile mixture in a blender or food processor; process until smooth
    2. Cook cumin seeds in a large Dutch oven over medium heat for 1 minute or until toasted and fragrant. Place in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground.
    3. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove pork from pan. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook 8 minutes or until onion is browned, stirring frequently. Stir in pork, pureed chiles, toasted ground cumin, broth, sugar, salt, and hominy; bring to a simmer. Cook 30 minutes or until pork is tender. Spoon 1 2/3 cups posole into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon radishes, 1 tablespoon green onions, and 1 tablespoon cilantro. Serve with lime slices.
    4. I cut up some Corn tortillas into strips and baked them for a little crunch

    Wednesday, July 2, 2014

    Roasted Red New Potatoes















    I was planning on Steak for dinner and was looking for nice side dish to go along with my Steamed Broccoli. I searched the Inter Web and found this recipe at Allrecipes.com, it had many excellent reviews.

    I used three medium Red Potatoes and cut them in thirds to make a log type shape then cut again to make cubes.  I also used my old Lodge Cast Iron Skillet.  It worked wonderfully and the dish was a hit with my husband, who is not a huge fan of carbohydrates.  I on the other hand love my carbs!  I changed the recipe slightly to my tastes.

    This is enough for 2-3 servings

    3 medium size Red New Potatoes, cubed
    1/4 cup of oil (or a little less), I use Grape
    seed Oil
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    Fresh Rosemary chopped well, total of about 1 tablespoon
    1/2 tsp garlic powder

    Toss it all into your Cast Iron Skillet or onto a baking sheet and mix well.

    Place into an over preheated to 450 degrees.

    Let roast for 40 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

    Blue Isle’s Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads


    I was lucky to receive an email from the manufacturers of Blue Isle's Yogurt Spreads offering to send me some samples.  I love a Bagel and Cream Cheese for breakfast, so this seemed like a great alternative to cream cheese, plus it has the addition of probiotics which I like ALOT!

    You can use it in place of cream cheese for just about anything.

    They currently have six varieties and they are all delicious!  I especially like the Spicy Vegetables, I love to dip Sugar Snap Peas into it.  The Blueberry is my new favorite for Plain Bagels and the French Onion is great on a Sesame Bagel.

    I even stirred some of the plain variety into a Fettuchini Sauce and it was delicious.

    Blue Isle Mediterranean yogurt spread are made from the healthy goodness of yogurt including live cultures, probiotics and calcium but with no added sugar.  With only 60 calories and 6 grams of fat per 2 tablespoons it is 40% less fat and calories than the leading cream cheese, and it is good for you!

    The flavors are:

    Blue Original
    Honey
    Blueberry
    French Onion
    Spicy Vegetables

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp





    I was busy making a Strawberry and Rhubarb Galette for hubby, and I and had a bunch of leftover filling so I decided I would make a Crisp for some of my Husband's friends at work.

    I have these sweet mini Emil Henry ceramic pie dishes a dear friend gave me years ago so I used them.   The filling is easy to make and the crisp part is only three ingredients.  This will easily make 6 Crisps if you use Ramekins.  Alternately you can use one of the smaller sized square casseroles.

    1 cup of strawberries, stem removed sliced in half
    1 cup or about 3 stalks of Rhubarb sliced (when cutting the ends off, it may act like it wants you to peel the skin off, go ahead but don't obsess on it)
    1/4 cup of Sugar (I have Vanilla Sugar so I used that)
    1/2 tsp Cinnamon
    1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
    1 tsp Orange Zest
    2 TBL AP flour
    Pinch of Salt

    Place all the above ingredients in a bowl and stir well, set aside and let macerate for a few minutes while you make the topping.

    Topping
    2 cups of Rolled Oats, I used Rudi's Gluten Free Granola
    4 Tablespoons of butter, melted
    1/4 cup chopped nuts

    Mix well, set aside

    1.  Place your fruit mixture in the Ramekin or whatever you want to use
    2.  Place in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes
    3.  Mixture should be bubbly and the topping crisp
    4.  Remove from oven, let cool and top with whipped cream or ice cream

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    Strawberry and Rhubarb Galette



    We visited our favorite local Farm Store, Unger Farms and picked up 12 pints of our local Hood Strawberries, they are a bit smaller but super sweet.  I also got some fresh Rhubarb which I think I have only used once in my life.  My Sister In Law, Mary said she was going to make a Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp or Cobbler I cannot remember which one.

    Anyway it gave me an idea, I thought I would make a Galette which I love to do when fresh fruit is in season. I looked about the inter webs and used this recipe as my start, I of course had to change it and add ingredients to make it my own.

    I only had a Deep Dish Pie crust already in the pan, so I flipped it over and let it thaw, then tried to roll it. It was a bit of a disaster so I apologize for how terrible it looks.  Next time I will either make my own pie crust or get a frozen rolled one.

    1 Pie Crust Round, either make or buy one
    1 cup of strawberries, stem removed sliced in half
    1 cup or about 3 stalks of Rhubarb sliced (when cutting the ends off, it may act like it wants you to peel the skin off, go ahead but don't obsess on it)
    1/4 cup of Sugar (I have Vanilla Sugar so I used that)
    1/2 tsp Cinnamon
    1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
    1 tsp Orange Zest
    2 TBL AP flour
    Pinch of Salt
    1 Egg, lightly beaten
    3 TBL of Sugar In the Raw

    Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

    Place thawed pie crust on your counter with a little flour and roll out to a 10 inch round

    Place the round carefully on a greased baking sheet (I used a Silpat)

    Blot Strawberries and Rhubarb with paper towels to remove excess moisture, place the fruit and the flour, spices, sugar, salt and orange zest.  Let rest for 10 minutes or so and mix well

    Using a slotted spoon, place the fruit in the middle of the pastry, leaving a 3 inch pastry edge.  Fold pastry edge up and over the fruit mixture, overlapping the edges as required, leaving the center of the pie uncovered

    Place small dots of butter on the exposed fruit, 2 total tablespoons

    Brush pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle the pastry and filling with the Sugar In the Raw

    Bake on lower shelf of pre-heated oven for 30 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown

    Let sit for 5 minutes and serve with whipped cream or ice cream





    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    Peach Cobbler




    I had been feeling yucky for the past several days along with craving something sweet, so I took a peek thru my old beaten up Recipe Box and found several recipes for Cobblers! This recipe is one of the many ones I was given during my tenure at Teasley Learning Center as a Pre-School Teacher!

    I gave both recipe cards to my husband and he was kind enough to make me a fabulous Cobbler!

    Peach Mixture

    2 15 oz cans Lite Peaches, drained, reserve 1/4 cup liquid
    1 tsp Cinnamon
    1 tsp Vanilla
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    1 tbl lemon juice
    1 tsp corn starch

    Topping

    1 cup flour
    1/2 cup light brown sugar
    1 tsp baking powder
    3/4 stick butter, cut into small pieces
    1/2 cup Rolled Oats
    1/4 cup Boiling leftover peach liquid

    Mix the Peach ingredients in a bowl and pour into a 9X9 Casserole, bake at 375 for 20 minutes
    remove and set aside.

    In the meantime using a pastry cutter or your hands or forks, mix the topping mixture together until it looks somewhat like cookie dough. Remove the Peach mixture from the oven and optionally dust the mixture with brown sugar.

    Using your hands place the topping on in dollops and get as much of the mixture spread over the entire peach dish as possible.




    Bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes still at 375 degrees, remove and let cool, top with Ice Cream or Whipped Topping

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

    Strawberry and Blueberry Pancakes



    If you have been here awhile you know that we are breakfast fiends! On the weekends we make a big breakfast on both Saturday and Sunday, by we I mean my Husband, he is the King of Breakfast.

    I make him a nice hot breakfast Monday thru Friday and he makes me whatever I want on the weekends. I am so lucky as he can cook anything from Souffle's to German Pancakes and everything in between!

    Today we are having Strawberry and Blueberry Pancakes, with home made Blueberry Compote, YUM. Spring is on the way!

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup cubed strawberries
    1/2 to 1 cup blueberries
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons sugar
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    3 cups buttermilk
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/2 teaspoon for griddle

    Blueberry Compote
    1 cup blueberries
    1 tsp Arrowroot
    2 tbl honey
    1 tsp lemon juice
    1/2 tsp vanilla

    Mix together everything except the arrow root, bring to a slow simmer for 5 minutes, add the arrow root and simmer for another 5 minutes till thickened.

    Directions

    Heat griddle to 375 degrees

    Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons butter and strawberries, whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.

    Heat oven to 175 degrees and put a plate in the oven (you can hold your pancakes for quite some time in the oven). Test griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/2 teaspoon of butter or reserved bacon fat onto griddle. Wipe off excess.

    Using a 4-ounce ladle, about 1/2 cup, pour pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, add your blueberries and flip over (we like them on the finished pancake instead of inside)

    Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute and flip.

    Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in oven. Serve warm with fresh Strawberries and Blueberry Compote.

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    Beef and Cheese Crescents


    This is another great recipe from my days as a Pre-School Teacher. It is quick, easy and frankly quite delicious. My husband had never had it before, and he was a huge fan.

    If you happen to have leftover cooked ground beef, as I did, it makes it even faster to make!

    1 1/2 ground beef
    3/4 cup barbecue sauce (or less), we like a brand called Show Me, it is smoky and delicious
    Sliced Cheddar Cheese
    2 - 8oz cans of Pillsbury Crescent Dinner Rolls (the new larger ones work especially well)
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 beaten egg

    Heat oven to 350 degrees

    Brown beef and onions, adding in salt and pepper to taste, drain and stir in sauce

    Unroll Crescent rolls into 4 long rectangles on ungreased cookie sheets, overlapping long sides firmly

    Press perforations and edges to seal pat to form a rectangle

    Spread meat mixture lengthwise in a wide strip down the center of the dough

    Top with sliced cheese, add the top and pinch edges to seal

    Brush on beaten egg and bake for 20-25 minutes till golden brown

    They may not be pretty, but they sure taste good!

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    Gluten Free Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Pasta



    My Mom was diagnosed with Celliacs disease about 5 years ago, if she eats or even touches anything that contains Wheat, Rye or Barley, she can become ill for days.  You would not believe how many foods contain Wheat, from Salad Dressing to canned Tomato Soup.  It is pretty hard to navigate cooking and eating out with Celliacs.  I like to make her life a bit easier and cook for her when I can.

    Hubby cooked a gorgeous Rosemary and Lemon Chicken for Sunday dinner, so I made Chicken Stock from scratch using my new favorite method, a crock pot, see the recipe for that here.  Prior to placing the chicken in the Crock Pot, debone it and save the chicken for the soup.

    In order to make the soup safe, I purchased Gluten Free Pasta, the brand we like most is Tinkyada, Pasta Joy, it does not get mushy and tastes most like regular Pasta, for my soup I used Spirals.

    8 - 10 cups of homemade chicken broth
    5 carrots, peeled and sliced
    1/2 sweet onion diced into small chunks
    5 celery stalks
    Tinkyada Pasta Joy (your choice of type)
    Chicken that you boned, chopped
    6 crimini mushrooms, stem removed and sliced
    1/2 bunch of Chard Greens, leaves removed leave the middle stalk or vein, chop the leaves
    lots of fresh cracked black pepper
    large dash of Poultry seasoning and dried Basil
    salt to taste

    Place your Chicken Stock into a large Soup Pot or any large cooking vessel bring to a low boil, add your carrots first, they take the longest to cook, let simmer for 10 minutes

    Add plenty of fresh cracked black pepper, the Poultry seasoning and dried Basil along with salt if needed

    Add your sliced celery and onion, cook for 5 more minutes then add everything else, cook for approximately 20 minutes till your veggies are fork tender.

    *while your soup is simmering, cook your pasta according to the package directions, rinse and drain well

    Place your cooked pasta into your serving bowl and ladle soup on top (keep the leftover soup and pasta separate or the pasta will get bloated and unappetizing)