Lemony Chicken, Kale, and White Bean Soup

Lemon, Chicken, & Kale Soup3

I am fully aware that I have no business talking about winter. Our California winter could barely be described as “mild.” But, I’ve become a wuss. Now, when it drops below 60, I need a big jacket and a beanie. That…and a big bowl of soup. On one particularly chilly day in February after I put my son to bed I needed 3 things: my cozy bathrobe, The Bachelor on DVR, and this soup.

Lemon, Chicken, & Kale Soup

My husband is always extremely complimentary about my cooking. I’m lucky that he likes most things so he’s pretty easy to please. He likes soup, but has this “thing”… he doesn’t consider soup a meal. An appetizer? Yes. Part of a meal? Sure. But soup period for dinner isn’t usually his first choice.

So you can imagine my surprise when he could not stop raving about this soup. Period.

Lemon, Chicken, & Kale Soup2

In fact, it was this soup that made him say, “You really need to start blogging again. People need to know about this soup!” So, here it is!

The secret to this soup is the lemon. The recipe calls for a good amount (1/2 cup) of lemon juice – more than you’d find in most soups. But don’t worry, the soup doesn’t turn out sour at all. The acidity is the perfect offset for the bitterness of the kale. Using chicken thighs gives you the richness you need to make the soup hearty and the white beans bulk up the soup and add just the right texture. Everything works together in perfect harmony.

Lemon, Chicken, & Kale Soup 4

 

Go low carb and serve it as is, or get crazy and add a big hunk of warmed bread. For all of you in other parts of the country, this is just what you need to warm you up from those freezing temperatures. For those of you in California, I hear it is going to dip below 70 soon. Better have a bowl of this soup ready!

Recipe: Lemony Chicken, Kale, and White Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 10 oz package kale
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • lemon zest for garnish
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Salt and pepper chicken thighs. Roast 20-25 minutes. Coarsely chop. Set aside.
  2. Preheat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Swirl with oil to coat. Add shallot and cook 1 minute, add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken and cook 3 minutes.
  3. Add stock, lemon juice, and kale. Bring liquid to a boil. Stir kale until it begins to wilt and all kale is covered by the liquid. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover partially and cook 15 minutes.
  4. Add white beans. Cook 5-10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Ladle into big bowls. Top with lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

 

 

Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

It’s very rare that I make the same thing two nights in a row. Sure, we use leftovers with the best of them, but if I am cooking it is extremely uncommon for me to cook the same thing on two consecutive nights. This little factoid is important because as soon as I made these roasted chickpeas and my husband tried them he made me promise to make them the next night for dinner as well! That’s when I knew I had a winner!

I love chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) and thought I used them a lot. I make homemade hummus, throw them in salads, stir them in soups, and even toss with pasta. So I couldn’t believe I have never had them baked. It’s a whole new world!

 Not only are these good enough to eat two nights in a row, but they are also easy enough to make even if you want them every night of the week! Active prep time is about 90 seconds and then you just pop ‘em in the oven while you get the rest of dinner ready.
Just drain the garbanzos and then pour onto a couple layers of paper towels. Then, grab another layer of paper towels and place them on top. Rub back and forth gently (you don’t want to squish them!) until most of the skins have slipped off. Then gather up the skins and toss them out and put the beans in a bowl.
Toss with the spices and stir. Then turn onto a baking sheet.
Bake until brown and crispy. Time will vary between 30 and 45 minuted depending on how dry your chickpeas were before baking. Just start checking them at 30 minutes and about every 5 minutes after.
Serve ‘em up! We had ours with some grilled salmon on night one and baked chicken on night two, but they’ll go with anything! Michael also mentioned that he thought they would be great as an alternative to peanuts or almonds as a party snack or appetizer – which they would!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Drain and rinse garbanzo beans. Dry between 2 layers of paper towels, rubbing gently to remove skins. Discard skins and place chickpeas in a bowl.
  4. Toss with next 4 ingredients and pour onto prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 30-45 minutes. Stir the beans at least once during baking for even browning.

Asian Mango Salad

Oh heyyy!

How’s it goin? Did you have fun celebrating the mother’s in your life? I hope so! My husband was calling it my “0th Mother’s Day” because he thought we should celebrate a little, but that the real celebration should be next year when the little man is here! I had a great day enjoying the sun and soaking up a little mom-to-be love.

Speaking of love, I am in LOVE with this salad. Once spring really starts hanging around salads are one of the things that sound best to me. I could pretty much eat one for dinner every night – as long as it was as flavorful as this one that is! Michael on the other hand, does not believe in salad as a main course for dinner in most cases, but with a little clever maneuvering (aka the addition of flank steak!), he was totally happy and satisfied with this one.

Cilantro is one of my favorite flavors, which could be a reason I loved this salad so much. The cilantro is basically like an additional green, not just a garnish, so there is a ton of fresh cilantro flavor. I have to give my husband credit for another great addition to this salad – as I was mixing things up he said, “You know what would be great in there? Some peanuts.” And wow was he right! The texture and flavor added by the simple addition of a handful or two of peanuts is awesome. You could use any nut you have on hand, but I like peanuts because they go with the Asian flavors already in the salad.

There is al kinds of flavor packed into the dressing as well. It’s not too spicy, not too peanut butter-y, not to gingery, but just right. It would also work great as a marinade for chicken, shrimp, or even fish! Make a big batch and let it work double duty for ya! 

No matter if it’s already summer where you are, or you’re just thinking spring, add this salad to your menu asap. It will quickly become one of your favorites! 

Enjoy! 

Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup (or more) low sodium peanuts

Instructions

  1. Combine lime juice, water, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, and pepper in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add lettuce, cilantro, cabbage, and green onions; toss to coat. Add mango and peanuts.
  2. Serve alone or with grilled flank steak (or meat of your choice!)

Baked Eggs with Kale and Sausage

Happy Monday everyone!

 If you’ve read this blog before, you probably know that I have an extreme fondness for my local Farmer’s Market. It’s my Sunday ritual. I just love walking though and looking at the fresh, local produce, not to mention seeing things I can’t find at my local grocery store or (even more exciting) I’ve never even heard of! Shopping the farmer’s market also helps me branch out in the kitchen. I usually go with a list of things I know I need, but always come back with those items plus whatever looks so good I just can’t resist it. Case in point, last week these giant batches of kale looked so good I couldn’t stop myself from buying two. We used one to make the world’s largest batch of kale chips, and the second one sat in the fridge for a few days while I marinated on what to do with it.
Just so happened, I had a dozen extra large eggs in the fridge (from the farmer’s market too). So the wheels started turning. I do love breakfast for dinner, and sure an omelet would be easy, but too expected. Then I remembered a dish I had several years ago where the eggs were baked in a rich tomato sauce – I figured, why can’t I do the same thing with these eggs, only…very different. Time for some experimentation!
First, I fried up some sausage until it was crispy. You could use turkey sausage here, but the fat content in pork sausage goes a long way to help the flavor of the kale, so that’s what I’d suggest. After the sausage is cooked, drain it on a paper towel while you sauté your kale.
Kale is perfect for this dish because even when cooked, it still has some body. It doesn’t wilt down too much the way spinach might. When the kale is cooked down, pour it into a greased 9×9 baking dish and then sprinkle in the sausage. Use a spoon to mix things up so the sausage is incorporated in the kale instead of layered on top.
Next, all you need to do is crack your eggs on top season with S&P and bake! This was delicious for dinner, but would work great for brunch too! You could even make it in individual ramekins if you wanted to have an impressive and delicious addition to your brunch table.
Enjoy!

Recipe: Baked Eggs with Kale and Sausage

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 8 oz pork sausage (I used Jimmy Dean)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a large skillet over med-hi heat, Cook sausage until brown and slightly crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Drain sausage onto a plate lined with paper towel. Set aside.
  3. Add oil to the skillet and reduce heat to medium. Add kale and sauté for about 5 minutes. Until Kale starts to wilt and darken, but still retains some shape.
  4. Grease a 9×9 baking dish. Add kale. Add sausage and stir together. Crack eggs on top of kale/sausage mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake 15-18 minutes, until whites are set but yolks are runny. (If you want your yolks set, increase baking time).

Grilled Lentil Salad

Hi friends!

 Sometimes the most delicious recipes come out of thin air. Case in point: grilled lentil salad. Last week my hubby and I were at a loss for what to have for dinner. I didn’t want to go to the grocery store because I had a full fridge. The problem was, I went to the grocery store without any kind of plan as to what my meals for the week would be. I don’t usually do this, but when I do, it almost always ends up with me stringing together the hodge podge of produce, protein, and grain I did pick up in any way that remotely makes sense. Luckily, this time not only did it make sense, it was utterly delicious!
We have a charcoal grill, which is great because of the flavor we get when we grill anything, but not so great for the time it takes to get ready. So, when we grill, I want to grill everything. I figure, if we’re going to the trouble to turn it on, why not use it! After putting our heads together, we decided to make this grilled lentil salad. I cannot lie, the original idea was really Michael’s, but then I thought of this grilled panzanella salad I made last year and thought, why couldn’t I do something similar with lentils? Turns out, you can! And it’s delicious!
You could really use whatever veggies you have on hand, but red peppers, onions, and zucchini offered a nice mix of flavors and textures. You can also choose how charred you want them, I like my veggies really charred, especially with a charcoal flavor, but if you don’t, just take a couple minutes off of grilling time.
Lentils are great. Yummy and versatile. Plus they are nutritional powerhouses. We try to incorporate lots of lentils into out diets, but you have to be creative. No one likes a big bowl of plain ol lentils. Green lentils work best for this recipe because they stand up well in a salad. You could also use black lentils, but red lentils won’t hold together enough to be tossed in this salad.
The dressing for this salad is tangy, a little spicy, and works great with the lentils and veggies. Once you taste it you’ll probably also want to put it on green salad, dip grilled chicken into it, or use it for one of a million other things for which it would also be really delicious!
Make sure to pour it on the salad while everything is still hot so that it can soak in and coat everything. Speaking of hot, a great thing about this salad is that it can be served hot, room temperature, or cold. It would also be great to take to a picnic or potluck since it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and will hold up well even after a few hours.
In every bite of this salad you get the grill flavor of the veggies, the meaty texture of the lentils, and the tangy dressing. It’s perfect for a side dish or as a very balanced lunch on it’s own, complete with protein (thanks lentils!). Better yet, make it as a side dish one night and you’ve got lunch ready for tomorrow! Score!!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Grilled Lentil Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 2 red bell peppers, whole
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the lentils according to package instructions until al dente. Set aside
  2. Slice onion into three equal rounds (about 1/2″ thick). Slice zucchini in half lengthwise. Drizzle onion, red pepper, and zucchini with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Toss to coat. Grill over medium high heat on a charcoal or gas grill (you can also use a grill pan on the stove). Grill red peppers until they are charred and black all around (you will remove skins later). Grill onions 4-5 minutes per side, until dark grill marks appear and onions soften. Grill zucchini 3-4 minutes per side, until dark grill marks appear and flesh softens. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly before slicing. For a tutorial about how to remove skins from a red bell pepper, look here.
  3. Chop veggies and add them to a large bowl with the lentils.
  4. Mix together mustard, oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice for the dressing. Beat with a whisk for a minute or two until completely emulsified. Drizzle over the still warm salad. Toss to coat.
  5. Top with chopped chives. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.

Thai Turkey Salad

Happy Friday!!

 Hope you are looking forward to a wonderful, relaxing weekend. I’ll be doing some work around the house, hanging out with some friends, and watching the Master’s. I love seeing all that bright green grass – makes me want to go kick some butt on the putt putt course! :)
This salad is #1 delicious #2 so quick and easy and #3 super healthy. Does it get much better than that for a recipe? I think not. In fact, after dinner, my husband said to me, “You are putting this on the blog, right? People definitely need to know about this.” So, per Michael’s recommendation, here it is!
The Thai flavors in this salad not only come from the garnish (mint, lime, peanuts) but they are infused into the meat so every bite is more flavorful than the last! So head to your pantry and fridge and grab your Thai flavor essentials.
Fish sauce. Don’t be grossed out. Fish sauce is to Thai food what soy sauce is to sushi…or something like that. I mean, I don’t know that anyone actually dips anything into fish sauce (that would be a bit much) but the point is, most Thai dishes have fish sauce in there somewhere. So even if you don’t like fish, don’t worry! Fish sauce won’t leave your turkey tasting like you just grabbed it out of the ocean, I promise. Mirin isn’t traditionally Thai, but I like the added sweetness and tang. I also can’t get enough Sambal Oelek. We pretty much put it on everything. Feel free to add more than suggested if you like things hot, or less if you have a tender tongue!
It’s a toss up as to what the most difficult part of this recipe is…Turning on the stove? Mixing up the sauce? Chopping the cucumbers? ;) It’s all so easy! And comes together in just minutes, perfect for a healthy, flavorful meal, even if you get home from work a little late. First, brown the ground turkey and then add the sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes. While that is cooking, get the rest of your salad ready. A big bed of green cabbage, chopped cucumber, and lots and lots of fresh mint. The fresh mint is one of my favorite parts of Thai food, so I pile it on, you can use your on discretion.
If you are like me, once you get the salad assembled, you might think, there is not going to be enough dressing on this thing! Because basically, you have the squeeze of lime and the juices with the turkey (which aren’t a lot), but trust me, it is just perfect. It is a bit of a “dry” salad, but it works. I really works. If you just can’t possibly imagine a salad without some extra liquid, squeeze another half lime over everything to lossen it up a bit, but really these is so much flavor happening here you won’t miss gobs of dressing. Top everything off with some shelled peanuts and you’re off to the races.
Make this for someone special and see what kind of compliments you get…I was pretty happy with mine!
Enjoy!!

Recipe: Thai Turkey Salad

(serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 6 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 – 1 cup fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup shelled peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek
  • 1 teaspoon mirin (optional, adds a little extra sweetness)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 limes, halved
  • lime wedges for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned (about 7-10 minutes).
  2. Mix together fish sauce, honey, mirin, sambal, and water. When turkey has browned, reduce heat to medium and pour sauce over meat. Cook an additional 5 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone.
  3. Assemble salads: place cabbage in the bottom of a large salad bowl, top with cucumber and mint. Squeeze 1/2 lime over each salad. Top with turkey mixture. Sprinkle peanuts over the top and garnish with additional lime wedges and mint, if desired.

Truffled Pea Soup

 


Hi there!

Last week was my spring break and I spent it soaking up some family time in Chicago with my mom and sisters. We had so much fun! But, I realized that “spring” in Chicago is very different than “spring” in Northern California. It was quite chilly and windy and we were wearing coats everywhere we went. The really funny thing was, as soon as it got up past 50 degrees, all these crazy people in shorts came out! It was like shorts, sun dresses, and tank tops everywhere! I couldn’t believe it!  I guess they had spent a very long winter in sweaters and coats and they are ready to change up the wardrobe, but geeze! At 50 degrees I’m still in a parka! (Ok, I’m a bit of a wuss).

So, basically what I’m trying to say is, here’s something for those of you that think that spring means 50 degrees and windy :)
This pea soup couldn’t be easier, or more delicious! It requires just a few ingredients and a bit of time to bring together.
The secret ingredient that brings this soup from “yum” to “OHMYGOSHTHATSGREAT” is a teeny bit of truffle oil. A little of this stuff goes a long way so I suggest getting a small bottle of the good stuff rather than a big bottle of the ok-but-not-great stuff.
After sautéing the garlic and onions, just add the peas, straight from the freezer. Couldn’t be easier! Toss in some chicken stock (or vegetable stock to make a totally vegetarian dish) and let cook for about 20 minutes. Then blend it up in the blender until you have a smooth, silky, soup you’ll enjoy no matter what climate you’re in.
The great thing about this soup is it is perfect for the season if your spring is 70 and sunny and you can buy fresh peas in the farmer’s market and have a bowl on your porch, but it’s also perfect if your spring is 50 and windy and need something to warm you up after your chilly walk home. So make up a batch asap! I think I might have to go back to Chicago just to prove my point! ;)
Enjoy!

Recipe: Truffled Pea Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz bag frozen peas or 2 1/2 cups fresh peas (shelled)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock (homemade if you have it!)
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • white truffel oil for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Preheat a soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and tarragon. Cook 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add frozen peas and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, 15-20 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a blender in batches and blend until smooth. Make sure to remove the top circle of the blender so that steam can escape.
  4. Ladle into bowls and top with a drizzle (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) of white truffle oil.

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Aioli

Hey there!

Isn’t it funny how some things just stick with you? Over a year ago my hubby and I went out to eat and had these amazing grilled artichokes. Ever since I’ve thought about recreating them almost every time I’ve picked up artichokes from the farmers market. I’ve tried a couple of times, but never achieved the result I wanted to. Then, the other night we were watching Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives and one of the places was featuring grilled artichokes. They were demo-ing how they boiled the artichokes until they were completely tender and then put them on the grill. A light bulb went off. The couple times I’ve tried, I didn’t want to cook the artichokes though because I worried they wold get overdone on the grill. I was ready to hit the market and try again.

I found some perfect artichokes and set about cleaning them and getting them ready for the grill. You want to trim the stem and the bottom layer of leaves. You also want to give the top a slice just to get the pointies (that’s the technical term) off. Then slice them down the middle. 

Pretty huh? If you only ever have boiled artichokes whole, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how beautiful they are inside. Grab a spoon and start digging out the hairy part of the center. You can’t eat it, so might as well get it out of there now. Then, drop them into a pot of boiling water to cook until they are tender. Remove them and let them cool slightly. Drizzle with olive oil on both sides and get ready for the grill.

While they are on the grill, you can make your lemon aioli. This aioli is really simple and as an added benefit to any other pregnant women out there, it’s eggless! Because you don’t use egg, it is a little thinner than a traditional aioli, but tastes great and is perfect for dipping your grilled leaves into.

The artichokes grill up quickly, so you’ll have them on the table ready to devour in no time. Every time I eat artichokes I just can’t help but think, “Someone must have been really, really hungry to figure out that you could eat this thing.” And I am so glad they did!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Aioli

Ingredients

  • 2 large artichokes
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • For aioli
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t salt

Instructions

  1. In a blender, comine all ingredients for aioli and blend for 3 minutes or until very well incorporated.
  2. Set a large pot of water to boil.
  3. Clean artichokes: trim stem and bottom row of leaves and slice the top off. Cut down the middle. Using a spoon, dig out the hairy part and discard.
  4. Drop into boiling water for 10-15 minutes, until tender. Remove and let cool slightly.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Grill over high heat about 3 minutes per side, until charred but not burnt.
  7. Serve immediately with aioli.

 

 

 

Chicago Dog Salad

She said what???? Yep, Chicago Dog Salad. I thought the same thing when my husband came home and told me he had seen this salad at a meeting. It’s pretty rare that something in the culinary world shocks me, but I had never even thought of something like this. Which is interesting because I feel like I’ve turned just about everything else into a salad at some point or another. But never a Chicago Dog…until now! As soon as Michael told me about it, I knew I would have to give it a go.

My sister lives in Chicago so I am well versed in Chicago Dog culture. And it is a culture there. Do not even try to put ketchup on a hot dog in Chicago – you will regret it. Woah. That’s one mistake I’ll never make again! But don’t worry. No ketchup here. Just all the ingredients of a perfect Chicago Dog!
I know what you are thinking…Sweet Apple Sausage??? Ok, you’re right. They don’t use sweet apple sausage in Chicago. My husband was really skeptical too, but you so many salty and spicy elements in this salad that I thought the apple sausage would be a nice balance. Turns out, I was right! When you get a bite with a salty pickle, spicy peperoncini, and hot onion with the sweet, charred sausage to create salad harmony, you’ll understand.
This salad is very easy to put together. Just chop up all the veggies and brown the sausage in a skillet. Make sure you use a great big bowl so you can do a good job mixing to incorporate everything.
One of the aspects of this salad I am most impressed with (if I do say so myself) is the dressing. I was just thinking, “what aspects have I missed in this salad that are present in a Chicago Dog,” and there it was: mustard and poppy seeds. Mustard because, as we have discussed, it is the only thing acceptable to put on your dog and poppy seeds because of the poppy seed hot dog bun. I toyed with tossing bits of bun in the salad, but I think poppy seeds in the dressing gets the point across just as well – maybe even better!
Since I’m headed to Chicago in two weeks to visit my sisters and the cutest niece in the world, I think I’ll have to have this salad a few more times just to get me in the mood!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Chicago Dog Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 large hot house tomato, diced
  • 5 pickles, chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 10 pepperoncinis, chopped
  • 4 chicken apple sausages
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste, but the pickles add a lot of salty flavor)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and pepperoncinis. Toss well.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Slice sausages in half lengthwise. Cook sausages until blackened on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
  3. Chop sausages and add to salad.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, evoo, salt, pepper, and poppy seeds. You’ll probably make more dressing than you can use on one salad, but it keeps well in the fridge for at least a week.
  5. Drizzle over the salad and toss well to combine. Top with another sprinkle of poppy seeds.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Happy Friday!

 Hope you are enjoying a bright, sunny day like I am! If not, whip one of these, close your eyes, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be on a tropical beach somewhere!
I love brussels sprouts. I make roasted brussels sprouts all the time. But I haven’t branched out into other cooking methods much. I guess it’s always kind of been an, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it kinda thing. That is, until I was at the grocery store with my hubby and he saw a prepackaged “brussels sprouts sauté” and said, “Hey, this looks good! Wanna try it?” Now, don’t get my wrong, I take help from the grocery store whenever I can. But I usually draw the limit at prepackaged things that I could totally make myself AND are about 3 times more expensive just because someone wrapped plastic wrap around them. “No!” I said. “I’ll make my own version!” So after a quick peek at the ingredients and a few more items in our basket, I was off.
I was a little weary of “shaved” brussels sprouts recipes because when I heard that my mind went immediately to my clumsy fingers holding a tiny sprout on the mandolin. Nothing good could possibly have come from that. Then I realized that all I had to do was slice the brussels sprouts thinly (way less risk of losing a finger) to achieve the shaved texture that is so popular on menus everywhere.
Brussels sprouts and bacon. A match made in heaven. It’s like chocolate chip cookies and milk, or hot dogs, beer, and baseball, or a LBD and red high heels. Some things just belong together.
One of the secret ingredients in this dish is a splash of red wine vinegar added to the brussels sprouts as they sauté. It takes away some of the natural bitterness they can have, and adds a slightly sweet tang that will make you want to go back for seconds! This dish takes shape in minutes so it’s perfect for a weeknight meal side dish (or any old time for that matter!).
Enjoy!

Recipe: Quick Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds brussels sprouts, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper (plus more to taste – I like my brussels sprouts salty!)

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium skillet over med-high heat. Chop bacon and add to the hot pan. Cook until done and brown on both sides. Remove from pan onto a paper towel to drain. Remove all but one tablespoon of bacon grease from the pan.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add sliced brussels sprouts to the bacon grease. Cook one minute. Add garlic, salt, and pepper, and stir. Cook 3 minutes. Add red wine vinegar and bacon. Cook, stirring frequently, until brussels sprouts begin to be translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

No Breadcrumb Turkey Meatballs with Chunky Tomato Sauce

Hey there!

 It seems like after a few years of lying a bit dormant, the low carb craze is back. I can’t tell you how many pictures are on my instagram/facebook feed/etc. of various Paleo meals. To be completely honest, I am not very clear on the rules of Paleo, but I know it limits (eliminates?) carbs. There is also this thing out called the Four Hour Body which I saw on Dr. Oz and heard about from my Dad, so it must be legit. It’s sounds pretty similar to Paleo but totally eliminates fruit. Sorry, Charlie. Not gonna happen. I mean, I can go along with not having a big bowl of pasta at every meal, but don’t come between me and my fruit. It’s not gonna be pretty.
Anyway, this is a very long winded way of saying I decided to try making these meatballs without breadcrumbs. I was a little worried about how they would turn out seeing as I’ve only every made meatballs with breadcrumbs, but they actually turned out great! I think there was just a very slight textural difference in that they were a teeny bit more dense then traditional meatballs (because they were jut meat!), but it was workin’ for them. They were moist and flavorful and I didn’t miss the breadcrumbs at all!
I used ground turkey for this version, so I knew I had to kick up the flavor in the meatballs in other ways. I love ground turkey, but it doesn’t have much flavor on it’s own. So, pile on the herbs and spices!
When you roll these meatballs up, you’ll notice that they are much stickier then ou’re used too (duh, there’s no breadcrumbs!), so be sure to de-ring your hands and roll up your sleeves. While the meatballs are baking, you can get started on the chunky tomato sauce. This is a super quick and easy semi-homemade version. Perfect for a weeknight meal, but feel free to go full fledged homemade if you have the time! In a medium pot, sauté onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, then add one jar of your favorite marinaria sauce (I like tomato basil from Trader Joe’s) and one can of diced tomatoes. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked.
Then transfer the meatballs to a baking dish and douse in the chunky sauce. Bake until the tomato sauce reduces and begins to brown on top. Also, feel free to throw some cheese on here, I put mine on after baking which I now consider a huge mistake!
If you’re going low carb, this is a perfect dinner along side a big salad. Or pile these on top of some whole wheat pasta or between the slices of a sourdough roll. However you serve them, you’re going to love them and be really glad you made enough for leftovers. :)
Enjoy!

 

Recipe: No breadcrumb turkey meatballs with chunky tomato sauce

Ingredients

  • For Meatballs
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • For Tomato Sauce
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 25 oz jar of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs. Use your hands to mix well. Form into balls and place on a prepared baking sheet lined with a wire rack. Bake for 25 minutes, until cooked though and just starting to brown.
  3. While the meatballs are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot. Saute carrot, onion, celery, and garlic over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Stir in salt and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Reduce oven to 350.
  5. Transfer meatballs to a baking dish and cover with tomato sauce. Bake 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.

Roasted red pepper and tomato soup with parmesan crisps

Happy Friday!

Isn’t the week back after vacation just the worst? Ever since I got back I just keep thinking, “If I were in Hawaii I’d be doing (blank)” and it’s always something WAY cooler then I’m really doing. Speaking of cool, I’m also freezing all the time because I want to wear things that show off my tan before it disappears but mother nature does not seem to be agreeing with me! I know, really serious problems, huh? :)
My solution to the post vacation blues? Park my butt in the kitchen! I’ve been whipping up lots of new things and I can’t wait to share them, starting with these cute-as-a-button soup shooters.
I made them as an appetizer, hence the tiny size, but you could just as easily serve this chunky, flavorful, healthy soup in as big a bowl as you can handle. Soup is one of my favorite things to make because it is quick, easy, and perfect for “health-ing up.” That’s to say, when you make your own soup you can leave out or substitute for things like butter, cream, etc. that many ready made soups contain. This soup is very low in calories but you’d never know by how good it tastes!
First, you have to broil the tomatoes and red bell pepper. Just place them on a baking sheet and place under the broiler on the top rack until the tomatoes begin to pop and peppers begin to char. This will take about 5-10 minutes depending on your broiler. You’ll want to turn the peppers to make sure they char evenly.
When you remove them, immediately place the peppers in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. This steams the peppers and makes the charred skin really easy to remove. If you’ve ever tried skinning a pepper without doing this, you know how tough it can be. After you try this way you’ll never do it any other way! Just let to sit for about 10 minutes and then peel the skin off with ease!
Meanwhile, chop up your onion and garlic and sauté in a medium sauce pot with olive oil. Then add the tomatoes and skinned bell peppers. Add in the seasonings and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer.
While the soup is cooking, you can make the parmesan crisps. These are pretty tough, so get ready. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make 9 parmesan mounds. Place in the oven to cook. Remove. Voila! They are so easy, and so perfect for crumbling over your soup!
Using an immersion blender or a regular one, puree the soup (in batches if you are using a regular blender). Serve in whatever kind of cup you like – I like these cute multi colored ones! Top with greek yogurt, chives, and a parmesan crisp.
Enjoy!

 

Recipe: Roasted red pepper and tomato soup with parmesan crisps

Ingredients

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • 2 1/4 cups parmesan cheese
  • greek yogurt and chives for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to broil. Position the rack in the highest position. Place tomatoes and bell peppers on a baking sheet and broil, watching constantly, for 5-10 minutes, until tomatoes start to pop and peppers char. Turn peppers at least once to evenly char.
  2. Remove tomatoes and peppers from the oven and immediately place the peppers in a boil and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove plastic wrap carefully and peel skin from peppers. Coarsely chop.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and bell peppers along with seasonings and 1/2 cup chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and simmer uncovered 15 minutes.
  4. Puree soup in a blender or using an immersion blender. At this point, if you want the soup a little thinner, add the other 1/2 cup of chicken stock or water. The texture of your soup will depend on how juicy your tomatoes were!
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place heaping tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese 2″ apart. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool before removing from the parchment.
  7. Top pureed soup with greek yogurt, chives, and parmesan crisps.
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