Veggie Couscous

This is my clean out the fridge cous-cous casserole as basically it’s a quick cook up of everything that was left in the vegetable drawer before going shopping.

couscous & veggies

I heated 1 TBSP of olive oil and tossed in 1/2 of a small onion, diced and 1 jalapeño pepper, diced. I  chopped up some zucchini and red peppers and tossed them in. I added some salt, pepper and cumin ad let them cook. I tossed in some Israeli couscous and water to cook it in, turning up the heat so it simmered. I chopped up some black olives and tossed them in right before it was done. I served with some fresh cilantro on top.

 

BBQ Beef and Warm Brussel Sprouts Salad

BBQ & Warm Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Almonds & Dried Cranberries

Shredded 10 brussels sprouts and tossed into 1 TBSP of heated olive oil. Added fresh ground pepper, freshly grated nutmeg and kosher salt. Stirred in a small handful of toasted chopped almonds and about 2 TBSP of dried cranberries. A delicious vegan side dish.

The BBQ is simply sliced up  leftover sirloin tip roast reheated on the other side of the saute pan with a couple TBSP of Ray’s BBQ sauce.

Prep time from start to finish – 15 minutes, most of it shredding the brussels sprouts. I toasted the almonds while I was shredding.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Spicy Black Bean Soup

I put 2 TBSP of olive oil, heated in bottom of my stock pot. Then, I tossed in about 10 peppercorns and let them pop. Added 1.5 onions diced, 1 serrano pepper and 5 cloves of garlic crushed and cooked until softened. Then I threw in 2 ham shanks and added water until they were covered. Added 2 bay leaves. Covered and simmered for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, I added 2 cups of rinsed black beans, salt, pepper and cumin and covered and let simmer for 1.5 hours.

I removed shanks, let them cool and removed the meat from the bone and added meat back to the stock.

Then I chopped up 2 sweet red peppers and tossed in along with 1 cup of frozen corn, overed and let cook for 10 more minutes. I removed the bay leaves before serving.

Pork Chops with Nectarine/Fig Chutney and Salad

Pork Chop with Nectarines & Fig Chutney and Salad

I had company over and tossed this together quickly. She liked it so much that she went home and made it for her husband who loved it as well. It’s a very easy recipe.

I began by heating my skillet and adding just a touch of olive oil so that the pan was hot when I put the chops on. Cooking 6 minutes on one side, I turned it over to cook on the other.

In another pan, I added 1/4 cup of white wine and about half that of water and tossed in about half of a finely chopped onion to braise in the wine sauce. Meanwhile I cleaned and cut up two nectarines and 4 figs. I did not peel the figs. I cut the figs in half and cut the nectarines so they were in chunks the same size as the figs. I tossed the fruit into the wine and let it simmer. I added salt, pepper and 2 tbsp of dijon mustard. I occasionally added a dash of water to keep it from burning while the fruit broke down. When it was done, I squeezed the juice of one lemon in it.

Meanwhile, I chopped up a bit of lettuce, tossed on some red grapes and chevre cheese and dressed with a bit of balsamic vinegar and oil. When the pork chops were done, I put them on the plate and served with a some of the nectarine-fig sauce.

 

Chicken Dumpling Soup

Chicken Dumpling Soup

I start my soup by rinsing the whole chicken and removing the innards that are stuffed inside. I toss the entire chicken in the pot whole with the innards that I will fish out and puree for my cat later on. I toss in a whole onion, quartered. Add some salt and pepper, two bay leaves and a bit of turmeric for some color and savory smokiness. I cover with water, bring to a boil, put a lid on and let it simmer for an hour or so until the legs can be moved easily.

In the interim, I take my mushroom brush and clean mushrooms and depending on their size, cut them into halves, quarters or leave them whole. I added about a dozen or more. The goal is to have them be of approximately uniform size.

When the chicken is done, I remove it and let it cool in a colander. I toss in the mushrooms and put the lid back on. Then mix up the dumpling dough.

4 eggs
1 cup water
3 cups flour
salt
and, if you like, a tsp of grated nutmeg

I take a soup spoon and dip it into the simmering soup broth before spooning out a spoonful of the dumpling batter. By doing this, it slips easily off the spoon into the soup – so there’s no mess. I continue to drop soup spoon sized dumplings into the water taking care to keep them uniform in size. I turn the heat down to a low simmer while I debone the chicken. When the dumplings are all floating they are done and I turn the heat lower so they don’t get too tough. I reserve all the white meat for other meals – for chicken salads and sandwiches and only return the dark meat to the soup. I think white meat in the soup gets very dry when it’s reheated, so I prefer to leave it out.

Red Kale with Bacon, Dried Apricots and Almonds

Red Kale with Bacon, Dried Apricots and Almonds

This was one of those make-it-up-as-I-go-along recipes. I knew I wanted some cooked red kale for supper, but wasn’t sure how I wanted to prepare it. But it’s always safe to start yummy leafy, green veggies with some bacon.

I took two slices of bacon and cut them into 1 inch pieces and tossed them in the pan to cook. Meanwhile, I chopped up 1/2 of a small yellow onion and added to the bacon. I crushed 2 cloves of garlic. While they were cooking, I cut the stems from about 10 stalks of red kale and chopped them up. I then put the chopped kale in a colander and washed again to make sure they were clean. Those curly leaves have a way of hiding dirt, so a second rinse is useful and adds just the perfect amount of liquid for the rest of the cooking. Before adding the kale, I tossed in about 10 almonds I had chopped up thinking it would add some nice crunch. I stirred them in a bit and then I added the kale to pan and stirred and let it cook. While it was cooking, I took 4 dried apricots and sliced horizontally into about 1/4 inch slices and tossed that into the mix, thinking it would add some great color and a great new level to the taste. I then sliced 2 small lemons in half and reamed them over the saute pan – adding that lemon juice to give it some acid and served it up. It had a lovley mix of sharp and savory flavors.

Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup

An easy and delicious soup.

Cut up two leeks. Cut off the tops and the root and  work with the long remaining stalk and that 2 to 3 inches of tender leaves. Cut them in half and then slice into small portions.

In your soup kettle, melt 2 tbsp of butter and add 2 leeks that you have sliced finely and simmer with the lid on for about 15 minutes or so until they are tender. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of flour over the leeks and stir in and cook until the flour disappears – 2 minutes or so. Turn the heat up and whisk, adding 1 large box of chicken or vegetable broth (if you want a vegetarian alternative).

Add a bay leaf and small red potatoes that you have cleaned and cut into quarters. Don’t peel, the skins add nutrients and color. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until potatoes are sort a toothy tender.  Remove from the heat and let stand 10 minutes or so and the potatoes will finish cooking and be very tender. Pick out the bay leaf and add salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken with Savory Cherry Sauce, Pierogies with Nectarine Fig Chutney and Kale Salad

Pierogies with sYs Chutney, Chicken Breast with Savory Cherry Sauce and Kale Salad

Saute the chicken breast in a small pan with 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, some salt and pepper. After it gets nicely browned on the outside, finish it by braising in Savory Cherry Sauce. I made this ahead and stored in the fridge.

The vinaigrette is made from 2 pounds of cherries cooked with one finely sliced and diced onion, a cup of white win, 2 tsp of tarragon and 2 tsp of dry mustard cooked together nicely with just a bit of balsamic vinegar added at the end to taste. i used about 2 TBSP.

Meanwhile bring 1/2 water to a boil, add a bit of chicken stock (1/4 cup) and cook from frozen pre-made pierogies. While that’s cooking, you can make the nectarine-fig chutney.

Finely chop 1/2 onion and saute until softened in 1 TBSP of olive oil. While it’s cooking, cut up two nectarines and 6 figs. Add to the onions and pour in a little white wine for them to cook in. Add salt and pepper and cook until they soften. Add 1 or 2 TBSP of Dijon Mustard (to taste).  Works beautifully on pork, pierogies, chicken.

The Kale Salad is made with

  • 1 bunch of curly kale, stems removed and chopped into small pieces.
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/4 cup of pecans

and the salad dresssing. Mix the following together before adding to the above.

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP tamari
  • 2 TBSP vinegar
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne