Chicken Salad Sandwich & Mushroom Soup

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This was a super-simple lunch to make since most of it was prepared before. The mushroom soup was merely reheated from the soup I made on Wednesday. It’s a soup with dairy in it, so it will not keep for long and needed to be finished up. The sandwich was made with some of the fixings from yesterday’s lettuce wraps.

I had reserved about 2/3rds of the salad mix for future use. The thing is, when making up a salad mix, it’s well and good to say 1/3 apple, but it’s not realistic. So I am fine with mixing up a decent batch of mixed veggies that I can then use for different purposes.

Today I took another third of that mix of chopped apple, celery, onion, cilantro, pecans and dried cranberries. I added 2 TBSP of crumbled feta cheese and about 3 oz of chopped chicken saved from the soup. To dress it, I just tossed on a couple tablespoons of caesar dressing from the store. An italian, oil and vinegar or other slightly acidic dressing would work as well. With the cheese, you would not want anything too creamy and sweet. I toasted a ciabatta bun and spread the mix on it and there I had a tasty lunch that feeds the eyes as well in less than 5 minutes.

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Curried Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Curried Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I made this is three separate parts that I only mixed together for the lettuce wrap so that they can be used for other meals. First I cooked the base for chicken soup last night – putting a whole fryer in a stew pot with a chopped onion and 3 bay leaves, salt and pepper and let simmer for a.5 hours until the chicken was thoroughly cooked and just shy of falling off the bone. I removed the chicken from the broth and let it cool. After it cooled, I pulled all the meat off the bone, putting the dark meat back in the soup broth and reserving the white meat for salads and sandwiches.

Today I mixed up a delicious batch of Curried Yogurt Dressing, taking 1 cup of yogurt, two teaspoons of curry, salt, pepper and a dash of lemon juice and blending together.

For the salad fixings, I finely chopped 1 celery stalk, 1 Pink Lady Apple, 1/2 cup of pecans, 2 tbsp of yellow onion, a handful of dried cranberries and 1 cup of fresh cilantro. This makes about three times what I need for the chicken salad sandwich wraps, so I reserved the rest of it in a plastic container for another salad or whatever I decide to make with it.

I took three romaine leafs, using just the green tops, I ran my knife down the center of the stalk to keep the from cracking when rolled. I put on a plate and heated in the microwave for 10 seconds. They will still be cool and crisp, but will be just a bit more malleable. I mixed about equal part salad fixings and chicken in a bowl with enough curried yogurt dressing to pull it together and spooned the salad on the lettuce and served.

The apple’s sweetness really counter the bitterness of the celery, so that together they taste better than they do apart. The dried cranberries add a tart surprise and the pecans add some crunch and meatiness. It’s tasty and fresh and a great lunch option.

Vegan Wheatberry Salad for Potluck

Vegan Wheatberry Salad

This makes a potluck-sized batch of Wheatberry Salad. It’s very similar to the salad I have made before, but I didn’t have all the same ingredients. The thing is, the basics of wheatberries, chopped onions, cilantro, lime, cayenne and olive oil can serve as a base for a salad with all sorts of different vegetables, though I would not choose soft veggies.

Start with the wheatberries. Rinse 2 cups off in cold water and put in a skillet with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, put the lid on and let simmer about an hour until it’s cooked. It will still be toothsome, but tender. Put in a colander, rinse in cold water, rest inside a bowl and let stand in the fridge overnight so all the water drains away and it gets a little dry.

Next day dice and chop up a bunch of veggies. In this iteration, 1 whole yellow onion (about two cups), 1 cup of cilantro (or more), 4 carrots, 4 celery stalks, 2 zucchinis and 2 tomatoes. Finely dice a jalapeño. Mix all in a bowl. Squeeze 4 limes (Yeah, I know, I had limes but no red peppers!) and add about 1.5 to 2 tbsps of olive oil. Add 1 to 1.5 tsps of cayenne. This totally depends on how much heat your want. I wanted heat, so I added 1.5. Stir together, adding salt and pepper to taste. This will be a bit over-spiced, but you can taste the profile. It’s just easier to mix and blend evenly before you add the wheatberries.

Finally, add the wheatberries and stir. Cover and let marinate at least 2 hours before serving.

Mushroom Soup

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Makes 6 servings.
12 ounces Fresh Mushrooms, sliced
2 cups onions, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1-cup milk
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1-tablespoon paprika
1-tablespoon tamari soy sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-cup fresh parsley
2 cups water or vegetable stock
Salt and Pepper to taste.
1/2 cup sour cream

Sauté the onions in half of the butter. Salt lightly. Add mushrooms, dill, stock or water, tamari
and paprika. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Melt remaining butter. Whisk in flour and cook. Add milk. Cook. Stir in mushroom and stock.
Cover and simmer 1-15 minutes. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, sour cream, and extra dill.
Serve garnished with parsley.

Per serving: 190 Calories; 14g Fat (61% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 34mg Cholesterol; 288 mg Sodium

Green Beans & Red Peppers with Bratwurst

Bratwurst with Green Beans and Red Peppers

Chop 1/4 of a small yellow onion and mince one clove of garlic. Heat 1 TBSP of olive oil in a saute pan and add the onion and garlic. While that cooks, chop up 2 red peppers into inch long pieces. Add to the onions and garlic when they are tender. Add salt and pepper. Add 3 TBSP of barbecue sauce and 1 TBSP of mustard. Toss in bratwurst and let cook for a while until bratwurst is done and peppers are tender. Add a few handfuls of frozen or fresh green beans, 1/2 cup of water, stir and let cook until tender.

Italian Sausage, Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Sauce

Italian Sausage, Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Sauce

Heat 1 TBSP of olive oil. Slice two 1/4 inch slices off a yellow onion and dice small. Mince one clove of garlic. Add onion and garlic, salt and pepper to oil and saute until tender. Add 1 Italian Sausage sliced into 1/2 pieces and cook well. Meanwhile, cut the stems off 12 brussels sprouts and quarter them. Add them to the mix with 1/4 cup of water, 1 TBSP of mustard and cover to steam. When sprouts are tender, it’s done.

The heat from the sausage and the mustard gives this a spicy flavor that will wake you up!

Chickpea & Kale Salad with Tuna Melt

Kale-Chickpea Salad with Tuna Melt

I made the salad in the morning to let the flavors soak into the chickpeas. First I drained a can of chickpeas, rinsing the beans in a strainer and letting it sit to drain while in a bowl, I mixed 2 cloves of garlic (minced) with the juice of 2 limes, 2 TBSP of olive oil, salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp of cayenne. I then tossed in the chickpeas. Then I cleaned 5 pieces of kale, removing stems and mincing finely. I mixed it all together and put a lid on it, shaking it vigorously and put it in the fridge to marinate the flavors. This has a nice bit of heat that is beautifully balanced with the lime.

About 30 minutes before dinner, I diced 1/4 yellow onion and opened up a small can of sliced black salad olives and drained it. I tossed half the olives in with the onions, saving the rest for another day. Then I opened 1 can of tuna in water and drained the water off and rinsed the tuna lightly under water before adding to the onions and olives. I added salt, pepper, 2 tsp of Old Bay and a few TBSP of of mayo and a generous dollop of mustard. I mixed together, spread on a ciabatta buns cut in half to make 4 pieces. I added a thin slice of cheese on top and baked at 350 for about 20 minutes. The Old Bay really gives this a savory flavor. This makes 2 open-face sandwiches.. If you make a single serving, you can use half the olives and save the rest for a salad.

Vegan Corn-Cauliflower Chowder

Vegan Corn & Cauliflower "Chowder"

This makes a lot more than one serving, but generally I like making a good size batch of soup and reheat for a few meals. In a medium sauce pan, add 1 onion chopped, 1 diced serrano pepper to a 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook until softened. Add salt and pepper. Meanwhile chop up a whole cauliflower and toss in the pan and cover with water. Toss in a bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender. Remove from the heat and let cool. After it’s cooled, puree and put back on the heat, adding a small package of frozen corn, salt and pepper and some parsley.

This has the consistency and look of a chowder but has a much bright, fresh flavor that blends well with the heat from the serrano. If you don’t want it vegan, adding sour cream as a garnish or into the puree would give you a slightly more mellow taste.