Hearty Chicken Soup

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In a stock pot, heat 1 TBSP of olive oil and add

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper

and saute until tender. Then add

  • 5 stems of fresh thyme
  • 3 dried bay leaves

Stir and add

  • Whole chicken, washed and any pieces inserted removed and tossed in separately
  • 2 quarters of water
  • Salt and pepper

Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for one hour until chicken is falling off the bone. Put a colander inside another bowl and removed the chicken into the colander to drain and cool.  Meanwhile, to the broth add:

  • 5 red potatoes, cubed
  • 1 pound small button mushrooms
  • 2 Carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes

Simmer until fork tender. Meanwhile, remove the chicken meat from the bone once it has cooled. Store the white meat in a container for use in salads and sandwiches. The liver, heart and kidneys can be pureed with 2 TBSP of broth for a tasty treat for your cat. Add the dark meat back into the soup, add salt and pepper to taste and it’s ready to serve.  This makes about 12 servings of soup, 1 serving of cat food and the reserved meat can make anywhere from 5 to 10 lunches.

It has a fabulous hearty flavor and the fresh thyme works the sort of magic that fresh thyme always conjures.

Chicken & Pear Salad

Chicken & Pear Salad

I chopped up 5 almonds and put them on a dry skillet to toast.

Into a large salad bowl, I added the following ingredients:

  • 4 leaves from a head of butter lettuce, washed and tore into medium size pieces.
  • Thinly sliced pieces of cucumber off one end of a cuke, about 1.5 inches of slices.
  • 2 TBSP of diced red pepper.
  • 1/4 of Anjou pear, cut one into pieces.
  • 2 oz of cold chicken, sliced.
  • 3 leaves of fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 oz of crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 TBSP or so of dried cranberries

I mixed  together and squeezed a bit of fresh lemon on top, added 1 tsp of olived oil, a bit of fresh ground pepper, salt and then tossed the toasted almonds on top.

It’s a fabulous blend of fresh lettuce and cucumber, tart lemon,  cranberries and basil with sweet pear and red pepper, sharp feta, hearty chicken and of course, the high notes of toasted almonds to bring it all home.

Fresh Asparagus Salad

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I took six almonds, cut them in half and toasted on a small dry skillet on medium high heat for about 5 minutes or so. I shook the skillet frequently so they toasted on all sides.

I got out my bowl and fixed the salad right in the serving bowl. I gathered 8 stalks of fresh asparagus, parmesan cheese, a lemon and olive oil, salt and pepper.

Taking my vegetable peeler, I held the root end of the asparagus and ran the peeler down the asparagus, making thin ribbons. I sliced up three asparagus this way, put the ribbons in my bowl and, using the peeler, peeled off three thin sliced of parmesan cheese. Then I did it again with the remaining three asparagus, added a few more thin pieces of parmesan. I cut the lemon in half and squeezed some juice from one half and poured on about 1 tsp of olive oil. Added a bit of salt and pepper and tossed the toasted almonds on top. That was it. It’s got a fabulously bright and fresh springtime flavor and the toasted almonds and parmesan ground it with a bit of earthiness.

 

 

Chicken Melt Sandwich & Cuban Bean Salad

Chicken Melt Sandwich and Cuban Bean Salad

This is a slightly modified version of the vegan Cuban Bean Salad I make quite often. First I opened a can of black beans, kidney beans and chickpeas and rinsed and drained them. I then chopped up a yellow onion, two red peppers, three roma tomatoes, three stalks of celery, a bunch of cilantro and about 10 small baby dill pickles and mixed them altogether. In another bowl, I mixed a small can of diced jalapeños (I usually use 2 fresh ones but forgot to buy them when I went grocery shopping) with juice from 3 squeezed lemons, and 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of oregano and salt and pepper. I mixed all that together and dressed the salad and let marinate for a day before serving.

For the sandwich, I heated 2 tsp of olive oil in a small saute pan. I cut off a 1/4 inch slice from a medium onion and chopped it fine and minced on small garlic clove and sauteed them until brown. I cut off 1/4 of a red pepper and 1/2 of a large crimini mushroom and chopped them up and added them and let them cook until nearly done. Then I added some cold chicken that I had reserved from making chicken soup, chopped into small pieces (about 4 oz) and about 2 oz of pepper jack cheese shredded up. I just heated them long enough for the cheese to melt. Meanwhile I toasted a ciabatta bun and spread it with a little sandwich spread I make ahead that is 2 parts mayo, 1 part, mustard and 1 part chopped dill with a dash of garlic powder, salt and pepper all mixed together.

The sandwich was rich with a hearty umami flavor that was beautifully balanced with heat from the pepper jack and garlic.  The salad is a luscious, fresh tasting mix of tart, spice and veggie freshness.

Red Lettuce Salad with Pears, Bacon, Feta, Almonds & Onion Vinaigrette

Pear Salad with Feta, Bacon, Almonds & Onion Vinaigrette

Heat a skillet and toss a handful of almonds on and toast lightly. Remove and set aside for the salad. Heat 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in the skillet. Chiffonade some yellow onion, about 2 tbsp. Chop very fine. Saute in the oil and remove when the begin to caramelize. Reserve in a bowl for the vinaigrette. Add 2 slices of bacon and cook until crispy. Remove and pat dry with a paper towel. When the bacon has cooled, crumble it into small pieces.

Wash and cut a pear into quarters and slice very thinly. I use a mandoline and fan around the outside of your salad plate/platter. Wash and chop up some lettuce and spread over the pears. I used red lettuce for more color and a more tender texture than romaine. Sprinkle with 2 TBSP of feta. roasted almonds and the crumbled bacon.

In a bowl, mix 2 TBSP of olive oil with 1 TSBP of balsamic vinegar and 1 TBSP of white vinegar and 1 TBSP of white wine. Add salt and pepper and the reserved onions. Since they absorbed some oil, you may want to add a bit of balsamic to balance them, or not, depending on your own preference. Pour the dressing over the salad.

This salad has so many layers of flavor – with the bacon and feta an pear making such a perfect mouthful mixed with the lettuce and dressing.

Turkey-Mushroom Sandwich & Deviled Potatoes

Mushroom Turkey Burger with Potato Salad

Mix these together
2 potatoes, cooked, cooled, peeled and cut into cubes
1 hard boiled egg, cut up in large pieces
1 TBSP onion
1 TBSP chopped celery

Then mix these together to dress the salad.
1.5 TBSP Mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tsp cidar vinegar
a dash of sugar, salt, pepper, celery seed

For the sandwich,
4 oz of ground turkey
4 oz of crimini mushroom, chopped
2 oz of yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 pieces of frozen okra, chopped

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and saute onion and garlic, cook until tender and add chopped mushroom, ground turkey and frozen okra. When it’s nearly done, push everything to the edge of the pan and add a small roux of 2 tsp butter and 2 tsp flour. Cook the roux and add a bit of water and mix the meat and mushrooms back in and cook down until it makes a nice sauce that holds together. The okra helps give it body and substance. Toast a couple buns and serve.

Lentil Soup & Apple – Cabbage Slaw

For the salad, I shredded a small head of red cabbage using a mandoline for a fine cut. I chopped up 2 apples and 1.2 of a yellow onion and added them to the cabbage. For the dressing, I squeezed 3 lemons in a bowl with 1.4 cup olive oil and 1 tsp caraway seed, salt and pepper. I mixed these together and dressed the veggies and let marinate overnight before serving. Makes a luscious, tart vegan salad.

For the soup, in a a big stew pot, I heated 1 tbsp of olive oil and sauteed 1 chopped onion and 4 cloves of garlic until browned. I added 1/4 tsp of fresh grated nutmeg and 2 bay leaves, 2 quarts of water and two ham hocks and brought it to a boil before turning the heat down to simmer for 1.5 hours. Removing the ham hocks, I added 1 pound of dry lentils (washed) and let cook until tender. I removed the meat from the bones and added the ham back into the soup. I added salt and pepper to taste. It made about 12 servings.

Olive Stuffed Chicken Breast

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I took a chicken breast and pounded it flat with the side of a coffee cup since I don’t have a wooden mallet for pounding meat. It works okay. I started my iron skillet to heat at one notch below medium. I then spread i/2 tablespoon of Bruschetta Olivara from a jar. (I have had this for ages trying to think of a way to use it.) and a tablespoon of goat cheese. I rolled it up. I then laid three pieces of bacon down next to each other and rolled the breast up in the bacon. I placed the package in the pan with the finishing end of the bacon down so it cooked first. I let it cook slowly and turned it to cook on all four sides, balancing it against the edge of the pan to get the sides to brown. I served it with the Southwestern Bean Salad, but it would work great with just about anything.

It’s delicious and finally a way to use up that olive paste. Normally I would make my own olive tapenade. My favorite recipe incorporates olives, capers and fresh anchovies, but that’s for another day.

Southwestern Bean Salad

  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 16 oz. pkg of frozen corn
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, sliced thin and chopped
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 3 zucchini
  • 2 jalapeño or a can of diced green chiles
  • 3 lemons, reamed
  • 3 TBSP of olive oil
  • 1 TSP cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mix together and let sit overnight before serving. This makes a lot, but it keeps very well as it’s acidic and has no dairy or meat in it. The flavor is spicy and tart with the fresh taste of lemon giving it a lovely bite.

    Pork Chop with Spicy Pear Sauce

    Pork Chop with Spicy Pear Sauce

    First I started the rice, rinsing one cup in a strainer to wash away the starch before putting in a pan with 1.5 cups of water to cook. I added a bit of salt, put a lid on it and put it on high heat. As soon as it was boiling enough to rattle the lid a bit, I turned the heat off and let it sit. In 15 minutes it would be perfectly done.

    In a medium heat skillet, I added a bit of olive oil to coat the pan and when it was hot, I put on 1 pork chop and sprinkled some salt and pepper on it and let it begin to cook, flipping once so it cooked on both sides.

    Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, I sauteed 1 TSBP of finely chopped yellow onion and 1 clove of garlic, minced with some salt and pepper. While they cooked to tender, I sliced 2 mushrooms finely and chopped. I cut 1/2 of a Bosc pear into slices and cut them in half again. I finely chopped 1 tomato. When the onions and garlic were done, I added 1/4 cup of mild green salsa, the sliced pears, mushrooms and tomatoes and let simmer until tender. Then I squeezed the juice of 1 lemon on and added about 10 pecans cut in half vertically.

    I dished up a 1/2 cup of cooked rice with the pork chop and served the sauce on both. The sauce had lovely heat with a bit of sweet and sour flavors balancing each other. It was good on the rice, but magnificent on the pork chop giving an entirely new approach to sweet and sour.