Friday, January 28, 2011

Granol-un Bars {Gluten Free}

We call these Granol-un Bars at our house, partly because our 3 year old son has trouble saying "granola" and it comes out granol-un but also because these aren't your typical granola bars. In this version of a granola bar, clusters of toasted quinoa, apricots, nuts, and sunflower seeds make a sweet and chewy snack. I'm not gonna sit here and say, "these are a cinch to make, easy peasy". Yes, the recipe is straight forward and you will all understand the directions (smart people) but it is a bit time consuming and involves several steps, during which you should not really leave the kitchen lest you burn your rolled oats {ahem}. Don't fear though, these are amazing and worth the time and like all things, we'll get better, faster and more efficient with practice. These make a great snack as they are filled with fiber and protein, all natural and most importantly delicious!

Recipe: (Makes 18-20)
Ingredients:
Click here for the main recipe

We also added
* 1/2 cup raw cashews, chopped (or you may substitute shelled raw pistachios, chopped)

Dry ingredients:
...click here for the recipe!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chicken Saltimbocca

We had our first taste of Saltimbocca back in college at a tiny little Italian restaurant we went to when we were dating. The first time my hubby ordered it we thought it was raw, actually it was just the Prosciutto that was wrapped around the chicken. After the first bite we were hooked, delicious. Saltimbocca means "jumps in the mouth" in Italian and it does. We served it up tonight with some sautéed asparagus and my new favorite wild rice blend!  The rice does take awhile to cook but it's very simple, just get it started in advance and you'll be in for a treat.  It's nutty, fluffy, full of fiber and delicious.

Chicken Saltibocca Recipe: (Serves 4)
Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

10-12 fresh sage leaves
8 strips sliced prosciutto
olive oil

1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Juice of half a lemon 
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Lemon wedges for garnish

Directions
1. Lay a few sage leaves on each chicken breast, wrap 2 slices of the prosciutto around each chicken breast.

2. Cook chicken in a large skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil (~1 tablespoon) for 2-4 minutes on each side or until done and prosciutto is rendered. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165'F, we typically use our instant read thermometer and pull it off the heat around 160'F as it will continue to cook once removed from the heat. Once chicken is cooked through set aside and keep warm with foil.


3. In a small bowl, whisk together the broth, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Add cornstarch mixture and 1 teaspoon olive oil to pan and simmer, stirring often, about 1 minute or until thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Spoon sauce over chicken. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Wild Rice Recipe: (serves 4-6)
Ingredients:
2/3 cup Brown Rice
2/3 cup Wild Rice (also called black rice)
3 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth

Directions:
1. Combine the brown rice, wild rice and broth in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer about 45-50 minutes, or until all the liquid is evaporated and the rice is fully cooked.  Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork and serve.

Sautéed Asparagus:
Wash thoroughly. Snap the bottom 1-2 inches of the stems off, they will break naturally with gentle pressure, discard tough ends.  Lightly toss the asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and sauté over medium-high heat for about 10-15 minutes until crisp tender and still bright green. I like to use our cast iron grill pan for these!
...click here for the recipe!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quinoa Soup with Beef

This is a hearty meat and potato soup with quinoa for something different. It's simmered a long time over low heat to get the meat really tender. You can add any vegetables you like. Be sure to season this as you go and try adding some jalapeños if you like your soup spicy, enjoy!

Recipe: (Serves 6-8)
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
3/4 teaspoons paprika
3/4 - 1 pound beef tenderloin, cubed into small bite size pieces
4 cups Organic Beef Broth
3 cups water
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (I used 1/2 yellow and 1/2 red)
8 small Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
2 cups cooked quinoa (prepared per package instructions)
2 cups fresh or frozen green peas (or you favorite vegetable, diced)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
avocado for garnish (optional)

Directions:
1. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, add scallions and garlic and sauté until tender 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, cumin and paprika, cook ~1 minute until spices are fragrant. Lightly salt and pepper the meat and add to the pot, brown slightly on all sides no more than 2 minutes.

2. Add broth, water, carrots, celery, bell pepper and a dash of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low about 1 1/2 hours, until meat is tender.*

3. Add potatoes, cooked quinoa, peas, garlic powder, a dash of salt and pepper and simmer another 30 minutes. Season to taste and serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro and sliced avocado.

*This soup can be made in advance the night before; prepare it through step 2, cover and refrigerate.  On the day you are planning to serve it, warm soup on stove top, add potatoes, cooked quinoa and peas and cook as per step 3 for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and potatoes are cooked.
...click here for the recipe!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies {Gluten Free}

We have been experimenting with gluten free foods in our house this week and my hubby made this incredible cookie recipe. I would never guess that these were gluten free, they taste great and the texture is like any other chewy oatmeal cookie! You'll likely need to stock up on a few gluten free pantry items but it's worth it if you are eating gluten free, plus you'll be able to make many batches of these cookies. You can also use regular oats, all purpose flour and Corn Flakes if gluten free is not needed. They are not exactly low calorie but they are loaded with fiber and a very tasty treat!

Recipe: (makes 24-28 cookies)
Ingredients
1 cup Gluten-Free all-purpose flour mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups gluten free corn flakes, smashed before you measure
2 tablespoons flax meal
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup gluten-free oats
1 packed cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (8 Tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs room temperature

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350'F.
1. Whisk first 8 ingredients, through coconut, together in a large bowl.
2. In a large stand mixer blend sugar, butter, salt, vanilla and eggs until well combined ~1 minute. Add the dry ingredient mix 1 cup at a time to the wet ingredients while the mixer is on low speed until combined. Don't over mix
3. Scoop cookies using a small kitchen scoop or spoon onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Space them out so they won't touch as they bake. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown around the edges, be careful not to overcook.
...click here for the recipe!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Honey-Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Wild Rice Salad

This chicken is my hubby's new favorite, he compares it to a gourmet Asian restaurant dish!  It is smothered in a tasty lemon-honey sauce with hints of rosemary.  It went perfectly with this rice salad, which is a mix of nutty brown rice and wild rice, brought to life with some bright orange, fresh basil and crunchy pistachio nuts.  The rice salad can be made in advance and served at room temperature.

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken Recipe: (serves 4)
Ingredients:
extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (~6 ounces each)
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 sprigs rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions:
1. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper, cook in a large skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil for 5 minutes per side.  Remove chicken, keep warm with foil.
2. Reduce the heat and add tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the shallots, garlic and rosemary to the pan and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Add the honey, then stir in the Dijon mustard and lemon juice.  Add the chicken back to the pan and stir to coat on all sides with the glaze. Remove from the heat.

Wild rice for salad, also called "black rice"


Wild Rice Salad Recipe: (Serves 4-6)
for the salad:
2/3 cup brown rice
2/3 cup wild rice
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons pistachio nuts,
chopped and toasted
1 orange
1 teaspoon orange zest
10 fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons

1/4 cup red onion, diced

for the dressing:
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Add the rice and broth to a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer about 45-50 minutes, or until all the liquid is evaporated and the rice is fully cooked.  Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
2. Toast the pistachios in a pan about 3 minutes, stirring often, cool.
3. Slice the orange into segments and add to the rice once it's cooled.  Add the basil, onion and orange zest, stir to combine.
4. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the vinegar, oil, orange juice, mustard, honey and salt in a small bowl.  Pour over the rice mixture and toss to combine.  Serve, topped with toasted pistachio nuts.
...click here for the recipe!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

J's Country Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash

I woke up this morning to my hubby making some tasty breakfast, a breakfast potato hash he came up with on his own.  It was colorful and delicious and the kids loved it too!  Here's his recipe and what he had to say about it...
"Your house will smell like a gourmet breakfast diner. Sweet potato is something I haven't had in a country potato hash but it sounded like a good way to sweeten things up to have a potato dish taste a little more breakfasty and a little less dinnery."

Recipe: (serves 4-6)
Ingredients:
6-8 small potatoes (such as gold, red & purple), about 1 lb, diced into 1/4" pieces
2 large sweet potatoes (diced into 1/4" pieces)
1 small zucchini (diced into 1/4" pieces)
3 strips of bacon (nitrate free), diced {*omit and add a tbsp of olive oil for vegetarian}
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 sprig of rosemary finely chopped (leaves only)
2 dashes of paprika
2 dashes of chili powder
3 dashes of garlic powder
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 pinches of sea salt
1 pinch of pepper (fine ground)

Directions:
1. Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of oil and the bacon and shallots saute about 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the rosemary leaves and zucchini and cook until al dente (~5 minutes)
3. Remove the bacon zucchini mixture to a plate, reserve any oil and grease in your pan and add the potatoes and sweet potatoes as well as the rest of the spices, salt and pepper, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes stirring occationally
4. If the potatoes are sticking and appear dry add a couple of tbsp of water as needed.  Cook potatoes until they are just about done, then add the bacon and zucchini back in and stir to combine.  Serve hot.
...click here for the recipe!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quinoa Stir-Fry

I chuckled alittle to myself when I heard a lady ask the clerk in Trader Joe's, "could you help me find the 'quinn-oh-ah'?".  Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, is a tasty grain that has more protein than most other grains but is somewhat unknown.   Good for her for trying someting new!  You can often find it in the bulk bins of most markets.  It has a delicate flavor similar to rice or couscous.  You can use it in soups, salads, breads or even as a breakfast cereal.  This stir-fry was delicious and I couldn't help but smile as our 3 year old shouted, "this stuff is really delicious Mom".  Add whatever vegetables you like, I hope you give it a try.  Enjoy!

Recipe: (Serves 4)
Ingredients:
1 cup Organic Quinoa
2 cups Low-Sodium chicken broth
1-1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless, chicken breast tenders
olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
4 oz Crimini mushrooms, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil, julienned, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
1. Place 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of chicken broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until all broth is absorbed about 10-15 minutes.  When done, the grain will appear soft and translucent, and the germ ring will be visible along the outside edge.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, season the chicken tenders lightly on both sides with salt and pepper, grill on a grill pan or flat skillet over medium-high heat about 3-4 minutes per side or until they reach an internal temperature of 165'F.  Set aside.
3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add onions, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots and mushrooms, saute for 5-7 minutes.  Dice the chicken tenders into one-inch pieces.  Add the chicken, minced garlic and Italian Seasoning to the vegetables in the pan and reduce the heat to low, saute another 2-3 minutes until the garlic becomes fragrant.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the quinoa, stir to combine; garnish with Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil. *substitute vegetable broth and omit the chicken to make this dish vegetarian.
Recipe adapted from Trader Joe's Organic Quinoa box recipe
...click here for the recipe!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kathleen's Spinach and Rice Casserole

Do you have a favorite dish that reminds you of your childhood? I have several and this is one of them. It's a recipe my Mom used to make and she got it from her friend Kathleen, hence the name. It's comforting and warm, perfect for a cold winter evening. The brown rice is full of fiber but takes awhile to cook so I like to assemble this a day in advance, cover and stash in the fridge and then bake it for dinner tonight. It would make a great side dish or in our house we serve it as the main course with a nice green salad on the side. Both our boys (ages 1 & 3) loved it and ate a ton. If you want to pump up the heat, I like adding some diced jalapeños. Enjoy!

Recipe: (Serves 4)
Ingredients:
2 cups cooked brown rice (1 cup raw prepared per package instructions)
2 (10 oz) boxes frozen spinach, thawed & drained
1 cup low fat cottage cheese (8oz)
1 small can diced green chilies
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375'F. Squeeze any excess water from spinach.
2. Mix all ingredients and 1 cup of the cheese together in a large bowl until well combined.
3. Spoon mixture into an 8x8 inch glass baking dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese. Bake at 375'F for 50 minutes - 1 hour or until cheese is melted and golden.
...click here for the recipe!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Moroccan Chicken Couscous


I have to admit I was completely at a loss for what to cook for dinner tonight, that actually happens to me quite often, how about you? (That's in fact why I started this blog...to help inspire me) Both kids were napping and I was enjoying some quiet time and decided to flip through some cookbooks for inspiration. This recipe caught my eye and it turned out to be very tasty. It's a subtle blend of warm spices (not spicy) infused into a delicious broth, with vegetables and chicken and fluffy couscous to soak it all up. If I had planned ahead I would have served this with some warm Naan flatbread, but alas I did not, so we had it with some European French bread I bought this morning while grocery shopping (while hungry), it was still delicious. Enjoy!

Recipe (Serves 4)
Ingredients:
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
3 carrots, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
1 onion, thinly sliced
8 boneless, skinless chicken tenders
2-3 zucchini, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon curry powder (or ground tumeric)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
salt & pepper
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (15oz) can garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), drained & rinsed
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1/2 tablespoon butter
chopped cilantro for garnish

Directions:
1. In a large pot add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and onions and saute over medium-high heat about 1 minute, add the carrots, chicken and zucchini, saute another 1-2 minutes.
2. Add the spices; ginger, curry powder, cinnamon, chili powder, ~1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, stirring to toast the spices so they release their oils, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, garbanzo beans, 3/4 cup of water and the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook for ~15 minutes, stir occasionally.
3. For the couscous, fill a small pot with 1 cup water, ~1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup whole wheat couscous, stir to combine, cover and let sit about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove lid and fluff with a fork, how easy is that?
4. Once the chicken is cooked through to an internal temperature of 165'F, remove the chicken to a cutting board and dice into bite sized chunks then return to the pot. Simmer another 5 minutes uncovered to allow the sauce to reduce slightly.
5. To serve, spoon the chicken vegetables and broth over couscous in a shallow bowl and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.
Recipe adapted from: Everyday Food Cookbook
...click here for the recipe!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Whole Wheat Penne with Cauliflower

We got some organic cauliflower in our box this week so I decided to try this fun pasta recipe from Rachel Ray's Look+Cook Cookbook. It was pretty tasty with hints of rosemary and pancetta and a subtle warmth from the nutmeg, delicious. I love going out to the yard and picking fresh herbs, being January and all the only ones still around are Sage and good 'ole trusty rosemary, what a pop of flavor it brings to this dish. Enjoy!

Recipe (serves 4)
Ingredients:
1 pound whole wheat penne
1 head cauilflower
1-2 slices pancetta, finely diced (or may substitute bacon)
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmigiano)

Directions:
1. Heat a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta and cook pasta until al dente.
2. Trim the cauliflower into small florets. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the pancetta (or bacon if using), cool for a couple of minutes to crisp up and render its fat. Add the onions, garlic and rosemary, stir then add the florets. Season with salt, pepper and alittle nutmeg.
3. Add about 1/2 cup chicken broth to the pan, cover and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the cauliflower is tender, add 1 cup of chicken broth and cover until the pasta is ready.
4. Drain the pasta and toss with the cauliflower mixture, add the cheese and toss to combine. Season to taste. Serve with a fresh green salad.
Recipe adapted from: Rachael Ray's Look+Cook book
...click here for the recipe!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Toasted Spaghetti Risotto with Mushrooms

This pasta takes on a wonderful toasty flavor and the slightly peppery arugula dressed with bright lemon juice compliments it perfectly. Enjoy!

Recipe (serves 4)
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper
8-10 ounces of Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth *or use vegetable broth to make this vegetarian
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti, broken into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup sliced almonds or pistachios, lightly toasted
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 cups arugula
the juice of 1/2 a lemon

Directions:
1. Sauté onion and garlic over medium heat in a large pan with a drizzle of olive oil until translucent ~ 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute until tender, another 2-3 minutes. Add the pasta and toast until slightly browned, ~5 minutes.
2. Stir in about 1/2 cup of the chicken broth to deglaze the pan for about 1 minute. Pour in more broth a little at a time every few minutes, stir for at least a minute each time to help release the starchiness of the pasta, the liquid should be nearly evaporated before you add more.
3. The pasta cooks fairly quickly so taste test it after about 10 minutes after you started adding the broth to prevent over cooking. Once the pasta is done, remove from the heat and stir in the butter and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Make your own dressing for the arugula. Combine the lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper and lightly pour over arugula, you can always add more dressing if needed. Serve the pasta with a mound of arugula on top and sprinkle with toasted nuts.
...click here for the recipe!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tuscan Roasted Chicken with Fennel

This is a super easy and tasty one pot [pan] wonder. The lemon, garlic and rosemary is a fantastic combination.  You can add any veggies you have on hand. I added fennel to try something new. I know many of you may be leery of trying fennel, I know I was. In it's raw state is smells and tastes strongly of licorice, and not in a good way if you ask me. However, I was up for trying something new and I had heard that roasting it transforms the flavor and boy does it. My whole family gobbled it up. It was slightly caramelized and sweet and delicious, the perfect accompaniment to the roasted chicken.  Enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 4)
Ingredients:
3 medium zucchini
2 small bulbs fennel
3 medium carrots
1/2 head cauliflower
1 small leek
1 red bell pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 skinless chicken breast halves
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (~1/2 lemon if it's juicy)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375'F
1. Chop all vegetables into fairly equal size chunks.  Remove the outer layer of the fennel bulb and discard.  Slice bulb in two and keeping the root end in tact slice it into eight equal pieces so each piece is held together by a piece of stem.
2. Arrange all the vegetables in a large baking dish. Toss them with 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Lay chicken pieces in the pan on top of the vegetables.
3. In a small bowl prepare the rub.  Stir together 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the garlic, lemon zest and juice.  Rub the mixture over the chicken in the pan. Season lightly with pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, then give the vegetables a stir and add the rosemary. Return to the oven and roast until the chicken is cooked through to an internal temperature of 165'F and the vegetables are tender, about 20-30 minutes more.
We served ours up with a lightly dressed arugula salad, yum!
...click here for the recipe!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pesto Pasta with Garden Vegetables and Balsamic-Caramelized Onion Bread

What a tasty dinner to come home to tonight, made by my hubby. A delicious blend of fresh vegetables, grilled chicken and whole wheat pasta all tossed in a garlicy pesto sauce. No real recipe required here, but inspiration all the same. Empty out the vegetable bin in your fridge, we used, bell pepper, zucchini, spinach, carrots, and red onions, grill up some chicken, toss in your favorite sauce and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese! Check out "The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook" for the bread recipe. ...click here for the recipe!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Beef and Barley Soup

Look at us branching out again, this time with beef. This is a hearty stand alone soup that is perfect for a winter dinner. Start out with an inexpensive cut of meat and by slow cooking it you end up with a deliciously rich soup filled with tender bites of beef. Plan ahead for this dinner as it needs about an hour to simmer and develop all the flavors. We actually made this a day ahead for dinner tonight, just popped it out of the fridge, reheated on the stove and voilà, dinner is ready.

Recipe: (serves 6)
Ingredients:
olive oil
1/2 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, diced
10 ounces crimini mushrooms
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced, plus one stalk for the chef to munch on while cooking
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups low-sodium Organic Beef broth
one 14.5oz can diced tomatoes with their juices
1/2 cup pearled barley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (optional)

Directions:
1. Season meat lightly with salt and pepper and add to a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides, just about 2-3 minutes, be careful not to overcook it, remove from pot and set aside.

2. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pot. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until soft and the onions are translucent, ~ 5 minutes. Add the other vegetables and garlic stirring occasionally, cook another 5 minutes. Add the beef broth, tomatoes, browned meat, barley and thyme and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer about 45-50 minutes until the meat is tender and the barley is cooked through. Taste stew and season with salt and pepper if needed.
...click here for the recipe!

Sage-Rubbed Pork chops with Warm Apple Slaw

As we enter into this new year my hubby and I are even more interested in trying new recipes. We admittedly don't stray far from turkey and chicken when it comes to meat so these pork chops are something new for us. Searing them quickly and then finishing them off with the flavorful vegetables made them tasty and juicy. Tart green apple, carrot, sage and cabbage are the perfect accompaniments for pork. To make this recipe even easier and quicker, you can use a bag of pre- shredded carrots and cabbage instead of the whole cabbage and carrots. You can definitely substitute some chicken breasts for the pork in this recipe if you prefer and still get a tasty result.

Recipe: (serves 4)
Ingredients:

For the Chops
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
1 large clove garlic, minced (~1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
four 3/4 inch bone-in pork loin chops, with fat trimmed
2 teaspoons olive oil

For the Slaw
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, cut in half, then thinly slice into half moons
1 large Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 head green cabbage, coarsely chopped or bag of pre-chopped (about 9 cups)
3 large carrots, coarsely shredded or bag of pre-shredded (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Low-Sodium chicken broth

Directions:
1. To make the chops, combine the sage, garlic, salt and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl. Rub this mixture all over the pork chops and let them sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until pretty hot. You can test by flicking a few tiny drops of water on the pan to see if they dance. Add the chops and brown well on both sides, 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a plate (they will not be fully cooked yet)

3. To make the slaw, carefully wipe out the pan. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, apple, bell pepper and sage. Cook, stirring, until softened and golden, 4-5 minutes.  Add the cabbage, carrots, vinegar and salt and continue cooking until the cabbage and carrots begin to soften ~5 minutes.

4.Add the broth to the vegetables and return the pork chops to the pan, burying them in the vegetable mixture. Cover and cook just until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 155-160'F when tested with an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the meat, about 5-7 minutes longer. Serve your pork chops on a bed of the warm slaw and drizzle some of the pan juices on top.  We cut this recipe in half and made two chops for our family of two adults and two little foodies.

Recipe courtesy of: "The Food You Crave" by Ellie Krieger

...click here for the recipe!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Lemon Chicken Soup

Happy New Year! A new year means a new blog header! It was fun to create and thanks to some technical help from my awesome hubby it's up for you to enjoy. Hope you like it.

This soup is like chicken noodle with the volume turned up. The lemon and thyme in the broth is a great combination. This is the first time I've tried using egg in a soup to thicken it, other than my Hot and Sour Soup, it turned out quite good. Just be sure you don't boil the soup once you've added the egg mixture. Enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 4-6)
Ingredients:

olive oil
7-8 chicken breast tenders
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup orzo pasta or other small pasta
1 large egg
the juice of 1 lemon (~3 Tablespoons)
salt and pepper

1. Sauté the onion, carrots, celery and thyme in a large pot with a drizzle of olive oil, until vegetables are tender, ~5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile cook you chicken. Season chicken tenders lightly with salt and pepper and cook on a skillet or grill until they reach an internal temperature of 165'F, ~ 2-3 minutes per side. Let the meat rest for a couple minutes then dice into cubes and set aside.

3. Pour 5 cups of broth to your vegetable mixture and bring to a boil. Keep the soup simmering as you add the pasta and cook for another 7-8 minutes, until the pasta is done. Reduce the heat so your soup is warm but no longer boiling.

4. Place remaining 2 cups of broth in a microwave safe dish and heat about 1 minute until warm but not boiling (every microwave is different). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg lightly with a fork and add it to the 1 cup of warm broth, this tempers it so it won't scramble when you add it to the soup. Pour the lemon juice into the egg mixture, stirring constantly with the fork. Slowly pour the egg-lemon mixture into the soup, stirring continuously until the soup thickens. DO NOT LET THE SOUP COME TO A BOIL. Add the cooked diced chicken to the soup and remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with some warm crusty bread and a fresh green salad.
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