Dinner, soups

Quick and Spicy Tomato soup

Lunch time at the office

We were away this past weekend visiting our friends in North Carolina and our flight home arrived just before 5 on Monday.  After eating great food all weekend and traveling we wanted something that was easy to make and also light. This recipe from our favorite Italian chef Giada fit the bill. Within a half hour we had a hot and hearty soup on the table.

As we move into the fall season we start to crave hearty comfort foods. For the reason we try to keep our pantry stocked with basic essentials.  The less trips to the store the better.  This recipe had all of the essentials and made enough to bring into work for lunch.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 – 26 oz jar marinara sauce
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the jar of marinara sauce, chicken broth, cannellini beans, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve.

side dish

Homemade Creamed Corn

Our most recent dinner club theme was Soulful Saturday and Eric and I were assigned the vegetable dish.  With the dinner in late January we had no real options on fresh corn co I substituted 3 bags of frozen corn that I let thaw on the counter.  Because it is frozen there really wasn’t a pulp mixture so I added a bit more heavy cream to taste.  This turned out delicious so we remade it on Sunday for our dinner with our son.  Recipe is a keeper! 

Ingredients

1/2 onion, diced
1 tablespoon butter
2 pinches kosher salt
8 ears fresh corn, or 3 bags of frozen corn
1 sprig fresh rosemary, bruised
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh ground black pepper

Directions

In a saucepan over medium heat, sweat the onion in butter and salt until translucent.
If using Fresh corn:
In a large mixing bowl, place a paper bowl in the middle of the bowl. Resting the cob
on the bowl in a vertical position remove only the tops of the kernel with a knife, using
long smooth downward strokes and rotating the cob as you go. After the cob has
been stripped, use the dull backside of your knife to scrape any remaining pulp and
milk off the cob.
Add the corn and pulp mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium high until the
juice from the corn has tightened. Add the rosemary. Sprinkle the corn with the sugar
and turmeric. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the cornmeal onto the
corn, using a whisk to combine well. Add the heavy cream and cook until the corn
has softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the rosemary. Season with freshly
ground black pepper.
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

Uncategorized

Chickpea Salad

Looking for a different kind of salad?  Not macaroni or potato?  Try this one my hubby whipped up that was super easy to make.  It is a crisp and cool treat.  Not your traditional summer salad by any means.  Hey, what are you waiting for?  The weekend is coming and you know you are going to cook out again?

Chickpea Salad

Ingredients

2 (19-ounce) cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 carrot, grated
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.

Uncategorized

Sunday Dinner

Last Sunday was hubby’s turn to make dinner.  I had to go out and check in on my mother and run a few errands for I turned the dinner plans over to him.  While I was gone he was providing transportation for our son activities of the day and running to the grocery store for our never ending grocery list. While he was there he picked up the necessary ingredients for his dinner plan.
 
His inspiration came from Pinterest and also thinking back to the summer grilling ideas of the past for the main entrée.  The chicken idea was very easy and the pasta side dish  was a quick and very flavorful.  Since it was a pasta dish our son loved it, minus the mushrooms. There was enough pasta left over for  refrigerator review night!
 

 

Creamy Garlic and Mushroom Pasta

8 ounces pasta (spaghetti, linguine, etc.)
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon herbes de provence
1½ cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
additional ¼ cup water, broth, milk or cream (optional)
¼ cup fresh parsley (more to taste)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Set aside and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add one clove of the garlic and sauté for a minute until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown and softened. Set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and melt again over medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute until fragrant. Add the flour and herbes de provence. Stir fry for a minute to cook out the flour taste. Add the milk slowly, whisking to incorporate. Let the mixture simmer until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss the sauce, pasta, and mushrooms together. Add the olive oil and water as needed to keep the sauce from getting too thick. Stir in the parsley just before serving.

Grilled Chicken with Brushetta Topping

4 Thin sliced boneless Chicken Breast
1/2 cup Brushetta Topping
Penzey’s Northwoods Seasonings

Season the chicken with the seasoning salt (Use the Penzey’s Northwoods or your own favorite marinade seasonings or rub).  Grill chicken until done and top with a spoonful of prepared bruschetta topping.  Our local Wegmans carries the topping on the olive bar.   Other topping ideas is the olive marinade or prepared pesto.    

Uncategorized

Zucchini Crisp

It is that time of the summer when area gardens are cranking out fresh vegetables in large quantities.  This year with our landscaping plans around the house we didn’t get to plant a garden but are making the most of the fresh produce at our local garden center.  Zucchini is one of my favorite summer vegetable and I am always looking for new ways to prepare it.  This dish got good reviews from 3 out of 4 members of my family.  Number 4 wouldn’t even try.
 
 
I found this recipe on Pinterest and decided to give it a try.  It is from Ellie Krieger when she was on Food Network.  Her show is no longer on.  It seems that they are dwindling down the number of cooking shows that featured great chefs with real recipes for ones that are now more competitive.  Sounds like what MTV did with music videos.  Are there any more music videos on MTV or VH1?  Soon there will probably not be any more real cooking shows on the Food Network and they will be doing something completely different – maybe music videos?   
 
 

Zucchini Crisp

Ingredients

Cooking spray
2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (3/4-ounce)
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
 
Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the oil. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, and a few turns of pepper. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
 
Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove with spatula. Serve immediately
Uncategorized

Artichoke Gratinita

While looking through our big binder of recipes yesterday I found a great recipe that we first made in 2008.  It is a simple side dish from Giada De Lauerntiis that went really well with our Shrimp with Linguinie and Lemon Oil and our Cannellini Beans with Arugula that we have posted about earlier.  These three recipes would be a great flavor mix to finish off our Lenten dinners.


Yesterday was also a day to start making desserts and sweets for Easter Sunday.  I had spent the afternoon making cookies and lemon bars, recipes to be posted later, and doing a little spring cleaning of our coat closets.  (This means washing winter coats I really don’t want to see again until November or December.)  With our daughter home for the holidays from school I asked her to put this recipe together for me.  This was a great help with all the other dinner preparations going on. She is also reminding us on how to handle food safely after just finishing a class on food safety that will have her certified in this area.  Wait until she starts analyzing our diet.  We might be in trouble then. 






Artichoke Gratinita 

INGREDIENTS


  • tablespoons olive oil
  • 1   minced garlic clove
  • pound frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • tablespoons chopped fresh  parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon  red  pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup   Marsala wine wine
  • tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan

  • DIRECTIONS

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

    Warm the olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the artichoke hearts, parsley, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and cook until the artichoke hearts are starting to brown at the edges, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and wine and simmer for 3 minutes. Transfer the artichoke mixture to a 2-quart baking dish.
    Melt the butter in the same skillet used to cook the artichokes. In a small bowl mix the melted butter with the bread crumbs. Stir in the Parmesan  and top the artichokes with the bread crumbs. Bake until the top is golden, about 10 minutes.
    Uncategorized

    Arugula and white bean salad

     
    One Saturday morning we found this recipe while looking to see what was going to be on the Barefoot Contessa show the next morning.  The dish name caught Hubby’s eye and he decided to give it a try, even before she demonstrated it on her show.  So the results might be a little different than hers, especially since we used canned beans and she started out with dried beans.
     
    It was a welcome change to dinner salads this winter.  I can’t wait to try it out this summer, on a nice warm summer day when we can have dinners on the patio.    This salad was the side dish to our veal casserole, served with roasted butternut squash and my homemade chocolate pudding. 
     
     

     

    Arugula and White Bean Salad

    Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

    Ingredients

    2 cans cannellini beans, drained
    2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup good olive oil
    1 red onion, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick half-rounds
    2 ounces sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and small-diced
    4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
    2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, small-diced
    1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 ounces baby arugula

    Directions

     
    Drain the beans, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the red onion and sauté over medium-low heat for 7 to 9 minutes, until wilted. Add the beans and enough water to cover them by 3 inches. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes, until tender. Drain the beans and onions and transfer to a mixing bowl.
     
     
    Meanwhile, heat the 1/2 cup of olive oil in a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and prosciutto and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until fragrant. Pour the hot oil mixture over the warm drained beans, tossing well. Allow to cool for 10 minutes only. While still warm, stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Place in a large, shallow serving bowl, surround with arugula, taste for seasonings, and serve warm or at room temperature.