Category Archives: vegetables

Chicken Stew in One Pot

This is one of  my go to meals when the weather turns a little cold and throughout the winter months.  When I need something to make that’s easy, healthy and comforting. Food for the soul I like to say. I serve this with crusty bread,  and a green salad. It’s very filling and makes a beautiful presentation for 2 or 6. Hope you enjoy, it’s really very easy , just chop up a few vegetables (carrots, onions, and celery, a basic *mirepoix) open a few cans and buy the chicken, don’t be intimidated by ingredients! This recipe inspired from Giada de Laurentis’s chicken stew. I have made a few changes to suit my taste.

*should serve 4-6 nicely with 4 nice size chicken breasts

*Basic Mirepoix is a combination of chopped carrots, celery and onions used to add flavor and aroma to stocks, sauces, soups and other foods. Usually comprised of 50% onions, 25% carrots, and 25% celery.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 stalks celery, small bite size pieces

1 carrot, peeled, cut into small bite size pieces

1 small white onion chopped

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 can chopped tomatoes ( I use San Marzano diced) large 28 oz. can with juice

16 oz. chicken broth (1/2 box) but you may need a bit more so hold on to rest of the box.

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dry thyme

I use 4 chicken breasts with ribs ( I usually go to butcher order 2 chicken breasts with bone in, split in two) if you go to supermarket, either buy 2 large breasts, or 4 smaller ones. Skin on and Bones in! app. 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. total weight. You will be removing the skin, it will add to the flavor of the stew.

1 can red kidney beans drained ( if using organic, do not need to rinse) 15 oz.

1 can black beans drained ( if using organic , do not need to rinse either) 15 oz.

nice crusty whole grain bread

*hot sauce like Cholula is great served on the table so people can adjust seasonings on their own

Directions:

Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy 5 1/2 quart. pot. ( Le Creuset again) heat over medium heat. When oil is hot add the onions, celery , and carrot (Mirepoix mixture). Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. You will taste again towards the end, so if you want to hold off on this step you can. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, tomato paste, bay leaf and thyme. Then add the chicken breasts , press to submerge in the sauce.

Bring the liquid to a slow simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken breasts over and stirring mixture occasionally, app. 30 minutes. Using tongs if you have them, if you don’t , buy them, remove the chicken to a plate and allow to cool ( about 15 minutes) Discard the bay leaf, add the beans to the pot ( remember to drain) and bring to a simmer until the liquid is reduced to a stew-like consistency, probably another 15 minutes or so.

Discard the chicken skin and bones from the chicken breasts. Shred or cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Return the chicken meat to the stew. Bring the stew back to a slow simmer. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.

I usually cook , then turn off heat, and bring it back to simmer right before serving.

This should serve 6 well. I serve with a nice crusty whole grain bread. Everything is in the pot, veggies, and protein. Enjoy! it’s delicious. Don’t be put off, it’s really easy to prepare, can be made ahead of time.  If it’s made a few days ahead you may want to add the chicken broth to thin out.

Potato – Zucchini Latkes for Chanukah

It’s almost Chanukah if you can believe it!  These tasty little pancakes are perfect for the holiday and really any day.   Most perfect of all is that you can cook them, freeze them and have them for whenever you want. They make a great appetizer or side dish. My experience with latkes is that they never really taste as good as when you first fry them, but that’s such an impossible task with people waiting to eat and having fifty million other things to do. Latkes are the ultimate comfort food. This is just a little twist on the traditional potato latke .  Usually about 2 – 2 1/2 inches in diameter is the right size, but it’s up to you. Not sure where this recipe hails from. The original from my Grandmother, but the zucchini was added later. My grandmother didn’t own a food processor and it’s a game changer, just makes it so much simpler to do.  I loved my Grandmother’s latkes and not quite sure what she did to make them so delicious but I try my best.

Happy Chanukah!

If you’re not into the zucchini thing just add 2 more potatoes and omit the zucchini.

Delicious served with applesauce , that’s how we do it here.

Ingredients:

6 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (for food processor)

2 zucchini, cut into large chunks (for food processor)

1 spanish onion, peeled, and cut into quarters (for food processor)

4 eggs, beaten

1 – 2 teaspoons kosher salt ( more to taste) tasting is key here , potatoes can be very bland

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2/3 cup matzoh meal or bread crumbs ( if you’re making for Passover it’s perfect with matzoh meal)

Vegetable oil for frying

*applesauce for dipping ( optional) this is what we use

* sour cream ( optional) if you like

Directions:

Using the grater blade for the food processor, grate the onions, potatoes, and zucchini. A little trick to these latkes is to drain out as much of the liquid as possible, so I literally squeeze out every drop of liquid with my hands. I let each vegetable sit in a colander to drain as I grate the next one.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, salt and pepper. Add it to the potato mixture and combine well. Next, add the matzoh meal or bread crumbs.  Taste for salt (start with 1 teaspoon and add more if needed, this is very important for flavor.

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet or cast iron skillet, over a high flame. You want the oil very hot. I test the oil with a drop of water–when it sizzles, it is ready to fry. I put about 2 inches of oil in the pan, you may need to add more as you start frying. Form pancakes about 2 inches in diameter, place (very) carefully into the oil, and when the edges start to crisp up, turn them over and continue cooking until golden. If you like them flat and crispier, then flatten them out with a spatula while cooking and start with a little less.

*I like the oil to be clean as I fry a lot, so if it starts to run down I usually pour it out, wipe pan with paper towel and add fresh new oil. This is only in the event the oil starts to get very dark from the potatoes. It may not be necessary but sometimes it is. They will just fry up better.

Let the pancakes cool off, and serve plain or with sour cream or applesauce on the side. If you are freezing them, let cool completely first, then I usually use a Hefty Ziploc freezer bag. Mark them with the date, and take them out the night before you need them. They should stay for at least a month in freezer, and probably longer.

*to re-heat I like to use the oven at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet for about 15 mins. depending on how thick they are. Spray the cookie sheet with Pam Spray and you may want to flip them over 1/2 way through. Make sure they are heated throughout. Serve with some of that homemade applesauce on my blog. Enjoy!

Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

 

Fully Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

This recipe belongs to my sister, Pamela. She is a great cook, and this is her signature Thanksgiving Dish. We count on it every year as her contribution.  I highly suggest it if you like spicy because it is! It definitely packs some heat, be careful when you buy the chipotle peppers in adobe sauce , just make sure they don’t say Hot or you might be blowing the roof off of your Thanksgiving Dinner! Be prepared for a lot of flavor !  If your family likes spicy this is an awesome recipe, and you all know how much I like spicy by now.  This is certainly a new take on Sweet Potatoes because they aren’t sweet.  I also make a Sweet Potato dish with Marshmallows (* see recipe) and the two are always on my table, one sweet and one spicy.  Thanks Aunt Pammy.

Ingredients:

5 lbs.Yams or Sweet Potatoes

Kosher Salt –about 1/4 cup give or take a little . You’ll have to taste, start with less and add more as needed

Heavy Cream ( about 1 1/2 quarts)

Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce (canned) *look in Mexican Food Aisle in most supermarkets

Directions:

Slice Potatoes thinly and add salt. Place in baking dish you are going to use and cover with kosher salt, start with 1/4 cup and go to the 1/2 cup. Use your clean hands and toss together.

Puree Chipotles in small food processor .* you can keep pureed chipotles in fridge for up to 2 months. So you can do this step ahead.

Put approximately 1 – 2 tsp. of chipotle pepper puree in heavy cream and mix together

Pour Cream Mixture over Potatoes in an ovenproof baking dish ( earthenware is nice for this)

Place in 375 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour depending on your oven.

Potatoes should be somewhat set and browned on top when ready.

Enjoy! and Happy Thanksgiving

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

photo 3 (7) photo 2 (9)This is my go to recipe for the creamiest mashed potatoes around. I make them a few times a year and mostly on the holidays. Occasionally I’ll whip them up for dinner . They are rich and delicious and just the way mashed potatoes ought to be. I’d like to tell you that I don’t use butter and cream but I do. These are pretty easy to make, all I would say is to buy a good potato masher they come in pretty handy for a lot of other uses as well ( great for egg salad) .  I like to work with Yukon Gold Potatoes. This recipe is for 5 lbs. and feeds about 10 – 12 people , just perfect for a holiday dinner.

* see also Mashed Potato Casserole with Sour Cream and Chives for another way to go.

Ingredients:

5 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes or Russet Potatoes

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 8 oz. package of Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 to 3/4 cups half and half

1 /2 to 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt ( more to taste) I used at least 1 teaspoon you’ll have to taste for yourself.

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper. ( more or less to taste)

Directions:

Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size.

In a large enough pot to cook all of the potatoes fill pot with cold water to cover the potatoes. I bring to a boil and cook for about 30 – 35 minutes. When potatoes are cooked through, a fork should easily slide into the potatoes without resistance, potatoes should be soft but not falling apart.

Drain the potatoes in a colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot back on the stove. Mash the potatoes with masher over very low heat, allowing the steam to escape, before adding the other ingredients.

Turn off the stove and add 1 1/2 sticks of butter, an 8 oz. package of cream cheese and about 1/2 cup of half and half. Mash, mash and mash away.

Add about 1/2 teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish and taste for salt and pepper. I ended up using at least a teaspoon of salt, and a bit more pepper.  Place a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350 degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes have warmed through.

* if making a day or two in advance–place potatoes in baking dish,  leave covered in fridge. Take it out of the fridge about 2 – 3 hours before heating up to bring to room temperature. Place your butter pats on top and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1/2 hour or so till completely warmed through.

*

Candied Yam Souffle (Easy Peasy)

sweet potatoes pre marshmallows

 I have always felt obliged to have this recipe on my Thanksgiving table because everyone wants it. Believe it or not children and adults alike will always look for this tasty concoction of sweet potatoes and marshmallows. It just wouldn’t be the same without some version of this.  It is easy and I just felt I owed it to all of you to pass it along. It is especially good for those of you who need to bring something to someone’s house, and don’t have time for fuss and muss.  So here you go. And those darn mini marshmallows which you just gotta have. I have to admit that I love this recipe!

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 large cans of yams or app. 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, drained

1 small can (I like 8 oz.) crushed pineapple (optional)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

mini-marshmallows (1 bag will more than cover it) or one jar of marshmallow topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and pecans. Simmer for a  few minutes. In the meantime, place drained yams in a large bowl and mash them (you can leave a few chunked pieces.) If you’re cooking your sweet potatoes , peel and cut into quarters (cubes) fill a large pot of water to cover potatoes , add a little salt to water and bring water to boil. Boil for about 12 minutes till you can pierce potato with a fork easily. Remove and drain potatoes. I always place my potatoes back in pot to steam off excess water.

Pour sugar/pecan and pineapple mixture over the yams. Stir until combined thoroughly. Add in cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer to a pie pan, actually any baking dish will do. Oven to Table is perfect here. Bake for about 15 minutes. Then remove, put mini marshmallows on top to cover, and raise the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes to brown the marshmallows. Don’t let it burn.

Thanksgiving Corn Bread Pudding

My friend Audrey gave this to me many years ago, and it has become a staple on our thanksgiving table ever since. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. It is a favorite in our family. Can be doubled easily, just make sure your baking dish is large enough.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (unsalted) 1 stick

8 oz. sour cream (lite is OK  but not fat-free)

8 oz.  can sweet corn (drained)

8 oz. can creamed corn

8 oz. pkg. corn muffin mix

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter, mix in beaten eggs, then add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into glass baking dish (Pyrex is good and I spray it first.) 9 x 12 works fine, it’s not a very deep pudding.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (no cream)

This is by far one of my most favorite recipes ever! Super Easy and Super Delicious and did I mention Super Easy?

It’s definitely fall and my first soup of the season  is almost always butternut squash soup. I’ve simplified the recipe along the way so that now it is just the way Joel and I like it. it’s pretty easy as long as you buy the squash pre – cut (available in every supermarket, and corner produce store). I just made my first batch of the season, and the squash is sweet and delicious. I always add a little butter to it, but you can totally leave it out. It tastes so creamy you’ll swear there’s cream in it, but really, there is none.  I love a little freshly grated nutmeg in it too, but you can certainly just sprinkle in a very little bit of already grated nutmeg. I hope your family and friends enjoy this as much as my family does! It’s always on my table for Thanksgiving. A delightful way to start a dinner, or a delicious main dish served alongside  a beautiful salad and bread. This can easily be made vegetarian by substituting chicken broth for vegetable broth, which is how I make it on Thanksgiving for Kerri, who is vegetarian.

Ingredients:

4 pkgs. (approx. 4 lbs.) butternut squash (it’s doesn’t have to be exact)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large spanish onion, chopped

8 – 10 cups chicken or vegetable broth

*1 -2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for this serving size, I use 2 but it’s totally optional)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*use whole nutmeg – you just grate a little in for flavor. I always tend to use whole, but grated will do. It’s just a touch of it–if I had to guess, I’d say 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon depending on your taste

*if you really want to top it off with a touch of cream you can . Just add a little heavy cream to the soup and blend it right in at the end. Honestly it’s not necessary but it def adds a a layer of richness!

Directions:

In a heavy Le Creuset (or any other ample size large pot), I heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When oil is heated, put in onion and about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Sweat out the onions until they are translucent (approx. 5 – 8 minutes). If you’re using the butter, add it now too. I then add all of the butternut squash and mix the onions, oil and butter as best I can all over the squash. Next, add enough broth to cover the squash (I used approx. 10 cups of chicken broth to cover). I keep the remaining half a box of broth in case I need it later. Return to a low boil, then bring to a simmer. I let it cook a very long time–at least an hour until soft–and then I turn off the heat and let it sit for a while. I like to make it early and let it sit for as long as possible, because the squash gets very soft. Then right before I am about to serve, I use an immersion blender and blend it into a beautiful smooth soup. If you need more broth, add it as you blend. This is also your salt, pepper and nutmeg moment. Season to taste and blend just until smooth. I leave it in the pot until I need it and then gently warm it up. This soup will keep in the fridge for a few days. It can be frozen as well. Upon defrosting you may need to add more broth. Sometimes I serve this soup with beautiful croutons if I can find them in specialty stores, but it is delicious and beautiful on its own, and very good for you! My family loves it , and I hope yours does too.

*should serve 10 – 12 as appetizer

Cauliflower Fried Rice

I have to admit that since you can now find  cauliflower already chopped up and ready to use there is no excuse not to make this. I used to have to chop the cauliflower in my processor which was time consuming and I would have to dry it on towels as it was always slightly watery. Now it’s available in pre-prepared cauliflower rice packages and this is a “game changer”. Both Green Giant chopped cauliflower in a bag as well as at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. The pre-chopped bags come in 16 ounce size bags which is what I used for this recipe.  You can buy extra bags and keep them frozen!  It’s wildly popular so grab it while you can and get a few extra bags while you’re at it. Of course you can always chop your own if you don’t have access to any of these products.

This was so delicious I have added chicken and shrimp but you can certainly leave it vegetarian and add more vegetables or tofu.  There are so very many variations on this theme, feel free to go wild with it. It’s a low carb alternative to regular rice and a delicious healthy way to do so. I served it up in a large bowl and it was really a filling delicious dinner.

This is what I did and the next night I heated up left-over rice and topped with a fried egg!  Delicious!

Ingredients:

1 bag chopped cauliflower rice ( I found Green Giant brand and used it) I used a 16 oz. bag  you can use up to 24 oz. Or 1 medium head of cauliflower.

2 Tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce- you may want to add more at the end , you’ll wait and taste

1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, plus a little bit for eggs as well. You can cut the oil down on eggs if you’d like. I felt like I needed the 2 tbsp. of oil for onions , etc. You can start 1 tbsp. and add as you need.

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger– you can use fresh if you prefer

2 large eggs-beaten

1 cup frozen peas and carrots –I had it in the house and how easy was this? you can use broccoli or corn or all.

1 onion diced

2 cloves garlic -minced

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper , about 6 grinds on the pepper mill will do

*pinch of crushed red pepper

*chicken, shrimp whatever protein you like . I used a thin chicken cutlet as it was just for me, if I were making for more people I would probably add about 1/2 lb. of cutlets diced up.

2 green onions (scallions) thinly sliced

*salt and pepper to taste — you may want to add a little but don’t add till the end and you’ve tasted it. I added a little sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Directions:

If you must make the cauliflower rice, take out the processor, pulse cauliflower in the large bowl of a food processor until it resembles rice, about 3 minutes, set aside. If you bought the bag–you’re ready.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and a little black pepper

Heat about 1/2 Tbsp. of vegetable oil in a medium skillet over low heat , add beaten eggs and cook until cooked through. I didn’t scramble , I made a large pancake. About 2-3 minutes per side, flipping once. Let cool completely before dicing into small pieces, set aside to cool.

Heat 1- 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until onions become translucent, at least 5 minutes. I like my onions translucent for this recipe. Lower the heat and stir in peas and carrots (and any other veggies you’d like) and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. I ended up using the 2 Tablespoons of oil, do what works best for you.

Right before the next part I threw in some torn up Kale pieces. The kale cooks down rather quickly . Then I added the next part. If you’d like to add kale .

Stir in the cauliflower, diced up eggs, green onions and soy sauce mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until heated through and the cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes . Taste for soy sauce and add if necessary. I didn’t add any salt because the soy sauce was salty enough. After the first five minutes of cooking I throw in the cooked protein that I am using and continue to heat it all up stirring as I go. If you ‘d like you can also add more soy sauce at this point. Just heat till hot and serve.

This is a very loose recipe so please feel free to experiment.

 

 

 

 

 

Middle Eastern Salad

This salad appeals to me on so many levels. Firstly I love Middle Eastern food , I love raw salads, I love the freshness that is going on in this salad and did I mention that it’s super easy with very obtainable ingredients.

I served with toasted pita bread cut into small triangles.

Ingredients:

5 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

2 pints of small grape /cherry tomatoes or any tomatoes that you want to use. You can use up to 1 lb. of fresh cut up tomatoes

1 hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise , seeded and 1/2 inch diced

1 can 12 to 16 oz. size of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1/3 cup cut up fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice — you may need up to 4 small lemons or 2 very large ones. I use my juicer for this.

1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic — app. 3 cloves

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste– start with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1 tsp. pepper– you’ll taste for additional salt and pepper at the end.

1/2 cup good olive oil

8 oz. good feta cheese, buy a chunk and dice it up

Toasted Pita Bread for serving

Directions:

Place the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, drained chickpeas, parsley , mint, and basil in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.

In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, garlic 2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream till it emulsifies. Pour the dressing over the salad tossing gently to coat all the vegetables. Add in the feta, sprinkle with salt and pepper *if necessary. Serve the salad alongside the toasted pita.

Yum!

 

Creamy Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce –No Cream Added

This Oven Roasted Creamy Tomato Sauce is just what you’ve been looking for . Perfect Summer Tomato Pasta Sauce made with delicious cherry tomatoes. It’s sweet and creamy without using a drop of cream!!! Love it!! Only delicious fresh ingredients and the only special equipment you’ll need is a food processor!

Should make app. 3 cups of sauce which you can use right away, or put in the fridge for a day or two, or even better freeze for a month and when you’re looking for something to make for dinner –there you have it!

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 cups of cherry tomatoes — stems off

1/4 tsp. onion powder

2 Tablespoons of good Olive Oil

1/3 cup fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spread Tomatoes single layer on a large sheet pan. Don’t crowd. Drizzle with Olive Oil. Sprinkle with onion powder

Bake for app. 40 minutes , you’ll want tomatoes good and wrinkly

Let cool for a bit then put your tomatoes into food processor

Add the fresh basil, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste in food processor

Blend to smooth and creamy

Use it right away! or put in fridge for a few days or freeze for another time.

Enjoy and say thank you!!!!!!