Lentil Vegetable Soup
Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons Greek seasoning
1 1/2 cups lentils
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
4 cups water, plus more if needed
Heat a large soup pot over high heat and swirl in the olive oil. Add the vegetables, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to low and saute until the vegetables are lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add broth, water, and seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the lentils. Stir well and cover the pan. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes u til the lentils are soft and creamy. Serve hot in soup bowls.
Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper Quiche
1 prepared 9-inch pie crust
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ a large sweet onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup cooked spinach
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy creak
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a small skillet and saute the onion and pepper until tender and soft/ Stir in the thyme. Set aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl combine the spinach, eggs, and cream.
Spread the pastry on a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges.
Spread 1 cup of cheese in the bottom of the crust. Top with the onion and peppers. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.
3 ¼-inch slices of red onion from a large onion, cut in half
8 (6ounces) mini sweet bell peppers, seeded and quartered
1 clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon fajita seasoning or taco seasoning
2 Mahi Mahi fillets about 5 ounces each
¼ cup salsa
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
Heat one tablespoon of avocado oil in a medium skillet. Add the sliced onions and peppers.
Drizzle a teaspoon of oil in the bottom of a small baking dish.
place the mahi-mahi pieces on top and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon and drizzle with butter, top with sliced lemon, and sprinkle with the parsley and cilantro, cover and bake at 350 for about 30 mins or slightly firm to touch.
Black Bean And Corn Saute
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/21 a small onion, finely chopped
1 cup cooked with cooking liquid or canned black beans
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup canned green chiles, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup fresh corn kernels
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and very soft, about 10 minutes.
Drain the black beans, and reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid. Add the beans, the reserved bean liquid, and the remaining ingredients to the saucepan; cover, raise heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately.
¼ cup avocado oil
2 – 3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
½ teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
1 pound beef flank steak
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Half a large sweet onion cut into thin rings and rings halved
2 medium sweet bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced into thin strips
6-8 inch flour tortillas, warmed
¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro
1 cup of salsa
Zest the lime and orange. Juice both the orange and lime. In a large resealable plastic bag combine 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 teaspoon orange zest, 1 teaspoon lime zest, 2 tablespoons lime juice, avocado oil, chipotle peppers, cumin, and the salt. Add steak. Seal bag; turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 12 hours.
Remove meat from the marinade. Reserve 2 tablespoons marinade; discard any remaining marinade. Pat meat dry with paper towels. In a large grill pan, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add steak to the pan. Cook for 14 to 18 minutes or until steak reaches desired doneness, turning once halfway through cooking. (Or, for a gas or charcoal grill, grill the steak on a greased rack of a covered grill over medium heat for 17 to 21 minutes or until steak reaches desired doneness.)
Transfer meat to a cutting board. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Cut steak across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Heat the same grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and peppers to the drippings in the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in the zucchini. Cook 1 minute more. Add the reserved 2 tablespoons marinade and 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Cook and stir 2 minutes more.
Lay tortillas on a flat work surface. Arrange the meat on the bottom third of the tortillas. Top with cooked vegetables, and cilantro. Roll up tortillas tightly. Serve with salsa.
If using a gas or charcoal grill, use a large skillet to cook the vegetables. Use 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in place of the drippings.
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.
Stir over medium-high heat until all cheese is melted.
Creamy Southern Succotash
1 recipe cooked southern field peas (see recipe), drained
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 teaspoon Mexican chili powder
Cheese sauce, recipe above
After the cheese sauce is complete, stir in the drained peas and corn. Add the chili powder and simmer over low heat until hot.
Serve with the burritos.
The tortilla strips and the garnishes are best prepared on the day of serving. The rest of the soup can easily be prepared ahead by several days.
I make my own chipotles en adobo, so I included the recipe at the end of the post. Canned chipotles can also be used.
Makes about 9 cups, serving 6
8 corn tortillas (6-inch), cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 tablespoon avocado or vegetable oil
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (total about 1 1/2 pounds)
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 medium onions (total about 1 pound), peeled, 1 cut in half and the other onion finely diced
2 cups corn kernels
4 medium cloves garlic, peeled, 2 cut in half and the other two minced
2 sprigs fresh epazote or 2 teaspoons dried ( or 8 to 10 sprigs fresh cilantro plus 1 sprig fresh oregano if you don’t have epazote)
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 medium jalapeño chile, chopped
1 chipotle chile en adobo with 1 tablespoon adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 Hass avocado diced fine
8 ounces shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Mexican crema or sour cream
Note on Epazote
Epazote is a Mexican herb with an acidic lemony flavor.
I use the dried version since fresh is not easy to find in my area.
FOR THE TORTILLA STRIPS: Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread tortilla strips on rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with oil and toss until evenly coated. Bake until the strips are deep golden brown and crisp, about 14 minutes, rotating pan and shaking strips (to redistribute) halfway through the baking time. Season strips lightly with salt; transfer to plate lined with several layers paper towels. Set aside.
FOR THE SOUP: Bring the chicken breasts, broth, 1 onion halved, 2 garlic cloves cut in half, epazote, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boiling over medium-high heat in large saucepan; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chicken is just cooked through about 20 minutes. Using tongs, transfer chicken to a large plate. With a spider or slotted spoon remove the onion and garlic halves and discard them. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces; discard bones.
To the broth add the tomatoes, the chopped onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, jalapeño, corn, 1/2 teaspoon salt, chipotle chile, and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer to blend flavors, about 15 minutes. Add shredded chicken and simmer until heated through about 5 minutes. To serve, place portions of tortilla strips in the bottom of individual bowls and ladle soup into bowls; pass garnishes separately.
Loaded Nacho Platter
I save leftover steak in the freezer for making dishes like nachos.
1/2 pound leftover steak or lean ground beef, cooked
1 cup chopped bell peppers
3 cups tortilla chips
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup sliced jarred pickled jalapenos
2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup salsa or pico de gallo
Shred the cooked steak.
Preheat your oven to 375 F, or you can use your broiler.
Spread the 3 cups of chips over the bottom an ovenproof platter so that you can’t see the bottom of the plate.
Sprinkle1 cup cheese over the top of the chips. Evenly distribute the toppings so that every chip has some toppings.
Top with the remaining cheese. Place the platter into the oven or under the broiler.
When the cheese is melted, remove the platter from the oven and use a metal spatula to put nachos onto individual serving plates.
Homemade Chipotle Chiles en Adobo
12-14 dried Chipotle Chiles
3 cups of water
1/2 medium onion finely diced
6 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
Simmer all the ingredients in a covered pan for one hour, stirring occasionally or until the liquid reduces to about a cup.
I store the chilies in snack bags in the freezer for when I need them-1 pepper and 1 tablespoon sauce in each snack bag. They defrost very quickly. when you need them.
Shrimp Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce
1/2 lb. (about 8) tomatillos, husks removed and washed well
1 large or 2 small serrano chiles, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped white onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
Half an avocado mashed
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon honey
12 large raw shrimp (16-20 count), peeled, deveined and tails removed
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
4 low carb/gluten-free/regular tortillas, heated
1 cup shredded red cabbage
For the tomatillo salsa
Dice the tomatillos. Put them in a blender, along with the chiles, onion, cilantro, salt, and garlic. Pulse until the ingredients are very finely chopped and combined (the salsa should be somewhat smooth, but still have some texture), 30 to 60 seconds. Place the salsa in a large bowl. Let sit at room temperature until serving time.
Yields about 1 cup.
For the avocado cream
Combine all the ingredients and chill in the refrigerator.
For the shrimp
Pat shrimp dry. Toss the shrimp with Cajun seasoning and a little salt in a medium bowl.
Preheat a stovetop grill over medium heat. Place the shrimp on the grill and cook until the shrimp are just cooked through about 4 minutes total. Place the cooked shrimp in a serving bowl and spoon several tablespoons of the tomatillo salsa over the shrimp. Toss.and serve the shrimp in tortillas, topped with red cabbage and avocado cream.
Serve a tomato salad on the side.
When you cook steak and chicken, make extra. The leftovers easily make quick weeknight meals.
Steak & Bean Tacos
I like to serve this dish with a green mixed salad and ranch dressing.
Half of a leftover grilled flank steak, sliced thin
Original recipe for the grilled steak
2 cups cooked black beans
1 cup medium spicy salsa
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 flour tortillas
Any leftover steak will work in this recipe, just slice it very thin. Reheat the steak in the microwave or in foil in a moderate oven temperature until warm. Heat the beans and warm the tortillas. Assemble the tacos with beef, beans, salsa, and cheddar cheese.
Greek Salad With Leftover Grilled Chicken
8 oz leftover grilled chicken that had been marinated in 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 sliced garlic clove, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, salt, and pepper to taste.
Grilled chicken directions
2 Pita breads, warmed
Greek Salad Ingredients
Romaine lettuce, torn into small pieces
Bell peppers, seeded and cut into one-inch squares
Red onions, sliced thin
Cucumbers, peeled and sliced into half moons
Tomatoes, cut into one-inch pieces
Crumbled Feta cheese
Greek Salad Dressing, recipe below
I always grill more chicken than I need for dinner because there are so many dishes you can make with the leftovers. Like this one – a family favorite.
Assemble the salad ingredients in individual bowls. (I use pasta bowls.) Mix with some of the dressing. Slice the leftover chicken and place on top of the salad. Serve additional dressing on the side along with the warm pita bread.
Greek Salad Dressing
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice
Pour all the dressing ingredients into a large jar and shake well.
Place the jar in the refrigerator for a few hours to blend the flavors.
Pour the Greek dressing over the salad ingredients as directed above.
Oven Baked Southwestern Baby Back Ribs
2 Baby Back Rib slabs
1 cup BBQ sauce (your favorite)
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
½ tablespoon Mexican chili powder
½ tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon allspice
Pinch of ground clove
Combine the spice ingredients and rub on all sides of the ribs. Wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
The next day, place the ribs in a large baking dish and cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake for 2 ½ – 3 hours,; until the ribs are tender but not falling apart.
Remove the baking dish from oven and increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Pour off all liquid in the baking dish. Brush the ribs with barbecue sauce and cook for 15 minutes or until the sauce is heated through and starting to get a little sticky. Remove the ribs to a cutting board and cut into two-rib sections to serve.
Taco Flavored Stuffed Zucchini
If making the zucchini boats with the ribs, bake them ahead and cover the dish with foil. Leave at room temperature. Reheat in the oven with the ribs after they are basted with BBQ sauce.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large zucchini
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 whole scallions, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon taco seasoning
1/4 cup jarred salsa
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh with a small serrated spoon leaving a quarter-inch shell. Chop the zucchini flesh. Oil a baking dish and place the zucchini shells in the dish.
Heat the oil in a small skillet and add the zucchini flesh, celery, scallions, and garlic. Saute until tender and all the liquid is gone. Add the taco seasoning and salsa. Stir and remove the pan from the heat.
Cool for 10 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
16 ounces shredded cabbage
1⁄4 cup finely chopped green onions
1 cup shredded carrot
1 teaspoon honey or sugar substitute
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup heavy cream (whipping)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
In a large bowl, combine the coleslaw, carrots and green onion. Put aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the honey, salt, pepper, celery seed, mayonnaise, whipping cream, vinegar, and lemon juice, using a whisk.
Pour over the vegetables, stir gently to mix.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Stir before serving.
My market had a sale on Florida mini peppers. I like stuffing large peppers, so I thought I would try something similar with all these mini peppers. After thinking about what ingredients I would use – I came up with Nachos. I replaced the chips with mini peppers and this recipe turned out to be so delicious. Give it a try. Coleslaw is a good side for this entre and here is the kink to my recipe.
Mini Pepper Nachos
15 mini peppers
1 lb lean ground beef
2 tablespoons taco seasoning, see recipe below
½ cup water
1 cup salsa
Half an onion, diced
Sliced pickled jalapenos to taste
15 Mini peppers
1 cup Velveeta light cheese, cubed
½ cup shredded Mexican blend or Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Oil a13x9 inch baking dish.
Cut the mini peppers in half and remove the seeds. Place the halves in the baking dish.
Brown the meat in a medium skill. Add the taco seasoning and water. Simmer until the liquid evaporates. Spoon the beef into each pepper half. Place a spoonful of salsa on each pepper. Sprinkle the diced onion on top. Add slices of jalapeno to taste. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Make the cheese sauce: Place the cheeses and milk in a microwave-safe dish or measuring cup. Hear for two minutes. Stir. Return the mixture to the microwave for 30 seconds if the cheese is not melted or set aside for a few minutes and the cheese will finish melting. Stir well.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and pour the cheese sauce over the peppers and place the dish under the broiler. Broil for a few minutes, just until the top begins to brown. Watch carefully.
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Stir all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container.
Add 2 tablespoons taco seasoning and 1/2 cup water per pound of browned meat.
It has been very cold the past few weeks in most of the country, including the south. Warm casseroles and spicy dishes can warm you up but you don’t have to turn to macaroni and cheese for that to happen. Combining healthy foods with lots of flavor can do it for you. Try these recipes for a start.
Escarole and Italian Sausage Casserole
I save the ends of the parmesan cheese in a bag in the freezer and use them to flavor soups and stews.
Serve with crusty Italian bread.
1 pound escarole, approximately 2 heads
6 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chopped onion
1 fennel bulb, cored and chopped
1 lb cheese and parsley Italian sausage (or regular Italian sausage), sliced into half-inch pieces
1/2 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup cooked cannellini beans
Parmesan cheese rind
Fresh black pepper
Remove the outer leaves of escarole if damaged or discolored. Cut off the stem ends, wash the leaves twice in abundant cold water and drain. Cut the leaves into two-inch lengths.
In a large Dutch Oven, sauté the garlic in 2 tablespoons of oil until golden but not brown. Add the escarole, salt and red pepper.
Cover and cook over moderate heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the escarole to a bowl and set aside.
Add the remaining oil, onion, fennel bulb and sausage to the pan; cook until the sausage is browned, stirring frequently.
Add the broth, Parmesan rind, escarole and beans.
Cover; bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
Like other stews, Beef Burgundy, tastes best when made ahead so the flavors have time to mingle. Serve with noodles, rice, mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash.
Roasted carrots make a nice side dish.
1 (4-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
Salt and black pepper
5 slices bacon, cut into thirds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour or arrowroot powder
1 (750-ml) bottle good dry red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 lb mushrooms, trimmed and halved
1-2 cups beef broth
2 cloves garlic head, crushed
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
Heat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until the bacon is lightly browned on both sides.
Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate. Break into smaller pieces.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Add the butter to the pan and melt.
In batches, in single layers, sear the beef in the hot pan for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.
Remove the seared cubes with a slotted spoon to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Add onions the garlic to the pan and saute for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour or arrowroot over the onions and stir until no dry flour remains. Whisk in the wine, tomato paste and anchovy paste until combined.
Add the bay leaves, mushrooms and thyme to the pan.
Add the beef and bacon and enough beef broth to come almost to the top of the beef.
Place the pan, uncovered, into the oven and cook until the meat is tender, 3 ½-4 hours, stirring occasionally and adding broth, if needed, to keep the meat half-submerged in liquid.
Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Stew can be made up to 3 days in advance.
Just a note here that this recipe is my version and not an authentic Mexican Huevos recipe.
For 2 servings
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups jarred salsa
2 seeded and chopped plum tomatoes
1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
1 Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
4 large eggs
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Mexican blend cheese
1 teaspoon olive oil
Prepare the tortillas:
Heat the oven to 150° F. Place a pan large enough to fit the tortillas in the oven to heat.
Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium high, coating the pan with the oil.
One by one heat the tortillas in the pan, a minute or two on each side, until they are heated through, softened and pockets of air bubble up inside of them.
Then, remove them to the pan in the oven to keep warm while you cook the sauce and the eggs.
Make the sauce:
Heat the oil in the same skillet and add the onion, garlic and jalapeno. Cook until tender. Add the salsa, tomatoes, chipotle and roasted red peppers.
Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Return the heat to medium, so that the sauce is bubbling slightly.
Crack 4 eggs into the sauce in the skillet, cover and cook for about 4 minutes until the egg are almost firm.
Uncover the pan and sprinkle each egg with 1/4 cup cheese. Cover the pan and cook for another minute to let the cheese melt and to finish cooking the eggs.
Place a tortilla on a serving plate. With a large spoon place two eggs and half the sauce on top. Repeat with the second tortilla and eggs. Serve immediately.