Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Soup

Make a large piece of meat (beef roast, chicken, or pork roast) one day a week and you will have lots of easy meals during the week. Last week I made a baked ham (recipe) that had been in my freezer for a few months. Having these leftovers made for some easy meals.

Ham Omelet For Breakfast

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
8 large eggs
4 small red potatoes, cooked and diced
1 cup diced Italian light green frying peppers
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 cup diced cooked baked ham
3 slices American cheese, broken into pieces

Directions

Position rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat the broiler.
Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Heat oil and butter in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers, and potatoes; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ham; cook, stirring, until the ham is hot.
Pour the eggs over the vegetable ham mixture and cook, lifting the edges of the omelet so uncooked egg can flow underneath until the bottom is light golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top, transfer the pan to the oven and broil until the eggs are set, 6 to 8 minutes. Let rest for about 3 minutes before cutting. Serve hot or warm.

Ham And Potato Soup For Lunch

Ingredients

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 large onion diced
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
3 cups peeled and diced potatoes
4 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 cups cooked ham, diced (add more if desired)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups ham broth, see recipe below
3 cups of milk
1 teaspoon of salt (adjust to your taste)
Fresh cracked black pepper

Directions

For the ham broth

Simmer the ham bone in a stockpot filled with enough water to cover the bone halfway.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid, and let simmer until the meat clinging to the bone begins to shred. (about 1 hour).
Discard the hambone.

For the soup

Heat the butter in the stockpot over medium heat. Sauté the onion, carrots, and celery until beginning to soften (about 4 minutes).
Add the potatoes, cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
Mix the flour through the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in the ham stock, mixing all ingredients together, and making sure the flour is completely dissolved. Cover the pan and cook until the potatoes are ‘just’ fork-tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low, add the milk and stir over the heat until thickened (about 5 minutes). Using a hand blender, process the soup until partially pureed. Leave a few chunks here and there. Stir in the chopped ham and heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve hot.

Air-Fryer Chicken Tenders For Dinner

Ingredients

1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
Salt
1 cup Italian seasoned panko crumbs
¼ cup of vegetable oil
Cooking spray
6 chicken tenders

Directions

Pound the tenders between plastic wrap to ¼ inch thick

Mix the oil into the panko crumbs until combined.

Dip each tender in the egg and then the panko. Place on a plate. Sprinkle the tenders lightly with salt. (Can be refrigerated at this point until ready to cook.)

Set the air-fryer temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat the oven (takes about 10 minutes).

Remove the air-fryer basket and coat with cooking spray. Place the tenders in the basket – don’t do more than 6 at one time. Repeat the process if you have more.

Bake 6 minutes. Turn the tenders over and bake 6 more minutes. Remove to a serving platter.

Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

4 medium tomatoes
4 teaspoons panko crumbs
10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat oil in a small saucepan and add garlic; cook 1 minute
Add spinach and heat.
Make a well in the center of the spinach and add the cream.
Heat and stir until cheese is dissolved throughout the spinach. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut a thin slice off the top of the tomatoes and scoop out the pulp and seeds. Salt the inside of the tomatoes and turn upside down on a plate lined with a paper towel to extract juices, about 15 minutes.

Stuff the tomatoes with the spinach filling, Sprinkle with the top of each tomato with Parmesan cheese and panko crumbs. Place the tomatoes in a greased baking dish just large enough to hold the four tomatoes. Bake until the filling is hot and the tops are light brown, about 20 minutes.


This is the perfect time of year to make lots of vegetable dishes. The farm stands and CSA allotments are abundant now, so take advantage of these beautiful vegetables and add them to your menu.

This easy to make soup is delicious for lunch or for a light dinner with a salad. Use any combination of vegetables that you like for this soup.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 scallions, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 banana peppers (mild), chopped
4 small yellow summer squashes, chopped
2 cups fresh corn, about 2 cobs
1 cup sliced okra
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
8 cups chicken broth (homemade recipe)
1 cup heavy cream
Shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the garlic and next 8 ingredients. Cook, stirring until the vegetables are coated in oil and beginning to soften about five minutes. Add the broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes until the carrots and potatoes are tender. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the cream. Heat over low until hot. Do not boil.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top each serving with ¼ cup of cheese.


Swiss Chard and Ham Quiche

Ingredients

Easy Oil Pastry
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour(for low carb/gluten-free crust use 1 1/2 cups almond flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil
4 tablespoons cold water
Quiche
1 tablespoon butter
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups leftover baked ham, chopped
4 large eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 ounces Swiss cheese, grated (1 cup)

Directions

For the pastry:
Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. This can be done right in the pie pan. Whisk together the oil and water, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened. Pat the dough across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides. A flat-bottomed measuring cup can help you make the bottom even. Press the dough up the sides of the pan with your fingers, and flute the top. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For the quiche:
Rinse the Swiss chard and chop.
Melt the butter in a large skillet, add the onion and saute until just turning golden. Add the Swiss chard and continue to saute about 10 minutes, until the Swiss chard has wilted. Stir in the ham and season with pepper and salt.
Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese in the bottom of the pastry in the pie pan
Spread the chard mixture on top of the cheese.
Beat the eggs and mix with the half & half. Pour over the chard mixture in the pie pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.
Bake about 45-50 minutes, until puffed and browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Ham and Bean Soup

Ingredients

1 lb pound dry great Northern beans, soaked overnight in cold water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 small-medium potato, peeled and chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
A handful of parsley sprigs
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
1 ham bone and the meat surrounding it
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups of water
Leftover chopped ham, optional

Directions

Drain the beans and set aside.
In a large pot on high heat add in the olive oil and then add in the onions, carrots, and celery until soft, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the drained beans, the ham bone, and water. Stir, cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.


Add in the potatoes, garlic, and herbs, stir, cover and simmer for 20 more minutes. Taste one of the beans to see if they are tender. If not cook for 5-10 minutes and adjust the seasonings. Add additional chopped ham if desired and heat for a few minutes.


 

Do inventory. This is the perfect time when you are stuck at home. You will be amazed at what you forgot is in the freezer. Maybe some chicken parts and a few steak bones for soup, or a package of stew meat. You get the picture. I found a ham bone from the holidays and a half package of split peas. (I keep my dried beans in the freezer as well as flour and nuts because I live in a hot climate)

Time to make soup.

 

Split-Pea and Ham Soup

This is my easy and uncomplicated version. It makes a delicious soup. Serve with some rye bread.

Ingredients

1 lb dried split peas
2 quarts cold water
1 meaty ham bone
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram or thyme
2 onions, chopped
3 stalks celery with tops, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced

Directions

In a large stockpot, combine all the ingredients. Cover, bring to boil and then simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.


Remove the bone to a plate and let cool. Cut off any meat still clinging to the bone. Dice the meat. Retrieve any pieces of meat that are floating in the soup and dice. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. Return the diced meat to the stockpot and reheat the soup for serving.

 


America is a melting pot that was formed by the hard-working people who migrated here from lands as far east as China and Japan and as far north as Russia and Europe. They utilized American supplies and prepared them in ways that they had prepared them in their homeland.
True American food is a collection of these culinary traditions passed down from generation to generation. Each culture brought their cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America. This series is about what they cooked.

From Manhattan to New England, clam chowder is known for its competing varieties as much as for its comforting briny flavor. It seems every state on the East Coast has its own take on the popular soup

New England clam chowder is the most well-known and popular clam chowder. Though it’s named after New England and associated most with Massachusetts and Maine, food historians believe that French, Nova Scotian, or British settlers introduced the soup to the area and it became a common dish by the 1700s. The soup continued to gain popularity throughout the years and, according to “What’s Cooking America”, was being served in Boston at Ye Olde Union Oyster House (the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the country) by 1836.

New England clam chowder, occasionally called “Boston Clam Chowder,” is made with the usual clams and potatoes, but it also has a milk or cream base. It is usually thick and hearty; Today. the soup can be found all over the country but is still most popular in the North East.

I  serve the chowder with crusty Italian bread and a Romaine Salad dressed with a Parmesan Vinaigrette.

New England Clam Chowder

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

3 strips thick-cut bacon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 medium leek, washed and sliced
2 celery ribs with tops cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning (Old Bay)
3 medium-size white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I use Wondra-no lumps)
4 cups seafood stock or bottled clam juice, divided
1 pound chopped fresh clam meat with juices or 2 (6.5 oz) cans of clams in broth
Kosher salt to taste
2 cups half & half
1 teaspoon white pepper
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Directions

Place a 4- to 6-quart pot over medium-low heat. Add the bacon and cook, turning occasionally, until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the bacon, leaving the fat in the pot, and crumble into small pieces onto a plate; set aside.

Add the butter, onion, leek, celery, thyme, seafood seasoning and bay leaves to the pot. Cook, stirring often, until onions and potatoes are tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

Return the bacon to the pot and increase the heat to medium-low.

Dissolve the flour in 1 cup of the clam broth or seafood stock. Add the mixture gradually, stirring continuously, until incorporated. Stir and cook 5 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium and slowly add the remaining clam broth or stock, 1 cup at a time, incorporating it into the mixture before adding more.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the clam meat with its juices. Keep stirring 5 minutes, until the clams are tender.

Add the cream slowly; then stir in the white pepper.

Discard the bay leaves before serving. Garnish each serving with chopped parsley.

Note
Many supermarkets carry frozen, chopped clam meat in 1-pound containers, which is fresher than canned and just as convenient. Simply defrost before using.

Romaine Salad with Parmesan Vinaigrette

Ingredients

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnishing the salad
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped

Directions

Whisk the Parmesan, mustard, vinegar, and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil. Sprinkle the vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Toss the lettuce with the vinaigrette. Serve immediately.


Tortilla Soup

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

Tortilla Strips
8 corn tortillas (6-inch), cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 tablespoon avocado or vegetable oil
Table salt

Soup
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)
Table salt
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 medium jalapeño chile, chopped
1 chipotle chile en adobo with 1 tablespoon adobo sauce, finely chopped

Garnishes
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.

2 servings

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

 

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.


Potato-Crusted Quiche

The Roasted Root Vegetable recipe can be found here.

Ingredients

4 cups shredded russet potatoes
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup half-and-half
4 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
3 cups diced leftover roasted root vegetables
1 cup shredded Cheddar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Gently press the shredded potatoes between paper towels to dry them as best as possible.
In a 10-inch glass pie plate melt the butter in the microwave or the hot oven. Toss the potatoes with the melted butter in the pan. Add salt to taste. Press them into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp.

Sprinkle the bacon and half the cheese on the bottom of the crust.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, half and half, and diced roasted vegetables. Pour the egg mixture over the crust and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Place the pan on a cookie sheet and then in the oven.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for about 30 minutes until the quiche is light golden brown on top and puffed. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting.

Homemade Tomato Soup

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts, diced
2 carrots with green tops, diced including the tops
3 stalks celery with leaves, diced
The top of one fennel bulb with fronds, diced (save the bulb for another recipe)
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 lbs fresh plum tomatoes
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons honey
A few dashes of hot sauce

Directions

I freeze the tomatoes and then defrost them overnight. The skins slip off easily. Or you can
bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the tomatoes to the boiling water and cook 4-5 minutes, or until skins loosen. Carefully remove tomatoes from the water with a slotted spoon. Set aside until tomatoes are cool enough to handle; carefully slip off the skins and discard. Chop the tomatoes and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy Durch Oven over medium-high heat; add the garlic, leeks, carrots, fennel, celery and sauté 3-4 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped tomatoes.


Add the broth and honey. Simmer for 15 minutes. Use a handheld stick blender and process until smooth and creamy. Add the hot sauce and serve with a slice of quiche.


Roasted Cauliflower With Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

1 large head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Pull all the leaves off of the cauliflower and use a paring knife to remove enough of the core to let the cauliflower sit flat. Don’t take out too much though. You don’t want the head to break into florets but you want it to stay in one piece.

Put 1 tablespoon of the olive oil into a deep baking dish and rub it around. Add the head of cauliflower, cut side down. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Rub it in a bit. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes or until a skewer pokes into it very very easily.

Make cheese sauce according to directions below. Pour cheese sauce over the cauliflower and serve.

Cheese Sauce For Vegetables

ingredients
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.
Stir over medium-low heat until all the cheese is melted. Remove pan from the heat immediately.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

ingredients

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Pinch of cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Wash and dry the potatoes. Poke about 3-4 holes on each side with a fork. Rub the skin with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake 50 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Allow potatoes to rest for 5 minutes before cutting open.

Combine the melted butter, maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon. Drizzle over the cut portions of the sweet potatoes and serve.

Easy Butternut Squash Soup

6 servings

Ingredients

4-12 oz packages frozen pureed butternut squash
32 oz container vegetable broth
4 oz container unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
Herbs for garnish, such as sage

Directions

Put all the ingredients in a Dutch Oven except the cream. Bring to a boil, stir well, lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. Stir in the cream and serve garnished with fresh herbs.

Apple Rosemary Tart

Ingredients

One 9-inch refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 pounds baking apples, such as Granny Smith or Golden Delicious
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (do not substitute dried instead use 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a small bowl, combine the flour with 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar; reserve.

Peel and core the apples. Slice them into ¼ inch-thick slices. (You should have about 3 cups.)

Place the apples in a bowl and toss them with the lemon juice, the remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar and the rosemary or cinnamon.

Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle the reserved flour/sugar mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border uncovered.

Arrange the apples evenly over the flour mixture. Fold the edges of the dough over the apples. Moisten your fingers lightly with water and gently press the creases so that they hold together.

Dot the apples with the butter.

Bake the tart for about 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, the apples are tender and the juices syrupy.

Cover the tart with foil halfway through the cooking time, if the crust is browning too rapidly.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then slide the tart onto a serving platter. Just before serving, sift the confectioners’ sugar evenly over the crust.


Pear & Celery Salad

Ingredients

4 stalks celery, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons cider, pear, raspberry or other fruit vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ripe pears, preferably red Bartlett or Anjou, diced
Half shallot
1 cup finely diced white Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (see Tip)
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 large leaves butterhead or other lettuce

Directions

Soak celery in a bowl of ice water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Whisk vinegar, honey, and salt in a large bowl until blended. Add pears; gently stir to coat. Add the celery, cheese, and pecans; stir to combine. Season with pepper. Divide the lettuce leaves among 6 plates and top with a portion of salad. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
\
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare salad without pecans up to 2 hours ahead. Stir in pecans just before serving.
Tip: To toast chopped pecans, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

ingredients

1 medium cooking pumpkin, about 3 ½ – 4 cups roasted pumpkin flesh
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped leeks
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ cups whole milk
1-2 teaspoons honey
Chopped chives for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a sheet of parchment on a baking sheet with sides.

Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Fill the pumpkin wells halfway with water and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
Place in the oven and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Cool and then scrape out the pumpkin into a bowl. Set aside,

Pour the olive oil into a Dutch Oven and heat over medium-high heat.

Add leeks, celery, and garlic; cook and stir until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the pumpkin, broth, pepper, salt, and spices. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

Process with a hand immersion blender in the saucepan or transfer half of the pumpkin mixture to a blender or food processor; cover and blend or process until smooth. Repeat with the remaining half of the pumpkin mixture. Return all of the pureed mixture to the saucepan.

Stir in the milk and heat through, but do not boil. Stir in enough of the honey to sweeten the mixture to taste.

Serve warm garnished with chopped chives. Makes 6 (3/4-cup) servings.

Twice Baked Potatoes

Make-Ahead Tip: The potatoes can be baked a day before or early in the day.T hey can be filled, covered and refrigerated until close to serving time. Take them out of the refrigerator two hours before you want to serve them. Let the stuffed potatoes come to room temperature for one hour. Then reheat in the oven uncovered, for one hour.

4 servings

Ingredients

2 large russet potatoes about 14 -16 oz each, scrubbed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
Paprika and chopped chives for garnish

Directions

Heat oven to 375°F. Gently scrub potatoes, but do not peel. Pierce potatoes several times with a fork to allow steam to escape while the potatoes bake. Wrap in heavy-duty foil.

Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when lightly squeezed.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut lengthwise in half; scoop out the inside, leaving a thin shell.

In a mixing bowl, mash the potatoes. Add the butter, salt, and pepper; mix until the potatoes are light and fluffy.

Stir in the sour cream , heavy cream, and cheddar cheese. Fill the potato shells and place them in a baking dish.

Sprinkle with paprika and chives. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Take them out of the refrigerator two hours before you want to serve them. Let the stuffed potatoes come to room temperature for one hour.

Then bake in a 375°F. oven uncovered, for one hour.

Pear Tart

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup almond flour (finely ground blanched almonds)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 sheet frozen Puff Pastry
3 firm-ripe Bosc or Anjou pears
Egg white

Directions

Thaw the puff pastry according to package directions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 12×12 inch rectangle.

Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (I use an attractive baking pan that can also be used for serving.)  Prick pastry with a fork.

Build up the sides slightly by folding in about 1/2 inch of the pastry on the edges. Brush edges with egg white.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine 1/4 cup sugar with the almond flour and all-purpose flour. Set aside.

Beat together the butter and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer at moderately high speed until pale and fluffy.

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the flavored extracts.

Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour mixture just until combined.

Spread the almond filling evenly over the tart shell.

Peel, halve and core pears, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange pears decoratively on top of the illing.

Brush the pears with the egg white.

Bake until the pears are golden and the filling is puffed up around the pears and golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Cool tart completely in the baking pan on a rack, then slide the parchment out from under the tart. Leave at room temperature until serving time.

Garnish with frozen yogurt or whipped cream, if desired.


Tip: Did you know you can freeze whole lemons and limes? They are perfect for cooking. Leave the frozen fruit on the counter for an hour. The zest is easy to remove, and the fruit slices and juices easily also. Next time you see lemons and limes on sale, buy a bag and freeze them for future cooking.

Southern Italian Style Lemon Chicken

Cooking a whole chicken is very economical because you get several meals from one chicken.

Ingredients

3 large lemons
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 garlic clove minced
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
4-pound whole chicken

Directions

Remove the zest from the three lemons and set aside. Cut the lemons into thin slices and set aside.


In a small bowl combine the lemon zest, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and salt.


Cut the chicken along the backbone on one side with kitchen shears. Do not remove the bone. Turn the chicken over and flatten it. (The reason I did not remove the backbone is that I want to use the entire chicken carcass for soup.)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil on the baking sheet. Lay the lemon slices in the olive oil down the middle of the tray as a “rack” for the chicken. Sprinkle one-third of the lemon rub on the underside of the chicken. Turn the chicken over and rub the remaining lemon mixture over and under the skin of the whole chicken. Lay the chicken, skin side up, on the bed of lemons and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Roast, basting every 15 minutes until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F in the thigh about 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Using a fork, mash the lemon pulp into the juices on the baking sheet, discarding the rind. Mix the pulp into the drippings and use this mixture to spoon over the chicken just before serving.

Serve some of the chicken for dinner. I was able to remove about 4 cups meat. I left some meat clinging to the leg, wing and breast bones for soup. Shred 1 to 2 cups for the recipe below. Use the carcass and some of the cooked chicken for chicken noodle soup. You may even have enough leftover for some chicken salad.

Baked Chicken Taquitos (Rolled Tacos)

The entire recipe makes 20 taquitos. I cut the recipe in half and made 10 for my family. I like tortillas made from cassava flour for this recipe because they are grain-free, light and easy to roll.

For the Taquitos:
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
20 corn tortillas

For the Toppings:
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomatoes
Guacamole
Sour Cream
Chopped Green Onion
Crumbled Queso Fresco
Pico de Gallo
Salsa

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray two large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the shredded chicken with cumin, chili powder, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and fresh lime juice. Stir until chicken is well coated with the seasonings. Stir in the shredded cheese.

Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and place on a plate. Microwave for 1 minute or until the tortillas are warm and pliable.
Layout the tortillas on a flat surface and divide the chicken and cheese mixture among the 20 tortillas. Roll up each tortilla tightly and secure with a toothpick.

Place a heaping tablespoon of the chicken and cheese mixture in the center of the tortilla and roll it up tightly. Place the taquito, seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Continue rolling taquitos until the tortillas and filling are gone.

 

Spray the taquitos generously with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the taquitos are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and serve warm with desired toppings.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Leave some meat on the bones, especially the legs, wings, and breast bone

Ingredients

Broth
Chicken bones leftover from the roasted chicken recipe above
1 whole onion, cut in half
2 carrots, cut in half
4 celery stalks with leaves, cut in thirds
6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoon peppercorns
8 quarts water

Directions

Place all the ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Cover the pan with the lid ajar.
Strain the broth in a colander lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl. Let drain completely. Pick out any meat in the cheesecloth and set aside. Discard the cooking vegetables and bones and return the broth to the stockpot.

Noodle Soup

Ingredients

Strained broth
Reserved chicken meat
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
5 scallions, diced
6 oz fettuccine or noodles
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Place the strained broth, carrots, celery, and scallions in the stockpot. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook the vegetables, about 20 minutes. Return toa boil, add the noodles and cook for about 5 minutes. Add salt (I added 2 teaspoons) and black pepper to taste. Stir in reserved chicken meat, dill, and parsley.



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