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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: green beans

Have lots of leftovers from the holiday? I do. So I thought I would share with you how I used some them in some new dishes.

Ham Salad

4 servings

Ingredients

2 cups finely diced baked ham
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Half medium onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
Half a bell pepper, finely diced
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Combine the mayonnaise, mustard and pickle relish in a large bowl. Add the ham, vegetables, salt and black pepper to taste. Stir well and refrigerate until serving time.

This salad is also tasty mixed into cooked elbow macaroni for a ham and macaroni salad or as a sandwich filling.

Deviled Eggs

Good for leftover Easter eggs.

Ingredients

6 large eggs
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup olive oil mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Paprika for garnish

Directions

Place the eggs in a saucepan just large enough to hold the six eggs. Cover with cold water and place the pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and cover the saucepan.

Let the eggs rest in the hot water for 12 minutes. Drain the water from the pot and add some ice cubes and cold water to cover the cooked eggs.

Let them cool until you can handle the eggs without burning your fingers.

Gently tap the eggs in several places and remove the shells. Place the peeled eggs on paper towels to dry.

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks and place in a mixing bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork. Add the onion, celery, mayonnaise, mustard and salt and pepper. Mix well.

With a spoon fill each egg where the yolk had been with some of the mixture.

Place the eggs on a serving platter and sprinkle the tops with paprika. Chill until serving time.

Coleslaw

I never use an entire cabbage at once, so I am able to get several meals from a head of cabbage.

Servings 4

Ingredients

Half a medium cabbage, sliced thin
2 scallions sliced
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup heavy cream (whipping)
1⁄2 tablespoon white vinegar
1⁄2 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the honey, salt, pepper, celery seed, mayonnaise, cream, vinegar and lemon juice, using a whisk. Add the cabbage and scallions, stir gently to mix.

Refrigerate until serving time.

Mock “Split Pea” Soup

12 cups

I had green beans and cauliflower leftover from the holidays and decided to use them in a soup along with the ham bone. I was so surprised that soup tasted just like split pea soup but without all the carbs. Amazing taste.

Ingredients

1 baked ham bone with some meat attached
4 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
1 onion or 1 leeks, diced
1 large carrot, diced
3 stalks celery with leaves, diced
2 cups cooked cauliflower
2 cups cooked green beans
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Put the ham bone in a large soup pot. Add the broth and water; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the meat is starting to fall off the bones, about an hour.

Remove the ham bone from the broth and set aside to cool.

Add the vegetables to the broth in the pot. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer until the vegetables are very tender about 30 minutes.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Remove the meat from the bones, cut into bite-size pieces and add to the soup.

Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.Heat on low for about 20 minutes.

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Springtime On The Gulf Coast

I am a home cook that hates to waste food. I also don’t like heated up leftovers. So…I try to think of ways to reinvent my leftovers. In the past week, I had cooked asparagus, green beans, Swiss chard, Italian sausage and mini bell peppers to use up. The new recipes turned out just fine.

Ham and Asparagus Quiche

This is a good dish to use up some of your leftover cooked vegetable sides. We like this dish for a lighter dinner and I serve it with a salad.

6 servings

Ingredients

Press in the Pan Crust

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour or Bob’s Red Mill Low Carb or Gluten-Free Baking Mix
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 oz (1 stick ) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3-4 tablespoons cold water

Quiche Filling

3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup baked ham cubes
1 cup chopped cooked asparagus
½ cup chopped cooked green beans
¼ cup cooked sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

To make the pastry

Place the flour, salt, and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the butter is cut into little pieces. Slowly drizzle in the cold water by tablespoons until the dough comes together.

Remove the dough from the processor and press onto the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator for an hour or two.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes until the edges begin to brown.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

To make the filling

In a medium mixing bowl combine all the filling ingredients. Pour the mixture into the partially baked pie crust. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 35-40 minutes until set. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting.

Sautéed Swiss Chard

This was the original recipe, I made for a side dish.

Ingredients

2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion finely chopped
2 large bunches of Swiss chard, washed in several changes of water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Directions

Drain the washed chard very well. With a knife, remove the chard stems that run up the middle of each leaf.Save them for soup.

Cut the leaves into smaller pieces.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic, and black pepper.

Heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are tender.

Add the chard leaves and cook, covered, for 3-5 minutes until the leaves are wilted and brightly colored. Add a tablespoon of water to the pan if it seems like the leaves are getting too dry.

Add salt to taste and serve as a side dish. Reserve leftovers to make the patties for another meal.

Swiss Chard Patties

Ingredients

2 cups leftover cooked Swiss chard
2 tablespoons flour
1 scallions, minced
1 egg
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Heat a stovetop griddle or a large frying pan. Oil the griddle. With a muffin-scoop drop batter onto the hot griddle.

Cook until lightly brown on the underside, Turn the patties over and cook until lightly brown. These patties make a delicious side dish.

If you have patties leftover, they make a great breakfast. Heat the patties in a skillet. Top each with a fried egg.

Sausage and Peppers with Spaghetti Squash

3 servings

Ingredients

4 cooked Italian sausage links
6 mini bell peppers, assorted colors
1 small yellow onion
1 ½ cups homemade or store-bought Marinara Sauce
One 2 lb spaghetti squash
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large garlic clove, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F and halve squash lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard the seeds from the middle of each half.

Arrange the squash halves in a baking dish, cut sides down. Pour 1/2 cup water into the dish and bake until just tender, 30 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and drain the water from the baking dish. Set the squash aside to cool.

Cut the onion and peppers into thin slices. Cut the sausage into ¼ inch circles.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and peppers and cook until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add the Marinara sauce and sliced sausage. Heat the mixture until hot.

With a fork rack back and forth across the cooled squash to remove its flesh in strands…like spaghetti!

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add salt and black pepper to the skillet and then add the squash strands. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the squash is hot. Don’t overcook. Add the parsley, mix and serve with the sausage and peppers.


Roasted Salmon With Chive Sauce

This chive sauce makes salmon so delicious.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

For the oven roasted salmon

1 large skinless salmon fillet (about 675g | 1-1/2lb), cut into 4 equal pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
4 pats of butter

For the chive sauce

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup (240ml) chicken broth
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus extra for garnish

Directions

For the salmon:

Preheat the oven to 450°F; place the salmon in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each piece of salmon with a pat of butter. Roast in the preheated oven until the top of the fish starts to brown, about 15 minutes.

For the chive sauce:

While the fish is in the oven, heat the butter in a small saute pan set over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic. Cook until golden then add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer; simmer for about a minute then whisk in the mustard.

In a small container, whisk the cornstarch in the cream and then add this to the simmering sauce; whisk until well incorporated and the sauce thickens, about 45 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the fresh chopped chives.

Remove the roasted salmon from the oven and pour the chive sauce over the fish. Garnish with more chopped chives and serve.

Pan-fried Potatoes and Onions

Serves 4

To keep this dinner low carb, I used rutabaga instead of potatoes for this typical potato recipe. Either vegetable works well.

Ingredients

Salt and Pepper to taste
2 ½ lbs red potatoes or rutabaga, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Cut the potatoes or rutabaga into thin slices about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sliced potatoes or rutabaga and cook until the bottom layer begins to brown. Keep an eye on it because they will burn. Once the browning begins, turn the slices over with a metal spatula. When the potato or rutabaga start to soften, add the onions and turn the entire mixture with the spatula to mix.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Continue frying until the slices are evenly browned and soft, and the onions are caramelized.

Green Beans with Mushrooms

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
4 oz cremini mushrooms sliced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Place the green beans in a large skillet with a cover. Pour water into the pan to just cover the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a strong simmer, cover the pan and cook the beans for 2 minutes. Drain the beans and set aside.

Add the oil and garlic to the empty skillet and heat for a minute. Add the mushrooms and thyme. Saute until the mushrooms are no longer releasing their liquid. Add the drained green beans and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until they are tender. Don’t overcook. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.


All the recipes below use vegetables that are lower in carbs, so these side dishes can easily fit into a healthy eating plan. These vegetables are also in season in my area of the country.

I have tried several cauliflower mash recipes in the past, but did not like them very much. So, I have been experimenting and finally developed a recipe we like a lot. It is important to get as much liquid as possible out of the vegetables to make a good tasting mash.

A few simple additions to green beans makes for a delicious side. Leftovers from the Rutabaga saute make a great hash breakfast with eggs on top.

Hope you enjoy these recipes.

Green Beans With Onions and Mushrooms

Ingredients

1 pound green beans, stems trimmed
8 oz button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 large garlic clove, chopped fine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the sliced onions to pan. Cook them for 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and garlic to the pan and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the greens beans and cook for another 5 minutes or until the green beans are tender. Add the Worcestershire sauce and butter. Cook another 2 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and serve.

Rutabaga Saute

Ingredients

1 large rutabaga, trimmed and peeled
1 large sweet onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (chili flakes)
Salt, to taste

Directions

Dice the rutabaga, onion and peppers, keeping them all about the same size.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.

Once the pan is hot, add the rutabaga, lower the heat and saute, turning often until the rutabaga is almost tender. This will take about 15 minutes.

Add the remaining oil and the onions, peppers and garlic. Season with salt to taste and add the oregano and red pepper.

Continue cooking until all the vegetables are cooked all the way through. About 10 minutes more.

Baked Cauliflower and Celery Root Casserole

Ingredients

1 celeriac (celery root)
1 head cauliflower, core removed, cut into florets
2 large whole garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 teaspoon salt. divided
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter, diced into small cubes
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Peel the celery root and cut into 1-inch cubes.

Core the cauliflower and cut into florets.

Combine the cauliflower and celery-root pieces in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, broth and ½ teaspoon salt.

Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pan and cook about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an ovenproof casserole dish.

Drain the vegetables very well in a mesh colander and save the broth for another use.

Put the drained vegetables on a clean kitchen towel and squeeze any remaining liquid from the vegetables.

Put the mixture back in the saucepan and mash with a hand-held immersion blender. The mixture should have the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Place the mashed vegetable mixture into the prepared baking dish. Add the sour cream, chives, diced butter, remaining salt and pepper. Mix well and smooth the top.

Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the mozzarella cheese and them the Parmesan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and crusty on the top.


My veggie purchases also yielded extra for a few soups.  We like soup for lunch, so I usually make then weekly. The cabbage and broccoli were large enough for a few meals. Don’t forget some healthy bread to go with these meals.

Italian Beef and Cabbage Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup shredded carrot
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 head of green cabbage
2 cups green beans, cut into one-inch lengths
2 cups diced Italian tomatoes (with liquid)
6 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon Italian dried seasoning
2 medium bay leaves
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (chili)

Directions

Remove 8 outer layers of cabbage leaves and reserve for stuffed cabbage.

Cut the remaining head in half. Reserve half of the cabbage for coleslaw or for a side dish of sautéed cabbage. Shred the remaining half for the soup.

Heat the oil in a Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the chopped onions. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften.

Add ground beef to the pan. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, breaking apart with a spatula, until the beef is browned.

Add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Season with more salt and/or pepper to taste.

Cover the pan and simmer the soup on low for 45-60 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Creamy Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

Serves 6

1 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 head of cauliflower, core removed and chopped into small florets
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon dry mustard
4 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth
4 cups broccoli fresh florets, chopped, divided
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup heavy cream, optional

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions are tender, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the cauliflower, half of the chopped broccoli, dry mustard, cayenne and salt and pepper and saute for a minute or two.

Add the chicken broth, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very tender.

Use an immersion blender, or transfer the mixture to a blender, and puree until smooth and creamy.

Return the soup to the pot over medium heat and add the remaining broccoli. Bring to simmer and cook 25-30 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheese a little at a time until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the cream if you want it creamy and warm through. Do not boil.

Sourdough Oat Round

Delicious with soup.

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats or steel-cut oats
2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup firm sourdough starter

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl or an electric mixer bowl. Mix either by hand or with the electric mixer’s paddle attachment until well combined.

Move the dough to one side of the bowl and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Repeat with the other side of the dough. Cover the bowl and let rise for 18 hours.

After 18 hours turn dough onto well floured surface and gently flatten enough to fold dough back onto itself a couple of times to form a roundish blob.

Take a sheet of parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray. Place the dough in the middle of the sheet of parchment.

Let the dough rest while the oven is preheating.

Turn the oven to 500 degrees F and place a stone baking vessel on a low rack.

When the oven reaches 500 degrees F remove the baking vessel and turn down the oven to 450 degrees F.

Using the parchment as a sling, gently lower the sling containing the dough into the preheated baker, leaving the parchment in place.

Be careful not to touch the baker as it is very hot!

Place the lid on the baker and put the baker into the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Remove the baker from oven. The bread will still bake if left in the hot baker. So very carefully lift out the bread with the parchment.

Discard the parchment and cool the bread on a rack for about 2 hours.


Inviting friends over for dinner does not have to be a scary experience. With a little planning and the right kinds of recipes, it can be very manageable. On a recent evening, I entertained six of my friends for dinner and a relaxing evening. Here is my game plan.
Choose recipes that you can cook or do most of the preparation for in advance.
The main dish I served can be done the day before, refrigerated overnight and reheated while you and your guests enjoy an easy appetizer and cocktails. I have included my make ahead tips in the recipes below.

Mixed Olives, Sliced Havarti Cheese and Breadsticks. Chilled Prosecco

Italian Mixed Green Salad with Pistachios, Dried Raspberries and Gorgonzola Cheese

6 servings

Make Ahead Tip: The greens can be washed a day ahead or early in the morning, dried in a spinner and placed in a salad serving bowl. Place a paper towel on top of the greens, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Slice the tomatoes and onions, place in a storage container, drizzle a little dressing over them, cover and refrigerate.

Ingredients

1 heart of romaine lettuce
1 head red/green leaf lettuce
10 radicchio leaves, torn into small pieces
¼ of a red onion, diced
1 pint sliced miniature colored tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup pistachio nuts
¼ cup dried raspberries
Italian vinaigrette

Directions

To the washed greens in the salad bowl, add the nuts and raspberries. Pour some dressing over the ingredients and mix well.

Place some of the greens on 6 individual salad dishes, top with some of the marinated tomatoes and onions and top the tomatoes with a one inch square of cheese. Serve immediately.

Swiss Steak

Swiss steak is meat, usually beef, prepared by braising in a cooking pot of stewed tomatoes, mushroom sauce, or some other sauce, either on a stove or in an oven. In England and in some parts of the United States, especially the South, it is also called smothered steak. The dish does not come from Switzerland, as the name suggests, but from the technique of tenderizing by pounding called “swissing”.

6 or more servings

Make Ahead Tip: This dish benefits from being prepared a day or two in advance. Once it has finished cooking, pour into a shallow, ovenproof casserole dish. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate. Take the casserole out of the refrigerator two hours before you want to serve it. Let the casserole come to room temperature for one hour. Then, reheat in a 325 degree oven for one hour. (The dish can reheat while you and your guests are enjoying appetizers and cocktails.)

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
16 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
All-purpose flour
3 pounds boneless round steak, 3/4-1/2 inch thick
4 cups beef broth
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet (brown gravy coloring)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cut the round steak into serving size pieces and place between pieces of plastic wrap. Pound lightly to about 1/4 inch thick.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour.

In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add some of the meat and brown on both sides. Remove to a plate.

Repeat with remaining oil, butter and meat.

Add the garlic, onions and mushrooms to the pan and cook until the onion is softened and the mushrooms have released their liquid.

Add the Worcestershire sauce and Kitchen Bouquet. Stir in ¼ cup all-purpose flour and mix until the flour dissolves. Add the beef broth.

If the broth doesn’t cover the meat, add a little water. Stir until all the ingredients are mixed into the broth and bring to a boil.

Add the browned meat back to the pot,

Cover the pot and bake for 3 hours or until tender. Remove the meat to a shallow ovenproof casserole. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate.

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

Then, reheat, covered, in a 325 degree F oven for one hour.

Twice Baked Potatoes

Make Ahead Tip: The potatoes can be baked a day before or early in the morning of the day of your dinner party. They 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 with the casserole, uncovered, for one hour.

6 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 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 reheat in the oven, along with the Swiss Steak casserole, uncovered, for one hour.

To serve: cut each potato boat in half (to make 8 pieces). Serve one half to each guest. There will be 2 second helpings.

These are very filling. I have found that half of a large potato is sufficient for most guests.

Green Beans with Ginger and Lemon Zest

Make Ahead Tip: Blanch the beans in boiling water the day before or early in the morning on the day you are serving them. Place them in a storage container and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cover and refrigerate.

6 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, grated
2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated
3 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

Directions

Blanch the green beans in boiling water for two minutes. Drain.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add the beans and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.

Add the lemon zest, cover the pan and steam the beans until they are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.

Add the salt and pepper and pour into a serving dish.

Pear Frangipane Tart

This pastry should be made early in the day of your dinner party. It cannot be made a day ahead because it will lose its crispness.

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 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 frangipane filling evenly over the tart shell.

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

Brush the pears with the egg white.

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

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

Garnish with frozen yogurt or whipped cream, if desired.

 

 


 

To make really good tasting chicken soup, you need a rich tasting broth. I usually start with the remains of a whole 4 lb chicken that I have either cooked on the grill or in the oven. Remove as much meat as you can, reserve 2-3 cups for the soup and use the remainder of the chicken meat for other dishes. To make the broth even richer, roast the chicken bones in the oven.

Place an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven; preheat to 450°F. Spread the bones in a large roasting pan and place the pan in the oven on the lower rack and roast the bones until deeply brown, 45-60 minutes. Transfer the bones to a Dutch Oven or soup pot. Spoon the fat from the juices in the roasting pan and discard. Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium-high heat. When browned bits begin to sizzle, pour in 2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Pour into the pot with the roasted bones.

Add the following:

2 scrubbed carrots, cut in half
1 onion quartered or 1 bunch of scallions
2 celery stalks, cut in thirds
1 large garlic clove, peeled
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
6 peppercorns
1 large bay leaf

Directions

Add these ingredients to the stockpot with the roasted bones and add enough cold water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 4 hours.

Remove and discard the large bones and vegetable pieces. Strain the stock in a fine mesh colander lined with a piece of cheesecloth.

Discard the vegetables and bones. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper to the souppot.

You can add more seasoning later depending on how you will use the stock. You now have a clear, flavorful stock to make some great soups.

Below are recipes for some of my favorite chicken soups:

Mexican Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

3 medium poblano peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup celery, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup chopped orange or yellow bell pepper
1 cup sweet onion, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
8 cups homemade chicken broth, recipe above
14 oz container chopped tomatoes, no sugar or salt added
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch lengths
2 cups okra, trimmed and sliced into ½ inch rounds
3 seeded and chopped plum tomatoes
2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken
Toasted tortilla strips (see recipe below) and cheddar cheese for garnish

Directions

Roast the poblano peppers over a grill or under the broiler. Cool and remove the skin. Chop and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch Oven and add the garlic, celery, onion, bell pepper and jalapeno pepper.

Cook over low heat until tender.

Add the chili powder, cumin and salt. Stir well. Add the chicken broth and canned tomatoes. Bring to a boil.

Add the green beans,okra, plum tomatoes and diced poblano peppers.

Lower the heat and cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the cooked chicken and heat.

Serve with toasted tortilla strips and cheddar cheese as a topping for the soup.

Baked Tortilla Strips

8 corn tortillas (6 inch)

Heat the oven to 450°F. Spray 2 cookie sheets with cooking spray. Cut each tortilla into thin strips; place in a single layer on cookie sheets. Bake about 6 minutes or until crisp but not brown; cool and use to add to the soup.

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 ounces button mushrooms, thinly sliced
7 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch diagonal slices
4 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch diagonal slices
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
6 cup homemade chicken broth, recipe above
2 cups cooked chicken
1 cup cooked noodles, optional
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (for serving)

Directions

Add the oil to the soup pot and heat over low heat. Add the onions. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until softened.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the mushrooms, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Add the salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper and parsley.

Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes more or until the carrots and celery are almost softened.

Add the broth and chicken mixture to the vegetables in the soup pot.

Taste for seasoning and bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add cooked noodles, if using and extra cooked chicken, if desired.

Italian Escarole Bean Soup

Ingredients

½ yellow onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups dried white beans (cannellini), soaked overnight in water to cover and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
16 cups chicken broth, recipe above
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
2 heads of escarole, washed and cut into small pieces
1 cup diced, cooked spicy Italian sausage
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Parmesan cheese for serving

Directions

Heat oil in a large Dutch Oven and add the onions, celery and garlic. Cook until tender.

Add the Italian seasoning, the drained cannellini beans and the chicken broth.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cooked the beans for 30 minutes. Add the sausage, salt and escarole.

Let simmer until the escarole wilts. Ladle into soup bowls and top with Parmesan cheese.

Tortellini Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
2 cups water
4 cups homemade chicken broth, recipe above
1 piece of Parmesan cheese rind
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 pound fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
6 oz fresh spinach or any seasonal greens
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Grated Parmesan, for garnish

Directions

Remove stems and wilted leaves on the greens. Wash well in several changes of cold water and chop.

In a large pot, heat the oil over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the water, broth, Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese rind and salt and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the tortellini until al dente, about 4 minutes for fresh or 12 minutes for frozen. Drain.

Add the spinach to the soup and cook until just wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in the cooked tortellini.

Serve the soup sprinkled with grated Parmesan.



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