Blog Archives

Thai Style Chicken Pumpkin Soup

Just in time for your Thanksgiving dinner! Make ahead and refrigerate. Serve as your first course!

Thai Style Chicken Pumpkin Soup

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T. minced fresh ginger
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin
  • ½ cup mango nectar
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup peanut butter (or more)
  • 1 liter low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water

Heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook about three minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Cook 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Transfer chicken to crock pot. Add celery, carrots, pumpkin, nectar, lime juice, peanut butter, broth and water. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours,

After the time is up, stir in the following –

3 Tablespoons rice vinegar

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Mix ½ cup heavy cream  and 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch together.Stir into soup and turn cooker to HIGH for  10 minutes or less until soup thickens.

Serve over white rice which has been previously cooked. Sprinkle with more chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts.

 Source – Crock-Pot Best Loved Slow Cooker Recipes.

Best Bolognese Sauce

My apologies for the late posting but I was waiting to make this for company last night!

This would be great if you are planning a buffet for Christmas Eve or New Years Eve, It says it makes 4 to 6 servings, but it would stretch further if there were other foods available. I would serve the warm spaghetti in a chafing dish, with a small crock pot of hot sauce and grated Parmesan beside it. Maybe a small amount of red pepper flakes! To make it go further you could cut back on some of the meat…

The Best Bolognese Sauce
Yield: 9 cups of sauce or 4-6 servings
*If you don’t have a food mill to crush the tomatoes, use a blender or immersion blender. Make sure to leave as much texture and chunks of tomato as possible, do not liquefy.
Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/4 pounds ground beef
1 1/4 pounds ground pork
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 ounces pancetta or bacon, sliced
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup (3 oz) tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup milk
2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes, passed through a food mill*
2 bay leaves
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen string
1 Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
1 pound fresh pasta, such as fettuccine, tagliatelle, or pappardelle, cooked until al dente and drained
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving
Directions
In a large, heavy, deep lidded Dutch oven or pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, ground pork, and salt and pepper to taste and cook until browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the meat to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the pancetta/bacon and cook until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the milk, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and cheese rind and stir until combined. Add in the meats and season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a simmer then partially cover and reduce to medium-low. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

You can also transfer the mixture to a slow cooker and cook for 3 1/2 hours. Discard bay leaves, thyme, and cheese rind. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with pasta and grated cheese.

Classic Fried Rice

I know this should  not be something new to most folks, but I tried this one out a week ago and it was every bit as good as was stated. I do believe like the writer, that butter makes a difference. The most important thing is to cook and chill the rice beforehand! Trust me on this unless you want a sticky mess…

Fried Rice (www.gimmesomeoven.com)
Learn how to make fried rice with this classic fried rice recipe. It tastes even better than the restaurant version!
Prep: 5 mins Cook: 10 mins Total: 15 mins
Ingredients:
• 3 Tbsp. butter, divided
• 2 eggs, whisked
• 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced*
• 1 small white onion, diced
• 1/2 cup frozen peas*
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• salt and pepper
• 4 cups cooked and chilled rice (I prefer short-grain white rice)
• 3 green onions, thinly sliced
• 3-4 Tbsp. soy sauce, or more to taste
• 2 tsp. oyster sauce (optional) I used hoisin since I was out of oyster
• 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

* Since I was out of fresh peas and carrots, I substituted  a cup or so of frozen veggies which included broccoli, cauliflower and carrots//it worked.
Directions:
Heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Add egg, and cook until scrambled, stirring occasionally. Remove egg, and transfer to a separate plate.
Add an additional 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and heat until melted. Add carrots, onion, peas and garlic, and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the onion and carrots are soft. Increase heat to high, add in the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter, and stir until melted. Immediately add the rice, green onions, soy sauce and oyster sauce (if using), and stir until combined. Continue stirring for an additional 3 minutes to fry the rice. Then add in the eggs and stir to combine. Add the sesame oil, stir to combine, and remove from heat.
Serve warm.

Spice Rubbed Turkey Breast with Roasted Carrots

Not wanting to cook a whole turkey this Thanksgiving amigos? Give this Martha Stewart recipe a shot…it only uses a small skinless turkey breast 30 to 35 minutes of oven time…

Spice Rubbed Turkey Breast with Roasted Carrots

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds carrots peeled and cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled* (see below)
  • 2 T olive oil
  •  2 lb. turkey breast skinless
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 plain low fat yogurt
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss carrots, garlic and 1 T. oil. Push them to the sides. Place turkey in centre of pan and rub with 1 T oil and sprinkle with cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. cumin. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165 degrees, 30 to 35 minutes, tossing carrots halfway through cooking. Let turkey rest 10 minutes before slicing.

In a small bowl mix yogurt, lime juice and 1/4 tsp. cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Serve turkey with carrots and sauce.

How to Peel Garlic? Cut the bottom off of your garlic cloves and place them on a paper towel in the microwave. Stop after 20 to 30 seconds and remove the garlic. Squeeze the top of the garlic buds and the skin will slip off. Chop as needed.

Traditional Flemish Waterzooi

Dont you just love that word, waterzooi ? We came across this on our trip to Brugges in 2010 when we ate at De Halve Maan Brewery and again at a very nice little restaurant called  Vlaamsche Pot. Its traditionally a fish soup/stew.

IMG_0005abcdefghijSince I had some mussels and clams left over from a meal the day before, I sought out a recipe. Behold…Pinterest again. Their recipe called for several types of fish. I like fish but did not want to search out different fish, so I altered their recipe as I usually do to some extent. My version is below.

Flemish Waterzooi
Ingredients
• 10,5 oz. (300 g) potatoes, peeled
• 2 tbsp (30 g) butter
• 1 celery stalk, finely sliced
• 1 carrot, finely sliced
• 1 onion, finely sliced
• 1 leek, finely sliced
• 7/8 cup (7 fl oz./200 ml) fish stock (I used chicken stock)
1 fish filet of your choice (I used tilapia) cut into 1 inch pieces
• 3,5 oz. (100 g) mussels, cleaned
• 1 egg yolk
• 2/5 cup (3,5 fl oz./100 ml) cream
• 3,5 oz. (100 gm ) peeled shrimp
• 1 tbsp chives, finely chopped
• Salt & freshly cracked pepper
Heat the butter in a frying pan. Add the celery, carrot and onion and cook the vegetables for 3-5 minutes, or until they are soft and glazed. Now add the leeks and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the stock to the vegetable mixture and allow it to infuse for 3 minutes.
Gently poach the fish fillets in the broth for 3-5 minutes. Add the mussels after 1 minute.
Remove the seafood from the pan once the mussels have opened and set aside. Strain the stock into a saucepan. Set the vegetables aside to use later.
Whisk the egg yolk with the cream in a bowl.
Put the stock back on the heat and, once it reaches boiling point, add the cream and egg mixture to thicken the stock and create a sauce. Now mix well with a whisk and make sure the sauce does not come to the boil again. Add the peeled shrimp and half the chives and stir.
Place the fish pieces and seafood in a serving bowl along with the vegetables and potatoes. Pour the sauce over it. Garnish with the remaining chives.

Serve with a crusty bread and cold beer…preferably Belgian.

Ultimate Vegetable Soup

Blame it on Costco! Too many great vegetables luring us to buy them. The result…better cook these before they spoil! Pinterest to the rescue, another great recipe worth sharing.

Ultimate Vegetable Soup

Ingredients
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
2-3 carrots
1 zucchini
1 1/2 cups cabbage (I skipped the cabbage this time)
2 cups broccoli
2 cups cauliflower
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups cut green beans (frozen or fresh)
1 1/2 cups peas (frozen) (didn’t have any)
1 1/2 cups corn (frozen or canned)
Large handful spinach, or more (skipped this too)
15 oz. can diced tomatoes (and/or fresh)
8 cups vegetable broth
Salt to taste

Directions
Prep veggies: mince garlic and dice onion, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms. Roughly chop cabbage if using, and cut broccoli and cauliflower into small bite-sized pieces.
In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute onion for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
Add broth, tomatoes with juice, and all veggies (except spinach if using).
Increase heat and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until veggies are desired tenderness.
Stir in spinach or not, and salt to taste.

*Notes:
Vegetable soup freezes wonderfully!
The frozen veggies work great as “fillers” if you want to quickly and easily add more veggies.

One Pot Chicken and Potatoes

This dish truly is amazing. The finished chicken was every bit as good as a whole roasted chicken that you would buy at the market for a busy day. The taste was incredible! It reminds me of Sunday dinner at my mother-in-laws house…LOL.

It is a great go-to dish as most of the ingredients you should already have in the house.

One Pot Chicken and Potatoes

Ingredients
• 8 chicken thighs (I’ve been buying the Kirkland ones in a large bag and kept in the freezer)
• 6-8 large potatoes, cut in quarters or halves
• 5-6 carrots, cut in 1-2 inch pieces
• 1 onion, cut in quarters
• 15-20 garlic cloves, whole (Make it easy on yourself, buy the peeled garlic in oil for times like these)
• Kosher salt
• Black ground pepper
• 4 tsp ground pepper or 5 cloves garlic, crushed
• ½ tsp paprika (optional)
• 3-4 Tbsp olive oil.
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with foil or even better, parchment paper.
2. Thoroughly wash the potatoes & carrots with a scrubber and cut them in smaller pieces. Pat dry with a paper towel.
3. Rinse the chicken under running water & also pat dry with paper towel.
4. Add chicken, potatoes and carrots, onion & garlic to the lined baking dish and sprinkle with salt, ground pepper and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss everything to coat.
5. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. Check for doneness, if the potatoes and chicken thighs are soft and easily pierced with the fork they are ready.
6. If the chicken and potatoes have not browned up as much as you would like, turn the broil setting on the oven and broil for 5 minutes. Watch carefully, or they will burn.
7. Remove from the oven and serve right away in the baking dish or transfer to a warm serving plate.

Chicken Stew

Tired of boring beef stew? Me too! This chicken stew was great even without the prerequisite dumplings…

  • Chicken Stew
    Ingredients
    5 cups (1.25 L) chicken stock
    4 lb (1.8 kg) skinned chicken thighs
    7 small carrots, peeled (WHY?) and cut in half diagonally
    4 potatoes, peeled and cubed I used yams peeled and cubed
    2 cups (500 mL) peeled pearl onions or 1 chopped white onion
  • 1 red pepper diced
    3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
    3 chopped celery stalks
    2 cups (500 mL) button mushrooms or 1 small can
    1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
    1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
    1/2 cup (125 mL) peas, frozen or 1 small can
  • 1 platano chopped coarsely
    1/4 cup (60 mL) whipping cream I omitted this and used the chopped platano to thicken it. Can you tell I am into platanos?

Preparation
In a large Dutch oven, bring chicken stock to boil. Add chicken; cover and simmer over medium-low heat until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 30 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to plate; let cool. Remove meat from bones; cut into bite-size chunks.Better still start with boneless thighs and save some time.

Add carrots, pepper, celery and potatoes to stock; cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add (pearl) onions; simmer, covered, just until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to plate. If necessary, add more chicken stock to make 5 cups (1.25 L). OR just add more water…

In same pan, melt butter over medium-high heat; cook celery, onion and mushrooms, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Truthfully I just threw them into the pot with the stock and veggies. Add flour, thyme, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat back of spoon. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan. Add carrot mixture, peas and cream* (if using), or the chopped platano stirring to combine.

If you are ambitious make up a batch of dumplings. They really are not necessary…This makes great leftovers!

Reg’s Lasagna

Just realized that one of my favourite go-to recipes has never appeared here! When you get tired of that turkey, my American friends, you might give this dish a try. I’m leaving the kitchen for  a few days but wanted to share this with you before I put all the dishes away…LOL…Buen Provecho as always!!

Reg’s Lasagna (easily feeds 8 people)
1 cup diced white onions
1 cup celery chopped
1 cup carrots sliced
1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef and pork mixed (you could use ground chicken or turkey instead)
1 or 2 garlic cloves minced
14 oz. can cubed tomatoes
5 ½ oz. can tomato puree
1 19 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
½ cup red wine (optional)
2 TBSP. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. each of basil and oregano
12 lasagna noodles oven ready
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 package fresh spinach stems removed and chopped
1 small package of fresh mushrooms sliced
1 large bag shredded manchego or mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated parmesan (don’t use the Kraft powdery stuff!)
In a little olive oil, brown the carrots, celery and onions until tender and slightly browning. Add in the pork and beef mixture and cook until browned and almost no pink visible. Drain off the fat if there is an excess. Add tomatoes, tomato puree, ½ of the tomato sauce, sugar and seasonings. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add in the sliced mushrooms and continue to simmer until they appear softened.

While this has been cooking, mix the ricotta cheese with the chopped spinach in a bowl. Set aside.

In a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish pour a little of the remaining tomato sauce and spread over the bottom. Place four noodles in the bottom of the dish. Add ½ of the meat sauce to cover the noodles. Add 1/3 of the grated manchego or mozzarella cheese.

Cover this with four more lasagna noodles. Add the layer of ricotta and spinach. Add four additional lasagna noodles. Cover with the other half of the meat sauce and 1/3 of the cheese.

Add four more lasagna noodles ( if you have no sauce left, heat the remaining half jar of spaghetti sauce and pour over the top noodle layer. Cover with the remainder of the cheese. Over top of this add the Parmesan cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Cover with foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Test the noodles with a sharp knife to make sure they are softened. Remove from the oven and let sit before cutting into desired portion sizes.

I make this a few hours before company comes and let it cool before refrigerating. 45 minutes before serving remove from refrigerator to let the dish warm to room temp. Return to 350 degree oven for about 15 to 25 minutes.

Pasta e Fagioli

This recipe is very similar to the one offered in a very popular Italian restaurant which shall remain unnamed. Note that the recipe has been amended to make 9 quarts. What the heck, make it as shown and freeze it for those snowy days ahead…LOL

Pasta e Fagioli
Ingredients
• 1 tsp. oil
• 1 lb. ground beef
• 6 oz. onion, chopped
• 7 oz. carrots, slivered
• 7 oz. celery, diced
• 24 oz. tomatoes: canned, diced
• 1 cup Red kidney beans (I used canned)
• 1 cup white kidney beans (canned)
• 44 oz. beef stock
• 1 1/2 tsp. oregano
• 1 tsp. pepper
• 2 tsp. fresh chopped parsley
• 1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
• 24 oz. spaghetti sauce
• 4 oz. dry pasta shell macaroni
Preparation

Sauté beef in oil in large pot until beef starts to brown.
Add onions, celery and tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add beans to the pot. Add beef stock, oregano, pepper, Tabasco, spaghetti sauce and noodles.
Simmer until celery and carrots are tender, about 45 minutes. Makes 4 quarts of soup.
Notes
Original recipe was doubled to make 9 quarts!! This is a great recipe. Leftovers can be frozen in Ziploc bags for later use.