Smoked Turkey and Split Pea Soup

 

Despite it’s unfortunate color, split pea soup is a family favorite. I like to change it up a little sometimes, this time with the addition of fresh corn and a smoked turkey leg instead of a ham hock or bacon. Everyone loved it, this one is a keeper. The turkey leg had more flavor and meat than the tradition ham hock, and it was actually less expensive.

Smoked Turkey and Split Pea Soup

1 smoked turkey drumstick  found by the ham hocks and ham steaks at my meat counter)

1 cup of sliced carrots

1 cup chopped onion

1 c chopped celery

1 c fresh corn removed from the cob (about 1 ear)

1 lb dried split green peas, washed and picked through for debris

2 garlic cloves

32 0z chicken broth

1/4 chipotle chili powder or smoked paprika

1 -1 1/2 c water

Prep all ingredients.

 

add all ingredients except water to a large crock pot

 

Cover and cook for about 3 hrs on high or 5 hours on low. Peas should lose their texture and soup should be thick. Remove turkey leg and pick meat off bones and add back to the soup. Check soup for any bones that may have come off the leg during cooking and remove. Add water if needed to reach desired consistancy. Stir and heat through.

Simple Summer Flavor: Grilled Chicken and Vegetables with Lemon Mint Yogurt Sauce

Let’s admit it, simple, clean flavors are the best. Especially in the summer when produce is at its peak. This uncomplicated dish sings Summer and lets the true flavor of the food shine through. Delicious, filling and healthy, the chicken and vegetables are kicked up with the acid of the lemon, the freshness of the mint and a subtle kick from cayenne. Perfect for a Labor Day cook out or any day of the week.

Grilled Garlic Lemon Chicken and Vegetables

3 lbs of chicken ( I used boneless skinless thighs and breasts)

4-5 T olive oil

1 lemon juiced

1 T garlic

1/4 t cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

2 zucchini sliced in 1 inch rounds

2 cups eggplant cut in 1 inch chunks

2 sweet yellow onions halved

2 red bell peppers cut into 2″ x 2″ chunks

Combine 2 T olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Lay chicken in a shallow baking dish and por marinade over chicken using , tongs to turn chicken so it is coated on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and refrigerate covered for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile chop vegetables and place in a large bowl, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat, add salt and pepper .

Thread on skewers. I like to do each skewer with an individual vegetable so they cook evenly since different vegetables have different cooking times.

Preheat Grill and place chicken and veggie skewers on grill.

Cook until vegetables are slightly charred and softened slightly. The onions and zucchini will cook slightly longer.

Cook chicken to preferred temperature or until no longer pink. About 5 min per side.

Lemon Mint Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain greek yogurt

1 lemon juiced

1t lemon zest

1 t garlic

2 T chopped fresh mint

salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl

Serve with grilled chicken and vegetables

Spicy Green Curry with Turkey and Eggplant

 

Try this new twist with ground meat, Turkey , Beef, Chicken or Pork would work. A great alternative to the ho-hum Hamburger Helper, this dish tastes fresh, light and a little spicy. Adjust the heat to your liking by the amount of jalapeno you use.If your not an eggplant fan try zucchini or butternut squash instead.

Spicy Green Curry with Turkey and Eggplant

2 T Olive Oil

1.5 lbs ground meat (Turkey, Chicken,Beef or Pork)

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1/2 pound fresh green beans washed and trimmed

3 cups cubed eggplant, ( skin off or on)

1 jalapeno minced (adjust to your spice preference)

2 T minced ginger

1T minced garlic

1-2 T green curry paste (found in Asian section of supermarket)

1 can coconut milk

1t lime zest

1T lime juice

1 T chopped mint

1 T chopped cilantro

Brown ground meat in a large pan over high heat, add 1 T of olive oil if using turkey or chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper while browning. Remove meat from pan and set aside. Turn heat down to medium and add 1 T oil to the pan, add eggplant, green beans, jalapeno, ginger and garlic, sauté for about 5 minutes. Move vegetables to the sides of the pan and add green curry paste to the middle. cook for about 2 more minutes. Add can of coconut milk, and lime juice and zest and stir.

 

Add ground meat back in and stir. Simmer with cover on for about 10 minutes, or until sauce has thickened and eggplant and beans are tender. Add fresh herbs (Mint and Cilantro) and stir. Serve with lime wedges and more fresh herbs if desired.

*If using zucchini, cook time will be shorter, if using butternut squash cook time will be longer.

 

Cobb Salad, Family Style

I love a good Cobb Salad, it is so easy and so versatile. I like to serve mine in a glass 9×12 pan and serve it family style so that everyone can pick and choose what toppings they like, it’s is kind of like a low carb taco night. Use the ingredients your family likes and serve with a vinaigrette or ranch dressing.

Family Style Cobb Salad

2 heads of romaine hearts chopped into bite sized pieces

2 tomatoes chopped

1 ripe avocado peeled and chopped ( sprinkle with lemon or lime juice to prevent discoloring)

2 cups cooked chicken or turkey chopped ( I used a rotisserie chicken from my stores deli)

6 slices of  cooked bacon chopped

1/2 c blue cheese crumbled ( Use feta or even cheddar if that is your family’s preference)

3 hard boiled eggs chopped

Add lettuce to the pan, top with remaining ingredients, in rows. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Serve with dressing and tongs so that each person can get the ingredients they desire. This salad is also great for parties and pot lucks.

Easy Mustard Vinaigrette 

2 T olive oil

3 T red wine vinegar

1 t dijon mustard

salt and pepper

whisk together all ingredients, serve over salad.

Greek Stuffed Zucchini

To low carb or not to low carb, that is the question. Yes, I know I lose weight this way, especially belly fat. But sometimes it is unrealistic, I have 2 teen boys, there is no way they are giving up on bread, pizza crust and cookies. My husband wants to, but he loves cereal and beer too much. I don’t think I can ever swear off potatoes for ever. So where does that leave us, weeknight dinners that cut down on the big bad carbs, pasta, white refined sugars, rice, potatoes and bread. We are still keeping fruits and veggies, all types. Beans and legumes are ok in our book. An occasional splurge on weekends and whole grain cereals for breakfast are fine too. I am not saying that we are going on a big strict diet, we are just going to try and incorporate more vegetables into our diets and leave out bad carbs when they are not necessary.

So that brings us to my Greek stuffed zucchini, it has all the flavor of yummy stuffed zucchini, just without the bread crumbs, which don’t add flavor anyway, just filler.

Greek Stuffed Zucchini

3 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

1/4 cup chopped or grape tomatoes

1 T lemon juice

1 T minced garlic

1 T fresh oregeno

3 oz  feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Using a spoon, scoop out the middle of the zucchini halves and add to a food processor bowl.

Add remaining ingrediants to food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth mixture, Fill the empty zucchini shells with the tomato and cheese filling.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until zucchini shell is tender and filling is bubbling.

Serve as a side dish, snack or appetizer.

Hunker Down and Eat Cake : Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake with Strawberries

It’s that time of year here in Florida, hurricane season. Tropical Storm Isaac is making his way into the Gulf of Mexico and even though we are not in the direct path (yet) we will still have some wind and rain. They even canceled school tomorrow, my kids are really disappointed (yeah right ). So I am posting a favorite cake recipe, I find I like to bake on rainy days. This one is dark and decadent, a favorite from my Southern Living Cookbook.

Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake with White Icing and Strawberries

8 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips or chocolate chopped

1 16 oz can of chocolate syrup

1 c butter softened

2 c sugar

4 eggs, large

2 1/2 c flour

1/2 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1 c butter milk

1 t vanilla extract

For Frosting

2 c powdered sugar

3-4 T milk

1 t vanilla extract

Garnish:

1 c halved strawberries

 

Pre heat oven to 325. Melt chocolate chips in microwave or double boiler. stir in chocolate syrup and stir until smooth.

In a large bowl or stad up mixer, beat butter on med speed until creamy and add sugar, then eggs 1 at a time. In a med bowl mix together flour baking soda and salt. add 1/2 to butter mixture  mixing on low speed. Then the buttermilk then the rest of the flour, mixing the whole time. stir in vanilla and chocolate mixture and pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake for 1hr and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 15 min then turn pan and invert cake on to the wire rack, cool for another 30 minutes.

For frosting, stir together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour over cooled cake and top with strawberries.

 

Beet and Carrot Salad with Cilantro

2 c fresh raw beets, peeled and shredded

2 c matchstick or shredded carrots

2 T honey

1t salt

3 T olive oil

juice from 2 limes

1/4 t pepper

1/2 t cayenne pepper

1/4 chopped fresh cilantro

in a small bowl whisk together honey, lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, set aside. In a large bowl add carrots, beets, and cilantro. Toss together. add dressing and stir

Chicken with Creamy Corn and Basil Sauce

My kids love goopy, buttery, Alfredo sauces. They are fine every once in a while, but pretty fattening and lack any sort of vegetable or seasonal ingredient. I put this dish together using fresh summer corn and basil from the garden. It is  a lighter summer version of a white sauce with a hint of sweetness and no butter or cream.

2 ears of corn, kernels removed with a knife (or about 3 cups corn frozen of canned)

1/2 one lemon juiced

1/2 c milk

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

2 oz cream cheese

1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese

1 t minced garlic

1.5 lbs chicken breast ( I cut mine in to bite sized pieces but you could use whole breasts)

1T oil

4 T chopped basil

Remove kernels from cob if using fresh corn.

add kernels, lemon juice, and milk to a food processor, pulse until finely chopped. Add milk salt pepper and cheeses, pulse until mixture is well combined.

Set aside and heat a large skillet over med high heat. Add oil. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. add to pan. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Add corn and cheese mixture to pan, simmer for about 5 min over low

Stir in fresh basil and serve.

Serve over, Rice, Noodles or Pasta. Sprinkle with grated parmesan if desired.

A Perfect Pair; Cheese and Sangria Wine Jelly

What goes better with cheese than wine?  I love little cheese plates for snacks and parties. I always like to serve them with fruit spreads to add a little sweetness and contrast. Apricot jam, Pear preserves etc.. but then I heard of wine jelly and thought, yum! I decided to incorporate some fruit and other flavors into mine, much like you would for a sangria. I am not a jelly/jam maker. I don’t have jars and tongs and all that jazz so I made a simple batch and just refrigerated it. Do plan ahead because even though this is easy to make it can take 1-3 days to get to a jelly like consistency.It will loosen at room temp, but re-jells when refrigerated. Serve as a side on a cheese plate, over cream cheese with crackers, or on top of grilled chicken or pork.

Sangria Wine Jelly

2 1/2 c of wine ( I used a Cabernet)

Juice from 1 Orange

Juice from 1 Lime

Juice from 1 Lemon

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of zest from above citrus fruits

1 pkg dry pectin

2 1/2 c sugar

Add all ingredients to a medium sized sauce pan, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool and add to an air tight container.  Refrigerate until set 1-3 days.

Served over Cream Cheese

Rum Day and Bratwurst Day, Sort of a Weird Combination…

It’s hard to keep up with all of these holidays. Before I started blogging I was obviously leading a sheltered life. I had no idea all of these celebratory days existed. My waistline and liver were probably better off though. Well not to be left out, today, August 16th is Rum Day and Bratwurst day, I may not recommend having these both in one sitting but hey it’s a holiday, go for it! Click on the links for the recipes.

May I interest you in a fresh Watermelon Daiquiri ?

Or a Bratwurst with Warm Bacon, Pickle and Onion Relish ?