Pea Soup with Mint and Feta

Pea Soup with Mint and Feta

Light and perfect for Spring. Great as lunch with a salad or a grilled cheese sandwich.

Pea Soup with Feta and Mint

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

2 cups frozen peas

1/4 cup cream

1 T chopped shallots

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 T chopped mint

1-2 T crumbled Feta cheese

In a sauce pan bring broth to a simmer, add peas and shallot continue to cook for 4–5  minutes or until peas are cooked, add chopped mint, lemon juice and cream, cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat and puree in blender. Re heat in pan if necessary.  Ladle into bowls and add crumbled feta. Makes 4 appetizer or 2 main course servings.

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Red Thai Curry and Chicken Quinoa

Red Curry and Chicken Quinoa

Yes I am jumping on the quinoa band wagon too. Why not, it is easy to prepare, full of protein, and cholesterol and gluten-free. It even tastes better than rice. What is quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah), it is actually a seed but is easily prepared as a grain, like rice. In fact I made mine right in my rice cooker, same amount of water and time as rice too (1 part quinoa, 2 parts water).

quinoa cooked in a rice cooker

It came out, light and fluffy, like a cross between couscous and rice. I added some salt a squeeze of lime and some chopped cilantro.

Since we love curry at my house I made red curry with chicken and served over the top.

Red Thai Curry with Chicken

1 lb chicken cutlets, sliced into thin strips

2-3 T oil

2 c chopped broccoli

1 c match stick or sliced carrots

1/2 c peas

1/2 onion sliced thin

1 t chopped garlic

2 t red curry paste

1 can coconut milk

2 c quinoa

4 c water

2 t cilantro chopped

juice of 1 lime

salt

add quinoa and water to rice cooker and turn on.

Heat a large skillet over med high heat, add 2 T oil, add chicken and onion and cook until browned, add garlic, broccoli and carrots, cook 2 minutes, scoot chicken and veggies to the sides of the pan, making a well in the middle. add curry paste and cook 1 minute, add coconut milk and stir to combine. lower heat to low add peas and cover for about 3 minutes.  When quinoa is done cooking, add lime juice salt and chopped cilantro, serve curry mixture over quinoa.

Red Curry and Chicken Quinoa

Try some quinoa in place of rice or pasta in your favorite recipe.

Southwestern London Broil

Southwestern London Broil

Southwestern London Broil

1 1/2 lb london broil

1 c diced tomatoes ( I used canned)

1 t salt

1 t cumin

1 t chopped garlic

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1 lime juiced

Put london broil in a gallon sized ziplock bag, add remaining . Close bag and mix and massage marinade into meat with your hands. Place bag in refrigerator for 6-24 hours, turning occasionally. Preheat oven to 450. Place meat and marinade on a baking sheet, add sliced peppers and onions if desired.

Southwestern London Broil

 

Cook for about 15 minutes, then turn on broiler and cook for 5 minutes more per side ( use a meat thermometer to check doneness, cooking time will depend on thickness and weight of meat)

Let rest 10 minutes and then slice thinly against the grain. Great by itself or served in tortillas.

Southwestern London Broil

Southwestern London Broil Southwestern London Broil

 

 

Heels in the Kitchen: Elvis Cookies

Elvis Cookies: Oatmeal, peanut butter, banana and chocolate chip

Today I am wearing heels in the kitchen, special occasion?  No, but 15 months after knee surgery I still look like a 10 year old trying to walk in her mom’s shoes. I am sick of flats, and flip-flops, I want to wear grown up shoes, after all I love shoes and there are too many pairs of heels to count, in my closet, just collecting dust. Maybe I am over thinking it, so I figured if I put them on while I was busy in the kitchen I would forget about the awkwardness and just walk in them. Well, I think it was slightly helpful, next step mopping and gardening in heels, the neighbors (and my family) may think I am crazy but I am getting back in my shoes!

Oh and I made these delicious cookies today, oatmeal, peanut butter, banana and chocolate chip. So obviously I named them Elvis cookies, thank you, thank very much.

Elvis Cookies: Oatmeal, peanut butter, banana and chocolate chip

1 1/2 c flour

1 c sugar

1/2 t salt

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 c butter softened

3/4 c peanut butter

1 egg

2 bananas mashed

1 1/2 c old fashioned oats

1 c mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, butter and peanut butter to a large bowl. Beat on low until ingredients are combined and the mixture starts to crumble. Add egg, bananas and oats, mix until it forms a dough, stir in chocolate chips. use a med ice cream scoop or a heaping tablespoon and place dough on cookie sheets.

Elvis Cookies: Oatmeal, peanut butter, banana and chocolate chip

bake for about 18 minutes or until edges brown and cookies are slightly golden. (my oven is on the slow side so check after 14 minutes)

Elvis Cookies: Oatmeal, peanut butter, banana and chocolate chip

Let cool and enjoy! Makes about 4 dozen

Elvis Cookies: Oatmeal, peanut butter, banana and chocolate chip

Rapini and Sausage

Rapini and Sausage

If you know me or follow my blog you know that I am a sucker for produce. I love all the colors and textures and the way all the fruits and vegetables look stacked in neat piles. I wish I could decorate my kitchen to look like a farmer’s market. I also will buy anything I haven’t seen or eaten before, or anything out of the ordinary, my youngest son and I are suckers for any exotic fruit or vegetable. So I have tried Rapini, otherwise known as Broccoli Rabe or Broccoletti before but I am sure many people haven’t. It looks like greens with little pieces of broccoli attached and is actually a member of the turnip family.

Rapini or Broccoli Rabe

It can be prepared like most any leafy green, sautéed, blanched etc… It is somewhere between cabbage and collards as far as bitterness. To prepare just wash and chop off the very bottom of the stems, the rest of the plant is edible. Great as a side dish or part of a main meal like this Rapini and Sausage dish.

Rapini and Sausage

1 bunch Rapini or Broccoli Rabe

1 t salt

2T oil

1 lb smoked turkey sausage ( you could use any sausage in this dish)

1 small onion chopped

1 t garlic chopped

1 t red pepper flakes

1 T lemon juice

1 c mushrooms sliced ( I used baby bellas)

Bring a pot of water and 1 t salt to a boil, toss in rapini and cook for 4 minutes. drain.

Blanched Rapini

In a large pan heat oil over med high heat, add sausage and onions saute until sausage in cooked through. add garlic, red pepper flakes, rapini and mushrooms (add another T of oil if needed). Continue cooking until mushrooms are soft, squeeze lemon juice over dish and salt and pepper to taste.

Rapini and Sausage

Tips and Tricks: Burnt on Food

How to Clean a Burnt Pan or Pot

 

I think we have all done it, walked away from a pot or pan while cooking, only to return to a burnt up mess. Or I am famous for leaving the pot on low/warm while we eat dinner and then unable to remove the stuck on food when it’s time to do the dishes. They can be tricky to clean especially those that you cannot scour or use harsh chemicals on because you are afraid to ruin the finish. I did however find a trick that actually works. Add water to your burnt pot, bring to a simmer. Add 1/4 c white vinegar and 2 T baking soda. Continue simmering for about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and use a non abrasive sponge and the food lifts right off.

How to Clean a Burnt Pan or Pot How to Clean a Burnt Pan or Pot

 

If you have a burnt metal broiler pan or cookie sheet try using oven cleaner. Spray the pan and let it sit, the food should wipe right off with a sponge .

Childhood Comfort Food: Chili Mac

Chili Mac

Chili Mac was one of my dinners almost every week growing up, I am the oldest of 6 kids and there were always a few extras at the table so this dish was filling, and went a long way. No matter how many people were at the table there was always enough for seconds. I crave it still to this day but I had to make a couple of adjustments. The original chili mac did not have any beans or cheese, but my kids said then it isn’t “chili” mac, (they love chili and beans) so I added a few ingredients but it still goes a long way and there are always left overs and best of all it reminds me of my childhood.

Chili Mac

1 lb ground beef

1/2 t chopped garlic

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 can tomato soup (condensed)

1/2 can of water

1 can red kidney beans (drained)

2 T brown sugar

2 T Worcestershire sauce

2 T chili powder

1 t cumin

1/2 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

1 box elbow macaroni cooked and drained

Brown meat and onions in a large skillet or pot for about 5 minutes, add garlic and saute until golden. Add tomato soup, water, beans, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking for 10 minutes.

Chili Mac

Add the macaroni noodles and stir, cook over low for about 5 minutes or until macaroni absorbs some of the sauce. Top with cheese and chopped onion if desired.

Chili Mac

St. Patrick’s Day Mashed Potatoes, now with Bailey’s

Best Corned Beef with Mustard and Brown Sugar Glaze aqnd Bailey's Mashed Potatoes

 

I was busy making our traditional  Corned Beef and Cabbage and I had also make Irish Coffee Cupcakes earlier so the Bailey’s Irish Cream was out in the kitchen.  All day I kept thinking I bet that would be good in mashed potatoes. I know it seems slightly weird but I have put alcohol in potatoes before and cream well that’s a no brainer. Hmmm. I had boiled the potatoes and dribbled a little of the bailey’s on one and tasted it, well it was good, gave it a rich decadent taste almost like a truffle oil. I made my husband try it , he said I think your right, so I went for it. Subtle and creamy, decadent and delicious, these will become tradition for all St. Patrick’s Days to come.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Mashed Potatoes

about 10 med sized yukon gold potatoes

1/2 stick butter

1 t salt

1/2 t black pepper

2 T Bailey’s Irish Cream

1/3-1/2 c milk

Boil potatoes until tender

sprinkle with salt

add butter, Bailey’s, and 1/3 c milk. Mash until smooth adding more milk if needed, add pepper and salt to taste.

Creamy Bailey's Mashed Potatoes

Secret to the Best Corned Beef: Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze

Best Corned Beef with Mustard and Brown Sugar Glaze

I used to eat Corned Beef on St. Patrick’s Day because I had to, it was tradition. Now I eat it because I love it all thanks to one on my good friends. We were making copious amounts of Corned Beef and cabbage for a St. Patrick’s Day Party and she showed me how to make a delicious glaze for the beef that her family had made for years. It is so easy and simple, just 2 ingredients, brown sugar and Dijon mustard.

Easy Mustard and Brown Sugar Glazed Corned Beef

1 package corned beef brisket flat cut

seasoning packet from beef

brown sugar

dijon mustard

Cook beef with seasoning packet as directed, usually about 3 hours on simmer (or all day in a slowcooker). Remove beef and place on cutting board, let cool slightly. Preheat oven to 375. coat meat on all sides with dijon mustard, then press brown sugar into meat. I used about 1/4 cup mustard and 3/4 c brown sugar.

Best Corned Beef with Mustard and Brown Sugar Glaze

Place in oven and cook until a golden crust forms on the beef, about 20 minutes.

Best Corned Beef with Mustard and Brown Sugar Glaze

Slice and serve. We had it this year with roasted cabbage and Bailey’s Mashed Potatoes

Best Corned Beef with Mustard and Brown Sugar Glaze

Best Corned Beef with Mustard and Brown Sugar Glaze

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, that figures since I am German. However, I always feel a little Irish this time of year, I think we all do. So celebrate and make these delicious Mocha Cupcakes with Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting.  This recipe makes about 10 cupcakes, double it if you are having the whole family over of a party.

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

for the  mocha cake

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 T instant espresso coffee crystals

1 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

3/4 c milk

1/4 c shortening

1/2t vanilla

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350

Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl. Add milk, shortening and vanilla, beat on med speed for 2 minutes. Add egg and beat 2 more minutes.

Pour into muffin tins lined with baking cups. (I use an ice cream scoop, so that they are all filled evenly) Bake for about 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let Cool.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting

1/4 c butter softened

2 1/2 c powdered sugar

1 T Bailey’s Irish Cream

2 T milk

Cream butter on low-med speed until smooth, add 2 c powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add Bailey’s and milk, beat until smooth. Add remaining 1/4 of powdered sugar slowly until frosting is desired consistency.

Frost cup cakes and sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon if desired.

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