turkey rice soup – tis the season

I would love to say I am getting ready for the big game later today, don’t get me wrong I am super pumped and looking forward to it. I just am bummed that my husband and I are both sick, mostly now just congestion and a persistent cough; so we can’t have friends over, I have to call my in-laws and tell them to stay home and I feel so bad but I will not be the one to get them sick. I am going to have one of my kids bring them over a portion of our Super Bowl spread that I am serving to just us.  GO PATS!!!!

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better than anything I could have bought!

What is on your menu today? We are having meatball grinders, wings of some sort, jalapeno popper dip that I had for the first time a couple of weeks ago and loved it. I was originally going to share that recipe with you but will need to wait on that since I wasn’t able to make it and take pictures for you. I will work on that!

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turkey broth frozen into 2 cup portions

I hope you forgive me for posting another soup recipe but tis the season and there really isn’t anything more comforting than a bowl of homemade warm soup. One day last week my daughter offered to grab me soup from somewhere up town, she mentioned a few places that have soup and while they are OK I went over in my fever induced head each one and knew they were all going to be a disappointment – apparently I have become a soup snob. Which is why I made my own last night for dinner.

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turkey rice soup with garlic cheesy bread

You can build so much flavor in your own kitchen plus add ingredients you like and have on hand. I had 8 cups of turkey broth in my freezer from Thanksgiving, a package of turkey cutlets in the fridge and always have vegetables on hand.  Here is how I made this particular soup but feel free to use the concept and use your own ingredients.
IMG_3931Turkey rice soup

8 cups turkey broth
4 turkey cutlets
1/4 cup Jasmati rice
2 small onions – diced
3 carrots – diced
2 ribs celery – diced
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Using the same pot, so you can build flavors. season both sides of the cutlets and brown in a little bit of olive oil. remove once browned on both sides and set aside.

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building flavor

 

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Nothing but flavor right there
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make sure to scrape up all the brown aka flavor

Add the onions, celery and carrots, if needed add a small amount of oil. Cook for a minute or two. Add broth and rice plus any of the juices from the cutlets.

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only takes about 5-8 minutes for the broth to thaw


bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Crispy Potato Gnocchi & Pesto

It is a pretty big day here in New England. The Patriots are playing for the AFC championship later today. We were supposed to get 1 to 2 feet of snow I guess at one point they said 30+ inches. But it looks like 6-7 inches, guess it was fake news. I really wanted at least a foot; I mean I feel if it’s going to be this cold at least it can be beautiful and I got snowshoes for Christmas that I want to try them out.
IMG_3927.JPGA friend of mine posted this little Sunday prayer that is quite clever and made me laugh so I have to share it.

Our Brady, who art in Foxboro, hallowed be thy arm. Thy title will come, it will be won, in Kansas City as it is in New England. Give us this Sunday, our weekly win & give us many touchdown passes, but do not let the Chiefs pass against us. Lead us not, into frustration, but deliver us to the valley of the sun. For thine is the MVP, the best of the AFC, & the glory of the Patriots, now & forever, AMEN!!  GO PATS!!!
IMG_3902.JPGBack to food – I still have some gnocchi that I was going to either freeze or make something. I think i mentioned my freezers are ridiculously full so I ended up making something pretty delicious that I wanted to share with you. Honestly I have no idea why I have never made them before. Potato Gnocchi; I feel I have to specify that they are potato since there are many variations out there in the world. But who doesn’t like crispy potatoes and why wouldn’t a crispy potato gnocchi be marvelous? Well it is so here you go!
img_3908.jpgCrispy Potato Gnocchi & Pesto

Ingredients
Package of gnocchi – or make your own if you adventurous (I plan to try making my own some day)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cups Basil pesto – store bought or clink on the link here cookingatclarktowers basil pesto  

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Bring a pot of water to boil, add the gnocchi and when they float to the top remove them from the water.
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In a saute pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter, once hot add the gnocchi, try not to over crowd (like I did) or they will steam instead of fry (like mine did) let them brown before turning over, brown them all over.
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Remove to a shallow dish and cover with about a quarter cup +/- of pesto. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy!
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Recipe adapted from two peas & their pod

BBQ pulled pork pasta

I know I have mentioned several times that dinner sometimes comes from whatever I have on hand. There are certain leftovers that I admit kind of stump me with how I can re-invent them. There are only so many pulled pork sandwiches one can eat; at least once the coleslaw is gone.
img_3897.jpgI was going to make nachos with the leftover BBQ pulled pork but I just wasn’t feeling it. So I decided to try something new; to us and has a little more substance than just tortilla chips with toppings. It does help that I do have a well stocked pantry and I am on a kick to start cooking with what I have on hand and only shop for the essentials.
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I would love to tell you that I succeed with cleaning out the freezer and pantry but after a few weeks I usually cave and get bored with what I have on hand. Though right now I couldn’t fit one more thing in my freezer and my pantry is a train wreck so I am going to try really hard this time.
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I would probably use a creamier cheese next time I make this, only because cheddar; while one of my favorites was a little hard to stir it into the pasta and meat mixture. Also if you don’t have cumin on hand you can use one of the following chili powder,  Garam Marsala, ground coriander, or curry powder.
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Ingredients
1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
1 medium green or red pepper, chopped
1 medium/large cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
BBQ pulled pork, approx 16 ounces
1 can mild rotel
1/2 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin (I used Garam Marsala – it was in my pantry)
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (a creamier cheese would be great here – Goat cheese, feta or even mozzarella, grueyre)
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Directions
Cook pasta according to the directions on the package

Heat the butter and oil in your skillet, saute the onions, pepper for 3-5 minutes on med-low heat or until they are soft. Add the garlic, cook for another minute or so. Add the pork, rotel, broth and cumin. Saute until heated through.  Add the cheese at the last minute just till it melts. Serve and sprinkle with a few green onions.
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Beef and Guinness Stew

I should be writing about something you can make for your Thanksgiving dinner but I made this for dinner last night and it is just too good not to share immediately and it might be something to make on the Sunday after the holiday when you have had enough of turkey leftovers.

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Loved the oven roasted potatoes

A few week ago a couple of girlfriends and I went on a road trip to Simon Pearce a handmade glassware company; its about an hour and half from my house in Quechee, VT. This is my second visit to the combination store, glass blowing workshop, restaurant and bar.

My first visit was on Mother’s Day which happened to be a lovely day in May when my husband and I were on our way back from a weekend in Montreal. It was an unexpected treat. The property is on the river and there is a beautiful covered bridge and waterfall which you can enjoy while eating your meal.

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our May visit

I would suggest if you want to eat here; and you should; put your name in for a table and then walk around the store and glass blowing workshop. Learn from our mistake, well mistake is a little harsh. It just gave us more time to walk around.

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I’m a dork I used a clothespin because I couldn’t figure out my daughters stand – till this morning

Both times my food was excellent and I would go back again; although after talking with our waiter and him bringing over a copy of the latest book that has some of the recipes included in it and of course I ended up buying it. Between me and my daughter (mostly my daughter) we are going to need a library just for our cookbooks/magazines.

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I had a 4 pound chuck roast I cut up

IMG_3647So I had their beef stew and the depth of flavor was so intense I figured it had to have been on the stove or in the oven for hours. I was pleasantly surprised that we were eating in just about 2 hours and most of it was the pot simmering on the stove.

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all the love on the bottom of the pan – scrape it up when you add the liquid

IMG_3650My daughter came home after work and reheated a bowl for herself and said it was ridiculously good and worth buying the book for.
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after an hour and half

Beef and Guinness Stew with oven-roasted potatoes
This is exactly how their recipe – I will also share how I made mine

Ingredients:
2 & 1/2 pounds of beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. black pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil

Instructions:
Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a large stewpot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and brown the beef in batches, adding 1 tablespoon olive oil to each batch, over medium high heat. Using slotted spoon, remove the beef from the pot and set aside.

3 carrots, peeled and sliced (blanch and set aside)

1 large onion
2-3 cloves garlic
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. Flour
1 bottle Guinness Stout
2-3 cups beef stock
(I used my carrot water and added a tablespoon of beef base plus a container of unsalted beef broth so mine was a little less thick than there’s)

Add onions and a small amount of olive oil to the stewpot and cook over medium heat until translucent. Once the onions are caramelized, add garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and cook for 5 minutes. Add flour and mix well. Add the browned beef back to the pot and add the Guinness. Bring to a boil and add beef stock. Bring the mixture back to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 & 1/2 hours, or until the beef is tender. Add the carrots and adjust the seasonings before serving

Ingredients:
2 pounds small red potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. Paprika

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the Paprika added a little heat – which was nice!

IMG_3652Instructions:
Cut potatoes in quarters.  In a bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika. Spread potatoes on a baking sheet in one layer (do not overcrowd). Roast for at least 1 hour in 400 degree F oven or until brown and crisp. Flip twice during cooking to brown every.

Recipe from the Simon Pearce Restaurants

Creamy Pasta and Beef

Tis the season for comfort food – do you really need a season to enjoy comfort food? I don’t think so! I know I can and do make and enjoy a comfort meal more times than not. My comfort food go to meal starts with roasted chicken. I can and have roasted a whole chicken for Sunday dinner more times than any other Sunday meal. Sometimes I even roast two. Which is why there are at least 3-4 containers of chicken stock in my freeze at all times.
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Soups are another one of my comfort food staples. I usually make a soup over the weekend for a quick grab and go lunch option for the week. So I guess it’s good thing I always have stock available. Maybe it’s all part of the cooking equation; I have so I make. That kinda makes sense now that I say it out loud.

Maybe they call it comfort food because it’s on the heavier side of the food pyramid? (I do know that it isn’t) For the record I love salads but I wouldn’t call it comfort food. I would call it more of a necessity, again probably because of the roasted chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy and the rich broth soups I need or should eat a salad or two only so the scale doesn’t roll it’s eyes at me; another for the record – it does all the time.
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So here is a quick and easy comfort food meal that you can make any night of the week. And maybe make a tossed salad to go along side of it. Plus don’t forget the fresh loaf of bread; remember you are also eating a salad so it’s totally legal.

Ingredients
box of medium pasta shells – cook according to directions and set aside
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound of ground beef
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning – if you don’t have this see below
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups beef stock
15 ounce can of tomato sauce
¾ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

Heat olive oil in a stock pot or large skillet over medium high heat, add the ground beef, crumble and brown till cooked through ;drain the excess fat and remove the beef to a bowl or plate.

Add the onion cook for about 2-4 minutes until they are translucent then add the garlic stirring frequently. Cook for another minute or so. Add seasonings cook for another minute or so. Add the flour and cook till it is slightly browned this should take a couple of minutes.

Gradually whisk in the beef broth and tomato sauce. Bring it to a boil; reduce heat stir occasionally and simmer until it thickens around 10 minutes.
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Add the Pasta, beef and cream until everything warms and melds together. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.  

If you don’t have a jar of Italian seasoning – it is generally made up of the following spices so I suggest adding a sprinkle or two of the ones you do have. Or pick the ones you like the best. Oregano, Marjoram, Thyme, Basil, Rosemary, Sage and Parsley

adapted from online Damn Delicious

Easy no-fry Eggplant Parm & Garden Salsa

OK so you are probably wondering when she is going to stop writing about her damn garden; but this year was a super year and I need to use up or give away what I pick; plus the season is winding down. It is Labor day weekend, there are school buses everywhere and we are supposedly not supposed to wear white anymore – pfff I wear what I want!
IMG_3103.JPGSo this week was another one of those busy weeks but I had a plan to use up what I have for tomatoes and peppers. I came home from work on Wednesday and started chopping. Halfway through we lost power so I finished chopping by candlelight. I made a pretty large bowl of salsa with my tomatoes, green peppers, onions and jalapenos. It was pretty cool since I haven’t been able to make it in a couple of years; it was a terrible year for green peppers last year and the year before I didn’t get any tomatoes. Yeah I know I could have gone out and bought some of what I needed  but that just doesn’t appeal to me for making “homemade salsa” I have issues I know!
IMG_3094Tonight (Thursday) I wanted to use up all the eggplant that was in the fridge. This is only the second year of growing eggplant and who knew there were SO many kinds out there. I had only seen the large oblong ones from the store but mine are long and thin. Which is great for slicing up and adding them into things. I know I have shared this recipe before but it is worth repeating since it comes together fast and tastes excellent with probably the fewest iIMG_3095
I add Sweet Italian sausage basically because I love it, and I think it brings a lot to the dish and my husband won’t ask why there is no meat. I very rarely keep the sausage link as a full link. For this recipe I sliced a couple of the links into coins or minim meatballs. I do this for spaghetti sauce sometimes; or I’ll remove the casing and smash the sausage up and brown it. Either way I am all in.
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I deglazed the pan with a little leftover red wine – totally optional

 

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I put this a baggie for another use – fridge or freeze it for another day!


Mock Eggplant Parmesan

1 large or several small Eggplant(s) diced
Marinara sauce – your favorite jar
1 small Onion diced
1 package Mozzarella
2 links Sausage (optional)

Saute the onions until they sweat, add the sausage if you are using it. Cook the sausage till it is done. Add the marinara sauce, stir and then add the mozzarella. Cover and let it simmer for about 30 – 40 minutes.

Serve with a side salad and some bread

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I posted this recipe way back in 2013 wow I have been doing this a long time!


Homemade Garden Salsa

6 tomatoes (roma)- seeded diced
1 Green bell pepper – seeded diced
1 Onion – diced
2 Jalapeno peppers – seeded chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic – pressed
1 Lime, squeezed
Fresh cilantro – chopped
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
dash Balsamic vinegar
1-2 packets of sweet and low

Dice and seed the tomatoes and set aside to drain while you dice the peppers and onions, press the garlic, and chop the cilantro. Mix everything together add a dash of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and a packet or two of sweet and low.

Hint 1: you can make it hotter by leaving the pith and seeds in the jalapenos or milder by removing them before chopping.

Hint 2: By seeding the tomatoes your salsa will be less watery