January 30, 2011

Mediterranean White Bean Soup

OK - I was pretty proud of this one.  All the flavors blend so perfectly together & to make it even better it  was done in the crock pot. Hope you enjoy!

Mediterranean White Bean Soup
Serves 6

2 cans of white Northern Beans, rinsed
1 can small black olives, rinsed
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup sliced roasted red peppers
3 cups of chicken broth, 4 if no wine
1 cup of red wine
1 link of turkey smoked sausage, coined & quartered
1 tablespoon of Herbs de Provence
6 fresh thyme sprigs
Salt & Pepper
1 tablespoon of butter
Brown rice
Grated Gouda or Havarti

Put everything but the butter, rice and cheese in your crock pot and cook on low for at least eight hours (even longer is fine - it just gives the flavors more time to blend).  Right before you are ready to serve turn heat to high and add butter & let it return to a low boil.  Serve over rice (or not) and top with a sprinkle of cheese (or not).

This was a wonderful Monday night meal.  I mixed everything together the night before & my husband, JK, turned the crock pot on right before he left for the day (I would have but I leave 2 hours before he does).  Walking into the house from the office was awesome, the entire house smelled wonderful.  We started the week off on a healthy note and I had delicious lunch for the rest of the week. For dinner I enjoyed with the rice & cheese and for a healthy lunch I just enjoyed the soup as is.

January 23, 2011

Healthy - Salmon with spinach, mushrooms and tomato

Simple, healthy weeknight dinner is all I am going to say.

Salmon with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Tomato
Serves 2, easily double or triple
2 salmon fillets
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 cups of baby spinach, torn
2 tablespoons of roasted tomato dressing
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place the fillets in a shallow baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  In a bowl mix spinach, mushrooms & tomato, toss with the dressing and touch of pepper.  Spoon veggies over the salmon and bake for 35 minutes.  Serve over brown rice & top with a touch of Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

While we are being healthy I will introduce my new craze, fruit infused water.  For Christmas my husband gave me a apothecary style beverage dispenser & I have loved making different flavors of water for us.
Lemon with frozen cranberries
Cucumber & Lemon
Orange & Cranberries
The beginnings of Orange & Lemon
These have all worked well and keep for 2 or so days on the cold counter.  Strawberry & Kiwi was wonderful but not good for more than 24 hours.  Anything to drink more water!

January 21, 2011

Lighter Green Goddess & Parisian Mushroom Soup

I know everyone is trying to be healthier, trying being the operative word.  Sometimes little things come along to help us out.  Why not dress up your veggies with a little yummy dip.  My version is a lighter variety & we have also used it sandwiches and wraps rather than mayo. It takes all of a minute to prepare and kept in a sealed container it can last for at least a week.

Lighter Green Goddess Dressing
1 avocado, pitted and scooped
1 cup light sour cream
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 green onions (green and white), cut into fourths
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp minced garlic
3 sprigs of parsley
Salt & Pepper
Combine all ingredients in the food processor or blender.  Pulse until smooth, place in a sealed container and refrigerate for around 8 hours.  Enjoy!

French Fridays with Dorie
I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the French Fridays cooking club.  The one issue I have is the no recipe sharing.  I have stated before her book is amazing & everyone should own a copy. The dish for the week of January 7th was Paris Mushroom Soup.  This was wonderful and I deviated enough from the recipe that I think I could put the recipe up, but I will save for when this project is complete.
Everything before the broth
Caramelized onion, touch of garlic, butter, Chardonnay, sherry, parsley, rosemary & chicken broth came together to make a wonderful lunch for my friends.  My variations from Dorie's recipe were using cremini mushrooms, 1/3 less chicken broth, the addition of sherry, and I did not blend.  This really was a rustic French perfection.

January 5, 2011

Scallop Salad & New Toy

Scallop Salad
12 Large Sea scallops
Small carton of cherry tomatoes, halved
5 oz baby spinach, washed and torn
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
Sale & Pepper
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Add butter to a saute pan on medium high heat, melt & add the wine.  Bring to a simmer and add the scallops.  Cook for 1 minute and then turn, cooking for 2 minutes.  Remove from pan.  Add spinach and tomatoes to a bowl and cover with the remaining cooking liquid and lemon juice, toss gently.  Plate spinach and tomatoes and top with sprinkle of salt & pepper and grated cheese. Add scallops to the salad plates - 3 for 4 appetizers or 6 for 2 main courses.  Spoon the remaining butter & wine over the scallops & Enjoy!

On a different note my last Holiday surprised arrived yesterday -oval 9 1/2 quart cherry red Le Creuset dutch oven.  I thought if I am going to get a larger one - just go for it. 

January 4, 2011

Santa Fe Sausage Stew

Cold, rainy evenings make me crave a warm, hearty, comforting supper.  This definitely fits the bill.  You can simmer all day or just a few minutes, the choice is yours.  I will say that the leftovers were wonderful, so I would recommend the simmering approach.

Santa Fe Sausage Stew (6 to 8 servings)
28 oz crushed tomatoes
10 oz diced tomatoes with chilies
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
1/4 cup diced jalapenos, optional
14 oz linked, cooked sausage, sliced
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
Brown Rice

Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat till translucent, then add the garlic & saute for about 2 more minutes.  Then add all ingredients except for sausage and chicken broth, bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 20 minutes (longer if you have time), then add the sliced sausage & chicken broth, return to a boil and then simmer for another 15 minutes. Serve over brown rice & Enjoy! You could always top with with sour cream, cheese and be wild and add a touch of hot sauce.

Note - I am planning on trying a crock-pot version of this stew, however I will be replacing the sausage with 2 frozen chicken breasts - adding all ingredients & cook on low for 8 hours.