Sunday, January 25, 2015

Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup

With lots of veggies, brown rice, and shredded chicken this soup makes for a hearty meal that will keep you full and warm you up in the midst of winter.

Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup

2 Tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped,
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 quarts chicken broth
1 cup brown rice
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
2 chicken breasts
the zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup basil pesto

1. In a stockpot, over medium high heat, saute the onion, carrots, and red pepper in the butter for 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned.  

2. Add garlic, zucchini, sweet potato, broth, rice, pepper, Italian Seasoning- bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

3. Add chicken breasts, cover pot with lid and simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

4. Remove chicken to cutting board and shred with forks, return to the simmering soup.

5. When the rice is fully cooked add the zest and juice of the lemon, peas, and pesto - stir and simmer 5 minutes more.

6. Serve and enjoy.

inspired by The Cozy Apron 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Veggie Cream Cheese

Have you ever had Philadelphia's Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese Spread?  I like its savory flavor as a great option for an onion bagel, to spread on a sandwich, and as a dip for crackers, but for having "vegetable" in its name there's not many veggies in their cream cheese spread.  So I decided to make my own - with lots more vegetables: mine is more like 3 parts veggies to 1 part cream cheese.  It is still spreadable but has a lot more crunch and flavor. Adjust the amount of vegetables to suit your definition of Vegetable Cream Cheese.

Veggie Cream Cheese

2 carrots, peeled and quartered
1/2 red onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 cucumber, seeds scooped out
1/2 green pepper, seeds and membranes removed, quartered
5 radishes, ends removed
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes (helps absorb liquid the the veggies will release)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Place all vegetables in a food processor fitted with the blade, pulse until finely minced, scraping the sides as necessary (you may need to do this in 2 batches)

2. Scoop minced veggies onto the center of a clean kitchen towel, pull the corners in and twist - over the sink to release water from the veggies, squeeze out at least 1/4 cup liquid.

3.  Add veggies, cream cheese, and remaining ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir until evenly combined.

4. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for a week.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Lemon Bars

In the mood for something with lemon, I considered lemon meringue pie, lemon cream tart, lemon curd, lemon pound cake, but in the end settle for lemon bars.  The crisp buttery crust and the balanced sweet and tart flavors in the filling make for a satisfying lemon experience.

I prefer to bake the lemon bars in 2 square pans rather than a 9x13, the bars bake faster and are easier to remove from the pan so they can be cut and served in even sized pieces.  Form a slight crust up the sides of the pans so that the filling won't overflow and stick to the sides of the pan, again easing in removal of the lemon bars from the pan.

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
the zest of 2 lemons
1/4 teaspoon salt

Lemon Filling
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
the zest of 2 lemons
the juice of 4 lemons

2 Tablespoons powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 2 - 8" square pans.

2. Stir together crust ingredients until a firm dough forms.  Press into greased pans, forming a 1/2" crust up the sides of the pans.

3. Bake crusts for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

4. Meanwhile whisk together the lemon filling ingredients.

5. When the crusts are par-baked pour the lemon filling evenly over the crusts and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until the filling is set.

6.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then lift the bars out of the pans with a spatula.  Let cool completely.

7. Use a fine mesh strainer to evenly dust powdered sugar over the cooled lemon bars.  Cut bars and store in an air tight container.

adapted from this recipe

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Apple Rhubarb Crisp with Lemon and Ginger

My friend Kathy lives about a mile out of town, her and her husband have a beautiful garden along the side of their house that is easily seen from the road.  A large patch of rhubarb sits proudly at the front of this garden.  Kathy was telling me that she heard a knock on her door a few days ago and found a man on her front porch that asked if she would be willing to barter for some of their lovely rhubarb.  Kathy and the stranger bartered a trade of rhubarb for fresh fish.  The guy took his rhubarb and stopped by later to supply the fish he'd promised.

Whether you grow, buy, or barter for your rhubarb this recipe is a great way to use it up.  Ginger and lemon add a familiar, but new spin on the classic crisp.

Apple Rhubarb Crisp with Lemon and Ginger

2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 1/2" chunks (about 7 cups)
4 apples, cored and chopped into 1/2" chunks (about 4 cups)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon grated ginger (I keep a knob of ginger in my freezer, it stores beautifully and grates better from a frozen state)
the juice of one lemon

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
the zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon grated ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x13" pan or 12 ramekins/mason jars.

2. Stir all Filling ingredients together and spread evenly into the prepared pan/ramekins/mason jars.

3. Stir together Crisp ingredients until a crumbly mixture forms. Sprinkle over Filling.

4. Bake pan for 30-35 minutes (ramekins/mason jars 20-25 minutes) or until Crisp is starting to get golden brown and the Filling is bubbling.

5. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Berry Almond Cream Scones

These scones are a delicious breakfast, brunch, snack, or dessert item.  They're simple to pull together and way better than a coffeeshop scone. Dried berries rehydrated in amaretto are used in place of fresh berries, as fresh berries tend to bring too much moisture to the party and can make the scones soggy after a couple hours.
Berry Almond Cream Scones
inspired by this recipe by Ree Drummond

1 cup dried berries (I used a combination of blueberries and tart cherries)
1/2 cup amaretto
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, cubed
2 eggs
3/4 cup cream (feel free to substitute milk, but they won't be as delicious)
1/4 cup cream
2 Tablespoons amaretto from soaking berries
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Add dried berries and amaretto to a jar and cover.  Let sit at room temperature to rehydrate for at least 4 hours before using (if you don't have 4 hours - add berries and and amaretto to a saucepan, bring to a boil, immediately remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes.)
2. Drain rehydrated berries, reserving 2 Tablespoons for the glaze.  Save the rest of the liquid for a cocktail.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease two baking sheets.
4. Add flours, almond meal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse 5-10 times or until coarse crumbs form.
5.  Add butter crumb mixture to a large bowl.  Add eggs, cream, and drained berries. Stir until a slightly shaggy dough forms.
6. Scoop dough onto a floured surface and form into two circles about 1/2 inch thick.  Use a pizza cutter to slice dough into triangles (8-12 scones per circle depending on whether you are making snack scones or more substantial breakfast scones).
7. Place scones on prepared pans and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Transfer scones to cooling racks over parchment paper to cool completely.
9. Meanwhile make the glaze: whisk the cream, 2 Tablespoons of reserved berry-rehydrating-amaretto, and powdered sugar together.
10. When scones are cooled, drizzle the glaze over the scones.  When the glaze is dry, store in an airtight container.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce over Pasta and Kale

Roasted red peppers are one of those ingredients that I could add to every dish I make, but their delicate flavor is easily overwhelmed by other robust ingredients.  This sauce recipe lets the roasted red pepper flavor shine through.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce over Pasta and Kale
inspired by Quick and Easy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta by Ree Drummond

1 Tablespoon butter
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 jar ( 12 oz. ) roasted red peppers, well drained and roughly chopped
1/2 can ( 14.5 oz.) fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained (add the leftover half can of tomatoes to chili, lasagna, or scrambled eggs)
1/4 cup white wine
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound pasta (I used whole wheat rigatoni)
1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and leaves sliced 1/4" thick

1. In a 2 quart saucepan saute garlic and onion in butter over medium high for 3-4 minutes until onions and garlic are softened and lightly browned.

2. Add sauteed onions and garlic, red peppers, tomatoes, wine, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to a blender and puree for 20-30 seconds or until no large chunks remain.

3. Add the sauce back to the saucepan and simmer on medium low for 15-20 minutes or until it thickens slightly.

4. Meanwhile bring a pot of water to a boil, add the pasta.  2 minutes before it is ready add the kale to the water.

5. When the pasta is fully cooked drain the pasta and kale.  Serve the sauce over the pasta and kale.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Banana Waffles

These tender waffles were a perfect brunch for today's rainy Sunday morning.  The bananas are definitely the star of the show but the oats and pecans play supporting roles with grace.  While many waffle recipes include whipped egg whites in the batter, I cannot be bothered to do so - this recipe is simple, quick, and utterly delicious.

Easy Banana Waffles
inspired by Banana Nut Waffles by Amateur Gourmet

1 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup ground flax seed
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large ripe bananas
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
3 eggs

1. In a medium bowl stir together flour, oats, pecans, flax seed, and soda
2. In a large mixing bowl mash bananas with brown sugar, until bananas are mostly chunk free (the sugar acts as an abrasive, helping you out with breaking down the bananas)
3. Whisk sour cream, milk, oil, and eggs into the banana and sugar mixture.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until moistened.
5. Let batter sit for 5 minutes to thicken up, meanwhile preheat your waffle iron.
6. Scoop waffle batter into the iron and cook according to your waffle iron's instructions and your personal preferences
7.  Enjoy waffles hot out of the iron or let cool and then freeze to enjoy another day.

Yield:  approximately 14 - 4" waffles.