Broccoli Potato Soup
Slow Cooker Easy. Broccoli Potato Soup with chicken that can be made pureed or chunky. Healthy, easy AND tasty…what more could you want?
3 Large Broccoli Crowns (diced)
3 Cloves Garlic (minced)
2 qts. Organic Chicken Broth
2 Large Chicken Breasts (chopped-raw)
10 Small Red Potatoes (diced)
1/2 Sweet Onion
1 teas. Parsley
2 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Directions: dice veggies, chicken, potatoes and dump all ingredients into a slow cooker (except cheese). Cook on high for 4-6 hours until vegetables and potatoes are tender.
If you want the less chunky version: drain broth through a strainer over a large bowl, separating potatoes and chicken from the broccoli and onions. Place the chicken and potatoes back in the slow cooker and toss the broccoli back into your strained broth (don’t be too picky about this). Find the bay leaves and discard them. Take broccoli/onion/broth mixture and puree to your desired consistency. Pour pureed “veggie” broth back over the chicken and potatoes in the slow cooker. Add about a half cup of Parmesan cheese and return to high for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Enjoy!
Beef Bourguignon (Beef Stew)
Cold weather food. Time to break out that crock-pot! For weeks, I have thought about attempting the perfect stew. After perusing recipes for stews and french beef bourguignon’s, I came up with this recipe (and crossed my fingers!). Luckily, it turned out fabulous!
2 lbs. Reserve Beef Chuck
3 T. Flour
2 T. Olive Oil
1 Medium Sweet Onion
1 lb Red Potatoes
5 - 6 Carrots
1 Cup Red Wine
1 Small Can Tomato Paste
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
3 Cups Stock (Chicken or Beef)
1/4 teas. Ground Mustard
1/2 teas. Garlic Powder
1 T. Parsley
1/2 T. Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
1 T. Cornstarch
Salt and Pepper to Taste (generous)
Directions: Get out your crock-pot and prep your veggies. Chop (do not dice) onion. Peel and chop carrots into large inch sized chunks. Wash and chop your potatoes into a similar size. Drop them all into the crock-pot. Add tomato paste, stock, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings (except cornstarch).
Slice 1 to 1.5” chunks of beef chuck (usually you can find it pre-cut in your deli). Toss the beef in a bowl and coat with flour and ½ teas. salt. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and brown beef lightly (I did this very gingerly maximum of five minutes). When you finish browning, toss the meat into the crock pot. Keep the same skillet over medium heat and throw in onions. Add your red wine and leave on to simmer. Simmer the onions for 3 to 5 minutes until the wine begins to reduce (to no less than 1/2 cup). And you guessed it…add to the crock-pot.
Turn the crock on high and cook for 4 to 6 hours. Taste along the way and season generously with salt and pepper (estimate that this is at least 1 teas salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper). After 3 hours, mix 1 T. cornstarch with some broth (taken from the pot) in a cup until cornstarch is dissolved. Mix this rue into your stew and continue to cook until vegetables are tender, broth is thick and stew is ready. Enjoy!
Kitchen Sink Brownies: Cookie Dough, Oreo, Fudginess
Brace yourself. These brownies are over the top. A layer of cookie dough, oreos and classic brownies will send you over the edge. Make sure you have plenty of milk on hand when they are done!
10 T. unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 package of Double Stuff Oreos
Cookie Dough layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temp)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions: Preheat oven to 350, line a 9x9 pan with foil and spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the sugar and cocoa powder once the butter is melted. Whisk to combine and remove from heat. Add the salt, vanilla and eggs and continuously whisk until the eggs are combined. Add the flour and continue to mix. Set batter aside. Now make the cookie dough! Cream together the butter and sugars in a mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla, beat until well combine. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Fold in the chocolate chips and press into the bottom of your 9x9 pan. Layer 16 oreos (4x4) on top of the cookie dough. Next, pour and spread the brownie batter on top of the oreo layer and make sure it’s evenly layers on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes. If the knife comes out clean they are done! ENJOY!
Recipe courtesy of What’s Gaby Cooking.
Peter Serko’s Curried Lentil Soup
He makes the best soups. Unfortunately that also means, he makes the best, nearly un-recreatable dishes since I don’t think he’s used a recipe..ever! However, after watching him for nearly 27 years (…and making several phone calls throughout the process)... here is my Dad’s quick and easy recipe for lentil soup. One of my absolute favorites: it freezes great, if you want to pack away individual servings for a rainy day.
3 Cups Red Lentils
4 cups water
4 cups Vegetable Broth or Chicken stock
1 medium sweet onion diced
2 T. Olive Oil
3 carrots diced
1 T. Salt (add gradually to taste)
2 – 3 cloves Garlic (minced)
2 T. Curry (add more as you like)
2 T. Cumin (add more as you like)
Pepper to Taste
Directions: chop and prep the carrots and onion. Heat oil in a large stock pot. Throw in veggies and sauté with garlic for 10-15 minutes until onions are translucent and tender, and carrots are beginning to soften. Add the water, broth and lentils. Bring to a soft boil, and turn the temperature down to medium to low (if you leave it on medium, watch and stir often). Add the curry and cumin, and half of the recommended salt. Cover and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes until lentils cook down and soup becomes thick. At this point, the longer the better. The lentils will continue to cook down and you may need to add extra broth (I added about 1/2 cup more as my soup cooked and became slightly too thick). Taste frequently! Add salt and pepper as desired (I continued to add salt, curry and cumin until the flavor was full and spicy), as usual it is all about personal preference! Grate some parmesan for topping. Enjoy!
Recipe inspired by the everyday cooking & tutelage of Peter Serko.
Pesto Spaghetti Squash w/ Chicken
Spaghetti? Squash? Substitute this string like squash, for any pasta recipe you have—although it always needs a bit more of a kick. A protein goes great with it, especially when you don’t have all those noodles filling you up!
1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts or Thighs (sub. Italian chicken sausage)
1 recipe Pesto Sauce (be generous)
1 medium Spaghetti Squash
1/2 Sweet Onion (diced)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions: SIMPLE (especially if you already have the spaghetti squash drill down!) Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Prepare your Pesto Sauce: see my recipe for Pesto Sauce. Make sure to use plenty of salt and garlic, and make more than you think you will need—you can always freeze it!
SQUASH: Cut the squash in half length wise and remove all seeds and innards. Brush each squash with olive oil and place face down in a pyrex glass baking dish. Roast that sucker for approximately 30-45 minutes until very tender (sometimes the tops will collapse in a bit). When the squash is tender, remove from the oven and scrape the insides (using a fork). You will immediately see the stringy, “spaghetti-like” texture. Scrape out all the squash and discard the skin.
MEAT: While the squash is still cooking, saute onion and chicken (or sausage) in ~ 2 teaspoons of olive oil with a bit of salt and pepper (careful not to over salt if your pesto is salty). When the chicken is cooked thoroughly, add 1/4 of your pesto sauce and saute on low heat for about 1 minute, removing quickly from heat (if you used parmesan in your pesto, it might burn!).
Finally…while the squash is still hot, toss the “spaghetti” with the remaining 3/4 of pesto sauce coating evenly. Add in chicken, toss a bit more & dress with grated parmesan cheese. Voila! ENJOY.
Cauliflower Bacon Gratin
(RE)Starting the baking off right. Here is a hearty and delicious side dish for meat, fish or, let’s be honest…to accompany your breakfast toast.
1/4 lb. Bacon (cooked, not crispy and chopped crosswise)
1/3 cup Flour
5 large Eggs
1 cup Heavy Cream
2/3 cup Whole Milk
3 oz. Gruyere (or Swiss cheese) grated
Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat the oven to 425. Butter a 9”x9” (or similar sized) casserole dish. Chopped the florets off of your head of cauliflower. In a large pot of salted water boil the florets for about 10 minutes until they are tender (pierce with a fork). Quickly remove from the heat, drain and rinse with cold water to prevent overcooking. Arrange the cauliflower and cooked/chopped up bacon in your dish. Place flour in another small bowl and add in eggs one at a time, mixing well to remove all the lumps. Add cream, milk, salt and pepper. Stir in about 2 oz. of your cheese reserving enough to sprinkle on top. Pour the egg mixture over the bacon and cauliflower and sprinkle on remaining cheese. Bake for about 25-35 minutes until puffed, golden, center is “set” and a knife comes out clean. Best served warm! ENJOY!
Recipe courtesy of Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.
Healthy Vegetarian Burrito Bowl
Here is an easy and healthy way to throw together a meal for two nights in less than 15 minutes. You can add additional veggies or your meat of choice to dress up the basics. This recipe makes about two servings.
1 can Black Beans (rinsed & chopped)
1 cup Brown Rice & Quinoa (mixed & cooked, this is ½ cup uncooked)
1 Red Bell Pepper (sliced lengthwise)
1 can Black Olives (chopped)
1/2 Sweet Onion (sliced)
5 large leaves of Kale (couple handfuls chopped)
Chili Powder (to taste)
Cumin (to taste)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Optional Toppings: Shredded Cheese, Salsa, Sour Cream, Avocado
I cook my rice in the microwave using the traditional ½ cup of rice to 1 cup of water ratio. Use a mix of grains (brown rice and quinoa can be mixed and cooked together). Chop your onion and pepper, and saute until soft in about 2 teaspoons oil. After they begin to cook down (5-8 minutes) add chopped Kale. Add your salt, pepper, a few dashes of chili powder and cumin. When I say “to taste” I mean taste it. See if you like it. If it needs more flavor, add more. Continue to saute until done, adding about ¼ cup water as the veggies begin to stick to the pan (do not add more oil). Next, chop the beans in a small bowl and heat them in the microwave or a small sauce pan. While heating, prepare any desired toppings and begin to assemble your bowl!
To assemble place a small amount of rice and beans in the bottom, top with veggies, salsa, olives and sour cream or cheese if you wish. ENJOY!
Homemade Granola (Energy) Bars
Afternoon snack? Healthy meal replacement? I happen to love a good energy bar…in fact…I could probably live on them! It is only natural that I develop my own! But cheaper. Healthier. Just better. Fear not…I calculated the nutrition value and these puppies come in right about 225-275 Calories per bar (equivalent to the average Clif Bar). They are also incredibly filling and made of wholesome ingredients…more so then some overly sweet ones on the market. Give it a shot!
1 1/2 to 2 cups dried Apricots, Cranberries, Prunes, Raisins (chopped)
1 cup Almonds (chopped)
3 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1 cup Almond Butter (can use applesauce, apple butter, peanut butter or pureed dried fruit)
1 teas. Cinnamon
3/4 teas. Vanilla
1/2 cup Maple Syrup (real, New England) or honey
Line two loaf pans with tin foil or parchment paper, and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Chop all your dried fruit and nuts, and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon until well combined. Add in oats and stir until well coated and sticky. Gradually stir in fruit and nuts, and divide mixture in half. Press into two loaf pans firmly and evenly. Bake for about 25 minutes until set. Cool in freezer for about an hour and cut into bars. Enjoy!
Note: There are many variations possible in this recipe. You can substitute honey, applesauce, peanut butter, apple butter or pureed dried fruit for the cup of almond butter and 1/2 cup of maple syrup I used. Other nuts, sunflower seeds or proteins should be added as well. The possibilities are endless!
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.
Read on for a new variation!
Another great combination with less sugar!
2 cups dried Apricots, Cranberries, Prunes, Raisins (chopped)
1 cup Almonds (chopped)
2/3 cup Sunflower Seeds (raw, unsalted)
3 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 cup Almond Butter
1/2 teas. Cinnamon
3/4 teas. Vanilla
1/3 cup Maple Syrup (real, New England)
1 Cup Dates (puree them into a paste with 1 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup)