Monday, January 25, 2010

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Apple Pancakes

We are a family who love us some pancakes.  And we especially love 'em with stuff - blueberries, apple slices, pumpkin puree, etc.  A plain pancake - it seems almost criminal.

These pancakes have applesauce in the batter in place of oil.  Then I thinly sliced apples and cooked them on top with a sprinkling of cinnamon.  Top with a bit of syrup or whipped cream, and you have a scrumptious treat.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Navy Bean Soup

I haven't been feeling much like cooking lately - I don't even think I could tell you what we've eaten the past month.  Finally, I've tried something new and I really liked how it turned out.  It was thick and savory and brimming with delicious veggies.  The original recipe called for a 2 lbs ham hock, I substituted smoked turkey leg, the results were quite nice.

Navy Bean Soup with Smoked Turkey

1 lb Navy beans, rinsed and soaked 
4 TB olive oil
4 C chopped onion (about 1 large onion)
1 C chopped carrots
1/2 chopped celery
3 minced garlic cloves
6 C chicken broth
3 C water
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs parsley chopped
2 lbs smoked turkey legs
2 C chopped, peeled potatoes
2 1/2 tsp thyme

1.  Saute carrots, onion, celery & garlic in oil until soft - about 10 minutes.  Add beans, broth, water, bay leaves, parsley, turkey, potatoes and thyme.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and skim off foam.  Simmer partially covered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2.  Remove turkey and bay leaves.  Cut turkey off bone.

3.  Set aside about 3 C of soup and beans.  In a food processor, puree until smooth.  Return mixture to soup along with turkey pieces.  Season with salt and pepper.

May be refrigerated two days or frozen.

Serves 6 to 8.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Delicious Minestrone - Move Over Olive Garden

This is a very tasty soup!  And it is chock full of vegetables, so it is very healthy.  (Sorry, I don't have a picture today.)

Makes about 10 cups


1/2 lb dried white beans, rinsed and soaked overnight - or - 2 14.5 oz cans canellini beans, drained and rinsed and 1 14.5 oz can chick peas

1/4 lb pancetta (I found this at Trader Joes) - or - use sliced, lean bacon, chopped
1/3 C olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, sliced
2 ribs of celery, sliced
3 cloves garlic
2 zucchini, diced
1/4 lb green beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 lb potatoes, diced
4 C shredded cabbage
1/2 lb kale, chopped - or - spinach, chopped
28 oz can diced tomatoes
4 1/2 C chicken broth
1/2 lb macaroni noodles

freshly grated Parmesan, bruschetta, and sausage to accompany


If using dried beans.  After soaking overnight, drain beans.  Place in saucepan and cover with water and simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they are tender.  Add the salt.  Remove from heat and let the white beans stand uncovered.

In a heavy dutch oven or large pot, cook the pancetta in oil until crisp and pale golden, add the onion.  Cook, stirring, until the onion is softened.

Add the carrots, celery and garlic.  Cook for 4 minutes. Add zucchini, green beans, and potatoes.  Cook for 4 more minutes.  Add the cabbage and the kale, cook until that cabbage is wilted.  Add the tomatoes and the broth.  Simmer, covered for 1 hour.  

Drain the white beans, reserving the liquid.  In a blender or food processor puree half of them with 1 C reserved liquid.  Stir the puree and remaining beans into the soup.  Add the pasta.

Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.  Thin if desired with remaining reserve liquid.  Season with salt and pepper.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chicken Rice Soup


This is a simple soup made from scratch.  Throw everything in the pot and walk away.  The rice cooks in the pot along with the chicken.  Use brown rice, its starchiness and heaviness work as an advantage.  White rice would get mushy.  It is very good.


2 T butter
1 Large onion, chopped
3 large celery ribs, sliced and diced
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 (3/12-4 pound) chicken  (I substituted chicken breasts because that's what I had)
1 C brown rice
1/3 C fresh parsley  (I used 2T dried parsley)
3 t salt - or to taste
4 C chicken broth (you can use all water, but the added broth gives a greater richness))
8 C water
Freshly ground pepper


Saute veggies in the butter for about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and brown for an additional minute.  Add liquid and chicken, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour.

Transfer chicken to a colander. When cool enough, remove meat, discard skin and bones.  Coarsely shred chicken and return to soup.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Thank you Serena for the suggestion.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Easy Double Chocolate Chip Brownies

I grew up believing that baked goods should be made from scratch.  My mom made cookies, cakes and brownies this way.  And for the most part I believe.  Except, I love a good brownie mix.  They are usually so much better than scratch brownies.  But this recipe is quite tasty and comparable to a mix I think - moist and chewy with a pretty papery crust on the top.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.


1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate, cut into chunks
1/2 C butter, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1 1/4 C flour
1 C granulated sugar
1 t vanilla
1/2 t baking soda
1 Cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet
1/2 C chopped nuts (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 13x 9 inch baking pan.

2.  Melt semi-sweet chocolate and butter in a large, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat.  Stir until smooth.  Remove from heat.  Stir in eggs.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Spread into prepared baking pan.

3.  Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky.  Cool completely on wire rack.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quick Vegetarian Chili

This is one of my favorite comfort dishes.  It is made with barley and beans, every once in a while I also add diced chicken.  This has a certain flavor that just hits the spot for me.  I made this today but was missing some of the key ingredients (diced green chiles and the right kind of tomatoes.)  Many times, substitutions work without changing the essence of a given dish.  Today's chili tastes just fine, but for me it is missing a certain je'nais se quois.  So if you do decide to try this, get the ingredients from the recipe the first time you make it.  Top it off with some avocado, shredded cheese and maybe a dollop of sour cream.  Let me know what you think.

Quick Vegetarian Chili

2 t canola oil
1 C chopped onion
1 C chopped red bell pepper
2 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1 t dried oregano
3 garlic cloves
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles
2/3 C uncooked barley
1/4 C water
2 15 oz cans black beans, drained
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can vegetable or chicken broth (I get a little loose on the definition of vegetarian)

1.  Heat oil in a Dutch over.  Saute onion and bell pepper 3 mins.  Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic and chiles.  Cook for 1 minute.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until barley is tender.

Serve with sour cream, lime wedges, fresh cilantro, chips and avocado.

Note:  store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.  Also freezes well.