Monthly Archives: January 2014

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

Sometimes the quest to use up leftovers turns into an entirely new meal. I set out to use up leftover grilled chicken breast. I love using ground meats for chili, but this chili-inspired soup can be flexible enough to take on full pieces of protein. This soup can be modified based on whatever leftover proteins you have available. Steak, chicken, tofu, turkey, pork loin, etc… even meatballs would work well here.

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

A lighter version of basic chili, this soup is a fantastic cold weather comfort food. The kids love the crunch of the tortilla chips and only add a few crushed chips every few minutes, for fear that they will get too soggy. I love that they have eating strategies! If you have any eating strategies, go ahead and share them in the comments.

Enjoy!

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Makes 8-12 bowls of soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large red peppers, diced
2 teaspoons TJ’s taco mix (or whatever chili seasoning you prefer)
2 garlic cloves, minced (more if you love garlic)
1 14 ounce can of TJ’s Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 quart TJ’s chicken broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups hot water
1 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
About 2 cups Leftover chicken breast, diced (or leftover steak or pork chops, etc.)
1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
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For serving:
Crushed tortilla chips
Cilantro
Freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions

1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, on medium-high heat, add olive oil. Add onions and red pepper and saute for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent and peppers have softened.
2. Add garlic and seasoning. Saute to combine.
3. Add diced tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, water, beans and diced chicken. Bring to a boil and then bring down to a simmer. Simmer for 45-60 minutes, uncovered.
4. Turn off heat and add the shrimp. The residual heat will cook the shrimp.
5. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper, remembering that you’re going to add salted tortilla chips to the final product.
6. Enjoy with crushed tortilla chips, a few pieces of cilantro and a squeeze of lime… after all, it’s Tortilla Soup!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Long Fusilli with Slow Roasted Veal Ragu

Growing up in a Russian household meant that every meal started with soup and then progressed to a meat main dish that was accompanied  by a starchy side with a salad or vegetable. If pasta was served, it only served the purpose of fulfilling the “starchy side”. It was plain and uninspiring. And pasta was never, ever, ever considered to be an entire meal.

Long Fusilli with Slow Roasted Veal Ragu

Long Fusilli with Slow Roasted Veal Ragu

Things changed once I started cooking for myself. When pasta is combined with a rich and robust sauce, it IS the meal. When we added kids to the mix, a hearty pasta sauce became an an easy one pot meal that everyone could enjoy. I love making this sauce on a weekend. I start it shortly after lunch and then let the meat braise until dinner. The house smells fantastic and everyone knows that dinner is going to be fantastic!

Enjoy!

Seared pieces of veal

Seared pieces of veal

Add carrots, celery and onions to the pot

Add carrots, celery and onions to the pot

Add garlic and saute

Add garlic and saute

Add beef broth and deglaze the pot

Add beef broth and deglaze the pot

Makes me want to dive right in!

Makes me want to dive right in!

Slow Roasted Veal Ragu over Long Fusilli

Slow Roasted Veal Ragu over Long Fusilli

Long Fusilli with Slow Roasted Veal Ragu

Makes 12-16 entree portions

Adapted from Food & Wine

Ingredients

2 pounds long fusilli (or GF pasta)
3 pounds veal shoulder, cut into 3″ pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large vidalia or spanish onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 large carrots cut into small medallions
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
3 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
4 cups beef broth
2 28 ounce cans diced or crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons Herbs de Provence
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

1. Bring veal to room temperature. Sprinkle veal pieces with salt and pepper.
2. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, on medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
3. Working in batches, sear veal pieces on all sides. 2-3 minutes per side.
4. Remove all meat from the pot.
5. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot.
6. Add onions, celery and carrots. Saute for about 5 minutes until onions have taken on a golden color and the carrots and celery have started to soften.
7. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. About 1-2 minutes.
8. Add wine and deglaze pot. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
9. Add the broth to the pot and bring to a simmer.
10. Add crushed tomatoes, veal pieces and herbs de provence into the pot.
11. Bring the sauce to a boil. Bring down to a simmer and cover partially. Let simmer for 3-4 hours. Taste and add kosher salt and pepper.
12. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta, as per package instructions.
13. Toss drained pasta with sauce.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Asparagus Corn Salad

During the spring and summer, the NYC area is lucky to have asparagus that is gorgeously fresh, local and abundant. We grill it, make pesto with it, blanch it and when I’m patient enough, we use a vegetable peeler to make “spaghetti” out of it and add it to pasta. I can confidently say that it’s a family and potluck favorite. Vegetarians will rejoice, vegans will be grateful and carnivores will think it’s so delicious that they won’t realize its vegan!

Asparagus Corn Salad

Asparagus Corn Salad

Shopping at Stew Leonard’s during this past cold mid-January weekend, I was surprised to see beautiful asparagus. Seriously. It was beautiful. I stopped and just stared at it. I checked to see if it was plastic. It was that beautiful. Out of season or not, I just couldn’t stop myself from scooping up a few bunches to recreate one of our easiest summer salads. I’m feeling very “Field of Dreams”: If I make summer food, summer will come!

The winter version is really yummy (I promise!!!). But if you think that this is good, make this dish during the summer and the flavors will really sing!

Enjoy!

Asparagus Corn Salad

Asparagus Corn Salad

Asparagus Corn Salad

Makes 12-15 as a side

Adapted from Paul Deen

Ingredients

3 bunches asparagus
8 ears of corn, boiled or roasted (during the winter substitute with 1 bag of frozen sweet corn and 1 bag of frozen fire roasted corn)
1 large red onion, finely diced (or 4 large-ish shallots, finely diced)
small bunch of basil, about 1/4 cup, about 20 leaves (or 8 Trader Joe’s frozen basil cubes)
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1/3 cup sugar
1 cup rice vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
 

Directions

1. Cut asparagus into 1″ pieces.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Blanche asparagus for 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Asparagus should be slightly crisp.
3. Drain pot and cool down asparagus in an ice bath or under cold running water. 
4. Remove corn from the cob (or defrost frozen corn).
5. In a large bowl, combine asparagus, corn and red onion (or shallots).
6. In a small bowl combine the sugar and rice vinegar. Stir to combine. Let it stand for a few minutes for the sugar to mostly dissolve.
7. Add dressing to the vegetables and toss to combine.
8. Taste and add salt and pepper to your preference.
9. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Enjoy!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Beef Chili with Pureed Carrots, Zucchini & Spinach

Chili is a fantastic way to sneak vegetables in to unsuspecting diners. Some people, adults and children alike, have an aversion to visible vegetables. But once those vegetables have been pureed into a delicious tomato sauce for chili, they’ll willingly ask for more.

Beef Chili (shhhhh.... lots of pureed vegetables in there!)

Beef Chili (shhhhh…. lots of pureed vegetables in there!)

I usually try to make chili in one pot. Heck, it’s one of the reasons that I love chili, because it’s not a multiple pot or fussy dish. Having two pots is very helpful for this recipe so that you can saute and puree the vegetables separately.

Use whatever vegetables you have available. Cauliflower, broccoli, peas, eggplant…. whatever is hanging around in the crisper that you’re not sure what to do with this week. This recipe is as flexible as you need it to be!

Enjoy!

Saute carrots and zucchini, then add tomato puree and raw spinach

Saute carrots and zucchini, then add tomato puree and raw spinach

Let vegetables simmer for about 20 minutes

Let vegetables simmer for about 20 minutes

Using an immersion blender, puree vegetables

Using an immersion blender, puree vegetables

In a large pot, add olive oil and saute onions until softened

In a large pot, add olive oil and saute onions until softened

Add ground beef and brown

Add ground beef and brown

Lovely browned ground beef and onions

Lovely browned ground beef and onions

To the large pot, add the vegetable puree, second can of crushed tomatoes and beans

To the large pot, add the vegetable puree, second can of crushed tomatoes and beans

Beef Chili

Beef Chili

Beef Chili

Beef Chili

Beef Chili with pureed carrots, zucchini and spinach

Beef Chili with pureed carrots, zucchini and spinach

Beef chili with lots of pureed vegetables

Beef chili with lots of pureed vegetables

 

Beef Chili with Pureed Carrots, Zucchini & Spinach
Makes approximately 12 entree servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
2 pounds ground beef
4 carrots, diced
2 large zucchini, cubed
10 ounces fresh spinach
2 28 ounce cans pureed or diced tomatoes (Tuttorosso or similar)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
(If you have a preferred chili seasoning, go ahead and use that)
Additional kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a medium sized pot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute carrots for 6-7 minutes.
2. Add zucchini and saute for another 4-5 minutes.
3. Add 1 can of pureed tomatoes and raw spinach. Stir to combine.
4. Bring to a boil and then bring down to a low simmer. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes until carrots have softened.
5. Remove from heat and puree vegetables with an immersion blender. If using a stand blender, let vegetables cool a bit and then puree in batches.
6. In a large cast iron pot, or similar heavy bottomed pot, add remaining tablespoon of oil. Add onions and saute for 4-5 minutes to soften.
7. Add ground beef. Saute until browned.
8. To the ground beef and onions, add the pureed vegetables and remaining can of tomatoes. Warm through.
9. Add seasonings. Taste. Adjust for salt and pepper.
10. Add drained and rinsed beans.
11. Bring to a boil and the down to a simmer. Let simmer at least 20 minutes (and up to 5 hours) to let the flavors marry.
Optional: Serve over rice or pasta (for Cincinnati chili)
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Enjoy!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Sweet Potato Pudding Cake with Craisins & Raisins

I’m always looking for interesting ways to repurpose prepared foods. Leftover rice from Monday’s dinner with chili turns into paella on Tuesday or pilaf on Wednesday. All foods deserve a happy second turn in life! 

Here, we find new life for an extremely large sweet potato. Of course, you should feel free to use smaller sweet potatoes! If you have a leftover baked sweet potato, great. If not, bake up a fresh sweet potato! Adapted from recipes for Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding Cake, this rich pudding cake isn’t overly sweet, allowing the sweet tartness of the dried cranberries and raisins to shine through.

Treat yourself to a slice of Sweet Potato Pudding with raisins and dried cranberries!

Treat yourself to a slice of Sweet Potato Pudding with raisins and dried cranberries!

This recipe is Gluten Free, but go ahead and use regular all purpose flour.

One laaaaarge sweet potato

One laaaaarge sweet potato

Just some of the ingredients....

Just some of the ingredients….

Baking that sweet sweet potato!

Baking that sweet sweet potato!

Baked Sweet Potato with eggs

Baked Sweet Potato with eggs

Adding raisins and craisins to the batter

Adding raisins and craisins to the batter

Pour the batter into a greased springform pan

Pour the batter into a greased springform pan

Looks great even before it's baked!

Looks great even before it’s baked!

Baked with a glorious crust!

Baked with a glorious crust!

Couldn't wait... sliced into the cake while it was still hot!

Couldn’t wait… sliced into the cake while it was still hot!

Sprinkle powdered sugar to make it pretty

Sprinkle powdered sugar to make it pretty

Sweet Potato Pudding Cake with Raisins and Dried Cranberries

Makes a 9″ cake

Adapted from Social Kitchen

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato (1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup AP gluten free flour
1/2 cup almond flour
pinch kosher salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated preferred)
2 tablespoons Jack Daniels
4 large eggs
1 can coconut cream (14.5 ounces)
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
powdered sugar to dust

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
1. Bake sweet potato on a baking sheet for 40-45 minutes, until fork tender. Let cool to room temperature. Or use a pre-baked sweet potato.
2. Set oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ round springform pan with cooking spray or butter.
3. In a medium size bowl, combine gluten free flour, almond flour, salt and nutmeg.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, if you’re using a hand mixer or mixing by hand) add sweet potato and eggs. Beat until smooth.
5. Add coconut milk, brown sugar, Jack Daniels and butter. Mix to combine.
6. Sift in dry ingredients. Mix to combine.
7. Add raisins and cranberries. Mix to combine.
8. Pour into prepared springform pan. Place springform pan on a baking sheet (in case it leaks) and bake for 50-60 minutes, until top has a golden crust and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
9. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to release the cake from the springform pan.
10. Let cake cool for a few hours. Top with powdered sugar.
11. The cake is delicious at room temperature.
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Enjoy!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Broiled Honey & Soy Glazed Salmon

Fresh fish rarely needs fancy sauces or elaborate preparation to taste good. The same goes for most fresh animal-based proteins. Broiling salmon is a quick and easy way to ensure that you don’t overcook the delicate meat.

This recipe is easy enough that it can be a staple in your weeknight menu planning.

Broiled Honey Soy Glazed Salmon

Broiled Honey Soy Glazed Salmon

Delicious food doesn’t have to be fussy!  Here’s a recipe that combines some salty and sweet elements to enhance an already-gorgeous piece of salmon.

Broiled Salmon on sheet pan

Broiled Salmon on sheet pan

So pretty.... broiled honey soy glazed salmon

So pretty…. broiled honey soy glazed salmon

Broiled Honey & Soy Glazed Salmon

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Serves 6

Ingredients

6 salmon fillets, 6-8 ounces each
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari)
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon canola oil (or other mild oil that can withstand high heat)
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper 

Directions

Turn on broiler, place rack in middle of the oven (if you have a bottom broiler and have a Hi/Lo option, turn on Lo)
1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce and honey.
2. On a foil-lined baking sheet, smear thin layer of canola oil. Place salmon, skin side down, on baking sheet. Sprinkle salmon with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
3. Placing baking sheet in the middle of the oven and broil for 5-6 minutes.
4. Remove baking sheet. Pour a teaspoon or two of honey soy mixture on each fillet.
5. Place baking sheet into the oven and broil for another 5-6 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and top with remaining honey soy mixture.
Enjoy!
Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!