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Apple Mini Muffins (baked fritters)

Ingredients:

1 apple, peeled and grated (I prefer honeycrisp)
1 cup flour
scant 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup sour cream or greek yoghurt
1/4 cup (4 TBSP) butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
nutmeg and cinnamon, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Combine flour and grated apple, mixing well so apple is evenly coated and distributed among the flour.
3. Add all other dry ingredients and stir.
4. Add wet ingredients, mixing after each addition.
5. Spoon into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each well 2/3 full (about 1 TBSP batter).
6. Bake 12-15 minutes, until tops are light golden brown and springy.
7. Place tin on a cooling rack and cool 5-10 minutes.
8. Turn out pan onto a platter or cooling rack.

Minestrone Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups broth
1 can petit diced tomatoes with juice (or 3 large tomatoes, peeled and diced, plus 1/2 cup more broth)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 carrots, chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 cup pasta (ditalini, elbows, or small shells work best)
4 cloves garlic, minced
Small piece parmesan rind or 1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 TBSP Italian herb blend*
1 bay leaf
pinch chili powder
salt & pepper
1 TBSP olive oil

For garnish: grated parmesan, chopped fresh parsley, chopped fresh basil

Directions:

1. In a stock pot sweat onion, carrot, and garlic in olive oil for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add all other ingredients EXCEPT pasta.
3. Bring to a simmer and simmer 30 minutes.
4. Add pasta and continue to simmer until pasta is tender, 8-10 minutes.
5. Remove bay leaf and parmesan rind if it didn't dissolve.
6. Garnish each bowl and serve with bread.

*if you want to use fresh herbs, chop a handful each of basil and parsley, and add a sprig of thyme or rosemary.

Thai Peanut Chicken

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, cubed or bias cut
2 servings cooked rice or ramen/soba noodles
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 carrots, julienned
1 cup pea pods
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 stalks green onion, thinly chopped
Handful cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
potato or corn starch
salt & pepper

For Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 TBSP honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
1 TBSP sesame seeds
1 TBSP rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sriracha or red chili paste (more or less ot taste)

Directions:

1. Season chicken breasts with salt & pepper, then toss in starch to coat. Arrange in a single layer on a plate and set aside.
2. Whisk together all ingredients for sauce. Set aside.
3. In a large pan or wok over med-high heat, sautee chicken for 2-3 minutes per side until golden.
4. Add about 1/3 of the sauce to the chicken and let simmer for 2-3 minutes until chicken is well coated.
6. Add the vegetables to the chicken, saving aside peanuts and cilantro for garnish.
7. Add the rest of the sauce and stir well. Keep stri frying 5-10 minutes until vegetables are slightly wilted and coated in sauce, and sauce has thickened.
8. Serve over noodles/rice and garnish with peanuts and cilantro.

Riz Djerbien

Ingredients:

1 cup long-grain white rice or wild rice blend*
Chicken or vegetable stock, the amount called for on the rice package
1lb spinach, chopped
2 large tomatoes, peeled & diced
2 carrots, diced
2 medium red potatoes, cubed
1 small onion, diced
1 cup chickpeas, cooked & skins peeled
1 small head garlic, minced
1 bunch parsley, stems removed, chopped
1 TBSP smoked paprika
1tsp each ground coriander, caraway, turmeric, cumin, red pepper flakes
salt & pepper

Directions:

1. Rinse rice if needed and drain.
2. Place all ingredients in a large pot and stir well.
3. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling.
4. Reduce heat and cover.
5. Maintain a light simmer, stirring occasionaly.
6. Simmer until liquid is mostly absorbed and rice is cooked (see rice package directions for approximate cook time).

*wild rice blend is my preference because it adds more flavor & texture, as well as having a longer cooking time which allows the spices to infuse more

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups broth
1 can white beans, drained & rinsed (or 1 cup dried white beans, soaked 4-8 hours)
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 strips bacon**
1 cup chopped greens - kale, arugula, spinach, or broccoli rabe
1 TBSP Italian herb blend (or 1 tsp each thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley, oregano etc)
1 bay leaf
pinch crushed red pepper
small piece parmesan rind
salt & pepper
fresh grated parmesan for garnish
lemon zest & juice for garnish

Directions:

1. In a pot over medium heat, sautee the bacon. Remove and set aside to cool, keeping some of the grease in the pot.
2. Sweat the onion, carrot, and garlic in the bacon grease for 3-4 minutes.
3. Chop the cooled bacon while the vegetables are cooking.
4. Add the bacon, broth, beans, seasonings, and parmsan rind to the pot.
5. Heat to simmer and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Add the greens to the pot and simmer 10 minutes more. Remove bay leaf and parmesan rind (if it didn't dissolve).
7. Garnish each bowl with fresh grated parmesan and a dash of lemon juice and zest.
8. Serve with fresh bread.

*Bacon can be ommitted and vegetable stock used for a vegetarian soup, vegetables should be sweated in olive oil.

Red Curry Coconut Soup

Ingredients:

1lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined*
2 cans coconut milk
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked white rice**
1 red pepper, seeds and membrane removed, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 TBSP red curry paste (more or less to taste)
1 TBSP ground ginger
2 TBSP lime juice (1 lime)
1 stalk green onion, thinly sliced
2 TBSP cilantro, chopped
salt & pepper
coconut oil

Directions:

1. In a large pot over medium heat, sautee red pepper, onion, and garlic in coconut oil until onion is clear.
2. Add lime juice and red curry paste and stir until combined.
3. Add broth, coconut milk, ginger, salt & pepper, and stir.
4. Bring to a simmer. Add rice.
5. Keep simmering 15-20 minutes until rice is cooked.
6. Cut shrimp up, each shrimp into 2-3 pieces depending how big they are, and season with salt & pepper.
7. Sautee shrimp in coconut oil until almost fully cooked, 1-2 minutes.
8. Add shrimp to soup, stir, serve immediately.
9. Top each serving with green onion and cilantro.

*shredded cooked chicken, cubed tofu, lump crab, or lobster chunks can be substituted.
**you can substitue 1 cup uncooked orzo or broken vermicelli if you want pasta instead of rice. You can also add more rice (up to 1 cup) if you want it to be more like a saucy curry than a soup.

Honey Beer Bread

Ingredients:

3 cups flour
12oz beer (a citrus lager works really well in this recipe, I use a homebrew with orange and lemon)
1/4 cup honey (get the real stuff not the cheap "honey" that's mostly corn syrup. Trust me, it makes a difference.)
1 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 TBSP butter, melted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Microwave honey for 10 seconds so it pours and mixes easier.
4. Combine beer and honey with dry ingredients and mix until combined. You'll have a really wet, thick mixture that's more like a batter than a dough.
5. Brush your bread pan with butter.
6. Pour batter into bread pan.
7. Brush the top of the batter with the rest of the butter.
8. Bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden and a pick comes out clean.
9. Serve immediately with honeybutter.

This is a great alternative to cornbread, and pairs well with chili, fried chicken, ham, cream soups/chowders, and bbq.

Parmesan Roasted Tri-Color Potatoes

Ingredients:

1lb b-sized tri-color potatoes, cut in half
3 carrots, cut into 1inch pieces, if the carrots are really fat cut them in half also
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, parsley
olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Put cut potatoes and carrots in a 9x9 inch baking dish.
3. Drizzle with olive oil, add garlic and seasonings (keep Parmesan aside). Stir.
4. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Add more olive oil if needed.
5. Before the last 15 minutes of cook time, add the Parmesan.
6. More fresh Parmesan and parsley can be added on top before serving.

Sticky Chicken

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 cup corn or potato starch
2 TBSP honey
1 tsp smoked paprika
pinch each cayenne pepper, ginger, cumin
salt & pepper
1 TBSP olive oil

Directions:

1. Mix together honey, paprika, cayenne, ginger and cumin. Set aside.
2. Season the chicken with a little salt & pepper, then toss in starch to coat.
3. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil.
4. Pan fry chicken 2-3 minutes per side, until golden.
5. Add sauce to chicken in pan and stir together until chicken is well coated.
6. Continue frying, stirring constantly, until sauce is thick and chicken is glossy.
7. Serve with rice or noodles.