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Creamy Sausage & Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups broth
1 cup heavy cream
6oz can tomato paste*
1/2 lb seasoned pork sausage (like andouille or Italian), if it has a casing remove it.
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped kale
1 cup medium pasta (radiatore, elbows, shells) or 2 cups tortellini
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
small chunk parmesan rind
salt & pepper

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

Directions:

1. Brown sausage in a pot over medium heat, breaking into small crumbles.
2. When sausage is 3/4 cooked, add in onion and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes until onion is translucent and sausage is fully cooked.
3. Add in broth, cream, tomato paste, parmesan rind, and seasoning. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
4. Simmer on med-low for 30-45 minutes until broth starts to thicken and onion is soft.
5. Add in pasta and kale, cook until pasta is al dente (8-12 minutes) stirring regularly.
6. Serve with bread and desired garnish.

*you can sub tomato sauce but I find tomato paste gives more flavor/richness.

1-Pot Chicken Alfredo

This is a very light sauce unlike more traditional alfredos that are made with heavy cream.

Ingredients:

1 whole boneless skinless chicken breast, fat trimmed off
8oz pasta of choice (I used penne)
1 cup chopped greens of choice (I used chard but spinach or kale would also be great)
1 cup broth
1 cup milk
2 TBSP white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried taragon*
1 tsp dried thyme*
1 tsp dried oregano*
1 tsp paprika
salt & pepper
Optional 1 tsp mustard powder or 1 TBSP dijon mustard can be added for a little depth of flavor

Chopped fresh parsley and more fresh grated parmesan for garnish

Directions:

1. Fill a 3qt pot half way with hot water, salt the water, and put in the whole chicken breast.
2. Heat water to a low boil and boil chicken for 15-20 minutes.
3. Remove chicken from water and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Put in the fridge until cool enough to handle.
4. Dump the chicken water and rinse the pot well. Return to stove.
5. Stir the broth, milk, wine, garlic, and seasonings together in the pot.
6. Heat sauce until boiling, then add in the pasta, stirring regularly. Cook for recommended time on pasta box.
7. During the last 3 minutes of cooking time, shred the chicken with a fork and add the shredded chicken, parmesan, and greens to the pot.
8. Continue stirring for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted in and sauce is coating all the components.

*1 TBSP dried Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence can be substituted.

African-Inspired Lentil Soup

Ingredients

2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup lentils
2 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP harissa (paste or powder)
1 tsp cumin
1tsp powdered ginger or 1/2inch knob fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
1/4 cup peanut butter
salt & pepper
neutral oil for sauteeing
handful peanuts, crushed
handful cilantro, chopped

Directions:

1. Rinse lentils, then soak them in half inch of lightly salted water for 1 hour.
2. Boil lentils in the lightly salted water for 20-30min, until almost all water is absorbed. Strain lentils.
3. While lentils are set aside in the strainer, sautee onion, garlic, and ginger (if using fresh) in the pot until fragrant, approx 5-7 min.
4. Add lentils back to pot, and add broth, potatoes, harissa, cumin, and ginger (if using powdered), salt & pepper to taste.
5. Bring to a simmer. Simmer 30-45 minutes until lentils and potatoes are tender.
6. Add cream and peanut butter, stir until incorporated and heated through.
7. Serve garnished with peanuts and cilantro.

Sunflower & Oat Sandwich Bread

Ingredients:

2.5 cups flour (all-purpose or whole wheat)
1 cup water
1 packet dry yeast
1 TBSP honey
2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup oats
pinch salt

Instructions:

1. Mix together water and honey, heat in microwave for 30 seconds.
2. Add yeast to honey water and stir well. Set aside for 5-7 minutes until yeast forms a thick layer of foam.
3. Pour that mixture into a mixing bowl. Add olive oil, salt, and 1/2 cup flour. Mix with a rubber or wooden spoon until combined.
4. Continue adding flour 1/2 cup at a time, add oats and sunflower seeds half way through.
5. When a soft but slightly sticky dough forms, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 15 minutes. Dough should be smooth but not dry.
6. Cover with a clean towel or oiled plastic film. You can also return the dough ball to the bowl and cover. Let rise for 1 hour.
7. Punch dough down, turn out, and knead for 2 minutes.
8. Form the dough into a log and place in your oiled loaf pan (or form it into a ball and put in a dutch oven/pizza stone lined with parchment paper) and cover again.
9. Let rise for 45-60 more minutes.
10. Heat oven to 400F
11. Bake for 30-35 minutes until crust is hard and medium brown, and the bottom of the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
12. Turn out onto a rack and allow to cool completely before slicing.

Creamy Beef and Pasta Hot Dish

Ingredients:

1lb ground beef
8oz medium pasta (shells, rotini, or radiatore work best)
1 small onion, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup broth
1/2 cup cream
1+1/2 cups shredded cheese (any type or blend of cheese, sharp cheddar is good, I recently mixed asiago + parmesan)
2 tsp Italian seasoning (I also added fresh parsley)
1 tsp chili powder
salt & pepper

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, minus 2 minutes cook time. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
2. Brown beef in a skillet over med heat. When 3/4 cooked drain grease and add onion, garlic, bell pepper, tomato, and seasonings.
3. When beef is fully cooked and onion is soft, add broth, cream, and reserved pasta liquid. Bring to a simmer.
4. Add cheese and pasta and stir until cheese is melted in.
5. Cover and simmer 5-10 minutes until sauce thickens.

Roasted Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can (14oz) coconut milk
1 small onion, chopped
1 inch knob of ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP garam masala (or curry powder)
1 tsp each cumin, chili powder, turmeric
pinch cinnamon
salt & pepper
sriracha
olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Cut squash in half legthwise and remove seeds - seeds can be roasted and used as a topping if desired.
3. Put squash on a sheet tray rind down and brush the flesh with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a little garam masala.
4. If you want to roast the seeds toss them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread them on the sheet tray with the squash.
5. Roast squash for 60-75 minutes until flesh is soft. Seeds should only be roasted 20-ish minutes, checking every 5 minutes.
6. In a 3qt pot, sautee the onion, garlic, and ginger in olive oil until onion is soft.
7. Add broth, coconut milk, and seasonings except sriracha. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
8. Scoop roasted squash out of the rind and add to the soup. Simmer for 20-30 more minutes.
9. Mash the squash into the broth with a wooden spoon or a potato masher, then blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
10. Serve topped with a few drops of sriracha and some roasted seeds.

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)
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
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 30-45 minutes until beans are at desired tenderness.
4. Add pasta and continue to simmer until pasta is al dente, 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, add oregano, thyme, and rosemary at the beginning and basil & parsley immediately before serving.

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.