Category Archives: Recipe

Hangover Soup

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I’d like to start by saying that I did NOT make this soup because I had a hangover.  (However, I did have a lingering headache all day that went away after I ate this…hmmmm…)

This is another recipe inspired by Smart Chefs Stay Slim, although I adjusted some proportions and used some random veggies I had hanging out in the fridge.  It’s basically a spicy broth with shrimp and greens – I can definitely understand why it would be good hangover food!

I’m going to write out the recipe as I made it, but you could easily substitute whatever greens/veggies you have on hand. It’s a great recipe for a fridge cleanout day!

Hangover Soup (makes two generous servings)

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Red Curry Paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 cup leftover chicken, diced
  • 10-12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced in thin rounds
  • 1 1/2 cups Swiss chard, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • chopped cilantro (for garnish)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup rice noodles (soaked in warm water for 8-10 minutes) or cooked rice (if you have some handy)

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Bring chicken broth and water to a boil.  Add red curry paste, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice.  Stir.  Add chicken, garlic and carrots.  Cook for about 2 minutes – just until the carrots start to soften.

Add rice noodles, shrimp, Swiss chard, scallions, salt and pepper and cook over medium high heat until the shrimp are cooked through.  Pour the noodle soup into two large bowls, top with cilantro (if you want) and an additional squeeze of fresh lime (or a wedge of lime for garnish).  Eat and enjoy!

That’s it.  It’s that easy.

Now, I did have to go buy curry paste and fish sauce, because I don’t usually cook with those ingredients, but I am so glad that I did!  I can easily see this soup becoming a go-to after work meal.  It was spicy but light, and I felt fantastic after I ate it.  What more can you ask for?

Fried Cabbage Hot Dogs

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I’d like to start by pointing out that I used both leftovers and frozen veggies from last season’s CSA in this somewhat unconventional hot dog.  Yippee!

Many times when I’m putting a dish together in my head, I find that I’m one or two ingredients shy of what I really want.  Today, when I was thinking of ways to use my weekend leftovers, I was determined to only use the food that I had in the house.  And I did!

We had some lovely weather in Northeast Ohio this weekend, so on Saturday, Brian grilled hamburgers and brats (spicy Andouille brats!  Yum!).  I sometimes feel that Brian loves condiments more than the actual base of the meal, so burgers and dogs are always accompanied by many, many toppings.  (To give you an idea, we had lettuce, broccoli sprouts, chopped onion, Hungarian hot peppers, cheese, and of course, ketchup, and several kinds of mustard.  I might be missing some, but that’s close.)

Brian's hamburger.  Yep, that's broccoli sprouts on the bottom bun.  They're good on hot dogs, too!

Brian’s hamburger. Yep, that’s broccoli sprouts on the bottom bun. They’re good on hot dogs, too!

As per usual on hamburger and hot dog days, we had an odd conglomeration of leftovers – quite a bit of chopped onion, one and a half hot peppers, a couple of brats that got grilled but not eaten, etc.

I knew that I wanted to use the leftover brats and hot dog buns, but I couldn’t decide what to top them with (sadly, we ate all the broccoli sprouts).  So, I started making mental inventory of my fridge and my new, big shiny freezer.  Ah ha!  I have frozen cabbage from my CSA!  And apples from my last farmer’s market trip!  And leftover onions and hot peppers!  Perfect.

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The flavors reminded me of this Fried Cabbage dish, but the addition of the apples added some needed sweetness.  I made extra because my plan is to have leftovers of this dish tomorrow with grilled pork chops.  (Leftovers of leftovers!  I’m about to blow my own mind!)

This made enough to easily top six good size hot dogs/brats.  I’m thinking it will reheat well, but I’ll find out tomorrow!

Fried Cabbage Hot Dog Topping

  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 apple, diced (I used an Ida Red – a little bit sweet, but holds up well to cooking)
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage (I used cabbage from my CSA that I had shredded, blanched and frozen)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Caraway Seed
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Sauté the onion and garlic with a bit of olive oil over medium heat.  When the onions are translucent, add the apples, Caraway seed, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking until the apples are soft.

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Remove the apple and onion mixture from the skillet and put off to the side.

In the same skillet, add the cabbage.  Now, because I did not plan ahead, I did not thaw the cabbage first.  I just tossed the frozen hunk of cabbage right into the hot skillet and it worked just fine.  Once it had thawed, I drained the excess water and turned the heat up to high.  Stir the cabbage often so it doesn’t brown.

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When the excess water is cooked off and the cabbage is heated through, add the apple and onion mixture back into the skillet.  Turn the heat down.  Add the apple cider vinegar, stir and taste it – if you need to, add more salt and pepper.  Continue cooking over medium/low heat for a few minutes to let the flavors meld.

That’s it for the fried cabbage topping!  I then started assembling my hot dog.  Lightly toasted hot dog bun, whole grain mustard, spicy brat.  Top the hot dog/brat with the fried cabbage topping and rings of Hungarian hot peppers. Eat and enjoy!!

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Warning:  These peppers range from mild to HOT!! and there’s no way to tell until you take a bite.  If you’re not a fan of heat, you may want to skip these.  In case you’re wondering, this particular pepper was hot enough that my lips were tingling after I ate it!  Just the way I like it.

This post is linked to What’s In the Box?  at In Her Chucks.

Grilled Sirloin with Horseradish Vinaigrette

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My ongoing obsession with sauces continues…

It’s actually starting to feel like Spring in Northeast Ohio, so this sauce is a fresh, bright horseradish vinaigrette.  It’s funny – the more recipes I post, the more I’ve been thinking about why I cook certain things.  I know that my cooking has been influenced by my CSA and trying to use in season veggies whenever possible, but I’ve noticed recently that the weather also has a major effect on what I cook.  Now that it’s a little warmer and the sun is making a rare appearance, I find myself wanting food that’s lighter, with lots of citrus and fresh herbs.  Plus, it’s much more pleasant to grill when you aren’t wading through snow! 

This is another recipe inspired by the book Smart Chefs Stay Slim.  I typically only think of vinaigrettes as salad dressing, so I was quite intrigued by the idea of serving it over a steak. 

I first tried the recipe as presented in the book, but although the flavors were great, it seemed a bit oily.  I adjusted the amounts, added a splash of lemon and tried using the food processor instead of blending it by hand. Perfect!

The bright green color from the parsley and thyme were so pretty.  I made this version with a top sirloin (grassfed) grilled simply with olive oil, salt and pepper, and some roasted asparagus.  The little bite from the horseradish and the vinegar, and the freshness of the herbs were such a good combination!

Horseradish Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • a handful of fresh, flat leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

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This vinaigrette is so easy!  Add all the ingredients except the olive oil to a food processor.  Blend for a few seconds until all the ingredients are combined.

As the food processor is on, add the olive oil in a thin stream through the hole in the lid.  Blend until smooth.  Taste – add salt and/or pepper as needed.  That’s it!

Use to top steak, fish, veggies – just about anything!  It might even be good as a dressing on a sub sandwich – Yum! 

Does your cooking style change with the seasons?  What are your favorite spring/summer dishes? 

Spinach and Caramelized Onion Quiche

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A couple of weeks ago, I made Meghan’s Broccoli Cheddar Quiche for a Sunday brunch.  It was amazing!!

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche with strawberries, bacon and mixed greens.  I love brunch!

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche with strawberries, bacon and mixed greens. I love brunch!

When I woke up this Saturday, I thought about this amazing quiche and looked over my fridge inventory.  (Alright, alright…make that when I got out of bed this Saturday,  I woke up around 8 – late for me! – because the cats wanted breakfast, but after they got fed I spent a good two hours in bed watching Food Network.  Don’t judge me.)

So, back to the fridge!  Eggs fresh from Brunty Farms?  Check.  Milk?  Yep.  No broccoli, but spinach from the farmer’s market?  Check.  Onions?  Always.  Cheese?  Ooo…Asiago!  Nice.

Nothin' beats a farm fresh egg.

Nothin’ beats a farm fresh egg.

Caramelized onions, spinach, cheese and eggs.  How can that be bad?  Answer:  It can’t.  It was awesome.

By the time it was done, I was too hungry to make the plate pretty.  I'm lucky I remembered to take the picture!

By the time it was done, I was too hungry to make the plate pretty. I’m lucky I remembered to take the picture!

Spinach and Caramelized Onion Quiche

  • 1 Quiche crust (Meghan from Clean Eats, Fast Feets recommended this recipe – it’s fantastic and so easy!)
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced thin
  • A big handful (probably about 2 cups) baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup grated asiago cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 t fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t ground mustard
  • 1/2 t garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the quiche crust (or use premade).  I made the quiche crust linked above, but I did prebake it for about 5 minutes before filling the crust.  (Thanks for the tip, Meghan!)  Put the crust aside while you work on the filling.

In a medium sauté pan over low heat, add the butter and sliced onion.  I added a pinch of salt and let the onions cook over low/medium low heat for about 30 minutes until they were nicely caramelized.

Onions pre-caramelization.

Onions pre-caramelization.

Caramelized onions - yum!

Caramelized onions – yum!

While the onions were cooking, I used a fork to whisk together the milk, eggs and spices (pinch of salt, fresh ground pepper, nutmeg, cayenne, ground mustard, garlic powder).

I mixed the milk and eggs together in the measuring cup - anything I can do to dirty less dishes is a win.

I mixed the milk and eggs together in the measuring cup – anything I can do to dirty less dishes is a win.

Once the onions were nicely caramelized, I added the spinach to the pan with the onions and covered it for about a minute – just long enough to wilt the spinach.  The spinach leaves were small and tender, so I didn’t even bother chopping them up.

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Once the spinach was wilted but still bright green, I mixed the spinach and onions together and transferred them into the quiche crust.  I topped that with the asiago cheese and poured in the egg mixture.

I baked the quiche for about 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven, until the top was a beautiful golden brown and the eggs were cooked all through.

When it was done, it took all my willpower to let it cool – I was hungry and it smelled really good!  As soon as possible, I cut a big piece and dug in.  So yummy!  The crust was perfect, the onions were soft and sweet, the asiago cheese gave it just a little bite, and the eggs held everything together.

I can still call it breakfast if I ate it at noon, right?

This post is linked to What’s in the Box?  at InHerChucks.

Everything Salmon

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This was a super easy, super tasty workday dinner.

I was re-reading one of my favorite foodie books, Smart Chefs Stay Slim.  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it!  It’s an fascinating book about how chefs eat and stay healthy, and their attitudes toward food when they aren’t cooking in a restaurant.

In it, Chef Rick Moonen mentions a recipe he makes for “everything-crusted” tuna.  Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion, garlic, salt – all the things you would find on an everything bagel!  Now, I am a huge fan of everything bagels, so I had been intrigued by this brief description since the first time I read the book.  I’ve never cooked tuna at home, so I went for salmon.

I didn’t have poppy seeds, but I did have black sesame seeds, which worked perfectly.  They gave it the same “everything bagel” look and tasted amazing!

I drizzled some olive oil on the salmon and crusted the top (non-skin side) with black sesame seeds, garlic, onion powder, salt, and some cracked black pepper.  I seared it with the spice crusted side down over med-high heat on the stovetop just until it got golden brown, then flipped it skin-side down and put the pan in a 450 degree oven for about 12 minutes. (The thickest part of the salmon was about 1.5 inches.)

I chopped up some tomatoes and tossed them with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper for a side.  (The chives just made it into the picture for some additional color on the plate.)  It was beautiful, light, tasty, quick and easy – perfect!

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Anybody read Smart Chefs Stay Slim?  What’s your favorite book about cooking or eating? 

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

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There’s chocolate in them thar muffins!  Specifically, a dollop of dark chocolate almond spread that is super tasty.

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Thanks to Kirsten at Farm Fresh Feasts and Meghan at Clean Eats, Fast Feets, I have been craving muffins like nobody’s business.  So I started poking around the pantry and looking at some of Kirsten’s muffin recipes to see what I could make.

I started with the bananas, since they were almost to the end of their useful lifespan.  I buy bananas every now and then because I think I want them.  What I really want is one of them.  Sadly for the other bananas, that means they languish in the bowl on top of the dishwasher until I feel bad that they’re being ignored.  Usually I make banana bread, because – to be honest – when they’re that far gone, I don’t really know what else to do with them!

This time, I wanted to turn them into yummy muffins.  I found this oatmeal muffin recipe from Farm Fresh Feasts and since I had almost all the ingredients on hand, I went for it!  (I did have to stop at the store for some buttermilk.)

I’ve made muffins with oatmeal before, but I’ve never soaked the oats first.  It totally makes a difference!  And I only soaked them for about 2 hours.

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Anyway, here’s what I ended up doing (Note:  I doubled Kirsten’s original recipe because I wanted to freeze some of them):

Banana Oatmeal Muffins with Dark Chocolate  (made 24 muffins)

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3 ripe (or overripe) bananas, squished into a puree

Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl on the counter.  Stir well.  Cover.  Leave on the counter at least an hour or up to 10 hours (overnight).

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dark chocolate almond spread (Nutella would certainly work as well, or the Jif version.  But I’m not a huge hazelnut fan, so I was happy to find this alternative.)

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray, or use paper or foil liners.  Add the egg, brown sugar, and vegetable oil to the bowl.  Stir well.  Add in the rest of the ingredients dry ingredients.  Stir until just combined.

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I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup to fill the muffin pan.  Then I added a dollop of the chocolate almond spread to each muffin.  (It occurred to me later that I should have filled each muffin up halfway, dolloped in the chocolate spread, then covered it with more muffin mix. Oh well – next time!)

Bake 18 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes in pan, then flip onto a cooling rack to finish.

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My original goal may have been to freeze them, but that’s not what happened.  These muffins were so tasty that I ended up giving them to just about everyone I came into contact with over the past two days:  my parents, my sister, my co-workers, my boss…everybody loved them!

I guess that just means I’ll have to make some more!

Pasta with Spinach and Butternut Squash

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I’m having a bit of a seasonal identity crisis right now.  The calendar says that it’s the first day of Spring, but there have been snow flurries blowing all day today, and I’m still cooking wintery dishes!  We’ve had a couple of random warm, sunny days this month, but it just feels like Mother Nature is having a laugh at our expense.  So is it Winter?  Or Spring?  Do we go by the official calendar designation, or the weather?

I’m hopeful that soon Ohio will settle on a season – as much as it ever does, that is! But until the weather outside starts to feel like spring, I decided to go for a new, bright background.  I thought the green lettuce was pretty, and with the name of the blog, it made sense.  Let me know what you think of the new look!

Early March in Ohio - garlic shoots poking up through the snow!

Early March in Ohio – garlic shoots poking up through the snow!

So since the weather still doesn’t feel very Springy, I’m in the mood for comfort food.  And after my Fall CSA, one of my go-to comfort foods is squash.  Who knew?  Before I started my CSA, I would never have guessed how much I loved squash.  Now it’s a bit of an obsession.  Bear with me, folks – I know that I’ve posted a lot of butternut squash recipes on this blog in the past year, but of all of them, this may just be my favorite.

Or it’s possible that my favorite recipe is always the one I just made (or just ate).

Crispy prosciutto - so pretty!

Crispy prosciutto – so pretty!

The addition of the spinach and salty prosciutto (leftover from pizza making) to this pasta dish really brightened the flavor of the butternut squash.  After I ate this, I was warm and happy, but not weighed down like pasta can do sometimes.  It was a light butternut squash pasta, which was a really nice surprise!

As I was writing this out, I realized that it looks like a complicated recipe.  I promise you that it isn’t!  It did take some time to cook the squash, but if you had frozen cooked squash from earlier in the year, you could easily use that and make this much faster.  It took me about 1 hour, 15 minutes from start to eat.

Pasta with Spinach and Butternut Squash

  • 2 lbs butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups chicken stock, plus a splash for the spinach
  • about 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional – I had it on hand, so I added a splash or two.)
  • 2 double handfuls of baby spinach (Sorry I don’t have a more precise measurement!  Use as much or as little as you want.)
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried Sage (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 lb Penne pasta (or whatever shape you have on hand)
  • 2-3 slices prosciutto (optional – for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cube the butternut squash and toss with a splash of olive oil, salt, pepper and sage.  Transfer the coated cubes to a baking sheet and bake until caramelized and soft, about 45 minutes.  Toss the squash several times while it’s cooking.

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If you’re using the prosciutto, lay the slices out on a Silpat on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until crispy.  Remove from oven, crumble or rough chop and set aside for a garnish.

While the squash cooks, start the water for the pasta.  Next, heat a flat sided sauté pan (I think that’s what it’s called) over medium heat.  Add a teaspoon or two of olive oil, the garlic and onion and cook until the onion is slightly translucent.  Add a splash of chicken stock and the spinach, and cover until the spinach wilts.

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By now, the squash should be done.  Reserve about a cup of roasted squash pieces to add to the sauce at the end (for texture, and because they’re pretty).  Put the rest of the squash cubes in a blender with 2 cups of chicken stock and the heavy cream, if you’re using it.  (If you like a thicker sauce, start with less stock and do what feels right.) Blend the squash until smooth.

I wanted to roast the squash to get that rich taste - so yummy!

I wanted to roast the squash to get that rich taste – so yummy!

Add the blended squash to the pan of cooked spinach and stir together.  Admire the swirls of green throughout the bright orange squash sauce.  Take a picture, if you like.

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At this point, your water should be boiling.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.  While the pasta cooks, add the Parmesan cheese to the spinach and squash sauce.  Stir.  Keep the sauce warm over low heat until the pasta is done.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce.  Stir.  Remove from heat.

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Top the pasta with crumbled prosciutto and a little bit of cheese, if desired.  This made easily six servings, but it works great for leftovers (I made this last night, and ate it for lunch again today).  As you know, anything that I will willingly eat leftovers from is a good dish!

Yum!

Yum!

This post is linked to What’s in the Box? at In Her Chucks. 

What do you think of the new look?  What’s your go-to comfort food for cold weather?