Winter Soup

So, I promised I would post more and then I didn’t… I’M SORRY! But here I am with a nice heart soup jus in time for winter and this Noreaster that’s coming in!

The other day I was really craving Olive Garden, and since it isn’t close to my apartment, I decided to make something from home. Luckily, sausages had just went on sale at the store, so we had some to make Zuppa Tuscana, a spicy sausage soup!

Here we go,

Zuppa 

Ingredients

3 sausages (preferably spicy or mild) chopped

1.5 russet potatoes chopped

1/2 Onion chopped

2 cloves Garlic

1.5 boxes chicken stock (or 1 box and half the box of water)

Chard, chopped into pieces

1/4-1/2 a pint of heavy cream

Salt and pepper

1. Start off with heating the 3 sausages in a dutch oven, to do this remove the meat from the casing and chop it up and add it to a pot with a little oil.

2. Once the sausage is browned take it out and put it in a bowl, leave the oil and bits in the pot, it will add flavor.

3. Put the pot back on the heat and add the potatoes, onion and garlic. Heat just enough to start to soften the potatoes, but not all the way.

4. Cover the mix with chicken stock and water. Make sure there is enough to cover it plus some. You want about 1-2 inches of room in the pot. If you don’t have enough chicken stock you can add water. Make sure to scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen all of the good bits at the bottom.

5. Heat on the stock covered for about 15-20 min or until the potatoes are soft.

6. Once the potatoes are ready add the sausage back, the heavy cream and chard.

7. Add salt and pepper, making sure to taste for deliciousness and heat another 5-10 min.

8. Serve hot with a loaf of crusty bread for dipping and your favorite wine!

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Enjoy!

Tips:

– If you don’t have chicken stock, you can make your own! Here’s how: Put four cups water in a bowl, add salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon onion powder and 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoons thyme. Feel free to adjust the seasonings and add whatever else. Obviously it isn’t chicken stock, but it will add more flavor to the soup then just simple water!

– Try it with these Buttermilk Biscuits

Pasta with Broccoli and Garlic

Sometimes you don’t want to make dinner, so you just turn to pasta, because its so easy. And then you get bored of pasta so you have to try something new. Here is your something new! Something easy and delicious.

Pasta with Broccoli and Garlic (original recipe is for sausage and broccoli which I would have loved to try, but didn’t have it)

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Ingredients

1 lb Pasta

2 bunches of broccoli (cut into florets)

1 tablespoon garlic

salt and pepper

olive oil

Parmesan cheese (or other, we used cheddar)

(Italian Sausage if you want)

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1. Boil a pot of water with salt. When it begins to boil add the broccoli florets and bring back to a boil for 5-10 min. You want the broccoli cooked, but not mushy. (While this is happening, if you are using sausage, you should heat a pan with oil and then add garlic. When heated add the sausage and cook through.)

2. Take the broccoli out, leaving the water behind. Bring the water back to a boil and add the pasta for 8-10 min. You want the pasta to be cooked, but not all the way.

3. While that is cooking, heat a pan and add the garlic, heating for a few min.  You don’t want the garlic to brown. (if you are using the sausage, you would add the broccoli to that, and skip the garlic since you already would have done it in step 1). Add the broccoli and use a masher to mash the broccoli (and sausage). If it is hard to mash add some of the pasta water (1 tablespoon) and continue mashing.

4. When the pasta is done take out a cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Add to the broccoli the pasta and about a tablespoon of the water and some 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Add some salt and pepper.

5. Mix for about five minutes. You want the pasta to be creamy, so add a little more oil or pasta water as necessary.

6. Plate the pasta and add the cheese.

Enjoy!

Homemade Pizza

Its almost ridiculous that it has taken me this long to make homemade pizza. I mean seriously its my favorite food. Get me a pepperoni pizza and my day is made. I could eat pizza morning, noon, and night. I got the dough recipe from Mark Bittman’s book, and again he did not disappoint. Seriously, if you haven’t gotten this book yet, you should. On to the pizza.

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I thought that I was only going to make one pizza, then I realized the recipe makes two medium pizzas, so I had to run out and get some more cheese and sauce! A very good mistake as we ate both pizzas (I know, we’re gross!) We made a veggie (green pepper, onion, mushroom and spinach) and a mozzarella, tomato, and garlic pizza.

Ingredients

3 cups flour + more as needed

2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups tomato sauce

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

salt and pepper

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1. Add flour, yeast, and salt to food processor. Turn on and add through spout the 1 cup water with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Mix until a ball forms. If too wet add 1 tablespoon flour and mix for 10 seconds. If too dry add one tablespoon water. Mix for 10 seconds. Mix until slightly sticky to the touch.

2. Sprinkle flour on a work surface and knead dough until it forms a smooth ball. Grease a large bowl, place the ball in and flip (so that each side has oil on it). Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 1-2 hours.

3. Punch dough down and divide in half. Put the two halves on a floured surface, cover with plastic wrap and leave for 20 min.

4. Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Press each dough ball individually into a circular crust. You can use a rolling pin or your fingers. After each press let the dough resist and stretch back.

5. Place each crust on oiled baking sheets.

6. Spread with pizza sauce, cheese, and any ingredients (i.e. pepperoni, veggies, chicken, bacon, pineapple, anything).

7. Bake for 8-12 min, until the crust is crisp. (mine took around 30min)

Add any ingredients you want! Really experiment!

Enjoy!

Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwich

I usually don’t take pictures of the process it takes me to make each recipe, not because I don’t want to I do, but to be honest, I am a little bit of a mess when I cook. I usually spend the entire day thinking about what I am going to make that by the time it gets there I want the end result to come so fast that my kitchen ends up looking like a storm rolled through. Its not pretty, and let’s get real the end result is what we are really waiting for! So, if you ever read this blog and think “hey I don’t know how to do that step” just let me know and I can explain or take a picture/video!

This recipe was such a mess I didn’t even want to touch my camera for fear that slimy, eggy, floury, hands would ruin it! But, of course the end result was delicious!

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Ingredients

Eggplant (1-2 medium sized)

salt and pepper

Flour

3 eggs whisked

Oil (I used olive oil)

breadcrumbs

Mozzarella

Bread

Spaghetti Sauce

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This seems like a lot of steps, but it really isn’t. I just broke them down so they would be easier to digest. (pun intended!)

1. Heat the oven to 200, you will use the oven to keep the eggplant warm while you fry.

2. Slice the eggplant ends off and then make slices of 1/2 inch. I like them a little thinner so use your judgment.

3. Salt the eggplant and leave it in a colander for 30 or longer. This will bring out the bitterness of the eggplant.

4. While that stands, in one bowl put flour (I didn’t say how much, because it really depends on how much eggplant you have, start with one cup). In the next bowl whisk three eggs. In the next bowl put the breadcrumbs (again you can start with one cup).

5. When the eggplant is ready rinse it off and dry it. Then working with one piece at a time, place it in the flour to coat, then shake off the excess. Place in the egg to coat and shake off the excess. Place in the bread crumbs to coat.

6. Place the breaded eggplant on a cookie sheet and once all are done place in the fridge to cool for 10-30min.

7. While that sits you can slice your bread and slice the mozzarella and slowly heat the tomato sauce.

8. Heat in a pan enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and then some. Once the oil is ready (flick some flour in the oil and when it sizzles immediately it is ready). Place eggplant in the pan, but do not crowd it. Heat on each side for 2-3 minutes.

9. Once cooked transfer to a plate with napkins to drain the oil and then transfer to a pan that you will place in the oven to say warm.

10. You will need to play with the heat on the pan so that the oil stays hot but does not burn the eggplant.

11. Once all the eggplant is heated you can assemble your sandwich. Eggplant, cheese, sauce, repeat if necessary.

Enjoy!

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You can also eat the eggplant alone as an appetizer! It is so delicious!

Where have you been?!?!

So, I actually hate it when bloggers have a steady rate of posts and then disappear out of nowhere. I always check the blog multiple times for a few days, get angry, check back once a day, then totally abandon them thinking they will never return. Then one random day I remember that great blog and I check back. Nothing, and I get angry. But sometimes, just sometimes there is a new post explaining how life just got in the way. This is my post.

I could tell you all the things that happened, but I will just sum it up. Law school exams, broken fridge for a week, vacation, and moving. Ahhh… moving. I now have the greatest kitchen! Big, clean, ready for some cooking! Hopefully I can keep up with it this time!

A few posts back I wrote about garlic, cinnamon chicken and said that I would probably eat it a million times it was so good. Well, I didn’t. But, I have made this recipe three times since I made it the first time. Its that good.

Bean Burgers

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Ingredients

1 16oz can of drained chickpeas

1/2 an onion chopped

1/2 cup of rolled oats

2 tablespoons chili powder

salt and pepper

a little bit of olive oil

Buns

Toppings (onions, tomatoes, lettuce, ketchup, cheese, mushrooms)

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1. Add, in a food processor, the chickpeas, onion rolled oats, chili powder, salt and pepper and the olive oil.

2. Blend and then let sit for 5 min.

3. Begin forming the mixture into patties. If they are too sticky you could add more oats. If it is too dry you should add more oil or some of the juice from the beans.

4. Place on parchment paper and let stand for 5min.

5. Place oil in a pan and place the patties in the pan. Heat on each side until browned.

6. If you want cheese on them you should put it on towards the end.

Enjoy!

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Tips and Tricks:

1. The thinner you make these patties the crispier they turn out. The thicker you make the patties the more moist they are. I think they taste better crispy.

2. These are good with ketchup and normal burger toppings, but you could also put salsa and it would be great.

I hope to keep this blog running so keep checking by for new posts! Thanks, Jessica

Garlic Chicken Stew

First of all, this is not garlic chicken stew. This is amazing garlic, cinnamon, chicken heaven. Seriously. We have chicken a lot a lot (it’s the cheapest meat), and I am always bummed to have it but tonight… I felt like I was eating like a queen. Not to mention that your kitchen will smell so christmas-y heaveny that you will fidget and fuss until the chicken is done cooking, place it on a plate and not care that you burn your mouth to smithereens as you shovel it in. Seriously.

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Not only is this recipe delicious, it is so so so so so easy. So easy. And did I mention how very vey delicious it smells? I think I may cook this again once, twice (maybe every night) this week! Ok here we go… (this is adapted from How to Cook Everything)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons oil

Chicken pieces from a whole chicken (I used four thigh pieces”)

salt and pepper

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 heads of garlic (the cloves taken off, not peeled)

3/4 cup dry white wine, water, or chicken stock

Loaf of crusty bread.

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1. Start heating the oil in a pan and place the chicken in skin side down and heat until it becomes loose about 5-10min and Sprinkle with saltandpepper. Then turn and rotate browning all sides for another 5-10min.

2. Remove from the pan and spoon out all of the fat except 2 tablespoons.

3. Add to the pan the cinnamon and garlic and 1/2 cup of the liquid you choose (I used chicken stock) and more saltanpepper. Place the chicken back in, bring to a boil and adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily.

4. Cover and cook for 30min, then check and add the remaining liquid if the pan is dry. (I adjusted at 20min). Cover and cook for another 25-30min until the garlic and chicken is tender.

5. You can serve this with crusty bread, which would be great, but also with rice which I think would be delicious.

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Enjoy!

1. I know the above picture looks like a mess, but those are little garlicky delicious nuggets that can be put to good use. I ate them with the chicken (make sure you take the skins off), but some might find that to be too much garlic. You can take these and spread them on your crusty bread for a great flavor.

2. Keep an eye on your chicken, you don’t want it to try out. Always make sure there is liquid in the pan.

3. If you are concerned about the fat/grease in this dish, you can take the skins off first, or you can cook it with them on and then take the skins off before you eat them like I did. The skins will give the chicken more flavor and help to keep moisture in so the chicken stays tender.

Cooking Conundrum Friday… Lasagna

I couldn’t think of a cooking conundrum all day. I know I should have tons of how do I do this? What is that? How can I change that? But for some reason nothing was coming up. Then the ultimate cooking conundrum… what should I make for dinner? This is especially hard when you didn’t plan out your week meals and you have meat thawing but nothing that you are really craving.

I looked through my cookbooks and came up short for something to make with ground beef. Wasn’t really feeling hamburgers, didn’t want spaghetti, and I didn’t have ingredients nor the weather for chili or soup. Then, we saw a commercial for lasagna and the ideas started flowing.

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The key to cooking with a bunch of random ingredients is to take a traditional recipe and change it around, and to use what you have on hand. For instance, with ground beef you can make burgers, meatloaf, meatballs, tacos, burritos all with a few simple ingredients… ground beef, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs and spices. Even if you only have ground beef, you can use your spices and bread/tortillas to make all of these. Another tip is if you don’t have one ingredient, say for my lasagna I didn’t have the noodles, you could instead use any other noodles you have on hand and layer it the same way. The best tip is to look at all your ingredients and decide what is a recipe that comes closest to implementing those ingredients, and then make a change.

So now lasagna, luckily I had these ingredients on hand, I mostly just added this all together.

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Ingredients

Lasagna noodles or some other noodles

Cheese any kind

(I used mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, and parmesan cheese)

Spinach

Marinara

Tomatoes

Ground beef

salt and pepper

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Start water and salt to boil in a pot. (the salt will help the pasta flavor come out and will help the water boil). When it begins to boil place the pasta in for 8-10min.

2. While that is boiling start to heat up the ground beef, salt and pepper. If you want you can add whatever other spices you want… basil, oregano, cayenne for heat.

3. When those are done this is the easiest part. You want to layer the ingredients in a pan as follows:

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  • Pasta
  • Sauce
  • Veggies and meat
  • Cheese
  • Repeat, you want to end on cheese

4. Place in the oven for 15-20 or until the cheese on top is melty and browning.

Enjoy!

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Tips and tricks:

1. So for this you could use any vegetables on hand onions, peppers, asparagus, broccoli, try anything. For the cheese if you only have one kind use it, if you only have parmesan load it up! Noodles, you can really use any noodles for this cook them and then layer them the same way or mix it all together.

2. You could also try a white lasagna if you have ricotta cheese. Look for a recipe and try it.

3. Ground beef: you can try this with chicken instead, or you can skip it. Vegetarian lasagna is just as good.

4. You can serve this with a nice healthy salad and some wine!

I hope this was helpful. I know I used to be, and still am sometimes, one of those people who looks in the fridge and sees nothing. Just remember, you don’t need all of the ingredients in a recipe to make it great. Try some new things and leave out some. You never know, your version might be so much better than the original.

If you have any questions, or you want to play a game, you can post the ingredients in your fridge and I will tell you the best recipe I can think of!