the_soup_nazi017

Ok, I admit.  I am a bit of soup junkie.  One of the many reasons I love when the weather turns colder is because I can start breaking out the cookbooks and making a different soup each week.  How can you not love it?  It’s filling and healthy, you usually only have to dirty one pot and it feeds you for days.  It’s comforting, like an old friend or a warm blanket.  There’s just something about soup. 

I also am currently obsessing over brussel sprouts (reference Eat Your Veggies) and find myself trying every recipe I find that features them.  I have had the Sprouts and Sausage Soup recipe tucked into my recipe binder for years and finally just tried it out on the family this weekend.  It was a raving success and so, so easy!  Few ingredients, quick prep and cooking time and very satisfying.  This would definitely make a good Monday night football soup served with some hearty bread and beers all around. 

Sausage & Sprouts Winter Soup  – Serves 8

1 lb. Brussels sprouts

1 lb. sausage link (turkey kielbasa, andouille, etc)

2 tsp. olive oil

6 large red potatoes

2 bay leaves

2 tsp caraway seeds

8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

Trim ends off Brussels sprouts and cut in half lengthwise.  Set aside.  Cut sausage into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Put olive oil and sausage into large dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage is well-browned, about 7 minutes.  Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into 1/2 –inch pieces. 

When sausage is browned, add bay leaves and caraway seeds.  Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add potatoes, broth and 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil.  Add Brussels sprouts.  Partially cover pot and reduce heat to low to maintain a steady simmer.  Cook soup until sprouts and potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove bay leaves and serve soup hot with crusty bread and a green salad. 

My good friend from college, Denise (one of the D’s in the recipe title) and I are into emailing and texting each other what we’re making for dinner.  We also sometimes do the “ok, I have these five ingredients on  hand, what can I do with them?” challenge.  It’s been so fun to get to know each other as fellow  foodies and share our passion for cooking since our friendship in college was based much more on  knowing each other as fellow Coors Light drinkers  and sharing our passion for 2 am Jack-in-the-box runs.  We both love the magazine Everyday Food and we tend to lean towards Mediterranean influences like kalmata olives, capers, feta cheese — all the really good stuff.    We also like to take other people’s recipes and “doctor” them up a bit.  Put our own twist on them if you will.  So D & D’s (Daphne and Denise’s) Winter Vegetable Soup is just that, a doctored (and better if I do say so myself) version of an Everyday Food recipe Denise and I both decided to make.

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D&D’s Winter Vegetable Soup (adapted from Everyday Food)  – Serves 4-5

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 medium onion, cut into fine dice

2 garlic cloves, minced

coarse salt and ground pepper

1 lb. acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 bunch kale or escarole (for kale, ribs cut away and discarded), leaves torn

5 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth

1 can canellini beans, rinsed

1 small package cheese tortellini

½ package diced prosciutto

3 sprigs fresh thyme (if available)

grated fresh Parmesan, for serving

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium.  Cook onion, garlic and prosciutto until fragrant, about three minutes; season with salt and pepper.  Add squash and kale or escarole and cook until greens are wilted, about three minutes.  Add broth, beans and thyme.  Bring to a simmer and cook until squash and greens are tender, about 12 minutes.  Add the tortellini in when you have about 5 minutes remaining of cooking.  Season soup with salt and pepper and serve with Parmesan, if desired.                                                                    

accent_smilingsoup_200x153Every one knows chicken soup is good for the body and soul.  Whenever I stayed home sick from school as a kid, my mom would give me some form of Campbell’s chicken soup, saltine crackers and 7-up and for the most part, the world would be right again.  What I love about this Greek Chicken Soup recipe is that it’s easy and so delicious, it makes my mouth kind of pucker to think of it’s savory, tart flavor.  It’s very forgiving so feel free to add more/less chicken.  You can also use a different pasta noodle but I love it with the orzo.  It’s a great soup to take to a sick or down in the dumps friend. 

Greek Chicken Lemon Soup (Avgolemono)

8 cups (64 oz) chicken stock/broth

¾ cup orzo

1 lb. cooked boneless, skinless diced chicken breast

3 eggs

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

1 tbsp. grated lemon zest (1 lemon)

salt and fresh pepper

2 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley

Hungarian paprika, for garnish

In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the orzo and cook until tender, 15-20 minutes.  About 5 minutes before the pasta is done, add the diced chicken. 

Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl.  Whisk the eggs while pouring in the lemon juice.  Add the zest.  Whisking continuously, slowly pour a ladleful of the hot stock into the egg mixture.  Reduce the heat to low.  Then, while whisking the soup in the pan, slowly pour in the egg/lemon mixture.  This will thicken the soup slightly.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and serve garnished with the parsley and paprika, if desired.

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Green is good

October 18, 2009

No, I’m not getting political,environmental or granola on you.  Unlike that “No Impact Man” Colin Beavan in New York, I do not have any immediate plans to give up using toilet paper or stop shaving my armpits.  No toilet paper for a whole year?!  Really?  I can absolutely promise I will never, ever go there by choice.  Me likes me my quilted Northern way too much to do that.  I can’t even do the Kirkland brand.  Ooops, maybe that’s tmi… 

The green I’m talking about are the green veggies in my three favorite vegetable recipes.  At least one of these is on the menu every week in our household.  They are each a great way to get those veggies in and actually enjoy them in the process.  When my kids ask “What’s for dinner mom?”  and one of these recipes is part of my response they actually have been heard to cheer “yes! I love brussel sprouts!”  Crazy, I know…but I promise, completely true.broccoli

Roasty Toasty Broccoli

2 large crowns of broccoli (or as much as you think you need to feed your family or yourself)
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
sea salt               

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Wash and trim broccoli removing all stalks. My kids like to have some really tiny pieces mixed in with the larger ones because they get very crispy and crunchy, in otherwords, even more yummy!  Pat dry trimmed broccoli and put in a large heap on a baking sheet.  Pour the olive oil over the broccoli and toss with tongs or a fork and spoon to evenly coat all pieces.  (You could also do this is a bowl but why dirty another dish that you’re going to have to wash?)  Spread broccoli pieces out over baking sheet and salt.

Put on top rack of oven and roast for 15 minutes.  Serve immediately.  For a variation, you can also offer fresh grated parmesan at the table.                                                                                                                Serves 4-5 people.

I have to give credit to my good friend Heidi for this next recipe.  She invited us over for dinner one night sometime back and I asked what I could bring.  She said, “Well, I’m making brussel sprouts, we’ll have some grilled steak and blah, blah, blah…”  Basically she lost me at brussel sprouts because they were the one vegetable that both hubby and I detested.  I brought a BIG salad to that dinner since I knew we would not be eating those sprouts.  Heidi proved us wrong and turned our whole family into huge brussel sprout lovers.  It’s all in the preparation.  I think I had only previously tasted them boiled — ugghhh.  No wonder I didn’t like them.  Thanks Heidi! 

240px-Brussels_sprout_closeupMaple-Glazed Brussel Sprouts

1/2 – 1 lb. small to medium-sized brussel sprouts
Olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
sea salt
Maple syrup (real – imitation will not do)
Trim and halve sprouts (as many as you need for your family – we use at least a 1/2 lb). Put in a large skillet (I do it in my cast-iron) and toss generously with olive oil. Add 1-2 cloves minced garlic and a generous pinch of sea salt.

Saute over med heat, stirring frequently until the sprouts start to get brown and a little crispy on the edges. Just before serving, drizzle maple syrup (only real will do) over entire pan and stir. Serve immediately.

*Allow at least 15-20 minutes for them to cook thoroughly.                   Serves 4-5 people.

I just discovered this recipe in early September and it was an instant hit.  We’ve already had it twice in the past month.  It’s from my absolute favorite little food magazine, Everyday Food, from Martha Stewart.  If you’re not familiar with it, I highly recommend snatching one up next time you’re in the grocery checkout line.  It’s tiny – the size of a Reader’s Digest but they pack a ton of great stuff in there.  Their recipes are simple, healthy (for the most part) yet with enough of a flair to be a little different and unusual.  The best part…they always work!  You will see me post many recipes either straight from their pages or adapted…I am huge fan and dedicated subscriber.  And, no, I am not being paid to write this (Hubby only wishes I was). 

greenbeansGreen Beans With Hazelnuts (adapted from Everyday Food – Sept 2009)

1 lb. green beans, trimmed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1Tbsp. unsalted butter
coarse salt and ground pepper
2-4 Tbsp. hazelnuts, toasted and chopped (your preference – we like more)
fresh parsley (totally optional)
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
 
Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add green beans.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook, tossing occasionally, until green beans are crisp-tender, 5-8 minutes.  Stir in hazelnuts, parsley and lemon juice.  Serve immediately.                                                                                                                 Serves 4-5 people.
 
 
*I like this feature on their website that helps you meal plan and grocery shop.  Check it out!  www.marthastewart.com/grocery-bag
 
 

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