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Posts Tagged ‘veggies’

Beef Vegetable Soup

A one pot wonder.

beef vegetable soup

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • baby carrots, cut in half
  • about 1 pound of lean beef, cubed
  • 1 ear of corn, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt
  • 2 cubes beef bouillon, 4 cups hot water
  • 1 russet potato, cut in eighths

Sauté the onion and garlic with salt.  Add the carrots.  Dissolve the cubes in the water and add to the pot.  Toss in the bay leaf, potato, corn and beef.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until the potatoes are tender.

Serves 4.

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Peppered Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Peppered Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Autumn Vegetables

The nights are releasing their grip of their clenching fists of daytime warm air.  Visually, there’s not much evidence of fall in Texas.  The long dry summer sucked the moisture out of the limbs and leaves of even the heartiest of flora.  There was a lack of lush flowers and bushes since the middle of spring.  Bluebonnets suffered a short growing season and I have no fields of blue dotting my recent collection of digital photographs.  The land remains stagnant, waiting for water to return.

This subtle change in the night air is like a whisper from the far north, the snow-capped mountains sleeping through the summer.  Winter and hopefully rain will be here soon.

October must be the best month during fall.  Not only do we see and feel the changes of autumn, it’s also Little Sister’s birthday and Halloween.  Double the chances to have excuses to bake treats for the family!  October is also then month of Thanksgiving in my native land.  I often observe the holiday abroad with a whole roasted chicken, or if I’m feeling ambitious enough, a turkey.

Peppered Lemon Rosemary

This year I was inspired by what was waiting in the fridge: lemons and fresh rosemary, assorted vegetables, and a whole chicken.  With minor preparation, you can have a warm succulent chicken bursting with citrus and piney rosemary.

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small lemons, zested and halved
  • 1 white or yellow onion, halved lengthwise
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 3-4 small zucchini squash, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tomatoes, halved
  • 2 carrots, cut into manageable pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oregano or Italian herb blend, to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF.

Start by preparing the vegetables and arranging them on a baking sheet.  Give them a rub with olive oil then sprinkle salt, pepper and oregano.  Set this aside.

Autumn Vegetables

Autumn Vegetables

Combine the butter, lemon zest, about a tablespoon of rosemary, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Prepare the chicken by removing the gibblets and washing the bird inside and out.  Pluck any pieces of feather that might remain.  Using paper towel, pat the skin dry.  The drier the skin the crispier it will be.  Tuck the lemon butter between the skin and the meat, all over the breasts and drumsticks.  You can save a bit of the butter to smear over the skin or use olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper generously.

The chicken I used was 4 and a half pounds, and it was ready in about 75 minutes.  Always have a thermometer handy while roasting, the thickest part of the thigh meat needs to be 180ºF and juices running clear (i.e. no pink hue).  Cover the chicken for the first 45 minutes, then remove the lid or foil for the last part of the roasting time to get a crispbrown skin.

The veggie tray will take about 30 minutes to soften and get a hint of brown caramel around the edges.

Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a platter and sprinkle with rosemary as a garnish.

Look for a dressing in an upcoming post to serve alongside the chicken or a turkey!

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For this recipe, I wish I had access to the huge garden we had on the farm when I was little.  I remember spending hours weaving through the rows of snow peas, green beans, raspberries, carrots and lettuce looking for the perfect snack for a mid-summer day.  Black gold, my father would call the dark earth used to sprout our variety of garden foods that would sustain the family for many months into the coming winter.  Mom rounded up me and my brother to weed every so often, it helps the good plants grow, she said.

Now all I have is a box full of dirt.  No black gold.  No careful hands to weed.  It’s me and my limpy plants.

To my surprise, the limpy plants produced a few green beans!  (Now I know what to plant again next spring)

While this handful is not enough to feed my army, they were a welcome addition to my collection of veggies for this pasta dish.

Bacon, one of my favorite ingredients, was tossed in with the alfredo sauce.  I used a store-bought alfredo with roasted garlic, you can make your own, I didn’t have all the ingredients (most importantly time) to make the sauce from scratch.  I’ll call this a semi-homemade casserole.

  • 1 (15oz) jar of alfredo sauce
  • 4 cups cooked shells
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 cup cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup green beans, stems and halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 thick rashers of bacon

Topping

  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • oregano

  Roast the veggies tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper at 425ºF for 10-15 minutes.

Crisp up the bacon, drain , then crumble.  Stir the bacon into the alfredo sauce.

Toss the shells, veggies, and sauce.  Pour the mixture into a casserole dish.

Mix the topping to a consistency of wet sand.  Sprinkle over the pasta and veggies.  Drizzle olive oil over the crumb topping, this will help with browning.

Bake at 400ºF for 25-35 minutes until the topping is golden and the sauce is bubbling.

P.S. Happy Birthday Mom 😛

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A variation of Caldo de Res with potato

Any cut of beef will work in a caldo, however traditional caldo is made with tougher sorts.  Around here, here being our house, the most coveted piece of protein is the marrow.  So, buy yourself some leg slices and go at it.

You will also need some veggies. Again most regular veggies will do, so you can pick and choose what you like or use what you have.  Beets might not be a good choice though.  I had two freezer bags filled with 1/3 each onion, celery, and carrot – aka mirepoix, but in a nice size dice.  When the core aromatics are on sale, stock up, dice and freeze.  For this reason I wish we had one of those vacuum sealers so it would last a bit longer in the freezer.

If you are totally opposed to MSG, you can replace the beef flavoured soup mix with homemade beef stock.  I don’t make enough beef to have bones for stock, so I rely on my cupboard for this part of the recipe.

  • 1/4 pound of beef per person, I used leg to get marrow
  • onion, diced
  • celery, diced
  • carrot, diced
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • beef soup flavouring (like XO or Knorr)
  • 8 cups water
  • Roma tomatoes, quartered

Start with the beef, brown on all sides with salt and pepper.  Then add the mirepoix and cook until the onion is translucent.  Deglaze with the wine and scrape up the goodies from the surface of the pot.  Add salt, a good pinch of it (@mynakedbokkie see I do the same, just add a little at a time), the beef soup stuff and the water.  Toss in the green beans.  Bring it to a boil then reduce to a simmer, let it cook covered until the beans are tender (about 15 minutes).  The last, well second to last thing to do is taste the broth and check if you want more salt.  I tend to keep the salt level as minimal as possible, you can always finnish your serving with sea salt if you like.  The tomatoes are the last ones to join the party, turn down the heat to low and cover. 

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On the way home from work I listen to NPR.  At least more often than not.  Otherwise you would pull up to a traffic light beside my car and see someone tapping the steering wheel, bobbing her head, and signing along with anyone from Madonna to the Beatles.  Badly, I might add.

The other day I heard part of the interview with the First Lady.  Mrs. Obama sat down with NPR’s Michelle Norris.

Mrs. Obama noted that the White House is a platform for bringing attention to her message for healthy family living: Let’s Move.  First Lady wants to communicate that the campaign is about providing information to busy American families.   

Dancing with the girls is a common occurrence in the White House, and is encouraged for every one wanting to be healthier.   If dancing is not your style, try a walk or a game of soccer in the yard.  I know this part of the equation is lacking in my home, so this reminder as the weather starts to improve is taken with a fair amount of agreeability.

Doctors will be paying closer attention to BMIs and handing out prescriptions for vegetables and healthy eating options to parents for their kids struggling with weight issues.  Now it’s not just [mom], it’s the doctor telling you to eat your string beans.  I get nervous every time a well check comes up for the kids.  Big Brother is not a big eater, he would rather be playing than have to sit still at the table for dinner.  Little Sister is quite the opposite, at least at this stage of her life.  She will eat anything and everything in sight!  I prepare a light meal after we all get home after work/daycare for the kids.  Being just shy of ravenous makes this time of day the easiest to get Big Brother to try new foods, rather than a hot dog or cheese quesadilla.  He does rip through yogurt like it’s going out of style, as well as fruit, so he does eat a variety of foods – just not as wide a variety as I would like.

To learn more visit letsmove.gov or to hear the story on NPR, click here.

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Turkey Pot Pie

Being the thrifty mom I am, I bought pie crusts when they went on sale post-holiday.  Now what can I do with these?  Seeing as my ingenious plan for pie fell flat because I didn’t buy any filling and had nothing on hand to make some from scratch, savory was the way to go.

Often Sheppard’s Pie is what comes to mind when there are lingering veggies as we dwindle our cupboards following the gluttony of December.  Since the pie crusts needed to be used, they would simply replace the mashed spuds atop the meat-veggie-gravy filling.

If you have purchased pie crusts, you will know they come in pairs.  Now what is the second one going to be?  Remember how I thought a fruit pie was out of the question?  Think outside of the pastry box!  I made a flat apple pie.

Roll out the crust and slather with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar.  Fold the crust in half and poke some vent holes with a fork or tip of your knife.  Brush the top with egg wash and bake at 350ºF (175ºC) for 10 minutes, just until lightly golden.  Thinly slice apple and arrange in a pretty fashion on the crust.  Dust with cinnamon and sugar or honey and return to the oven until the apple is soft.  You can then kick back with a slice a la mode.

Oh wait, the turkey pot pie!  Right.

Fill a casserole, I’ve used an oval shaped one, with browned lean ground turkey (leave the turkey out to make it vegetarian!), peas, corn, onion, carrot, celery spinach (for Hubby) and a can of mushroom soup.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Top with a prepared pie crust, brushed with egg wash (or milk).  Bake at 350ºF (175ºC) for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until the crust is done.  Don’t forget to poke a few vents for the steam to escape!

Doesn’t that look like a winter supper?

Enjoy!

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