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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Jerk-Style Chicken Kebabs

Kebab. Ka-bob. Shish Ka-bob. Kedap. Kabab. No matter what you call them, they are great, and there is no better time than a nice, long weekend to make them happen.

There is nothing set in stone for making these delightful, colorful, Middle Eastern treats that are often served on a stick. Clean out the refrigerator, and you'll likely have the ingredients
necessary for a fabulous batch of kebabs, which are quick and easy to prepare in no time.

Pork, beef, chicken, fish, seafood, vegetables, fruit, so many options, so little time!

Grab a few skewers and come with me, we're making Jerk-Style Chicken Kebabs! For a step-by-step page, visit this tutorial on Instructables!

Marinade recipe courtesy of Cooking Light. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Three Pepper and Pasta Soup

Three different peppers give this soup a kick, and with the addition of plenty of oregano, a good dose of extra virgin olive oil, and a quick glance in the produce drawer of your refrigerator, you should be able to toss together a soup that calls for seconds.

 My husband is one of those carnivore types, so I make a good number of little meatballs, seasoned with a dash of oregano and a sprinkle of Cavender's Greek Seasoning. If you are not currently using this fabulous seasoning, your life is missing something.

Just a few basics, like a carton of broth, an onion, and a can of tomatoes will get you started. Though the soup itself is delicious and filling, hubby and I put everything on a bed of pasta. Elbow macaroni, tiny shells, Ditalini, even barley. There are so many options!

  • Pasta, if desired. Cook separately, coat lightly with olive oil and set aside. Time the cooking of your pasta so it is coming out of the pot hot when your soup is finished.

  • Meatballs or cubes of chicken if desired, cooked and set aside

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2-3 jalapenos, stems removed, veined, seeded, diced)
  • 1 or 2 orange or red bell peppers, stems removed, veined, seeded, diced)
  • 32 ounce carton of broth (I use chicken broth)
  • 1  28-ounce can of tomatoes. Do not drain. Use diced, or dice them if whole.
  • 4 ounce jar of pimentos, drained
  • Fresh oregano and / or dried oregano

Over medium heat, saute onions and garlic in a large pot with a heavy bottom. Add bell peppers and jalapenos, stirring well, allow to saute for about four minutes. Add celery, cook a few minutes longer. Add broth and tomatoes, stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add drained pimentos. If you choose to add cooked meat, you may add it now.

In a small saucepan, heat enough olive oil to coat several tablespoons of fresh oregano. I actually prefer to add both fresh and dried oregano to the olive oil. Saute the oil and oregano until the fresh oregano wilts and the kitchen is beginning to smell divine.

Pour the olive oil and oregano into the soup. Stir well. Serve alone, with bread, or over pasta.     

Don't be afraid to get creative. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Add sliced zucchini.
Use a red and an orange bell pepper.

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bean and Bacon (optional) Soup

I know what you're thinking, but no. Unfortunately, this is not the recipe for that famous red and white can.

It is, however, a quick and easy recipe that can be amended with ease to your tastes. Add bacon. Forget the bacon. Add carrots. Maybe celery. Add a bit of vegetable or chicken broth if you desire.

Though I'm not a big fan of cannellini beans, there were two cans in our pantry, and it seemed a shame to let them sit there going to waste. So, we toasted the remainder of a three-day old cornbread, tossed up a pot of soup, and we're full.

Scan your cupboards for other ingredients such as corn, even green chilies would taste fine in this multi-tasking soup.

Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light.

3 slices of bacon, chopped (optional for vegetarians)
1 cup of chopped onion
1 Tablespoon of chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of dry mustard powder
1 1/2 cups of water
1 Tablespoon of dark molasses
1 Tablespoon of red wine vinegar
2 15-ounce cans of cannellini beans, or other white beans - DRAINED
1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes with onions and garlic - UNDRAINED

 If including bacon, cook over medium-high heat until it is crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan, set aside. Reserve 2 teaspoons of bacon drippings in a sauce pan.

If going vegetarian, use 2-3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil.

Over medium-high heat, combine onions in oil or drippings. Add chili powder and dry mustard, stir well, saute for three minutes. Stir in bacon and all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for seven minutes.

Remove the pan from heat. The original recipe calls for partially mashing some of the beans, but I did not feel this was necessary. To each his or her own.

Bon appetit!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Grilled Asparagus with toasted sesame seeds

Summer time barbeques are the perfect opportunity for inclusion of vegetables. Even if you don't own an outdoor grill, an indoor electric grill is perfectly acceptable for grilling these delicious spears!

Though the original recipe, courtesy of Cooking Light, featured larger spears of asparagus threaded onto wooden skewers for ease of turning while grilling, I used what I had on hand. In this case, our smaller asparagus, sans the skewers, turned out just fine. But if you have them, thread a few sticks through the top and bottom of a row to make a 'raft'. They are so much easier to flip all at once when one side has been grilled.

Use fresh, beautiful green (or white if you are lucky enough to have them) spears that snap when the ends are broken off. Fresh asparagus is truly the best!

  • 16 asparagus spears (the thicker, the better)
  • 1 Tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauce (trust me on this one, go low sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon of dark sesame oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced well
  • 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prepare an outdoor, or an indoor electric grill to high heat.

Toast sesame seeds with salt and pepper. (Think toaster oven.) Set aside. 

Combine soy sauce, minced garlic and sesame oil in a large, shallow container. Place the spears into the mix, and move them around to coat them. You may also brush the mix onto the spears. Grill approximately three minutes, turn over, grill for three more minutes. 

Remove from the grill, sprinkle with the sesame seed, salt and pepper combination.
Serve immediately.

Marinated Tomatoes

As Summer nears an end, one should always reserve a few tomatoes for marinating. Quick and easy to fix, they pop into the refrigerator in no time, marinating while the rest of dinner is prepared.

Originally posted in Country Magazine, I swear this is the same recipe used by a former co-worker's mother for a company dinner. The tomatoes didn't last long, and everyone complimented Mrs. Crawford's dish, so much so, that she ended up printing the recipe (along with her fabulous cheese ball to which I would later become addicted) for many of the employees.

Grab a few tomatoes from the garden, or head for your local Farmer's Market early for the big ones. A large casserole dish is perfect for the marinating process. Simply cover with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.

  • 3 large fresh tomatoes, sliced on the thick side
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional use = 1/2 tsp. or none at all)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 Tablespoons onion, finely minced (make 'em pretty, they will stand out)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, finely minced
  •  1 Tablespoon fresh basil, finely minced, or 1 teaspoon dried basil

Place sliced tomatoes in a large dish such as a rectangular casserole dish. Mix all remaining ingredients in a container with a lid, cover and mix well. Pour over tomato slices, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours. 

Print several recipe cards. They are going to ask for them. Bon appetit!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

White Chicken Chili

Though this recipe is a mere twist on an old pot of white beans, it is a hearty, simple, and delicious version updated by the Bush company. Think Duke and Jay Bush...

Quick to make, and easily adapted to your preferences, it is a forgiving recipe that awaits, and even begs changes.

If this, or a similar white bean chili recipe is not already in your folder, file box or cookbook, it should be!

Try adding cooked barley. Or zucchini. Or jalapenos. Corn or black beans. Perhaps a clove or two of garlic. Fennel seeds. Oregano flakes. A dash of chili powder. Black pepper, red pepper flakes. SO many options, and they are all certain to taste wonderful in this recipe!

1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced or chopped
1 can of chopped green chilies, drained (4 ounces)
3 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
2  15.8 ounce cans of Bush's Great Northern White or Navy beans
1  14 ounce can of chicken broth
1  1/2 cups of diced, cooked chicken

Examples of optional toppings:
Shredded cheese
Sour Cream

In a medium-sized sauce pot or small Dutch oven, cook the diced onion
in olive oil until transparent - about four minutes. Add drained green chilies, flour
and cumin, cook and stir for two minutes. Add chicken broth and beans
(do not drain the beans) and bring to a boil, gently stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat, simmer for about ten minutes, and it will thicken up. Add
chicken, allow to heat once more.