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Yesterday was rainy, dreary and chilly... nothing better than a nice bowl of soup to warm you up. The fun thing about soup is you can throw a bunch of things in a pot and generally end up with something delicious. That's what happened with this soup. 

Italian Rice and Beans Soup

What you need:

  • 1 lb pork sausage (you can use the spicy or regular... we used regular)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1/4 head of cabbage, sliced thinly then chopped
  • 2 quarts chicken stock (I used homemade stored in spaghetti sauce jars, not quite 2 quarts so I added some additional water to make it a little soupier)
  • 2 cans northern white beans
  • 2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes (I used italian)
  • 1 cup uncooked rice (I used Jasmine... it's what we had in the house)
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp basil

What you do:

Grab your soup pot (mine's my lovely red dutch oven), and brown the sausage. 

Once it's mostly brown throw in the diced onions and let them cook for a couple minutes until almost transluscent. 

Throw in the cabbage. (you can cut this in any shape you want... the less like cabbage it looks the more likely my family is to eat it)

Let that cook together for a few minutes. 

Add the stock, tomatoes, beans and rice and spices. If you need a little extra water go ahead and add it... remember the rice is going to suck up a lot of your broth. 

Bring to a boil and then lower the head and simmer for 20 minutes or so.

Remember to throw some bread in the oven... if your bread takes longer than 20 minutes to cook no worries, it only gets better with a little extra time. Just keep an eye on the moisture level... if you like soupy soup you may have to add additional water through the process. 

Enjoy your soup!


Easy Chicken Vegetable Lo Mein

Stir fry is one of my favorite meals to cook, and lo mein is my VERY favorite. Why? Well, I'll tell ya!

It's EASY.

And here's the thing - see, my kid goes to school and doesn't get home until sometime between 4 and 5pm, and he comes home HUNGRY.

And my husband, well, he's a taxi driver. So I never know when he's going to come in - but I know when he does, he's gonna be hungry, too.

So the thing that makes my lo mein stir fry super amazeballs is that I can have everything ready to go and put away in the fridge - then when someone is ready to eat, BAM, toss it in the frying pan and five minutes later, it's dinner! 
 

Want to know how you too can have such an amazing thing in your house? Well, 'll tell ya ;)

Ingredients:

1 pack (16 oz or 500gm) of spaghetti or linguini noodles
3-4 cups chopped mixed veggies
Oil for cooking
Soy sauce
1 chicken breast, with wing
Chicken stock (I'll explain this a little more in the directions)

PREP WORK!

1. Cook the pasta according to the directions - don't over cook it! Overcooked pasta makes gummy, sticky stir-fry. Obviously, you can use real lo mein noodles, I just prefer spaghetti noodles.
2. Drain the pasta, and (VERY IMPORTANT) rinse with cold water so it stops cooking. Return it to the pot and toss it in about a tbsp of oil - this will keep it from sticking together.

Set the pasta aside, or put it in the fridge for later.

3. In a saucepan, place your breast quarter with wing attached and cover with water. Toss in a healthy pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until done.

Set it aside to cool. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove all the meat from the bone and dice it up in 1/2" pieces.  Save the stock!

3. While your pasta and chicken are cooking, prepare your veggies. chop them into half-inch sized pieces (approximately - you don't need to be super exact here). Carrots, I like to slice super thin with a mandolin so they cook faster. If you don't have a mandolin, use your vegetable peeler and peel off slices from the fat end.

NOTE: I used broccoli, cabbage and carrots, because that's what Chato likes. You can also add mushrooms, bean sprouts, cauliflower, snow peas, green beans... whatever you like.  You just need about 3-4 cups in total when it's all mixed together.

Set the veggies aside, or put them in the fridge (covered) for later.

OK - That's the prep. It sounds like a lot of work, but it really only takes about 15-20 minutes because it's all getting done at the same time.

NOW the magic happens -

1) Take out your wok or a saute pan, put a splash of oil in it and get it medium hot.

2) Toss in about 1/4 of your veggie mixture and stir fry until tender crisp.



3) Add 1/4 of the chicken meat and a tbsp of the stock from earlier - cook until heated through.

4) Add 1/4 of the pasta and about 1 tbsp soy sauce, and salt/pepper to taste. Stir fry together for a minute or so, just until everything is heated through and looks delicious.

 

Serve!

See what I mean? If you do the prep ahead of time, you can just pop the rest on the stove when you need it and it's literally ready in less than five minutes.

It's SUPER convenient when you have a busy schedule and everyone needs to eat at different times. This will make 4 servings.

If you like more meat, go crazy with it - use thin sliced stir fry beef instead of chicken, or use a whole chicken breast instead of just a quarter. If you'd rather, add more veggies and make it a vegetarian meal. (Use veggie stock instead of chicken for a stronger flavor).

I know this isn't a real stir fry, because I'm adding the stock - but I think that as it reduces, it gives the whole thing a much more concentrated flavor without having to add a lot of other seasoning.

Hope you enjoy it!

 

Love this recipe! It looks so good, and so easy! 

Lasagna Soup

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Hanna and I made this Lasagna soup recently. It was a cold and dreary day... perfect day for soup! We tried making some garlic knots from pizza dough I had in the freezer (because I didn't want to go out in the weather to get what the recipe actually called for). The garlic knots were a #fail but the soup came out great!

Lasagna Soup

What you'll need:

  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 2 cups onions chopped
  • 1 cup carrots diced
  • 2 cup mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Can Italian style stewed tomatoes chopped
  • 1 Can tomato sauce 10 3/4 oz.
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 1 cup mafalda pasta (we used bow tie)
  • 2 cups spinach leaves (we used frozen)
  • 1 cup provolone cheese diced
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese diced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

What you do:

We used a dutch oven, but any large pot will do. 

Brown your sausage first, then add the onions, carrots and garlic. Let cook for a few minutes. 

Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, seasoning, stock, and tomato sauce.

Bring it all to a boil and reduce the heat. 

Add the pasta of your choice when you reduce the heat and let it simmer until the pasta is cooked to your liking. 

This is a great time to put in any bread you may be baking with your soup.

Just before the soup is ready toss in the spinach, let it cook for a few minutes until it wilts. (If you are using frozen, just toss it in when you lower the heat and let it cook). 

Here's my favorite part of this soup.

Lasagna is known for its cheesiness right?!

To get the cheese factor in this soup you take your provologne and cut it into squares. Toss the provologne and the shredded mozzarella in the bottom of your bowl. 

When the soup is ready, pour it over the cheese. 

You will end up with a wonderful cheesy surprise in every spoonful! Garnish with a little parm and viola! 

This soup is great reheated, and would be great heated up and sent to school for lunch in a thermos. 

Enjoy your soup!

I must be getting older, or something... because roasted brussels sprouts are now one of my favorite foods... so when I saw this amazing dip. I was on it. 

It's super simple, if you're going to a party you could totally prepare it ahead of time and stick it in the oven when you got there. 

This is pretty simple to make... but all in all takes about an hour (most of the time it's cooking). 

Roasted Garlic and Brussels Sprouts Dip

What you need:

1 lb of brussels sprouts
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove of elephant garlic (or two regular cloves)
1/2 tsp thyme (make sure you chop it up small)
4 oz cream cheese (at room temp)
1/4 c sour cream
1/4 c Mayo (don't use miracle whip)
3/4 c shredded mozzarella
1/4 c grated parm
more salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

Clean and quarter the brussels sprouts. 

 

Toss them and the garlic in a bowl with the oil, salt and pepper. Pour onto a flat pan (make sure they're spread out and not all on top of each other) Roast them in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. 

Remember that tip about roasting potatoes? It applies here as well. 

Flip the sprouts about half way through the time so they're evenly roasted, they will be a bit blackened and absolutely delicious. Don't eat too many... you need them for the dip. :) 

Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin and into a bowl. Mix all the rest of the ingredients right in there. Add the brussels sprouts, and stir gently so you don't break them apart. 

I used a cast iron skillet (because I love cooking with them) but a baking dish would work just as well. Place the mixture in a baking dish and cook at 350 until bubbling along the sides. 

I went one step further, and threw it under the broiler for a couple minutes to get it nice and brown on top. (Make sure you watch it while it's under the broiler, it would be a tragedy to come this far and burn it up). 

Grab some crackers or toasted bread, or even chips and dig IN! MMMMM it's so good. 

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I will admit it... I have never been very good at roasting potatoes. :( BUT... I have figured out where I was going wrong. We had Ranchhouse Pork chops last night, and with them some delicious roasted rosemary potatoes. 

It's really easier than I've been letting it be. 

Peel and cut your potatoes into small(ish) pieces. 

Toss them in a bowl, and drizzle with olive oil. 

Then add some salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a tbsp or so of crushed rosemary. Stir to coat. 

Here's where the trick comes in. 

Put them in the oven at 350. 

And leave them alone. Let them do their thing for 30 minutes. 

Stir to flip them over. (don't worry if a little sticks to the pan... those pieces will turn into crispy golden deliciousness that probably won't even make it to a plate). 

leave them alone AGAIN for another 30 minutes. 

BOOM. They're done. 

The trick is don't mess with them... put them in the pan and leave them alone. I used to mess with them all the time, move them around, stir them, don't do that. 

There were barely enough left to send in the kiddo's lunch today. 

Enjoy your dinner! 

Looking for more recipes... stop by the Food for Regular Folks facebook page... always tons of great food being shared! 

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