Polish Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup

WP_20150128_021

Whenever it’s even a little cooler here, I like to take advantage. This winter has been so mild that it feels more like spring/early summer. Sometimes I wish for cooler air, but then I see the pictures of what Northerners are dealing with. I’m a lightweight when it comes to temperatures below 75!

This is a dairy-free, “creamy” soup but you can substitute unsweetened coconut milk with heavy cream or half and half. In my experience, the coconut milk doesn’t make the food taste “coconutty”. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup – adapted from The Candid Appetite

  • 1 pound Polish sausage
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 large bunches of kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 pound red potatoes, sliced
  • 8 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk or heavy cream

Directions –

1. Heat a large heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat. Once the pot has heated through, add the sausage, which you removed from the casing. Using a wooden spoon, begin to break up the sausage and allow it to cook, stirring occasionally, until it has fully browned. Remove the crisped sausage from the pot and transfer it to a plate or bowl. Set aside.

2. Lower the heat to medium, add the butter or oil and throw in the onions and garlic. Stir, scraping down the bottom of the pot picking up the browned bits of sausage with the back of a wooden spoon, and cook until soft and translucent about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Continue to sauté until the onions have caramelized. Add the chopped kale in batches, allowing it to wilt down as it cooks.Cook the kale for another 3 minutes until it has turned bright green and completely wilted down. Throw in the sliced potatoes and cooked sausage.

3. Pour in the chicken stock or broth and bring it up to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer until the potatoes are cooked tender and soft. Taste the soup for seasoning, at this point you may add more salt, pepper or red pepper flakes, if desired. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, stir in the heavy cream. Serve right away with some bread on the side. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Brownie in a Mug

WP_20150209_030 1

Sometimes, you just have to have chocolate, it has to be warm and vanilla ice cream is a must! Good quality cocoa powder is so important, and I used my stash of Valhrona 🙂 Yes, it is worth the $1 + an ounce price! This brownie is rich, moist, and more cakey than fudgy and hits all the right buttons. I’m kind of mad at myself for making this! 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Brownie in a Mug – adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • Tiny pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 to 2 drops vanilla extract
  • ice cream

Directions –

Place flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon in a microwave safe ceramic mug. Stir with a fork or spoon to mix well and break up any clumps.

Add the butter, water, and vanilla to the cup and stir until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.

Place in microwave and heat on high until the mixture is cooked through, about a 1 minute and 20 seconds. If you don’t know the power level on your microwave, start with 60 seconds and increase until the brownie is done. It should still be moist when cooked through, not dry.

Let cool for a minute and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Paleo Pancit

WP_20150127_021 1

After making this, I learned – one: I love fish sauce, and two: more cabbage, please! I was worried about using both but this recipe just looked and sounded so good. I’m glad I didn’t let apprehension get the best of me, because this was so perfect! It was savory, sour and had just enough saltiness; and textures in each bite of this pancit, (which I had never tried or heard of before), that I am on the look out for more Asian recipes that might hit all those notes again. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Pancit – adapted from Everyday Paleo

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breasts, cut into small bite size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 6 green onions, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 carrots, sliced thin
  • 1 small bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 6 – 8 cups shredded green cabbage
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos or Tamari wheat free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges

Directions –

In a large wok or skillet heat the coconut oil over medium to medium high heat.  When the wok or pan is nice and hot, add the chicken, green onions and garlic and saute for about 6-7 minutes or until the meat is done all the way through but still tender. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.  Add the bell pepper and carrots to the wok or pan and cook for 3 minutes. Add in the cabbage and cook about 4 more minutes. Add the chicken back to the veggies and pour in the coconut aminos or soy sauce, chicken broth, and fish sauce. Season with lots of black pepper.  Stir well and cook for another minute or two.  Serve in bowls with a lemon wedge.

Cookie Dough Brownie Bombs

WP_20140210_20_50_04_Pro

These are a perfect special occasion (ahem, Valentine’s Day), treat that any chocolate lover would appreciate. My husband was pretty excited about these because the original is one of his favorites, so how bad could the addition of brownie be? The brownie bakes up thin, chewy and fudgy and it sticks really well to the frozen dough ball. As I rolled the brownies around the cookie dough I decided that these win the prize for messiest dessert ever – my hands were coated in sticky brownie, but in the end these were worth the effort. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Cookie Dough Brownie Bombs – adapted from Handle the Heat

For the cookie dough:
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 – 3 tablespoon milk (any kind)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup miniature chocolate chips

For the brownies:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the chocolate coating:
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 teaspoons coconut oil (or more if needed )

Directions –

For the brownies:

WP_20140210_18_31_36_Pro

Meanwhile, make the brownies. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 8×8-inch pan with foil, leaving an overhang.

In a large bowl combine the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir until well combined, mixture will be thick. Let cool if the butter is still hot. Stir in the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, stirring very well after each addition. Stir until the batter is very well blended. Add the flour and stir again until very well blended. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through but still very moist and fudgy. Let cool.

For the cookie dough:

WP_20140210_17_09_03_Pro

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until very well combined and fluffy. Add in the milk and vanilla. On low speed gradually add the flour and salt. Stir in the miniature chocolate chips.

Scoop the dough into 2 teaspoon-sized balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze for an hour, or until firm.

To assemble:

Cut the brownies into 1-inch squares. Flatten a square with the palm of your hand. Place a cookie dough ball into the middle of the flattened brownie and wrap the brownie around the cookie dough ball. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, just try to get as much of a round shape as possible, rolling the ball between your palms. Repeat with the remaining brownie and cookie pieces. Freeze the balls for 30 minutes.

For the chocolate coating:

WP_20140210_20_09_43_Pro

Combine the chopped chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir, and continue heating in 30-second bursts, stirring between bursts, until the chocolate is melted.

Dip each brownie ball into the chocolate to coat completely. Allow the excess to drip off then return to the baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, or until set. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Two Minutes to Chocolate Fix

Quick Post: I doubled the recipe for my chocoholic husband and I. It was quick which was what we both needed. The texture is different from other cakes or brownies I have had before, but I think that is because there is no egg added to this. The night after we tried these, I made a mug cake with eggs to see the difference – but that will be a different post! 😉 These were okay, certainly not as good as these or these, but for a quick fix it meets the requirements. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Two-Minute Mug Brownie – adapted from Babble

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 Tbsp canola or other mild vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp milk, coffee or water

Directions –

In a heatproof mug or ramekin, stir together the dry ingredients until no lumps remain. Stir in the oil and milk until you have a thick paste.

Microwave on high for a minute, checking it after 30 seconds (microwaves vary) – it will be done when it’s springy on top but still a bit gooey – like the very best brownie. Eat warm.

Coconut Milk and Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

I’m trying something a little crazy…my go to arroz con leche recipe has plain ‘ol milk in it. This is my first time using coconut milk and it’s my first time knowingly trying any food with this in it. Hopefully it’s not a complete waste of ingredients and time…I love rice pudding and it’s something that reminds me of my childhood. My Gram made her version (my fave no matter what) often and my siblings and I ate it hot as a breakfast treat. I’m sure I’ll never be able to recreate hers, but in the meantime, I’m having fun tasting other versions. This need for rice pudding came when I realized that I have several Madagascar vanilla beans patiently waiting to be used in my pantry. I bought them over the summer and haven’t used a single bean! How dare I! 😉 It has been at least a full year since the last time I made this decadent treat, so why not put the two together? While searching through Tastespotting, I found several versions of the classic – some with coconut milk and some with vanilla bean seeds. This recipe is a mishmash of a few recipes and techniques that will hopefully come together beautifully!

Verdict: So good, I love this stuff! Creamy, slightly sweet and perfectly comforting in my book.  I didn’t notice the coconut flavor, but it wasn’t as thick or “butter fatty” as the other recipe. I only used one cup because coconut milk has such a  high fat content, so I’ll be on the look out for lighter coconut milk. Also, I was also able to make a bigger batch of vanilla sugar the day I made this, so hopefully I can find the perfect use for some of it. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Coconut and Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding – 

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • lemon zest (strips, not grated)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt

Directions –

Pour rice and water into a 4 quart dutch oven or larger. Add the lemon peel, cinnamon stick and vanilla seeds to the pot. Let sit for an hour.

After soaking, bring the rice mixture to a boil on high heat, uncovered. When it starts to boil (about 5 minutes), lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 to 12 more minutes or until water is almost evaporated.

Add the milk and stir well to mix, add the sugar  and cook over medium-low heat, stirring carefully, until it thickens slightly or until desired consistency, about 25 to 35 minutes. Remove the lemon zest and cinnamon sticks.

Serve hot, cold or room temperature.

Salmon Baked in Foil

Sockeye salmon was on sale at Publix this week. My family loves it and it’s definitely considered a treat so I wanted to find a recipe that was simple and had flavors that we could all enjoy. I have used this method of cooking salmon several times before. It’s so versatile and I usually season the fish with kosher salt, pepper, butter and lemon slices – it’ as easy as that.

Verdict: Yum – this was quick, easy and so flavorful. Baking salmon in foil is one of my favorite ways to cook fish, and the cleanup couldn’t be easier. Adjust the baking time based on the size of your fish because it’s really easy to over cook the fillets. Even though mine were a little over done (18 minutes for mine) they still tasted great. Tomorrow I’ll share the cheesy orzo we enjoyed with this, thanks for reading, enjoy!

Salmon Baked in Foil – adapted from Food Network

  • 4 (4 ounces each) salmon fillets
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 chopped shallots
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
Directions –

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sprinkle salmon with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir the tomatoes, shallots, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Place a salmon fillet, oiled side down, atop a sheet of foil. Wrap the ends of the foil to form a spiral shape. Spoon the tomato mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and tomato mixture, covering completely; seal the packets closed. Place the foil packet on a heavy large baking sheet. Repeat until all of the salmon have been individually wrapped in foil and placed on the baking sheet. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Spaghetti Shrimp Scampi

This was a quick and easy dinner that the whole family enjoyed. I didn’t change a thing about it either, but next time I may add a little more butter and lemon juice. If you like really saucy pasta dishes, you might find this too dry for you but that is easily remedied. Overall this was a light and flavorful dish that I will make again. Simple ingredients, simple steps equaled a new family favorite – you can’t beat that! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Spaghetti with Shrimp Scampi – adapted from Food Network

  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, zest grated
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
Directions
In a large pot of boiling water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.

Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.

Classic Sandwich Bread

I have been using the same sandwich bread recipe for a year now, and I decided it’s time to try out a new one. Not that anything is wrong with the old one, it’s just that I want to experiment. It’s a basic white bread recipe that is easily veganized (if that is a concern of yours) by substituting your preferred unsweetened milk substitute (ie. almond milk). For this I’ll use a combination of half and half and 1% milk – why not? I’m debating if I should use AP flour as the recipe suggests or a combination of bread flour and white whole wheat like I use in my other recipe.
I decided to go with my usual combination of bread/white wheat flour for this, because my conscience gets the best of me. I might as well sneak in extra fiber where possible for my family. The great thing about this combination is that it’s never too “wheaty” for us – if that makes sense.
Verdict: Yum! This has a mild and subtle flavor, slightly sweet with a nice crumb, and its soft, but not too soft – perfect!  I will double the recipe next time for sure and I will continue to try new recipes for basic sandwich breads cause I’m a food geek and it’s fun for me! 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Classic Sandwich Bread – adapted from King Arthur Flour
  • 3 cups AP Flour (*I used 2 cups bread and 1 cup white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup milk (*all half and half here)
  • 1/2 hot water
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

Directions –

Mixing: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine set to the dough or manual cycle). Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 60 minutes, until it’s domed about 1″ above the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.

Baking: Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until it’s light golden brown. Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or by measuring its interior temperature with an instant-read thermometer (it should register 190°F at the center of the loaf). Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature. Yield: 1 loaf.

Cookies ‘n Cream Ice Cream

This couldn’t be an easier recipe – 5 ingredients, 30 minutes of churning and a rest in the freezer. Okay, so it’s not the quickest but it is super simple. I was surprised that there was no salt in this (all sweet needs a little salt to balance the flavor) but I decided not to modify this at all until I taste the final product.

Verdict: This is almost too sweet and fatty. The use of heavy cream and whole milk, (Philadelphia-Style) make this ice cream coat your mouth with butter fat – so if you’re not crazy about that, steer clear of this one. I’m sure the kids and husband wont mind, but I think I prefer the mouth feel of an ice cream that uses egg yolks (French-Style); so I’ll be on the hunt for those. I borrowed The Perfect Scoop from the library a while ago, and I need to search through the book for some must-make-soon desserts. I just realized last night that it’s due back in five days, so I’d better get on it! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Cookies ‘n Cream Ice Cream Ingredients – adapted from Simple Comfort Food

  • 1 cup Whole Milk, Cold
  • ¾ cups Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 10 whole Oreo Cookies, Crumbled
Directions –
Freeze your ice cream bowl prior to starting your recipe, as it is very important that it is completely frozen.

Begin by adding the milk and sugar to your mixing bowl, and mix with a whisk until all of the sugar dissolves. Add in the vanilla extract, and the heavy cream. Assemble your ice cream maker, and turn it on, adding in your mixture.

Let the mixer spin for at least 30 minutes, adding the crumbled Oreo cookies about 25 minutes into mixing. Place the bowl back in the freezer for at least an hour, or in my case, overnight. Scoop and enjoy.