Orzo with Feta
I’ve been thinking about making something with orzo for a while, and saw a good recipe on Tasty Kitchen and thought I’d give it a try. But you know me, I can’t follow directions when it comes to food, so, as always, I added my own touch on the recipe.
The asparagus I had was already roasted (LOVE! roasted asparagus) so that was one variation from the original recipe. Another was the tomatoes. I love tomatoes, and Sendik’s had cute little cherry tomatoes on sale. These aren’t good enough to eat on their own yet, but are good enough to cook with (the added spiced and other things in the dish help out the paper-like taste of winter tomatoes).
1/2 cup orzo
1/2 lb spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
1/2 cup roasted asparagus (sliced on the diagonal in bite-sized pieces)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
Feta (as much as you like)
2 TB olive oil
Salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste.
1. Cook orzo according to package directions
2. Let the minced garlic infuse the olive oil on relatively low heat, so it doesn’t burn, until you can smell it (or about 5 minutes)
3. Add the spinach and cook down a bit
4. Add the tomatoes, season, and cook together for about 5 minutes
5. Add the roasted asparagus and orzo
6. Add the feta
Garlic infusing oil
Spinach cooked down
Added the tomatoes
Added orzo and asparagus
Posted in asparagus, Dinner, garlic, Healthy, pasta, Quick and Easy, tomatoes, Veggies
Tagged Dinner, Healthy, orzo, Quick and Easy, vegetarian
I was looking online for a rice, sausage, and beans dish and stumbled upon a Dirty Rice recipe by the Neelys on Food Network. It looked easy, quick, and I had all the ingredients. But I’m sure you noticed that I have to add my own touch to recipes. The Neelys’ recipe didn’t have beans and I switched out a few of the ingredients. Instead of the pork sausage they used, I used buffalo hot dogs from Lakevew Buffalo Farm. I tried the hot dogs earlier in the summer and really liked them; they’re more like brats or sausages than hot dogs and a lot healthier too, probably. Here is what I had.
1 cup uncooked rice
2.5 cups of stock (2 cups for the rice and .5 cups or so for the “sauce”)
1/2 large onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (large, finely diced)
1 red bell pepper (diced)
2 buffalo hot dogs
1 can of black beans
greens, scallions (optional, for garnish; I used a bunch of cilantro)
Olive oil, salt, pepper, ground chipotle, ground cumin to taste
1. Cook the rice according to directions, substituting the chicken stock for water
2. Slice the sausage on the diagonal and brown in a bit of olive oil. Regulate the amount of oil based on how much fat is in the sausage.
3. Once the sausage is browned, add the onion and brown it. Then add garlic.
4. Add the bell pepper. If there is no liquid in the pan, add a little bit of the stock. Cover with a lid and let cook for about 5 minutes or till the pepper is crisp-tender.
5. Add the beans and spices.
6. Add the rice to the sausage mixture.
7. Add greens (optional).
Sausage, beans, bell pepper
Dirty Rice is Done!
Pickles in a jar
I’ve been meaning to write about pickles for quite some time now but have been completely swamped with a few other projects. But these are a staple in my kitchen in the summer and I’d recommend you try these. This is the easiest recipe for pickles. I also recently found out that people can be allergic to commercially produced pickles and those advised to steer clear of vinegar also can’t consume store-bought pickles. My version is vinegar-free. That’s right. No vinegar. The pickles are still crunchy and spicy.
In the picture, you see about 2 pounds of pickles in a 1-liter jar.
2 LB pickles
1 Liter of water
1 TB salt
Garlic (cut in half, to taste, and I like a lot, so I used about 1/2 of a garlic head)
Dill (a bunch, as much as will fit into the jar)
1 red bell pepper (optional)
black peppercorns (a handful; and I forgot to add these and the pickles still turned out OK).
1. Arrange the dry ingredients in the jar. I like to place the pickles standing up and then sprinkle the garlic and the dill around, placing the peppers into available spaces between the pickles. But you do what you like. For this jar, I just kept staking them and adding more dill between the layers.
2. Mix the salt with water. I like to boil the water first and then add the salt. I use this hot/warm water to pour over the pickles. I think it helps the process start quicker, but I didn’t experiment with the cold water. You can certainly try this with cold water.
After a few days, place in the fridge and the pickles are ready to eat in about 5 days. At this time, they’ll be “half-pickled”, so I just keep them in the fridge or on the counter for another week. They’re perfect for my taste then, if they’re not all gone after “sampling”. 😉
Where I live, stew and chili season is quite a long one, from about October to about end of April or so. Not really knowing how to make this Georgian dish (ex-USSR Georgia, not southern US Georgia), I searched online and found a few recipes. I got the general idea, but not having an authentic recipe, I didn’t want to attempt it. But the pictures looked so good, that they got me thinking. With that as inspiration, I made a pretty good stew, if I do say so myself. This certainly hit the spot on a cold and rainy evening.
Chicken (I used 3 bone-in thighs and 4 legs; season with salt and pepper all over, even under the skin)
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 peeled tomatoes cut into rounds
4-5 potatoes (I use Yukon Gold)
2-3 red bell peppers cut into bite-sized pieces
2-3 tb of ketchup (or tomato paste)
Beef stock (about 3-3.5 cups total, depending on how much sauce you want and how thick you want it)
Olive oil, salt, pepper, ground cumin, ground chipotle (optional, dash), paprika (a dash), fresh dill
Chicken Stew Cooking
1. Saute the onion and when the onion starts to brown a little, add the garlic.
2. Brown the chicken. This won’t cook it, just make it look prettier.
3. Add the peppers and the peeled and sliced tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium. To peel tomatoes, place a small X on the bottom and pour boiling water over the tomatoes. Let them sit in the hot water for a few seconds. This will loosen the skin so you can peel it. Once peeled, slice in rounds.
4. Season everything (salt, freshly ground black pepper, ground cumin, chipotle, and paprika).
5. Add beef stock and ketchup (about 2 cups or so of stock, to start) and let come to a boil. Make sure the ketchup is well mixed and distributed in the pot.
6. Add the potatoes (I cut them up into bite-sized pieces). Let cook on low heat for about 20 minutes. Check the sauce. Add more stock and/or spices if you like. If you like things as they are, let cook another 20 minutes on low heat.
7. At the very end, add dill.
I served it over cilantro rice. The sauce was great with the rice, the chicken was so tender it was falling off the bone, the veggies and potatoes were good enough to eat on their own. Which I did the next day. YUM! Can’t wait to make this again.
Posted in Bell pepper, Chicken, Dinner, garlic, Potatoes, tomatoes
Tagged beef stock, chicken stew, gar, garlic, Healthy, olive oil, onion, Potatoes, red bell pepper
I didn’t grow up eating asparagus and it always looked a little scary in restaurants. You know the kind, an unnatural green, bizarely sagging, mushy spears. Yuck. Not knowing how to cook it, I’ve resisted it for a long time, but finally gave it a try. Turns out, I like it. A lot. I’ve roasted it a few times, but I was in an experimenting mood today. What you see is what I came up with.
1 lb asparagus
1-3 tb of olive oil,
1-2 tb of anchovy paste
3-5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
a pinch of chipotle pepper (optional)
1. Heat the minced garlic in the olive oil on low heat, until it’s fragrant.
2. Add the anchovy paste and try to dissolve it. It probably won’t dissolve completely at this point, and that’s OK. It will with the asparagus.
3. Add asparagus (and chipotle pepper, if using) and turn up the heat to high. Cook for a few minutes stirring all the time, until crisp-tender.
I served it with baked salmon. If you’re worried about tasting anchovies, don’t. All you taste is the smoky, velvety taste of something. Can’t quite put your finger on it, but definitely no fishy taste. And my choice of serving it with salmon was great. It worked out well.
I know what I’m having for lunch tomorrow. Who wouldn’t want this even as leftovers?!
Salmon and Asparagus
Shrimp and Pasta
It’s definitely been a while since I’ve posted a recipe. Not because I haven’t cooked, but because I’ve been so busy. But tonight, amazingly enough I had enough energy to go to the grocery store, get some groceries, and actually cook the food today. But like any busy woman, I want something quick, effortless, and most importantly, delicious. So here is what I came up with today.
Vegetables in the Pan
All ingredients in the pan
10 oz package of shredded carrots (I used about half)
8 oz sliced mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 red bell peppers (sliced)
rice pasta (gluten-free pasta; a handful or so)
asparagus (a handful or so)
olive oil (as needed)
1/4 cup or so of white wine
salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, chipotle powder
1. Heat olive oil in the bottom of a heavy pan. Once the oil is hot enough, drop in the veggies (though, you might want to drop in asparagus close to the end, so it’s not too mushy).
2. My package of this rice pasta indicated that it takes 5 minutes to cook, so I started the water water for it in a separate pot.
3. Season the shrimp before adding it to the pan. I seasoned the shrimp right in the collander where I defrosted them. For the seasoning, I used salt, freshly ground black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and chipotle pepper powder. All to taste, of course. Then, add to the pan.
4. Add the wine, close the lid, and let steam for about 5 minutes.
5. When the pasta is ready and shrimp is cooked, add the pasta to the pan and toss everything together.
Posted in Bell pepper, Dinner, garlic, Healthy, Mushrooms, pasta, Uncategorized, Veggies
Tagged Bell pepper, carrots, gluten-free pasta, Healthy, Quick and Easy, rice pasta, Shrimp
Chunky Pasta Sauce
I haven’t made anything pasta related in a while and figured it was time to get back to that. So today I decided to make pasta sauce. Additionally, I had a lot of vegetables in my fridge that I haven’t used up yet, so I figured it’s a perfect opportunity to use them. This worked out really well since I like a really chunky tomato sauce. And if you have kids, this is a great way to get them to eat vegetables. This recipe can also be vegetarian quite easily – just leave the meat out. With this recipe, use what ever veggies you like, in any quantity you like. Here is what I did.
We're cooking now!
Pasta Sauce Ingredients
Adding the meat
Ingredients: 1 lb of ground turkey
1 very large carrot (cut into half moons)
2 red bell peppers (diced)
1 large white onion (minced)
1 zucchini (cut into half moons)
1 summer squash (cut into half moons)
3.5 oz of mushrooms (that was the size of the package I had. Use more or less)
3-4 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
2 cans of tomatoes (I used 1 can of Red Gold roasted garlic and onion and 1 can of Red Gold basil, garlic, and oregano)
Roasted tomatoes (optional; I had some on hand so I used them)
Tomato paste (I used about 3 oz, half of a 6oz can of Red Gold tomato paste)
2-3 tb of olive oil
Olives (optional, but I had some so I used them; chopped, about 2 handfuls)
Paprika Salt, Pepper (freshly ground)
Flat leaf parsley (for garnish and for cooking, to taste)
6 bay leaves (3 for the sauce, 3 for the pasta)
See the parsley
All the ingredients cooking
Adding pasta to the sauce
1. Saute the onion for a few minutes and then add the garlic.
2. Add the carrots. Let cook for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the rest of the vegetables and salt & pepper. Let cook for a few minutes (I put the lid on and let the veggies steam a little).
4. If you are adding meat, do it at this stage. I pushed the veggies to the sides of the pan and added the meat into the middle so that it can brown. I also season the meat at this point. Cook the meat until it’s all browned and thoroughly cooked.
5. Add bay leaves and parsley. Mix everything together and taste seasoning. This is when I add more salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and anything else that strikes my fancy.
6. Add the tomato products (canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and roasted tomatoes if you have them).
7. Put the lid on and let cook over medium-low for about 10-15 minutes.
8. Add the pasta to the sauce (which has been cooking in a separate pot, according to the directions on the box.) I serve it with a little bit of cheese grated on top. I used a very mild goat’s cheese.
I know you can't resist this!
Posted in Bell pepper, Dinner, garlic, Healthy, Mushrooms, pasta, Quick and Easy, tomatoes, Turkey, Veggies
Tagged Bell pepper, carrots, flat leaf parsley, garlic, Healthy, Mushrooms, pasta sauce, summer squash, vegetables, zucchini