Monthly Archives: February 2013

White Bean Soup with Ham

HamBeanSoup

I have had this ham bone in my freezer since New Year’s Eve. I think it is time to use it finally. I also have a very busy day ahead with members of the family getting home at different times. I think it is time for a slow cooker soup that needs that ham bone. This soup can be salty if you are not careful. The lemon juice at the end brightens it up a bit. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil and fresh cracked black pepper over your bowl before you eat it for some additional flavor.

White Bean Soup with Ham

  • 4 (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large onion, small dice
  • 3 carrots, small dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 ham bone from half ham
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In slow cooker add beans, broth, onion, carrots, garlic, and rosemary.
  2. Add ham and bone.
  3. Add water to cover.
  4. Cook on low 8- 10 hours.
  5. Remove ham and bone and let cool.
  6. Skim any fat from top of soup.
  7. Scoop up 2 cups of soup.
  8. Process soup in food processor until smooth.
  9. Return to slow cooker and stir.
  10. Pick ham from bone and return to slow cooker.
  11. Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  12. Cook a little longer until heated through again.

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Pastrami and Swiss on Rye

pastrami1

pastrami2

Without a doubt, the best pastrami in Colorado can be found at the Bagel Deli. Don’t just take my word for it, this place was also featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. Whenever the family gets a craving for pastrami, I head up to the Bagel Deli to pick up some. We like to heat ours up in a skillet and melt some Swiss cheese on top, and then place it between two toasted and buttered pieces of Rye bread. Serve it with chips and a big dill pickle. How is that for a tasty and easy dinner?

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Zuppa Toscana

ZuppaToscana

It’s a cold and snowy day here in Colorado. Time for soup! This is a recipe inspired by Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. I thought the sliced potatoes were too large for your mouth and too fragile, so I decided to cube them like in more traditional potato soup. Also, I am not a big fan of kale, but I love spinach. So I took a cue from my recipe inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Asian Chicken Noodle Soup and ladled the soup on top of baby spinach handfuls already in the soup bowl. Serve with some crusty bread.

Zuppa Toscana

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 large diced white onion
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 medium Russet potatoes, medium dice
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cups kale, torn into bite size pieces

Instructions:

  1. Cut and roll Italian sausage into half inch meatballs.
  2. Sauté meatballs and crushed red pepper in a large pot.
  3. Drain excess fat and set aside while you prepare other ingredients.
  4. In the same pot, sauté bacon until crisp. Set aside.
  5. Add onions and cook until tender.
  6. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant.
  7. Add chicken broth and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
  8. Add the diced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
  9. Add the heavy cream and meatballs, and kale.
  10. Stir well and cook until thoroughly heated.
  11. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Spoon soup into bowls and top with bacon.

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Skillet Shepherd’s Pie

ShepherdsPie

We really like this quick and easy version of shepherd’s pie. One family member prefers it because they really hate mashed potatoes. The hash browns on top really work for them! I did not have frozen peas and carrots today, just frozen peas. So I diced some carrots and cooked them with the beef and onions and just added the peas at the end. Worked just fine.

Skillet Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups frozen peas and carrots mix, thawed

Instructions:

  1. Toss potatoes with 2 tablespoons butter, salt, and pepper in large bowl.
  2. Wrap tightly with plastic and microwave until potatoes are tender, 10 minutes.
  3. While potatoes are cooking, cook beef and onion in large skillet.
  4. Cook over medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink.
  5. Stir in thyme and flour and cook until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  6. Stir in broth and Worcestershire and cook until sauce is thickened, 8 minutes.
  7. Stir in pea and carrot medley and simmer until heated through, about 1 minute.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Scatter cooked potatoes over beef mixture and brush with remaining butter.
  10. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler.
  11. Broil until potatoes are golden brown.

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Pasta Pie

Here is something different to do with pasta, cheese, and meat sauce.

Pasta Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • butter
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 8 ounces coarsely grated mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until slightly underdone.
  2. Toss pasta with 1 tablespoon olive oil to coat.
  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add ground beef, cook, stirring occasionally until browned.
  5. Add garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper, cook 2 minutes more.
  6. Add crushed tomatoes; simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  7. Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese.
  8. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.
  9. Tightly pack pasta into pan, standing each piece on end.
  10. Spread meat sauce on top of pasta.
  11. Push the meat sauce into the pasta holes filling each one up.
  12. Place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  13. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is golden.
  14. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes.
  15. Run a knife around the edge to loosen and then unmold.
  16. Cut into wedges and serve with any remaining meat sauce you might have.

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Cucumber Cooler and Collins

Last week, we had dinner at the Bonefish Grill. One of their cocktails listed on their menu was a Fresh Cucumber Collins. We fell in love with its light fresh taste. The gin was listed as Hendrick’s Small Batch Gin. After having a very successful run with a bottle of Leopold Brothers Small Batch Gin and loving this refreshing Cucumber Collins, we decided to buy a bottle. After exploring Hendrick’s unusual and Monty Pythonesqe website, I found this cocktail recipe for the Cucumber Cooler. From the Cucumber Collins menu description, it looks like a very similar cocktail.  I would say they replaced the lemon juice for lime juice, and the mint leaves for basil leaves. Make both and see which you like best. Definitely pay the Hendrick’s Gin website a visit, it is highly entertaining.

Cucumber Cooler

  • 1½ ounce Hendrick’s Gin
  • ¾ ounce St. Germain
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup
  • soda water
  • 5 mint leaves
  1. Place all ingredients but soda water in a tall collins glass.
  2. Muddle gently.
  3. Add ice and top with soda water.
  4. Add a cucumber garnish.

Cucumber Collins

  • 1½ ounce Hendrick’s Gin
  • ¾ ounce St. Germain
  • ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup
  • soda water
  • 5 basil leaves
  1. Place all ingredients but soda water in a tall collins glass.
  2. Muddle gently.
  3. Add ice and top with soda water.
  4. Add a cucumber garnish.

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Simple Steak Diane

SteakDiane

In days of yore, this dish was prepared table side at fancy restaurants. When the brandy was added, it was often set afire for a showy effect. You would be hard pressed to find this dish on restaurant menus these days. I thought it might be a fun dish to prepare on Valentine’s Day.  Filet Mignon is always a lovely steak to eat and the ability to show your sweetheart the flames of your love is a nice effect. As long as your love does not extend to other parts of the kitchen.

Simple Steak Diane

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 (6-ounce) center cut beef tenderloin steaks
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup finely minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together broth, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and tomato paste; set aside.
  2. Rub salt and pepper on both sides of the steak.
  3. Let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Melt butter in a skillet set over medium-high heat.
  5. Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel.
  6. Sear and cook steaks on both sides until medium rare.
  7. Time will depend on thickness of steaks.
  8. When the steaks are done, move to a cutting board and tent with foil.
  9. While the meat is resting, sauté the shallots and mushrooms on medium-high heat, stirring once or twice.
  10. Add the brandy to deglaze the pan.
  11. Increase the heat and cook until the brandy is almost evaporated.
  12. Stir in the broth mixture and bring to a boil.
  13. Cook until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  14. Stir in the cream and cook for two more minutes.
  15. You can either leave the steaks whole, or slice to fan across the plate.
  16. Plate the steaks with your side of choice.
  17. Cover with sauce and garnish plate with parsley.

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