Chicken, Scallion & Mushroom Soup

Also known as a change-of-weather soup…I always have a hard time accepting the seasons changing and I ended up getting a change-of-weather cold and for this, I need a remedy and a steaming bowl of soup always soothes the soul…Enjoy!

  • 2 drumsticks
  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 2 chicken wings with breast meat
  • 1 pound beef neck bones
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried mushrooms
  • 7 garlic cloves, halved or quartered
  • 2 beef bouillion cubes
  • water
  • black pepper
  • sea salt

In a 5 1/2 quart Dutch oven, add in the chicken parts and beef, top with water leaving about an inch from the top of the pot. Season with a little salt, cover and bring to a boil, on high heat. Once the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat to the lowest setting, add in the mushrooms and 1 of the beef bouillion cubes. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. removing any scum that rises to the top. Add in the scallions, garlic and the last bouillion cube, simmer on low for an additional 30 minutes. Season with black pepper and any salt if needed. Serves 4-6.

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Tomato & Chickpea Salad

The end of summer always makes me sad and I try to let it linger as long as I can, walking past the pile of pumpkins as quickly as I can. And I don’t dare give the mums a second glance. I’m always in denial this time of year. The scent of cinnamon pine cones are inviting but I press onto the pile of end-of-summer tomatoes; slightly green and cracked. It brings me to a happy place, letting summer smile a little longer. The best part of this salad is its’ ease; no cooking required. You can serve this with grilled chicken or fish for a main meal or with a green salad on the side for a light lunch or dinner. Enjoy!

  • A couple of handfuls of tomatoes, roughly chopped to the size of the chickpeas
  • 1 1lb & 13oz. can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 4 kirby cucumbers peeled, quartered and sliced
  • 1/3 cup Castelvetrano olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon preserved Meyer lemon
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • sea salt if needed

Combine all of the ingredients and serve at room temperature. The amount of tomatoes in this recipe is up to you but with juicy, ripe tomatoes, the more the better. Serves about 4-6.

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Quick & Easy Mussels Marinara

So I’ve been low-carbing it. And I’m really happy with the results, a whole 6 pounds in a week. It’s a great start and I’m motivated to keep on the low-carb bandwagon but I’m super grouchy and bored already. Maybe I have no imagination but a strange thing has happened, I’ve also lost my appetite, which is a blessing. Trust me, it was ravenous, practically all the time. But how many eggs can a girl eat? And unlike other diets, I have to be in the mood for something, otherwise it repulses me? Strange huh? This is such a new feeling for me. Like I’m not hungry? Huh? I was born hungry. I remember when my girlfriends would say they weren’t hungry. It was so foreign for me. Not hungry? Is that even possible? But now I finally understand, many years later. And it’s a good/vacant/boring/strange feeling for me. Food has been a large part of my life, so I’m adjusting. This is a recipe for a low-carb mussels marinara. Not using too little or too much sauce is key. Tasty and delicious, whether you are low-carbing it or not. Enjoy and happy weekend!

  • 2 pound bag fresh mussels, cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup good quality marinara sauce

In a large Dutch oven, combine the butter and marinara sauce until bubbling on low heat. Add in all of the mussels and give it a good stir. Cover and increase the heat to medium, you want the sauce to be bubbling on the bottom. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the mussels open up. I usually start pulling them out once about half are opened up and by the time the first bowl is filled, the rest have opened up, ready for the second bowl. Serves about 2 as a main dish or 4 as an appetizer.

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Grilled Whiting with Fennel & Pomegranate Seeds

So I’ve been trying to eat more healthy and I made this over the weekend and it was so good. And really nice for company, at the same time. It’s a fun yet rustic dish. Serve with the sauteed fennel on the side along with a whole pomegranate broken up so everyone can top their fennel as they like. Serve with a green salad topped with a little goat cheese and black olives to complete the meal. Enjoy!

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  • 4 whole whiting, the insides cleaned
  • 1 whole fennel, halved, quartered and thinly sliced
  • a generous tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 1 pomegranate, broken up
  • olive oil
  • sea salt

Start off by oiling and salting the fish and place in a fish grilling grate. Heat the grill to about 450 degrees. Once at the ideal temperature, grill for about ten minutes per each side. While the fish is grilling, make your side of fennel and pomegranate seeds. Melt the butter in a pan and add in the fennel, lightly salt and allow the fennel to lightly brown. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Set aside. Shake out some pomegranate seeds and set aside in a small bowl for your guests that aren’t in the mood for digging out their own seeds. Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as an appetizer.

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Simple Beef & Mushroom Stew

Simple beef and mushroom stew, that doesn’t taste so simple. The secret is a Danish seasoning called Gehakt that elevates every savory meal to a new level. (I love the smell, so perfectly spicy and warm. It’s perfect to compliment almost any dish this time of year.) Don’t worry if you don’t have it, just add a pinch each of ginger, mace and nutmeg; taste along the way and adjust the flavor as needed. Serve with mashed cauliflower for a special dish on a weekday. Enjoy.

  • 1 pound stewing beef, cubed if not already
  • 1 8 oz. container button mushrooms, halved
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 Campari tomatoes, quartered and halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • a generous sprinkling of Gehakt or pinches of ginger, mace and nutmeg
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper

In a large Dutch oven, combine the butter, oil and onions. Let them sweat on low heat until translucent. Pull them towards one side of the pot and add in the beef cubes. Let the beef cubes lightly brown on one side and then give them a good toss. Next, add in the mushrooms, tomatoes and seasonings and give the pot a good stir. Cover and let it simmer on low heat for one hour, stirring occasionally.  You’ll see the tomato skins separate, just pull them out with a fork and discard. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Serves 4.

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Beef, Yucca and Sweet Potato Stew

It’s that time of year where the chill is beginning to last a little longer and a big pot stewing away on the stove is just what’s needed. This stew is a little sweet, a little spicy, a little savory and full of flavor. Enjoy over rice, barley, orzo or grits. Serve in vintage gravy pots, while the sun is still out for a rustic, autumn meal outdoors. Enjoy and happy weekend!

  • about 1 pound of beef rib bones
  • about 2 pounds of yucca
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 68 ounces water (8 & 1/2 cups)
  • 1 star of anise
  • fresh grating of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tablespoon good quality, apple balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

First cut the yucca into larger yet manageable pieces, so that you can easily remove the outer skin and discard. Usually they are coated with wax and if you look carefully there is a thin layer under that wax that is fairly easy to remove with a paring knife. Be careful. Once the outer layer is removed, cut into chunks. Use a good knife and be extra careful. Combine the beef, yucca chunks, star of anise, water and sea salt in a large Dutch oven. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat to the lowest setting and simmer for half an hour. (Remove any film that rises to the top of the surface along the way.) Add in the sweet potato and simmer for an additional 2 hours. Remove the beef bone and allow to cool. In the meantime, add in the Sriracha sauce, nutmeg and black pepper. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Once the bone is cool enough to handle, remove the meat and break it up, using a fork. Discard the bone and add in the beef to the stew along with the vinegar. Heat long enough so the meat is warmed through. Serves about 6. Great as leftovers.

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Creamy Breakfast Millet

I’m not much of a breakfast person, for the most part a good coffee is all I need but when the weekend rolls around, especially Sunday, I love a good breakfast. I love the buttery over easy eggs, the crisp bacon and grits on the side brings it all together. But for sweet breakfast mornings, a bowl of creamy millet is a nice treat. A little tangy, sweet and it’s a great start to the day! Enjoy!

  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 2 cups water
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1-2 oz. creamy goat cheese
  • small handful of raw pistachios, roughly chopped
  • honey for drizzling
  • mint for garnish

In a heavy bottomed bowl, bring the water to a boil and add in the millet and a little sea salt, cover, lower the heat to the lowest setting and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until desired tenderness, stirring often. Drain and add in the butter and goat cheese, stir well until well combined. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Divide among two bowls and drizzle with honey and sprinkle with pistachios. Garnish with fresh mint leaves. (If you are a mint lover, you can always finely mince and add in with the goat cheese.) Serves 2.

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Sunflower Seed & Honey Spread

I wasn’t hungry today, which is, I would say close to a miracle. A miraculous event occurred, my first meal of the day was at three in the afternoon and it was a nibbling of  this sunflower and honey spread with apple slices. Oh so good, a little too sweet but I enjoyed it. (Add in the honey a little at a time, until you have the desired sweetness.) Make it and share it with someone you love. Happy happy weekend!

  • 6 oz. raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
  • 2 heaping tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • sea salt

I’m not going to recommend using the immersion hand blender, because now I don’t think I have one; go with a blender. First blend the sunflower seeds, adding in a little at a time, until they are pretty smooth. Next, add in the rest of the ingredients. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Makes about a cup or so.

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Periwinkles with Butter & Garlic

Awhile back, I got to experience periwinkles. It happened out of sheer curiosity, which is the best way to create recipes and they were delicious. They aren’t for everyone; it’s not everyone’s dream dinner to go digging into these little shells but it sure was good. And if I ever did happen to run into a bunch again, I will surely bring home a bag for dinner. If you do see them at the fish market, don’t be turned off, as they are a little muddy and that could make you look the other way but stay with me, with a little butter and garlic, everything can be transformed into a delicious and in this case a little more adventurous dinner. And the theory that when you eat slow, you get filled up faster, is at play here, as you have no choice but to pick them out with a straight pin. There is a little scale of a door to get into the delicateness inside, so it’s a little bit of a different way to get into your dinner. This is nice to share with someone you are close to, as it’s a little messy but fun! Enjoy!

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  • a cup and a half of fresh periwinkles
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon Moscato wine
  • some fresh parsley, minced

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Step one is to rinse, rinse and rinse your periwinkles, until the water is clear and they are clean of mud. In a heavy bottomed pot, combine the butter, olive oil and garlic on low heat and saute, watching closely so the garlic does not brown; stirring often. Add in the periwinkles, arranging them so they fit in one layer. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add in the wine and parsley and cook for another 5 minutes. Give it a try, the little “doors” should come off fairly easily and then you know your periwinkles are done. Serves 2.

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Spanish Style Chicken & Beans

Ah…a nice soupy-stew with warm flavors of saffron, garlic and lots of Manzilla olives, nice and salty, lets summer linger on a little longer. This is a flavorful pot of beans to have on the stove to enjoy throughout the weekend. It’s great served piping hot for those cool summer evenings and nice at room temperature for those hot afternoons, especially when thickened a bit. Serve with a full bodied Spanish olive oil to drizzle over your chicken and beans and a bowl of chopped olives and capers, so everyone can top their bowls as they like. Enjoy!

  • 1/2 pound Great Northern Beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 whole chicken breast, bone in, skin on, cut into pieces
  • 1 medium size Russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • a few dashes of piri piri hot sauce
  • 4 cups of water
  • generous pinch saffron
  • generous pinch epazote
  • generous pinch ground annatto
  • handful of Manzanilla olives, sliced or halved
  • a few capers
  • sea salt

Heat up the olive oil in a large Dutch oven, until sizzling hot. Season the chicken with sea salt and add to the pot, being careful, as the oil can splatter. Turn the chicken pieces so they lightly brown. Add in the garlic and shallot, giving it a good stir so they turn translucent. It should only take a few minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients, except for the olives, capers and sea salt and cover. On high heat, bring up to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat to a low setting and allow to simmer for about an hour and a half, until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. If you would like your soup a little thicker, remove the lid and increase the heat, until it thickens. Add in the olives and capers until warmed through. Adjust the seasoning, depending on the saltiness of the olives and capers. Serves 4. Double the recipe if using a pound of beans.

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