Chicken, Arugula & Avocado Soup

Tis the month to be cleansing, clearing and to be taking good care of yourself, to guard yourself from the dreaded cold. It has hit this household and it’s not a pretty picture. It wipes you out and leaves you tired and the thought of doing anything more than getting out of bed is exhausting. The thought of eating, as in chewing got me tired and so this soup came about. I love a good chicken soup from scratch but when you’re not feeling great, the thought of cooking from scratch can wipe you out, so use a good chicken stock and this soup is on the table in a matter of minutes. You want to take it easy when you’re sick and save all your energy for healing. Enjoy and stay well!

  • 32 oz. organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • 5 oz. container baby arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper

In a Dutch oven, heat up the broth until it begins to boil, drop in the arugula, until wilted, about a minute or so. Take your pot off the stove and add in the avocado, roughly chopped and with an immersion hand blender, blend until combined. If you like, you can heat it up so the it’s pipping hot. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.

Warm Brown Rice Salad

My mom used to throw cold leftover white rice into salads, like “side salad” type of salads with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions with sweet and tangy French dressing. Those salads would be main meals in the summertime. I loved them as a kid! They were the best on a hot summer day. But it’s December and it’s cold out, yet I’m craving a salad. And I thought that warm brown rice with bitter arugula, walnuts and tart cranberries would make a nice salad. It was so good! So quick to make, surprisingly satisfying and healthy too. Enjoy!

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice 
  • 2 cups tightly packed baby arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 heaping teaspoon dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar with pear pulp (found in the vinegar aisle)
  • 2 teaspoons roasted walnut oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh orange, clementine or tangerine juice
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

To your cooked rice, add in the arugula, walnut pieces and cranberries. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, orange juice. Season with sea salt and ground pepper. Pour over the salad and combine well. Serve nice and warm. Serves 2.

Roasted Beef Bone Marrow Platter

Halloween skeletons sway from the trees, as October winds pick up and bring leaves with its whisper. Skeleton arms creepingly emerge from front yards alongside grave stones, as flickering lights complete the eerie scene. Halloween touches upon the darkside, as we embrace it and make peace with it. When I was little, my mom would make chicken soup and sometimes add marrow bones to enrich the flavor. And when the soup was done and I saw some empty marrow bones in my mom’s bowl, my mom had to show me that the marrow had fallen out and were swimming in the bottom of the soup pot. (It didn’t dissolve into the soup, like I had thought, lol and I was relieved!) After much reassurance, lol, I ate my soup and it was so good! It took me a long time to appreciate marrow bones, as my husband reintroduced me to them. In the cooler, rainy summer days, he made a broth with the bones and spread the soft buttery marrow on toast and I was a little hooked! Later tossing them on the grill, and now with the cooler weather upon us, tossing them in the oven. This is an appetizer that is indulgent and all you need to be satisfied is a little bit on toast. It’s delicious with the salty olive tapanade. If you want more of a pungent flavor add a thin slice of blue cheese on top. And if you want pure indulgence, make a little well in your marrow and pour in a little cream…My favorite is the marrow spread on toast and topped with an arugula leaf, just delicious! And so, as we make peace with the darkside of the season, embracing the ghosts, ghouls and the supernatural, I’ve made peace with what I thought was from the darkside that was lurking in the chicken soup of my childhood…those marrow bones.

  • 1 & 1/2 pounds beef marrow bones
  • 1 ciabatta roll, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup black Cerignola olives
  • 1/4 cup oil cured olives
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed baby arugula leaves plus more for garnish
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 smashed garlic clove
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • ground black pepper
  • sea salt, if needed
  • 1 teaspoon pear infused balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • slice of blue cheese *optional
  • heavy cream *optional
Rub the garlic on both sides of the bread slices and lightly spritz with cooking spray, place on a cookie sheet. Place in a 425 degree pre-heated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Take your cookie sheet out, flip the slices over, spritzing the other side. Bake for 3-5 minutes, until as brown as you like. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Wash your bones well and place them in a heavy bottomed pan or glass pie dish and place in the oven for 35 minutes, roasting them uncovered. While your bones roast, make your olive and arugula tapanade. Remove the pits from the olives. Roughly chop the oil cured olives and finely mince the Cerignola olives. If you can’t find the Cerignola olives, use any mild flavored black olive. In a bowl, combine half of the minced Cerignola olives with the oil cured and blend with a hand immersion blender or regular blender to make a paste. Combine that with the remaining Cerignola olives. Finely mince the arugula and add to the olives along with the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic powder and ground black pepper. Season with sea salt, if needed. Once your bone marrow is done, (they should be brown and bubbly) make your platter. Arrange the marrow bones, olive tapanade, toast, cream, blue cheese and arugula leaves so everyone can help themselves. Serve nice and hot. Serves 4.

Spaghetti with Arugula & Potato Pesto

Arugula, one of my favorite bitter greens. I love simple arugula salads with sweet tomatoes, a few oil cured olives, a little ricotta cheese, topped with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh ground pepper. I even like it with my turkey burger. But there are times that arugulas’ strong bite can be overwhelming and I want a more of a mellowed out arugula flavor and that’s where this arugula and potato ”pesto” comes in. This is great to use up any arugula that you may have lingering in that rectangular plastic container. The potato takes the arugulas’ edge off and gives the pasta a nice creaminess, without heavy cream. This is a quick meal to make on a hurried night. This makes 3 servings.

  • 1/2 pound spaghetti cooked al dente
  • 1 medium size potato, peeled, quartered and cooked until fork tender
  • 1 cup tightly packed baby arugula, trimmed of stems
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 heaping teaspoon raw walnuts plus more for garnish
  • 1 heaping tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh ground pepper
  • sea salt

In a deep bowl, combine the arugula, parsley, garlic, walnuts, cheese and olive oil with a hand blender. Season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste. Add more garlic if you like. Once your potato is cooked though, break it up with a fork until the potato is about pea size. I let it cool a little before I broke it up. Lightly toss the spaghetti, pesto and potato together until well combined. The potato, once tossed with the spaghetti and pesto will break down a little. I didn’t toss it too much because I kinda enjoy the little bits of potato swirled around with the spaghetti especially when combined with the walnuts pieces and grated cheese. Enjoy!

Arugula & Eggplant Antipasto

This is a quick antipasto to put together that doesn’t require too much time, as long as you have the eggplant made ahead of time. I happened to have some eggplant slices in the fridge and the arugula and ricotta cheese were calling the eggplants’ name. It’s a rustic dish that gets your appetite revved up, while taming it. Serve with grilled chunks of good bread on the side. Just delicious!

  • arugula
  • part-skim ricotta cheese
  • grilled eggplant slices, cut into squares
  • a few slices salami, cut into strips
  • a few sun dried tomatoes, ripped up or cut into strips 
  • a few basil leaves, ripped up or cut into strips
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • fresh ground pepper

The nice thing about this recipe is you can adjust it to your liking. Love salami? Add some more to your platter! To get your antipasto started, layer the arugula down on your platter, followed by the eggplant. If you need a good recipe for your eggplant steaks, follow the directions for “Grilled Eggplant Steak with Cannellini Bean Salad.” (July 25th’s post.) Dollop your ricotta cheese over the eggplant. Scatter some salami strips and sun dried tomato strips over the ricotta cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and top with the ripped basil leaves and fresh ground pepper. Enjoy!

Pistachio & Panko Chicken over Baby Arugula

Summer and salads go together. This is a nice salad to pack for a picnic in the park. Just pack everything separately and pour the dressing over the greens when it’s time to eat. Then lay back on your blanket with your honey and watch the clouds as the pass by. Happy picnicking! :)

  • 2 chicken breasts halves, pounded thinner
  • 2 tablespoons pistachio nuts, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup Italian style panko bread crumbs
  • 2 heaping teaspoons minced fresh parsley
  • canola oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 7 cups tightly packed baby arugula, ripped up
  • 2 oz. herbed goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic pear infused vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon all natural raspberry preserves
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • nasturtium flowers for garnish

Heat the canola oil, (enough to fry the chicken breasts in) in a non-stick pan. Combine the panko bread crumbs, pistachio nuts and the parsley. Dip your chicken breasts into the egg then into the breading. Really pack on the breading with your fingertips. Once your oil is nice and hot on low heat, you can put in your chicken breasts. I test the hotness of the oil by throwing in a few panko crumbs, once it sizzles your oil is ready for the chicken. Fry the chicken for ten minutes each side and drain on paper towels. Combine the olive oil, shallots, vinegar and the raspberry preserves and toss with the arugula. Season with salt and pepper if needed. When you are ready to make your salad, serve the chicken with the arugula and crumble the goat cheese on top along with a pretty nasturtium flower. To keep your chicken crisp for your picnic, let your chicken cool completely, then wrap in paper towels and place in a paper bag. This serves 2. Enjoy!