Parsnip Soup with Corned Beef and Cabbage

 

Soup is a great way to ease into lighter eating but not give up the warmth we still crave.  This recipe uses classic ingredients of a St. Patrick’s Day meal.  The corned beef can be purchased from the deli, just ask for it unsliced in a single chunk.

1 pound parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 cups onions, chopped (I use frozen)

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups of chicken stock (more for thinning if necessary)

2 bay leaves

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

¼ pound corned beef, cut into matchstick pieces

3 large savoy cabbage leaves, center rib removed and shredded

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Heat a stock pot to medium high heat and add the onions and the oil
  • Saute until the onions become translucent and just starting to lightly brown
  • Add the parsnips, chicken stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil
  • Simmer until the parsnips are very tender, about 10 minutes
  • Remove the bay leaves and with an emersion blender, blend the soup until it is smooth.  Be very careful blending hot liquids.
  • Add the cream and more broth if needed for desired thickness
  • Heat a saute pan to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the corned beef
  • Saute until lightly browned
  • Divide the soup among the bowls and top with the cabbage corned beef combination
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Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Only days away from the official start to spring and we are having our first snow day, and it wouldn’t be  complete unless it involved a batch of cookies.  The combination of coco powder and bittersweet chocolate chips will satisfy any chocolate fix.   My mother used to make these with walnuts instead of the chocolate chips, which are also delicious.

3 cups powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large egg whites

1 large egg

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, sift together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and cornstarch.
  • Add in egg whites, egg and vanilla extract and mix until well combined, at first it looks like it will not come together, and then it will smooth out.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Drop dough by the heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart – about 6 per cookie sheet.
  • Bake in preheated oven until cookies are puffed and crackled, about 14 minutes
  • Allow to cool on baking sheet 5 – 10 minutes then cool on a wire rack, and repeat for the second batch and dust them with additional powdered sugar
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature
  • Yield: 18-20 cookies

The beauty of a late snow storm

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Chicken Hotdish with Tater Tots

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Just in time for Super Bowl!  The term Hotdish originates from the Upper Midwest  –  describing a casserole containing meat, frozen vegetables and bound together with canned soup, popular at church suppers and family potluck gatherings.   This recipe’s “soup” is a white sauce flavored with chicken stock base such as Better Than Bouillon and fresh thyme.  I’ve heard cream of mushroom soup referred to as “Presbyterian glue”, I just love that.

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup chopped frozen onions

1 cup peeled and diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

1 cup frozen baby peas

32 ounce bag Tater Tots (there will be leftovers)

 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 tablespoons potato starch

3 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon chicken stock base

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Heat a large saute pan to medium high heat and add the vegetable oil, chicken thighs, onions, carrots and celery and stir from time to time until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through – about 10-12 minutes and set aside
  • In a small bowl mix the potato starch and a bit of the milk and stir until smooth
  • In a medium sauce pan add the butter and melt
  • Add the milk, potato starch mixture, chicken stock base and fresh thyme, whisk and bring to a boil, then reduce and continue to whisk until thick – 2-3 minutes
  • Pour the mixture over the chicken mixture and add the peas, mix until well combined
  • Pour into a greased 9X13 pan
  • Line the top with Tater Tots
  • Bake for about 30 minutes or until the Tater Tots are browned and the sides of the casserole dish are bubbly

 

 

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Apple Crisp

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For all of you who haven’t mastered perfect pie crust, this recipe is for you – the topping can be made well ahead, so keep an extra batch in refrigerator.  You will be happy to have it on hand.

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup butter, cut into small pieces

½ cup flour (can substitute equal amount of a gluten free flour mix)

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

8 -9 large apples – Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, McIntosh or any combination – peeled cored and sliced

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix all the topping ingredients in a bowl, working the bits of butter in until well incorporated
  • Place the apples in a 9X13 glass baking dish and top with the oatmeal mixture and spread evenly
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is brown and the sides are bubbly
  • Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream if desired
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Pecan Dill Chicken Salad

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We had Sunday family lunch with our cousin.  She brought out Auntie, who is in her mid-nineties, sharp as a tack and always up for an adventure.   We set the table, shared a glass of wine and reminisced about beloved family members now gone.  I served a simple butternut squash soup, some lightly dressed tomatoes and avocado and toasted brioche bread – apple crisp for dessert.  It was the most civilized meal I have had in ages.

Serves 6

1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken, bones and skin removed, diced into bite size pieces

1 cup red seedless grapes, cut in half

1 cup diced celery

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

1/2 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise – or more to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

butter lettuce to serve

  • Combine all of the above ingredients and chill.
  • Line the plate with butter lettuce and place a scoop of chicken salad on top, garnish will additional dill
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