Beer Mac n Cheese

Last week, while perusing Pinterest, I spotted this picture:

It had the description: beer mac n cheese. I clicked and it took me to the blog, How Sweet it Is with the full recipe. The author compared the taste of it to beer and cheese soup and it looked nice and easy to make.

Now, I don’t love the typical mac n cheese. Cheese itself has never been one of my favorite foods, on its own. I like it on pizza and used in recipes, but eating it straight or a dish like mac n cheese has never really been my thing. But add in some beer and this is now a dish I could get along with!

I did adapt the recipe according to my tastes. Start the dish by cooking the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside. You can use whole wheat pasta in this recipe, it holds up to the cheese sauce well and makes the dish a bit healthier. While the pasta is cooking, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.

Once melted, add the diced onion and cook for about 5-7 minutes until translucent but not brown.

Add the flour and stir. Cook, stirring, until the mixture gets a nice golden color, about 2 minutes.

Add the milk, beer and cheeses, while stirring. Stir until the cheese is melted and the mixture thickens slightly. Add the paprika, nutmeg and pepper.

Pour the cheese over the noodles in a stir slightly.

Top with bread crumbs and some parmesan cheese and small pieces of butter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until the cheese is bubbling. Top with sliced fresh basil.

Serve with a side of arugula tossed with vinaigrette.

The mac n cheese tasted good. The consistency was great with the whole wheat pasta and I enjoyed the fresh basil however I think next time I will add Gruyere cheese instead of parmesan and use a darker beer. I only had Yeungling in on hand so that’s what I used this time and I would like liked more of a beer taste. The whole thing was good, I just found myself wanting stronger flavors. I can’t wait to make it again!

Here is the recipe:

Beer Mac n Cheese
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4-6
 

Ingredients
  • 2½ cups uncooked whole wheat elbow noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 8 ounces milk
  • 8 ounces beer
  • 8 ounces freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces freshly grated Gruyere cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 10 large basil leaves, chopped for garnish

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Prepare water for pasta and boil according to directions, shaving 1-2 minutes off of cooking time since pasta will continue to cook in the oven.
  3. Heat a saucepan over medium high heat and add butter. Once melted and sizzling, cook the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour to create a roux and cook until bubbly and golden in color, about 2 minutes. Add milk and beer into saucepan whisking constantly, then add cheeses and stir until melted. Turn heat down to medium and continue to stir, cooking for 5-6 minutes while mixture thickens. It will most likely NOT thicken like regular mac and cheese because of the beer, but you want it to thicken a little bit. Stir in pepper, paprika and nutmeg.
  4. Add noodles (once cooked and drained) to a casserole dish, then pour cheese over top, mixing gently to combine. Top with panko bread crumbs and an additional sprinkle of cheese if desired. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then top with fresh basil.

 

Macaroni and Goat Cheese with Rosemary

I saw this picture on Pinterest a few weeks ago:

Post image for Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese, and Rosemary

And if you’re anything like me, your first thoughts when seeing something like this are, “mmm, I want to make that.” I clicked on the picture and found it belonged to a blog called My Baking Addiction. That author got the recipe from famous chef, Michael Simon (he’s an Iron Chef and is now on the new talk show, The Chew.)

The recipe combines cream, goat cheese, garlic, chicken and rosemary into a creamy and delicious sauce. I’ve never been a big fan of mac n cheese, sorry folks, I just never liked it. Let me explain. I grew up not really liking cheese in general. I’m not sure why, but even today its not my favorite. I cannot sit and eat an entire cheese course nor do I enjoy a snack of cheese and crackers. For me, cheese needs to be in a dish or on a pizza. One of my brother’s favorite meals growing up was my mom’s macaroni and cheese, we ate it pretty often. My mom did the whole make the cheese sauce and bake it thing, it wasn’t Kraft, but I still didn’t enjoy it much. It was too bland and too much of the same flavor for me. Naturally, this twist on that dish intriqed me. The ingredients were simple and since the recipe didn’t take long to make, it looked perfect for a week night meal.

To start the recipe, combine the heavy cream, garlic and rosemary in a medium sauce pan and place over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Watch so it doesn’t boil over and keep it at a low temp so that its still simmering and reduces by half. The recipe says this shouldn’t take too long, for me, it took about 40 minutes to reduce properly; plan accordingly.

While the mixture is reducing, cook the pasta and shred the chicken.

Once reduced, stir the goat cheese into the cream mixture until smooth and thick.

Add the roasted chicken to the mixture.

Combine the mixture with the cooked pasta and top with some fresh rosemary.

The flavors are subtly delicious, but this dish is extremely rich.

Another tip is to make only half of the recipe depending on how many people you’re feeding. It doesn’t reheat well because of the cream sauce and you never eat as much as you think because the sauce is so rich.

This recipe was simple and delicious, a mac n cheese I could get used to!

Here’s the recipe that I got from My Baking Addiction (her blog is really nice, be sure and check it out!):

Macaroni and Goat Cheese with Rosemary
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 8
 

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound dried rigatoni
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 cups shredded roasted chicken
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Add the oil and rigatoni to the water and cook according to the directions on the package, 10-12 minutes.
  2. While you are waiting for the water to boil, pour the cream into a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the rosemary and garlic to the cream and bring it to a simmer – take care not to let it boil over. Allow the cream to reduce by about half.
  3. Stir in the goat cheese and chicken and continue cooking cooking it till the cream coats the back of a spoon.
  4. Thoroughly drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauce. Coat the pasta in the sauce and simmer over low heat for a few minutes. Serve hot.

Tomato Bisque

As the weather gets colder, I am always reminded of warm recipes that have been forgotten over the Summer months. This week I began to think about my recipe for tomato bisque and when Eric asked me to make it a few days ago I knew it was time to bring that recipe back into the rotation. I’m not a fan of regular tomato soup, I never have been but give me a bowl of tomato bisque and you may find my licking it clean so as not to waste any precious drop. I love dunking bread or sandwiches into tomato bisque and the way it really sticks to the sandwich, your spoon and even your stomach; it really warms you up and makes you feel content.

The recipe is straight forward but you will need a blender, food processor or immersion blender to make it. I used to use a blender to smooth everything together but last year Eric bought me an immersion blender for Christmas and that has revolutionized my bisque process. Now I have many fewer dishes to wash and the soup is creamy and delicious. If you make any sort of bisque often, I recommend the immersion blender, plus you can find them easily for $50 or less.

To start the bisque, you need some good fat; melt butter in a large stock pot and then fry up the diced bacon so that it releases all the fat. Scoop the bacon out with a slotted spoon once it begins to brown. Now you’ve got a flavorful base for the soup.

 

Throw the onions, garlic, carrot and celery into the pot and saute until everything is soft, 5-8 minutes.

 

Add in the flour and mix well. Fry the flowered mixture for another 3 minutes.

Add in the chicken stock and canned tomatoes and whisk until it begins to boil. Add in your herb bouquet. These are very simple to make, I use kitchen twine to tie up parsley, thyme and 2 bay leaves. *Tip: Sandwich the bay leaf in between the parsley and thyme, that helps the bay leaf stay in and not slip out.*

 

Simmer the whole pot on low heat for 30 minutes.

 

Take the soup off the heat and pull out the herb bouquet, throw it away. If you’re using an immersion blender, pour the soup into a mixing bowl to avoid damaging the stock pot. If you’re using a regular blender, you can ladle the soup in batches into the blender and blend until smooth. I used the immersion blender and blended the whole thing until it was smooth, then I poured it back into the pot and put it over medium heat.

 

Once boiling, whisk in the heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste. The soup will thicken after a minute or two.

 

Serve with a slice of crusty bread or my favorite, grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

 

I pulled this recipe from FoodNetwork.com:

Tomato Bisque
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6
 

Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced bacon (about ½ ounce)
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes (with liquid), roughly chopped
  • 3 parsley sprigs
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
  1. Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp and most of the fat has rendered, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.
  2. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the pot. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. When the soup base is cool, remove and discard the herb bundle. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Using a sieve over a large bowl, strain the tomato puree. Return the puree to the pot and reheat over medium heat.
  4. Whisk the heavy cream and salt into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Divide among warm soup bowls and serve immediately.

 

Crepes

As promised, way too long ago, I’m finally getting around to a post on our night of crepes. Crepes, in the off chance that you haven’t had the pleasure of eating them before, are French and look and feel like a tortilla but taste more similar to a pancake. They can be created in endless flavor possibilities both savory for a meal and sweet for dessert. I like to eat them when ever and where ever I possibly can.

I fell in love with crepes at the young age of 10. My awesome French teacher would actually bring in all the ingredients and allow us to make crepes in class one day each year. This was everyone’s favorite day and I took home a copy of the recipe and began making them at home for my family. Then, I went to Paris, in college, and fell in love all over again. There is something about an authentic French crepe made right before you on a the street that just makes it taste out of this world. I’ve never been able to replicate the crepes I’ve eaten in France but I do enjoy getting as close as I can to those epic crepes in my own kitchen.

One thing to make note of before making crepes is that while the batter is very simple to make, it must be refrigerated for at least 2 hours, if not overnight before you make the crepes. I prefere to refrigerate overnight because that makes the meal even faster to whip up.

For this particular crepe evening, I choose a new recipe from Julie Child an made 2 separate batters; one for savory crepes and one for sweet. Both were made in the blender and mixed up in about 15 minutes or less. Chill both overnight.

Crepes can be made on an official crepe pan or simply on a large non-stick fry pan. Since marrying Eric, we bought an official Le Creuset crepe pan and I must admit to you all that I’m terrible at making the crepes in this pan. I was decent at it in the frying pan but for whatever reason I can’t make it happen in this pan. Crepes are Eric’s territory and I’m happy to give up that job, he’s really good at it and I am in charge of filling the crepes with delcious insides.

I choose two savory crepes to make, mushroom and ham and cheese. The mushroom filling is very simple. Saute one diced onion in butter until soft.

Saute the mushrooms until they’re soft and have released their juices. Add 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Spinkle with 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, save the rest for when you put the crepe together. The mushroom filling is complete.

The ham and cheese crepe is exactly what you think it is. I buy ham from the deli, thinly sliced and place it inside the crepe with sharp cheddar cheese, grated. Nothing like easy and delicious.

Now for the tricky part, making the crepes. Warm your pan on med-low heat until hot. Brush the pan lightly with butter, remember to do this before each crepe you make. The recipes say to use 1/4 of a cup of batter, this was not working well for us so Eric upped it to 1/2  a cup. I guess we just couldn’t get them thin enough but they were still delicious.

As soon as your batter is on the pan, begin gently lifing the endges of the crepe with a long spatula, it will cook extremely quickly. One you’ve gotten the whole way around carefully flip the crepe.

Use your first 2-3 crepes as practice, don’t plan on being a pro with the first one, it take a while to get the hang of it; I mean I can’t even do it at all…But I’m sure you will be able to!

Once you flip the crepe fill it with the filling and extra cheese, then fold it over so the cheese melts. (also, please take note of the not so perfect crepe, give yourself a break when making them, we sure do! It’s supposed to be fun, not stressful.)

Wrap it up, there’s no wrong way, except to roll it that’s very un-French…

Eric made a little purse.

Voila!

When making sweet crepes, the same rules apply. Make the crepe, flip it and fill it with sweet goodness. Here are a few of my favorite sweet crepe fillings:

  • Nutella
  • Nutella and bananas
  • Nutella and strawberries
  • Nutella and anything
  • Jam
  • Cinnamon and powdered sugar
  • White sugar and fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Peaches and whipped cream
  • Plain powdered sugar (for the purist)

We all really enjoyed Julia Child’s sweet crepe recipe, perhaps it was the addition of orange liqueur…

Here are the crepe batter recipes from Julie Child:

Basic Savory Crepes

Makes 20 5-inch or 10 8-inch crepes
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cold milk
2/3 cup cold water
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for brushing on the pan

Prepare the batter: In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. (This allows trapped air bubbles to escape, producing light but evenly textured crepes.)

Cook the crepes: Heat a 5- to 8-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium-high until drops of water dropped onto it dance.

Brush the pan lightly with the additional melted butter.

Pour in 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter and tilt the pan in all directions to cover the bottom evenly.

Cook for about 1 minute, or until browned on the bottom. Turn and cook briefly on the other side.

Cool the crepes: Cool the finished crepe on a rack while repeating the process with remaining batter.

Presentation: When cooled, crepes can be stacked and either filled and served, or refrigerated (well covered) for 2 days — or frozen for several weeks.

Sweet Crepe Recipe

Batter for about 18 dessert crepes, 5-6 inches in diameter
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup cold water
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoon orange liqueur, rum or cognac
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (measure by sifting directly into dry-measure cups and leveling off)
5 Tb melted butter

Either whirl all ingredients at top speed in an electric blender for about 1 minute; or gradual work the liquids into the flour with an electric mixer or wooden spoon, beat in the dry ingredients, and strain through a fine sieve. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, allowing flour particles to swell and soften.

Summer BBQ

Back over the Fourth of July, we had a small BBQ with friends. It was a last minute decision and so we didn’t have as many people as we would have liked, but it was still a great day. I didn’t ask guests to bring much, drinks mostly, so that means I made everything myself. Lucky for me, one of those guests was my close friend and an incredibly talented photographer; check out her stuff on her website at www.kmphotographystudio.com. She brought along her camera and was able to, once again, make my food look even better than it really was. Thanks Kris!

Some of the recipes I’ve already posted about but here is a rundown of the menu along with beautiful photos and links to all the delicious recipes. Click on the names of the recipes to get the recipes.

Grilled Bread and Marinated Tomato Salad

Orzo with Grilled Shrimp, Summer Vegetables and Pesto Vinaigrette

Real Hamburgers

Chicken Kabobs
Click here to read that post.

Deviled Eggs with Candied Bacon
The filling was a little runny, but they tasted delicious!

Cherry Pie
Click here to read that post!


Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting
Click here to see this post!

I created a make-shift cupcake tower using my glass cake stand and a round glass vase turned over. It ended up looking pretty cool and notice the cute cupcake wrappers!

And to drink we sipped Blueberry Limoncello Coolers!

All the food tasted delicious, even my runny deviled eggs! My favorites were the tomato bread salad and the blueberry cupcakes with lemon frosting. Thanks again to KM Photography Studio for the incredible photos!

Anyone out there have a Summer BBQ or attend one this Summer that had a particular dish that rocked your world? (yep, I just used “rocked your world”, I’m a kid of the 90′s, so sue me!)

Simply Delicious – Poached Egg & Arugula

On Sunday I woke up and knew I wanted to make brunch. The problem was that our food supplies were pretty sparse and by sparse I mean no milk, 3 eggs, no juice and some bacon. As I sat contemplating my predicament and googled substituting water for milk when making waffles, it dawned on me that for brunch, anything goes! It didn’t need to be specifically a breakfast dish.

As I spyed some arugula I had picked up a day before (along with the bacon) at the farmers market I made the decision to go with a poached egg (come on, you know they are my favorite now) on top of some bacon and arugula.

It was so simply and so delicious! First, I fried up the bacon and then sliced it. Next, I washed the arugula and placed it into bowls and topped with the chopped bacon.

Poach your the egg and place on top of the arugula, sprinkle with salt and fresh black pepper. And voila!

 

Doesn’t it look beautiful?! And I love how the runny yolk acts like dressing. The dish also felt very healthy, even with the bacon…

Sorry for the short post today, I’m in my kitchen pitting 20 lbs of cherries:

 

This is by far the most cherries I’ve ever pitted and I’m not sure if I’ll do this again. Eric was an unstoppable force this past weekend at the cherry orchard. Tart cherry posts coming soon!

Herb and Cheese Soufflé

Tonight I made my very first soufflé. Soufflés have the stigma of being very difficult and tempermental and yes, they are tempermental, anything with egg whites is, but they are not really difficult. The whole soufflé took about 20 minutes for me to prep and 35 minutes in the oven to bake. Give yourself one hour and you will have a fabulous dinner or dessert!

I ate my first soufflé while studying abroad in Paris while I was in college. The family I lived with cooked dinner for us each night and this night they made an egg soufflé. It was light as air with a subtle egg flavor and I found myself wanting seconds.

My second soufflé experience was on my honeymoon in Hawaii. The restaurant we were eating at was known for its chocolate soufflé (the waitor even interrupted the meal to see if you planned to order it because it took 20 minutes to cook). I made us each get our own chocolate soufflé because I definitely was not sharing. It was heavenly!

All this to say that I love soufflé but never had a proper soufflé dish. In April, Eric bought me a beautiful soufflé dish, I think in hopes of getting some soufflé for himself. I knew I wanted to try a savory soufflé and found a recipe for an herb and goat cheese soufflé on Epicurious.com. This was just the sort of light dish I was hoping to make.

To begin, I chopped up all of my herbs and separated my eggs and egg whites. Once you begin making the soufflé you will need to access all your ingredients quickly, so make sure everything is ready to go and within reach.

Butter the bottom and sides of your soufflé dish and sprinkle with bit of fresh thyme.

Use a large saucepan and heat up the olive oil. Sauté the garlic and whisk in the flour. Whisk until the mixture begins to bubble. Add the milk and white wine and continue whisking until the mixture is thick and bubbling. Take the pan off the heat.

Mix together the egg yolks and salt in a separate small bowl and then add those into the saucepan mixture. Add the two cheeses to the saucepan. 

Fold in the cheeses until just combined. Set aside.

Use an electric mixer to mix the egg whites into stiff peaks, but not too much you don’t want the eggs to get dry.

Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the cheese mixture until just combined.

Fold the rest of the egg whites into the mixture.

Once combined, pour into the prepared soufflé dish and top with freshly ground black pepper.

Put into a 400 degree oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 375. Bake for 35 minutes until the top is golden and puffed up. It will look beautiful!

Serve immediately; if you wait too long, it will sink! I served mine with a side of ratatouille but it would also go well with a light side salad.

My first soufflé turned out light, airy and delicious. I’m already planning my next one…chocolate.

Here is the full recipe from Epicurious.com:

Ingredients

  • Minced fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup crumbled chilled soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) grated Gruyère cheese (about 2 ounces)

Preparation

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Generously butter one 10-cup soufflé dish or six 1 1/4-cup soufflé dishes; sprinkle with minced thyme to coat. (If using 1 1/4-cup dishes, place all 6 on rimmed baking sheet.) Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and minced garlic. Cook without browning until mixture begins to bubble, whisking constantly, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in whole milk, then white wine. Cook until smooth, thick and beginning to boil, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix egg yolks and salt in small bowl. Add egg yolk mixture all at once to sauce; whisk quickly to blend. Mix in 1 tablespoon basil, 1 tablespoon thyme and 1 teaspoon rosemary. Fold in cold goat cheese and Gruyère cheese (cheeses do not need to melt).

Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm soufflé base to lighten. Fold in remaining whites. Transfer soufflé mixture to prepared dish. Sprinkle with ground black pepper.

Place soufflé in oven; reduce heat to 375°F. Bake soufflé until puffed, golden and gently set in center, about 35 minutes for large soufflé (or 25 minutes for small soufflé). Using oven mitts, transfer soufflé to platter and serve immediately.

Spring Soup

Picture of Chicken and Egg Soup with Pastina Recipe

Last week I made a roast chicken and after pulling all the meat from the bird, I made some delicious chicken stock. I was going to make my favorite and standby chicken noodle soup with it but in light of the Spring weather decided to look for something new. I found a recipe for Chicken and Egg Soup with Pastina. I liked that this recipe was thickened with egg (something I’ve never done before) and that it included spinach, fresh dill, and lemon juice, all things that made me think Spring!

The recipe calls for you to use a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket but since I had already made stock and saved meat from the roast chicken I had already made the day before, I just used all of that. That also meant that I got to skip the step of boiling the canned broth with the chicken bones, my homeade stock already had a wonderful flavor.

For my soup I began by cooking the onion and olive oil over high heat until they’re soft (about 5 minutes), in a large pot.

Fill the pot with my homeade stock and a 3 cups of canned chicken stock. The recipe calls for water in the recipe but I used chicken broth/stock and would suggest you do the same. It gives the soup a lot more flavor. Add in your shredded chicken and add the juice from one lemon, be careful not to add the lemon seeds. Cover and bring the whole thing to a boil. Once boiling add the pasta. Use whatever small pasta you can find, mine ended up being small stars. Continue to boil over medium high heat until the pasta is cooked.

While the pasta is cooking, whisk the juice from the remaining lemon with the yolks and whole eggs in a medium bowl until they are frothy, or lighter and bubbly.

Once the pasta is cooked, move the pot off the heat, gradually add a ladle full of broth to the egg mixture and whisk together. Stir the warmed egg mixture into the soup and let thicken for about one minute. This process slowly heats the eggs and prevents them from scrambling. If you simply added all the eggs directly to the soup, the egg would scramble and separate.

Once the soup has thickened add the spinach and fresh dill and salt and pepper to taste. Top with a little feta cheese, if desired.

This soup was light and filling at the same time. I served mine with some warmed french bread and it was delicious. We had a lot leftover so I reheated some for dinner the following night and it was just as good. I was concerned the consistency wouldn’t be as creamy after refrigerating but nothing changed at all. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Here’s the recipe pulled from Foodnetwork.com:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 (2 1/2-to-3-pound) rotisserie chicken (on the bone)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup pastina (small pasta)
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups baby spinach or other baby greens
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • Crumbled feta cheese, for garnish (optional)

Directions

Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the onion, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken, the broth, 4 cups water and the juice of 1 lemon; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add the pastina and simmer until the pasta is cooked and the soup thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken; when cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bone and shred into bite-size pieces.

Remove the soup from the heat. Whisk the juice of the remaining lemon with the whole eggs and yolks in a medium bowl until frothy. Gradually whisk a ladleful of the hot soup into the egg mixture, then stir the warm egg mixture into the soup and return to medium-low heat. Cook until creamy, about 1 minute. Stir in the shredded chicken, spinach and dill, and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls; garnish with feta, if desired.

Chicken Parmesan Burgers

Chicken Parmesan Burgers

As the weather turns to Summer, we begin to eat more burgers. Last week I shared my turkey burger recipe with you and today I’d like to share another favorite burger, the Chicken Parmesan Burger. I like this recipe because its fast, 30 minutes or less on a weeknight, its cheap requiring only a few ingredients (most of which are in my pantry already and ground chicken is incredible inexpensive), its not your typical burger, OH and its delicious.

I found this recipe in Bon Apetit last year (I know I sound like a broken record with Bon Apetit) and stole the image above from Epicurious.com. I found a vendor selling beautiful basil at market last week and immediately wanted to make these burgers. I put a large basil leaf on each burger and they’re delicious.

To begin this recipe, first put some sauce and chopped up basil into a small saucepan over low heat on the stove. Put 1 1/2 tablespoons of the sauce from the pan into a bowl with the ground chicken and onion, salt and pepper. I like to use a fork to stir mine up because I hate the feeling of raw chicken on my hands but feel free to use your hands to mix everything up well.

Now the recipe calls for you to make your own breadcrumbs with french bread by toasting the bread, cutting it into cubes and putting it in the food processor with parmesan. Feel free to do that, but I prefer to use store bought breadcrumbs and mix them with the parmesan on a plate. It will taste exactly the same and save you time, plus you’ll have less dishes to wash. Mix 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese together.

Form the ground chicken mixture into patties (I usually end up with 4) about an inch or so thick and coat them in the breadcrumb mixture.

Heat up oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and cook the burgers for about 4 minutes on one side.

Flip the burgers over, place a slice of mozarella cheese on top and cover with a lid. Cook for about 4 more minutes. **Warning** Your kichen will get smoky so make sure your fan is on and a window is cracked.

Once the burger is cooked through and the cheese has melted, put your burger on a bun or slice of french bread. I have eaten it both ways but today I didn’t have french bread so I just used a burger roll. Top the burger with a whole basil leaf and some of the warmed marinara sauce on the stove. I also like to put a dollop of sauce on my plate to dip into.

You can pair the burger with a small side salad or even a tomato, mozarella salad. Here’s the recipe from Epicurious.com:

Ingredients

  • 10 1/2-inch-thick slices French bread (4 inches in diameter); 8 slices toasted, 2 slices (crust removed) diced
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons minced fresh basil, divided, plus 12 large basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup purchased refrigerated marinara sauce
  • 12 ounces ground chicken (white meat)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 4 large radicchio leaves
Preparation

Blend diced bread and Parmesan in processor to fine crumbs. Transfer to pie dish; mix in 2 tablespoons minced basil.

Mix marinara and 2 tablespoons basil in small saucepan. Transfer 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce to large bowl. Add chicken, 1/2 tablespoon oil, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle with pepper; blend. Shape into four 1/2-inch-thick patties; coat with crumbs. Heat sauce over low heat.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook patties until bottoms are crusty, 4 minutes. Turn patties over; top with cheese. Cook 3 minutes. Cover; cook until cooked through and cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

Assemble burgers with bread, radicchio, basil leaves, and warm marinara.

Turkey Burgers

I am by no means a vegetarian however in an effort to watch my cholesterol and to try and stay healthy, I only eat red meat about once every 1-2 weeks. This may also be a result of the fact that I was raised that way. My mom rarely made beef growing up and often substituted ground turkey for ground beef in weeknight meals.

Eric, on the other hand, grew up eating ground beef often. When we were first married and I made plain old turkey burgers instead of hamburgers he was less than enthusiastic about it. I try to make meals that we both enjoy and so I set out to reinvent the turkey burger into something we both liked. I knew that in order for it to be a successful recipe, I couldn’t try to make it taste like a hamburger; it would never come close, turkey will always taste like turkey. I had to work with the turkey and not against it.

We were in California visiting my brother a few years ago and he took us to a burger restaurant. I don’t remember the name but they gave each customer a sheet of paper with all the burger options and you could build your own. I noticed they had turkey burgers and began selecting a turkey burger that would remain a part of my recipe reperatoire for a long, long time. I chose a turkey burger, guyere cheese, apricot jam and craisins. It was delicious and a combination of ingredients that I had not even considered until they were placed in front of me.

Everything in this turkey burger works in harmony together. The gruyere compliments the apricot along with the turkey and the craisins bring out a sweetness when combined with everything else. After our trip to California, I began making these turkey burgers at home.

I start with ground turkey thigh or dark ground turkey meat. I like it because it has more fat and therefore more flavor and the fat keeps the turkey moist; the last thing anyone wants is a dry turkey burger. If you prefer, ground turkey breast works too, I’ve used it before successfully. In a medium size bowl, combine the turkey, olive oil, chopped flat leaf parsley and some dried marjoram.Form them into 1 inch thick patties with your hands, one pound of turkey makes 4 burgers for me.

Grill the burgers (if its Winter I use my George Foreman grill) until they’re just cooked through 7-10 minutes.

Once you flip the burgers, top with a slice of gruyere cheese so that it begins to melt. When you pull them off the grill, smear with apricot preserves and a handful of craisins. I like to eat mine on a potato roll but feel free to pair with any kind of roll you prefer. As a side dish, lately I’ve been making sweet potato fries and they compliment the burgers very well.

Eric has approved this turkey burger recipe and I am allowed to make it again! This is a great weeknight meal because it takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. Here’s the recipe:

Turkey Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey thigh
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 tblsp. flat leaf italian parsley, chopped
  • 4 slices of Gruyere cheese
  • Apricot preserves
  • 1 cup craisins

Preparation:

Combine turkey, marjoram and parsley in medium bowl and form into 1/4 pound patties, 1 inch or so thick. Grill over medium high heat until cooked through, 7-10 minutes. While grilling, top each pattie with slice of Gryuere cheese so it begins to melt. Take off grill and place on your favorite roll. Smear with apricot preserves and top with a handfull of craisins. Enjoy!