Month: March 2014

Soup Days

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You know there are certain days that call for soup, and here lately in the Bluegrass State we have had a few of those days, more than I would like. I usually sit down every week and plan the meals for Handsome and I for the following week and there are two factors that determine what meals we will have: 1-what is on sale at the grocery…duh!…and 2-what is the weather going to be like. For instance, if its going to be in the 60s and sunny then we do a lot of grilling, but if it is going to be in the 30s and snowing then we cook more inside the house. However, for you that do not know this, Kentucky weather is very UNPREDICTABLE…seriously, today it is 30 degrees and snowing and by Friday it is supposed to be 60 degrees and raining!!! – CRAZY! I know!  So this past weekend it was cloudy, rainy and cold, and I thought what is a better way to warm up, than with a bowl of soup. So I found a new recipe that I think you all are going to love. It is a white bean and kale soup recipe and it is very healthy and can even be tweaked a little and turned into a vegetarian soup as well. It is not like any other soup I have ever made, it is a very light and clean soup. So this past Sunday my family and I got together and watched the UK game…and yes we beat Wichita State!!! Go C-A-T-S! CATS! CATS! CATS! Sorry, I had to do it! So the soup was a hit and the Cats advanced to the Sweet Sixteen….it was a good day!!

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White Bean & Kale Soup

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White Bean & Kale Soup
White Bean & Kale Soup

 

 Ingredients
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1-2 pieces of country ham, shredded (you could also use a couple pieces of bacon, just omit the olive oil)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3-15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 large bunch of kale, chopped or torn
2 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Directions

In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add ham, onion, celery, carrot, and bay leaf, sauté until the onions are softened, about 4-5 minutes or so.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute or so.

Add water and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.

Add the beans and kale, reduce to simmer, stirring frequently, until completely heated through and the kale is wilted, about 10-15 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Adapted from:
http://www.thecurvycarrot.com/2012/10/17/white-bean-and-kale-soup/#.USv2TU8Y5o8.pinterest

Little Italian

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I love when you’re cooking and all the wonderful aromas fill your house and give you a sense of home. I have a comforting feeling all the time when I’m cooking…cooking to me is relaxing and yet creative. I love cooking comfort food, but I especially enjoy cooking Italian foods. There is something about pasta and bread and garlic that gives you a full and satisfying feeling!! So over the weekend I tried out some new recipes, Minestrone Soup and Chicken & Spinach Lasagna. They were amazing!!! Handsome loved the Chicken & Spinach Lasagna….I was completely surprised…but how can you not love pasta, cheese, chicken and spinach?!?!? However, he did not care for the Minestrone Soup…he’s more of a chili guy! 🙂 I served garlic toast with the lasagna and crusty bread with the soup. So get to cooking and feel your home with the aromas you love! I hope you enjoy!!!

Minestrone Soup

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Minestrone Soup
Minestrone Soup

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1/3 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
2 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of mini penne pasta (you can use any mini pasta)
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds.

Stir in the green beans, dried oregano and basil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook 5 more minutes.

Add the crushed tomatoes and the chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 20 minutes.

Boil mini pasta in separate pan according to cooking instructions on box, drain and set aside.

Stir in the kidney beans and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Season with salt. Ladle into bowls and top with the parmesan.

Adapted from:
http://hmjg.com/minestrone-soup-recipe/
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/winter-minestrone-recipe2/index.html

Chicken & Spinach Lasagna

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Chicken & Spinach Lasagna
Chicken & Spinach Lasagna

Ingredients

12 whole Lasagna Noodles (oven-ready)
1 stick of butter
1 whole Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced
½ cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Chicken Broth
1-½ cup Milk
4 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided, plus additional 1/4 cup for topping (optional)
1 teaspoon Dried Basil
1 teaspoon of dried Oregano
½ teaspoons Ground Pepper
15 oz. container of Ricotta Cheese
2 cups cooked, shredded Chicken
1 10 oz. package Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed and drained

Directions

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the butter until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in flour and salt; simmer until bubbly.

Mix in the broth and milk, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season with basil, oregano and ground black pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

Spread 1/3 of the sauce mixture on the bottom of the 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer with 4 of the noodles (they may overlap), then  all of the ricotta and the chicken. Arrange 4 more of the noodles over the chicken and layer with 1/4 of the sauce mixture, the spinach, and the remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

Arrange remaining noodles over cheese and spread remaining sauce evenly over noodles. Sprinkle with additional 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional).

Wrap the Lasagna tightly with double layer of foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.

Let stand for 10 minutes in the sealed foil before cutting and serving.

Adapted from:
http://tastykitchen.com/blog/2013/01/white-cheese-and-chicken-lasagna/