Plain 'ole Chicken Noodle Soup — a comfort & a curative

Barry is under the weather so plain 'ole Chicken Noodle Soup is on the menu . . .

Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole chicken (about 3 ½ lb.), rinsed, giblets discarded
2 to 3 quarts water
4 sprigs of dried sage (about 2 teaspoons
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 to 3 teaspoons Kosher salt
½ to 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons chicken concentration base or 2 chicken boullion cubes, optional
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and diced
8 ounces dried curly egg noodles
1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  1. Place the chicken and 2 quarts of water in a large stockpot set on medium heat.
  2. Toss in the seasonings, and allow liquid to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
  3. Add chicken concentrate of cubes to broth to add richness if needed.
  4. Remove chicken and cut into bite-size pieces when cool. Re-add about 1 ½ to 2 cups of the chicken (or as much as you want) and save the rest for another use.
  5. Add the chopped and diced vegetables (onion, cloves, carrots and celery. Cover over medium heat with lid on until all the veggies are tender.
  6. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until tender. Check seasonings and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Recipe without photos . . .
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole chicken (about 3 ½ lb.), rinsed, giblets discarded
2 to 3 quarts water
4 sprigs of dried sage (about 2 teaspoons
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 to 3 teaspoons Kosher salt
½ to 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons chicken concentration or 2 chicken boullion cubes, optional
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and diced
8 ounces dried curly egg noodles
1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  1. Place the chicken and 2 quarts of water in a large stockpot set on medium heat.
  2. Toss in the seasonings, and allow liquid to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
  3. Add chicken concentrate of cubes to broth to add richness if needed.
  4. Remove chicken and cut into bite-size pieces when cool. Re-add about 1 ½ to 2 cups of the chicken (or as much as you want) and save the rest for another use.
  5. Add the chopped and diced vegetables (onion, cloves, carrots and celery. Cover over medium heat with lid on until all the veggies are tender.
  6. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until tender. Check seasonings and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving. 

Pasta with a Pizzaz & it’s gluten-free! (tomatoes, onions, basil pesto & a little sausage form the sauce & we switched to rice pasta)


Pasta Sauce with a Pizzaz!
Hungry for pasta, I decided to put a twist on the sauce and swap traditional pasta for a variation made from ground brown rice and rice bran. As far as the sauce goes, it is pretty much my usual recipe except I went heavy on the veggies, light on the meat and added homemade pesto to the mix. The rice pasta, which just happens to be gluten free, is a product we thought might be interesting to try . . . and it certainly met with our approval and paired well with the sauce. It was definitely pasta with a pizzaz!

Pasta with a Pizzaz! (tomatoes, onions, basil pesto & a little sausage form the sauce & we switched to rice pasta)    3 to 4 servings
Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
¼ to ⅓ lb. ground pork sausage (we always opt for Zey’s store brand  -- Zey’s Market, 1020 W. 1st St., Abilene, KS)
1 to 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
½ to 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
4 oz. sliced button mushrooms
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
¼ to ⅓ cup basil pesto (I used homemade basil pesto

Pasta: 8 oz. of Tinkyada® Brown Rice Pasta, cooked according to pkg. directions (it takes 15 to 16 minutes to cook)  
  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; then add the onions and partially cook.
  2. Add sausage, breaking it up into small pieces. Cook and stir until sausage is lightly browned. Season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper as mixture cooks.
  3. When sausage in lightly browned, add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms cook down and sausage is nicely browned.
  4. Add diced tomatoes with juice + tomato sauce and basil pesto. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing flavors to meld.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta (if using Brown Rice Pasta allow 15 to 16 minutes cooking time).
  6. Drain pasta and add to sauce.

    Recipe without photos . . .
    Pasta with a Pizzaz! (tomatoes, onions, basil pesto & a little sausage form the sauce & we switched to rice pasta)    3 to 4 servings
    Sauce
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 onion, diced
    ¼ to ⅓ lb. ground pork sausage (we always opt for Zey’s store brand  -- Zey’s Market, 1020 W. First St., Abilene, KS)
    1 to 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
    ½ to 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
    ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
    4 oz. sliced button mushrooms
    1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
    1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
    ¼ to ⅓ cup basil pesto (I used homemade basil pesto

    Pasta: 8 oz. of Tinkyada® Brown Rice Pasta, cooked according to pkg. directions (it takes 15 to 16 minutes to cook)  
    1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; then add the onions and partially cook.
    2. Add sausage, breaking it up into small pieces. Cook and stir until sausage is lightly browned. Season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper as mixture cooks.
    3. When sausage in lightly browned, add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms cook down and sausage is nicely browned.
    4. Add diced tomatoes with juice + tomato sauce and basil pesto. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing flavors to meld.
    5. Meanwhile, cook pasta (if using Brown Rice Pasta allow 15 to 16 minutes cooking time).
    6. Drain pasta and add to sauce.

Beginning with the basics: Aloo Gobi—Indian Style Cauliflower with Potatoes



After interviewing Kamila Dandu and tasting her Chicken Tikka (Dandu Style,  Sunflower Living Magazine, spring 2013, pp. 22-27), I was sold on Indian food. Since then we have continued to enjoy Indian cuisine at the Monsoon Grill in Topeka. However,  I must admit that we are still in the beginning stage when it comes to cooking Indian food, so we are starting out with a basic recipe.     
       This dish was fast, easy and very tasty. Several sources mentioned you could add stewed tomatoes to the basic dish, and that’s what we did. We served it as a side but it can  be used as an entrée. Also, we cut the recipe in half for just the two of us.

Aloo Gobi—Indian Style Cauliflower with Potatoes   4 servings
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
I love the colors & flavorsof Indian spices!
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ginger paste – see recipe below
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garam masala
Salt to taste
½ to ¾ cup stewed or diced tomatoes with juice
1 lb. cauliflower, cut into small pieces, similar in size to the potatoes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro + a few leaves for garnish                  
  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the cumin seeds, garlic, and ginger paste. Cook about 1 minute until garlic is lightly browned.
  3. Add the potatoes. Season with turmeric, paprika, cumin, garam masala, and salt. Cover and continue cooking 5 to 7 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the tomatoes and juice, cauliflower and cilantro.
  5. Reduce heat to low and cover; stir occasionally, and continue cooking 10 minutes, or until potatoes and cauliflower are tender.
  6. Garnish with a few cilantro leaves. 
I found the recipe for this paste recipe at Food Network, courtesy of Arti Sequeira.    I did it down as I wasn’t sure when I might be using it again!
Ginger-Garlic Paste:
½ cup cloves garlic, whole
½ cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
¼ cup canola oil

Throw the garlic, ginger, and canola oil in a mini-food processor and let it go until it forms a semi-smooth paste. There will still be tiny little pieces in there, but overall, it should resemble a paste. (I used the pulverizing blade of a NutriBullet to make the paste.)

Save what you don't use in a small glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks. It's a delicious addition to marinades, pasta sauces, stir fry sauces, slow-cooker recipes, gravy etc.

Recipes without photos . . .
Aloo Gobi—Indian Style Cauliflower with Potatoes  4 servings
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
1 teaspoon cumin seeds 
1 teaspoon minced garlic 
1 teaspoon ginger paste – see recipe below
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed 
½ teaspoon ground turmeric 
½ teaspoon paprika 
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
½ teaspoon garam masala 
Salt to taste 
½ to ¾ cup stewed or diced tomatoes with juice
1 lb. cauliflower, cut into small pieces, similar in size to the potatoes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro + a few leaves for garnish                  
  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the cumin seeds, garlic, and ginger paste. Cook about 1 minute until garlic is lightly browned.
  3. Add the potatoes. Season with turmeric, paprika, cumin, garam masala, and salt. Cover and continue cooking 5 to 7 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the tomatoes and juice, cauliflower and cilantro.
  5. Reduce heat to low and cover; stir occasionally, and continue cooking 10 minutes, or until potatoes and cauliflower are tender.
  6. Garnish with a few cilantro leaves. 

I found the recipe for this paste recipe at Food Network, courtesy of Arti Sequeira.    I did it down as I wasn’t sure when I might be using it again!
Ginger-Garlic Paste:
½ cup cloves garlic, whole
½ cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
¼ cup canola oil

Throw the garlic, ginger, and canola oil in a mini-food processor and let it go until it forms a semi-smooth paste. There will still be tiny little pieces in there, but overall, it should resemble a paste. (I used the pulverizing blade of a NutriBullet to make the paste.)

Save what you don't use in a small glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks. It's a delicious addition to marinades, pasta sauces, stir fry sauces, slow-cooker recipes, gravy etc.

Double the Flavor—Twice Baked Potato stuffed with sweet potato filling

Baked Russet Potato + Baked Sweet Potato = Calorie-conscious stuffed potato with twice the flavor that loaded with nutrients! Inspired by a combo baked potato prepared by Joan Thayer, I simply baked two potatoes (one russet, one sweet potato, cut each in half, scooping out and then mashing the insides with a little milk, a drizzle of olive oil and seasoned salt. Definitely a tasty combination, and a healthy side dish.

Twice Baked Potato stuffed with sweet potato filling    Makes 2 servings
1 russet potato
1 sweet potato
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 375-400°.
  2. Place potatoes on a baking sheet; Pierce each potato in a few spots with a fork. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until cooked through (time will vary based on size of potato). Remove potatoes from the oven, and cool.
  4. Cut russet potato in half and scoop out both halves to make a canoe-like shape. Remove outer skin of sweet potato.
  5. Place insides of both potatoes in a mixing bowl, add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of milk, a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning salt to taste. Whip and taste and add more milk, olive oil or seasoning salt as needed.
  6. Refill the shells with the potato mixture, mounding it slightly. At this point the potatoes can go into the oven for their second baking, or they can be set aside and then baked, for the second time, later. Potatoes can be baked for the second time now, or refrigerate and bake later if preferred.
  7. Set the potatoes and lids on a baking sheet, and bake at 350° until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Recipe without photos . . .
Twice Baked Potato stuffed with sweet potato filling    Makes 2 servings
1 russet potato
1 sweet potato
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 375-400°.
  2. Place potatoes on a baking sheet; Pierce each potato in a few spots with a fork. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until cooked through (time will vary based on size of potato). Remove potatoes from the oven, and cool.
  4. Cut russet potato in half and scoop out both halves to make a canoe-like shape. Remove outer skin of sweet potato.
  5. Place insides of both potatoes in a mixing bowl, add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of milk, a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning salt to taste. Whip and taste and add more milk, olive oil or seasoning salt as needed.
  6. Refill the shells with the potato mixture, mounding it slightly. At this point the potatoes can go into the oven for their second baking, or they can be set aside and then baked, for the second time, later. Potatoes can be baked for the second time now, or refrigerate and bake later if preferred.
  7. Set the potatoes and lids on a baking sheet, and bake at 350° until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

The flavors of Arizona back home in Kansas — Grapefruit Panna Cotta

  
         In addition to having a wonderful time in Arizona, we brought home a big sackful of grapefruit and other citrus—handpicked by Barry and Jon. And, as chance would have it, while we were still in south Texas I watched a show (The Chew) where Michael Symon prepared his version of a  healthy dessert—Grapefruit Panna Cotta.
            I am definitely a fan of the cold Italian custard but have always topped it with fresh berries. However, with an abundance of grapefruit, just had to give his recipe a try. The only thing I did different—I used a drizzle of agave syrup (just enough to sweeten the fruit; because it is very sweet, it takes just a little), instead of the ¼ cup of honey called for in his recipe. Also, this could very well yield 8 desserts versus the 6 he lists.
            See his original recipe @ The Chew with Michael Symon.

Grapefruit Panna Cotta    6 to 8 servings
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
2 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin (equivalent to a ¼ oz. pkg.)
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 grapefruit (diced with membranes removed)
¼ cup honey, to drizzle (I used just enough agave syrup to sweeten)
¼ cup mint leaves, torn (if available)
  1. Panna Cotta: Pour the milk into a medium sauce pot.
  2. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise. Using the back of a paring knife, scrape out the vanilla seeds and add to the milk along with the bean pod and salt.
  3. Stir in the granulated sugar and place over medium heat. Stir gently until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to heat until mixture just comes to a boil.

  4. Meanwhile, place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over to bloom for 5 minutes. (For more info on how to bloom gelatin, click here—"Blooming Gelatin)
  5. Once the milk has boiled and gelatin has bloomed, remove the vanilla bean pod and whisk in the softened gelatin.
  6. Once fully combined, stir in the yogurt.
  7. Evenly distribute the mixture into 6 (or 8) 4-ounce ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 8-10 hours.
  8. Grapefruit: Meanwhile, combine the grapefruit, honey and mint in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
  9. To serve: Pour hot water into a baking dish and dip each ramekin in the water to warm gently. Flip onto a plate. Spoon a dollop of the grapefruit-mint mixture on top of each panna cotta.
(Or, just serve in the ramekin, spooning the sweetened fruit on top.)

Tips:
-Make the panna cotta ahead of time. Wrap tightly and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
-Replace the vanilla bean with a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

For a more traditional recipe (made from cream), click on Panna Cotta.

Recipe without photos . . .
Grapefruit Panna Cotta    6 to 8 servings
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
2 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin (equivalent to a ¼ oz. pkg.)
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 grapefruit (diced with membranes removed)
¼ cup honey, to drizzle (I used just enough agave syrup to sweeten)
¼ cup mint leaves, torn (if available)
  1. Panna CottaPour the milk into a medium sauce pot.
  2. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise. Using the back of a paring knife, scrape out the vanilla seeds and add to the milk along with the bean pod and salt.
  3. Stir in the granulated sugar and place over medium heat. Stir gently until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to heat until mixture just comes to a boil.
  4. Meanwhile, place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over to bloom for 5 minutes.
  5. Once the milk has boiled and gelatin has bloomed, remove the vanilla bean pod and whisk in the softened gelatin.
  6. Once fully combined, stir in the yogurt.
  7. Evenly distribute the mixture into 6 (or 8) 4-ounce ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 8-10 hours.
  8. Grapefruit: Meanwhile, combine the grapefruit, honey and mint in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
  9. To serve: Pour hot water into a baking dish and dip each ramekin in the water to warm gently. Flip onto a plate. Spoon a dollop of the grapefruit-mint mixture on top of each panna cotta.
(Or, just serve in the ramekin, spooning the sweetened fruit on top.)
Tips:
-Make the panna cotta ahead of time. Wrap tightly and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
-Replace the vanilla bean with a teaspoon of vanilla extract.