Tagged: delicious

Soup for Days

So I’m not sure if you’ve gathered this about me based on some of my more recent posts (like White Chicken Chili, Loaded Baked Potato Soup, and My Favorite Chili Recipe Ever…buuuuuut I really like soup.

Like, I reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaly like soup.

Like I could eat soup every day and be totally happy with my life.

Although there are many soups I am quite fond of, for as long as I can remember, Matzo Ball Soup has always been one of my most favorites!. If you’re not familiar with Matzo Ball Soup, it’s essentially like a delicious chicken noodle soup, minus the noodles, plus matzo balls. Matzo, if you’re not familiar with it (which ,if you’re a child of the Rugrats generation, I find hard to believe – but ya never know) is an unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews during the week of Passover among other holidays, like Hanukkah!

Now, I don’t talk much about religion or faith – particularly on my blog. It’s  just one of those things, ya know? But, in sum, although some of my family is Jewish and actively practices the religion, I wasn’t raised to follow any particular religion. I was just raised with faith. We celebrated Christmas… and sometimes I lit a menorah. I participated in a few Passover Sedars in my time, I learned to write my name in Hebrew, and I know what L’shanah tovah means.

My husband is Catholic, our wedding was Catholic, our children will be Catholic, and I’m confident when I say that there will come a day where I will be Catholic. Regardless of my choice of religion, I’m proud of my Jewish heritage. (Some people have a hard time separating those two and understand the difference. That’s pretty much why I don’t talk about it.) Ultimately, though, the extent of my Judaism is my constant use of Oy Vey in everyday conversation, letting my friends know if they’ve got a schmutz on their face, and my ability to make a perfect pot of Matzoh Ball Soup.

Every good Jewish girl (or lover of Matzo Ball Soup) knows the key…is schmaltz. Schmaltz is chicken fat. Yuppers! Chicken fat. You cannot make a perfect pot of Matzo Ball Soup in a day. You make the stock ahead of time, chill it, and remove the fat from the top of the chilled stock. That fat is what makes Matzo Ball perfection. Here is my recipe for Matzo Ball Soup.

Matzo Ball Soup

For The Stock

  • 1 whole chicken, about 5 lbs, giblets removed
  • 4 cups of low sodium chicken broth (I always use part chicken broth and part water when I make my stock for soups. I think it gives it a much richer quality. If you’re ambitious and confident in your stock making abilities, you can use all water)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 yellow onions, quartered
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 carrots, quartered
  • 4 stalks of celery, quartered
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • A big handful of fresh parsely
  • 2 tablespoons of salt, or to taste
  • 10-12 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves

Put everything in a large stock pot and bring it up to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer gently for about an hour and a half to two hours – until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily with a fork.

CAREFULLY remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a large cutting board (or something like it) to cool. Once cool, remove and discard the skin. Shred the meat with two forks and place in a container.

Strain the stock into a separate large stock pot. Let your stock cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator to chill completely overnight. TIP: To cool your stock as quickly as possible to avoid the risk of any food born illnesses, one of my favorite tricks is to take an  empty 2 liter bottle and fill it 3/4 with water and freeze it. Use the frozen bottle to stir the stock to cool it faster from the inside, out!  

For the Soup

  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 carrots, sliced into coins
  • 5 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 cups of cooked chicken, shredded

Add all of the ingredients except the chicken to a large stock pot. Bring the heat up to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the chicken during the last ten minutes of cook time to heat through.

For The Matzo Balls

  • 1 box Manischewitz® Reduced Sodium Matzo Ball mix (both packets) (yes, I use mix and not just Matzo Meal – it’s pretty much the same the mix just already has salt and baking soda added it it)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons schmaltz (skimmed from the top of the chilled stock. it’s solid when chilled, so heat  it in the microwave for about 15 seconds to liquify)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of onion, grated fine on a microplane

Whisk the eggs, schmaltz, parsley, and onion together until combined. Add both packets of matzo ball mix and mix until just combined. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 minutes, but up to an hour is kosher (heh…get it…nevermind).

To cook the matzoh balls, bring a pot a chicken stock up to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slight simmer.

Moisten your hands with a bit of cold water (I like to keep a little bowl of it handy to keep the matzo mixture from sticking to me) and gently form the matzo balls in your hand.  They are deceiving and get much bigger once they start to soak up all of the liquid they are cooked in, so only make them about the size of a golf ball.

As you complete them, gently place the formed matzo balls into the simmering stock. Once all of the matzo balls are added cover the pot and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they are cooked through.

To Serve

To serve, ladle the soup into soup bowl and top with matzo balls. I like to start with 3. Sprinkle with a little fresh parsley.

Eat with friends and family and enjoy.

mbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Sorta Spaghetti Carbonara

IT’S SATURDAY!!!!!!

Saturday is the best day of the week if you ask me! I know that during Football season many folks may disagree… buuuut I don’t care… because I love Saturday!! You can use it to do whatever you want. You can sleep as long (or as little) as you like. You can stay up however late you want (ya know…eleven…if you’re me) You can use the whole day to do whatever you please knowing that if you don’t get everything done you want to, there’s always Sunday!

Take today for example. Today was a particularly wonderful Saturday (and it’s not over yet!) After an evening of snuggling with the hubs and watching some season four of Archer I woke up fabulously rested right at 8:00am. I peeped out the window and I saw that it snowed last night. It was just a tiny dusting, but it was perfectly untouched and still flurrying a bit when I looked outside and it was a beautiful morning. I made myself one of my favorite  weekend breakfasts – a big bowl of banana oats with peanut butter and chocolate chips! While my oats cooked away on the stove top I woke up the hubs with a cup of coffee and made him his weekend scrambled eggs and toast. We enjoyed breakfast together before heading out to conquer the day! What is your favorite weekend breakfast?

We hit the gym at 10:30 and I enjoyed the launch of the newest BodyFlow class. We haven’t been members at this new gym for very long, but the I’m really loving this class! The two BodyFlow instructors are both fabulous!! I let them know I was pregnant and I just love that they both remembered and happily present me with the few modifications I need during class. (Mostly the stuff where you’re flat on your belly. I pretty much officially cannot do any of those poses any more. If I lift my arms and legs I feel like a weeble wobble!)

Johnny and I just ran a bunch of errands after the gym. We grabbed some lunch at Chipotle (RANDOM ASIDE: I really enjoy the food at Chipotle, and I love that’s it convenient and fairly healthy as well, but I really hate how it’s almost never hot!! Today I got a brown rice bowl with black beans, pinto beans, grilled veggies, and corn salsa and it was hardly warm at all! Does anyone else have this problem?), I finallllllllllly changed my name over on our bank account (1 year and 4 months after we got married), Johnny got a haircut and a new pair of glasses, we snagged a few things at Target (Like Divergent!! For only $8.00! I finished reading Orange is the New Black and decided it was about time I hopped onto the next big book train) and scoped out some baby gear before we start our registry, I bought some Turbie Twists at Bed Beth and Beyond because I love them and haven’t had them in forever, and finally we came home. (P.S. If you actually read all of that…HIGH FIVE! You rock!! I hadn’t intended for this to be such a marathon post. I hope the prospect of bacon kept you chugging along!) Time for dinner!!!

spaghetti carbonara

Now I’m not sure about you, but I’ve always been pretty iffy about Spaghetti Carbonara. Not iffy in the way most people are. I’ve never doubted that it would be delicious. Bacon, eggs, pasta, cheese. What is there NOT to like about it, right?? It’s not the technique that’s kept me away, though I know it’s  intimidating to some. I love a good kitchen challenge.

Restaurants are what make this dish iffy for me. I can honestly say that I have never ordered it off of a restaurant menu and I probably never will. So often it’s described as spaghetti in a “Parmesan cream sauce” with bacon or pancetta and either peas or tomatoes or…well…you get the idea.

Ex-squeeze me? Baking Powder? Parmesan cream sauce…isn’t that Alfredo sauce?? You are not serving me Spaghetti Carbonara. You are serving me Spaghetti Alfredo with bacon. If you like Alfredo sauce then, by all means, dig in and enjoy. Me? I’ll pass thank you. I decided it was time to make myself a delicious plate of Spaghetti Carbonara. One that I can trust and one that I can devour!

My version of Spaghetti Carbonara…is it “traditional” Spaghetti Carbonara.

Nope.

Purists believe that true, authentic Spaghetti Carbonara is just spaghetti with guanciale, eggs, and Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.

Most folks aren’t able to get their hands on cured pork jowls. Bacon – that’s realistic. Pancetta is delicious and perfectly acceptable, too. Authentic Carbonara wouldn’t have any veggies in it (mine does) because it was a peasant dish and they used what little they had to prepare it. I had bell peppers and spinach and I deem it necessary to never not have veggies with my dinner.

So no, this is NOT authentic Spaghetti Carbonara. But it’s certainly closer to traditional than any Carbonara with cream sauce you’ll ever come across!! And it’s effing delicious. So please, enjoy. 😀

Sorta Spaghetti Carbonara

  • 1/2 box spaghetti
  • 4 strips of bacon, diced
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more to taste
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Black pepper to taste

Start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to package directions until just shy of al dente. (While the pasta is cooking, scoop out about 1 cup of the pasta water and reserve it for later.)

Meanwhile, cook the diced bacon in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the bacon is crisp, remove it from the pan and allow it to drain on some paper towels.

Remove all but about 1/2 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan. Add the onions, garlic, and red bell pepper and let saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and the spinach to the pan and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan, adding some reserved pasta water if it seems dry, and remove the pan from the heat. (This is the most important part!! This is the difference between creamy delicious spaghetti and scrambled eggs!!)

In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and black pepper until very well combined. Add the egg mixture to the pan, tossing the pasta together constantly with a pair of tongs, until a sauce begins to form, adding more pasta water as necessary if it seems too thick.

Add the reserved bacon to the pan. Serve immediately topped with more Parmesan cheese and black pepper if you so desire…which you should… because they’re delicious.

extremmmmeee close up

 

 

How ’bout them Apples

Well hello there! I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend so far! 🙂

Did you do anything exciting today?

Me? I slept until 10!!

Ooops!!

I’m pretty sure I fell asleep on the couch last night around 10:30…woke up at 12:30 and brushed my teeth… actually went to bed…and ya know…slept for another nine and a half hours!! I guess I needed it! I did feel pretty great when I woke up.

Johnny and I took our time this morning before we did anything. We had some breakfast together and watched NFL Gameday Morning. It’s not exactly my faaaavorite past time, but I do enjoy spending time together in the morning  just hanging out with Johnny and the puppies on the couch. It was super rainy today, too. The perfect day for an extra long morning lounge!!

apple crispWe did get up eventually, and we went to the gym around 1ish. I was sooooooo pleased I was able to run a full two miles today without stopping to pee!!! I felt so great! I hope it wasn’t a fluke and that I can keep it up. It’s up to Baby, really, but I’ve got my fingers crossed!

apple and nutsWe made a quick pitstop at Wegmans to grab some groceries before we came home to lounge some more. I needed to snag a few items for  my Chicken Corn Chowder which I made for dinner tonight. It was perfect! So toasty warm and cozy! I also pretty much knew immediately when I woke up this morning (because I pretty much only think about food) that I wanted to have a dessert tonight! I’ve had a serious sweet tooth lately (who am I kidding? I always have a serious sweet tooth!) but I wanted something I didn’t need to feel too awful about eating (like alllllllll of the Christmas Cookies I had this year!) So I thought long and hard about what I wanted until…apple crisp with froyo

LIGHTBULB!! Apple Crisp!! It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a good apple crisp. I know that they can be quite heavy with lots of butter, brown sugar, and white flour. I lightened mine up by using white whole wheat flour (and hardly any at all), lots of oats, coconut oil, and honey. I also made them in individual portions which made it super easy to control myself. This recipe is so simple and guilt free…I may eat the leftovers for breakfast. Don’t judge me. 😀

Honey Walnut Apple Crisp

  • 3 granny smith apples (I leave the skin on mine), cored and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon + 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (you may want to warm it in the microwave for 30 seconds to make sure it’s liquid)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Optional: Vanilla Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream

close up of apple crisp with froyoPreheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.

Spray four ramekins (or one big dish…whatever you have will work) with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the apples with 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir well and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining flour, spices, oats, and walnuts. Mix well to combine. Add the coconut oil and honey and mix well to incorporate.

Divide the apple mixture evenly among the four servings (or pour them all into a single baking dish). Top each portion with equal parts of the oat and walnut mixture.

Place the individual ramekins on a sheet tray and pop them in the oven for 45 minutes or until the apples have softened and the crisp is golden brown. Top with vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream if you desire. (I desired two scoops…one for me and one for baby.)

Serve and enjoy! Or, ya know, if you’re me…take lots of pictures and try not to drool all over your camera before proceeding to devour your whole little crisp in about 3 minutes flat…and scrape the bottom of your little crispy container for all of the melty, delicious, froyo soup at the bottom. YUM!!!spoon of delicious

By the way… if I dooooo have this for breakfast tomorrow… I plan to top it with some honey greek yogurt. Froyo soup is for dessert only. Even I have SOME standards.

all gone

 

 

Bacon … and that’s all you need to know!

Why hello, friends.

I’m so pleased to share with you that yesterday our little baby boy Quincy turned 4!!!!

Eeeeeee!!!

I remember when Q was just a little pup who always threw up in the car without fail, was absolutely terrified of his crate, and was way too scared to jump up on the bed by himself. Now, 4 years later,  he’s just a little snuggle muffin who takes every opportunity he can to jump up on the bed – particularly when I’m making it – loves car rides except that he sits backwards like a weirdo, and is STILL absolutely terrified of the crate. Ha. *sigh* Time goes by so fast. I’m sure it will go even faster once this little munchkin arrives.

In honor of  my Quincy’s birthday, every year, I make him bacon.

Why?

Because he’s a puppy and puppies love bacon. Duh!

Who DOESN’T love bacon?

Check out Quincy’s “You makin’ me bacon?!” face. Don’t you just want to snuggle him?!

quincy loves bacon

Now of course, that whole pan of bacon wasn’t just for puppy. What kind of Mom would I be if I let him eat ALL of that bacon all by himself?! No, no no. Quincy got a little puppy sized plateful. The rest was utilized in what is one of the most delicious and simple (though absolutely not even close to the healthiest) recipes I have ever come up with.  I came up with it a while back when my pantry was looking pretty bare but I wanted something delicious.

The ingredients required are pretty minimal, you’re likely to have them all on hand already. I’d say this dish is nice paired with a lite salad…but who am I kidding…I just eat two bowlfuls of this instead. Life’s about balance, remember. Just don’t eat this every day and you’ll be fine…I promise!

Spicy Bacon Rigatoni

  • 1 lb rigatoni pasta
  • Anywhere between 6 and 12 slices of bacon (depends on how healthy you want to be, really)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup white wine or chicken stock
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped (gotta try and get those veggies in where ya can, right)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for sprinkling on top)
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until just shy of al dente – about 1 minute shy – as it will finish cooking in the sauce. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.

While the pasta is cooking, chop your bacon into bite sized pieces and cook them in a skillet over medium high heat until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels.

Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the pan.  Lower the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Let saute until fragrant and the onions and garlic begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the wine (or chicken stock) and let reduce for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, spinach, and garlic powder. Stir well to combine and cook until the spinach is wilted. Reduce the heat to low.

Drain the pasta and add it immediately to the sauce. Add the Parmesan and a splash of the reserved pasta water and toss well to combine.  If the pasta seems a bit dry or stiff, add some more of the pasta water to reach your desired consistency. Remove from heat and add the bacon and basil and toss until just combined.

Serve immediately topped with more Parmesan in gigantic bowls so that you can eat as much as possible of this in one sitting because it’s so effing delicious.

Behold spicy, garlicy, cheesy, bacony perfection.

spicy bacon rigatoni

 

 

My New Favorite Breakfast Ever

Happy Tuesday!

Not that Tuesday is ever all that exciting…

Unless, of course, some of you had off work yesterday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day so you get to enjoy a four day work week! If so, I hope you enjoyed your day off! I can’t say that I’m not jealous…because I totally am…and instead I got to enjoy a full and lazy productive day at work. 🙂

If I had to pick something I did get to enjoy recently, though, it would have to be my new favorite breakfasttttttt!

How many of you are fans of greek yogurt? Show of hands…

GOOD! I can’t get enough of the stuff!! I live off of Wegman’s brand (because I’m poor and it’s the cheapest one when I shop there…and it’s fantastic so I don’t care!)  I went through a brief period where I was eating their nonfat black cherry greek yogurt  with a few walnuts mixed in every morning for breakfast. It’s absolutely delicious.

It also has 18 grams of sugar per 6 ounce serving.

 

*INSERT GLASS SHATTERING SOUND*

B-b-but…that’s so much sugar for so little yogurt!!

After doing a little research I came to discover that just about any flavored yogurt will have this much sugar in it, maybe more. I’d be cool with having something like this as a treat once in a while, but I really can’t justify consuming that much sugar (that’s not naturally occurring in fruit) for breakfast everyday.

Then…I found this recipe for Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt.

Now, I don’t think this recipe tastes very much like cookie dough, but I do think it’s brilliant and flippin delicious!

Here’s my version of this recipe…I’ve had it for breakfast every day for the last week!

PB Greek Yogurt

  • 6 oz plain, nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chunky peanut butter (of course you could use creamy peanut butter, but I like the crunch!)
  • 1 packet of Splenda or 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine all of your ingredients in a small bowl and mix well until combined!

How easy is that?! Note that I like to microwave my peanut butter for about 10 seconds before I mix to make things a bit easier – but I also use a giant tub of greek yogurt that I measure out myself. If you have a little container of greek yogurt you can just mix it all up in there and I know it mixes fine that way, too! According to the myfitnesspal calculator, this delicious concoction is about 260 calories with 19 grams of protein and only 9.5 grams of sugar!

I like to serve mine with a chopped up apple or banana for dipping!!

greek yogurt of deliciousness