Mushroom, Chicken, Rice & Peas soup

Made another variation on chicken soup today- the mushrooms, peas and rice really came out nice! This is a good spring time soup because of the peas and the mushrooms.

It was packed full of goodies- don't worry if it doesn't look like a ton of broth. If you get really stuck trying to add more chunks, use a little hot water if needed.

Bring 1 quart good quality chicken broth to a boil in a large covered pan.

2 diced carrots
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 diced yellow onion
1/3 C white basmati rice (or other quick cooking rice)

Cook, covered on medium for 15 minutes, or until veggies and rice are cooked through.

Add 2 C thin sliced mushrooms and cook for 2-4 minutes or until mushrooms shrink a bit.

Add and bring up to temperature:
1 cup or more of cooked chicken pieces
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C frozen green peas
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
up to 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
salt to taste

Serve hot.  Optional serve with crackers, whole wheat toast, or cheddar cheese. 


Zucchini noodles with pesto sauteed mushrooms

I'm a big fan of zucchini noodles- much healthier, more filling and fewer calories than wheat pasta! This is gluten free, can be vegan (if you choose oil and not butter) and is a great way to use up extra summer zucchini.Zucchini noodles are especially good with a fattier topping, so use your olive oil (or butter).  I also like this version with tomato and bacon.

Serves 2

Cut zucchini into fine strands to look like pasta. I use a cheap gadget from japan that julienne slices the zucchini. You could also use a spiralizer or veggie peeler.  Make 2-3 cups of zucchini strands.

Meanwhile, wash and thin slice 1-2 cups of mushrooms (I used cremini but just about any type would be good). 

Heat up a large/wide/shallow pan, sautee the mushrooms with a little bit of olive oil. Let the mushrooms release their water.  Season with salt, pepper and pesto (I keep some pesto frozen from the summer).

Get a pot of water up to boiling. Boil the zucchini pieces for 2 minutes, then drain promptly.

Toast some pine nuts in a little bit of olive oil (or sub in good grass-fed butter if not going vegan), with salt, red pepper flakes.  Just toast until you can smell the pine nuts, 60 seconds or less.

Assembly: in serving bowls, layer cooked and drained zucchini "noodles", then mushrooms, then top with toasted pine nuts. Serve hot!

Easy Thai Noodles and Broccoli: Pad See Ew

I love Thai food at restaurants and have been working towards proficiency in my favorite dishes, namely yellow curry, stir fries and noodle dishes. 

This recipe was surprisingly simple yet delicious- will definitely be making again and again! Made a couple adjustments.

Serves 2

2 TB dark thick soy sauce
2 TB oyster sauce
2 tsp regular soy sauce
2 tsp white vinegar (rice vinegar/komezu or apple cider ok)
2 tsp sugar

Soak half a package of rice noodles (wide or narrow) in hot water, separate if they are stuck together. Drain.

In a hot pan (suggest cast iron), add less than 1 TB peanut oil. Saute 2 minced cloves garlic for 30 seconds, then crack 2 eggs into the pan, cook into thin pieces.

Add the presoaked and drained noodles and the sauce. Mix. Stir fry until liquid evaporates.

Add steamed broccoli, and optional thinly shredded red or green cabbage. Cook until warmed through. Serve hot.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Beer and Buttermilk

Saw this in a cookbook and couldn't resist a dark gingery cake! Adapted it quite a bit to use buttermilk in place of some of the oil and dramatically reduced the sugar (had to add some flour to compensate). Turned out nice, and definitely not too sweet! Will be perfect to go with tea.

Bring to a boil in a tall sided sauce pan:
1/2 C + 2 TB Guinness beer/stout
3/4 C molasses

Once it is boiling, quickly add 1/2 tsp baking soda, whisk (it will foam) then take off heat. Let cool, set aside.

Whisk together:
1.5 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 TB + 2 tsp powdered ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp kosher salt

In another bowl, beat togehter:
2 eggs
1/4 C brown sugar
1/8 C white sugar

Now add 1/3 C buttermilk and 2 to 3 TB olive oil, beat to conbine.

Now add the cooled beer and molasses mixture, stir to combine.

Fold in the flour mixture.

Pour batter into muffin cups. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.