Tag Archives: Chicken Stock

Zucchini, Grape and Cucumber Quinoa

10 Apr

When I think Spring, I think fresh fruits and veggies.  Without realizing it, I simplify all of my recipes to feature the food, instead of covering it in breading and spices.  This Zucchini, Grape and Cucumber Quinoa is the perfect fresh Spring meal.  It’s a light simple side for dinner, that would pair nicely with grilled chicken or seafood.  I also take it in for lunch; it’s perfect served at room temperature or chilled right from the fridge.

Zucchini, Grape and Cucumber Quinoa (2 servings)

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 a small zucchini, chopped
  • 1/4 of a large cucumber, chopped
  • 2 tbs feta cheese, crumbled
  • 12 red grapes, cut in half
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper

Bring your chicken stock and quinoa to a boil in a medium pot.  Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover to continue cooking for 12-15 minutes.  You want to make sure your stock is absorbed.  If you’ve never worked with quinoa, it will be cooked when the center is almost translucent and there’s a ring around the grain.  It’s delightfully chewy, and you can use it a million ways.  It’s also filled with protein and very filling.

While your quinoa is cooking, chop up your zucchini, cucumber and grapes.  Once your quinoa is finished, stir in salt and pepper, and add your grapes and veggies.  Then stir in feta cheese and serve.  Simple, huh?  I think the raw veggies give this dish a nice fresh taste.  The grapes add a bit of sweetness, and the feta is salty, and provides a nice balance.  If you need to turn up the flavor, try adding some lemon or fresh herbs.  I think parsley or dill would be delicious in this dish. 

Chickpeas 2 Ways: Italian & Indian

28 Nov

After rolling myself out of my parents’ house, I got hungry (again).  I was craving veggies in a major way after days of carb-loading (sour cream & cream cheese mashed potatoes anyone), and needed to make something straight out of the pantry since I was without groceries.  I looked in my bare cabinets, and pulled out a can of chickpeas.  Eureka!

I love creating multiple recipes with different flavor profiles from the same base ingredients.  It’s a way for me to make left-overs exciting and new!  Last time I shared my meatball recipes.  Now I bring you Chickpeas 2 ways.

Indian Chickpea Curry (serves 1)

  • 1/2 of a 15.5 oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • sprinkle of ginger
  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat.  Add 1/2 a can of chickpeas and diced onions, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Saute for 5 mins. 

Add tomato paste and 1/2 cup of chicken broth to pan.  Add garam masala, curry powder and cumin to pan.  Stir, and continue to cook over medium heat until sauce thickens, about 7-10 mins.  Add additional 1/2 cup of chicken stock and sprinkle ground ginger over top.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir.  Cook for about 5 more mins and take off the heat.  Your chickpeas should be soft, and will be perfect served over a bowl of brown rice!

Italian Chickpea, Spinach and Tomato Stoup (serves 2)

  • 1/2 of a 15.5 oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 oz fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup orzo (small grain pasta that looks like rice)
  • 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tbs pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat.  Add 1/2 can of chickpeas and diced onions , then season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 5-7 mins.  Add tomato paste, 1/2 cup of water, spinach and canned tomatoes to the pot.  Continue to cook over medium heat until chickpeas are tender and spinach has wilted.  About 7 mins.  Add cup of chicken stock and orzo, then bring to a boil. 

Continue to cook at a boil until orzo is cooked, approximately 7 minutes, stir periodically or orzo will stick to the bottom of the pot.  Add salt and pepper and stir. 

I love this stoup (Rachael Ray’s term for a cross between stew and soup), because it’s hearty and healthy after days of indulgence!  Plus I found a way to make 3 meals out of ingredients in my apartment.  You can re-create this meal for a few bucks at the store.  Yay for cheap/free food!

My 10 Essential Ingredients

30 Oct

Whether you are an accomplished chef or a novice cook, everyone has a list of their must-have staples for the kitchen.   These are my 10 essential items that I cannot live without in my kitchen.

1. Fresh HerbsThese can add woodsy flavors in the background, or serve as a light, bright touch on the top of a dish.  I use a lot of rosemary, sage and thyme in the kitchen, so I generally purchase the poultry blend as it’s a cost-effective way to get all three.

2.  OnionsI love them sautéed in pasta sauce, caramelized on a pizza (or on anything), and fried on top of burgers.  I buy a these in bulk and store then in a dark, dry place.  Make sure you wash them carefully as they grow in the ground!

3.  Chicken, Veg or Beef StockThese stocks provide a depth of background flavor to any dish and all you need is a few cups.  Making your own stock is a long process, why not take a short cut?

4.  Red or White WineWine is perfect for de-glazing pans aka getting the browned yummy bits off the bottom of the pan.  It’s essential in risottos and excellent in sauces.  Plus a bonus sip or glass for the chef!

5.  ButterPaula Dean is no fool, and there’s a reason why she’s the butter queen.  Butter is an essential fat and I need it for both my savory and sweet creations.

6.  Garlic. Garlic is used in almost all cuisines from Italian to French and even Asian meals.  Plus who can resist that smell?  It brings everyone into the kitchen.

7.  Soy Sauce.  Soy sauce is great for marinades, stir fry, and I even use it in my satay sauce.

8.  Olive Oil.  Most if not all of my recipes start with a base of butter or olive oil.  It’s relatively healthy and can be used to cook meats, to finish salads, or in salad dressings.

9.  Lemons.  Again, I use these in a variety of savory and sweet dishes.  I love the citrus flavor with fish or chicken, and I frequently use the zest in my baked goods.

10.  Balsamic Vinegar or Balsamic Salad DressingPerfect with my favorite tomato and burrata salad or drizzled over roasted veggies.

What are your essential ingredients?

Roasted Squash and Carrot Soup

18 Oct

This recipe smells, looks and tastes of Fall!  It started off with my standard roasted squash recipe.  I take an acorn squash and a butternut squash and cut both of them in half.  Then brushed the halves with a combination of brown sugar, rosemary and olive oil, and roast it for 35 minutes at 300 degrees. 

Usually I’m happy just eating the roasted squash on its own, but after two days I needed another way to use up my leftovers. 

So I decided this was the perfect time to try out my new immersion blender (my new one true love) and whip up a fallish soup.  This soup has it all, sweet and savory with a hint of spice.

Roasted Squash and Carrot Soup (serves 6)

  • 1 roasted acorn squash (see recipe above), chopped
  • 1 roasted butternut squash (same), chopped
  • 2 lbs carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 qt of chicken stock
  • 2 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbs garam masala
  • 2 tbs olive oil

Heat olive oil over medium high heat and add chopped onions and carrots.  Season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium high heat for 20 minutes.  Add squash and garlic to the pot with your onion and carrots, cook for five minutes.  Add chicken stock to pot and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Check to make sure your veggies are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork.  If so, take out your fabulous immersion blender (or let cool a few minutes and pour into regular ole blender), and puree mixture gradually.  Stop periodically to stir the soup in between rounds of blending. Once the soup is completely blended, season again with salt and pepper and then stir in garam masala