Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sausage, Potato and Swiss Chard Soup

After work, I went to the store to catch up on some Christmas shopping. Luckily, I knew exactly what I needed and was in and out pretty quick. But, by the time I got home it was late. We tend to eat really late at my house. Most people are PJing it up and watching Dancing with the Stars and I am starting dinner. The hubby gets home from work late so I try to time it so I finish as he is getting home.

I opened the fridge and noticed the chard was starting to look a little sad. Compared to collards and kale, Swiss chard does not hold up as well after a day or two. I had chicken and turkey sausage and a few potatoes. Voila! Easy sausage chard potato soup.

This soup is perfect for a chilly day. The spice of the soup warms you to the core. It is so easy. Plus, by using chicken and turkey sausage, you cut down the amount of fat in half. I like to use Applegate Organics sausage. I tried a few of their other flavors and they are all delicious. Plus, they're Gluten and Casein Free for those who have dietary restrictions.

Sausage, Potato and Swiss Chard Soup
Adapted from canadianliving.com

4 links (12 oz total) spicy chicken or turkey sausage (I used Applegate Organics Fire Roasted Red Pepper chicken and turkey sausage), sliced into 1/2 wide pieces. If spicy is not your thing, use Italian chicken sausage.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups cubed peeled potatoes, (about 4 potatoes)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes or to taste
2 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves removed from center rib and coarsely chopped
salt to taste

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Brown sausage, stirring occassionally. Remove sausage and place on paper towel lined plate to remove excess oil. Drain a bit of the oil from the pan. There won't be much if using chicken/turkey sausage. Add onions, garlic, potatoes, pepper flakes and pepper, and saute for several minutes until onions are translucent. Add the stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are cooked. Add Swiss chard and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Roasted Chicken

Yesterday was one of those rare Sundays where we had nothing planned. No family events. The yard did not need tending to. The hubby didn't have to work from home. Ahhh it was nice to stay in lounging in my monkey sweat pants. We managed to catch up on other household stuff like tackle the mountain of laundry. While we did that, I roasted a chicken. I always buy a few whole chickens to freeze when I encounter a super sale. The Perdue bird I bought was about 4 pounds, cost 3 bucks and will feed us for two meals. Not too shabby! Remember to remove the giblets before roasting. You can use them to make some stuffing if you'd like. Also, if you sing to chicken like I do while washing it, the chicken comes out tastier. No joke.

I served the chicken with a side of roasted rosemary red-skinned potatoes and roasted buttercup squash.

Nothing like having a house smelling of fabric softener and roasted chicken :)

Roasted Chicken
Adapted from Food.com

2 medium onions, sliced
2 tsps salt
2 tsps paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 large roasting chicken (with pop-up timer if possible)
1 cup of white wine
2 cups of chicken stock
1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place onions in a roasting pan. Remove chicken gibletss, rinse chicken, pat dry and place in roasting pan. Pour wine and stock into the pan. Mix all the spices and rub over the outside of the chicken. Try to get some inside the cavity as well as under the skin. Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the cavity and then throw that lemon half into the cavity as well. Cut the other half of lemon into slices and place into cavity. Cover with lid or aluminum foil and bake for an hour and a half to an hour and three quarters. Every 30 minutes, baste chicken with pan juices. If using a meat thermometer, insert the thermometer into the inner thigh and it is cooked when it reads 165 degrees F. Remove and let stand covered for 15 minutes.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ham and Egg Cups

We had the family over for brunch last Sunday. In terms of meal preparation timing, I stink. I don't want to start too early and risk the food get cold or overcooked. So I end up starting too late and rush around like a headless chicken. Definitely something I am working on. Luckily, my parents came over an hour early to help as my sous chefs.

My menu included:
scrambled eggs
home fries
mini bagels and lox
ham and cheese cups
toasted italian bread
fruit salad
chocolate chip muffins
coffee cake
orange juice
wine (Of course! We are Portuguese. My father brought over his homemade wine).

Needless to say, it was a pretty good spread for eight people. I really wanted to make ham and cheese cups. Of course, being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until the last minute to quickly search for a recipe that looked appetizing. In a crazed panic, I realized none fit the bill for the ingredients I had on hand. All the recipes (or the few that I looked at) called for egg subsitute or cubed ham. So I decided to wing it and they were a hit! This is definitely a recipe worth making again. They are so easy, cutesy and delicious! I am sure you could even freeze them to keep on hand for a quick breakfast.

Tip: My mother came up with the idea to use a cream dispenser to pour the eggs into the ham cups. This is so much easier then trying to spoon it in.

Ham and Egg Cups
10 large eggs
3/4 lb sliced maple or honey deli ham
1/4 cup light cream
salt and pepper
3 green onions, finely minced
6 oz grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Insert maple ham slices into each well to form a cup. Edges will stick up. It is okay if it is not the neatest. In a bowl, mix eggs, cream, salt and pepper, and whisk. Pour egg mixture into ham cup until about halfway full. Sprinkle a teaspoon of green onions in each cup. Add more if you love green onions. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of cheese on each cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until eggs are set. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Sweet Potato, Kale and Chorizo Soup

I spent three hours doing yard work today and really tried to make a dent in the thick blanket of leaves surrounding our home. After three hours, I was sore, hungry, and ready for some lunch. After lunch, I looked out the window and the yard looked exactly the same! It looked as if I hadn't done any yard work at all. Argh, I need one of those sit-on tractor mower thingies to pick up the leaves. I probably am not allowed to buy one if I call them "tractor mower thingies".

Good thing a hearty soup was waiting for me. I made this soup to use up my supply of kale. I bought some Lacinato kale on sale at WholeFoods and it sat in my fridge forgotten. I scrambled to find a new recipe to try before it ended up in the compost. This recipe sounded different and delicious. I have never made soup with sweet potato or lacinato kale so I was pleasantly surprised with how hearty it was. Definitely recommend it after a long day of yardwork.

Mr. Yoshi loves rolling in the leaves.
Sweet Potato, Kale and Chorizo Soup
Adapted from SmittenKitchen.com and Bon Appetit
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 10 oz fully cooked, smoked chorizo link, sliced in 1/4 inch thick pieces
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large red skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cubed
2 white-skinned potato, peeled and cubed
6 cups chicken broth
4 cups chopped lacinato kale or any kind of leafy greens you would like to use
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add chorizo and saute until brown. Remove chorizo and place on paper towels to drain. Add onions and garlic to pot and saute until translucent. Add potatoes and cook until beginning to soften, stirring often. Add broth and bring to a boil. Turn down heat, simmer until potatoes cooked, about 20 minutes. Using an emulsion blender, puree soup until smooth. Add chorizo and kale and simmer until kale is cooked, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into bowls and serve. 

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

Husband (between mouthfuls of food): So, are you going to to post this recipe on your blog?
Me: Nope
Husband: Why not? It is delicious.
Me: Yes, but it is too simple.
Husband: But it is delicious!
Me: I just quickly threw it together.
Husband: But you could inspire someone that has a limited amount of time. And it's delicious!!! (shovels more food into mouth).

I drove home from work last night and realized I had completely forgotten to go to the grocery store. I decided to go after I walked the dog. And when that was done, I realized all I wanted to do was put on my pjs and watch Top Chef. But we had to eat something. I pulled out some sauce and mozzarella cheese leftover from a pizza I made a couple days ago. I opened the freezer and found two lonely chicken breasts in a sea of ice cream containers and frozen veggies. I defrosted the chicken breasts, split them, pounded them, breaded them, stuck them on a lightly greased cookie sheet, and baked for about 25 minutes. Then I made pasta. I put the chicken breasts in a casserole dish with sauce and cheese and baked until bubbly and voila, dinner served. A super easy and no-fry version of chicken parmesan.

Chicken Parmesan
Two chicken breasts, split lengthwise, and pounded thin
One cup of Italian style breadcrumbs
One egg, beaten
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Grated parmesan cheese
Jarred tomato space
Box of spaghetti, preferably angel hair, because it is my favorite

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dip chicken pieces in eggs and allow excess to drip off. Coat chicken in breadcrumbs until  uniformly covered. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet (I used olive oil). Cook for 20- 25 minutes, turning half way. Make pasta per box directions. In a casserole dish, add one cup of sauce and distribute evenly. Add chicken. Add some sauce and mozarella cheese on top of each breast. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Serve over pasta.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Portuguese Stuffing

Apparently stuffing is not very photogenic.  
I love Thanksgiving and it would not be Thanksgiving without my family's stuffing. It is so delicious. Every year we look at each other and say "Oooh! The stuffing is so good!" Seriously, we may even moan a little. I tried to get the recipe from my mother over the phone but it was like pulling teeth. "You know, a few onions, some chicken livers, papo secos, eggs...that's it! Easy." Really, mom! How many livers? Do I rinse them first? Two onions? What?! Four?! Needless to say it took several phone calls.

I have to say it came out pretty tasty. It is not exactly like my mom's but not bad for my first try. It will take some trial and error but this is a good start and the hubby and I were happy with the results. I must warn you it can be a little...ummm...different working with bloody chicken livers if you haven't before, but it absolutely adds to the flavor of the stuffing without being overpowering.

  • Four medium to large onions
  • Four cloves of garlic
  • Four papo seco, aka Portuguese rolls
  • Four eggs
  • Four chicken livers
  • A couple dashes of garlic powder
  • A few tbsp of olive oil (my mom uses canola oil)
  • 1 tbsp hot chopped pepper (see picture)
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon or to taste
  • Salt
Roughly chop onions and garlic. Pulse in food processor until uniformly diced. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in pan. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Meanwhile, rinse chicken liver and place in a small sauce pan with water and garlic powder. Boil until cooked, approximately 5 minutes. Remove livers and reserve water.  Place livers in food processor and pulse for a few seconds. It should be the consistency of a paste. Add it to the onions mixture and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Add salt, paprika, and hot chopped pepper. Stir until well-incorporated. Remove mixture from heat, place into a large bowl, and set aside.  Soak papo secos in water and squeeze to allow water to spread through bread. Over sink, squeeze out excess water. Do this to all pieces and then break into sections and place in food processor and pulse until consistency of coarse bread crumbs. Add to mixture. Add four eggs to mixture as well as a couple tablespoons of the liver water. Add the cinnamon and more salt. Stir well. In a sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add mixture and saute until browned. We usually make it a day ahead. You can stuff the turkey with it or put it in an oven safe casserole pan and heat in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011


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You must be warned. These start off looking ugly. Then you get the hang of molding these little guys and they start to look like real potstickers. And if you never get the hang of it, well...they still taste delicious.

The other night I had a "Ladies Sushi Night." I hand-rolled a bunch of sushi and made these potstickers as the appertizer. Oh man, are they delicious! There wasn't one left at the end of the night. They freeze really well too. Just place them in a steamer for a few minutes to bring them back to life and you have a wonderful appertizer on hand.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 medium head cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 slices fresh ginger root, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 (14 ounce) package wonton wrappers
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

  1. Crumble pork into a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the pork, cabbage, green onion, ginger, salt, sugar and sesame oil. Chill in the refrigerator 6 to 8 hours, or overnight. (I did not do this)
  3. Place a tablespoon of the pork mixture into each of the wonton wrappers. Add water (with a pastry brush or your fingers) to the edge of the wonton wrapper. Bring up both ends and pinch seal the top middle. At one end, pinch seal the wrapper and fold little sections of the wonton onto itself until it looks like a half moon with pleats. 
  4. In a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium high heat. Place the pot stickers into the oil seam sides up. Heat 30 seconds to a minute. Pour water into the skillet. Gently boil 7 to 8 minutes, until oil and water begins to sizzle, then add remaining oil. When the bottoms begin to brown, remove pot stickers from heat.
  5. In a small serving bowl, mix together the chili oil, soy sauce, and vinegar, adjusting proportions to taste.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Carrot and Collard Greens Soup

It is snowing. Not those dinky, little snow flakes but the big monster ones. I didn't believe the weathermen. I laughed at those at work who spoke of upcoming flurries. And here I am pulling off my boots and removing clumps of snow off my dog Yoshi. He likes to bulldoze through the snow taking in mouthful after mouthful. I blame it on the ice cubes I give him in the summer.

We still have two months until winter officially arrives and here I am with a few inches of snow on my deck. Knowing New England and it's crazy weather, we will be back to wearing flip flops next week. In the meantime, it is time for some warm, tasty soup.

This is really easy. I had some left over collards that I needed to use before they went bad. I pulled out the bag of carrots, an onion, half a chicken breast on bone, hot chopped peppers, and of course salt. Easy. I also make my own stock because it allows me to have leftover chicken for chicken salad or chicken pot pie or any other recipe that requires chucks or shreds of chicken. Plus, it is how my mother taught me.

Carrot and Collard Greens Soup
2.5 quarts water
One large onion, chopped
1 tbsp of hot chopped pepper (see photo)
1/2 chicken breast on the bone, skinless
1 tsp salt
8-10 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
5 collard greens leaves, removed off stem, rolled up and cut into strips
one chicken flavored bouillon cube (optional)

Place first five ingredients in pot and cover. Bring to boil and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken and set aside for pot pie. Add celery and carrots to pot, and cook until tender. With a handheld immersion blender, puree soup until chunks are no longer present. Or, you can put in food processor if you do not have an immersion blender. Place collards and bouillon cube in soup and simmer until collards are tender, approximately 10-15 minutes. Season with salt.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cranberry-Apple Crisp

This is one of those recipes that came about while raiding the fridge. I bought one of those cutesy brown bags full of apples at the grocery store and came home only to realize that is a whole lot of apples for two people. I opened the freezer and staring at me was a bag of cranberries. Aha! Cranberry-Apple Crisp it is! I grabbed it and out with it came a box of meatless Chik'n patties. A patty flew through the air and the Yoshter snatched it. He ran to the bedroom and went under the bed with it. My husband and I spent the next 5 minutes with a flashlight and treats trying to coerce him to return the faux chicken patty. Eventually, I was able to get it from him by offering him real chicken. Go figure.

When I removed this crisp out of the oven I immediately began to sing "You're beautiful" by James Blunt because indeed, this crisp was a beaut. And delicious! I must warn you that it is quite tart but with a side of vanilla ice cream, it is yummy perfection. Enjoy!

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Cranberry-Apple Crisp
Adapted from Epicurious.com
  • 1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 stick (6 tbsps) of chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces


  • 1 12-ounce package cranberries
  • 4 medium apples (I used McIntosh), peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice or cider (I used water)

For topping:
Combine brown sugar, oats, flour, and salt in large bowl; toss to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture comes together in moist clumps. Cover; chill while preparing filling. (Topping can be prepared 1 day ahead; keep chilled.)
For filling:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously butter a baking dish. I used an oval, ceramic dish, approximately 11.5" x 8". Combine cranberries, apples, sugar, and apple juice in large pot. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring often. Boil until cranberries are tender and juices thicken slightly, about 8 minutes. Transfer filling to prepared dish. Sprinkle topping over.
Bake crisp until filling bubbles thickly and topping is crisp and deep golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore

Autumn is settling in. It is the time for snuggling on the couch in your sweat pants and hoodie sweatshirt, showing off your poofy slippers and sipping on gourmet (or Swiss Miss) hot chocolate.

I love this recipe. It is so easy and super yummy. Perfect for when you just want to sit on the couch watching the Food Network.

This is a Giada recipe. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with a Giada recipe. Plus, I want to be her neighbor. I know she would invite me over for lunch. We would sip Shiraz, eat canapés and tell stories of studying in Paris. I don't believe I have ever eaten a canapé. I don't believe I have studied in Paris. I do like to sip Shiraz though. 

FYI, canapé comes from the French word for couch. That's right folks. I am bringing it full circle. That is just how I roll.

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Chicken Cacciatore
From Giada De Laurentiis

4 chicken thighs
chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons drained capers
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

  • Directions
Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.
In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, saute it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.
Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quinoa with Mushrooms, Spinach and Feta

If you have never tried quinoa, this is a great recipe to get on the quinoa bandwagon. Yes, it does take some tedious measuring and the use of a can opener (if you use canned chicken broth), but it is totally worth it. It makes a lot so you can bring some to work the next day. The original recipe called for goat cheese...bleh...I am not a goat cheese fan. Feta for the win!

Quinoa is a great source of protein and fiber and cooks in the same amount of time as rice. There is white, red and black quinoa, all with a different taste and texture. Red quinoa is used in this recipe. Depending on the brand you buy, you may have to rinse it first or it may come pre-rinsed. I recommend buying pre-rinsed. Rinsing these tiny bad boys are a hassle and a half.

Cascade o' Quinoa
Quinoa with Mushrooms, Spinach and Feta
Adapted from Allrecipes.com


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp of dry thyme
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (8 ounce) package sliced mushrooms
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp of dry thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (10 ounce) bag washed spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta


  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in quinoa until well blended.
  2. Pour in 1/2 cup white wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed by the quinoa, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1 3/4 cups chicken broth, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, and 1 teaspoon chopped thyme (or 1/2 tsp dry thyme). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Pour in 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup white wine, 1/4 cup chicken stock, and 1 teaspoon chopped thyme (1/2 tsp dry thyme). Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Once the quinoa has cooked, stir in the mushroom mixture, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove quinoa from the heat and place in large bowl. Stir in spinach leaves and cover. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow spinach to wilt.Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese.        Pin It                          

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pear and Collard Greens Smoothie

This smoothie is deeeeeeeelicious! It has so many nutrients with all the collard greens. It can come out a little on the thick side so I would add a bit more milk if you prefer it thinner. My husband slurps these down like no tomorrow. Then with green smoothie on his chin he says, "babe, should I make some more?"

I make this in our handy dandy vitamix but a regular blender would be fine. In the past, I would freeze the bananas with the peel on and have a heck of a time removing the peel right before putting it in the blender. Then someone suggested I peel the bananas before placing them in the freezer. Genius! Also, remove the collards leaves away from center stalk before chopping. Leaving the stalk in will make the smoothie bitter.

This recipe comes from one of my stalkees within the blogosphere, Miss Joy the Baker. She totally cracks me up. I love hearing about her crazy cat. Maybe it is because I have a crazy dog. His name is Yoshi. He likes bananas. He likes to jump on the kitchen table and steal bananas.

Pear and Collard Greens Smoothie
Inspired by Joy the Baker

1 frozen banana
1 1/2 cup of cold milk
2 cups of chopped collard greens
1 tbsp honey
1/2 pear

Place milk and collard greens in blender and blend until there are no big pieces of collards left. Add honey and pear and blend. Add frozen banana and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

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