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Ginormous Grilled Sandwiches

Ginormous Grilled Sandwich

Texas toast, turkey, cheese, and arugula!

This dinner was inspired by what was on our fridge on a hot evening after a long day. Grilled cheese seemed to be in order, and we had sliced turkey that needed to be eaten, along with a loaf of Texas toast that the bread store had on sale. And I had picked fresh arugula at Seton Harvest. What to do? Make ginormous grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches. It took the grilled cheese to a bigger sandwich level.
Ingredients per sandwich:

  • Texas toast – 2 slices
  • Swiss and American cheese slices
  • 1 T shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices of turkey
  • Arugula leaves
  • Mayonnaise

Create the sandwiches in layers – bread, Swiss cheese, turkey, shredded cheese, arugula, American cheese, bread. Spread mayonnaise on the outside of the sandwiches and grill them until lightly browned.

The Seton Lifestyles Challenge Recipes

A week's produce share from Seton Harvest, a CSA in Evansville, Indiana.My Seton Harvest Lifestyles Challenge Recipes were fun, but exhausting.

How can a regular family  cook with this week’s ingredients? Here’s how:

Peas and cucumbers:

I started to cook last night after hosting a CAbi fashion party, so it was a late start. As I started to cook, I turned on the Queen’s Concert for her Diamond Jubilee and decided to make Coronation Chicken, which I blogged about this weekend. The rice salad on which my version of coronation chicken is served includes freshly diced cucumbers and peas. Nothing’s better than fresh peas, so that was a great choice.

Fresh peas:

Freshly shelled peas, lightly cooked are a treat this side of heaven. I bring a small pan of water to a boil. When the water is briskly boiling, pour the peas into the water and let them cook a maximum of 1 minute. I generally go for 30 seconds, until they have all risen to the top of the boiling water. Then drain them and serve with butter.

Red leaf lettuce, radishes, and baby spinach:

Since this week’s share included lettuce, radishes, and spinach, I thought about creating a salad with all of them. If the salad includes hard-boiled eggs and bacon, then my teen son may eat more than 3 leaves a lettuce and call it a serving.  So I would use this layered spinach and lettuce salad recipe as a guideline but modify it by first adding radishes. I would mix it just before serving and cut the layering of mayonnaise on top. Instead, I would give people the choice of which kind of salad dressing to use.

Kale:

Kale chips are popular in my family but need to be served as soon as they are prepped. There have been times when I’ve had that irresistible urge for potato chips that I’ve substituted kale chips. Not the same, but it quenches the crunchy craving. But they must be eaten immediately. They just don’t taste the same after the fact.

Red rain:

Red rain is a milder relative in the mustard green family. Last week, to cook it, I cut it into about 2-inch pieces and then simmered in broth, with 1 tablespoon of bacon grease and pepper. We discovered last year during our Seton Harvest that our family liked soul-food style cooked greens more than broccoli. So every week this winter, I made a batch of fresh greens.

This week, I’m trying something different with red rain: balsamic glazed chickpeas and mustard greens.

Cabbage:

A head of cabbage has many uses. Part of it can be cut off to put into a Chinese stir fry. If I’m in a hurry, I’ve also made a one-dish mock cabbage roll dinner. Instead of taking the time to roll the filling into cabbage leaves, I just chop the cabbage into pieces and cook it with beef, tomatoes, and other ingredients in a traditional cabbage role recipe.  Finely diced cabbage will also add a depth of flavor to a vegetable soup that can’t be matched.

Part of it can also be cut into thin slivers to make sweet and sour slaw. Slaw that is made from freshly-cut cabbage has a richer, deeper flavor. In about 6 cups of shredded cabbage, I would shred a peeled carrot. I would also finely chop a red and green sweet bell pepper. After the cabbage and vegetables are well mixed, make the dressing.  It’s hard for me to give a recipe for the dressing because I just mix it together. I mix 1 part apple cider vinegar, 1 part sugar, and some water, spiced with just a dash of salt and pepper. The key to good slaw is the vinegar. A cider or flavored vinegar will give you a much better product than plain vinegar.

Squash:

Squash is a no brainer. It’s my all-time favorite vegetable, and I could happily eat one by myself every single meal every day of the year. One of the healthier ways to make it is to brush it with olive oil, lightly salt and then pepper, and then cook. It can be cooked on a grill, baked in an oven, or sauteed in a pan. You cook it until the edges are brown, and all is well.

Learning to cook with vegetables is a matter of trial and error. Sometimes the cooking has been a trial and the results have been errors. Very bad errors. At least once, I’ve tried something that tasted so awful that I spit it out and threw it away before serving it to my family.

Even so, when Seton begins and the greens increase in our diet, I feel better and know my family’s eating well. As a semi-southern girl who grew up with more gravy than biscuits, who used to have my grandparents’ cast iron frying pan that had cooked bacon in it every morning for 50 years (burned up in a house fire 10 years ago but that’s another story), our healthier eating adventures are a step up in the nutrition food chain.

 

 

Coronation Chicken

What fun the Diamond Jubilee is to watch! Queen Elizabeth has weathered storms, maintained her dignity, and dutifully served as queen.

Twenty-six years ago, when I was a student studying in England, I participated in an Adopt-a-Family program where I got to spend time with a British couple. Douglas and Elizabeth Allam welcomed me into their home and shared parts of British culture with me that I could not have gotten from studying a book.  The Allams were a proper Tory retired couple who had lived a rich life including spending time in India with Douglas’s business ventures. Elizabeth was infamous for her wonderful curry dinners.

Elizabeth shared my passion for cooking and shared British recipes with me. One of those recipes she shared was called Coronation Chicken. She told me it was a chicken dish that was developed for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. It’s a chilled chicken curry dish with an apricot base. After Elizabeth made it for me and I loved it, she shared the recipe with me. I’ve enjoyed making it for the past 26 years.

In honor of Queen Elizabeth’s jubilee, I decided to share the recipe on my blog:

Coronation Chicken

  • 2 roasting chickens
  • water and a little wine to cover
  • Bouquet garni (1/2 bay leaf, 3-4 stems of parsley, spray of thyme)
  • Salt
  • 3-4 peppercorns
  • 1 carrot
  • Cream of Curry sauce

Poach the chickens with carrot, bouquet garni, salt, peppercorns in water and wine for 40 minutes until tender.  Cool and bone.  Prepare sauce and mix with chicken.

Cream of Curry Sauce

  • 1 T. oil
  • 2 oz. Chopped onions
  • 1 tsp. Curry powder
  • 1 tsp. Tomato puree
  • 1 wineglass red wine
  • ¾ wineglass water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt, sugar and pepper to taste
  • lemon slice
  • 1-2 T apricot puree
  • ¾ pint mayonnaise
  • 2-3 T whipped cream

Heat oil and add onion.  Cook 3-4 minutes.  Add curry powder.  Cook 1-2 minutes.  Add puree, wine, water and bay leaf.  Boil.  Add salt, sugar to taste, pepper, lemon, lemon juice and simmer 5-10 minutes.  Strain and cool.  Add by degrees to mayonnaise with apricot puree to taste.  Adjust seasoning and add more lemon juice if necessary.  Finish with whipped cream.  Take small sauce and mix with a little extra cream and seasoning.  Serve on top of rice salad with peas, cucumber and herbs in French dressing.  (Green peppers, celery, apples and tomatoes can also be used.)

 

Hot Open Faced Turkey Sandwiches on the Fly

Sometimes, I just need a super fast dinner entree that doesn’t take much time, from food we have so I don’t have to shop. Today was one of those days. We had 4 slices of bread and a little mozzarella cheese. I found sliced, smoked turkey in the freezer. Our pantry included a Tone’s container of chicken gravy mix.

So I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, brushed margarine on the bread and sprinkled it with garlic, oregano, and parsley. The oven hadn’t had time to preheat, but I threw them into the oven while I quickly made the gravy. The gravy had thickened by the time the bread was toasted.

As soon as the bread was toasted, I put 2 slices of turkey on each, spooned a little gravy on each, and sprinkled them with mozzarella cheese.

Ideally, I should have put them back into the oven to brown perfectly.

But I live in the real world with running teens, so we microwaved them.

A recipe born of necessity of ingredients and time, but it’s a quicky keeper.

How to Make Leftover Freezer Soup

A few leftovers frozen over time can make a wonderful soup. I keep a large margarine container in my freezer that is labelled “soup.” As we eat different meals and vegetables, if there are a few leftovers that aren’t really enough to serve an extra meal, I put them into the soup bucket. When the soup bucket is full, it’s time to make vegetable soup.

The advantage is that it creates a simple base for any soup and reduces food waste. In addition, it saves time in putting together a large pot of soup. Because the leftovers may have been cooked with spices, I don’t add any seasoning to the soup until everything is combined together and I can taste how the flavors have blended.

Today’s vegetable soup bucket included leftovers of roast beef, chicken, broccoli, onions, peppers, green beans, and more.

Freezer vegetable soup recipe

The recipe for each freezer soup varies according to whatever ingredients are on hand. Today’s version:

  • soup bucket of leftovers
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 cup leftover green, red, yellow, and orange peppers that had been sauteed
  • 1 lb. ground beef, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 6 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 can peas
  • 1 can corn
  • 1/4 head cabbage, chopped into slivers

Today’s batch is about 4 quarts of vegetable soup. After everything simmers and blends together, we have soup for dinner.

Teriyaki Tangelo Chicken Wings with Garlic

Chicken wings

Teriyaki tangelo garlic chicken wings

I wanted to find a chicken wing recipe that had a different zing from traditional buffalo and made up this recipe with ingredients I had. And I wanted a baked version that didn’t require a lot of time to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken wings, separated
  • 1/2 cup low sodium teriyaki sauce
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed tangelo juice (I used 5 tangelos)
  • 1 T garlic herb seasoning (I use a sodium/MSG free variety)
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce

Recipe

  1. Mix together teriyaki sauce, tangelo juice, herb seasoning, and hot sauce.
  2. Let chicken marinade in this sauce in a 9 inch square glass baking dish in a single layer for at least 4 hours.
  3. Put chicken with marinade into oven and set oven to 325 degrees.
  4. When oven reaches 325, bake at least 1 hour, turning chicken every 15 minutes. The last 20 minutes, raise the temperature to 425 to brown them. Ten minutes before they are done, turn them to brown evenly.
  5. Serve hot.

 

Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe

Blending vegetables and chopping chicken are the secrets to my chicken vegetable soup.

  • 1 fryer
  • 3 large carrots, peeled
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T chicken soup base (optional)
  • 8 oz. kluski (egg) noodles

First, put the fryer in a large stock pot and cover with water. Cut the carrots, celery, and onions into pieces just small enough to fit into your food chopper or blender. Chop the garlic into small bits. Add the bay leaf (broken in half), salt, pepper, and soup base. Bring to a boil, cover,and then simmer for at least an hour, or until the chicken is done.

Then turn down the heat. Remove the fryer from the stockpot and place in a shallow pan to cool. It will cool faster if you break apart the fryer (if needed – it may fall apart on its own). Strain out the large vegetable chunks. Using your vegetable chopper or blender, blend the vegetables. You can leave a few bits of carrot unblended if you like the color. Remove the bay leaf. When all the vegetables are blended, return to the chicken pot and let it simmer on low. I like to puree the vegetables so they add color and flavor but are less likely to be seen – the carrots especially add a golden hue to the soup.

When the fryer has cooled, bone it. You can cook the egg noodles at the same time. Bring the pot of chicken broth to a gentle boil and stir in the noodles. If you use actual kluski noodles, they will require at least 20-30 minutes to cook. This will give you time to chop the chicken.

Remove all fat, skin, bones, and gristle from the meat. I usually use a cutting board to remove meat portions. When my cutting board is half full, I use a large knife and chop the pieces of meat into bits no larger than 1/2 inch square. When that portion is chopped, I add it to the soup and then repeat these steps until all of the fryer is boned.

Let the soup simmer until the noodles are done. Serve hot.

 

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