Mom’s HomeMade Chicken Stock

So many delicious soup recipes include chicken stock as the base for the broth. You can buy it in a box at the grocery store but in my opinion, homemade stock takes your recipe up a notch. It takes a bit of planning/preparation, but I think it is a game changer. Here is my go-to chicken stock recipe. It is my variation of Ina Garten’s but I make it in smaller batches. Try it out. It just might become your favorite too.

Yield: 2 quarts

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time 2-4 hours

Ingredients

1 whole roasting chicken (or 3 bone in chicken breasts)

1 large onion, quartered

2 carrots unpeeled and cut into thirds

2 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds

5-6 sprigs of fresh parsley

5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme

5-6 sprigs of fresh dill

4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise

2 tsp Kosher salt

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

Directions

Dump all ingredients in a large stockpot. 

Add about 3 quarts of water to the pot (at least enough water to cover all of the ingredients).

Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 2-4 hours.

Strain the contents in a colander and discard all the solids.

Chill the stock overnight or use in your favorite soup recipe.

You can also pack in freezer safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

Italian Sausage Soup

As the weather starts to change, so does my cooking.  Warm hearty soups replace summer’s repertoire of grilled and barbecued fare.  This cozy soup recipe will warm you up this fall.  It’s both satisfying and comforting.

Italian Sausage Soup

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 lb. Italian sausage – mild or spicy (broken up out of skin or sliced with skin on)
1 large onion (cut into ½ inch dice)
4 cloves minced garlic (or more if you like)
1-16 oz. can crushed Italian tomatoes (or plain crushed tomatoes with a few shakes of Italian seasonings)
32 oz. chicken broth (Homemade if you can.  See my favorite recipe here)
2 large (or 3-4 medium) zucchini (cut into a ½ inch dice)
2 T fresh basil  (Use just 1 T if using dried Basil)
1/4 cup pasta noodles (like elbow macaroni)
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

1.  Brown sausage with onion and garlic in a medium frying pan (drain fat).
2.  In a large pot, add crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, zucchini, basil, and pasta noodles.
3.  Add sausage, onion and garlic mixture to the pot.
4.  Simmer slowly for 1 hour.  Enjoy!

Psst!  Soup can be frozen for up to 2 months and then reheated for a quick weekday meal.

Guilt-Free Creamy Tuscan Chicken

IMG_1468

Low Carb Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Low Carb Creamy Tuscan Chicken is rich and satisfying with lots of sun-dried tomatoes and spinach.  I love the parmesan cream sauce. It is one of my very favorite low carb meals and it is perfect for the keto diet.

Prep Time 10 minutes / Cook Time 15 minutes / Total Time 25 minutes / Servings 4 / Calories 495 

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine or chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup  sun-dried tomatoes (approximately 1/2 of a 4 oz jar )
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-3 cups baby spinach
  • 2-3 medium zucchini squash, zoodles (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.Season chicken with lemon pepper.
  2. Add chicken to skillet and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.Remove chicken and set aside.
  3. Add onion to skillet and cook for about 3 minutes to soften.
  4. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.
  5. Add white wine or chicken broth and cook until reduced just a bit and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  6. Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer for 1 minute.Add Parmesan and stir until melted.
  7. Add sun-dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.Stir in spinach. Cook and stir until spinach is wilted.Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Optional:  Many italian dishes are served over a bed of pasta.  I like to avoid the carbs and use zoodles instead.  Make the zoodle noodles with either a mandoline or zoodle maker.  Place on a paper towel to remove some of the excess water.  Add 2 T of olive oil to a pan and heat on medium heat.  Add zoodles to pan, and add salt and pepper to taste and stir for about 2 minutes.  Add more slat/pepper to taste and stir again for two minutes or so until just a bit limp.  Place zoodles on a plate and then add the chicken and sauce and serve.
  9. Enjoy!

Ina’s Crusty Basmati Rice

This is a family favorite.  It is super flavorful and is the perfect side dish for chicken, beef or fish.  We first discovered this at our dear friend Kathy and David’s home years ago.  They were our across-the-street neighbors that quickly grew into our forever and dearest friends.  I have fond memories of our Sunday night dinners together while our children were young. We would each try out new recipes on each other from one of our many Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and this dish that Kathy made was a sure fire hit with everyone.  The fresh dill makes all the difference and the nuttiness of the toasted pine nuts are addicting. Ina Garten calls it “foolproof”.  We call it yummy!

Ina Garten’s Crusty Basmati Rice

Serves: 5-6

Ingredients

I T. Kosher Salt
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1/2 cup pine nuts (toasted if you want)

Salt and Pepper

Directions

In a  large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and add the salt and rice.  Bring to a boil again, and then lower the heat, simmer the rice for exactly 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain.

In a large heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Spoon 1/3 of the rice evening over the butter without disturbing the butter, then sprinkle half of the fresh dill and half of the pine nuts on the rice.  In layers, add another 1/3 of the rice, then the remaining dill and pine nuts, and finally the rest of the rice.

Cover the pot and cook the rice undisturbed on the lowest heat setting for 30-35 minutes until the rice is tender and forms a golden crust on the bottom of the pot.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir the crusty bits into the fluffy rice and serve hot.   Enjoy!

Leftover Turkey Tuscan Orzo Pasta

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray for a slimming friendly version
  • 1 onion , finely diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 55 g | ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes , rinsed for slimming version
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 150 g | 1 cup dry orzo pasta
  • 300 g | 10½ oz leftover cooked turkey or chicken , diced small
  • 2 tbsp white wine or stock to deglaze pan, optional
  • 500 ml | 2 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 240 g | 1 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 60 g | 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve (optional)
  • Lemon zest , to garnish (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to season to taste

Process

STEP 1. Heat a tablespoon of oil (from the sun-dried tomatoes jar for extra flavour!) in a large frying pan.

STEP 2. Add the onion and stir to coat in the oil and cook the onion over  low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the onion to soften but not burn.
STEP 3. Stir in the minced garlic, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and paprika. Sauté for a few minutes.

STEP 4. If the pan is getting a bit dry you can deglaze it with a splash of white wine/ vermouth (or chicken stock).
STEP 5. Add the orzo pasta and stir to toast in the oil and seasonings.

STEP 6. Stir in the diced turkey (or chicken).
STEP 7. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan (orzo may have a tendency to stick).

STEP 8. Add sour cream and stir to combine. 
STEP 8. Cover the pan and cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring halfway.

STEP 9. Uncover the pot and use a wooden spoon to give it a good stir. The orzo should be cooked and the dish creamy and delicious. Add handfuls of fresh spinach, stirring into the creamy orzo until it wilts.


STEP 11. Grate some fresh Parmesan over the dish, check the seasoning and serve. SOOOO YUMMY!

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

IMG_9342

This colorful side dish is packed with flavor and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cored, broken into large florets, florets sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 onion, peeled, thickly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow madras curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat oven, line baking pan with foil: Pre-heat oven to 425°F with a rack on the top third of the oven. Line a large rimmed baking with foil.

2. Whisk together garlic, lemon juice, oil, curry, cinnamon, salt: Put the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, curry powder, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk vigorously until well combined.

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3. Coat floret slices with curry mixture:  Add the cauliflower and onion slices to the bowl with the curry and toss to coat. Spread the cauliflower and onion slices on the baking sheet in a single layer.

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4. Roast in oven: Roast in oven at 425°F for 25 to 30 minutes until well browned. Check halfway through the cooking, and rotate the pan for more even cooking.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Source: Simply Recipes

Apple Vichyssoise

DFTSI - Apple Vichyssoise_6495My dear sorority sister shared this festive holiday soup recipe with me.  Vichyssoise is usually served cold but this is terrific served hot, cold or at room temperature.  It is a perfect first course for your next holiday gathering.  You can have a pot simmering on the stove and your guests will  be coming back for more.  Thank you Teddy for sharing this yumminess!  It is my new favorite!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Makes  approximately 10 cups (serves 6-8 in bowls or 20 in small appetizer glasses)

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 3 medium leeks (white and light green parts only, thinly spliced crosswise)
  • 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes (the smaller the chop, the faster they cook)
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 cups of apple juice or cider
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 cup heavy whipping cream (unwhipped)
  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish
  • 1 apple, julienne (cut into sticks) for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

1 Melt butter: In a large (6-quart) pot or saucepan, heat the butter on medium high heat until it melts and foams up.

2 Sauté leeks and onions: Toss in the sliced leeks and onions and salt. Stir to coat with the butter. Cook for several minutes, reducing the heat to medium, until the leeks and onions are translucent and softened.  Then stir in white wine and simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated.

3 Add potatoes, water and apple juice and bring to simmer. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook, partially covered for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are completely cooked through. Remove from heat.

4 Purée until smooth: Purée using an immersion blender or working in batches, blend in a regular blender. (Careful! With hot liquids only fill the blender 1/3 of the way full, and hold the blender top on with your hand while blending.) Purée until completely smooth, then return the soup to the pot.

5 Cool and stir in sour cream and heavy cream: Allow to cool a bit before stirring in the sour cream and heavy whipping cream.  Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally.  Add more liquid if needed for desired thickness.  Season with more salt if needed.

6 Serve warm in bowls or glasses: If serving warm, pour into bowls or glasses and garnish with chives and julienned apple on top.  As an alternative, allow to cool completely and chill in the refrigerator if desired.  The soup can be served just below room temperature (maybe 65°F or 18°C).

Enjoy!

PSST!  You can swap out heavy whipping cream for 1/2 & 1/2 for a lighter version of this rich and delicious soup with no loss in taste.

Gluten-Free Holiday Chex Mix

1Makes 8 cups

I’ve added my own little twist to the old time favorite Chex Mix around the holidays.  This party mix can even be enjoyed by your guests with dietary restrictions or gluten free preferences.  It’s a modified recipe from the original Chex Mix.  I nix the Wheat Chex, use gluten free pretzels, and also add my own little twist.  Your guests will be coming back for more so you might want to make two batches!

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion power
2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup pretzels (gluten-free versions available from Snyder’s or Snack Factory)
1 cup fancy mixed nuts
3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal

Instructions

1. Melt butter in a 13X9 in baking dish in a 250 degree oven.
2. Remove dish from oven and stir in the seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
3.  Add cereals, pretzels and nuts and stir until coated.
4.  Bake @ 250 degrees for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes or so.
5.  Remove from the oven and cool (if you can keep your family from nibbling)
6.  Store in an airtight jar or large ziplock bag.

Low Carb Creamy Tuscan Chicken

IMG_1468Low Carb Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Low Carb Creamy Tuscan Chicken is rich and satisfying with lots of sun-dried tomatoes and spinach.  I love the parmesan cream sauce. It is one of my very favorite low carb meals and it is perfect for the keto diet.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 495 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine or chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup  sun-dried tomatoes (approximately 1/2 of a 4 oz jar )
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-3 cups baby spinach
  • 2-3 medium zucchini squash, zoodles (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

    Season chicken with lemon pepper.

  2. Add chicken to skillet and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

    Remove chicken and set aside.

  3. Add onion to skillet and cook for about 3 minutes to soften.

  4. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.

  5. Add white wine or chicken broth and cook until reduced just a bit and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

  6. Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer for 1 minute.

    Add Parmesan and stir until melted.

  7. Add sun-dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.

    Stir in spinach. Cook and stir until spinach is wilted.

    Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    8.  Optional:  Many italian dishes are served over a bed of pasta.  I like to avoid the carbs and use zoodles instead.  Make the zoodle noodles with either a mandoline or zoodle maker.  Place on a paper towel to remove some of the excess water.  Add 2 T of olive oil to a pan and heat on medium heat.  Add zoodles to pan, and add salt and pepper to taste and stir for about 2 minutes.  Add more slat/pepper to taste and stir again for two minutes or so until just a bit limp.  Place zoodles on a plate and then add the chicken and sauce and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Low Carb Creamy Tuscan Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 495Calories from Fat 324
% Daily Value*
Fat 36g55%
Saturated Fat 17g106%
Cholesterol 164mg55%
Sodium 475mg21%
Potassium 1180mg34%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 3950IU79%
Vitamin C 19.1mg23%
Calcium 248mg25%
Iron 2.8mg

Baked Penne with Tomato Mozzarella & Sausage

My sister, Tomi turned me on to this yummy goodness from chef, Erica De Mane, who specializes in southern Italian cooking. Serve with a simple salad.

Baked Penne with Tomato, Mozzarella & Sausage

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut in small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 lb. sweet Italian pork sausage, removed from its casing and crumbled
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 35-oz. can whole plum tomatoes, chopped, with their juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh marjoram or oregano (from about 6 large sprigs)
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated mild pecorino cheese
  • Pinch nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 lb. dried penne (or ziti if you prefer)
  • 1/2 lb. mozzarella, preferably fresh, cut in small cubes

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 425°F. Lightly oil a large, shallow baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • In a large skillet or stock pot, heat about 2 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and crumbled sausage and sauté until the sausage starts to brown. Season with salt and pepper. If the sausage gives off a lot of fat, pour off most of it, but leave a little to add flavor to the sauce. Add the red wine and let it boil until it’s almost gone. Add the tomatoes with all of their juices and cook, uncovered, at a lively simmer for about 10 minutes. The sauce will thicken slightly. Add the marjoram or oregano and taste for seasoning.
  • In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, about half of the grated pecorino, the nutmeg, and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, cook the ziti until al dente (7-8 minutes max). Drain well and toss it with the ricotta mixture until well coated. Add the sausage and sauce and mix again. Add the mozzarella and toss gently. Pour everything into the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining pecorino on top. Bake uncovered until lightly browned and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Serve right away.
  • Nutritional Info (based on four servings)
  • Calories (kcal) : 1070
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 390
  • Fat (g): 44
  • Saturated Fat (g): 20
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17
  • Cholesterol (mg): 110
  • Sodium (mg): 114
  • Carbohydrates (g): 113
  • Fiber (g): 8
  • Protein (g): 54