I am sadly late in posting this, but these little beauties were from my summer garden! I grew the cherry tomatoes and the basil, and boy, were they yummy! I love growing herbs, you can just take scissors to your plant anytime you have a recipe that needs it. The caprese combo is a particular favorite of mine.
To make caprese bites, all you need is tomato, basil, and some mozzarella. You can also add some olive oil if you like, but it’s not necessary for this one.
If you don’t have cherry (or grape) tomatoes on hand, you can slice up a tomato and top with the basil and mozzarella.
I got up from my computer to grab some dip and crackers only to find that my dip had expired. Frustrated, I opened the fridge to see what I could whip up, and came up with this dip! It is great with crackers or veggies.
- 1/2 cup onion, grated or pureed
- 1 small lemon
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- 2 tbs crumbled parmesan cheese
- 1 tbs finely chopped chives (or use dill to make this a dill dip)
- 1/2 cup thick blue cheese, caesar or ranch salad dressing
- Use a grater to grate zest from the lemon into a bowl. Once you’ve gotten about as much zest as you can, cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl.
- Grate onion into the bowl and use a garlic press to add the garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
NOTE: If the dip is too flavorful, add more dressing until it has calmed down to your liking.
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I love making chicken noodle soup. It is so easy, delicious, and hearty. Please note that while I give amounts for ingredients to add, you can add more or less of any ingredient you like, depending on your taste buds, what you have around the house, vegetable aversions, or any other preferences you may have. When it comes to my list of suggested veggies and herbs you can leave one out, add one in, choose to use only three, or use all of them. The great thing about chicken noodle soup is you can throw in whatever you like, and leave out whatever you don’t.
I greatly suggest you use fresh ingredients if you can, but if you want to use frozen veggies/chicken (I used a few) that works too. I am lucky enough to have a small herb garden on my deck, so I was able to use fresh herbs and they made a huge difference in the flavor of my soup! The fresher your ingredients the better, but even if you use all frozen ingredients and only dried herbs, this soup is still very delicious.
- 6 cups chicken broth or 6 teaspoons chicken bouillon (to make 6 cups broth)
- 1 large chicken breast, frozen or thawed
- 2 cups rotini noodles, or other type if preferred (I used whole wheat, but any kind works)
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1/2 cup corn
- 1/2 cup green beans
- 1 large carrot
- 1 tomato
- half a medium-size onion
- 1 stick of celery
- 1/2 cup broccoli florets
Suggested herbs/spices (~teaspoon each):
- worcestershire sauce
NOTE: While adding all your ingredients don’t be in a hurry. The idea is that by the time you are done adding everything, the soup should be done. The best part about cooking all the ingredients this way is you don’t lose any of the nutrients!
- Put 6 cups of chicken broth in a pot and turn the burner to high. (When it begins to boil turn the burner down until the soup is simmering.)
- Cut any fat off the chicken breast and add whole to the broth (which isn’t boiling quite yet).
- Add about 2 cups of uncooked noodles.
- Take the veggies that will take the longest to cook through (ie, carrots and onions) and cut before adding to the soup.
- Chop/measure your herbs and add to the soup (The idea is you want to add the herbs as soon as possible so that everything absorbs their flavor, while still giving all ingredients enough time to cook through).
- Now cut up the rest of your veggies and add.
- Pull out the chicken breast and put on the cutting board. Using two forks, pull it apart making small pieces of pull-apart chicken. If you started with a frozen chicken breast it shouldn’t be frozen anymore, but don’t worry if it is still a little raw in the middle. Put all the pieces of pulled-apart chicken back into the soup. If your chicken was still a little raw in the middle, give it about 3-5 minutes of simmering and your soup should be done.
- Before deeming your soup done, (1) stir while checking to make sure all the chicken is cooked, (2) taste a noodle to make sure it is done, (3) taste a carrot to make sure it is cooked through, (4) taste test the broth to make sure it is flavorful enough (if not add your favorite herbs/spices accordingly). If any of these aren’t done then keep simmering until they are.
NOTE: If you find that you don’t have your desired broth to veggies/noodles ratio, then add another cup of broth.
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You can easily make a can of tomato soup into delicious tomato bisque. This recipe is wonderfully easy and very yummy. Feeds two people.
- 2 cans concentrated tomato soup (~20 ounces)
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tomato
- 1/2 an onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp basil or oregano
- 1 tsp pepper
- Whisk or stir the tomato concentrate, milk and spices (basil/oregano, pepper) in a pot and turn the burner on high (once it begins to bubble reduce to low).
- While the soup is heating, cut the remaining ingredients into similar sized chunks and put them into a quisinart until you have an smooth mixture with no chunks. Add this mixture to the soup and stir. (If, like me, you don’t have a quisinart, you can use a garlic press. Although more laborious, I enjoy a smooth soup so it is worth it! If you have neither you can just chop ingredients finely.)
- Let the soup simmer for a minute or two and you are ready to serve.
NOTE: If you enjoy a bit of spiciness then add some crushed red pepper (the spicy kind from the spice rack).
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This meal is simple and yummy as well as very healthy!
You will need:
- 1 small lemon
- 1 small avocado
- Cheese of choice (I used cheddar because I didn’t have any other cheese around, but I would suggest parmesan)
- Lettuce or spinach (or both!)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 3 tbs white or red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- Lemon juice (from the lemon above)
- Rinse lettuce/spinach and rip into a large bowl.
- Grate as much lemon zest as your lemon allows over the lettuce.
- Cut the avocado into wedges and separate into your bowl.
- Sprinkle grated or crumbled cheese into the bowl.
- Add croutons, salt and pepper to taste.
- Using a sealable jar, squeeze the lemon into it and add the vinegar and olive oil. Seal and shake well. (Note: Depending on the size of your lemon you may want to squeeze half the lemon first and taste before adding the other half. I personally like a very lemony flavor!)
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.
NOTE: If you are presenting this to company you may want to add the avocado last and arrange it nicely, as it tends to fall to the bottom when tossed.
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I love mushrooms, and portobellos are just big enough to make a meal out of. Really it looks more “piled” than “stuffed,” but adding veggies makes portobellos perfect for lunch!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 large portobello mushroom
- 1/2 of a tomato
- a few slices of onion
- a clove of garlic
- 1-2 tablespoons of butter
- lemon zest
- Shredded cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, or virtually any cheese you could grate will work)
- Preheat a oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the portobello mushroom on a baking sheet or dish, stem up.
- Cut very thin slices of butter and place them around the inside of the mushroom.
- Peel a clove of garlic and mince or put through a garlic press. Sprinkle it around the inside of the mushroom, over the butter.
- Slice a tomato and place around the stem.
- Grate some lemon zest over the tomatoes.
- Sprinkle your choice of shredded cheese over the whole thing.
- Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes. A fork will easily slide in when it is done.
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5 minutes prep time, 40 minutes to cook.
This meal is so simple and delicious! I made this for two, so change amounts accordingly. The chicken gets so tender with this method, I love it!
I love artichoke, so every once in a while I’ll pick one up while I’m stocking up on groceries. I always have frozen chicken breasts in the freezer, and an assortment of dressings in the fridge or cupboard. If you don’t have lemons for this meal consider picking one up, or you can use lemon juice, but the flavor won’t be nearly as good.
Tonight I pulled out one very large frozen chicken breast and decided to use my artichoke.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 artichoke
- 1 lemon
- 2 chicken breasts, or 1 very large one
- about half of a container of italian dressing
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Put your artichoke in a pot, fill with water, and put on the burner on high. Cut a few slices of lemon (I used about half of a small lemon), squeeze into a small cup, and put the rinds into the pot with the artichoke. Cover. Once it boils set a timer for 30-40 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you can easily stick a fork into the artichoke heart.
- Put the frozen or thawed chicken into a sauce pan that just fits it, and pour about half of a container of Italian dressing over it. Turn the burner on high just until the dressing begins to boil, and then set on low. Flip every ten minutes or so until cooked through.
- Throw about four tablespoons of butter in with the lemon juice you squeezed and microwave until melted (I usually stir at twenty second intervals).
OPTION: I sometimes like to cut a clove of garlic in quarters and throw it in with the artichoke while it cooks. Once the artichoke is done I fish out the now soft pieces and smoosh them into the butter mixture.
NOTE: The left over italian dressing makes a great sauce, absolutely delicious! If it seems too runny for a sauce keep simmering it until it is the desired thickness.