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In the Kitchen

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (0)

I can’t believe Christmas is just days away!  I imagine many people, will be traveling for the holidays, but just in case you’re sticking close to home here are a couple of recipes I thought you might enjoy.

Vegetable Lentil Soup
Roasted Chicken with Mushrooms and Gorgonzola

Have a very Merry Christmas!  Drink a glass of egg nog for me!


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4 servings

4 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless
2tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1/4tsp Garlic Powder
1/4tsp Oregano, dried
Salt & Pepper to taste
6oz Mushrooms, sliced
1 Roma Tomato, chopped
1-2oz Gorgonzola, crumbled

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

Rinse chicken and place in shallow baking dish.  Drizzle with 1T olive oil on both sides; season with garlic powder, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until an internal thermometer reads 160-degrees in the thickest part of the breast.

While the chicken is baking, heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat with 1T olive oil.  Add the mushrooms to the pan, in a single layer and don’t move them so they will brown.  Cook for 3-4 minutes.  When the mushrooms have browned, add the tomato and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the chicken from the oven and place on a warm platter.  Top the chicken with the mushrooms and tomato mixture then crumble on the Gorgonzola.

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Vegetable Lentil Soup

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (0)

6-8 Servings

1 sm Onion, chopped
3 ribs Celery, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
14.5 oz No added salt canned Tomatoes
½ lb Green Beans, cut into 1” pieces
1 cup French Green Lentils
6 cups Chicken Stock
5 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp Cayenne pepper

Heat 3tbs extra virgin olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat.  Sauté the onion, celery and carrots for 5 minutes or until onion is translucent; add garlic to the pot and sauté for 1 minute more.  Add tomatoes, green beans, lentils and chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the soup covered for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the lentils are softened.

Season the soup with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.

Serve in bowls with an extra drizzle of reserved olive oil.

6 to 8 servings

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In The Kitchen

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (0)

Well I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks and this week I’m taking it easy.  I’m not using any of my own recipes.  You know sometimes you just don’t feel very creative and that’s OK.  When I’m feeling less than creative I go to my bookshelf, where I admittedly have far too many cookbooks.  Really, I sometimes think I became a personal chef just to support my cookbook habit.  So this week I’ve pulled out a tried-and-true favorite, Joy of Cooking. Read More→

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Weekly Menu 11/23-11/27

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (0)

So the title isn’t exactly correct for this post.  I’m not going to give you a weeks worth of recipes, but I am going to give you some of my all time favorite Thanksgiving recipes. This week I’ve included two of my favorite side dishes, a link to my favorite, and full-proof, roast turkey recipe along with a bonus dinner recipe that just seems to encompass all the flavors of autumn.  Hope you enjoy.

Sauteed Green Beans with Carrots and Garlic:  There has never been a more beautiful dish than this one.  The colors are so vibrant and flavors are wonderful.

Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Mashed Potatoes:  One word…YUM!  Once you’ve had these mashed potatoes you’ll never want any other kind.  This is probably the most requested recipe from my family.  These potatoes are great for the holidays and even pair nicely with a steak.  (I’ll have to post that recipe another time…)

Roast Turkey:  Now this recipe comes straight from Alton Brown at Food TV.  I have been using this recipe, specifically this technique for, good grief, 6-8 years.  Although I sometimes will vary the brine or the seasonings I never, let me repeat, never change the technique.  I always get a beautiful moist turkey that everyone enjoys.  So make sure to read the recipe and watch the videos as Alton describes how to make this.  Trust me you will never make roast turkey another way!

And finally, the bonus recipe, Braised Chicken with Apples and Cranberries.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, from my kitchen to yours!

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Weekly Menu 11/16-11/20

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (0)

Knowing that Thanksgiving is next week and that one big meal can really put a drain on my grocery budget, I’ve chosen to use some some super easy, frugal, and yummy meals this week.

Monday: Miso Soup with Steamed Broccoli and Rice If you enjoy miso soup and have never made it at home you really should give it a try.  It’s easy and tastes so good!  If it seems like too much trouble, you can swing by one of your local Sushi restaurants and get it to go.

Tuesday-Thursday:  One Chicken, 3 Meals My family really love that I don’t make them eat “leftovers” but try to recreate leftover ingredients into completely different meals.  So we’ll have the slow-cooked whole chicken and vegetables then I’ll use the remaining chicken meat in other recipes.  One whole chicken easily feeds my family of 4, however, if you have more mouths to feed or even teenagers (Yipes!) you will probably only get 2 meals unless you can fit 2 whole chickens in your crock pot… or you have 2 crock pots.  :^)

Friday:  Potato Cheese Soup This is so good and frugal!  I lighten the recipe by using 1% milk.  It’s slightly less creamy but no one seems to mind and I certainly don’t mind the fewer calories and fat grams!

Next week I’ll post some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes.  Happy cooking!

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Weekly Meals 11/9-11/13

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (1)

So this week I’ve given myself a challenge.  I’m not going grocery shopping, but I’m going to make our family meals right out of the pantry with some of the vegetables we are still getting out of the garden.  (Don’t be mad!  It’s just one of the perks of living in So. Cal!)  I try to do this every once in a while for a few of different reasons. One, I like being frugal with our grocery budget.  Two, I like the creative challenge this gives me.  (Between you and me, my husband seems most impressed with my cooking when I randomly make something out of nothing.  It makes him smile, which makes me smile.  Nice.)  Three, I don’t like food getting lost in the back of the pantry so by cooking this way I am forced to really look at what’s in my pantry and use it.  Some time in the future I will create a list of the pantry items I regularly keep so if you are new to cooking or just an overwhelmed cook you will have something to go by.

Monday: Chicken, Pineapple, & Vegetable Stir Fry My kids love stir frys and it’s a great way to get them to eat more vegetables.  For this one I used some precooked and chopped chicken thighs I had marinated with Soyaki (a favorite sauce from Trader Joe’s).  I sauteed sliced onion and carrots then added the chicken and some fresh pineapple.  I had the fresh pineapple on hand but you could certainly use canned.  Then I served everything over brown rice.

Tuesday: Taco Salad Use your imagination and whatever meat you might have frozen in the freezer.  I will use some frozen shredded chicken (leftovers from a previous meal.)  Cooked up with onion and peppers from the garden.  I’ll toss all of that with salsa I have in the fridge.  The chicken and salsa mixture will then go on top a bed of romaine lettuce with fresh tomatoes, cheese, and sprinkling of crumbled tortilla chips.  If you want to take this meal vegetarian, replace the chicken with black or pinto beans.

Wednesday: Crockpot Chili Beans This is made just like the Black Bean & Rice Soup except I’ll use extra seasonings and I’ll leave out the rice.  I’ll serve these beans with homemade corn bread.

Thursday: Spinach and White Bean Pasta with Salame Ok, this a fun one and so simple with ingredients from the pantry.  If you don’t have salame you could certainly use bacon as the topping.  I’ll serve this with a great rustic No-Knead Bread I found.  Note:  The bread recipe requires that you start the dough the night before you plan to eat it.

Friday: Homemade Pizza Night I keep our favorite pizza toppings in zip top bags in the freezer, I use my homemade sauce, and I make the dough.  So this meal is great for saving money and is fun for the whole family!

With happy and frugal blessings from my kitchen to yours!

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Taco Night

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (0)

This is a great healthy version of taco meat.

1lb    Ground beef or ground turkey
1       Onion, chopped
1       Red Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
1tbs  Chili Powder
1tbs  Cumin
1tbs  Cocoa Powder
8oz  Tomato Sauce
15oz  Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed

In a large saute pan, set over medium-high heat, brown the meat with the onions and peppers.  When the meat has browned and the onions are translucent drain the meat of any excess fat.  Add the chili powder, cumin and cocoa powder; saute for 1 minute so the spices have a chance to toast.  Add tomato sauce and kidney beans and allow to heat through.

Serve the taco meat in taco shells with chopped lettuce, tomato, cheese, and salsa

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Cream Sauce

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Anytime I see a recipe that calls for creamy condensed soup or cheese sauce I know I can substitute a variation of my own cream sauce.  You can even use this sauce for homemade mac-n-cheese!  Yummy!

2tbs  Butter
2tbs  Flour
1cp    Milk

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.  (I like to use a whisk.)  Slowly pour milk into the pan whisking constantly.

Allow the sauce to thicken and season with salt or add other ingredients according to your recipe.

Have fun and explore the endless options to this versatile sauce!

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Have you ever found yourself with a recipe calling for “cream of something” soup?  I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand that stuff!  Every one I have ever found is full of ingredients I don’t want in my food or I can’t pronounce.  Well in this recipe you get to have all the creaminess without the guilt.  Using a simple technique you make a cream sauce.  Once you’ve learned how to make this sauce you will be able to apply it to a multitude of other recipes.  This recipe uses a kicked-up version of the sauce, but you can follow this link to get the simplified very versatile recipe.

1tbs     Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2          Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2tbs     Butter
2cps     Mushrooms, thinly sliced
2          Garlic cloves, minced
2cps    Fresh Spinach
2tbs    Flour (I use, unbleached all purpose flour)
1cp      Milk
1lb       Pasta
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Set a large sauté pan over medium-high heat; add olive oil to pan; add chicken and sauté until the chicken is nicely browned and cooked through.  Remove chicken to a plate.

To the pan add butter and mushrooms.  Allow the mushrooms to brown slightly; 3-4 minutes.   Add garlic and spinach; cook until spinach has wilted.  Add flour to the pan; stirring constantly cook the flour for 1 minute (this gets rid of the flour taste.)  Slowly pour in milk stirring constantly.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Once the sauce has thickened to your liking, stir it into the drained pasta and add the chicken.

Serve with Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon.

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