Category: Gluten-Free

Braised Pork Chops in Sauerkraut

Winter Storm Jonas

In anticipation of the snow storm, I stocked up at Stew Leonards on Thursday. One purchase was two extra thick center-cut pork chops for Braised Pork Chops in Sauerkraut, using Dr. Pickle’s sauerkraut.

Winter Storm Jonas

We’re right in the middle of Winter Storm Jonas. Don’t you love how all storms now have names! I remember some unnamed storms when we lived in NYC, such as the Blizzard of 1978 – 17.7 inches and Metropolitan Snowstorm of 1983 – 17.6 inches. According to the news, the city already has 15 inches and the storm warning goes through 7am tomorrow!

Winter Storm Jonas

We’re only at six inches and the forecast isn’t too bad here. It’s windy (35-40 mph winds) and I’m glad we’re home and warm. The aroma from the pork and sauerkraut is intoxicating and I’m anxiously awaiting dinner!

Winter Storm Jonas

Final tally was 15 inches! Thanks Bren Landscaping & Masonry for the great job of clearing us out!

Dr. Pickle

I met Dr. Pickle at the Larchmont farmer’s market through my friend Ellen. He’s a delightful young guy who sells his pickles at a multiple locations in the NY/NJ area and through mail order. Wish he came to CT!!

Dr. Pickle

He sets up a table surrounded by wooden barrels filled with his half-sour pickles, probably my most favorite pickle of all, giardiniera, spicy peppers, pickled mushrooms and many more.

Dr. Pickle

He even makes olives! A tasting dish is always filled with samples and needless to say, you leave with more than you intended to buy!

Dr. Pickle

Back to cooking…

Braised Pork Chops in Sauerkraut

Generously season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper and brown them in oil over high heat four minutes per side. Remove and drain most of the fat.

I don’t drain or rinse Dr. Pickle’s sauerkraut. It’s so fresh and has a nice crunch; it can be eaten without any additional cooking. If you’re using canned sauerkraut, I recommend draining and then soaking it for 20 minutes in cold water. Drain again

To prepare the sauerkraut, combine dry white wine, very thin slices of Granny Smith apple and onion and some caraway seeds in the pot. Because I don’t drain or soak the sauerkraut, I don’t add any more salt at this point. If you use canned sauerkraut, taste it to determine if it needs a little salt after the soaking. Lay the pork chops on top of the sauerkraut, cover and cook on low for 4 hours turning the chops after 2 hours.

 

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Braised Pork Chops in Sauerkraut

If you’re using canned sauerkraut, I recommend draining and then soaking it for 20 minutes in cold water. Drain again, taste and add salt if needed and add ½ cup cold water to make up for the lost liquid.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x
  • Category: Pork
  • Method: Slow Cooking
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 thick center-cut pork chops
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pint sauerkraut
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup cold water, if you drained the sauerkraut
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds

Instructions

  1. Generously season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over high heat and sear the chops for 4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and drain the fat from the pot.
  3. Stir in the sauerkraut, onion, apple, wine (water if needed) and caraway seeds and bring to a boil.
  4. Return the chops to the pot, placing them on top of the sauerkraut and cover the pan.
  5. Reduce the heat to barely a simmer and cook for 2 hours. Turn the pork chops and cook for another 2 hours. The chops are ready when they’re fork tender.

 

Steak with Green Peppercorn Sauce

Steak au Poivre with a little twist using mini bell peppers served with creamed spinach and roasted butternut squash.

When I cleaned out the pantry during my reorganization spree this month, I came across a jar of brined green peppercorns and I was inspired to make Steak with Green Peppercorn Sauce. This is a favorite dish of
ours, and one I had for the first time on our honeymoon at Euphemia Haye in Longboat Key. That was almost 35 years ago and I see the steak is still on the menu!

I decided on filet mignon for the steak and spinach and roasted butternut squash as the sides. I had previously picked up a bag of mini assorted bell peppers and thought they would make an interesting twist on this recipe. I like to prep meals in advance, this makes dinner less hectic and it also means that many of the pots and pans and cooking utensils are already washed.

Spinach contains lots of water and I prefer to precook it to get rid of excess moisture, which thins the sauce. Place the spinach in a large saucepan with a little cold water, cover and cook over medium-high heat until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.

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Remove the tops of six of the mini peppers (mixing up the yellow, orange and red) and then use a vegetable parer to scoop out the seeds and ribs. Slice them into thin rings and toss them into a sauté pan with a little olive oil and unsalted butter (about 1 tablespoon each), a small minced shallot, about a tablespoon of green peppercorns, a few sprigs of fresh thyme and good covered for a few minutes. Pour in a little dry white wine (1/2 cup) and reduce bit before adding a cup of heavy cream. The sauce is ready once it comes to a rapid boil.

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I had purchased already cut butternut squash, which I tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbes de Provence in a small baking dish. Pop the squash, spinach and sauce went into the fridge for later.

Season both sides of the filets with lots of freshly ground pepper and salt and then place them in a super hot sauté pan with a little olive oil and cook two minutes each side. To finish the cooking,  po the pan in a 350 degree F preheated oven for 10 minutes for medium rare.

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Let the filets sit on a cutting board and add 1/4 cup bourbon to the sauté pan. To soften the harshness of the alcohol, I lit the bourbon and let it burn out.

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Stir in the sauce (removing the thyme sprigs) and reheat.

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Slice the meat and spoon the peppers over the top. Stir in the spinach to the remaining sauce and reheat. Place the creamed spinach around the sliced meat and then scattered the roasted squash on top of that.

This is a rich dinner, one you might consider making for a special occasion.

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Steak with Green Peppercorn Sauce

Steak au Poivre with a little twist using mini bell peppers served with creamed spinach and roasted butternut squash.

This recipe uses brined green peppercorns, freshly ground black pepper and sliced fresh mini bell peppers for a little twist on this classic recipe. Prep this dish in advance to make clean up easy.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Saute
Scale

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 6 whole mini bell peppers, tops, inner ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon drained brined green peppercorns
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Meat
  • 3 eight-ounce filet mignon steaks
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup bourbon

Instructions

Sauce

  1. Melt the butter with the oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the peppers, shallots, peppercorns, thyme and salt; cover and sweat for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and boil for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the cream and cook until it comes to a rapid boil.
  5. Remove to a storage container.
  6. Meat
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Generously season both sides of the steaks with the salt and pepper.
  9. Heat the oil over high heat.
  10. Add the steaks when the oil is almost smoking and cook for 2 minutes per side.
  11. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes for medium rare.
  12. Remove to a cutting board to rest.
  13. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
  14. Add the bourbon to the meat pan, ignite and let burn. Add the sauce, discarding the thyme sprigs, to the pan and reheat.
  15. Slice the meat, place on a warm platter and cover with the peppers from the sauce.
  16. Stir the spinach into the sauce and reheat. Place the spinach along the outside of the sliced steak.

 

Carrot Dill Soup

I’m starting the New Year with a recipe for Carrot Dill Soup. It’s light, gluten free and vegan if you substitute oil for butter.

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I prefer fresh carrots with the stems still attached as opposed to bagged carrots. They have a sweeter taste than the whole carrots in a bag, The mini carrots, I don’t care for at all. I don’t find them to test carroty; I keep them on hand  and those little mini carrots I use or dog treats, which she loves!

The ingredients are simple, oil or butter, onions, garlic, carrots, stock, salt, pepper, and dill. Use either fresh or dried dill, I’ve provided measurements for both. If you use dried dill, add with the carrots and stock. Fresh dill add after pureeing.

The soup is great for lunch in a mug or as a simple starter for dinner. It whips up in no time and freezes well.

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The holidays are over and it’s been hectic from Thanksgiving through this week with the shopping, cooking, wrapping presents, cooking, decorating the house, cooking and more cooking and finally pulling everything back together again. It was our first Christmas with my parent’s staying home in Rochester. We managed better (emotionally) than I expected, but we missed them.

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The decorations always come down right after Christmas. I follow my mother’s rule – never bring in the New Year with last year’s Christmas tree. We used to have a contest years ago with our neighbors across the street. The first one who got the tree down on 12/26 threw it on the other’s lawn. One year my next door neighbor asked if there was a problem between us, she had seen Eric throw our tree on the Babbitt’s lawn!

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Company is gone, laundry is caught up and I’ve begun to get ready for 2016. I cleared out all the 2015 financial files and set them up for 2016 and did the 2016 budget. The tax file is set up and awaiting all those forms and schedules that will arrive in the mail shortly. Ugh!!!

This is the time of year I like to tackle the kitchen cupboards. I managed to get them all emptied out, washed and in some cases rearranged. Strange things happen, though and I can’t find some tools. In particular, my bench scraper and that little flat rubber for opening jars are missing. I know they’re not here, because I’ve been through every cupboard and drawer! A trip to Bed Bath and Beyond is in order, along with a trip to K-Mart to stock up on paper goods and cleaning supplies – another Ugh!!!

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Even the miscellaneous/junk drawer looks good!

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Things are organized and I’m ready to get back to my normal routine. Claire came back up again this week for a few days . She starts a new job Tuesday and will get busy again, so it was lovely to have that one-on-one time with her – just Mom and her oldest baby hanging together!

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year – Happy 2016!

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Carrot Dill Soup

carrot dill soup in a bowl

This is a light soup that’s gluten-free and dairy-free (use oil). It whips up in no time and freezes well.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 quart 1x
  • Category: Soup
Scale

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound onions, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 pounds peeled carrots, roughly chopped
1 quart vegetable stock or water
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill or 2 tablespoons dried dill

Instructions

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onions and garlic; cover and sweet for 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, stock/water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat a bit to a gentle boil. Continue cooking until vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes; the smaller the pieces the shorter the cooking time.

Let the soup cool a bit; then puree in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth.

Stir in the dill and adjust seasoning as needed.

Freezes well.

Keywords: soup, vegetable soup, dairy-free soup, gluten-free soup, vegan soup, carrots, dill, quick and easy recipe

 

 

Spicy Beef Chili

My cousins are driving down from Conesus NY tomorrow for lunch; we’re having Spicy Beef Chili and garlic bread with triple chocolate and pumpkin biscotti for dessert.

They make a round trip in one day, five hours each way! Yes, they’re a little nuts but Linda and Cyndi love road trips and Linda’s husband Dave is a good sport and comes along too. The reason for the short visit is they live on a farm. Not a food farm, a horse farm, and the animals need them back in time for dinner.

The farm has been in the family since I was a little kid. I remember spending many weekends there and learning how to groom the horses and muck a stall. I’m glad my little rascal Lacy is not as labor intensive!

Lacy

I hadn’t given the menu much thought. Lunch is somehow much easier than a dinner party; there were no to do lists or even a grocery list. When I got to the meat counter they had some coarsely ground Black Angus beef for chili and that was my inspiration. I picked up some bell peppers, a jalapeño, a head of garlic, canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes and kidney beans. I didn’t give much thought to the garnishes until later and Eric will pick those up tomorrow am and get a baguette for the garlic bread.

A good rule to remember when chopping vegetables is to look at the size of the ingredients in the recipe. In this case, the kidney beans. Cut the bell peppers into a dice similar in size to the beans. This allows a nice combination of ground meat, peppers, bean and tomato to get on a spoon and you enjoy all the flavors together in one mouthful.

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The jalapeño, however, should be minced. The smaller the cut the more cells that are exposed and more flavor transfers to the chili. Also, you don’t want to be the one to get a large piece, especially if it’s particularly hot!

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Ground beef cooks up quickly, no long braising needed, and this chili comes together in about an hour and a half. Start by browning the meat on high in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and break it up into crumbles with the edge of a wooden spoon.

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Add the onions and cook five minutes. Add the chopped peppers, jalapeño, garlic, and the spices. Stir into the meat; the fat and heat release the essential oils of the all those delicious spices more effectively that liquid. Cook and stir occasionally for five minutes.

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Stir in the tomatoes and stock and simmer for 45 minutes.

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Add the drained beans and cook until heated through, about five minutes.

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Put out bowls of sour cream, shredded cheese and thinly sliced scallions to top off the chili.

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It’s a delicious fall lunch that hopefully will keep them full for their long trek home along with some baggies of biscotti for snacking.

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Beef Chili

Ground beef cooks up quickly, no long braising needed, and this chili comes together in about an hour and a half. Adding the spices into the meat and vegetables allows the spices to bloom in the fat before adding the liquids.

  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Yield: 8 portions 1x
  • Category: Beef
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups diced onion (1 large onion)
  • 1 each red and yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeño, minced (1 large jalapeño)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic cloves, minced (4 large cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon dried, ground ancho chili
  • 1 tablespoon dried, ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon dried, ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried, ground chipotle
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • Garnishes
  • sour cream, shredded Cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese, thinly sliced scallions.

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Add the beef and brown while crumbling the meat with the edge of a wooden spoon.
  2. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the bell peppers, jalapeño, garlic, ancho chili, coriander, cumin, oregano, salt, chipotle, cinnamon, paprika, thyme and bay leaves and cook on medium-high for five minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and stock and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Add the beans and continue cooking another 5 minutes, until the beans are hot.

Notes

Chili freezes well.

Black Bean Rice and Vegetable Casserole

Back to School Dinner #4

When Claire was preschool age, we frequented a wonderful Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood, El Mirador, with very authentic and delicious Mexican cuisine. Claire, the ever-picky eater, was happy ordering rice with cheese and the refried beans. Since the combination of the rice and beans is a complementary protein mix that offers all amino acids, it was a plus in my mind as she mostly ate cereal and pasta with butter! This recipe for Black Bean Rice and Vegetable Casserole is sure to please her more sophisticated palette today.

This is a simple recipe and it’s filled with fresh vegetables: scallions, tomatoes, zucchini, corn and frying peppers. I chose to use oregano and Spanish smoked paprika  as the primary spices. Include this in your meatless Monday repertoire if you have one, or start a new weekly trend!

A wide skillet (12- by 2 inches) is the perfect size and can go from stovetop to table, saving you an extra dish to wash.

The first thing to do is set up your rice, which can cook while you prep the other ingredients. I use this easy pasta method to cook the rice, a short-grain sweet brown rice.

Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat and toss in the tomatoes, corn, zucchini, scallions, peppers, salt and pepper, stir to combine, cover and let cook for five minutes.

Back to School Dinner #4

Stir in the garlic, oregano, paprika, coriander and cumin for 30 seconds.

Back to School Dinner #4

Turn on the broiler.

Fold in the beans and rice and cook  until the beans are heated through, about two minutes.

Back to School Dinner #4

Top with cheese and slip under the broiler on a low shelf until melted, about one or two minutes. Garnish with pickled jalapeno peppers.

Back to School Dinner #4

This recipe can be made a day ahead omitting the cheese. Cool the skillet, cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, cover with the shredded cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with the pickled jalapenos and serve. Use any leftovers for black bean tacos!

The recipe works well without the cheese for a vegan entreé.
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Black Bean Rice and Vegetable Casserole

Back to School Dinner #4

Black Beans Rice and Vegetables is a vegetarian entreé topped with shredded Monterrey Jack cheese and pickled jalapeños. Omit the cheese for a vegan entreé. Garnish with the pickled jalapenos and serve.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 50 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cold water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup rice, either brown or white
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomato halves
  • 3 ears of corn kernels only or 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 bunches thinly sliced scallions including green tops
  • 3 chopped frying peppers, any color
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) black beans rinsed and drained
  • 8 ounces shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • Garnish
  • pickled jalapeno slices, mild or hot

Instructions

  1. Bring the water and salt to a boil. Stir in the rice, return to the a gentle boil and cook according to the suggested timing on the package .
  2. Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat and toss in the tomatoes, corn, zucchini, scallions, peppers, salt and pepper, stir to combine, cover and let cook for five minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, oregano, paprika, coriander and cumin for 30 seconds.
  4. Turn on the broiler.
  5. Fold in the beans and rice and cook until the beans are heated through, about two minutes. Top with cheese and slip under the broiler on a low shelf until melted, about one or two minutes.
  6. Garnish with pickled jalapeno peppers.

Notes

Use any leftovers for black bean tacos!

 

Fresh Tomato Sauce Base

fresh plum tomato sauce

I’ve been gifted so many plum tomatoes this summer that I just finished up my third batch of fresh tomato sauce base. It’s a great way to use up a plethora of produce for future use, such as the base for a spaghetti sauce or as the tomatoes in a chili.

Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and remove the cores and any soft spots or black marks. Chunk the tomatoes up, slide them into a large saucepot, cover and cook over low heat. Once the tomatoes begin to release juices, raise the heat a bit to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally and cook for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, set up a food mill over a large saucepan or bowl.

Ladle the tomatoes into the food mill and puree in batches, discarding the accumulated skins as needed.

Heat olive oil in the empty saucepan or stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and salt. Basil is optional. The sauce needs additional cooking time to reduce the excess water and intensify the tomato flavor. Boil gently until reduced by at least one-quarter.

Fill pint-size containers with the sauce and when slightly cooled  cover and refrigerate for immediate use or freeze for later.

Having a fresh tomato sauce base on hand not only uses up excess produce, but provides many opportunities for a wide variety of uses.

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Fresh Tomato Sauce

fresh plum tomato sauce

Having a fresh tomato sauce base on hand not only uses up excess produce, but provides many opportunities for a wide variety of uses.

  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 mins
  • Yield: 2 1/2 quarts 1x
  • Category: Sauce
Scale

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds plum tomatoes, cored any bad spots removed and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups minced onion
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Basil leaves, optional

Instructions

  1. Place the tomato chunks in a 7-quart Dutch oven or large covered saucepot, cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  2. Ladle the tomatoes into a food mill placed over another large pan or bowl and puree, discarding the skins.
  3. Pour the oil into the emptied pot and place over medium heat. Stir in the onions, garlic and salt, cover and sweat for 10 minutes.
  4. Pour the pureed tomatoes back into the pot and bring to a boil, lowering the heat slightly and continue cooking at a gentle boil until the sauce has reduced by one quarter, or more if it’s still watery.
  5. Cool, ladle into Mason jars and put a couple of basil leaves in each jar, optional.
  6. Cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Freezes well.

Notes

Use as a red sauce for spaghetti, in chili recipes or for soup and stews.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup

Baked Cheddar Cheese and Ham Omelet

Back to School Dinner Recipe

Mornings are hectic and it’s unlikely that a home-cooked robust breakfast is appearing on the table. Everyone is in hurry to grab a bite and catch the bus or head off to work. This is a very good time to have breakfast for dinner with a Baked Cheddar Cheese and Ham Omelet.

Eggs are nutritious and versatile. You can prepare them simply by frying, scrambling or poaching. Serve with toast and ham or sausage on the side and some steamed vegetables. Simple, quick and easy.

Back to School Dinner Recipe

You can also make heartier preparations like baked omelets. I recommend cooking extra vegetables on the weekend, cut them up and put in a container. Buy a slice of ham and dice it up and save in a container or pre-cook some sausages, dice up and save in a container. Sauté a diced onion and save in a container. Having roasted root vegetables this weekend? Save the leftovers in a container.

Back to School Dinner Recipe

Don’t have leftovers? No worries. Take advantage of the pre-cut vegetables most grocery stores offer these days: thinly sliced bell peppers, little buds of broccoli or cauliflower. Buy a zucchini or some green beans and cut into bite-size pieces. Best of all, there is no need to precook these vegetables. Pick up a package of your favorite shredded cheese and you can prep dinner in 20 minutes or less.

Back to School Dinner Recipe

What to serve on the side: toasted English muffins, a nice crusty bread, muffins or scones; you don’t have to bake, pick them up with your morning coffee!

Warm the bread, muffins or scones in the oven after you remove the omelet, which needs to sit a good 10 minutes to set before slicing. A nice green salad or a side of steamed vegetables rounds out this meal nicely.

Back to School Dinner Recipe

While the omelet bakes you can set the table, or perhaps the kids can do that when they get home from school, check on homework status, get into some comfortable after-work clothes and maybe even have a glass of wine!

You’ve made a delicious, nutritious meal in a very short time with very little cleanup after and it’s economical. If you have any leftovers, send it the lunchbox.

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Baked Cheddar Cheese and Ham Omelet

Back to School Dinner Recipe

Mornings are hectic and it’s unlikely that a home-cooked robust breakfast is appearing on the table. Everyone is in hurry to grab a bite and catch the bus or head off to work. This is a very good time to have breakfast for dinner with a Baked Cheddar Cheese and Ham Omelet.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Yield: 6 portions 1x
  • Category: Eggs
  • Method: Baking
Scale

Ingredients

  • one dozen large eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup small pieces broccoli florets
  • 1 cup small pieces cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup diced ham

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease an 8- by 8- by 2-inch cake/brownie pan.
  2. Beat the eggs, half and half, salt and pepper until frothy.
  3. Scatter the fillings across the bottom of the pan and cover with the scrambled eggs.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. The omelet is done when puffed, solid in the middle and a little golden on the edges. Let sit 15 minutes before slicing.

Notes

Send leftovers in the lunch box tomorrow.

 

Four Bean Salad

Four Bean Salad

Four Bean Salad is a standard summer dish from my childhood. It’s typically made with three beans, canned green and wax beans and kidney beans, I add chickpeas to make that fourth bean. I also like to make this when the fresh beans are available in the summer. So nice to have that fresh flavor and a little texture in the green and wax beens from a quick blanch.

To start, bring a large saucepot filled with cold water and a heaping tablespoon of Kosher salt to a boil. Trim and halve the beans.

Four Bean Salad

Plunge the beans into the boiling water and cook for three minutes. Remove the beans with a long-handled mesh strainer and plunge them into an ice bath. The beans retain a bit of a crunch, which makes for a nice texture in the salad.

Four Bean Salad

Drain and thoroughly rinse a can each of kidney beans and chickpeas. Drain the string beans. The beans are a bit moist and the excess water dilutes the vinaigrette; place some paper towels in the bottom of a two-quart serving bowl and dump in the string beans. Add some paper towel and cover with the kidney beans and chickpeas. It’s only water on the beans, the towels can be dried and repurposed.

Four Bean Salad

Slice the onion lengthwise into thin strips. If it’s a strong onion, don’t worry, the vinaigrette mellows the onion nicely.

Whisk together the vinegar, oil, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper.

Remove the paper towels leaving the beans in the bowl, add the onion and toss with the vinaigrette.

Four Bean Salad

Refrigerate for at least two hours, occasionally tossing to marinate all the beans. The salad can be made a day in advance, even though the dressing is slightly acidic it won’t turn the green beans that awful gray-green color.

This is a great side dish, but don’t hesitate to have a bowlful for lunch!

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Four Bean Salad

Four Bean Salad

This salad can be made a day in advance, even though the dressing is slightly acidic it won’t turn the green beans that awful gray-green color. Eat as a side or as your main dish!

  • Prep Time: 3p mins
  • Cook Time: 3 mins
  • Total Time: 23 mins
  • Yield: 2 quarts 1x
  • Category: Salad
Scale

Ingredients

  • Bean Salad
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups green beans or haricots verts
  • 1 1/2 cups wax beans
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, lengthwise (about 1/2 of a small onion)
  • 1/4 cup plus one tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. BeanSalad
  2. Trim the beans and cut in half. Bring a pot of salted cold water to a boil, add the beans to the boiling water and cook for three minutes.
  3. Remove the beans with a long-handled mesh strainer into an ice-water bath.
  4. Drain the beans and place on paper towel to dry along with the kidney beans and chickpeas.
  5. Vinaigrette
  6. Whisk together the vinegar, oil, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper.
  7. Put the beans and onion in a large mixing bowl, drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss to coat.
  8. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours, tossing on occasion to marinate all the beans and onion.

Vinegar Coleslaw

Vinegar Coleslaw

I had half a green and half a purple cabbage on hand and I was in the mood for Vinegar Coleslaw.

There are so many different ways to make any kind of slaw – mayo-based or vinegar based. Then within each of these categories you choose from a variety of cabbages: green, red, Savoy, Napa, and add shredded carrots, salt and pepper and you’re done. Try with our Fig & Sage Marinated Grilled Pork Chops!

For a more complex version, add onions, jalapenos, spices, and a variety of ethnic vinegars and oils.

Celery is one of my favorite vegetables and one that seems to commonly ride in the backseat. You know, the raw veggie plate, diet food, minced up and put in tuna salad, but it’s delicious and I wanted to include it in this recipe.

Vinegar Coleslaw

Slice the celery thinly on the bias.

Vinegar Coleslaw

Dijon mustard is a wonderful accompaniment to a vinaigrette. The mustard flavor is recognizable, but not overwhelming, just that familiar tang. A generous dose of freshly ground black pepper rounds this out nicely.

Vinegar Coleslaw

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Vinegar Coleslaw

 

 

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Vinegar Coleslaw

Vinegar Coleslaw

Slice up red and green cabbages and some celery, shred carrots and dress in a tangy Dijon dressing for a vinegar coleslaw!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 2 1/2 quarts 1x
  • Category: Salad
Scale

Ingredients

4 cups shredded green cabbage (about 1/4 of a large head)
3 cups shredded red cabbage (about 1/4 of a large head)
1 cup shredded carrots (about 3 carrots)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (about 2 large celery stalks)
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sweetener, such as granulated sugar, honey or agave
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Place the cabbages, carrots and celery in a large mixing bowl. You need sufficient room to toss and thoroughly coat the vegetables.

Whisk together the vinegar oil, mustard, sweetener, salt and pepper.

Pour over the vegetables and toss until completely combined.

Cover and refrigerate.

 

Gazpacho

The summer provides an abundance of vibrant, fresh, ripe vegetables and this is the perfect time of year to make gazpacho. Have it for lunch and/or dinner or take a thermos filled to the brim for a picnic or
as a refreshing pick-me up on a bike ride or hike.

Gazpacho is a cold Spanish soup that originated in the southern region of Andalusia. The primary ingredient is ripe red tomatoes. The most common additions include bell peppers, jalapenos, garlic, onion, olive oil, Sherry wine vinegar, salt and pepper. The traditional Gazpacho Andaluz contains bread soaked in water and pureed with the rest of the vegetables, which makes the soup thicker and heartier. The soup can be pureed to a smooth texture and further refined by using a food mill to remove any remaining skins or seeds or less processed for a chunkier texture.

Cold Tomato Soup

Puree these ingredients.

I tried a few variations on the texture before I was satisfied. My first go round I not only peeled the tomatoes but seeded them as well. I have to admit to have feelings of guilt as the luscious red pulp that surrounds the seeds went to waste. I also pureed all the vegetables. I think losing the pulp made the soup less flavorful and I wished for more texture in the soup.

I finally settled on pureeing all the tomatoes with one half of the bell peppers, red onion and cucumber and all of the jalapeño and garlic. Do this step in batches, using one-third of the tomatoes and vegetables each time, the juice from the tomatoes helps get an even puree.

Cold tomato soup

Vegetables on the right are pureed with the tomatoes in batches. The vegetables on the left, pulse to chop into small pieces.

The remaining bell peppers and red onion I pulsed last to chop them into small pieces. I left the cucumber out fearing it would turn to mush and diced it by hand. I used Kirby cucumbers from the farmers market, which were small, sweet and had small, fine seeds. If you use a cuke with large seeds, scoop them out before dicing, they’re bitter.

Cold Tomato Soup

Diced cucumber.

Serve the soup well chilled and choose from a variety of possible garnishes: croutons, minced vegetables, avocado chunks, cooked shrimp, cilantro or pesto oil.

 

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Gazpacho

Try this quick and easy recipe for gazpacho, a cold tomato vegetable soup that’s perfect for lunch or dinner.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 1/2 quarts 1x
  • Category: Soup
Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 cups tomatoes, peeled and chunked (4 pounds)
  • 1 cup 1-inch chunks of cucumber, (about 2 small Kirby cucumbers)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion, chopped (1/2 small onion)
  • 1/3 cup yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped (1/2 pepper)
  • 1/3 cup green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (1/2 pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno (1 small)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cloves of garlic, (2 large)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion, chopped (1/4 small onion)
  • 1/3 cup yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped (1/2 pepper)
  • 1/3 cup green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (1/2 pepper)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons, plus one teaspoon Sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Puree the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, bell peppers, jalapeño and garlic in batches using one-third of the ingredients for each batch. Pour into a pitcher or serving bowl.
  2. Pulse the onion and bell peppers until coarsely chopped. Add to the soup.
  3. Stir in the oil, cilantro, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Notes

Serve the soup well chilled and choose from a variety of possible garnishes: croutons, minced vegetables, avocado chunks, cooked shrimp, cilantro or pesto oil.

 

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

I recently had a coconut milk ice cream and I’ll be darned if I can remember where, but I really liked it and fortunately the idea stayed with me.

Use half and half for a slightly lighter version, it reminds me of ice milk in texture. Chop any kind of nuts to garnish the ice cream for crunch; pop them in a bag and gently crush with a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pan. I chose candy-coated almonds for a little color as well as crunch; other options include chocolate-covered almonds or spiced nuts.

Tip: Set your freezer temperature to 4ºF for ice cream that is easy to scoop.

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

 

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Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Jazz up this coconut milk ice cream with some crushed nuts for color and crunch.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 1 quart 1x
  • Category: Ice Cream
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups half and half or cream
  • 1 can (15 ounces) coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the half and half, coconut milk, sugar, coconut extract and salt in a medium-size bowl until sugar is dissolved, about three minutes.
  2. Chill for at least one hour.
  3. Follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. About halfway through the churning, add the coconut flakes and continue churning as directed.
  4. Freeze.

Notes

Use the half and half for a slightly lighter version, it reminds me of ice milk in texture.

Tip: Set your freezer temperature to 4ºF for ice cream that is easy to scoop.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

How to read a recipe.

I’ve seen this recipe for Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic many times and just couldn’t wrap my head around the 40 cloves of garlic. It’s ironic because I love garlic and use it in almost everything savory.

This recipe offers me a rare opportunity to use the whole chicken with bone in and skin on. I love the crispy chicken skin and the flavor it imparts to chicken and prefer dark meat over white. My husband, unfortunately, only eats skinless, boneless chicken breasts Delicious, but limiting.

Peeling 40 cloves of garlic is a bit time consuming. I recently saw this new technique for peeling garlic where you put the garlic cloves in a container, close it and shake for 20 seconds. The garlic is supposed to come out completely peeled. I didn’t have much success. It loosened the skins, but I still had to peel them. I don’t know if I didn’t shake hard enough, but I’m back to smacking the garlic with the flat side of the knife. It works better.

How to read a recipe.

The sweetness of cooked garlic is apparent in this delightful sauce. I boiled up some ravioli and steamed spinach to serve with the chicken and the sauce was delicious with all. This is definitely a chicken dish that we’ll have over and over again.  Can’t believe I waited so long to try this.

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Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Spread the garlic over the bottom of a roasting pan and lay the thyme sprigs across the top of the garlic.IMG_2240

Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat.

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Season the chicken, both sides, with the salt and pepper.

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Sear the chicken for three minutes, skin slide down. Don’t crowd the pan, sear in batches as needed.

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Turn and cook for one minute more.

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Lay the seared chicken on top of the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs in the roasting pan.

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Add the cognac and wine to the frying pan, bring to a boil and deglaze the pan by scrapping the fond with a wooden spoon. Reduce the liquid to one-quarter cup. Stir in the chicken stock and lemon zest and bring to a boil.

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Pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for 45 minutes, or a little longer if refrigerated, or until the chicken registers 175ºF on a meat thermometer.

Note: The chicken can be made ahead to this point. Cover and refrigerate. Take out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before roasting.

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Remove the chicken to a warm platter.

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Boil the sauce to reduce it for five minutes.

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Discard the thyme sprigs, whisk the lemon juice, minced thyme and butter into the sauce. At this point, you can leave the sauce as it, mash the garlic or blend to a puree in a food processor or with an immersion blender.

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Pour the sauce over the chicken or serve on the side.

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Roasted Chicken with 40 Garlic Cloves

How to read a recipe.

If the garlic cloves are large, cut them in half to make sure they soften. There is more than enough sauce for the chicken. Use the extra to sauce pasta or rice as a delicious side with the chicken.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Pan Roast
Scale

Ingredients

  • 40 garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 whole roasting chicken cut into eight pieces
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup cognac
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced thyme

Instructions

  1. Spread the garlic over the bottom of a roasting pan and lay the thyme sprigs across the top of the garlic.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat.
  3. Season the chicken, both sides, with the salt and pepper.
  4. Sear the chicken for three minutes, skin slide down. Don’t crowd the pan, sear in batches as needed.
  5. Turn and cook for one minute more.
  6. Lay the seared chicken on top of the garlic and thyme in the roasting pan.
  7. Add the cognac and wine to the frying pan, bring to a boil and deglaze the pan by scrapping the fond with a wooden spoon. Reduce the liquid to one-quarter cup.
  8. Stir in the chicken stock and lemon zest and bring to a boil.
  9. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or a little longer if refrigerated. The chicken is done when the internal temperature registers 175ºF on a meat thermometer.
  11. Remove the chicken to a warm platter and boil the sauce to reduce it for about five minutes.
  12. Discard the thyme sprigs, whisk in the lemon juice, minced thyme and butter into the sauce. At this point, you can leave the sauce as it, mash the garlic with the back of a fork or blend to a puree in a food processor or with an immersion blender.
  13. Pour the sauce over the chicken or serve on the side.

Notes

The chicken can be made ahead to this point. Cover and refrigerate. Take out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before roasting.