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one-pot creamy pasta

Happy Friday, friends. 
The recipe I’m sharing today is not my own.  It was in Martha Stewart’s magazine a few years back.  It was one of those pull-out recipe cards. 

I must admit, I didn’t think much of it when I saw the recipe, but a snowy afternoon with limited ingredients in the house led me to try it.
Holy cow batman!  Is at as good as fettuccini alfredo?  Nope.  Pasta, cream, cheese butter garlic..  not much can compare with that. 

Was it amazing? YES!

Was it easy?  YES!  Easier than making a box of kraft mac and cheese ( which, btw.. it also kind of amazing it it’s fake orange cheese nostalgic way ☺️) 
Here’s the original recipe for One pot orecchiette, chickpeas and olives

Admittedly, I’ve followed her recipe to a tee… but I’ve also used it as a guideline to play a little. 
Here’s her original recipe, just subbing the kind of pasta I used 

12 ounce dry pasta ( I had bow ties, so I used bow ties) 

* note..  many companies make ‘no bake’ pasta these days.  For this recipe, just use your regular pasta.  I haven’t tried it with GF pasta, but I’d imagine it would work, just keep an eye on it and add more water if  needed) 

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed 

1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted ( you can buy them pitted.. don’t fret )

3 cloves garlic, smashed ( or 1 tsp garlic powder ( make sure not garlic salt) 

Sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried

3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 

2 TBSP tomato paste ( buy the tomato paste in the tube.  It’s in the canned tomato isle.  Believe it or not. Whole Foods has one of the least expensive tomato paste tubes.  I believe Trader Joe’s also has one) don’t pay more than 3 bucks for it

( optional.. but I always use in any soup or stew.. small piece of Parmesan rind) 

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Sea salt

Ground pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese ( I also added a bit on cheddar ends that I had in the fridge )

2 cups baby greens 
Place everything up to cheese in a stockpot. 

Add 5 cups of water 
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, stirring occcasionally. Check pasta in 12-15 minutes ( thicker pasta will require longer.  Check at 15 min to see). It should be mostly cooked, with just a slight bite to it. 

Turn off heat, but leave pan on burner 

Add the cheese, replace cover for 5 min so the cheese can melt. After 5 min, stir and if cheese still needs longer to melt, cover for additional 5 min.  Discard rosemary sprig, if used. If sauce seems a bit thick, stir in a bit more water until you get a creamy consistency 


Serve with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes 


Please try this!  I have a lot of friends who are just learning to cook.. a lot of girls just on their own, either senior year in college or just out on their own.  This is a great recipe to start to learn to cook 

You can assemble in the morning and add water and cook when you get home from work
You can play with the ingredients…sub out broccoli crowns and cooked chicken for the chickpeas and olives

Or chopped red pepper and cooked sausage for the chickpeas and olives

Or ground beef and onion,  and pepper jack cheese for a Tex-mex flair

Or you can eliminate the cheese to make this vegan. 
Full credit of this recipe goes to Martha Stewart.  I just wanted to share it because it is insanely easy and tastes like it took a lot longer than it did to make. Try it! 
Enjoy!
Ps…. happy birthday to my long-time friend, Laurie! 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🍷🍰😘

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spicy grilled vegetable gazpacho

whelp, here we are smack dab in the middle of summer.

 

I I hope y’all had a fun  and safe holiday weekend.  Mine was a welcomed quiet time.  After a little bit of long overdue retail therapy, I found myself craving gazpacho .

I dug out my Original gazpacho recipe

as well as my Roasted veggie gazpacho

and kinda played around and came up with

spicy grilled vegetable gazpacho 

it’s similar to my roasted veggie one, but I played around with the flavors just a bit

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Spicy gazpacho ingredients

3 tablespoons coconut oil

4 Roma tomatoes

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced

1 sweet white onion, peeled and quartered

1 habanero pepper

1 red bell pepper, halved

1 garlic cloves, not peeled

1 lime, halved

small bunch each of flat leaf parsley and dill

1 can of whole tomatoes ( I used some I canned last summer.  Buy the best tomatoes that you can find. Where this isn’t cooked  you want the best tomato flavor that you can get.  San Marzano is a great choice)

1/4 cup good Olive oil ( same reason as the tomatoes)

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

sea salt, white pepper, freshly cracked black pepper

 

place  cukes, salt, pepper and white pepper in a high speed blender and let sit.  The salt will start to draw the moisture out of the cucumber, making for a smooth base since the cukes will have started to break down.  Alternatively, you can use a food processor if you don’t have a high speed blender, you’ll just have to make the soup in batches.

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Preheat grill to medium  heat.  Place an oven safe stoneware dish on the grill with the coconut oil . Season with salt and pepper and coconut oil will melt. Remove from heat and place veggies on the grill using  a basting brush, brush the coconut oil mixture atop veggies

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Flip the veggies after a few min and brush other side with oil mixture

Note~ each vegetable will cook at its own pace. Here, my tomatoes and habanero cooked first.  Once you see the carmalization ( those black lines are the sugars condensing and imparting a deeper flavor than raw vegatables). Transfer veggies to a plate .

 

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Now, let’s build this!

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Place the grilled veggies on top of the cucumbers. Add dill and parsley.

 

Purty, eh?

 

Next add the canned tomatoes with their juice

 

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Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add a handful of ice cubes.

Blend. ( or process in batches if using a food processor )

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I had to use my food pusher to get it started.  If you don’t have one, take a break every few seconds and use a spatula to free up the veggies until they move freely

 

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Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Squirt lime juice in as well.

Taste for salt and pepper.

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Let sit covered in fridge for at least an hour ( if you can 😜)

 

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You guys.  This soup is incredible! I started by only added 1/2 of the habanero, but found that I still wanted it spicier, so I ended up using the whole thing.  Start will small amount of pepper and add what tastes right for your level of heat.

 

I served it with a bit of Mexican crema, ( you can sub sour cream ) a bot of balsamic vinegar and lime juice

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Enjoy !

 

 

low fat creamy carrot-ginger soup with lemon-parsley pesto

friends, I have to tell you… I absolutely love  soup.  I could seriously eat it 365 days of the year. 

I woke up in a healthy cooking mood this am.  I headed to the store unsure of what I was going to make and I saw a beautiful display of carrots and then I knew! I remembered that the  very first dish I made at Johnson &Wales was a carrot soup. So I decided to make my own version! 

vegan creamy carrot-ginger soup with lemon-parsley pesto 

 

( makes 2 servings, it can easily be doubled) 

1 tablespoon coconut oil 

3 carrots

1 small fingering potato 

1 garlic clove 

A few gratings of fresh ginger  

1 tsp turmeric root 

2-3 cups low sodium chicken broth 

1 cup light coconut milk 

Sea salt and pepper 

In a Dutch oven, melt coconut oil.  Peel carrots reserving peels for Stock ( I keep empty freezer bags in my freezer and add to it daily. When they are full I’ll make either a veggie stock or bone broth, depending on what I have in hand ) 

Roughly chop carrots and potato ( no need to peel the potato 😉)

Add to coconut oil and sauté.   Stir a little bit, but not too much, you want the sugars in the carrots to get a little carmalazation ( color=flavor) 

  

When you can see color on the carrots, crush garlic and add, stir once then immediately add 1 cup broth.

Grate the ginger into the soup ( my good friend, Cindy told me that if you keep your ginger in the freezer it’s easier to grate and won’t go bad —-genius! —) 

Add turmeric, salt and pepper.

Bring to a simmer until veggies are tender.

 

   Let cool then add to blender ( alternatively you could us an immersion blender, but I find my blender results in a silkier soup) 

Add another cup of broth and blend until smooth. 

Return mixture to pan and stir in 1 cup coconut milk

  

Taste for salt and pepper. Adjust accordingly .  If soup is too thick, add a bit more broth to make it to your liking. 

lemon-parsley pesto 

1 handful fresh parsley

Juice from 1/2 lemon

1/2 garlic clove

1/4-1/3 cup olive oil 

Sea salt and pepper 

Blend well in a tabletop blender 

  

  

To serve, swirl the pesto atop the soup and garnish with slivered almonds ( pepitas would have been my choice here, but since I had almonds, they won!) 

  

I’m quite sure this soup will be just as tasty cold as it was hot….  I’ll check back in 😎

thug kitchen’s chickpea tabouli 

hint… She’s not wearing any shoes 😉

Yup… I’m back at it. Actually I’ve been cooking an awful lot. I’ve come to realize what great therapy it is for me!

There’s so much I want to share with you, that I have literally been sitting at my kitchen table for an hour trying to decide which ones I should write about.

I’m in a bit of a snark this weekend, so I decided on the off-color recipe ( actually it has a lot of color!)

Have y’all heard of Thug Kitchen ?

It’s a couple of peeps who like to use 4 letter words.. The really colorful ones..

They started a blog and recently released a cookbook ( if you aren’t easily offended, I urge you to google thug kitchen cookbook trailer… I laugh every time that I watch it… If you are easily offended, then don’t research it or click on the link to the recipe I’m about to share )

They cook plant- based foods… Yes, vegan…. Trust me, don’t let that stop you from trying their recipes… Just throw a steak on the grill and make it into a side dish 🙂

I’ve made 3 recipes from the blog this week

Pasta with cauliflower cream sauce

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Buffalo Falafal ( didn’t take a picture, but hot dang these were tasty )

And chickpea tabbouleh ..
amazing! )

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It was just as fun to make as it was to eat

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I’ve also been doing a ton of canning… I mean LOTS!

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I’m channeling my inner homesteader… I find the entire process very soothing.. I think it’s the organization part of it…

In fact I have 2 big pots of beets ( one red, one golden) on the stove right now getting ready to be pickled!

I leave you with a picture of the tree right outside our bedroom window.

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Nature’s art 💝

Happy autumn! I have so much to share!

Oxox

creamy roasted tomato and garlic soup.. and a story

hiya!

Many of you know by now, and if not, then I am here to tell ya, that later this year, when our youngest graduates from high school  Scott , Fenway and I will be re- locating to Colorado. In fact, he is already there and has been since last June.

When I went full- force  (more forceful, rather) with this blog it was because I knew that this was in our future, and I wanted to set this up to be able to share my experiences with my family and friends.  I couldn’t tell you all that back then, but I can now 😉

This will be a huge adventure for us on many different levels.

1~ we’ve never lived out of New England

2~ Our entire families are back here in Massachusetts

3~ Our children Ryan, Alison, Jason and Amanda will be in 3 separate corners of the country, with Scott Fen and I in the center.  We have always been a pretty tight family as far as families go, so this will take some adjusting.

4~ Scott and I have never lived alone! We had Jason so early in life that we were a ready -made family right from the start..

Jay and Shel wedding day Scott and jay wedding day

 

 

 

So we will be empty nesters at the ripe ages of 42&43 in a completely new part of the country for us!

so after knowing all of this, I have now shared it with you….  the next few months will most likely be the craziest of my life ( and TRUST me, I’ve had crazy times) but it will also be fun. I intend to MAKE it fun 🙂 And share much of our adventure ( including a cross-country drive with Fen in my jeep)

 

In the meantime, I have a recipe for you. I developed this by using my favorite way of cooking. Look at what I have in house and try to be creative.

Last week cherry tomatos were buy one get one free at my grocery store. When you can get free maters in the dead of winter, you take  get them.  And if you are like me you hide them, especially if you have someone ( no names) who might possibly eat that whole container at once…… And then if you are really like me, then you forget that  you hid them… and when you find them, well, they look less than desirable.

THAT is how I came up with this recipe.  ( the tomatoes weren’t rotten or anything, just starting to shrivel… feel free to use perfectly plump tomatoes in the recipe if you want to skip the dumb blonde** step of forgetting that you hid them)

 

creamy roasted tomato and garlic soup

 

2 pints of cherry tomatoes
1 head of garlic
1 large onion
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup cooked cannelloni beans
2 cups low sodium chicken broth ( use veg broth to make vegetarian/ vegan)
salt, pepper. dried thyme

 

Preheat oven to 375.

rinse tomatoes and pat dry. pu them on a non-stick cookie sheet. Cut up onion and toss with the tomatoes.
Cut the head off of the garlic and place in a small piece of aluminum foil.

Spilt the olive oil between the garlic head and the tomato -onion mixture. Close up the top of the aluminum foil and squeeze tightly. Place garlic in in center of tomato onion- mixture and sprinkle with salt, peper and dried thyme.

Roast veggies for about 20-25 minutes. Remoce garlic from foil ( carefully, it will be hot) and squeeze all of the cloves ( now delisciously sweet) into a blender.

Add all veggies and any bits that may have accumulated on the pan.
Add the beans, and broth and blend on low for 2 minute, then increase speed to high for 2 minutes

( if you use hot broth, then make sure you take the little glass insert out of the top of the blender and cover with a kitchen towel to prevent hot splattering liquid… I used the broth cold as well as the beans and just reheated the soup once it was done)
Once soup is blended, test for seasonings and adjust salt & pepper as needed.

enjoy! I promise you you will never know that there is not any cream in it!

I served mine with a dollop of Non fat Greek Yogurt

 

serves 3

190 calories per serving

5 grams of fat per serving

 

 

 

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roasted tomato and garlic soup

 

 

enjoy!  and thanks for coming along for the ride !

 

**dumb blonde comment…. someone is no longer blonde 😉

 

oxoxox

veggie chili

Friends.

I’ve hesitated.

I have a veggie chili recipe that I have pretty much been making for years. And I love it. but  I have a really good friend who is sort of a chili making champion.  She lives in Texas and they take their chili VERY seriously.  IN fact.. I have had the pleasure of tasting her chili… it truly is out of this world… You should  can visit her at River Cat Chili.

She is just back form a very big chili challenge that I’m sure she will be telling us all about soon.. and I have seen some of the pics.. and trust me… you wont want to miss this.

Sharing my measly chili recipe has had me intimidated.  But today… I feel strong.  I am going for it!

So the other day I defrosted chicken and had to decide what to make for dinner. Given the fact that I had more then just 2 to cook for, I needed to get creative.

This is my favorite way to cook. I have always said that if I were ever lucky enough to have a cooking show.. that this would be my ‘spin’

Open the fridge… take inventory… combine with pantry items and come up with 3 possible ideas.. and make one.

Which is exact-a-lacktaly what I did.

so what did I come up with? my veggie chili .. cooking the chicken on the side for those who wanted it. It was perfect.

I started by chopping the veggies and adding all but he garlic to a pan heated with oil

season with salt and pepper ( avoid salting the mushrooms)  and let everyone get a nice little crust.

after about 5 minutes, add the garlic, stir together, turn heat off, add wine to deglaze.

Turn the heat back on… once the wine has evaporated add some veggie stock and jarred tomatoes ( these were second to the last batch from last summer.. *snif*)

Let the chili come to a boil, then reduce and let simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Stir in beans. ( I used beans that I had made in the crock pot and froze.. just because I go throught them so fast, but feel free to use canned)

For the chicken, I cubed it.. tossed it in spices and sauted in oil over med high heat.  Then added chicken broth to deglaze , covered and let simmer until  chicken had reached 165.

At the last minute, stir in some chopped cilantro or Parsley…  I served it with the chipotle cream sauce and it was perfect. ( I added the cooked chicken on top of those who wanted the chicken.

This is easy, healthy and yummy 😉  I finished the rest of it for lunch today with 1/4 of a chopped avocado and some fresh lime juice. It is a perfect meal for a fall day 🙂

* a note on the ghost pepper salt*

I have recently REALLY gotten into finishing salts. I can thank Ryan for this. I make a few of them myself (Lavender salt, Rosemary salt) but I’m a sucker when come across different flavors.  I am lucky That Ryan goes to school near a fabulous little tea and spice chop.. and every opportunity that I have I visit and he and I try out the different salts.

and sugars

and spices

and teas

We came across this one last weekend.. and although the ghost pepper is UBER hot.. ( bought some powdered ghost pepper this summer…  you only need a spec.. this stuff is strong.) I knew I had to buy it.

I have used this every day. yumm..

it’s awesome. like you!

what am I thankful for today? for you .. my readers…  you make my day.. seriously.. it’s nice having y’all as my bffs 🙂

oxoox[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:4]

lentil love

I expressed a few weeks back about how much I truly enjoy LENTILS.
The bonus is that they are so GOOD for you! .. back in my previous life of being a cosmetologist, I had a client who was in her mid to late 50’s and looked AMAZING. Simply Amazing. I asked her how she did it… she told me that she ate a lot of lentils.. I know this sounds silly, but I swear to you , this is true.

I don’t think that I had really eaten lentils except for maybe in soup? They are readily available in just about every grocery store, there are many different kinds, they are quick and easy to make and if you live near a Trader Joe’s ( field trip there for me tomorrow… suggestion on what I should get??) you can buy already cooked lentil in the refrigerator section at Tj’s.

could it be easier? I think not.

My sweet, daughter in law, Amanda ( and future nurse:) *congratulations on Nursing School acceptance!* Started changing her diet earlier this year and has discovered a whole bunch of new foods in the process ( and also lost over 30 pounds in the process!) One of the companies that she discovered was Laurel Hill.

I bought a bag and….. I’m hooked. ( I found these at Whole foods) And as silly as this little recipe is, I feel the need to share this with you because I eat it 3-4 times a week. True love, I tell ya… true love ❤

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:3]

* side note…after an embaressing weight gain I am going to be re joining weight watchers… as soon as I do I will figure out the point plus info for this recipe and come back and edit it for those who are interested*

I have been using coconut oil for about a year now. This is some good stuff. Coconut oils had gotten a bad rap for many years, but researchers are finding that it has amazing health benefits

It can be a little pricey ( around 10 buck a jar) but it lasts a long time and I swear.. it’s worth every penny… I use it to cook my eggs & fry my tofu. If i had a must -have 20 item list in my kitchen, this would be on there 🙂

If you are new to lentils, I urge you to try them 🙂

don’t they look purty on my beans and grains shelf?

xooxox

~shel

Ethiopian spiced coconut-tofu

When I was a young girl, I used to pray nightly for the children in Ethiopia

Truth is…. I had no idea where Ethiopia was, nor why I prayed for them.. But somewhere along the line I heard that they needed help and so each and every night right before I’d fall asleep, I’d ask God to do so. ( I also prayed for the children in Cambodia and the hostages in Iran — I remember Easter morning watching the tv waiting for my grandparents to arrive ,watching some of the hostages being released… And crying thinking that prayers are sometimes answered)

Ok… I’ve never told anyone that story. And yet I just shared it with the world 🙂

I haven’t thought of Ethiopia in a very long time.. Then last week , I bought an ‘Ethiopian ‘ blend coffee..

And I’ve seen Ethiopian restaurants ( not that I’ve tried any..) must-change-this

And when I was in Denverat a yummy sandwich shop (ironically where I bumped into Scott with his co-workers) I saw an Ethiopian spice blend .. And despite the 10 dollar price tag.. I bought it.

I’m-so-glad-that-I-did

Everyone say hi to my blankie… I’m writing this 38,000 ft in the air 🙂

It is a mixture of
Fenugreek
Cardamom
Cloves
Paprika
Cinnamon
Cayenne pepper
Chili powder

Near as I can tell it was equal parts of everything except for them paprika and chili powder. Those packets had a little more than twice as much. (Maybe 2 teaspoons of everything and a tablespoon of the paprika and chili powder

I simply mixed it all together then stored it in a jar .

So while I was putting my laundry away yesterday ( for the first time in 2 months— like tell me you’ve never done that)

I got hungry . And I remembered that I wanted to try this. And I remembered that I had half a block of pressed tofu to use . And I walked away from the laundry. And into the kitchen

Which by the way is why my laundry never gets put away… I can’t stay out of the kitchen.. *le sigh*

And in less than 10 minutes I had the MOST delicious little lunch.

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Ethiopian spiced coconut tofu

1 tablespoon spice mix

1/2 block pressed tofu ( I use a tofu press. If you eat tofu ..it’s the best investment you can make.. You’ll pay for it in saved paper towel money in under a month;)

1 tablespoon coconut oil ( this stuff rocks! It should be on your shopping list)

1/4 red onion, chopped

About 1/3-1/2 cup light coconut milk ( I like trader joes the best)

1/4 bunch cilantro , rinsed and chopped ** optional — see note below

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Meanwhile cut tofu into cubes and toss it with spice mixture . Add to heated oil and let tofu crisp and get a light crust .. Turning occasionally . Add chopped onion and stir . Add 1/3 cup of coconut milk, and scrape up the bits from the pan

Once coconut milk is heated , stir in cilantro, transfer to serving dish and squeeze a wedge of lime on top.

You can thank me later …

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If you don’t eat tofu.. I’m sure this would be good with boneless chicken breast.. Just make sure your internal temp of the chicken ta-tas is 165 degrees before eating 🙂

** cilantro note… I’ve mentioned this before but I’m throwing it out there again.. Some folks don’t like cilantro .. They think it tastes like soap. And guess what? To them it DOES! It’s a chemical In Their bodies ( that is hereditary ) that makes cilantro taste like soap. ( or cat pee as a friend once told me, but I’m pretty sure she never tasted cat pee so I’m going with the soap 🙂

If you are one of these people.. Then I am sorry. Because cilantro is truly a wonderful herb.. But I ‘get’ it… Just sub out fresh parsley instead ( if you don’t like parsley, then I can’t help you today .. Check back tomorrow 🙂

And I just read the spice package and it was 7.99 not 9.99 ..

Don’t have those spices on hand? No worries.. I’ve got your back .. Did you know that in most health food stores you there is a section that you can buy herbs in bulk ??? It’s true! You can buy just a teaspoon of something by putting it in a Baggie with the code on the box:). It’s soo much cheaper than buying a whole bottle And you won’t end up with jars of unused spices..(which go bad fairly quickly. If you’ve had it for over a year.. There is dust mixed in.. Yuck. Unless of course you like dusty- soup )

Maybe I’ll try that some time..

Eh… Maybe not.

Honestly… as I end this post it has me thinking about how long it has been since I recited those particular prayers nightly.. life kind of happened and my prayers started to become more personal.. still are in fact .. when i think back to my innocence and how big my heart was despite how little I was.. it kind of makes me smile :).

and makes me want to shout out a silent prayer to the whole wide world 🙂

Gotta run… Snack time :).

(What us it about getting so excited for snack time on an airplane????)

Cooking in Colorado

yes. friends, I am here confessing to you.. I am in love with white beans.

it’s true. and on my recent trip to Denver I told you about a situation that I go myself into.

you see… I was able to use an entire kitchen to make dinner…except, other that appliances and cookware, I had zero food. I mean nada. zilch. less than nothing.

I did not even have salt or pepper 😦

We had stopped at the whole paycheck store the day before I decided to cook ( to buy apples and kombucha… I’m addicted to the booch.. Lord help me) when I saw a container of cooked white beans.

I kid you not when I tell you that I kept thinking about these beans.

I may have had a dream about them that night.

or not.

but probably.

like yes.. it’s true I dreamt about the dang beans

could I even MAKE this up?

So when Scott suggested that we cook in Sat night rather go out and deal with the crowds.. i was all over it.

Except that we were starting from scratch.

so I put my thinking cap on….. *psst… it’s pink 😉 *

I knew I had to have those white beans. I just had to ..

and white beans marry so well with greens. When I saw local spinach at the store, I knew I was onto something.. But Scott and Ali would want an additional protein… chicken thighs were on sale.. so I added that to the basket. and a lemon. I love lemons. Like maybe too much. I start most days with warm lemon water

I wanted fresh pasta, but at 8.99 a whack, I skipped it in favor of dried linguine.

and the smallest jar of oil that i could find.. which happened to be truffle flavored.. which is ok.. I was going to make it work.

and some light cream.. to round the dish out. and finally, frozen peas.

and since this is how I cook…. ( all willy- nilly, most of the time sans- recipe ) I give you

ingredient-challenged barefootgirl cooks in another kitchen white beans & greens with pan seared chicken thighs in a lemon garlic cream sauce sprinkled with peas.

my fingers just hurt even typing that..

so grocery list…….

cooked white beans

garlic cloves ( 3)

bunch of fresh spinach

a lemon

small jar of oil ( truffle in our case, but any heart healthy oil will do)

chicken thighs ( skinless)

light cream

dried pasta

parmesan cheese shreds

frozen peas

*pick up chicken stock. I’ll explain in a bit*

( I was hoping to find salt and pepper packets so that I didn’t need to buy salt and pepper to then have to throw out, but the register lady ( my hopefully someday job) told me to go to the salad bar and sprinkle s&p into a salad dressing container.

pure.

genius.

I started by draining & rinsing the beans and heating a saute pan with a bit of the oil… adding the beans, season them with salt and pepper, adding 1/ the chopped garlic and smashing a few of the beans.

I then added the rinsed spinach right on top

( don’t worry about the extra water on the spinach, it will help the steaming process).. add the spinach directly on top, cover immediately and remove from heat.

don’t peek.. you sneaky- peeker- you…

next. add oil to another saute pan, season thighs with genius salt and pepper and place thighs in pan, allowing them to brown.

Once browned on one side, using tongs.( not to self and all of you… oxo makes the BEST tongs. I unfortunately did not have those there.. I will be changing that very soon ) anyway.. using the tongs. flip the thighs over and allow to brown on the other side. add the remaining garlic and then I added the cream.

* now here is where I would make a change.. I would use chicken stock here instead, and add the cream at the very end. the cream started to curdle a bit.. it was still really good, but if you use chicken stock now to cook the chicken in.. you will be happy 😉 *

cover the chicken and allow to simmer until chicken is fully cooked.

this is an excellent time to cook the pasta in boiled salted water 🙂

add frozen peas once chicken is cooked.. allow peas to just heat through.

next remove the lid from the bean mixture

isn’t it pretty 🙂

and if you are feeling like it’s a wild and crazy night since you are in another city, mix in a bit of cream

and a squeeze of lemon juice. and just to take it over-the-top

some parm cheese

this.. was my dinner….

and this was theirs..

I topped each with a squeeze of lemon for freshness..

yum 🙂

now when all was said and done.. I added the leftovers to one pot ( cutting up the pasta) and made the base of a soup… all that you would need to do is add a bit of chicken broth and heat for a quick weeknight soup 🙂

going out in the city is nice, but every once in awhile, it is nice to just stay in and enjoy the view and the cooking…. and that is how this family spent our Saturday night. And not one of us would have changed it 🙂

enjoy this recipe.. now that I’m done typing, My tummy is rumbly and I’m on the hunt for the ingredients to make it again..

caio friends 🙂

psst.. if you haven’t read it on facebook.. congrats to Lynn on winning the hand knit socks! remember, mom is offering free shipping on any of her items for the month of Oct with 100% of her proceeds going to ward breast cancer research… thank you to all who have taken advantage of this.. I guarantee you… her fingerless gloves are the best!

oxoxo~shel

crock pot potato cheese soup

it’s FALL here in the Northeast.. which of course you already know that I LOVE !!!!! 

one of the many things ( # 19 on that list to be exact) is SOUP!!

this here, my friends is the easiest soup that you will ever make. And it rivals Panera’s. I promise.

I pinky promise 🙂

Crock pot Potato Soup

you will need

1~ a bag of frozen hash browns ( $2)

2~ a package of Mccormick country gravy mix ( near the spices) ( $1.50)

3~ a box o stock ( $2) ( for vegetarian, use veg stock)

4~ shredded cheddar ( $2) ( optional)

place all ingredients except cheese in a crock pot on low for 6 hours… stir in cheese during last 1/2 hour

OR place all ingredients except cheese in a stock pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft.. stir in cheese at the end until melted.

you can keep it as is.. and have it chunky ( yum) or you can use an immersion blender and blend until smooth..

season with salt & pepper.. voila! an awesome autumn soup 🙂

you could get all crazy and add broccoli.. or bacon… or asparagus…. use your imagination! get down with your bad self!

For those of you who are campers ( you know who you are 😉 ) this is a perfect dinner to whip up at the campground !

and the grand total..

$4.50 for the whole pot without cheese ( cheaper than a bowl of soup at Panera)

or $ 6.50 with the cheese ( go for the cheese 😉 it makes me happy 🙂 🙂 🙂

thanks to my hoski friends for allowing me to share this recipe 🙂

and remember.. there is still time to register to win a pair of Mom’s hand knit SOCKS

oxooxoxox

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