But these recipes endure, and I’m sure they’ll find a special place in your May menu line-up!
Check out my recipe for my Sunday Best Burger to see just what happiness is made from! If you don’t want to grind the beef yourself, ask your butcher to do the grinding for you. Most grocery store meat departments will be happy to do this for no extra charge.
These sliders are bite-sized and couch PERFECT. Use sharp cheddar and do NOT forget the pickles. Oh, and good news, the recipe a mountain of pimento cheese, suitable for savoring with burgers, nachos, you name it!
My veggie burgers are filled with fiber and offer a delicious alternative to the more caloric beef burger. This is your go-to recipe for a basic veggie burger that most condiments and giant bun can make extra delicious. I like that you can make it in a skillet just like you would a grilled cheese.
Hubby and I share a great deal of similarities, but this most recent experience was WAY TOO MUCH! Savor this spring soup with your significant other, in health or toothache! Click to skip to the recipe
They say that if you’ve lived with someone for a very long time you start looking like each other. Hubby and I have lived together for a very….exceptionally long time and although we have many similarities, we don’t look too much like each other. Or do we?
We both have blue eyes. On any given day, after various salon appointments, we both have blonde hair.
Our tummies aren’t as flat as they once were and getting up and down out of our respective easy chairs, we both have a little hitch in our giddy-up (as my Dad would say).
Sometimes we come out of the closet and we’re wearing the same colors. Sometimes we miss the same golf shot. Sometimes we order the exact same meal. Sometimes we finish each other’s sentences. And then…there is the whole name thing……
But our recent bonding experience has carried things too far…way too far!
Hubby made a dentist appointment recently. He reported back that he had a tooth that required repair and a bigger appointment the following week. By the next day, I had a sore tooth and went to the same dentist. After a quick x-ray, she emerged with uncomfortable-looking body language and promptly sent me off to an endodontist to discuss a root canal. That guy was great, but he said no can do and pushed me along to a really nice oral surgeon who scheduled me for a tooth extraction and dental implant the next week.
I reported back to hubby and he laughed and laughed. He, the owner of a tooth that simply needed repair and me whose tooth was at dental death’s doorstep. I filled my prescription for Valium and prepared for the worst.
Hubby’s appointment day came, the day before mine, and off he went. Forty-five minutes later, he texted that he was on his way to my same oral surgeon for an emergency tooth removal. The dentist had misjudged the decay on his tooth. Go figure.
Bottom line is that we each lost a tooth in the exact same place in our mouths, twenty-four hours apart. Now, even our smiles are a bit more similar.
Which gets me to the recipe this week. Pea soup!! Yes, in order to ease the swelling, the surgeon recommended that I buy bags of frozen peas. Which I did: Bags and bags and bags of frozen peas. After the swelling was gone, the peas remained. Note too, that only soft, smooth things were on the Morgan menu for a week or two. So, our frozen peas did double duty as relief and substance.
Some things don’t change though. Even as similar as we are, I couldn’t convince hubby to eat pea soup. He hates peas… which worked out just fine for me!
Have a great week and don’t forget to schedule your dentist appointment soon!
Sweet Pea Soup
Yield: 1 Quart
Time: 30 minutes ‘til it’s ready
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen peas, thawed
2 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, about 2 cups
½ cup dry sherry
Juice from ½ lemon, about 2 tablespoons
2 to 3 dill sprigs
3 to 4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
½ cup heavy cream
Sour cream for garnish
Heat the butter over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and spinach. Pour in the sherry and cook until most of the liquid disappears, about 4 minutes more. Add the lemon juice and dill sprigs. Pour in 3 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer the soup for about 20 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Use a food processor, blender, or immersion blender to liquefy the ingredients to create a smooth, velvety soup. Return the soup to the pot. If the soup is too thick, you can add some more broth. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cream. At this point, you can chill the soup or heat the soup to warm it up. It’s great served warm or cold! Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a bit of dill.
When my kids were little, we had a Friday night tradition of going to our local TGI Friday’s restaurant and order our favorite appetizers: Wings and loaded potato skins. This version of that meal makes me sunshiney happy. I hope it does for you, too! Click to skip to the recipe
I’m a morning person.
Mostly, I’m a morning person because my dog refuses to sleep in…. at all! As soon as the sun breaks through the cracks in the window shades, we’re up. Not “stretchy-downward-dog” up; We’re “running-around-in-circles”, “grabbing-for-the-coffee-pot” UP.
The weather and the mood around here have been a little bleak lately. But, just this morning, I am inspired by just a few seconds of watching a glorious sunrise. The clouds turn pink and then crimson and then the fiery ball climbs up and over the faraway mountains and makes itself known to me, just me. Watching this miracle of nature is just enough to raise my mood and open the door to the prospects that today brings. What a joy.
In just a few minutes, with the caffeine beginning to take root and the sun rising, I can plan my day with a smile on my face. Soon, I know that this miracle will be shared with others and that they, too, can begin to build on this glorious sunshine.
Today I share it with you, my friends, family, and blog friends. My wish is that your day begins with sunshine, maintains the good feelings that this sunrise gives you, and ends with the promise of another glorious miracle after a night of restful sleep.
Meanwhile, here’s a recipe for a sunshine-inspired, fiery Buffalo chicken recipe. Enjoy!
Fiery Buffalo Chicken
When my kids were little, we had a Friday night tradition of going to our local TGI Friday’s restaurant an order our favorite happy: Wings and loaded potato skins. This version of that meal makes me sunshiney happy. I hope it does for you, too!
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
4 chicken thighs
4 tablespoons butter
For Buffalo sauce:
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
¼ cup hot pepper sauce
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Crumbled blue cheese
Preheat the oven to 425°. Place the flour, chili powder, onion powder, garlic salt, salt, and pepper into a resealable plastic bag. Place one or two chicken thighs into the seasoned flour in the bag and shake, shake, shake until the chicken is coated.
Place the thighs into a baking pan that has been coated with cooking oil spray. Repeat until all the chicken is in the pan. Top each chicken piece with a pat of butter.
Bake until the top of the chicken begins to turn golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Whisk together the green onions, diced jalapeno pepper, hot sauce, and vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Remove the chicken from the oven and reduce the temperature to 350°.
Pour the sauce over the chicken. Place the pan back into the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through, about another 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and crumble blue cheese over the top.
I served Buffalo chicken with potato skins and jalapeno corn. The corn is easy. Simply remove corn kernels from the cobb and sauté in a bit of olive oil with red onion and finely diced jalapeno pepper. Season with chili powder, salt, and pepper. For the potato skins, scoop out some of the flesh from a baked potato and cut the skins into wedges.
Place a pat of butter into each piece and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with diced bacon, ham, pepperoni, or prosciutto. Your choice!
Spread some grated cheddar cheese over top and bake until the cheese melts. Garnish the skins with sour cream and hot pepper sauce.
Comfort food is just what we need, whether we are in self-isolation, quarantine, or shelter-in-place. My Tomato Soup recipe hits the spot and offers a savory solution to navigating “the new normal”. Click to skip to the recipe!
We’re about to start the process of opening our county after eight weeks of social distancing. In a way, we’ve grown accustomed to staying at home.
Shelter-in-place has been weird. But what is even weirder is how quickly we’ve become used to it.
Waking up alone or with your kids or with your significant other and your kids and your significant other and maybe your mother…. and having nowhere to go. No plans on the horizon. No reason to get spiffed-up. No goals, no pat on the back for a job well done. It’s been lonely, challenging, and life-changing.
And now, just like that we’re supposed to go back to a new norm.
When I canvas my friends, I hear apprehension. While we’re home and quarantined, we’re safe from the silent enemy. But now, venturing out, facemasks in place, we fight a new challenge: how to exist in a society where the virus hides around every corner. It is a crazy, insecure feeling; one that we must overcome in order to go on.
Personally, I am going to rely on my comforts as I dip my toe in the new norm. My hand sanitizer is stashed in my glove box. I’ve ordered designer face masks (of course I did….). I wash my hands constantly and stay six feet away from people that I encounter. I even follow the arrows in the grocery store!
But when it comes time to enter the phase that allows us to gather in small groups, my plan is to gather. I plan to gather just a few friends for a glass of wine to start and then maybe a shared snack or lunch and then maybe a social-distance approved supper outdoors with a couple of pals.
Yes, there is some apprehension, but it is time!
Perhaps it’s time to make your plan. There’s a lot to think about, whether you’re going back to work or considering shopping at the corner boutique.
Is it time to get your nails done, or does anxiety put the plan off for another week? Is it time to invite your baby best bud for a playdate? Is it time to let him go to his friend’s house? No matter how or when you plan to embrace the new norm, it’s time to make a plan. What I always do when I face the road ahead is to take some time to think and strategize.
And while I fashion a plan, I like to surround myself with comfort food.
It kinda makes things less scary. The whole activity of cooking that food relaxes me. So, while you’re mulling over your plan for your new norm, why not take a tip from my playbook and whip up a pot of comforting soup. Tomato Basil Bisque is my go-to soup because it pushes all the comfort buttons. It is creamy, flavorful, tummy-filling and the perfect bowl to sneak in a fistful of crumbled crackers. Just the dish needed before you walk out the door for the first time.
Swallow your anxiety, take your time and step forward….Safely!
Tomato Soup With Jalapeno, and a Hint of Fennel
Adding just a bit of jalapeno adds a little heat to tomato soup. But the addition of fennel takes this soup to a spiced-up, licoricey lip-smackin’ treat!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced into small cubes
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ cup dry sherry
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
4 ounces tomato paste, about ½ cup
1 quart homemade chicken stock, or prepared low sodium broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ large fennel bulb, optional
½ cup half and half
¼ cup sour cream
Pour olive oil into the bottom of your soup pot over medium-high heat. Place the onions and pepper into the pot and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Pour in the sherry and simmer until most of the liquid disappears, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Pour in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and chicken broth. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar. Place the fennel bulb into the soup. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid and simmer the soup for 20 minutes allowing the flavors to blend.
Remove the pot from the heat. Remove and discard the fennel bulb. Stir in the half and half and sour cream.
Serve the soup with crushed crackers, another dollop of sour cream, and the tops from the fennel.
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it (or most truthfully read it) a hundred times over the last few days: “I’ve run out of ideas of things to cook”! Yes, we’re in the seventh (or is it eighth) week of staying at home, and most of our cooking repertoires have gone south. I get it. How many ways can you make chicken?
Well, if you are like me, it also might be time for a little lightening up of the old menu. I’m not sure when I made the switch from eating nothing white (bread, potatoes, rice) to how many ways can I make grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch? When did those Thanksgiving side dishes make it to my dinner table every night? Have I really come up with a dozen different varieties of breakfast sandwiches? Since when did 4 o’clock become wine and cheese time?
In order to scale (not that one – I have avoided that measurement) back, I’ve played around with a couple of yummy, but less heavy meals to make. I think you might enjoy a couple of these:
Mama’s Chef Salad. This is a perfect way to use up all the veggies and meats you have in the fridge.
Fill a HUGE salad bowl with lettuces, sliced carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. Top these with ham and turkey, any cheese you like, and even a hard boiled egg or two. Now, here’s the great part…
Stick that bowl in your fridge and tomorrow, when you reach for the sandwich bread, luncheon meat and chips, reach instead for a BIG BOWL of salad.
You can use any dressing. Mine is a simple combo of 1 small shallot (about 2 tablespoons), 1 teaspoon of Dijon-style mustard, the juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons), ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar, any chopped fresh herb you have and ½ cup olive oil. Whisk together the first five ingredients and then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Store the dressing in an airtight container, and it’s ready to pour on your salad when you’re ready to eat!
Eggplant Rollatini. You’ll love learning to roll this way during the quarantine!
Heat your oven to 375°. Cut the stem from the top of an eggplant. Cut ¼-inch slices from the top to the bottom (long slices not circles). Drizzle some olive oil into a sheet pan.
Lay the eggplant slices into the pan, and turn to coat the with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Bake the eggplant until the slices are pliable, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and cool to room temperature. Sauté some spinach leaves with chopped onion in a skillet until the spinach wilts down. For one eggplant you need about 4 to 5 handfuls of spinach, which is about half of a large bag. When the spinach has wilted, place it in a colander to drain the excess liquid.
Place an 8-ounce container of ricotta cheese in a bowl. Transfer the spinach mixture to a chopping board and use a knife to chop, chop, chop. Transfer the chopped spinach to the bowl. Add about ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Use a spoon to mix the filling together.
Place a ladle full or two of marinara sauce (the jar kind will do just fine) in the bottom of a baking dish. Slather the filling onto the eggplant slices and then roll them up! Place the rolled eggplant into the dish. Cover the rollatini with more marinara sauce and more cheese. Bake at 375° until the cheese melts, and the rollatini are warmed through, about 20 minutes.
Artichokes in a White Wine Sauce. Email me if you need more instructions on this one. It can get a little thorny!
Trim 2 whole artichokes by cutting off the top third, peeling the stem and snipping the thorny part from the leaves.
Place the artichokes into a pan with water and bring to a boil. You needn’t cover the chokes with water, just about halfway up will do fine. Add 1 lemon, sliced in half. Cover the pan with a lid and boil the artichokes for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid and make sure you still have plenty of boiling water in the pan. Continue cooking until a fork is easily inserted into the bottom of the artichoke, about 20 minutes more depending on the size of your artichoke.
Remove the artichokes from the water and cool slightly. Cut each one in half from top to stem. Remove the thorny choke from the center of the artichoke. Cut the halves in half again.
Place 4 tablespoons butter into a skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 shallot, finely diced. When the butter is melted pour in ½ cup white wine. When the wine reduces by half, pour in ½ cup chicken stock.
Add in the juice of 1 lemon and season with salt and pepper. Place the artichokes in the pan and bathe them in the sauce.