Tuscan Bean Soup with Ground Turkey & Sourdough Croutons

Tuscan Bean Soup with Ground Turkey & Sourdough Croutons

Winter is dragging on and hearty, flavorful soups are always on the menu during this time of the year. This soup is amazingly flavorful and super healthy for you. I chose ground turkey for the meat but Italian sausage would also work fine. The soup has lots of veggies to choose from: yellow squash, zucchini, spinach, carrots and more. I especially love the toasted sourdough croutons combined with melted Asiago cheese on top. To thicken up the soup I added a few cups of the base to a food processor. This recipe also works nicely in a crock pot but over the stove works perfectly fine as well. The fresh thyme and rosemary to flavor the stock complete the soup in a lovely way. This recipe is absolutely perfect for the cold winter weather!
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Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup

Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup

Happy new year! I can’t believe it’s already 11 days into 2016. Since it’s January and cold season is in full force I thought I would post a recipe that helps beat the bugs that ail you. This soup is a simple, back to basics recipe. I like the addition of flour and eggs to give the broth a richer consistency. The soup is flavored with fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme, along with fresh lemon juice. A hot bowl of this soup makes for a comforting and nourishing dinner if you’re at home sick. I like to make a big pot of this soup on Sundays so I can have it during the week.
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Amaretto Orange Cranberry Sauce

Amaretto Cranberry Sauce 2

For holiday dinners, a bowl of cranberry sauce is the must have side dish. Some would argue that it is actually a condiment for the turkey which I can’t blame them for since they go so well together! Every year I like experimenting with a new variation of the traditional recipe and this year I went with an orange amaretto sauce. Amaretto liqueur’s cherry flavor lends itself well to the tart cranberries and provides depth and complexity to the flavor. I used fresh squeezed oranges and orange zest which gives it a tangier citrusy flavor. I like to scale back the sugar by as much as a 1/4 of a cup and it still winds up being pretty sweet but with an extra kick to it. I did always love sour candy as a kid. Feel free to add as much or more sugar, orange or amaretto as you like–cranberry sauce recipes are easily customizable!
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Lemon & Herb Roasted Potatoes

Lemon & Herb Roasted Potatoes

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching so I thought I would share one of my favorite ways to cook potatoes. While mashed potatoes are always the tried and true way to go for Thanksgiving there are many other options to try this year. This one pairs great with turkey and most other sides you could think of. When it comes to roasting potatoes I go with the red variety as I prefer the flavor of their skins to russets. I also happen to be a big fan of garlic so this recipe is generous with the stuff. Feel free to cut back if you prefer a milder flavor. Always go with fresh when it comes to the herbs. I chose fresh thyme since it pairs great with just about anything. Feel free to add other herbs, like rosemary, if you like. It’s also important to use a good, coarse sea salt. Normally I’m fine with regular salt in the majority of recipes but when it comes to this recipe I prefer sea salt far and away. I recommend the Celtic variety but Himalayan works nicely too.
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Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

The other day I just up and got a craving for carrot cake. It kind of came out of nowhere and I didn’t really have the right pan for carrot sheet cake, hence the cupcakes. Cupcakes that aren’t too sweet with a little bit of tanginess are my favorite kind. These babies had just the right amount of bite from the cream cheese and the carrot cake portion had a light, fluffy texture. Minus the task of shaving and grating the carrots (not bad at all really), these cupcakes came together quickly and easily. I got a bit cocky with my spice grinder thinking I could go and make my own powdered sugar (I happened to be out) for the frosting-haaa. No such luck and back to the store I went for powdered sugar (Protip: just buy the real stuff.) Make sure to have the cakes cooled completely before frosting, that way it will remain firm. I personally like the cake portion to be a bit taller so this batch yielded 9 large cupcakes but you can portion it out smaller which yields 1 dozen.
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Moroccan Lamb & Couscous Stew

Moroccan Lamb & Couscous StewWell it’s almost October and it’s time to gear up for colder weather and warmer food! This stew is perfect for the time of year since it’s hearty, spicy, and a perfect belly warmer. The stew is seasoned with coriander, turmeric, cumin, fresh thyme, fenugreek and cinnamon which makes a lovely blend of spices. I used Israeli couscous for this dish and it has a pretty great texture. It almost reminds me of a smaller, savory version of those tapioca balls in bubble tea. The lamb I chose was ground lamb which breaks apart in tender pieces. If desired the lamb can be rolled into meatballs as well. Preserved lemons also add a bit of savory sweetness that enhances the flavor of the lamb and curry. The nice thing about this dish is that it is filling but doesn’t sit too heavy either. This stew goes great with a generous spoon of plain yogurt, chopped cilantro and lemon for garnish.
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Slow Cooker Beef & Bacon Chili

Slow Cooker Beef & Bacon Chili

Fact: chilis and slow cookers are a match made in heaven. Chili cooked on the stove is great but the slow cooker really does bring it to new heights. On the stove, I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to burn and due to the thickness it’s hard to get it heated evenly without stirring fairly often. That’s where the slow cooker comes in. You get a nice even cook with no burning on the bottom, plus you get a much more tender meat that falls apart easily and the beans are always fully cooked. This chili has a lot of great stuff going for it, even before you begin the process of slow cooking. Ground beef meets crumbled bacon meets smoky chipotle spices. The secret ingredient in this one is apple cider vinegar, which adds just a hint of tanginess. This is THE “Game Day” chili, folks. Serve it with rice or Corn Muffins on the side or have it as is. Garnish with whatever fixin’s you like: grated cheddar, avocado slices, chopped green onion, sour cream and sliced nacho style jalapenos are all great choices.
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Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Soup

Cabbage Roll Soup

September is almost upon us and the shortening of the Summer’s daylight hours is just starting to get more noticeable. So in honor of the impending Fall weather I thought I would make a hearty slow cooker soup to celebrate. This soup’s humble ingredients go perfectly together and create a delicious and satisfying dish. This soup is pretty much a deconstructed cabbage roll recipe and the broth is flavored with herbs, Worcestershire and paprika. The cabbage and beef becomes fall apart tender after slow cooking it for hours. Garnish with grated cheese and parsley.
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Beef & Guinness Hand Pies

Beef & Guinness Hand Pies

I never knew how diverse hand pies could be until I started looking around for them. Turns out hand pies can be made savory or sweet, depending on what you fancy. In theory, you could have hand pies for dinner AND dessert if you so desired. You can definitely get creative with these recipes, but hopefully not as creative as Sweeney Todd (sorry). These are actually a lot of fun to make though they are a bit labor intensive. Probably best for a weekend project since it will take you a couple hours assembling the dough and pies together. The process of making the filling made the kitchen smell amazing and after this I resolved to start cooking with Guinness more often! The alcohol burns off and what you’re left with is a wonderful flavor from the Guinness. The filling is also flavored with Worcestershire, thyme and aged white cheddar. The outside of the crust is made with pastry dough which gets nice and flaky after baking.
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Southwest Green Chile and Sweet Corn Black Bean Burger

Southwest Black Bean Burger

It’s high summer and what could be more summery than black bean burgers? Don’t give the ‘bean’ part the side eye yet, carnivores. I promise this recipe is delicious and full of flavor. I’ve made similar black bean burgers in the past and this one also did not disappoint. While I’m a big fan of regular beef burgers, bean burgers are a great change of pace. You can do all kinds of things with these burgers; the possibilities are pretty much endless. Since fresh corn on the cob is in season I used that as part of the bean filling and it provided fresh bursts of sweetness in the burger. I used pepper jack for the cheese but you can use any that suits your fancy. This recipe makes about 8 large patties but they can be stored for 2 days in the refrigerator before cooking. I served mine with a batch of baked chipotle fries and it made a fantastic side!
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