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Archive for the ‘soups and salads’ Category

italian orzo spinach soup

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, peeled and diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups (about 8 oz) orzo
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
4 cups loosely-packed spinach
salt and black pepper


Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 4 minutes, until soft. Add carrots, celery and garlic and saute for an additional 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, orzo (pasta), thyme, oregano, rosemary and stir to combine. Bring soup to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente.
Stir in the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until it is bright green and wilted. Season with salt and black pepper to taste (if needed). Serve warm.

wheatberry, chickpea and arugula salad

Saturday, June 6th, 2015


virginia peanut soup

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped, plus 1/4 cup celery leaves, for garnish
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 bay leaf
6 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth (store-bought or homemade; see related recipe), plus more as needed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
1/4 cup diced, unpeeled apple, for garnish (optional)

To make the soup, place the peanuts in a bowl with enough water to cover by 2 inches, and soak at room temperature for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight. Drain.

Pour the oil into a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the drained peanuts, celery seed and bay leaf; cook, stirring, until the peanuts are heated through and coated in oil, 2 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat until it is barely bubbling around the edges. Cook uncovered until the peanuts are very soft, about 20 minutes. Fish out and discard the bay leaf.

Working in small batches, transfer the soup to a blender, remove the center knob from the lid, cover with a dish towel to contain splatters, and blend until smooth. Add a little more broth if you’d like the soup to be thinner. Pour back into the pot and reheat over medium heat. (For a particularly smooth texture, rinse out the pot and push the soup back into the pot through a fine-mesh strainer.) Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper; taste, and add more of any or all of them as needed.

Recipe seen in the Washington Post magazine.

cafe rio creamy tomatillo dressing

Sunday, December 14th, 2014
1 packet regular Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not BUTTERMILK)
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. buttermilk
2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalepeno (if you like it spicy leave the seeds in, other wise remove the seeds)

Mix all ingredients together in the blender until smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to use, will thicken as it gets colder.  Enjoy!
Recipe from

thousand island dressing

Monday, April 26th, 2010

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Mix ingredients together. Serve immediately or chill until needed.

cream of soup

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1 cup milk

In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour over it and stir to incorporate. Cook over medium low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the milk.


Cream of Chicken – If you want to make a cream of chicken flavored sauce, use half broth and half milk. If you have troubles getting this to be smooth, try heating the milk or broth before adding to the flour and butter. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat, barely simmering, for a few minutes until thick.

Cheese sauce – To make a cheese sauce, add grated cheese and stir until melted.

Cream of Celery, Mushrooms or Onion – To make a cream of something, saute 1/4 cup or so finely chopped celery, mushrooms, or onion in the butter before adding the flour and use half broth and half milk.

Recipe found on Cheap Cooking.

california pasta salad

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

1 16 oz bag pasta (bow tie or curly)
1 bunch green onions
1 container cherry tomatoes
1 jar pitted kalamata olives
1 jar artichoke hearts (in water)
1 little container toasted pine nuts
1 package feta cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 bunch roasted asparagus

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 or 2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Cook pasta.  While pasta is cooking, chop onions and parsley, slice cherry tomato and artichoke hearts.  Drain pasta.  Lay pasta out on cookie sheet to dry.  Don’t put dressing on more than 20 minutes before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Jen Nowlin.


Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

finely chopped or shredded cabbage
shredded carrots (optional)
finely chopped or shredded onions (optional)
mayonnaise (I prefer Hellman’s, my grandmother uses Miracle Whip, but use whatever mayonnaise you have on hand)
salt and pepper
celery seed
apple cider vinegar

I am guilty. I’m like my grandmother. I make food without recipes, and this is one. My cole slaw never comes out the same and the ingredients vary greatly, but it always has cabbage, mayonnaise, celery seed, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Sometimes you have really mild cabbage, sometimes it’s very strong, and it all depends on how much liquid the cabbage releases…and how I feel that day…so there is no real recipe for this. Sorry guys. If I get around to it I will concoct some sort of directions to follow.

orange jell-o salad

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

1 small package orange Jell-O
1 (16-ounce) carton cottage cheese
1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 can mandarin oranges, drained

Mix dry Jell-O with cottage cheese until dissolved. Add oranges and fold in Cool Whip. Cover and keep cold.

Recipe courtesy of Laura’s maternal grandmother, Nana.

lentil soup with ham

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

1 meaty ham bone or 1 large ham hock*
6 cups water
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
2 cups sliced carrots, about 3 to 4 medium carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf

In a stock pot, combine ham bone, water, lentils, carrots, celery, onion, salt, sugar, pepper and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour, or until lentils are tender.
Take out ham bone or hock and remove meat.

Chop meat and return to lentil soup. Remove bay leaf. Lentil soup serves 6.

*If you don’t have a ham bone, use leftover ham.

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