Essentials for the refrigerator and freezer

If you live in the New England area and lost power like we did for 5 long days, you are glad to have your life back to normal.  It is the little things we take for granted… hot showers, lights after 4pm, heat, stocked refrigerators and freezers.  So after day 2 we decided we would  survive on the basics,  the hot water lasted for 2 days, we burned endless amounts of wood to stay warm and  cooked on the outdoor grill and cooked as much food as we could; before it was time to pitch the rest.

So with the holidays approaching, it was a great time to start fresh and totally clean out both the refrigerator and freezer.  I got organized with essentials just in case.  I am well stocked, ready to entertain and/or ready for the next adventure nature has to offer.

Refrigerator

mixed olives

roasted red peppers

chunk of Parmesan cheese

soft cheese-goat cheese, feta, blue cheese

extra-large eggs

peanut butter and all fruit jelly

Organic milk

Small container of heavy cream

plain yogurt (organic Greek yogurt)

unsalted butter

white wine

assorted salad mixing

organic salad dressing

Freezer

Fish fillets

Halibut crispy batter starfish

french fries and onion rings from Alexa

shredded potatoes

chicken breasts

ground beef and ground turkey

veggie burgers

mini and chocolate croissants from Trader Joes

assorted nuts-almonds, walnuts

vegetables-peas, sweet corn, edamame, spinach and mixed vegetable

peeled deveined shrimp

homemade pasta sauce

organic berries

whole grain flours

homemade breadcrumbs

pasta, ravioli, tortellini

whole grain bread and tortillas

Amy’s organic cheese pizza

vanilla ice cream

What are your essentials, let me know what you have stocked in your refrigerator and freezer.  What treats am I missing?

Pumpkin soup a fall fave

 

Fall is the perfect time of year to make some delicious hearty soups. This low-fat pumpkin soup is perfect on a chilly day, or as an appetizer for a Thanksgiving dinner. This recipe is adapted from one of my new favorite soup cookbook Mr. Sunday’s Soup. It is a fast and easy 25 minute recipe.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion,  chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp of brown sugar
3 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken or vegetable broth {more or less depending on the thickness}
1 15-ounce can organic pumpkin
2 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and chopped
3 strips of bacon sliced or thinly sliced prosciutto
Freshly ground Black pepper to taste

garnish:sour cram or greek yogurt

Add bacon or prosciutto and olive oil to Dutch oven pot and saute until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. Add chopped onion, brown sugar, curry power, and cumin to the pot and saute until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin, 1/2 of the chicken broth{ add more as needed}, pears and pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Cool slightly and add all ingredients to blender and puree. Return back to the pot and reheat. Garnish with a swirl or sour cream or greek yogurt and bacon/prosciutto bits.

Pantry Essentials

Every cook needs a well-stocked kitchen. With the holidays soon approaching having a well-organized and well stocked pantry gives you the tools to make entertaining easy and quick dinners on the go, while saving time and money. With these  essential ingredients on hand, you’ll always be able to whip up a  stress free meal.

Tomatoes crushed and sun-dried
Organic Tomato Sauce
Pasta-0rzo, spaghetti, linguine and penne
Rice-brown and wild rice
Couscous
Capers
Artichoke hearts
Canned tuna, salmon and crabmeat
Salsa
Bread crumbs-like to have fresh on hand and season as needed
Oils-Extra virgin olive, Sesame oil, vegetable oil, canola
Vinegars-Balsamic, Rice wine,white wine, apple cider, sherry
Soy Sauce
Dijon mustard
Broth-chicken and veggie
Mixed olives
Nuts- pine, slivered almonds, walnuts
Assorted crackers and tortilla chips
Popcorn-regular and microwave
Honey, maple syrup and agave nectar (my new favorite)
Jams-fig, raspberry, apricot and red pepper
Dried Spices-sea salt,black pepper, parsley, basil,thyme,sage, curry, garlic, red pepper flakes, mixed peppers or 21 seasoning
Garlic and shallots
Beans-white, black, pinto
Baking-flour, sugar, baking powder, corn starch, real vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, semi-chocolate chips, graham crackers, yeast

Ginger Carrot Soup


Now that the fall is approaching, I am determined to make healthy soups once a week.  The Ginger Carrot soup is rich in color, nutrients, vitamins and a great supper starter.  Carrots are nutritional must, no other vegetable contains as much carotene(a strong antioxidant) as carrots.  Carrots are also a great source of vitamins b,c and calcium pectate.  Ginger has been used as a natural remedy for many ailments, especially cancer.  So together they make a rich, tasty soup.  Also the added ingredient of coconut milk instead of heavy cream makes the soup rich in vitamins.

1 large onion-peeled and sliced

4 large fresh organic carrots-peeled and diced

4 cups organic low sodium chicken broth

2 T fresh grated ginger

1/4t nutmeg

1/2t curry powder

1/4 cup coconut milk

1T butter or oil

Slice the onion and saute in dutch oven or large pot until soft.  Add broth, carrots and ginger bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cook until carrots are tender (approx. 40 minutes).  Half way through add the spices.  When the carrots are tender remove from heat and stir in the coconut milk.  In half batches add soup to blender and puree.  Add back to pot and reheat and garnish as desired.

adopted from Food network Ginger Carrot Soup

Crispy Celery Salad

 I love putting celery in most salads and especially chicken salad which are my summer staples.  But I never seem to use up the whole bunch in a couple of days.  I found this recipe and added a new twist to it.  This is a quick simple salad which is light, refreshing and crunchy with a great citrus flavor.

8 ribs of celery, ends trimmed

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (appox. 2 lemons) I add a bit more for a more tangy flavor

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2oz. shredded fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or extra cheddar cheese

kosher salt

fresh ground pepper

couple of shakes of Trader’s Joes 21 Seasoning Salute

optional add a bunch of toasted pine nuts

Use a vegetable slicer or slicer in food processor and slice celery very thin. Toss in the oil and lemon juice, add flavoring and cheese as desired.  Toasted pine nuts add some additional crunch…….so delicious.

Maryland Crab Cakes recipe


Ingredients= 20-24 mini crab cakes or 6 crab cakes

  • 1/2 pound  lump crab meat, drained and picked to remove any shells
  • 1/2 cup saltine crackers, crushed ( about 12-14)
  • 1 extra large egg beaten
  • 2 shallots finely chopped or small red onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • few drops Tabasco
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • for a bit more zest add a dash of good horseradish
  • 2 tablespoon Olive oil, plus extra (about 1/4 cup) for frying
  • 2 tablespoon butter, plus extra( about 4 T) for frying

Sauce optional

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup drained capers, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Directions

Place the 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons oil, onion, celery, carrots, parsley,  hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, salt, and pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature.  Once cool toss in the saltines, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs.  In a large bowl, break the lump crab meat into small pieces.  Add the cooked mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Shape into bite-sized crab cakes.

Heat the butter and olive oil for frying over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the crab cakes and fry for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until browned. Remove and place on paper towels to drain .  Can be made earlier in the day and reheated.

serve with a rich body Chardonnay

pizza night

One of our favorite meals is Pizza night.  It is the easiest meal with wonderful tasty results.  The idea that everyone can make their own pizza with an assortment of toppings is a winner in my house.  I have used lots of dough recipes but my foolproof one is No-Knead Pizza dough from Jim Lahey.

Once dough is divided, dust pizza board with cornmeal and start stretching and shaping….make sure both sides has plenty of cornmeal or dough will stick.  You will need metal tongs, metal spatula and brush for the oil.

  • Oil grill grates before starting grill once grill reaches 425 degrees(med/high) place dough on grill.
  • cover top and let cook for about 5 minutes(check after 3 minutes), bottom of pizza will have dark grate marks, pop all bubbles and brush with oil before flipping.

        

  • once flipped you must work fast and add all your ingredients and cover for another 7-10 minutes.  (timing will vary depending on thickness of dough and heat of the grill.)….rotate the pizza halfway through cooking time…….it is so crispy and delicious!

                   

Bon Appetit