Category Archives: celery

Hamburger Soup

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Soup is one of my favorite meals and since so many soups are quick to make, they are a  staple in my house. Filling, warming and satisfying soups make for the perfect dinner when paired with crusty bread and make even better leftovers for lunch the next day. And just about anything can be turned into a satisfying soup. This recipe, adapted from The Noble Pig has quickly become a favorite in my house where I liberally substitute the vegetables and even the ground meat depending upon what I have on hand. And thanks to the tangy and flavorful V-8, another favorite pantry staple, the broth is rich and flavorful without hours of cooking.

So if you are looking for a fast and tasty weeknight dinner idea, look no further than this soup. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

HAMBURGER SOUP

1/4 pound pancetta, diced

2 pounds ground beef

1-1/2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 inch thick coins

1-1/2 cups celery, sliced into 1 inch pieces

1 leek, white and green parts only, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup frozen corn

4 cups beef broth

1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes

15 ounces V-8 vegetable juice

1 teaspoon ground oregano

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 pound small dry pasta

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • Place a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, using a spoon to crumble the meat.
  • Drain off the fat.
  • Add the carrots, celery, leek, corn, broth, V8, garlic and oregano to the meat mixture.
  • Increase the temperature to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  • Return the temperature to high, add the pasta to the pot and cook until the pasta is al dental,8-10 minutes depending upon the size of your pasta.
  • Stir in vinegar right before serving.

Serves 6-8

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Turkey Pot Pie

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Turkey leftovers…….after a big Thanksgiving dinner, they seem to haunt you for days on end.  In the immediate aftermath of the turkey coma sandwiches filled with turkey, stuffing, and gravy are on the menu.  Next you might simply reheat the original meal but after that what do you do with your mounds of turkey?  In reality, the possibilities are endless.

Turkey pot pie is one of my all time favorite uses for leftover turkey.  Turkey and vegetables cooked in a creamy sauce and hidden beneath a flaky crust make for the ultimate cool weather comfort food.  This recipe is an adaptation of one from America’s Test Kitchen.  The recipe is extremely flexible; add or subtract vegetables as you like, use more turkey or less, and it will still be good.  You can make the pie as one large casserole topped with either a traditional crust, biscuits, or even store-bought phyllo dough or puff pastry if you are short on time.  Alternatively, you can make the pies in individual dishes which is my preferred way to serve them.  Regardless of the crust you use, make sure the filling in hot when you place it on top otherwise you will end up with a soggy crust.

Serve the pot pies up with some left over cranberry sauce and watch them disappear.

TURKEY POT PIE

For the pie crust:

6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons cold buttermilk or water

  • Using a pastry cutter, two forks, or a food processor fitted with a metal blade, cut together the butter and flour until the mixture is uniformly blended and resembles coarse cornmeal.
  • In half tablespoon increments, add the buttermilk or water and stir, cut, or process until the dough just holds together.  You might not need to use all of the liquid.
  • Divide the dough in half and cover and set one half aside.
  • Place the piece of dough between two sheets of waxed or parchment paper.  Using a rolling pin roll and stretch the dough into a large circle.  Roughly divide the circle into four equal pieces, loosely cover with waxed paper or plastic wrap, and set aside until ready to use.

For the filling:

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into small coins

1 stalk celery, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Teaspoons fresh thyme, minced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 bay leaves

3 cups cooked turkey, cut into bite sized pieces

1/3 cup frozen peas

1/3 cup frozen or canned corn kernels

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425.
  • Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat.  Add the carrots, celery, onion, and salt and saute for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent.
  • Add in the garlic and thyme and saute for 15 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Stir in the flour and wine scraping up any stuck bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the broth, cream, and bay leaves and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
    Stir in the turkey until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Discard the bay leaves and stir in the peas and corn.
  • Divide the filling evenly between 4 oven-proof bowls, mini-casserole dishes or other individual serving dishes.  (Alternatively, pour the entire mixture into a single large casserole dish).
  • Using the reserved crust, place one piece of dough over the top of each casserole dish.  Use a sharp knife to trim the excess dough from the edges of each dish and crimp the edges to form a seal.   Cut two or three slits into the top of the crust to allow steam to escape.
  • Place the casseroles on a large rimmed baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until the crust is browned and the filling in bubbly.
  • Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

For other turkey inspired recipes check out the following:

Cottage Pie w/ Beef & Carrots

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Comfort foods run supreme in my household this time of the year and one of the most satisfying meals when the weather is dark and damp is meat pies. Try as I might, however, I always struggle with making a nice pie crust. My solution is to skip the crust all together and to top the pie with mashed potatoes instead.

This recipe is courtesy of Fine Cooking magazine and is rich, hearty and thoroughly satisfying and is reminiscent of a shepherd’s pie. Because I started with a more tender piece of meat which was then slow cooked, the meat is fork tender while the addition of porcini mushrooms adds even more flavor and texture to the dish. I love the tanginess that the addition of Greek yogurt adds to the mashed potato topping. If you don’t have Greek yogurt you can substitute sour cream or even half-and-half.

So when the weather turns cold, turn on your oven and bake up this hearty dish for dinner. It will warm you inside and out.

COTTAGE PIE w/ BEEF & CARROTS

For the beef stew:

1-3/4 cups low-sodium beef broth

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-1/2 pounds thin-cut steaks, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, trimmed of any excess fat or gristle

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup dry white wine

For the topping:

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-1/2- to 2-inch chunks

Kosher salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature, cut into 3 pieces)

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

To make the stew:
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
  • Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms then remove from the pan from the heat, cover, and steep for at least 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy stew pot or shallow 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Pat the steaks dry, season lightly with kosher salt and pepper, and put only as many in the pan as will fit without crowding.
  • Sear the steaks, flipping once, until nicely browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Set aside on a platter, and repeat with the remaining steaks.
  • Lower the heat to medium and add the carrots, celery, onions, and thyme.
  • Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 7 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the flour, stirring to blend, and cook for another minute.
  • Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and reduce the heat to low.
  • With a slotted spoon, scoop the mushrooms from the broth and transfer to a cutting board. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and add them to the vegetables. Slowly add the broth, being careful to hold back the last few tablespoons, which may contain grit from the mushrooms.
  • Cut the steaks into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes and add to the pot, along with any juices.
  • Cover tightly and transfer to the oven. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Set the stew in a warm place, and increase the oven temperature to 375°F.
To make the potato topping:
  • Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover by an inch with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat, partially cover, and simmer until the potatoes are easily pierced with a skewer, about 20 minutes.
  • Drain, and return the potatoes to the saucepan. Put the pan over low heat and shake or stir the potatoes until a floury film forms on the bottom of the pot, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Using a ricer, food mill, or potato masher, mash the potatoes. Stir in the  butter with a broad wooden spoon.
  • Once the butter is thoroughly absorbed, add the yogurt and stir vigorously until it is thoroughly blended in.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Assemble and bake:
  • Lightly coat a shallow 3-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Spoon the stew into the baking dish.
  • Spread the potatoes on top in an even layer and sprinkle with the paprika.
  • Bake at 375°F until the stew is bubbling around the sides, and the top is lightly browned, 35 to 45 minutes.

Serves 8

Cucumber-Celery Slaw

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Sometimes the simplest things are the best. Case in point this cool yet spicy salad from Food 52. The ingredients are minimal: cucumbers, celery, pepperoncini and parsley. The celery provides crunch while the cucumbers and parsley add a coolness that tames the fieriness of the peppers. That’s it. Do taste your pepperoncini before adding them to the salad though since not all peppers have the same level of heat.

The salad can be used to top burgers or as an easy side dish for grilled meat. It really is so easy.

CUCUMBER-CELERY SLAW

3/4 cup cucumber, peeled and sliced into half coins

3/4 cup celery, both leaves and stalks, chopped

1/4 cup pepperoncini, sliced

1/4 Italian parsley, chopped

Pinch of sugar

Salt & pepper to taste

 

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  • Allow to sit for at least 1/2 an hour before serving.

Serves 4

Butternut-Boursin-Bacon Soup

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Here is a an easy and interesting soup from the great food blog, The Noble Pig. I’m a huge fan of butternut squash so am always on the lookout for recipes using this squash. My usual butternut squash soup is Asian inspired and infused with the flavors of ginger, curry paste and coconut milk.  This version, rich with bacon and melted Boursin cheese couldn’t be more different yet is equally as delicious.

I’ve tweaked the original recipe just a bit by adding more bacon and even sauteing my vegetables in bacon fat. I think it provides additional depth to the soup but if you prefer, use all butter instead. But then again you probably don’t want to because isn’t everything simply better with bacon?

BUTTERNUT-BOURSIN-BACON SOUP

8 ounces bacon, diced

Bacon grease and butter to equal 1/3 cup

1/2 of a large onion, diced

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

10 1/2 ounces Boursin Cheese with Garlic and Fine Herbs

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

  • Cook the bacon until crispy in a large heavy soup pot set over medium heat. Use a slotted spoon to move the crispy bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  • Add enough butter to the pot to equal about 1/3 of a cup of fat. I used 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • When the fats have melted, add in the onion and the celery, cooking until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add butternut squash and thyme leaves, cook for about 6-8 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour the add the chicken broth to the pot.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes or until the squash is soft.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until it is smooth.
  • Return the pot to the heat, stir in the Boursin cheese, salt and pepper. Stirring occasionally, heat until the cheese has completely melted.
  • Serve in warmed bowls topped with the crumbled bacon.

Serves 4-6

Minestrone Soup

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Nothing satisfies on a cold day more than soup. Most weekends I will make a big pot of whatever strikes my fancy. I allow it to simmer on low all afternoon then we enjoy it with crusty bread for a Sunday night dinner. There are always leftovers which is perfect since soup tastes better the next day. I have yet to find a soup that I didn’t like but this minestrone is a soup that I absolutely love.

It is more of a method rather than an exact recipe; I will use whatever vegetables I have on hand or whatever looked good at the market that morning. I like to be heavy handed with the vegetables and go lighter on the pasta and beans but you could easily add more of the later if that is to your liking. Not only is this soup vegetarian but it is also low in sodium. Rather than using a pre-made broth, I simply add water as the soup base and allow the cooking vegetables to flavor the broth. The results? A rich, tasty and satisfying soup that everyone will love. Serve it with crusty French bread and dinner is served.

MINESTRONE SOUP

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, minced

1 leek, quartered and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

1 small zucchini, diced

1 small eggplant, diced

1 cup Brussels sprouts, quartered

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 26-ounce can tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 cup small pasta (shells or elbow macaroni works well)

1 large handful fresh basil, chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

Grated parmesan cheese, to serve

  • Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot set over medium high heat.
  • When the oil shimmers, add the onion, leek, celery and carrots and stirring occasionally, cook until soft but not brown, 4-5 minutes.
  • Add in the zucchini, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, beans and canned tomatoes. Stir well.
  • Add enough water to the pot to cover the vegetables by 1 inch.
  • Bring the soup to a simmer then reduce the heat and cook uncovered until the vegetables are soft, 35-45 minutes.
  • Add in the oregano and thyme and season with salt and pepper.
  • At this point you can proceed to the next step or cover the pot, turn the temperature to the lowest setting and allow to sit until you are ready to proceed.
  • Return the temperature to medium-high.
  • Once the soup is boiling again, add the pasta, stir well and cook until the pasta is al dente, approximately 6-8 minutes.
  • Stir in the basil, adjust the seasonings and serve, topped with grated parmesan cheese.

Serves 6

 

 

 

Barbecue Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups

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Are you grilling this weekend? Perhaps you are grilling up some chicken slathered in your favorite barbecue sauce. That is what we are doing to celebrate America’s birthday and introduce some of our European friends to the wonders of an American cookout. We’ll be serving hamburgers, hotdogs, ribs, and of course barbecue chicken topped with an old family recipe for a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. Naturally there will be the traditional side dishes, salads and desserts as well. What would a barbecue be without lots of food?

But as I have a tendency to do no matter how many times I host an event, I over anticipate and cook too much food, resulting in a refrigerator of leftovers that need to be eaten. So what do I do with those leftovers? My favorite way to use up my barbecue chicken is to make a chicken salad. While you can use any leftover chicken you have on hand, or even buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken if you want to skip the cooking, my favorite chicken salad uses barbecue chicken. The sauce adds a nice tang to the salad and ensures that the entire dish is flavorful. Celery is added for crunch and the grapes add a surprise sweetness. You can eat the salad as is or pile it on a roll to make a sandwich. However, I love to roll up a scoop of the salad inside of a lettuce leaf. It is cool, crispy, and makes for a perfect summer lunch.

BARBECUE CHICKEN SALAD LETTUCE CUPS

4 large lettuce leaves

4 cups cold, cubed barbecue chicken

1 cup seedless green grapes, halved

2 stalks celery, diced

1 shallot, minced

1/3 cup mayonnaise, or more to taste (I like Miracle Whip)

Salt & pepper

  • Combine the chicken, grapes, celery and shallot in a large bowl.
  • Add the mayonnaise and stir well to combine. Depending upon how moist you like your salad, you may want to add additional mayonnaise.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Scoop approximately 1 1/4 cups of salad onto each of the four lettuce leaves. Roll the leaves to encase the salad and enjoy.

Serves 4

 

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