Category Archives: Kitchen Sync

Foodies creating a better world from meager means. It all begins at home.

Beefy Pepper and Cabbage Soup

I took my morning walks to new locations the past two weeks, one being the local upscale grocery store. An old hand at couponing, I watch the sale ads and check the clearance items carefully, which stretches my fuel budget even at upscale stores.

This week, to my delight I found one large portion of boneless beef ribs in the Manager’s Special (the day-old) section of the meat case. Soup makes coming home through the thunderstorms wonderful this week. With the package of rib meat I wandered on down the isle where I found some marrow bones.

At the checkout, I was pleased to have spent less than $5.00 on enough protein and nutrients for the family and company. As I walked my prize home between cloudbursts I thought through the contents of the refrigerator and pantry. While the deluge continued to flood parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I cooked. In the end, the soup warmed us all.

beef cabbage pepper soup

beefy pepper and cabbage soup

Beefy Pepper Cabbage Soup
Makes 4 – 6 servings

3 – 6 large marrow bones (knuckle bones or neck bones are also fine)
1 large onion
2 large whole cracked (slightly crushed) cloves fresh garlic***

1 Tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 – 2 pounds. beef; rib meat (boneless ribs) or stew meat cut into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning blend
*** when fresh garlic isn’t available, add granulated garlic to meat.

3 peeled (or carefully scrubbed) sliced carrots
3 sliced celery ribs
1 red bell pepper – chopped
1 orange or yellow bell pepper – chopped
1 large bay leaf
2 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoon chopped parsley
3 cups chopped cabbage

Place marrow bones, onion and ***fresh garlic in a large, deep saucepan or a small stock pot and cover with water. Bring to boil, then reduce to a slow simmer for approximately 2 – 3 hours (depending upon sizes of bones).

While bones simmer, cut meat and vegetables into bite-sized pieces and chop herbs finely. Refrigerate an hour or so, but take out early enough to allow everything to warm to room temperature.

Once marrow cooks from the bones and they are hollow, remove bones and garlic (garlic if preferred) and discard.

In skillet, season and sear meat pieces, stirring to brown outsides, being careful to not burn or scorch the drippings. Add meat to stock pot and let skillet cool till warm to touch. Once skillet is cooled sufficiently, pour 2 cups hot water into skillet, stir to loosen browned bits from bottom and sides. Pour liquid into stock.

Stir bay leaf, cilantro, parsley, carrots, celery (and potatoes if desired) into stock and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer 8 – 10 minutes. Stir in peppers and cabbage.

If stock is not level with meat and vegetables add enough ** Beef flavor Better Than Bullion (or beef bullion) stock (I needed 2 more cups) to not quite cover. Bring to a strong simmer for another ten – fifteen minutes until all vegetables are just tender (you can cook longer if you like your vegetables cooked into mush ; ).

Bullion tends to be salty, so I don’t add additional salt and there’s sufficient pepper in the Montreal blend. Add additional salt to taste if you prefer.

Wonderful served with crusty rolls or toasted garlic bread.

*** OR add 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic or garlic powder to meat as it browns
** 2 teaspoons beef soup base (or bullion cubes) to 2 cups water.
* 1 large white rose, yellow gold, or red potato cubed if desired. Note: russett potatoes tend to break down in stock.

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2015-10-26 · 11:58

Rotisserie Chicken Soup

In our family circles my late aunt Patty was the reigning queen of up-cycling, recycling, repurposing and reusing most everything. One of my favorite stories (that I can share) was her making watermelon balls for a luncheon. Once done felling the melon, she held up the hollow half shell, examining it closely, wondering aloud what else she could make of it – aside from a bowl for the salad. That’s when another aunt swooped by, grabbed the melon shell and ran, rather than find it repurposed later.

Queen Patty (who literally was Lombard, Illinois’s 1949 Lilac Queen, the youngest queen in Village history) loved to entertain and tastefully made old things look new, long before shabby chic was popular. She was one of those lovely people one would assume comes from old money, and though she made the most of her life, our family history disproves family affluency. I think fondly of her every time I make this amazing rotisserie chicken soup recipe.

One of my tastiest finds ever, it came to me by accident. I’d been brainstorming an idea for an article that had me so fired up I had to walk away. So, I took inventory of the refrigerator, noting all the extra space days before payday. I would likely not have otherwise imagined how one of the most flavorful meals ever came about. In fact, it was so tasty I afterwards wrote every motion as best I remembered it to create it again, and again. And that it developed during a particularly difficult time when every penny and scrap mattered. It doesn’t make a lot, but it’s a good second meal from one often dry, leftover chicken.

Note: Try it. You’ll either love it or be relatively indifferent. Either way, take a photo and share it with me as I rarely remember to snap one myself 🙂 Until then, you can enjoy seeing me, Suze and the Beej back in the day.

Me, Suze and the Beej

Me, Suze and the Beej

Rotisserie Chicken Soup

One must think ahead and not serve the whole pieces of chicken. Instead, cut the meat from the bones and save the bones in the plastic container – everything un-mouthed, that is. Also keep the market packing (refrigerated, of course) without scraping or washing it.

Makes enough soup for 2 – 4 servings. Or by adding white cooking wine (and maybe a bit more stock) for a delightful reduction, tossed with rice, noodles or quinoa it will go even further with amazing flavor and considerable nutrients.

Instructions:

Put bones, skin, meat, drippings, everything left over from grocery store rotisserie chicken into a small soup pot. Pour 2 cups hot, not boiling, water to rinse and scrape drippings from container, pour into pot. Repeat with 2 more cups hot water. This gives the stock an extra pop of flavor.

Add more water if needed to just cover the chicken and bones.

Bring pot to boil, reduce heat and simmer till all meat falls from bones (nothing about this recipe is exact science – approximately 40 – 60 minutes, more or less).

Allow to cool and then pour through colander into a bowl or another pan, reserving the stock. Wearing gloves, take your time removing bones, (gently pinch between fingers to be sure no sharp pieces get through), skin and any undesirable pieces. Return meat to stock, refrigerate till separated and then skim fat from the top.

Once stock is near room temp, return it and the meat to the pot and add:

1 stalk celery, chopped (great way to use celery and onion trimmings from freezer)
1/2 small chopped onion
1 smashed clove garlic
1 chopped carrot
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1 rosemary branch (optional – remove before serving)

Add vegetables to stock and simmer till tender.

At this point you can either

1. Add cooked noodles, pasta, rice, couscous, quinoa or more cooked vegetables if desired. Serve with rolls or crusty bread.
or
2. To make reduction, remove meat and vegetables from stock to a bowl or platter, set aside. Add 2 cups wine to stock. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, lower heat to a fast simmer and continue stirring till just slightly thick (it will continue to thicken as it cools). You will have a flavorful sauce that’s healthier without thickening agents like flour or cornstarch. Then return meat and vegetables to pan with noodles, rice or whatever you like, gently fold in sauce, plate and serve with crusty bread or rolls.

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Turkey Medallions – Times of Feasting and Getting Famished

Have I mentioned how autumn is my favorite time of the year? In case the break in hot or hotter weather isn’t enough to inspire longer walks later in the morning, colorful vistas cause me to swoon. Unlike any other season, I’m actually excited about bargain shopping and exercising my mad couponing skills so that city traffic doesn’t even bother me.

Before (possibly during) the Avian Flu outbreak, discounted marinated turkey breasts reduced for quick sale became stars in our summer suppers. From the grill, oven or cut into medallions, they’ve not only delighted company served up with my From the Hip Mango Salsa (which is actually chutney **), but inspired other successful experiments.

Turkey Tenderloin Medallions

Turkey Tenderloin Medallions

One of the blessings is a taste delight I developed, first from leftovers, and then with the whole tenderloins fresh from the wrapper. Now with cooler weather coming on I’m contemplating how to make a twenty pound turkey disappear among three people. Since I alone actually like leftover turkey this is a hefty challenge.

The savvy shopper is ever watchful for clearance sales on wines that enhance many recipes with a broader flavor palette (alcohol cooks away leaving a thicker, more flavorful reduction instead of gravies). Cashing in those Catalina coupons from the grocers’ registers makes them more affordable.

With turkey one can bravely go where no cook has gone before. Worst case results, it’s still gonna taste like turkey (yet again) and can be livened up with sauce or gravy.

Back when I kept large breed dogs, my passion for good, natural food benefited the canids attached to my household as well. To make the food budget stretch, I’d roast turkeys, only I’d filet off, skins and tie together the breast, leg and thighs. I did likewise with chicken. The skins, spine, neck, giblets, etc. all went to the dogs, sometimes via the freezer. The people portions frozen raw in marinade made life simpler for delightful, quick meals.

Turkey Medallions in Chardonnay Reduction

Prepare ahead rice (steamed is good, pilaf is superb), risotto, quinoa, couscous, pasta or noodles. Enough to make a bed on platter.

Ingredients:

2# (Aldi’s) Rotissery flavor turkey breast tenderloin, sliced into 3/4″ medallions
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 large sweet onion chopped
3 or 4 fresh zucchini 1″ slices
1# fresh white mushrooms, sliced in 3rds
garlic (to preference)
branch of fresh rosemary (can be easily removed before serving)
1 pound, bag or 2 bunches (well cleaned) chopped spinach – preferably baby, or arugula
3 cups chardonnay (or any sweet, white wine)
1 cup water

Slice turkey in 3/4″ medallions (or slice into bite-sized strips if you prefer). Heat deep skillet, coat with evoo, stir fry turkey pieces on hi temp till browned but still raw in centers.

Reduce heat to medium-high, (remove from burner for a minute or two if necessary to prevent scorching). Add onion and saute 3 mins, till just tender. add mushrooms, saute till firm-tender, about 3 mins. Add rosemary sprig and stir another minute till aromatic.

Add 1 cup wine, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil again, stirring to scrape skillet bottom till smooth. Reduce heat, top with zucchini, cover, simmer gently 2 – 5 mins. Gently fold in spinach, cover, cook 3 more mins.

Remove meat & veggies from pan. Turn heat to high, stir in remaining wine. Cover meat and veggie platter with another plate and pour into pan the juices that have now collected at bottom of platter. Continue slowly stirring to prevent scorching until mixture begins to thicken* and reduction is thick enough to cling and cover spoon. If mixture reduces too much, add a little more wine until slightly thinner than desired consistency. Cover and remove mixture from heat. Let sit 3 – 5 minutes.

Cover a deep platter with a bed of noodles, pasta or grain (or plate individually). Arrange meat and veggies on top. With rubber spatula stir reduction, scraping bottom and sides. Ladle sauce over meat and veggies on platter. Serve with crusty, warm bread or rolls. Bon appetit!

Also delicious topped with a dollop of Greek style yogurt and sprinkled with chopped, fresh parsley.

* One can substitute turkey or chicken broth instead of (or in addition to) wine. Reducing broth or stock takes longer, so be patient and careful to stir often to prevent scorching.

** God willing, I will also share that recipe.

Copyright © 2015 Roo’s Ruse. All Rights Reserved. roosruse.wordpress.com mailto:ashalowm53@gmail.com

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Wonderful Legumes – Lentil, Kale and Sausage Stew

LENTIL, SAUSAGE AND KALE STEW

Food is not my first passion. That would be relationships. I spent many of the happiest hours of my lifespan in kitchens, around campfires, grocery stores and farmer’s markets, mostly exploring great new foods. All typicaly within a very restrictive budget.

Recently a friend from Chicago-land shared a recipe from Eating Well *1 for a Lentil, Sausage and Kale Stew.

She had me at Lentils. Dietary restrictions during the course of overcoming diverticulitis (without medication), sent my cholesterol counts crazy. After recovery, still unwilling to pollute my body with cholesterol medication, I researched and targeted my diet and exercise habits toward changing those numbers – and that right soon. #

Legumes, especially lentils, and oats are nature’s blood scrubbers, so every day I eat at least one portion of one, the other or both and power walk (breathing too hard to sing) for a minimum half hour to an hour every day, rain or shine. Also, since I also recetly discovered I was not lactose intollerant, a portion of yogurt and cheese also became a mainstay to keeping diverticulosis under control.

This wasn’t easy at first. My body and subconscious screamed in rebellion while I refused to return to my nice, comfy bed and pull the covers over my head. But within 2 weeks the routine became second nature.

I search constantly for variety, keeping a portion of oats or legumes part of my daily diet. Within four months both cholesterol counts returned to very healthy, normal levels. Two years later, keeping this as a base line, I can also eat pretty much whatever else I want in moderation without pain or upset.

Photo courtesy Eating Well.com

Photo courtesy Eating Well.com

Lentil, Sausage and Kale Stew – my variation, of course, of the Eating Well Recipe *1

Ingredients:

3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
At least a pound of chicken or turkey sausage, casings pierced several times with a toothpick (the more the better when official taste samplers lurk nearby)
1 large onion, thickly sliced
2 Tablespoons minced garlic (or more per your taste)
pinch of crushed red pepper, (or more to taste) *
2 ½ cups water (have more on hand in case needed)
1 ½ cups red wine (or 1/2 cup wine and 1 cup chicken or turkey stock. have extra on hand in case needed)
1 cup green lentils, washed
8 cups finely chopped kale leaves, tough stems removed **
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
¼ teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
Prepare by thoroughly washing kale, cutting away tough stems, and chopping (set aside separately), onion, mince garlic, and sage (also keep sage separate). Wash lentils. Measure wine (and broth if desired) & water.

1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add sausages and cook until browned on all sides. Remove, set aside.

2. Add the remaining oil and onion to the pan and cook until clear, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper *and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about a minute.

3. Add water and wine, bring to a boil, stirring constantly with wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits from the sides and bottom of skillet. Add lentils, stir in and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for approximately 60 minutes until lentils are cooked through (some altitudes may require more time). Check occasionally for sufficient liquid for stew to be saturated, but not covered over. Add more warm wine, water, broth as needed.

4. Add kale, sage and salt, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and kale are tender, about 20 minutes more.

5. Cut the cooked sausage into 1/2 inch slices and stir into the pan along with ground pepper. Cover and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Spoon into bowls or crocks, serve topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt and crusty, toasted slices of sourdough bread.

Also delightful with your favorite salsa (I especially like salsa verde), pico de gallo or pesto and sprinkles of fresh herbs (like cilantro). Be creative!

NUTRITION FACTS
Provided by: Eating Well
Per Single Serving / Serves 4 Total
Calories 500 17%
Calories from fat 99 20%
Total Fat 11gm 28%
Sodium 665mg 64%
Cholesterol 60mg 19%

Total Carbohydrates 58gm
Fiber 16gm
Protein 32gm
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

# This may not be sufficient for some with different, more severe cholesterol counts, or other health complications. Consult with your experienced primary care physician and a licensed professional dietitian.

* Our family likes a hot/piquant palette, so I add a jalapeno and a Serrano peppers with the crushed, red pepper flakes.

** Though popular, some tastes (like my sister, Roan’s) don’t take to kale, even when well cooked. Substituting 10 cups chopped spinach provides additional folic acid with a milder flavor.

*1 http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/kale_sausage_lentil_skillet_supper.html

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2015-10-02 · 11:21

Bomb Diggity Baked Spring Rolls

In our household, dietary restrictions from salt, oil, etc. aside, we can’t get enough Chinese food. Aside from pot stickers and that amazing green onioney-ginger-soy dipping sauces we also relish spring rolls. Neither are ideal on a low-fat diet. One late spring evening an on-going craving form something crispy-gooey-steamy got the best of me. I set about experimenting, pulling everything from the ‘fridge that was left over from a lumpia* party the weekend before.

As typically happens, Opal arrived home from work as I mixed and tasted. Between the two of us, we brainstormed through to some crispy, tasty satisfying rolls that are very forgiving of experimentation and well worth trying. It’s become a thing at our house.

Bomb-Baked Spring Rolls

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Ingredients:

Grate:
1 large carrot
1 Tablespoon fresh, peeled ginger root
Finely mince:
1/2 cup Cabbage
¼ cup Red, yellow or orange sweet peppers
¼ cup Celery
1 – 2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
Approximately 12 Egg roll wrappers
Can of canola oil or coconut oil spray**

In mixing bowl mix 1 – 2 t. teriyaki sauce and grated ginger together well. Add and mix all remaining ingredients well, being sure to distribute ginger evenly (consider using ground, dry ginger according to taste).

Liberally spray a baking sheet with oil. Lay egg roll wrapper on sheet, fill with vegetable mixture, tuck ends in first and then roll. Set aside on tray setting rolls 1 inch apart until sheet is full. Lightly spray oil over all rolls.

Place in center of preheated oven, bake 8 minutes. Turn rolls. Bake another 4 minutes until wrappers are completely golden brown. Be careful to not let bottoms scorch.

Remove from oven, serve immediately with prepared hot Chinese mustard and duck sauce. Leftover packets from previous Chinese take-outs are never wasted in our house. Consider adding more ingredients according to your personal taste, like shrimp, crab, minced leftover chicken, etc. and more wrappers, of course.

*A Filipino spin on the asian classic

**Refillable aerosol or pump cans from a restaurant supply stretch the food budget farther and are well, worth the initial expense.

 

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Kitchen Sync

2015-02-06 19.27.02

Food is necessary for life. Good food is the spice of life. And creating new, great tasting, soul-satisfying food makes the whole world seem like a better place. The very best food seems to develop when hearts gather around the home fires. To date, I haven’t studied under great culinary masters, but nobody ever complained about food that vanished from my table.

My humble means makes this particularly interesting. I’ve never had a lot of money for long, but we’ve always eaten well. I learned early on how sharing a tasty, satisfying meal in good company is more about the company than it is about the elements or any training.

It’s more about the connection, developing relationships with some experience sprinkled in and the common bond – fueling the engines.

Most recently I’ve noticed how the best culinary creations developed in lean times – making do from the remnants of recent abundance. Spontaneously providing sustenance for unexpected crowds inspired more surprisingly great suppers than I can remember. Family, friends and I most often craftily compiled them from everything in the house BUT the kitchen sink.

This Category is more about intertwining stories than blending ingredients together. It’s all about family, friends, fun and food; making the most of whatever we have.

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