Tag Archives: dinner

Broccoli Cheddar Soup


2 sticks unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely diced
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 pounds broccoli florets
2 quarts reduced fat, low sodium/organic chicken broth (can be made with vegetable stock as well)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
8 ounces shredded reduced fat mild cheddar cheese
8 ounces shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese

Place large soup pot over medium heat. Add butter and stir until melted. Add onions and cook about five minutes until tender but not browned. Add garlic powder and fresh ground pepper and cook one more minute. Add stock and broccoli and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix flour and milk well; whisk in to soup. Return to simmer and cook and additional five minutes (this helps cook out the flour taste). Slowly add cheese, whisking to combine and heat through.

Serve with croutons. Serves 12.


Red Wine Beef Stew

Red Wine Beef Stew

2 lbs of beef roast (such as London Broil) cut into 1″ cubes
1 lb carrots, cut into coins
1 lb fingerlings (new potatoes), or potatoes cut into a 1″ to 1.5″ cube
2 medium (or 1 large) onion, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves (or more), minced
1 750ml bottle of good red wine*
1 tsp each of rubbed sage, oregano, and thyme
2 bay leaves
1 quart of fresh water**

In a large pan, brown the cubes of beef (they’re not to be cooked through). If you have too many for the pan, do them in stages as you’ll want them to brown, not steam. After all have been browned, return to the pan, and add onions, garlic, sage, oregano, thyme, water, bay leaves and wine. Bring to a simmer, covered, and cook for 1.5 to 2 hours, making the beef tender. After 1 hour, add your potatoes. 30 minutes later, add  your carrot coins.

Combine cornstarch with cold water and stir to combine. How much you’ll need to use depends on (1) the volume of liquid you have in your stew and (2) the thickness you wish for it to be. Remove the bay leaves, then add the cornstarch/water mixture to the pot and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes to cook the starch thoroughly.

Ladle into bowls, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve alongside fresh Rustic Herb Bread.

* It can be jug wine, but be sure it’s the kind you would drink. As it cooks down, the flavour intensifies, and if it’s bad tasting wine, that too will intensify.

** Yes, “Fresh” Water. Water that has been placed through a filter and let sit on the counter is not “fresh.” Bottled water is not fresh. If you do not wish to use tap water, run it back through your filtration system again. Water loses oxygen as it sits, and there is a difference in the way it cooks.


Shrimp with Sofrito and Manchego

Shrimp with Sofrito, Peppers and Manchego

1/4 cup olive oil
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
20-24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 red onion, cut into wedges, about 1/4 inch wide
2 sweet red peppers, seeded and cut into strips 1/2 inch wide
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, skinned, seeded, and chopped
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 cup Manchego cheese, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves

Heat the oil and butter in frying pan until butter foams, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp and sauté them over a fairly high heat for about 1 to 2 minutes, until colored. Remove from pan and keep warm. Add onion and peppers to the pan, cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes until softened.

Stir in the tomatoes, cayenne, and paprika and cook for about 5 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to break down. Return the shrimp to the pan and stir together, adding Manchego and sauté for 30 seconds. Season to taste, garnish with cilantro, and serve.

Yields 4 servings


Perfect Homemade Pizzas

Perfect Homemade Pizzas

3/4 cup warm water (105F to 115F)
1 envelope active dry yeast (not rapid rise)
2 cups bread flour (or all purpose)
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp regular table salt
3 tbsp olive oil

Pour water into a small bowl and add yeast, stirring to combine. Let stand 5 minutes.

Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. In a food processor fitted with plastic dough blade (the metal blade will work in a pinch), combine flour, sugar and salt. Pulse 3 times to combine ingredients, then add the yeast mixture and the oil (you may used infused oil, such as rosemary/garlic oil for added flavour). Process until dough forms a ball (it will be somewhat sticky; however, when processing it may require up to 3 tbsp additional water to form into a ball). Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, adding up to 3 tbsp flour (in 1 tsp increments) if it is very sticky. Knead for 1 minute and place in prepared bowl, rolling around to coat the surface with the nonstick spray. Cover bowl with a dish cloth and place in a warm area, free of drafts until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down dough, divide in half, and continue with pizza making.

Heat oven to 425F.

Roll pizza dough half out into a circle shape (for a thicker crust, use the entire doughball for one pizza). Top with marinara sauce (or tomato sauce that has been jazzed up with spices and herbs), any veggies you enjoy (I used red, yellow, orange, and green peppers, as well as sautéed mushrooms on the photographed pizzaette), and a combination of Mozzarella, Cheddar and Romano cheeses. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until crust (and cheeses) have browned nicely.

Makes 12 slices, enough for 6 servings.