Polar Vortex Soup (aka Sausage and Lentil Soup)

Forget me not pond, Kananaskis Country, taken by me November, 2013.

Forget me not pond, Kananaskis Country, taken by me November, 2013.

This soup is great for when cold weather hits – hearty and filling. All that’s needed are some crusty buns.

1 onion, chopped

1 T. oil

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 pepper, chopped

15 small fresh tomatoes (the ones I used were called “blushers” – bigger than a cherry tomato but smaller than a Roma), halved

1 liter carton beef or chicken broth

1/2 farmer’s (or Mennonite) sausage ring, cooked and chopped

handful each fresh baby spinach and kale

1 can lentils, drained and rinsed

1 T. each dried parsley, basil, oregano and rosemary

1 tsp. (or to taste) white pepper

Saute onion in oil until brown. Add the next five ingredients (celery through broth) and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.  Add sausage, spinach, kale and lentils and heat until spinach and kale are wilted.  Stir in herbs and white pepper.  Serves 4-6.

Is Dinner The New Breakfast?

P1030173

Studies out last year seem to indicate that higher calorie breakfasts (including chocolate cake!) help your health. These studies have shown that skipping breakfast is associated with higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/health-headlines/skipping-breakfast-may-lead-to-higher-risk-of-heart-attack-heart-disease-study-1.1378307. Also, eating a higher calorie breakfast can be useful in managing obesity and metabolic syndrome. By switching to a higher calorie breakfast and a lower calorie dinner, participants in the study were able to change their weight and improve their health:  http://www.aftau.org/site/News2?id=18956

My personal opinion is that a higher calorie breakfast will naturally result in consuming slightly lower calorie lunches and dinners just as a lower calorie intake throughout the day will result in being ravenous by dinner (usually how I roll –not too much during the day resulting in starvation by dinner — so this will take an adjustment on my part). Fortunately, breakfast items are usually my favorite items to eat, any time of day.

Too time-crunched on weekday mornings to grab breakfast? Here are ten of my easy, fast breakfast recipes:

http://chronicinthekitchen.com/2012/10/29/breakfast-scramble-2/

http://chronicinthekitchen.com/2011/10/12/pears-with-yogurt-and-honey/

http://chronicinthekitchen.com/2011/05/10/breakfast-scramble/

http://chronicinthekitchen.com/2011/03/09/missed-fat-tuesday-strawberry-smoothie/

http://chronicinthekitchen.com/2011/02/02/pimp-my-oatmeal/

http://chronicinthekitchen.com/2010/10/18/sesame-seed-squares/

http://chronicinthekitchen.com/2010/10/18/swiss-breakfast/

http://chronicinthekitchen.com/2010/10/18/breakfast-wrap/ (tip:  hard boil the egg the night before)

http://chronicinthekitchen.com/2010/09/09/quick-skillet-granola/

http://chronicinthekitchen.com/2010/05/31/pb-b-wrap/

For more great breakfast recipes follow this tag.

http://chronicinthekitchen.com/tag/breakfast-2/

Dinner — it’s what’s for breakfast!

Fast and Fabulous Vegetable Frittata

I don’t do omelets, but I make a mean frittata.

image from femaleflare.com

image from femaleflare.com

8 large eggs

3/4 c. milk

3/4 c. cheese, shredded

salt, pepper, spice mix (to taste)

2 c. chopped broccoli

1/2 c. chopped pepper

3/4 c. chopped mushrooms

Grease large frying pan. Place broccoli and pepper in it with 1/4 c. water and simmer on medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until tender-crisp.  Meantime, mix eggs, milk, cheese,  mushrooms, salt, pepper and spices in a large bowl.  Add to vegetables in frying pan. Cook over medium heat until eggs are almost set, about 8 minutes.  Turn off heat and leave on burner another 8 minutes until eggs are completely set. Serves 4 – 6. Good with a crusty bread and some fruit and perfect for any meal.

Christmas Baking, Day one – Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Makes a great gift this Christmas season

Makes a great gift this Christmas season.

This is so easy to make, there is no need to spend money on pre-made Chocolate Peppermint bark at expensive specialty stores.

2 cups chocolate wafers (available in Canada at http://www.bulkbarn.ca/en-ca/index.html)

Chocolate making wafers

Chocolate making wafers

2 large candy canes, crushed

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Few drops of peppermint flavoring

Temper chocolate by placing wafers in the top of a double boiler. Fill the bottom half of the boiler one-third to one-half full with water. Heat chocolate over medium heat, stirring,  until melted and glossy:

P1050917

Remove from heat, stir in crushed candy canes and peppermint flavoring.

Freeze until firm, 2 – 3 hours, in a pan lined with wax paper. Remove from freezer.  Using wax paper, so the bark doesn’t melt onto your hands, break it apart into pieces.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

For gift-giving, place in a pretty container, and wrap with seasonal cellophane paper.

Pesto Chicken Pasta with Peas

English: this is a picture of self made pesto ...

English: this is a picture of self made pesto in a mortar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2 cooked chicken breasts, cut up

1/2 c. pesto

1 cup frozen peas, thawed (you could add to the pasta while it’s cooking during the last few minutes, or rinse the peas under hot water)

4 cups cooked pasta (rotini or broken up spaghetti) (regular pasta or gluten free pasta)

1/4 c. olive oil

Toss all ingredients together in a large pasta bowl. Add Parmesan cheese if desired. Serves four.

Roasted Morrocan-Inspired Chicken with Cauliflower and Carrots

 

Shop with spices in Morocco

Shop with spices in Morocco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Two chicken breasts, skinned and deboned

 

2 – 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

 

1/2 head cauliflower, separated into florets

 

1 onion, chopped

 

3 T. oil, divided

 

2 tsps each (divided then mixed into a small bowl): cumin, nutmeg, allspice, coriander, curry powder, tumeric and salt and pepper

 

Place prepared vegetables in a  9 x 13 glass baking dish.  Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of oil.  Combine one teaspoon each of the spices in a small bowl.  Sprinkle over vegetables and toss to combine.  Place chicken breasts on top of vegetable mixture.  Combine 1 T. oil with one teaspoon each of the spices in a small bowl and brush onto chicken breasts.  Bake at 375 uncovered for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, cover with foil, and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove from oven. Cut breasts in half. Serves four. Good with couscous, rice or quinoa.

 

Five Minute Pickles

P1020679

2 onions, coarsely chopped

3 English cucumbers, thickly sliced, then cut in half lengthwise

Dried dillweed (I used lots, use it to taste)

Brine:

2 c. vinegar

2 c. sugar

1/4 c. salt

1/2 T. picking spices

Place cut up vegetables and dill in a bowl that has a cover or in an old ice cream pail.  Mix the brine ingredients together in a medium sauce pan and heat until sugar is dissolved.  Allow brine to cool a bit before pouring over vegetables.  Cover and refrigerate.  The pickles will be ready in 2 – 3 weeks and keep for a long time.

Restaurant Review: Aroma Cafe

Aroma Cafe, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Aroma Cafe, Canmore, Alberta, Canada (Photo credit: LadyDucayne)


Aroma on Urbanspoon

Painlessly Delicious’ first restaurant review.

On Saturday August 24, 2013 husband and I went to this restaurant, located in Canmore, Alberta for dinner.  We’d previously been to Aroma Café earlier this year and had really enjoyed our meal at that time. Well, something must have changed in the intervening months – new ownership perhaps? The food was substantially different, and not in a good way. While the salsa and guacamole that accompanied our taco chips was flavorful and tasty, the main dishes were neither. I ordered the salmon and was extremely disappointed.  The salmon was cooked in a Mexican sauce and served with vegetables. Rice was served on the side. The salmon/vegetable dish was presented wrapped in a banana leaf. Well, other than the banana leaf, I could have made this at home.  Upon opening the banana leaf, I discovered the salmon was topped with frozen mixed vegetables (are you serious?) and a small handful of spinach. The sauce was basically a very mild enchilada sauce.  My husband’s meal was chicken mole and the mole sauce had very little flavor or spice. We were both very disappointed.  This was our anniversary celebration and the meal fell seriously short of our expectations, expectations which were based on our previous trip to this restaurant.  I used to recommend this restaurant to friends but can no longer do so.

Spicy Southwest Summer Salad

Corn Bean Salad

Corn Bean Salad (Photo credit: Emily Barney)

This was part of my lunch today.

Combine in a small bowl:

2 T.  fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (or minced if you can)

1/3 c. canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 c. frozen corn, thawed

1/2 red pepper, chopped

1 green onion chopped

Dressing:

1 tsp. each chili powder and cumin

1/4 c. each olive oil and lemon juice (lime juice may also be used)

1 T. mustard

Salt and Pepper

Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar. Pour over salad. May be eaten immediately or refrigerated.  Serves 1 – 2. This recipe easily doubles or triples.

 

 

Easy Summer Salmon

BBQ Salmon Steak

BBQ Salmon Steak (Photo credit: Fil.Al)

 

Take one large piece of salmon that has been filleted and deboned. Spread an equal amount of cream cheese and jalapeno jelly down the middle. Bake in oven at 350 for 15 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and loses its bright pink color.  Can also be BBQ’d.

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