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Chicken Sausage Stew with Beans and Okra

February 19, 2012

Chicken Sausage Stew with Beans and Okra

Hello everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying our mild winter. It was over 40 degrees today and has been so several times this week. That said, we still can’t seem to shake our soup and stew Sundays, because they make nice hearty meals and give us plenty of leftovers for the week. I found this one on a local blog called Fun and Fearless in Beantown which I have read for a couple of years, and while I made a few (very) minor modifications, it was quite tasty, very filling, and just all-around great!

Chicken Sausage Stew with Beans and Okra (Serves 4)

Adapted from Fun and Fearless in Beantown

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 12 oz. package Andouille-style chicken sausage, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans
  • 1 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 28. oz can diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 15 oz. can chicken broth, or 2 cups water
  • 1 cup frozen chopped okra
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high in a large heavy pot, such as a dutch oven.
  2. Add chicken sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add onion and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Add tomatoes and liquid, scraping bottom of pot to loosen any browned bits.
  5. Add beans with liquid and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes until liquid has reduced somewhat.
  6. Add okra and chicken sausage back to pot and cook another 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Light Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

February 18, 2012
Light Asian Chicken Noodle Soup


Happy long weekend to you!  Marc and I are both off on Monday (yes!) and we have NOTHING to do this weekend (double yes!).  Aside from the normal chores and errands, we plan on taking Job for a long walk tomorrow … and that is it!  How great.

I made this Asian-inspired chicken soup last weekend, after having this recipe bookmarked for probably a year.  When I was cooking it last week, Marc and I kept sneaking tastes of the soup, and neither of us were really convinced that it was going to be any good, but with the aid of lime, cilantro and a little rice wine vinegar, the soup really came alive.  I would definitely make this again, and you should too!

Light Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 cup grated carrots (~2 medium)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Shao Xing cooking wine
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 4 oz thin Asian noodles, like lo mein — or udon, if you can find it
  • 6 oz snow pea pods, sliced on an angle
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped
  1. In large soup or stock pot, combine chicken thighs, salt, pepper, carrots, bell pepper, garlic, ginger and chicken broth.  Bring mixture just to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for at least 2 hours.
  2. When chicken is cooked thoroughly and tender, add rice vinegar, soy sauce, Shao Xing cooking wine and pea pods.  Cook 30 minutes or until pea pods are just tender.
  3. While soup and pea pods are cooking, cook noodles in a separate pot of water, according to directions on package.
  4. Serve soup over cooked noodles, with cilantro garnish and the hot sauce of your choice.

Ham, Brie, and Arugula Panini

February 13, 2012

Ham, Brie, and Arugula Panini


Happy Valentine’s Day Eve!  I hope that you and your loved ones are looking forward to a day of love.  Marc and I do usually go out, but we don’t go to one of Boston’s fancier restaurants, as we don’t usually want to get roped in to the high prices and unrealistic reservation times.  Tomorrow, we plan on going to a lesser-known Szechuan restaurant in Woburn after work, and getting some unusual and spicy.  Sounds like a great night to me!

Tonight, I threw together this wonderful panini, which took me all of 15 minutes to make as soon as I got home from work.  We paired it with a fruit salad and a tiny, semi-weird pasta salad from our neighborhood market.  I would love to make this again.


Ham, Brie, and Arugula Panini

  • 4 slices good quality bread (we used whole wheat Tuscan Pane)
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 4 slices good quality deli ham
  • Brie, sliced and rinds removed
  • Small handful argula


  1. Caramelize onion until brown and soft.  Set aside.
  2. Lay brie out on bread, making sure that brie is on both slices.  Layer caramelized onion, and ham on one side.  Top with arugula and other piece of bread.
  3. Put assembled sandwich on preheated panini press, and cover press.  Allow sandwiches to cook for 5-7 minutes.  When you feel that sandwich is warmed through, remove from press and slice.  ENJOY!

Sugar Cookie Bars

February 5, 2012

Sugar Cookie Bars

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and while Wisconsin’s beloved Green Bay Packers are not in the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots are.  Marc and I are invited to a Super Bowl party at his new boss’ house, and we have to “shine it on”, as we cheer for another team!  It’s been ages since I have been to an epic Super Bowl party, though I do feel that tonight’s will fall into the “epic” category.  I am definitely looking forward to it, and of course had to bring a recipe to share for tonight.

I found this great recipe on Pinterest, which linked me to the website, A Little Bit Crunchy, A Little Bit Rock and Roll.  I figured this would be a crowd pleaser, given the fact that there will be lots of kids around, AND, who doesn’t love a sugar cookie, really?  Also, I will use the party as an opportunity to let people know that this is my very firs attempt at homemade frosting, and I am beyond pleased and how it turned out. Now, I certainly don’t think that this recipe is very GOOD for you, but given the fact that Super Bowl Sunday is about excess, it is definitely a good fit.
Sugar Cookie Bars

Recipe for Bars

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 5 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
2. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
3. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
4. Add the vanilla to the creamed mixture and then slowly add the dry ingredients.
5. Press into a greased 13 x 18 inch jelly roll pan and bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes.
6. Cool and frost (see directions below).


Recipe for Frosting

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c. shortening
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 5 tbsp. milk
  • Sprinkles (optional)

1. In a mixing bowl, beat the shortening and butter until creamy.
2. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar.
3. Gradually add the 5 tablespoons of milk until you reach your desired constancy.
4.  Add sprinkles to frosting generously!  Cut and enjoy.

Slow-Simmered Ham and Bean Soup

January 29, 2012

Slow-Simmered Ham and Bean Soup

It’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks here in the old homestead. I am finishing my off week between jobs, and my first day at my new job is tomorrow! I am a little nervous, but keeping an open mind for whatever is coming. This is only the first of many big changes in our life so I guess I should get used to being in flux for the foreseeable future.

I had been eyeing this recipe for quite a while and finally made some time to cook it this week. It requires a lot of prep and cooking time, so read ahead and plan for it when making your menu for the week. It was certainly worth the wait, and tasted absolutely wonderful. On top of the great flavors, it gets naturally thickened from the beans and pork fat from the ham hocks. This was simply amazing, needed very little active work, and was worth every hour. Enjoy!

Slow-Simmered Ham and Bean Soup (Serves 10+)

Adapted from

  • One 1 lb. dried 16 bean mix (such as Goya)
  • 2 ham hocks (the meatier the better)
  • 2 thick ham steaks, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 5 large carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ rounds
  • One 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • One 12 oz. can vegetable juice (such as V8)
  • 10-12 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  • juice of one lemon
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight, adding more water if you need to keep them covered. Drain and rinse.
  2. Place beans in a large pot and cover with water, at least by one inch and bring to a boil. Drop the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add all other ingredients, with just enough broth to cover ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 8 hours. Add more broth as necessary until you’re happy with it.
  4. 15 minutes before service, remove bay leaves and ham hocks. Pull as much edible ham from the hocks as possible and put back into the soup. Simmer for a few minutes longer and serve with your favorite hot sauce.

Greek-Style Minestrone

January 15, 2012

Greek-Style Minestrone

Ahhhh, Soup Sunday.  It’s my favorite thing about cooking.  Soup, as I have long mentioned, is my favorite food, and so nothing makes me happier than tending to a giant pot of soup.  I happened to make about a thousand gallons of this soup (I doubled everything … but for your benefit, I’m sticking to the regular ratios!).  I’m glad I did, though, because this soup is well worth it.

This recipe comes from my new soup cookbook (The Big Book of Soups and Stews, which I received for Christmas from my grandparents).  I hope to make a few more recipes from it this year, because there are some great ones!  This was a good one to start with, as it has a ton of veregbales, which is good for your post-holiday detox!  Enjoy!


Greek-Style Minestrone

from The Big Book of Soups and Stews


  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1/2 small eggplant, unpeeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, coarsley chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 c. chicken stock or broth
  • 1 can tomato juice
  • 1 can small white beans, drained and rice
  • 1 large (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1-2 c. chicken, pulled from a rotisserie chicken
  • 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 tbsp. dill weed, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Greek seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 c. crumbled feta
  1. In a large soup pot over night heat, combine onion, eggplant, carrots, celery, garlic, stock, tomato juice and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, at least 25 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to medium and add beans, zucchini, chicken, dill, Greek seasoning, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice, and simmer an additional 5 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with feta.

Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole

January 14, 2012

Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole

Is it cold where you are?  Guessing that the majority of our readers are in Boston or Wisconsin, the answer is likely yes.  The wind is beating against our outer windows and through the (bare) tree.  Marc and I are currently plagued with the laziness of a mid-January weekend.  We have nothing major planned, aside from haircuts, dinner with friends and maybe a movie.  Sounds pretty perfect to me.

This week, we focused a lot on warm, delicious foods that would make for great lunchtime leftovers (New Year’s always brings a new look on one’s budget, does it not?!).  On Sunday night, I prepared this fantastic casserole for Monday which made for great leftovers throughout the week.  The casserole doesn’t have many green vegetables, so for an added nutrient boost, I served it on top of fresh baby spinach.  I would definitely make it again, but next time, I would add additional vegetables, maybe peas or carrots, and definitely spinach.  Enjoy!


Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole

from Kalyn’s Kitchen

  • 2 cups cooked brown Jasmine rice
  • 16 oz. mushrooms, washed, thickly sliced
  • 3 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced into small pieces
  • 2 tsp. Northwoods Seasoning Blend from Penzey’s Spices
  • 1/2 tsp. ground poultry seasoning
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 – 2 c. rotisserie chicken, diced
  • 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 1/2 c. low fat sour cream
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 c. Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • Any additional veggies that suit your fancy.  For this, I just served it over a bed of fresh baby spinach.


  1. Cook brown rice according to package and let cool.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in heavy non-stick pan and sautee mushrooms until they are starting to brown and all liquid has evaporated.  Remove mushrooms from pan into a large bowl.
  3. In hot pan, add 1 tsp. olive oil.  Add onions and sautee 3-4 minutes or until onions are softened.  Add Northwoods and poultry seasonings, salt and pepper.  Sautee about 2 minutes more.
  4. When onions are finished cooking, add to bowl with mushrooms.  Add chicken and rice and stir gently until all meat and vegetables are evenly distributed in the rice.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream and chicken stock, then stir in parmesan cheese and one cup Monterey Jack.  Gently stir the sour cream mixture into the rice mixture.   (If you’re adding extra vegetables, ths would be the place to do it!)
  6. Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray.  Spoon rice mixture into the casserole dish and press down evenly to distribute.  Bake for 25 minutes or until casserole is slightly bubbling and barely starting to brown.
  7. Sprinkle remaining cheese over casserole and bake for about 15 minutes more or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.