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Ginormous Pot of Veggie Soup

Everything but the Kitchen Sink!

Bobby and Jilly are now blessed with 3 (!) grand-babies just in the past month, so the household is busy trying to keep up with some meals to the parents. When babies come along and the parents are tired, nothing provides a quick and nutritious meal faster or easier than a good bowl of home-made soup. This one is loaded with Vitamin L that will bring back some energy to new parents.

Start with a stock pot and combine 1 c. dried veggie soup mix (beans, peas, barley) with ~ 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for an hour to soften the grains and beans.

In the meantime, prepare a number of veggies – whatever your preference or may have on hand.
For this recipe, Jilly combined the following:
4-5 carrots, diced
1 medium turnip, cut small so that it cooks a little faster
2 c. frozen corn
1 package frozen diced sweet potatoes
3-4 celery stalks and leaves
1 large white onion, diced
Left over frozen mushrooms and slices of tomato

In a large stock pot, sauté 3-4 Tbsp. good quality olive oil, garlic, onion and celery for a few minutes, then add the veggies and sauté just a few minutes more.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add 2 cans diced tomatoes, 2 cans white kidney beans (drained and rinsed), and 2 litres of no-salt vegetable broth. Allow everything to come to a boil, then simmer for 30 – 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook till veggies are just done.
Add ½ package kale, then stir in seasonings: parsley, fresh rosemary, and thyme to suit your taste. You can also add a good shaking of chili flakes or ½ tsp. chili powder, if you want to “hot” it up a little.
Serve with hearty slices of rye or pumpernickel bread. This recipe can also easily be frozen in containers. This will make ~ 30 servings.

This soup can also easily be adapted to include leftover meat, such as chicken or diced Italian sausage. If using chicken, add some fresh sage. If using sausage, add 1-2 tsp. Italian herbs (oregano, basil, marjoram).

From Jilly’s kitchen to yours! Enjoy!

Big Red Pot

Big Red Pot

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Greek Salad – Delish!

Especially Delish Greek Salad

OK, Jilly knows – there are purists out there who don’t believe a good Greek salad should lay on a bed of lettuce, but recipes evolve. Come the hot summer days where you need some sustenance, this salad with some extra greens will keep you cool and more than satisfied.

Jilly’s tip today: Invest in a veggie slicer. You’ll find a couple different ones in her kitchen. They make for quick slicing in a variety of patterns that add texture to just about any dish, and especially salads. The smaller ones used for zesting can be found at a dollar store.

Dressing:

3 Tbsp. good quality olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon *

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1 sprig fresh oregano, leaves minced, or 1 tsp. dried oregano

*Save the lemon and with a mini veggie-slicer, shave off to make lemon zest.

Prepare the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, garlic, and oregano in a small jar. Store in the fridge to chill and allow flavours to meld.

Ingredients:

½ English cucumber subject to some fancy cutting on the veggie slicer

½ green pepper, chopped

~ 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

½ c. kalamata olives, pitted

¼ sliced red onion

¼ sliced white onion

¼ c. chopped parsley

4-6 oz. or 1 tub of feta cheese, crumbled

2-3 different kinds of lettuce leaves – soak in lemon water, spin dry, and slice into fine shreds

Directions: Arrange the lettuce leaves in a separate bowl. Your guests can line a plate with however much they prefer, then top up with the remainder of the salad.

Toss cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, olives, onions, parsley, and feta cheese in a shallow bowl.

Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle lemon zest over all. Serve with a side of stuffed grape leaves available at a deli.

From Jilly’ kitchen to yours – EnjoyGreek Salad!

Easy Scalloped Potatoes – with a Twist

If you have a liking of those lovely little red and white gourmet potatoes, here’s an easy recipe to incorporate them into a traditional scalloped potato dish.

Easy Scalloped Potatoes

  • 20 – 25 (½ & ½) small red and small white gourmet potatoes (about 4 cups)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • ½ tsp. chevril
  • 1 tsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 ½ c. milk
  • ½ c. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preparation:

Spray or butter a 2-quart baking dish. Using a veggie slicer, finely slice the potatoes and onion.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, add flour, salt and pepper and stir to cook the flour ~ 2 minutes. Then add the herbs and milk, bring to a low boil, allow to thicken.

To the baking dish, spread the potatoes and onion in layers. Add the white sauce and mix gently. Cover and bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese and a dusting of paprika. Continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes, uncovered.

Serves 6-8. No photo of these – they disappeared from the table too quickly!

From Jilly’s kitchen to yours – Enjoy!

A Chicken in a Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie Chicken Pot Pie_2

Inspired by a dish at The Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC, Jilly prepares a sumptuous pie  – and wondered what was going on with the ingredients as she hadn’t made this for awhile. It didn’t take long to realize this recipe makes two pies!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  •  4 – 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • ½ c. chopped onion
  • 2 c. diced carrots or equivalent frozen veggies
  • 2 c. cubed peeled potatoes
  • 4-6 mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning or sage
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1  rotisserie chicken, all good meat peeled off
  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. whipping cream
  • 1 c. 1/2 and 1/2 cream
  • 1 c. frozen peas
  • Pastry  recipe – see previous post.

To prepare:

In large saucepan, add 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil, then garlic, onion and celery. Sauté for just a few minutes then add chicken stock, wine, carrots/veggies, celery, potato, bay leaf, salt and pepper to boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add chicken and herbs; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Strain; set aside 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) stock, adding water or chicken stock if necessary. Set aside chicken mixture; discard bay leaf.

In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in reserved stock until smooth. Bring to boil; cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream; cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken mixture; stir to coat. Add peas last as otherwise they will over cook and just turn mushy.

On floured surface, roll out pastry to fit two pie plates or a large casserole dish plus 1-inch extra all around; trim edges. Brush edge of pastry with water. Line bottom. Transfer chicken mixture to casserole dish. Roll out pastry to fit top. Brush with egg. Slash 4 steam vents.

Bake at 400º for 20-25 mins. Makes two large pies. Have one for dinner and freeze the second. Keeps well.

Enjoy!

 

Double Quiche Day

Double Quiche Day
Jilly moans in the kitchen after seeing yet more packaged junk in television ads passing for nutritious meals and is determined to continue to bake from scratch. Inspiration this week came from author Michael Pollan, who says, “The best diet is  — one you cook for yourself”.

The spring weather just seems to need some fragrant and delicious tasting quiche, so here goes. Let`s make that a double. One won`t last long anyway.  You will need pie pastry for two large pie plates. (Recipe to follow).  The basis to a good quiche is in the ratio of  eggs, cream and cheese combination you choose. With a little experimenting, Jilly found that the following works for the right balance that will then support the ingredients you want to put in your quiche.

8 eggs

1 pint of ½ & ½

½ pint whipping cream

1 cup shredded Swiss or gruyere cheese

Quiche_1Any assortment of veggies will do.  Today, two delicious quiches, one made all veggie and one classic Quiche Lorraine, with tomato and bacon.

Suggested veggies: (1/4 –  1/3 c. each)

Broccoli
Red onion
Red pepper
Asparagus
Mushroom
Or any combination you like. Spinach or kale are other good ideas.

Quiche Lorraine:
6 slices bacon
1 medium tomato sliced thin
small bunch of parsley

First, prepare all your veggies – chopped or diced medium.
Fry the bacon, drain on paper towel to absorb some of the fat and allow to cool, then cut into small pieces.
Prepare the pastry crust (recipe to follow).
In a large bowl or food processor, mix 8 eggs, 1 pint of ½ & ½, plus ½ pint of whipping cream with the cheese.
Again, we are in a no low-calorie, no low-fat zone, but spring cleaning around the house will burn this off.
Add a little salt and pepper to taste. A further touch to a really tasty quiche is in the seasoning. Use a dash of cayenne and nutmeg along with some salad herbs. If you`ve got fresh herbs, all the better.

Next, line the pastry with ingredients (veggies in one, tomato and bacon in the second), then gently ladle the cream, egg, and cheese mixture over top, filling the pastry about 3/4 full. Sprinkle some additional parsley on top.  You can create a little artistry by topping the mixture with additional slices of tomato or asparagus, as seen in the photo.
Bake at 375° for ~ 40 minutes until the custard is set. Insert a knife in the middle. It should come out clean.
Allow to cool and then serve for breakfast, or lunch with a salad, or just any old time when some comfort food is needed through the day.
Quiche will keep in the fridge for a few days, but does not freeze well. And, it usually disappears quickly anyway, so you won’t be worrying about any of this left over.
From Jilly’s kitchen to yours – Enjoy! 

Tried and True Pastry Recipe
4 c. unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. vinegar
Mix egg and vinegar and fill to 2/3 c with water.
I pound lard allowed to come to room temperature
Additional flour for dusting

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
Cut in the lard a little at a time and mix loosely.
Add the egg, vinegar, and water then start to knead until a ball forms – just a few minutes as working the flour too much will result in a tough pastry.
Add additional flour – ¼ c. at a time if it is not coming together properly. Divide the dough into thirds. Dust a portion of your kitchen counter with 1/3 c. flour to then roll out the dough for each pie plate.
This recipe makes enough for 3 large single pies and a dozen tarts. Pastry freezes well, so save the remainder to make a chicken pot pie later in the week. (Recipe to follow next post).

Aside

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins 
Jilly threw these delicious pumpkin muffins together before planning the rest of Thanksgiving dinner. Inspired by a trip to Saltspring Island;)

1 ¾ c. all-purpose flour

½ c. Splenda/brown sugar

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

½. tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. ground cloves

¼ tsp. nutmeg

½ c. chopped walnuts

2 eggs

¾ c. canned pumpkin puree

¼ c. vegetable oil

1 tsp. vanilla

¼ c. flax

⅓ c. oatmeal

⅓ c. pumpkin seeds

½ c. dried cranberries Pumpkin muffins

Topping

⅓ c. pumpkins seeds

¼ c. butter

⅓ c. oatmeal

2 Tbsp. Splenda/brown sugar

Maple Cream Cheese Spread

1/2 pkg (8oz) cream cheese or light cream cheese, softened

1 Tbsp. icing sugar

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

¼ tsp. vanilla

Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or grease; set aside. Prepare over for 375º

In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, flax, oatmeal, pumpkin seeds; mix in walnuts and cranberries.

In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin puree oil and vanilla; pour over dry ingredients. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. If mixture turns out a little dry just add 1-2 Tbsp. milk.

For the topping, melt the butter and mix with pumpkin seeds, oatmeal and Splenda/brown sugar.

Spoon into prepared muffin cups. Spread with topping. Bake in centre of 375°F oven until golden and tops are firm to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; let cool.

Maple Cream Cheese Spread: In bowl, beat cream cheese until light; beat in icing sugar, maple syrup and vanilla until blended. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.) Serve muffins with spread.
From Jilly’s house to yours – Enjoy!

If You Have The Thyme Try this Mediterranean Breakfast Caper

Mediterranean CaperIf You Have the Thyme, Indulge Yourself with this Mediterranean Breakfast Caper
As with most of the recipes coming out of Jilly’s kitchen the quantities can be adjusted to suit your palate’s preferences and what you have on hand. This recipe is quite forgiving as to what you can add. Don’t be afraid to explore, be creative!
Ingredients:
3-4 frozen potato patties, defrosted a few minutes and chopped into small cubes
(You can also use slices of any colour potato, or a cup or so of frozen hash browns).
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4-6 garlic cloves, sliced fine
½ chopped white onion
½ chopped red onion
½ chopped red pepper
4-6 white mushrooms, sliced
6-8 asparagus, broken at stem point and chopped (or any green veggie – zucchini, spinach, celery, etc.)
4-6 slices bacon or 4-6 slices of good quality ham – packaged or off the bone
2 Tbsp. dried thyme
Ground pepper
Sea salt
½ tsp. good quality Chipotle chili powder
½ c. cilantro, chopped with kitchen scissors
½ c. chopped parsley
2-3 Tbsp. capers
I small tub of good quality Greek yogurt
½ c. chopped pitted black olives
2-3 small tomatoes chopped and drained (Hint: lay chopped tomato on paper towel to absorb the liquid; otherwise, they will create a soggy dish).
8 eggs + 1 Tbsp. milk + ½ tsp baking powder (Hint: baking powder added to any scrambled egg dish will make the eggs fluff up more).

How to:
Cook the bacon to medium crisp, drain on paper towels, and trim of excess fat. Dice into small pieces and set aside.
To the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add the garlic and cook on medium just until garlic flavour is brought out – a minute or so. Add the chopped potatoes and cook 4-5 minutes just until potatoes are not quite done. Don’t overcook or the potatoes will just become soggy mush.
Add the peppers, onions, mushrooms, asparagus, cilantro, and bacon. Cook until flavours meld – just a few minutes.
Beat the eggs with a small amount of milk, baking powder, thyme, salt and pepper, and chili powder.
Add the egg mixture to the veggie mixture and allow the eggs to cook just 1-2 minutes, scraping sides of the frying pan to keep the eggs from setting.
Pour entire mixture into a large glass pie pan or a 7 ½” X 11” glass pan sprayed with Pam. Top with sliced olives and chunks of tomatoes. Bake ~15” at 400° or until eggs are set.
Add a topping of side of capers, yogurt, and parsley. Serve with slices of 8-grain bread toast and fresh blueberries on the side.
From Jilly’s kitchen to yours!
Enjoy!