Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup

Sunday Soup Day! Or Any Day of the Week is Soup Day (for Me)!  This is a Software Update for Your Palate. Sleep In and Then Whip This up in a Nano Minute. Trust Me!

I made this for my nephew a few weeks ago when he was recovering from a summer case of pneumonia…cured his ills…may cure yours too!

Soup Summer Lemon Chicken Rice Soup II
1 Tbs olive oil
2 leeks, white and pale green parts, rinsed, halved lengthwise, and sliced crosswise into 1/2 inch slices
4 celery stalks, sliced crosswise
6 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup uncooked orzo
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t ground pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 3 lemons
Breast meat of rotisserie chicken, chopped
1/2 cup fresh chopped dill

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
Add leeks and celery, and sauté 5 to 6 minutes, until tender.
Bring broth to a boil over medium high heat in large soup pot.
Add orzo and cook 2 minutes less than package directions.
Remove pot from heat.
Stir in cooked onion and celery, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, chicken, and dill.
Cover pot and allow to stand 10 minutes.

Serve with lemon slice as garnish.

Hardee Party Animal Crackers

It’s F.R.I.D.A.Y ! Yippee Yah Yea Yummy!
Animal Cracker day was back in April. Oops. I missed that! But here’s something that will put a smile on the face of any child, adolescent, or adult for that matter.

In a large bowl mix together any combination of the following:
Animal crackers
Mini marshmallows, pastel colored if you can find them
Popcorn
Chocolate covered raisins
Gold fish crackers
Craisins
Pretzels

Divide among mason jars
Share with your favorite peeps.

Spicy Sesame Noodles

“It’s just another manic Monday; I wish it was Sunday, ‘Cause that’s my fun day
My I don’t have to run day. It’s just another manic Monday.”
Well said Bangles! Click the link and listen to that fun tune from 1986.
Well we’re going to make this a Meatless Manic Monday. Let’s Go Sesame or Go Home!Starch Sesame Noodles II

Here’s the ingredient list:
6 oz uncooked soba noodles
2 t dark sesame oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbs creamy peanut butter
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
4 t soy sauce
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1 Tbs sesame seeds

And here’s the how to make it magic:
Cook noodles according to package directions.
Drain.
Place noodles in large bowl and toss with oil.
Whisk broth and peanut butter in medium bowl until blended. (May not look smooth.)
Stir in onions, red pepper, soy sauce, jalapeño pepper, garlic and red pepper flakes.
Pour mixture over noodles.
Toss to coat.
Cover and let stand 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.
Garnish with green onion curls.

Asparagus, English Pea, and Edamame Delight

Happy Saturday. This is the best little surprise mixture ever. Seriously people! Perfect for a quick and lazy weekend veggie delight! The Don is out in the rain and soaring heat swinging at that little white golf ball; and I’m hanging out inside in the cool breeze of my kitchen just testing recipes to share with you. This turned out to be a special delight on the tongue. Canning tomatoes tomorrow! See you next week.

Vegetable Asparagus, Pea, Edamame
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbs finely grated Parmesan
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 t Kosher salt
1 t fresh ground black pepper
2 bunches fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
2 cups frozen English peas, thawed
2 cups frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

In medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, Parmesan, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Cook asparagus in saucepan with an inch of boiling water 4 minutes.
Transfer to ice bath to stop cooking process and cool for 2 minutes.
Transfer to paper towels to dry.
Combine vegetable oil and shallot in small saucepan over medium heat.
Cook shallots 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until crisp and brown.
Transfer to paper towels to drain oil.
Combine cooked asparagus, thawed peas and edamame in large bowl.
Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to coat.
Transfer vegetable mixture to serving platter.
Top with shallots and bacon.

Serves 8 to 10.

May prepare vegetables and dressing 1 day ahead.
Cover separately and refrigerate.

Adapted from Epicurious Fresh, Summer Favorites, 2017.

Freezing Fresh Corn

The very best thing on earth after the corn season is over is fresh Silver Queen sweet corn during the winter. So I’m going to teach you the easy peasy way to stock your freezer. I use it all fall and winter in soups, stews, and as a side starch for dinner.  I froze 2 bushels this past weekend, which made 30 quart bags. So to break it down for the less ambitious, 42 ears of corn will make 8 quart sized bags, just half filled, so that they lay flat to freeze. Yummy…So, step by step, here you go.

Freezing Corn I

Bring large pot of water to boil. Drop ears of corn in. Blanch 2 1/2 minutes.

Freezing Corn II

Using tongs, transfer cooked ears of corn to ice bath for 3 minutes to stop cooking process and cool corn. (Make an ice bath by filling sink partially with cold water, and adding ice.)

Freezing Corn III

Remove ears of corn from ice bath and place on kitchen towels to dry for 10 minutes.

Freezing Corn IV

Remove kernels from cob. I find this easiest to stand an ear on the raised part of a bundt pan, letting the kernels collect in the pan.

Freezing Corn V

I use quart size freezer bags to freeze. I fill each bag about half way, so that I can then press all air out of bags and lay them flat to freeze.

PostScript…you have about 3 weeks left here in ENC to secure your Silver Queen corn and get it frozen! Post to the PostScript…It took me one hour to process 42 ears of corn and get it in the freezer. I used 2 pots of boiling water and each held 8 ears of corn at a time.

Watermelon Blue Cheese Wedge

It’s rip roaring, pure sweating, hot outside good people of the world wide web. Here’s a sweet little way to cool you off. It’s watermelon season. So swap that traditional iceberg for a hunk of melon! I’m not joking…don’t eat and drive!

Salad Watermelon Blue Cheese

1 small watermelon
Chunky blue cheese dressing, bottled or homemade
4 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
Crumbled blue cheese
Chopped chives

Cut watermelon in half.
Cut one of the halves into fourths.
Place a watermelon wedge on each plate
Drizzle with dressing.
Sprinkle with bacon pieces.
Sprinkle with crumbled cheese.
Top with chives.

Serves four.

Happy National French Fry Day!

It’s the day of all days to eat your fries! But first…a bit of history. The good ole folks of Belgium have been frying up these potatoes since the 1600’s. According to Wonderopolis, poor Belgian villagers often ate small fried fish they caught in the river. During the winter the river would freeze, making it impossible to fish, and forcing the villagers to find other sources of food. Enter the potato. The villagers turned to this root plant, slicing and frying it much like they prepared their fish. And BOOM; the first French Fry was born. American soldiers stationed in Belgium during WWI were introduced to this scrumptiousness.  And since the official language of the Belgium army was French, the Americans called the delicious fried potatoes “French fries.” Ta Da!

New Appetizer Pimento Cheese Fries

Pimento Cheese Fries

1 recipe of Peg’s Pimento Cheese
1 26 oz bag Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries

Preheat oven to 450°.
Cook fries according to package directions.
After cooked, remove fries from oven.
Turn oven off.
Preheat broiler.
Spoon pimento cheese in small dollops over cooked fries.
Broil 6 inches from broiler for 1 – 2 minutes, until cheese is melted and browned in spots.
Serve right away.

Serves 12.

*Author’s Note: I always cook my fries longer than package directions, checking at 2 minute intervals. I like them crispy, especially when serving as appetizer!