All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pantry cannellini bean and tomato salad with artichokes

Once again, I've been sidelined by that ankle injury several months ago.  Which meant no long walks to the supermarket, but on the happy side, reading and re-reading books from my library, everything from Buddhist philosophy to cookbooks to mysteries.  It's been lovely, but I'm impatient for the ankle to heal a little faster.

I've also browsed more on Pinterest, which is where I found this salad-from-the-pantry, made very simply with cans of diced tomatoes, beans, and artichoke hearts from my pantry shelves. I had green olives, but no black olives - I think I would prefer the black olives next time. And I did drain the diced tomatoes, but they were still juicy, next time I'll drain them a little longer. I also cut the artichoke hearts in half, instead of quarters.  But still, it was a wonderful filling salad for lunch.

Do check out the link for full directions  - her salad is lovely!

What I used:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 fat garlic cloves, pressed
2 tablespoons bottled capers
a handful of olives
2 cans cannellini beans, drained
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2-3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
My parmesan cheese was very dry and hard, so I skipped the 1/4 cup parmesan shavings.

Friday, March 24, 2017

ginger and strawberry jam

A chilly, damp day today.  When I opened the fridge, I could smell those Florida strawberries, fragrant and sweet.  So, of course , I made a fresh little pot of jam.  And just for fun, I added a spicy slice of fresh ginger root -  mmmmm, smells wonderful!

The directions are here:

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 20, 2017

stove top chicken thighs in spicy tomato sauce

What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been - mostly political, which often sends me instantly to my bed for a nap.  I tinkered with the Paleo diet after noticing the poundage was creeping up, but I missed too many foods .  Sensible eating seems to be the best way for me to go. I was delighted , however, with the thumbs up for chicken thighs , which I have always preferred over the chicken breasts.

This is one of the Paleo-friendly recipes I came up with and have now made 3 times in the last month:

Stove top chicken thighs :

3 or 4 good sized chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 sliced onion
1 sliced red or yellow sweet pepper
1 cup diced canned tomatoes (I used the one with basil and oregano)
1 cup pitted black kalamata olives
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon thyme
kosher salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet on medium.
Add the chicken thighs.
Add the sliced onion, peppers, tomatoes, olives, water, and thyme and salt and pepper.

Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes, then turn the chicken over and cook another 20 minutes, covered.  Cut into the chicken to make sure there is no pink - if it is, cook another 15 minutes, covered.  I served with very fresh skinny asparagus topped with lemon juice and olive oil.


This is a Paleo treat I nibbled on whenever I wanted something sweet - homemade Paleo peanut butter cups.  I found it on Pinterest:

Be well - and carry on:)

Friday, March 10, 2017

poached eggs with asparagus

I woke up at 5 am, hungry and as always, happy to see a new day.  There's always a thrill to rummage through the fridge, wondering just what might be perfect for this beautiful new day.  A fresh bunch of new skinny asparagus winked at me through the thin plastic bag. And?   Gently simmered in a little water until it was just tender.  Drained and set aside.      And what else?

Those marvelous eggs from Locally Laid, somewhere in Minnesota.  Ah, here it is - PO Box, Wrenshall, MN, also gently poached until the whites were opaque and the yolks a little firm when I pressed a fingertip to them after draining off the water, and set them on a plate.  A little cheese sauce, I think.

Add a little cheese, as always, here a half cup shredded sharp cheddar and mozzarella, salt and pepper, a little cream, in a small saucepan and set on very low heat until melty, and DONE.  Even though it melted, there was a milky residue in the saucepan, which I drained off.  It was too early to forage through the cookbooks for a proper creamy sauce.  A sprinkle of Italian parsley topped it off.

Note:  I tested a proper white cheese sauce later :
  3 T. butter
1.5 T. flour
Melt butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan and whisk in the flour on low heat.
Add 1/4 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup cheddar, and 1/2 cup milk, salt and pepper.
Whisk until the sauce is smooth.  Drizzle over the eggs and asparagus.

All in all, a perfect breakfast on a very cold morning (8 degrees) . Here's to a beautiful new day!

Monday, March 6, 2017

quick chicken soup with greens and rosemary

A few days ago I started a vaguely paleo/keto low carb diet, after a unfortunate side view in the mirror and trying on pants that were a little too tight.  Lots of protein sits well with me, and so do vegetables, and if I have a sudden desire for sugar or pastry, I eat a demitasse spoon full of my homemade marmalade or strawberry jam.  I even bought an old scale at my favorite Goodwill, just to show I'm serious.

I do use a lot of eggs on this diet, so when I emptied the egg carton last night, that meant no frittata this morning.  I had leftover chicken, and loads of greens, so a quick chicken soup was in order.  I'd bought thinly sliced skinless, boneless chicken that had very little flavor, so I bumped it up with lots of herbs and sweet butter.  Here and now, I vow never to buy them again - the bone-in with a jacket of skin and fat has a lot more flavor.

And I have news!  In eleven days heading back to New Hampshire (from Minnesota) for a week to visit family, and finally meet my new grandaughter!  I'm over the moon with excitement!

Here's this morning's soup:

Quick Chicken soup with greens and rosemary
Serves 2.

1 leek white, washed and sliced
1 - 2 sliced carrots, peeled
1 clove garlic
3 cups light chicken stock
1 heaping cup leftover chicken, diced
1/2 teaspoon thyme (I use dried)
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
nice sprig of fresh rosemary

Simmer until the carrots are soft, then add:

1 heaping cup broccoli rabe, sliced or 1 heaping cup torn kale
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
salt and fresh pepper to taste

If you want to sneak in some leftover pasta, that would work, too.

Here's a quick peek at my favorite birds - crows!  They sit on the flat rooftops of the apartment building, and swoop down to snack on the seeds and bread a neighbor puts out, then sit in the high trees and converse in their crow-talk, which can sound like a creaky door, to a ha-ha-ha, and I think I heard one whistling the other day.  It's hard to get a picture because they fly away if I get too close. This is snuck through the window screen 30 feet away.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

kale, bacon, and boursin frittata

Ah, February.  While it does bring snow, and not as many of those subzero nights, it also seems to be the month I notice my clothes are a little tighter - which brings the inevitable diet.   I usually go on a modified South Beach/Keto/Paleo diet -high protein with low carbs, and try to step up exercise.  This time I have even more motivation:  a trip back to New Hampshire in two weeks to visit my son and family, and finally get to meet my new granddaughter!  Yay!!

This frittata is somewhat flat - not fluffy and high as many quiches are, but incredibly easy to throw together.  I try to keep a few pieces in the fridge at all times, so I don't have a snack attack while I'm standing by the warm pastries at my nearest convenience 
store.  I don't add a lot of cheese, but you're welcome to add more if you want.  Note that you need to prep the kale and bacon ahead of time.

Bacon,Kale, and Boursin frittata

Preheat oven to 340F.
Butter a glass pie dish, set aside.

In a large bowl combine:

4 extra large eggs
1/2 cup light cream or half and half
a handful of cooked bacon, crumbled or torn into small pieces
a heaping handful of tiny multi-colored tomatoes
1 cup blanched kale
fresh rosemary, stripped from stem
salt and pepper
1/2 cup crumbled boursin cheese (you can also make your own boursin with this recipe)

Pour into prepared pie dish, add the boursin on top, and bake for 35 minutes, or until the egg mixture is firm and fully cooked.

Let cool before cutting into slices.

That's it - easy as can be!  Hope you all have a wonderful day!