French onion and mushroom soup

Over the years, I have made French onion soups or mushroom soups, but never the two have been combined.  This recipe, inspired by Rachel Ray, is a true classic.  It comes together quite fast and is not one of those many hour French onion soups.  Surprisingly, it has a great flavor and is super tasty.  I certainly would recommend this one, even for beginner home cooks.

Gather these ingredients:  1 red onion, 2 white onions, 1 small box white mushrooms, sliced and cleaned, dried thyme, salt and pepper, 1/2 cup red wine and shredded Swiss cheese.

Saute the sliced onions with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. I used my Staub pot for another one-pot meal.  Once the onions are slightly browned, add the sliced mushrooms.  Brown and add 4 cups beef broth, 1/2 cup red wine and continue to heat. Simmer on low until ready to serve.  Freezes well too.

Serve with crusty bread topped with melted Swiss cheese under the broiler, or just top the bowls with some shredded cheese, or just serve with crusty bread.  A side salad would also be delicious.  Easy to make, serve and enjoy !

 

Mushroom spaghetti risotto

In recent weeks I have been trying some different cooking methods with great success.  This dish showcases a cooking method that is used to make risotto. Typically, in that technique, broth or cooking liquids are added slowly, allowing the starch to cook gradually.

With this dish, the spaghetti is cooked in the same fashion and yields an amazing taste profile, second to none that I have made in past years.  If you are willing to stand and cook at the stove for a short while, this is a dish for you.  It will impress anyone who is served.  I promise.

I used my Le Creuset cast iron pot which retains heat well and keeps the temperature constant while cooking.  I added 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 chopped white onion, and a small squeeze from my minced garlic tube.  Then, I sautéed the onion and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.

In another skillet, I softened one package of sliced white mushrooms with 1 tablespoon margarine.  In addition, I made 4 cups of chicken stock. Combine the two and bring up to a boil and add 1/2 cup of Pinot Grigio wine.

In the cast iron pot, I then added about 1/2 package of broken spaghetti.  Saute the dry spaghetti for about 5 minutes to allow the flavor to come alive.  Slowly, one ladle full at a time, add the wine, broth, mushroom mixture to the spaghetti.  Allow the liquid to absorb into the spaghetti before adding more liquid.

To finish the dish, add shredded Parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons margarine and incorporate.  Plate and top with parsley flakes. Serve with salad or crusty bread.

This dish was inspired from Rachel Ray’s Look and Cook cookbook, published 2010.

Mushroom casserole

Spring is coming to Michigan.  At least I am hopeful.  Soon all types of mushrooms will be available at the market.  So this is a perfect time to share my recipe for a mushroom casserole.  If you are searching for a great side dish or something for a meatless Monday, I recommend this casserole.  Any kind of mushroom would work and I have made this dish with a variety of types of mushrooms as well.  This is a great recipe that can be doubled as well to make a larger casserole for guests.

Recently, I used these ingredients: 1/2 package of egg noodles, 1/2 box white mushrooms plus 1 jar of sliced mushrooms, 3 Tablespoons margarine, salt and pepper to taste, and one 8 ounce block Swiss cheese, grated.

To make the casserole:

Cook the noodles according to the package and drain.  Saute mushrooms in the margarine in an open skillet.  Prepare a ceramic baking dish with a Pam spray.  Divide one-third of the noodles into the dish and season them to taste with salt and pepper.  Add 1/2 of the Swiss cheese and one-third of the mushrooms.  Repeat the layers and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve alongside chicken, fish or by itself with a side salad. Quite tasty.

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Zoodles with a spiral slicer

I finally purchased a Paderno spiralizer slicer and it has been a wonderful addition to my kitchen tool collection.  My three blade slicer is able to cut vegetables very quickly into angel hair noodles, shoestrings and even spiral cut strands.  My first attempt at using the tool was extremely successful, as I made zucchini noodles in place of pasta one evening for dinner.

I sautéed the zoodles with some sliced mushrooms, seasoned with black pepper and parsley flakes in one tablespoon olive oil. I cooked the zucchini noodles until soft and served with pasta sauce.  The noodles were extremely tasty, and confirm the recent enthusiasm from many chefs for using this spiral slicer.

I will be experimenting with apples, potatoes, carrots and cucumbers in the coming months. The slicer is an interesting way to prepare and cut these foods for appealing presentation and to increase food excitement.

For more information on this slicer, it can be purchased online at Williams Sonoma cookware.

Chicken Cacciatore

Easy one pot meals or rustic stews are perfect for cold winter nights.  I look for hearty soup recipes and other meals with shrimp or chicken to help warm us in the early months of the year. This recipe comes from Martha Stewart and is another hit in our home.  Very easy to prepare and in under one hour, your family will enjoy a delicious and healthy dinner.

Here is how I prepared this meal.  First, gather these ingredients:  2 boneless chicken breasts, ground pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 large box white mushrooms, 1 can stewed tomatoes/14.5 ounces, dried oregano

Using the olive oil in my Staub pot, I heated it first and then added the two chicken breasts.  Season with pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes, turning over to brown both sides.  Remove from the pot and cook the mushrooms.  Cover during the cooking process, stirring half way after 3 minutes.  Cook until soft and moist.  Add tomatoes and season with oregano.  Reduce the heat and cook on medium until tomatoes are in small pieces, and flavors have blended.  I keep the cover on the pot for about 10 minutes during this phase of cooking.

Then, return the chicken to the pot and cook until the chicken is fully cooked and heated. Serve with rice, mashed potatoes or other starch. Or, for a lower carbohydrate meal, omit the starches. This dish has great flavor and is very satisfying.

Chicken Scaloppine

Do you struggle with easy weeknight meals? Over the years, I seem to have found a variety of recipes that are “go-to” delicious meals that come together very easily and taste great too. I look for recipes that are low in fat, but nutritious and satisfying. Chicken dishes seem to adapt well to various tastes and flavors which allow the protein to appear very different based on seasonings and cooking methods.

Here is a recipe for a lemon flavored chicken which is excellent.  The way I made the recipe, the flavor profile was subtle, so I would increase the lemon ingredients for a more bold flavor if desired.

Gather these ingredients:  3 tablespoons margarine, about 10 white mushrooms-sliced, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2/3 cup chicken broth, 1 pound chicken thighs or breasts, salt and pepper to taste, dried parsley, 1/2 cup white wine.

Using an electric skillet, melt the margarine.  Start with the mushrooms, lemon zest and juice.  Simmer to soften the mushrooms.

Add broth and bring up to temperature.  Next, cook the chicken breasts in the skillet. This step may take 8 minutes.  Then, add the wine and parsley.  Finish the dish and serve.

 

Mushroom rice

Are you looking for a great side dish to accompany fish or chicken?  Here is a great tasting make at home rice that is simply delicious. It takes less than 30 minutes to prepare, so it will work perfectly for that timed roasting dish in the oven.

Ingredients to assemble:  1/4 cup margarine, 1 cup rice, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms, 1/2 cup white wine, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ground black pepper to taste and 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese.

Melt margarine in a large open skillet that is oven safe.  Soften and brown onions slightly. Add mushrooms and wine next and cook for several minutes.  Season with salt and pepper. Next, add uncooked rice and cook for another few minutes.  Pour in broth, and cover. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 25-27 minutes until rice is firm.  Remove from the oven and add Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.

This recipe could also be made with vegetable or beef broth if desired.