Bistro onion soup

French onion soup is one of my all-time favorites.  I have tried several recipes over the years and have three other onion soup recipes already posted on this blog. However, this recipe is made in a slow cooker. I prepared the onions at the start of the day, turned on my Cuisinart slow cooker and never looked back. Eight hours later, I had an amazing soup that was delicious and authentic.

Broiled cheese toasts can be added to the top or the soup could be ladled into crocks and broiled the old fashioned way for the cheesy crusty topping admired by most aficionados. Even broiling some cheese and placing on top of the soup will work for a quick alternative.

Easy and classic, I recommend this recipe for your romantic bistro night at home. Served with a side salad or crusty bread and wine will make the evening complete.

Assemble these ingredients: 2 tablespoons margarine, 2 tablespoons olive oil, dried thyme, 1 1/2 large yellow onions,  2 medium red onions, fresh garlic cloves, salt, pepper, 4 cups beef broth, 1/2 cup red wine

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Cut the margarine into bits and place in the slow cooker.  Add 4-5 fresh garlic cloves, oil, thyme and then the sliced onions. I slice the onions in medium to large strips.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

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If nearby, it will be fine if you give the mixture a stir every couple of hours. Around 7 1/2 hours into cooking, place the beef broth and wine in a sauce pot and bring to a boil.  Add to the slow cooker and continue to cook for 15 minutes on high.

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If serving with cheese toast, prepare them under the broiler and place on the soup before serving. I used Swiss and Gruyere cheese broiled on top. Save this recipe, as it is a real keeper. I used inspiration for this recipe from Eating Well magazine, Jan-Feb 2016 issue.

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Jamie Deen’s meat and potatoes

Here is a classic recipe for those men in your lives that are looking for a meat and potatoes dinner.  It is easy and quick and comes together with prep and baking time combined at 60 minutes.

It is easy to adjust the ingredients depending on how many men and how hungry you expect them to be at dinner time.

The recipe comes from Jamie’s Good Food cookbook, which has been a great success for me.  Every one of his recipes seems to work perfectly.  I used a smaller amount of ingredients as I don’t have many men to feed.  Here is how I made the baking pouches.  I used Martha Stewart’s foil and parchment wrap, which is amazing. I blogged about the product on May 6, 2012 on this blog. I purchased it on amazon.com, and am still using my box.  It seems to last forever.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, mix 3/4 pounds ground beef, with 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, one egg, and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add minced garlic if desired. Combine well and form into two patties. As an option, could also add 1/8 cup of chili sauce or ketchup.

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Prepare the foil and parchment wraps.  Foil on the outside and parchment on the inside, or use Martha’s wrap. Place into a baking sheet pan.  Into another bowl add 1 tablespoon olive oil to 1/4 bag of small-sized carrots, 1 sliced white onion, and 2 Yukon baking potatoes which have been sliced lengthwise.  Mix well and season to taste with herbs or salt and pepper.

Place the vegetable mixture first into the pouch wraps and then top with the meat patty. Seal the pouches and roast for 40 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are fork tender.

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Open and serve.  Simply delicious for a meat and potatoes meal.  This is a once in three-month meal for us, as we limit our red meat intake.

Perfect for a cold winter night.

 

 

mushroom and spinach tortilla cups

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here is a quick and easy recipe for weeknight dinners. this one comes from Martha Stewart, and is very tasty.  i think this one could be varied with any of your favorite ingredients.  i adapted Martha’s a bit and only made four of the cups, and found that i liked my additions and changes. serve these with a nice side salad or even fruit in the summertime.

begin the recipe by slicing about one medium sized container of white mushrooms.  dice about 1/2 medium white onion.  saute the onion in a skillet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil.  season with salt and pepper to taste.  next, add the mushrooms and brown them with the onion for about 7 minutes.  remove from the heat and mix with one box of thawed frozen spinach, which has been drained. fresh spinach can be used as well.

meanwhile, warm the six tortilla shells, eight inch size, in a microwave or in the oven. the warming process helps with the next step.  prepare a jumbo muffin tin with cooking spray, and place the tortilla shells in the six muffin cups.  with your spinach mixture, add one cup of monterey jack cheese or a combination of white and sharp cheddar cheese.  stir well and add the mixture evenly to the six muffin cups.

add about 1/2 cup more cheese to the top of the cups before baking. bake at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes to allow the cheese to melt and the contents to heat evenly.  easy, quick, tasty and a different way to enjoy tortillas.

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baby zucchini

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on a quick trip to the Whole Foods Market, i happened to find baby zucchini.  what a cute product. usually zucchini are ripe when they are approximately eight inches in length. zucchini are nutritionally low in fat and calories, and a good source of Vitamin A, folate and potassium.  if you are interested in controlling your blood pressure, this is a good vegetable choice for you.

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these tiny zucchini are just the perfect size for a variety of dishes.  i chose to use them traditionally and sautéed them with onions for a simple vegetable side dish.  the zucchini were tender and tasty served with garlic and herbs, salt and pepper.  i used about one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on the cooktop, and in a matter of a few minutes, the vegetables were cooked.

served with grilled chicken, this vegetable was delicious.

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peppers and onions

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fresh peppers and onions are such a wonderful tasty side dish.  this is such a simple recipe, it doesn’t even really need an explanation.  slice red and green peppers and mix with a sliced white onion in a small skillet.

heat with olive oil until soft and slightly browned.  these peppers can be used to top an open face chicken sandwich.  they can be used to top a grilled mushroom.  they can be a topping on a heated baked tortilla shell.  they can be used with buttered noodles.  theses peppers can be used as an appetizer on crackers or flat-bread.

the uses are limitless.  the preparation is very easy and the ingredients are fresh.  peppers and onions are a healthy choice for vitamin C and carotenoids in your diet. mix different colors of peppers and change the recipe for the seasons — orange peppers for the fall, and red and green pepper for the Christmas holidays.

vegetable garden inspiration

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last month i took advantage of viewing many yards on traditional summer garden walks. i always seem to be inspired by viewing what others have in their own home gardens.  on this particular walk, i was totally impressed with this home and the postage-stamp sized vegetable garden.

this vegetable garden was not huge, as i have seen in other yards.  i felt like it was just perfect for a family.  i was inspired with the control of the size and the amount of any one vegetable that was planted.  so often, gardeners get over enthusiastic and plant way more than they could manage or eat.  and then, the garden cannot be maintained.

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in addition, i felt like these gardeners were very aware of the design and overall beauty of the growing vegetables.  there is something beautiful about nicely designed vegetable beds, not only for function–but for aesthetics.

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edible gardening is very popular now, and i am even more inspired to add to my vegetable garden design.

balsamic roasted pearl onions

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for a different type of side dish, try this recipe from everyday food by Martha Stewart.  the onions are very tasty, with the recipe coming together in a matter of minutes.  the calorie count on this dish is low as well, recorded as 81 calories per serving, with low carbs and fat grams.

i used two packages of fresh pearl onions from the market, but frozen onions which have been thawed can be used as well.

if you are into flavored vinegars and oils, i would experiment with this dish.  the flavor of the onions would be compatible with just about any of the gourmet choices.

to make this dish:  preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  soak the fresh onions in warm water to loosen the skins and then cut off the ends and peel.

toss the onions with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon oil and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.  season with salt and pepper to taste.  roast until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

i stirred my onions to achieve even cooking time during the process.  serve as a side dish with fish, chicken or beef. garnish as desired with parsley or dill.   this is a very tasty way to present onions.

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