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 !

 

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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cherry street market –a wonderful fall experience

Last Friday, we took a relaxing Fall drive Up North to Traverse City Michigan.  I certainly do love Northern Michigan and will never give up an opportunity to experience wonderful food, shopping, and of course the Lake.  The weather was lovely and the air was filled with the crisp cooler weather that has rolled into our state.  I enjoyed every minute of the day, especially my stop at the Cherry Street Market in Kalkaska. ( http://www.cherrystreetmarket.com/)

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The vegetables and fruits were overflowing the shelves into bushels and pecks for sale.  The apples, squash, concord grapes and pie pumpkins were beautiful.  I love everything about a farm market.  I love that it is outdoors. I also love that the produce looks and tastes better than anything available at any local grocery store.  The romaine lettuce is deep green.  The corn is super sweet.  The apples are crisp and perfect without any blemishes. I love that I don’t have to “pick through” the pile, because every specimen of fruit or vegetable is picture perfect.  The freshness factor is overflowing.

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I purchased two large bags brimming with fruits and vegetables for $17.  This amazes me, as produce is so expensive at the grocery store. The abundance is breathtaking and the atmosphere is charming.  I love the harvest season and everything about farm produce.  I encourage everyone to have a small garden.  For those items that cannot be grown at your home due to hours of sun available in your yard, or even just space, I encourage supporting local growers in your area.  I have never been disappointed with the quality or the selection at the end of a growing season.

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grilled red onions

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these tasty grilled onions have become a summer addition.  i almost can’t wait until grilling season to make this easy treat.  slice one or many large red onions into 1/4 inch slices.  spray with olive oil and grill.  those are the directions.

however, something special happens to these onions when grilled over an open flame.  the sweetness of the onion emerges, while the strong onion flavor mellows. the onions transform into a smooth texture which complements many meats.  i like to serve them over grilled chicken breast. either served with chicken, steak or burgers, these onions will make the meal upscale.

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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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growing green onions in November

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so, my edible garden is still growing onions.  i planted these green onion sets in may.  i still have green onions growing in November in my Michigan garden.  i harvested these green onions today, and have them cleaned and ready to use in recipes for the week.

growing green onions is so easy.  i find a local garden center that stocks the green onion sets and start them in my prepared soil late May.  they begin to develop the green stems over time.  it takes the whole summer here in Michigan to grow thick green onions. perhaps my edible bed does not have full day sun, but it has at least 5 hours of sun each day.

i have at least six more bunches of green onions to harvest even after the temperatures have dipped below freezing during the November nights.  in this photo, i have trimmed the tops and roots from the onions, peeled back the outer layers, and have them soaking in my sink to remove any remaining soil from the stems.  it is so gratifying to grow edibles in a home garden.  i know that i have not used any harmful chemicals.  i know what fertilizer i have used, and i monitor them each week during their growth.

i am excited to still have produce in my home garden this time of year. i plan to use these green onions with eggs, in several dinner recipes, and i may even eat one or two just as is.   yummmmm

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.