Hearty Minestra with Butternut Squash and Kale


Let me start by saying that this was so good we are having the leftovers tomorrow night. The recipe is from Lidia's Italy. My mom use to make Minestra when I was a kid. The difference in her recipe, which of course I do not have written down, was that I do not remember her adding tomato to the base.

Lidia's recipe is fairly easy, it just takes time. This time, I made this about a year ago, I remembered to soak the beans the night before and I had bacon to make the Pestata.

The squash was from my sister's garden. It was very large. When I tried to weigh it whole I kept getting an error message!

Creamy Turkey Dijon Soup and Panini

 
Last night we had that turkey breast so tonight we had Turkey Dijon Soup. I liked the soup better than last night's turkey breast, but enough about me and turkey. This soup was suggested by Chris. When we were dating we worked at a restaurant, Nancy Lee's. She made an incredible Turkey Dijon Soup. I had never made the soup before so I googled it and found this recipe. Chris said it was very good, and he loved Nancy Lee's soup, so that was a nod of approval for me!

Creamy Dijon Turkey Soup

1 cup celery chopped
1 cup onion thinly sliced
3 Tbs margarine
1 Large clove garlic minced
3 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
4 cups skim milk
1/4 cup Dijon-style mustard
2 tsp reduced-sodium chicken bouillon crystals
2 cups cooked turkey cubed
French bread

1. In 3-quart saucepan, over medium-high heat, saute celery and onions in margarine 5 to 6 minutes or until celery is tender and onions are golden brown. Add garlic and saute 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in flour, salt and pepper and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and slowly add milk, stirring constantly.

2. Return pan to medium-high heat, mix in mustard and bouillon; cook and stir 5 to 8 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in turkey and heat 1 to 2 minutes.
The panini were made with Roasted Red Pepper, Arugula and Provolone cheese.

Did I mention that Archie loves turkey...

Thanksgiving Again

 
Chris makes an incredible stuffing. Next year we will just do the stuffing and the sides. I am really not a fan of turkey. A turkey club, fine but Thanksgiving turkey never really grabbed me. I was more of a stuffed artichoke person. Anyway, tonight we made a turkey breast (boring), acorn squash (very good), mashed potatoes (always good), cranberry sauce (the jury is still out on that one... I added orange zest!) and my first attempt, believe it or not, at gravy (not bad, after Chris adjusted the seasonings).
The star of all this, the reason we even decided to make all this food was the stuffing. Apple, celery, carrot, onion, sausage, croutons, apple juice... seems like I am forgetting something. Well it is pretty amazing. In my opinion it is right up there with the stuffed artichokes.
Archie on the other hand is all about the turkey.



Penne with Vodka Sauce

Okay so it's Saturday. Haircut at 9am. Over my Dad's after that. Grocery shopping with him and then lunch afterwards. Lunch consisted of an eggplant Parmesan (made by me) and roasted peppers (made by my dad, and they were great) sandwiches.
After that I had to get going, still needed to make one more stop and then home to try to catch up with an online class I thought I would have time for (when will I learn... no pun intended).
Anyway this is a long explanation as to why I used a jarred sauce for dinner.
 
I felt so bad about it that I decided to make a salad in addition to the pasta.
But what jarred sauce did I use... Silver Palate Vodka Sauce. Why that brand? Their cookbook was one of the first I purchased, and I received The New Basics as a shower gift. And it was on sale. We both loved the sauce.
And the salad consisted of arugula, tomato, olive, Asian pear, Gorgonzola and pomegranate seeds.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A perfect Thanksgiving Day. We had wonderful meal prepared by my sister, Lenore and her husband, Ralph. A nice time spend with family. And that is what I am thankful for this year - to be seated at a table with people I love. Eating, drinking wine and laughing. To quote my nephew Andrew, "That's all I need." Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the photos...


Butternut Squash Soup and Subs

Twas the night before Thanksgiving and we knew what that meant. Tomorrow will be a day filled with a lot of food. So we kept it light tonight.
I had Butternut Squash Soup in the freezer. I had forgotten how delicious this recipe was. Chris picked up a Chicken Parmesan sub and an Eggplant Parmesan sub. Perfect. Soup on a rainy night and half a sub. I really wanted to eat the whole sub but I did not.

And Happy Birthday Dad!

Chicken Pot Pie

Let's keep it short tonight. The crust was amazing. I got a little creative with the decorations. And the filling... this is what comfort food is all about.

A Big Spinach Salad

After 3 nights of eating out I wanted a salad. Actually Friday night we were planning on having salads when we walked into Friend's and Company. Then we saw their specials board.
So tonight we made a salad of spinach, grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olives, chippolini onions, almonds, sunflower seeds and pomegranate seeds. Also added some blue cheese after the photo was taken.
For dressings I picked up Marzetti Simply Dressed Balsamic and Pomegranate dressings. They were very good and I liked that they are in small bottles that way they don't linger unused the refrigerator forever.

Happy 95th Birthday

My dad's 95th birthday is Wednesday. But like every year we take him out on the Sunday before his birthday, holiday cooking takes place later in the week. We went to Lorenzo's for dinner.  I have had food to go from there but was never in the restaurant. Quite a nice surprise.
We started with Fried Calamari, Stuffed Mushrooms and Clams Casino. I had Cavatelli with broccoli rabe, sausage and cannellini beans. Chris had Cavatelli with roasted peppers and something else, can't remember. For dessert we had a cannoli cake from Lucibello's. It was a lot of good food and a lot wine and a lot of fun with the family.

Veal Matesse & Gnocchi and a Book Suggestion

Today is my husband's birthday so for dinner we went to Quattros. We started with Grilled Calamari, tender squid rings grilled, sauteed with crispy bacon, light hot cherry peppers and asparagus tossed in a white wine sauce. For dinner we both had our favorite meals. Chris likes the Veal Matesse, topped with jumbo shrimp, fresh Mozzarella and sauteed spinach in a white wine sauce. I am a huge fan of the Gnocchi, homemade potato pasta, sauteed with fresh diced tomatoes, asparagus in a light cream sauce. Light as air. We even had dessert, Coconut Sorbet. No leftovers!


Are you looking for a good book to read?  My sister-in-law, Ann Lombardi, has written Campfire Chronicles. Today she had a book signing at the North Haven Library. This would make a lovely gift for any readers on your gift list!

Here is an overview from Amazon:
Ann White Lombardi's literary endeavor, Campfire Chronicles, follows the travels of Alva, a nearly two hundred and four year old woman, with her quest to return to the sparkling waters of her birth. Her harrowing and heartwarming journey with a small group of strangers, leads them into the alien society of the future and plays a part in their destiny. With the premise that the more things change, the more things stay the same, this science-fiction fantasy is written with attentive descriptions that allow the reader to travel along on the journey. "There was a silence in the air that felt crushing. Amidst the soundless circle were all of the faint yet distinct noises; the bird in the bushes hopping from twig to twig, the sound of a small animal scurrying through the dried grasses, the babbling of the nearby brook as the cold, fresh water tumbled over the smooth stones, the sound of tree toads singing in the distant swamp, and the crackling of wood in the fire pit as the flames came to life. All of these sounds set the stage for the evening's storyteller, Alva".


I am about a third way into the book. It is very good!

It is now available online at www.iuniverse.com (bookstore), as well as, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. It is available as a hard cover, soft cover and ebook.

Friends and Company

I usually work from home on Friday's. This week I was off on Monday, then came home early on Tuesday when I was not feeling well so I thought I would go into the office to work today. It's November, how bad can the Friday night traffic be... 1 hour and 45 minutes! Yeah not good. I got a call from Chris at 6:45, I had just reached the Q Bridge, and he suggested we meet at Friends and Company for dinner. Perfect. We were planning on just salads. That was until we saw the specials board. There was Fried Calamari which was nice and light with hot peppers fried with it. I loved the caper marinara sauce served on the side. Chris had the Cider Braised Pot Roast served with potatoes, carrots, onions and celery. I had Seared Tilapia with tomatoes, red onion, mushroom and capers tossed in a lemon white wine pan sauce served over a roasted zucchini risotto cake. Yes it was delicious. The meal made me completely forget the hideous traffic I had been sitting in.

Italian Wedding Soup

Have I mentioned that I love my freezer. Last night I took out some Italian Wedding Soup I had made a couple of weeks ago. Chris heated it up along with the leftover Eggplant from last night. Perfect meal to come home to after a long day. And this is an awful photo of the soup... just too tired to get the camera so I used my phone... sorry.

Eggplant and Country Bread Lasagna

I was looking at the Lidia's Italy site and found this recipe. It sounded delicious and it was. There is something about frying eggplant as opposed to baking it. It just tastes better. I will probably try this again but baking the eggplant slices and perhaps adding some meat, perhaps prosciutto. Sorry about no photos, but trust me it was a lovely looking dinner.

Escarole and Bean Soup

Today I came home from work very early feeling a little under the weather. The cats were delighted to have someone to snuggle up next to for a long nap. 
Fortunately I had made Escarole and Bean Soup this weekend. Perfect comfort food. The chicken broth was so deliciuos. We also had some leftover frittatta from last night.
Now it's back to bed. Chris in on clean up tonight. Thank you Chris!

Zucchini, Pepper, Onion and Prosciutto Frittatta

I had a vacation day today and had planned on being home a little earlier than the time I got home. I was going to make, well let's save it for another day... Anyway when I got home Chris suggested one of the meal's I had made for during the week. Wonderful idea. So the Zucchini, Pepper, Onion and Prosciutto Frittatta was for dinner. We made sandwiched with it and boy were they delicious!

Chicken Trombino

Today was a busy Sunday. So busy that I forgot to start dinner. I had found the recipe for Chicken Trobino the other day on Lidia's Italy. So it's 6:30pm. 20 minutes later I am calling downstairs to Chris that dinner was served. This chicken was so flavorful. The sauce was amazing. I used canned plum tomatoes. And I was looking for the Provola cheese yesterday but could not find it so I used mozzarella.
For a side dish I had made Baked Polenta with Vegetables earlier in the day so that I just heated that up.
Delicious!