Fast Easy Delicious Chicken Vegetable Soup

Fast Easy Delicious Chicken Vegetable Soup

This surprisingly delicious chicken soup is quick to prepare and requires only a handful of readily available ingredients. I store it in the freezer in individual serving size containers, and just grab one when I need a fast bite.

Download Fast Easy Delicious Chicken Vegetable Soup recipe

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

4-5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 parsnip, peeled and chopped

1 large onion, chopped

2-3 ribs celery, chopped

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, optional

2 bay leaves, fresh or dried

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

6 cups good quality chicken stock

2 cups water

1 pound (the average weight of 1 package) chicken breast tenders, cut into 1” cubes

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

¼ cup fresh dill, chopped

1. Place a large pot over moderate heat and add the extra virgin olive oil and heat until shimmering.

2. Work close to the stove, and add vegetables to the pot as you chop, in the order they are listed. Once all the vegetables are in, add optional diced tomatoes, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes.

3. Add chicken stock and water to the pot and raise heat to bring liquid to a boil. Add diced chicken tenderloins, return soup to a boil, and reduce heat back to moderate. Cook chicken 8-10 minutes. Remove soup from the heat. Stir in parsley and dill, remove bay leaves, and serve.


Easy Summer Peach Caprese Salad

20200805_154328 Fresh Peach Caprese Salad

A fresh twist on an old classic. This is one of the most popular summer dishes that I make. Everyone raves, but the key is not so much the recipe (which is simple and basic) but rather the availability of summer ripe peaches at their peak of freshness.

Download Easy Summer Peach Caprese Salad recipe

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1½ tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper

1-pound ripe peaches, quartered and pitted, each quarter cut into 4 slices

12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick

6 large fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces, and a few basil sprigs for garnish

White balsamic vinegar (to drizzle, optional)

1. Whisk oil, lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add peaches and gently toss to coat.

2. Shingle peaches and mozzarella on serving platter. Drizzle any remaining dressing from bowl over top. Sprinkle with basil and garnish platter with basil sprigs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, with optional balsamic drizzle.


Easy Fresh Summer Tomato Pasta Caprese

Fresh Summer Pasta Caprese

 I try to make this recipe (which I found years ago in a Cook’s Illustrated magazine) every summer when tomatoes are in peak season. Inspired by the classic caprese salad, this pasta uses just a few ingredients that depends on high quality ingredients – ripe tomatoes, great olive oil, and fresh buffalo mozzarella.

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 - 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, more if needed depending on tomatoes

1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1 small shallot, minced fine (about 2 tablespoons)

Salt and ground black pepper

1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice

12 ounces fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 pound penne pasta or other short tubular or curly pasta such as fusilli or campanelle

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon sugar, if needed, depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes

1. Whisk oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, garlic, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella and gently toss to combine; set aside. Do not marinate for longer than 45 minutes.

2. While tomatoes are marinating, bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain well.

3. Add pasta to tomato and mozzarella mixture and gently toss to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in basil; adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice or sugar, if desired, and serve immediately.


Single Layer Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

20201205_163802 Banana Cake Torte

Sometimes a single layer cake is all you need for a small gathering, and they can look just as festive as a traditional layer cake. This cake is light, tender, and the banana flavor is enhanced with sour cream and lemon. I use cream cheese frosting on this cake, but if you are a fan of chocolate and banana, you could frost with a ganache or any favorite frosting.

Download Single Layer Banana Cake Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake Ingredients

2 large ripe bananas (1 cup/227 g/8 oz)

2 tablespoons (30g/1 ounce) sour cream you could use up to 1/2 cup (4 ½ oz/121g) it will make the cake extra moist

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons grated lemon or lime zest

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

2 cups sifted cake flour (7 oz/200 g)

¾ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar (6 oz/200g)

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons soft unsalted butter (5 oz/ 142 g)

Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows below)

Cake Instructions

1. Grease and flour a 9-inch (23-cm) by 2-inch (5-cm) round cake pan, after you line the bottom with parchment paper, and pre-heat the oven to 350ºF/176ºC

2. In a food processor, process the bananas and sour cream until smooth. Add the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla, and process until just blended.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and using hand mixer (or stand mixer) mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the soft butter and half the banana mixture and beat on low speed until the ingredients are moistened. Increase to high speed (medium on stand mixer) and beat for 1 ½ minutes. Scrape down the side of bowl and gradually add remaining banana mixture in 2 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Give batter a final stir with rubber spatula.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake come out clean, and the cake when pressed lightly in the middle springs back.

 

Frosting Ingredients

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners' sugar

4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces and softened

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting Instructions

1. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, 1 piece at a time, beating after each addition until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and mix until no lumps remain. Spread on cooled Banana cake.


Perfect Jam-filled Rugelach

Perfect Jam-Filled Rugelach crescents plate

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to spend some time with friends in Israel during the Purim holiday, and one of the many highlights was exploring Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market, often referred to as "The Shuk". It is the largest market in Jerusalem with over 250 vendors selling everything from fruit and vegetables to specialty foods, and clothing to Judaica. It is without a doubt an experience that must be part of any visit to Jerusalem, filled with fascinating sounds, sights, and smells.  One of the more famous spots is the Marzipan Bakery, which some say has the best Rugelach in Israel, and based on the long lines, they may be right.

Rugelach is a traditional Jewish pastry that is crescent-shaped and bursting with any number of fillings – jam, cinnamon, nuts or chocolate. It comes in two distinct varieties - the first is built on a yeasted dough and most often found in Israel (and at the Marzipan bakery) and the second version, more common here in the States, is made from a dough that’s highly enriched with a combination of butter and cream cheese. This rugelach recipe, from Cook's Country, is light, flaky, and delicious - use your favorite fruit jam, or a combination of jams, to create a simply perfect filling.

Download Perfect Jam-Filled Rugelach recipe

INGREDIENTS:

1 ½ cups (7½ ounces) all-purpose flour

¼ cup (1¾ ounces) granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon table salt

6 ounces cream cheese, cut into 3 pieces and chilled

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces and chilled

¼ cup sour cream

⅔ cup raspberry and/or apricot jam, divided

¼ cup finely chopped walnuts, optional

1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1-2 tablespoons demerara sugar

NOTES:

The demerara sugar adds a nice crunch to these rugelach, but they are still great without it. If you have packets of Sugar in the Raw at home, you can use those in place of the demerara. When brushing the rugelach with the egg wash, brush only a few cookies at a time and then sprinkle them with the demerara sugar immediately. If you brush the egg wash onto all the rugelach at once, it will begin to dry by the time you get to the last rugelach, and the sugar won’t stick. If your jam contains large chunks of fruit, process it in the food processor to a smooth, spreadable consistency before using it. Be sure to check for doneness at 25 minutes; the jam tends to accelerate browning on the bottoms of the rugelach.

  1. Process flour, granulated sugar, and salt in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Add cream cheese and pulse until large, irregularly sized chunks of cream cheese form with some small pieces interspersed throughout, about 5 pulses. Scatter butter over top and pulse until butter is size of large peas, 5 to 7 pulses.
  2. Add sour cream and process until dough forms little clumps that hold together when pinched with your fingers (dough will look crumbly), about 10 seconds.
  3. Transfer dough to clean counter and knead briefly until dough just comes together, about 3 turns. Divide dough in half (each piece should weigh about 11 ounces) and form each piece into 4-inch disk. Wrap disks individually with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  4. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll 1 dough disk into 12-inch circle on lightly floured counter. Using offset spatula, spread ⅓ cup jam evenly over entire surface of circle, sprinkle with finely chopped nuts if using. Using pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut through center of circle to form 16 equal wedges. Starting at wide edge of each wedge, roll dough toward point and transfer to prepared sheet, seam side down.
  5. Wipe counter clean, dust counter with additional flour, and repeat with remaining dough disk and remaining ⅓ cup jam. Arrange rugelach in 8 rows of four on sheet.
  6. Working with few rugelach at a time, brush tops with egg wash, then sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on sheet, about 20 minutes. Serve.

Perfect Jam-Filled Rugelach raspberry dough
Perfect Jam-Filled Rugelach raspberry dough
Perfect Jam-Filled Rugelach raspberry dough
Perfect Jam-Filled Rugelach raspberry dough