Creamy white bean and carrot soup

Since I love my Dutch Oven so much… here is another soup that I make, courtesy of my brain.

Creamy White Bean and Carrot soup

Sauté about 1/4 cup onions in 2 tbsp of olive oil, when they begin to turn translucent, add 1 clove of chopped garlic. Add diced carrots and cook 2 mins longer. Add chicken broth. I have used whatever I made after boiling chicken bones – or 2 cans or one box… however, I think next time (to make it thicker), I am going to use half as much broth. Anyway, Add a few diced potatoes and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Blend cannellini beans and half and half (I only pour in enough to cover about half of the beans so that it is nice and thick), kosher salt and pepper. Add mixture to soup and simmer. If you want your soup thicker – you can add a TBSP of cornstarch mixed with water and stir constantly until it boils, then stir for a minute longer.

I forgot to take pictures after this step because I was making a Peanut Butter Mousse too…


White bean Chili

I realize that I haven’t posted any recipes since this summer… although I have tried quite a few new ones, both made up and followed. Tonight I made chili in my dutch oven… here is what I did.

White Bean Chili

Saute onions (use how many you like… I chopped up about a 1/4 of a cup worth)
Brown meat, add 2 tbsp of Mexican Chili powder, 1 tsp of Cumin
Add one can of diced tomatoes with juices (I used a can that had added garlic in it)
Add one can of tomato sauce… bring to almost boil and reduce heat – cover, 30 mins. Add one can of Cannellini beans and simmer for 30 mins longer.
Top each bowl with shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a square of cornbread! Yum!

Another trio!

The other night, our family went to a friends house for some swimming and a crab feast! Since I cannot go empty handed, I made the following three appetizers. They were all super yummy. I only wish my watermelon stay chilled – but with 100* weather and eating outside…

Corn and Black Bean Salad with Basil-Lime Vinaigrette

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, 2008   

For the salad: Preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Peel back the corn husks. Remove the silks and replace the husks. Soak the corn in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain and place on the grill for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely and remove the husks. Using a sharp knife, remove the corn kernels. In a medium bowl, mix together the grilled corn, black beans, garbanzo beans, bell pepper, and mango.

For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the lime zest, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, basil, and cumin. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well. Refrigerate for 1 hour, and toss again, before serving.

Tomato, Watermelon, and Basil Skewers

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis    

Combine the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.

Starting with the watermelon squares, push the watermelon to the very tip of the skewer. Then skewer a basil leaf, then a tomato half. Continue with another watermelon, basil leaf, and tomato half. Place the skewer on a serving platter so it stands upright, using the lowest watermelon square as a base. Continue with the remaining skewers.

Drizzle the skewers with the reserved balsamic syrup and the olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Serve.

Smoked Salmon and Apple Carpaccio

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis


  • 6 (1/4-inch thick) slices rosemary or olive bread, quartered
  • 6 ounces Nova Scotia smoked salmon
  • 1 small green apple, such as Granny Smith, halved and cut into very thin slices
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the bread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly brown and crisp. Cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.

Arrange the smoked salmon in a single layer on a serving platter. Lay the apple slices on top. Sprinkle the capers over the salmon and apple slices. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with the toasted bread.

***I actually skipped the apples. I felt we had enough food and wasn’t in the mood for apples. I also used store bought garlic toast.

A trio of fantastic apps

The other night was my dad’s birthday celebration. I committed to bring three appetizers and a dessert. In order to keep the food from getting cold or soggy, I prepped it all at home and then labeled it all with tags of how to cook them. Everything turned out great! I need a better way to cook the bacon wrapped dates – or I need longer slices on each date. I didn’t think about how bacon shrinks while it cooks and the dates became un-wrapped. Luckily, nobody minded! 😉

Bacon-wrapped stuffed dates… Stilton-Stuffed Dates

The recipe is as easy as it sounds. Take fresh pitted dates, slice open, stuff with goat cheese, close, wrap bacon strips around, secure with toothpick, cook in pan. Voila!

raw… I forgot to take the after picture …

The other two are a bit more complex… roasted tomatoes with garlic and gorgonzola (courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis)


  • 12 Roma tomatoes, sliced in 1/2 lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup finely crumbled Gorgonzola or grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon, remove the seeds from the tomatoes. Place the tomato halves, cut side down, on paper towels to drain, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Using clean hands, gently toss the drained tomato halves in the oil mixture until coated. Marinate the tomatoes for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and Gorgonzola cheese.

Place the marinated tomato halves, cut side up, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Fill each tomato half with the bread crumb filling. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly softened and the underside of the tomatoes are brown.

Arrange the cooked tomatoes on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Last, we have the grilled asparagus and melon salad, also courtesy of Giada


  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 small melon (about 12 ounces), peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella or burrata cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted* see Cook’s Note

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the prosciutto in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Chop the prosciutto into 1/4-inch pieces.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. In a medium bowl, toss together the asparagus and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes each side until crisp-tender.

In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the melon and mozzarella cheese and toss until all ingredients are combined.

Arrange the asparagus on a platter. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the melon and burrata cheese on top of the asparagus. Drizzle any remaining vinaigrette over the top. Sprinkle the prosciutto and pine nuts on top and serve.

*Cook’s Note: To toast pine nuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 8 to 12 minutes until lightly browned.

Carnitas tacos!

Yesterday I pulled out the Crock Pot and threw in some pork chops which I had seasoned with salt and pepper. I think added a can of plain diced tomatoes, (since I always over spice things, I didn’t want to use salsa verde), sautéed onions and garlic and set on high for 5 hours. We then loaded the pulled pork into warmed tortilla’s with salsa, cheese and sour cream. Super easy, super yummy.

I was going to follow a recipe, but they were all too complicated for the time that I had yesterday. Here is a Carnitas recipe that I want to try sometime soon!

Carnitas Soft Tacos with Guacamole and Pico de Gallo

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003

Prep Time: Inactive Prep Time: Cook Time:

30 min Level: — Intermediate


3 pounds thick, meaty country style pork ribs, pork butt or pork shoulder 2 pounds lard, or enough to cover the meat 1/4 cup water 1 orange, zest removed with a vegetable peeler in wide strips

1 lime, zest removed with a vegetable peeler in wide strips 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt 12 soft corn tortillas

2 tablespoons vegetable oil Guacamole, accompaniment, recipe follows Emeril’s Pico de Gallo, accompaniment, recipe follows


Trim most of the fat from the meat, leaving a thin layer. Cut into 4-inch pieces.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the lard over medium-low heat. When it has melted but is not yet very hot, add the pork, water, orange zest, lime zest, garlic, and salt. Cook at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally so that the meat evenly cooks, for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender. If the meat needs more time and all of the water has evaporated, add a bit more water and continue to cook until the meat is tender.

Once the meat is tender, raise the heat to medium-high. (Don’t panic if the lard comes to a rolling boil – this will diminish as the water evaporates and will become small bubbles.) After the boiling lard changes to small bubbles, cook the meat for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and crispy all over. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon or tongs and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with the salt. When the meat has cooled slightly, pull the meat apart using 2 forks into shreds and smaller pieces and discard the bones.

To heat the tortillas, heat a medium skillet over low heat. Place the oil in a small dish and before placing in the pan, brush both sides of each tortilla with 1/2 teaspoon of the oil. Place the oiled tortilla in the skillet and cook until just warm and soft, 2 to 5 seconds per side. Remove from the heat, place on a plate and cover with a cloth to keep warm until ready to serve.

To serve, make the tacos with the meat and warm tortillas, and garnish with the guacamole and pico de gallo.


2 large, firm–ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1/4 cup minced white onions 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves

2 hr 10 min 4 to 6 servings (makes 3 1/2 to 4 cups shredded meat)


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1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste 1 teaspoon minced serrano chile 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch cayenne In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mash with the back of a fork until mostly smooth with a few chunks. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings (about 2 cups)

Emeril’s Pico de Gallo:

1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced 3/4 cup finely chopped white onion 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons minced, seeded jalapeno or serrano chiles (about 2 medium) 1 teaspoon minced garlic clove 1/2 teaspoon salt Pinch cayenne

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour for the flavors to blend. Yield: about 3 cups

egg-white frittata with lox and arugula

Like I said over in my blog, I used the whole egg – so I only used 4 eggs. Everything else I followed, albeit adding too much salt. I think the dish would be nice if I hadn’t over salted…

Egg White Frittata with Lox and Arugula

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis


  • 8 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 6 ounces lox, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 packed cups (2 ounces) arugula
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add the cream, lox, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.

In a 10-inch, ovenproof, nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the arugula and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the arugula has wilted, about 1 minute. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and stir to combine the ingredients. Cook, without stirring for 4 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until set, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Slide the frittata onto a platter. Using a serrated knife, cut the frittata into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

White Chicken Lasagna

This is what I made for dinner tonight. I followed the recipe except for I didn’t have basil or oregano ( I used Herbs de provence instead!) I also used NO BOIL lasagna noodles.

It was divine.

White Chicken Lasagna


  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the butter until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the flour and salt, and simmer until bubbly. Mix in the broth and milk, and boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Season with the basil, oregano, and ground black pepper. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  3. Spread 1/3 of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer with 1/3 of the noodles, the ricotta, and the chicken. Arrange 1/3 of the noodles over the chicken, and layer with 1/3 of the sauce mixture, spinach, and the remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange remaining noodles over cheese, and spread remaining sauce evenly over noodles. Sprinkle with parsley and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven.

Here is what is left of mine…

cell phone pic...