Browsing articles in "Soups and salads"

Matzo Matzo Man

Sep 28, 2011   //   by marymeals   //   Soups and salads  //  2 Comments

Matzo Balls are tasty Jewish dumplings traditionally made from matzo meal and served in a light chicken broth. They are usually eaten for the Passover Holiday, but honestly in my book any Holiday gives me the excuse to dust off the soup pot and make some matzo. In celebration of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, I developed this particular “matzo” recipe for a special dinner guest who is not only a vegetarian, but cannot eat gluten. Imagine! Her world without matzo? Well not any more…Shana Tova!

“Matzo” Ball Veggie Soup

2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons melted margarine
1 cup almond flour plus 1/4 cup reserved
1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dash white pepper
1 tsp water (more or less depending on desired consistency)
2 qts vegetable broth
1 med carrot quartered
1 small onion halved (peel on)
3 gloves garlic smashed with knife (peels on)
1 handful of baby carrots
1 tbsp better then bullion veggie stock (you can use any but this brand is just concentrated stock nothing else)
more parsley for garnish

In a small bowl, mix eggs with the melted margarine. Stir in 1 cup almond flour, the parsley, salt, and pepper, to form a dough. At this point you may need to add water for a softer dough or more almond flour for a stiffer dough. My family likes a dense chewy texture so I mix in flour until my mixing spoon can stand up in the dough with out falling. A softer dough will produce airy dumpling like balls. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting bring broth, carrot, onion and garlic to a boil in a large pot. Your will strain the broth so the peels and all will bring great flavor to the vegetable broth. Reduce heat to a simmer for 1 hour. Shape the matzo dough into 12 balls. (For easier shaping, dip hands in cold water from time to time). Set aside. Now it is time to strain the vegetable broth. Discard the boiled vegetables and place the strained broth back into the soup pan, adding baby carrots and the bullion. Bring to a simmer and then drop the matzo balls into the simmering broth. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes. Garnish each bowl with a handful of chopped parsley.

Holy Guacamole!

Jan 14, 2011   //   by marymeals   //   Soups and salads, Starters  //  3 Comments

Avocado Salad

I made my first avocado salad for a Mexican cooking show filmed for extra credit in my high school Spanish class. It was called Maria’s Kitchen and it was a complete disaster! Midwesterners back then did not have much experience with the ins and outs of guacamole making, and the avocados that I painstakingly selected for my cooking show masterpiece were rock hard, and took an extreme amount of effort to peel and dice! I had no idea that avocados had to be soft and ripe in order to be eaten! I wish i knew then what I know now! Hilarious! The best way to tell if an avocado is ready for immediate use is to hold it in your hand and give it a gentle squeeze, ready to eat fruit will be firm but give to gentle pressure. So go get your ripe avocados and join me in making this creamy and delicious salad. Don’t feel guilty because it tastes so good! Each serving gives you more then 20 vitamins and minerals that your body needs, and the fat in avocado is the heart healthy kind proven to lower bad cholesterol. I eat this as a salad inside of a whole wheat pita, but you can easily turn this into guacamole dip by mashing the avocado instead of leaving it in bite size pieces.

MaryMeals’ recipe is on the 30th edition of Monday Mania

Avocado Salad

3 ripe avocado cubed
2 large tomatoes diced
1 small red onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 half jalapeno seeded and chopped
juice from 1 lemon
1 tbsp garlic salt

Combine all produce in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice and garlic salt. Simple, and so amazingly delicious.

Yes soup for you!

Dec 15, 2010   //   by marymeals   //   Soups and salads  //  10 Comments

Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

As one of natures most nutritious foods, wild rice was a staple of the Chippewa Indian diet, and is still considered sacred to their culture. High in fiber and rich in protein this super-food sustained tribes through long winters, as it preserved indefinitely once cured. Curing also provides the key to wild rice’s delicious nutty flavor. Native to North America, it can still be found growing in lakes and streams that crisscross the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Indians of the Red Lake Band of these Chippewa still harvest it, and the rice provides great sources of revenue for the traditional cultivation of these rich grains. All rice grown on Minnesota State lakes is protected and must still be harvested from a canoe to keep the plants safe from the damage a power boat can cause. Enjoy these wholesome grains set off in a creamy and delicious wild rice soup.

Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

To precook the rice:

1 cup wild rice
4 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
olive oil

Rinse rice in cool water. Place the wild rice, water and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low cover and cook 45 to 60 minutes, until rice has puffed and most of the liquid has absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit additional 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and drizzle w a tiny amount of olive oil. Set aside.

For the soup:

1 onion diced
1 stalk celery diced
1/2 green pepper diced
1/4 cup carrots diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp garlic salt
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 bullion cube
1 tsp thyme
precooked wild rice
2 chicken breasts fully cooked and diced
1 pint half and half
salt and pepper to taste
chopped green onion for garnish (optional)

Heat olive oil in a stock pot and add onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and green pepper. Saute until vegetables are tender. Add butter and once it is melted add 1/4 cup of flour, stirring to coat all vegetables. Once flour is combined into mixture slowly whisk in the chicken stock. The soup will thicken slightly. Add bouillon, water, and stir in cooked rice, garlic salt, and thyme. Simmer 15 minutes and then add chicken and stir in half and half. Let soup heat to serving temperature and check for seasoning. Salt and pepper to taste. Posted on Make a foodie friend mondays!

I get by with a little help from my friends

Nov 22, 2010   //   by marymeals   //   Soups and salads  //  2 Comments

Tomato Soup

You know something has got to be good when people are willing to wait in -10℉ weather for over an hour. The Ovens of Brittany in Madison WI had food so amazing they had a line no matter what time of year it was. Dishes in the classical French style highlighted fresh, natural ingredients, paired with attentive preparation, and recipes that simply worked. Ovens transformed the local food scene making something as mundane as eating into a meaningful and delicious experience. A great place to gather with friends, or have a date night, it was also the versatility of the place that contributed to its success. Sadly, The Ovens of Brittany is no longer in operation as a restaurant, however, they still operate a successful catering business to this day. Here in this MaryMeals version I pay tribute to the best tomato soup I’ve ever tasted. It’s close to the original version but I like it to be a bit creamier, and have a little more spice.

Creamy Tomato and Herb Soup

1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
32 0z chicken stock
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 small can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup honey
1 tbsp dill
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tsp chili powder
pinch of red pepper flakes
couple dashes of hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of half and half

Take half of the stick of butter and melt in a small saucepan. Add flour and stir until well blended. Cook on low heat an additional 5 minutes to make a roux. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large soup pot melt remaining butter and saute onions until translucent, then add garlic and saute additional 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Whisk in the roux to thicken the stock until smooth, reduce to a simmer. Add all remaining ingredients except half and half. Continue to simmer 20 minutes test for salt and pepper. Stir in half and half and cook an additional 25 minutes. This recipe added to Veggie Converter’s: meatless Mondays

I’m screaming Japanese

Oct 13, 2010   //   by marymeals   //   Soups and salads  //  1 Comment

Asian Dumpling Soup

I’ve worked hard all day and have little stamina left for a time consuming home-made meal. A quick survey of in-stock ingredients yields little: frozen Japanese dumplings filled with chicken and veggies + chicken soup mix+ fresh basil that has seen better days. In the MaryMeals kitchen, sometimes the best tasting dishes are created out of a simple yet somewhat bizarre list of ingredients. The key is to be fearless! I decided that the dumplings are similar to won tons and I love a good cup of won ton soup so why not steam the dumplings and toss them into a broth topped off with fresh herbs? My desperate quest for a fast yet super satisfying meal yielded another great dish I’m sure to make over and over again: a super tasty unbelievably easy dumpling soup. The Trader Joe’s brand chicken gyoza dumplings are a particularly tasty choice since they are stuffed with shredded carrots, herbs and cabbage which adds a great flavor to the soup. It would also be a tasty addition to add some thinly chopped scallions.

Asian Dumpling Soup

1 pkg. frozen Asian dumplings (commonly labeled as gyoza, or potstickers)
2 tbsp powdered chicken broth
4 cups boiling water
3 leaves fresh basil chopped

Steam dumplings according to package directions. Bring 4 cups water to a boil and mix in broth powder. Add dumplings to soup and top with chopped basil. Serve. Super easy; super delicious.

Butternot miss this!

Sep 15, 2010   //   by marymeals   //   Soups and salads  //  No Comments

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Three Sisters. Corn, beans, and squash were the three main crops of many Native American groups in North America. In a technique known as companion planting the three crops were planted close together and benefited from the growing style and nutrients that each put into the soil. The three sisters worked together, with the cornstalk providing support for the climbing beans, and shade for the squash. The squash vines provided ground cover to limit weeds, while the beans provided nitrogen rich soil for all three. A product of this rich native tradition, squash is one amazingly versatile crop. It can be sautéed, boiled, stuffed, baked, pureed, pickled, or my personal favorite; made into a delicious and nutritious soup. Butternut Squash is the best soup making squash because of its ability to turn velvety smooth when pureed. This tasty soup has few ingredients and is simple to make.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash
1 onion diced
2 ribs celery diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3Tbsp chicken soup base (better then bullion is the best! and it comes organic)
2 quarts hot water
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Cut squash in half and scrape out seeds. (You can save them to roast and eat later. I will put a recipe up soon.) Coat squash with oil and lightly salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 45 minuted until soft. While the squash is roasting add oil into a soup pot. Add onion and celery and sauté. After a few minutes add garlic. Let this cook until softened. Once the squash is ready scoop the meat out of the peel and add it into the soup pot. Add pinch of salt and saute with the onion mixture for about 5 minutes and then add water and soup base. Let simmer about 30 minutes. Puree in batches. Soup will become velvety smooth. Return to heat a few minutes. Check for seasoning. Tastes great with a dollop of sour cream

Get ready for The Big One!

Sep 9, 2010   //   by marymeals   //   Soups and salads  //  No Comments

Mary's Minestrone

Minestrone or “the big soup” actually has no official recipe. That’s what makes it an incredible way to give a second life to last night’s leftovers, or clean sweep your pantry. It’s OK to toss into the pot whatever you’ve got in the kitchen. Traditional ingredients like pasta, beans, and tomatoes, and some basic soup making rules apply, but to be truly authentic your minestrone should never turn out the same way twice. Mary’s version includes many of the traditional ingredients along with leftover grilled steaks. Buon appetito!

Mary’s Minestrone

2 grilled steaks cut into bite size pieces
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 onion chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
6 cloves garlic chopped
3 cups water
1 cube beef bullion
64 oz Beef broth
1 tbsp garlic salt
2 zucchini diced
1 can Cannellini beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 cup mini bow-tie pasta
1 hand full of fresh parsley and basil
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Coat bottom of large soup pot with oil. Saute onion, carrots and celery. When they start to soften add tomatoes. Continue to saute while adding garlic, tomato paste, steak and beef bullion. Let cook 5 minutes before adding water, beef broth, garlic salt, rosemary, thyme, and beans, simmer 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Add zucchini and pasta and let cook additional 15 minutes. check for seasoning and add salt and pepper. Just before serving stir in fresh parsley and basil.

It’s All Greek to Me

Sep 3, 2010   //   by marymeals   //   Main course, Sides, Soups and salads, Starters  //  1 Comment

Mini Burgers with mint and tzaziki

It was in ancient Greece that the first cookbook was recorded into history. With such a rich culinary history dating back thousands of years, the Greeks have had plenty of opportunity to perfect those amazing dishes. One of the main things that makes Greek food into such great party food, is the many meze or “small plates”. They’ll make perfect sides for your end of summer BBQ. Here are some great Mediterranean ideas for your next grill fest.

Mini Burgers with Mint and Tzatziki sauce.

2 lb ground beef
1 small onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp mint chopped
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce mixed with 2 tbsp honey for basting
16 mini French dinner rolls.
Tzatziki sauce (recipe follows)

16 slices of roasted red pepper(grill w the other side veggies)
Mix first 8 ingredients together in a large bowl. Shape into patties the size of an ice cream scoop. Should make about 16 mini burgers. Place on a hot grill. Brush with honey mixture on both sides as you grill to your desired done-ness. To assemble: slice open French rolls. Place a slice of roasted pepper (you can grill veggies at the same time as the meat) place the burger, a dollop of tzatziki sauce, and top with the other bun.

Grilled Vegetables

2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
6 small Roma tomatoes
2 red peppers cut into 16 pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
Corse salt

Slice zucchini and squash into quarters and then in half. Slice each red pepper into 8 pieces for a total of 16. Leave tomatoes whole. Place on a baking sheet, toss with oil, salt and pepper. Place veggies directly on the grill, turning occasionally. They cook in about 10 to 15 min.


Tzatziki is a classic Greek yogurt dip that is super delish. Garlicky flavor blended with cucumbers and thick Greek style yogurt, its great as a dip on its own served with veggies, chips, crackers, or bread. Here its makes a great topping for the Mediterranean burgers.
16 oz of Greek style yogurt (the thicker, the better)
1 large English cucumber quartered (if u have only regular you’ll need to remove the seeds and peel)
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
Some paper towels or cheese cloth for draining the cucumber.

Chop garlic and cucumber in food processor. Since cucumbers contain a lot of water it is important to place them in towels or cheesecloth so you can squeeze as much of the extra water out of them as possible. Do this over the sink. Once you have made them as dry as you can, remove them from the towels and place them in a bowl. Add yogurt, and garlic salt and mix together. Remember to always test for seasoning you may need more. Top with paprika.

Greek Potato Salad

1 1/2 lbs potatoes
6 eggs
1 small red onion diced
1 piece celery diced
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tbsp dill

Boil potatoes and eggs. Potatoes are ready when you can easily insert a fork in them. Eggs should boil 12 min. Drain both and run under cold water in order to cool. Once they have cooled, shell eggs and dice along with the potatoes into a large bowl. Add all ingredients and stir to combine. Test for seasoning. Top with a dusting of paprika.

Hummus with kalamata olives

1 can garbanzo beans drained
3 heaping tbsp of Tahini
Juice from one lemon
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
Pitted kalamata olives
Pita bread or crackers to dip

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Check for seasoning and add more garlic salt it needed. Top with kalamata olives. Serve with pita bread or crackers.

a greek feast

Let’s Go Dutch

Aug 30, 2010   //   by marymeals   //   Soups and salads  //  1 Comment

Home of the Split Pea Soup

It was on the way home from a day trip to tour the wineries of Santa Barbara that I first noticed the towering dutch-style windmill looming on the horizon. As we got closer I felt a strong sense of longing for my childhood home. Having grown up in the scenic Wisconsin river valley I know I thing or two about what makes a windmill go round. In 1887, a small group of dutch immigrants settled in St. Croix County just south of my home town of Baldwin. Dutch settlers from other areas soon joined them since the land was good for dairy farming. They quickly had a thriving milk production and built a cheese factory. St. Paul was a nearby market for their cheese and soon the dutch culture was brought to life in the surrounding towns. Baldwin, in particular, had a thriving dutch population. We even had a “Dutch Days” town festival complete with wooden shoe wearing street dancers! Ultimately, the town built a giant replica of a dutch style windmill to celebrate this rich heritage. The Windmill stands today, a beautiful reminder of the hardworking dutch settlers that tamed the wild river valley. As the giant windmill on the horizon grew closer, it became apparent that it was actually attached to the “World famous Andersen’s Restaurant: The home of the split pea soup!” It’s a whole restaurant. In the shape of a windmill. Devoted to this delicious Dutch dish! It’s also the Andersen’s that puts the label on the very best canned pea soup available in your local grocery store. We pulled in and ordered up. It was a very tasty soup that night at Andersen’s. If I’m ever cruising up north I always make sure there’s enough time to stop in for a quick bowl. When I’m stuck at home I make my own version. If you’ve never tried homemade pea soup I highly recommend you give my recipe a try. Its simple ingredients make budget friendly, fast, and definitely delicious.

Thick as fog Split Pea Soup

1 Pkg. dried Split peas
1 onion diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
1 carrot diced
(optional) 16 oz diced dutch farmers sausage (polish sausage is a good substitute) or diced ham
2 spoons of powdered chicken bouillon
32 oz of chicken stock and 2 cups of reserved water
1/2 tsp pepper
salt if needed

The only preparation split peas need are a quick rinse of cold water in a strainer. Once you’ve done that set it aside while you saute your onions in olive oil. Once they are translucent add garlic and carrots, saute until they start to soften a little. If you are adding meat do so at this time and let it cook about 10 minutes. Add peas and 2 spoons of bouillon. Stir together and let peas stir fry a bit in the pan about 5 minutes. Add Chicken Stock and pepper. Bring to a boil about 10 minutes. Turn down the heat and simmer about 50 Minutes. The soup is ready when the peas are soft. You can season with salt if needed. If the soup is getting too thick for your taste (Andersen’s is very thin) Add some of the reserved water. I prefer a very thick soup. Serve with seasoned croutons. Keep in mind as leftover soup cools it will become even thicker. The soup will thin as it is warmed, but you may thin to your taste with additional water during the reheating process. Check for seasoning and add salt if needed.

Yo quiero un ensalada Caesar!

Aug 16, 2010   //   by marymeals   //   Soups and salads, Starters  //  No Comments

Caesar Salad

With its distinctive garlic bite and salted lemony goodness the Caesar is one of the best tasting salads ever invented. Despite its Roman sounding name this delicious side dish actually hails from south of the border. I’m not clear on exact details, but legend has it that it was some time during the prohibition when Hollywood starlets had to escape to Mexico to party. Caesar Cardini’s restaurant ran out of foodstuffs on the menu during a busy dinner rush. He pulled the ingredients together out of the kitchen, and tossed it table side. The rest is history. Whether or not his original salad contained anchovy is still subject to debate. My version doesn’t but still achieves that classic Caesar flavor with a pantry staple: Worcestershire sauce. Feel free to take this dish from appetizer to main course by adding some grilled chicken.

Caesar Salad

For the croutons:
5 slices of sourdough
Olive oil
Garlic salt
Dried oregano
Dried rosemary
Slice bread into cubes arrange on a baking sheet. Coat with oil, herbs, and garlic salt. Mix with hands and place under broiler til golden. About 10 min. Set aside.

Caesar dressing:

1tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic
Garlic salt to taste

This dressing comes together in seconds in the food processor or blender but is also easily whisked together by hand. Make sure to chop garlic if whisking by hand. Place Dijon, garlic cloves, lemon,vinegar, and Worcestershire, in the processor or bowl. Begin processing or whisking and slowly add in olive oil in very slow even stream. The dressing will thicken as the oil combines with the other ingredients. Add garlic salt to taste.

The Salad:

1 head romaine lettuce chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese shredded

Place lettuce in large bowl. Add croutons and dressing and toss salad. Top with Parmesan. Ole!