Sunday, December 20, 2009

Warm up with cabbage soup!

Teevoz checking in after the first big snowstorm of the season in New York! I've always loved the snow. I'm a January baby, and I've long believed that we most love the season we were born in - maybe because it reminds us of birthdays, maybe because of some mystical astrological reason, maybe for no reason at all.

I have half a mind to go outside and build a snowman right now, but instead I think I'll share my tweaked version of my dear friend Faith's recipe for cabbage soup that is easy to make and delicious. You can take the extra time to shred your own green and red cabbage and carrots, or you can use a pre-shredded package which, honestly, is just as good and much easier.

Faith's Incredible Cabbage Soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound stew beef cut into small pieces

1 pound coleslaw mix with shredded green/red cabbage & carrots
1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
2-3 cloves garlic smashed and chopped

1 28 oz can of Muir Glen Fire-roasted diced or crushed tomatoes (or try their diced tomatoes with garlic and onions)

1 qt low-sodium beef or vegetable broth (or try half regular and half low-sodium)

3/4 cup water (approx.)

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup long-grain white rice

1. Heat oil in 6-quart pot over medium heat. Saute beef until browned, about 5-6 minutes. You should saute the beef in small batches so it browns rather than steams.

2. Add coleslaw mix (or shredded cabbage/carrots) and onion; cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring after about 2 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes, broth, water, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. Bring to a boil.

4. Add rice; reduce heat to medium low/low. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes or until the rice and beef are tender.

NOTE: You can substitute 1/3 cup tubettini or other small pasta for the rice if you like, but since it would need less cooking time than rice, let the cabbage-beef-liquid mixture simmer about 15 minutes before adding the pasta, and then continue cooking for about half an hour.

That's it!

Add a salad, some crusty bread, and - as always - a nice glass of red wine, and you have a perfect warming dinner for a cold winter's night.


For those of you who'd like a meatless soup - check out Mark Bittman's wonderful How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food which has some great ideas for using cabbage in mouth-watering vegetarian soups and all manner of foods!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Baked Pasta and Chicken: One-dish deliciousness

Hello again, Teevoz here .... we haven't forgotten you! I tend to do more cooking in the winter, don't you? Well, we had our first snowfall in New York this weekend, so I thought it was time to share some easy and delicious recipes for the winter with you, our very patient readers.

This one, adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, is a seriously easy and incredibly delicious Italian baked pasta and chicken dish that will warm you up on a cold night. Make a salad while it's baking and you'll have dinner on the table in an hour.

Baked Pasta and Chicken

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

1 cup dry mini fusilli or any small pasta

2 raw boneless chicken cutlets (about 1 pound)
olive oil - try garlic-infused for extra flavor

1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
approx 1/2 to 3/4 cup good tomato sauce

1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley
salt and pepper - lemon pepper adds a nice flavor

approx 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
approx 1/2 cup grated parmesan
approx 1 to 2 tablespoons butter

1. Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water, until al dente - about 5 minutes. Drain and put in large mixing bowl with a little butter or olive oil so it doesn't stick together.

2. Cut chicken into cubes and saute in olive oil, about 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Add onion and garlic to chicken, continue to saute until onion is soft and chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Don't let the garlic get too brown or it will be bitter.

4. Add chicken mixture to the pasta and mix together with the tomatoes and their juice, mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, parmesan cheese and basil or parsley. Salt and pepper to taste. Add extra tomato sauce and/or some diced fresh tomatoes if needed - the mixture should be moist.

5. Transfer the pasta mixture to a buttered 8x8x2 baking dish. Cover the top with the bread crumb-parmesan mixture and generously dot the top with butter.

Bake in 400 degree oven for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the top forms a golden brown crust.

Serve with salad and a nice red wine - and enjoy!