Spring Onion & Mushroom Bisque

Some days you take shortcuts, then some days you just hit on something that knocks it totally out of the park.  This happened to me last week.  I got up super early and hit my local farmers’ market.  Now, I have a black thumb.  I mean, I’ve killed cactus.  That’s talent.  But on this day I was feeling froggy and I bought a mushroom log.  They were just so cool looking!  The idea was that you could grow your own oyster mushrooms, getting about 3-4 fruits out of this one log of pressed wood and such.  I was with a friend and we were both stoked.  Super cool project for us and our kids.  Plus yummy mushrooms.  Yay.

Our logs were already started for us and there was a small batch of mushrooms that had already sprouted.  We gave it another week and it was time!  I harvested about 3 cups of rough chopped oyster mushrooms.  I was excited!  This was the coolest thing ever!

Mushroom Log

I had some other mushrooms on hand, so I knew right then: I was making soup of some sort.  But it’s Springtime.  What to do?  And that’s when it hit me:  A Spring-inspired mushroom bisque.

Spring Onion & Mushroom Bisque

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup moscato or sherry
  • 4 tablespoons lemon thyme
  • 2 large spring onions, bulbs and white stem only, diced
  • 6 cups oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2-3/4 ounce Swiss cheese  (For reference, I just used a single slice of medium-sliced Swiss.)
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder

Spring Onions n Mushrooms

Heat olive oil and sauté onions until translucent.  Add mushrooms and let them sweat out and soften, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, and lightly season with onion and garlic powders.

Add chicken broth and stir in lemon thyme.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.

Mushrooms n Lemon Thyme

Meanwhile, create Swiss cheese roux by slowly melting the butter in a separate pot on medium-low heat.  Whisk in the flour and milk, then add the cheese and continue to whisk until fully combined and thickened.  Be careful not to let it boil, as it will separate.

Once roux is thickened to a good cheesy consistency, slowly stir into mushroom / broth mixture until thoroughly combined.  Keep on medium-low heat for an additional 10-15 minutes for flavors to meld.  After that, if soup is still too watery, slowly add in a little extra flour, about 1 teaspoon at a time, and whisk in thoroughly.  Wait another 5 minutes and see how consistency is.

Top with extra thyme leaves and serve!  Bonus:  grab some crusty bread to sop up the goodness, too!

Spring Onion Mushroom BisqueSpring Onion Mushroom Bisque 2This was truly an amazingly flavorful dish.  I served it along with grilled steak and garlic bread and my husband and I devoured it.  Even my 6 year old daughter – who is not a fan of mushrooms – loved the brothy bisque part.  This is a dish that truly reflects the love you put into it!  Enjoy every moment!

All good things must come to an end though, as my reputation holds true.  My log has since gotten a little brown along the edges and it seems I’ve broken it, haha.  We’ll see if it ever fruits again, but if not, I’ll just have to buy some more mushrooms because this is definitely a dish I will make again!

Smashed Turnips & Turnip Greens

Weeknights can be hectic, so I take as many shortcuts and quick fixes as I can when it comes to meal time.  In my house, turnip greens and smashed turnips are a hit.  Not only are they delicious and nutritious, but they are a One Stop Shop when it comes to side dishes…which makes that hit a homerun!


Smashed Turnip & Turnip Greens

  • 2 bunches of turnips, greens still attached
  • 1-1½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup milk, or until right consistency
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, to taste
  • splash of vinegar, optional

Turnips with Greens

Cut the greens off of the turnip roots.  Set aside for later.  Peel the turnips, then dice.  In a pot of salted water, boil the turnips until soft.  Drain, then return to pot.  Add milk, cheese, salt, and pepper.  With a potato masher or large fork, smash the turnips until well blended and mostly smooth.  There will still be some smaller chunks, but that’s okay.

In a sauté pan, heat olive oil.  Rinse and rough chop the turnip green leaves 1-2 inches from the root end.  Throw away those last pieces.  With the remaining greens, you can trim the stems away or leave them intact; it’s up to you.  Sauté with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders until soft.  If the greens get too dry and hot, you can add a little water to the pan.  When they are completely softened, you can add the vinegar of your choice.  Sometimes I use balsamic, sometimes apple cider.  It just depends on your preference.

And just like that, you’ve got two side dishes that pair beautifully with anything from a hunk of steak to some fried chicken.  And you can still get the kids into bed on time.  😉

One Stop Sides

Pesto Green Beans

Old habits are hard to break, and the same holds true when you’re cooking.  We tend to make the same things the same way.  Every.  Single.  Time.  Break the cycle with an easy to come by staple item: the good ol’ green bean.  Fresh green beans are relatively inexpensive.  You can get a lot for a little, so you can easily feed the masses with them.  But I get tired of boring steamed beans, so when I stumbled across this tasty new way to prepare them, I was hooked!  Plus now I have another great side dish / picnic / cookout item to add to my repertoire. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks??


Pesto Green Beans

  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 cups basil leaves
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients into a food processor, adding the olive oil last.  Blend until smooth.

  • 2 pounds green beans
  • 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons pine nuts or walnuts, rough chopped
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Steam or boil green beans for about 5-10 minutes or until tender.  Drain, then toss with pesto, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Top with additional cheese and pine nuts, then drizzle with olive oil.  Voila!

Pesto Green Beans
For this particular occasion, I used walnuts.  I found it to be just as good as the pine nuts, plus less expensive!  Win/win!  🙂

Cucumber Salad

It’s starting to get a little warmer and I was more excited than I care to admit to make cucumber salad the other night.  I love cucumbers.  They really do seem to cool you off when the temps rise.  This salad is a tasty little side to any lunch or dinner.  I served ours up with a nice big BLT.  Nom nom nom.  It makes an excellent dish for a cookout, family reunion, or picnic.  Basically, any outdoor get together will welcome this little number… even if that’s just enjoying dinner on your back porch.


Cucumber Salad

  • 2 cucumbers, diced
  • 1 medium red tomato, diced
  • 1 medium yellow tomato, diced
  • 1 spring onion bulb, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, all to taste

Okay, you ready for this?  You sure?  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix it together.  Boom.  You’re done.  Now on to your next adventure!

Cucumber Salad

Chicken & Squash Bake

As a part-time gig, I deliver produce for a company that works with local farmers, so I keep up with what’s in season.  Among the many things starting to come in off the fields, Summer squash is making its debut.  I love this stuff.  It’s versatile, it’s healthy, it’s tasty.  You can grill it, stuff it, or sneak it into desserts.  Plus it’s easy.  I recently perused my fridge and put together this little gem in a jiffy.  Great for a weeknight meal that takes practically no time at all, yet still pleases the whole family.


Chicken & Squash Bake

  • 4-6 chicken breasts
  • 3-4 yellow Summer squash, sliced 
  • 1-2 bunches arugula, roughly chopped
  • 14 ounces tomato sauce
  • 8-10 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • salt, pepper, garlic & onion powders, to taste

Preheat oven to 400º.  Tidy up your chicken breasts by removing any extra fat, etc. then season them on both sides with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Place in a baking dish so that they are touching but not overlapping.

Layer squash slices on top of chicken, covering completely.  Top with arugula.  Liberally cover with tomato sauce.  I happen to know a great recipe if you need one.  😉  Top with Parmesan cheese.  Season once more with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders.

Bake for about 25-35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Marvel at the ease and deliciousness of it all.

Chicken Squash Bake
YUM.

Sweet Potato Hummus

Sometimes things just come up.  You get invited to an event or a friend calls and wants to stop by.  Like, now.  Sweet potato hummus is one of my quick, go-to recipes for when I don’t have a lot of time to do prep or cook.  It’s healthy AND tasty, which makes you look like you put a lot of thought into it.  But don’t worry.  It’ll be our little secret.  😉


Sweet Potato Hummus

  • 1 medium sweet potato, cooked and skinned
  • 1 can chick peas, partially drained
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/8-1/4 cup olive oil (I just add until consistency is what I want)
  • salt/pepper/onion powder/garlic powder (to taste)
  • splash of lemon juice (optional)

Throw it all in a food processor and blend away!  If you only have a large sweet potato, use half.  Tastes great with veggie sticks (carrots, zucchini, celery), homemade pita chips (see below), toast, or just on a spoon.

Sweet Potato Hummus w Carrots


Homemade Pita Chips

  • 1 package large whole wheat pita pockets
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper, onion, garlic powders

Preheat oven to 350. With a small basting brush, spread olive oil over pita pocket. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion, garlic powders to your preference. Cut pita into 6-8 triangles, pizza slice style. Repeat with other pitas. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crispy, usually about 15-20 mins.

Linguini with Broccoli Rabe & Sausage

Spring has sprung, and in these first delicate days of milder temps, broccoli rabe makes its timid appearance.  A little lesser known, broccoli rabe is a wonderful bitter green that can give your dish a nice bite.  Reminiscent of kale’s powerful flavor, it can leave some scratching their head.  What is it?  What do you do with it?  Why bother?  But this precious green is packed with vitamins, flavor, and versatility….and it’s only available for a very short time, so I embrace it wholeheartedly while I can.  Here, one of my absolute favorite recipes of all time, great for the broccoli rabe novice and pro alike.


Linguini with Broccoli Rabe & Sausage

  • 1 box linguini
  • 1 package sweet sausage
  • 2 full bunches of broccoli rabe, chopped
  • 4-6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup red pepper flakes, optional
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • salt, pepper, onion & garlic powders, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Garlic bread, optional

In a large pot, add water and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil.  Let the flakes sit in the water until you’re ready to cook the linguini.  This is optional, but imparts spice and heat to the dish.

Red Pepper Water

In a separate pan, roll the sweet sausage into balls and cook them thoroughly.  Add thinly sliced garlic and sauté with sausage.  Add finely chopped broccoli rabe and chicken broth, enough to fully cover the broccoli rabe/sausage mixture.  Simmer for about 20 minutes or until rabe is tender.  Add salt/pepper/onion powder/garlic powder as desired.

Ingredients

Meanwhile, remove the red pepper flakes from the pasta water by pouring the water through a colander into another pot or bowl to remove the flakes.  Be sure to keep the spiced water.  Transfer spiced water back to pot and boil the linguini until al dente.

Red Pepper Strain

Serve with the sausage mixture and plenty of broth.  Top with Parmesan cheese.

Linguini w Broccoli Rabe n Sausage

Bonus Tip:  You are gonna’ want some garlic bread to sop up all the goodness in the bottom of the bowl.  You’re welcome.  😉