Friday, May 26, 2017

Fresh Asparagus w/ Lemon Tarragon Dressing

My son-in-law, David, is such a great home chef and he decided to bring some 
Fresh Asparagus w/ Lemon Tarragon Dressing 
to our family potluck potato bar dinner, which everyone quite enjoyed.

The leftovers were just every bit as delicious the next day too (even warmed up!).

Lemon Tarragon Dressing
by David Paul

1 med shallot, minced
1 lg clove garlic (or 2 medium), minced
2 tsp capers, rough chopped
1 1/2 heaping Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 sundried tomatoes, minced
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp coarse ground pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt, taste - add more if needed
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 Tbsp of dry Vermouth or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together all dressing ingredients except olive oil, while whisking, drizzle in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Taste, if more acid is needed; add more lemon juice.  Serve immediately over 2 lbs chilled or warm freshly blanched asparagus.

Blanching Asparagus
2 pounds fresh, med-thick asparagus (see Rinse and Snap)
8 cups water
2 Tbsp coarse salt

Have a large bowl of ice water standing by. In a large saucepan, boil 2 quarts of water. Add 2 Tbsp Kosher salt, and asparagus; boil 3 to 4 minutes until tender (depending on thickness).

Remove with tongs, or drain in a colander, and immediately transfer to ice water for 1 minute to stop the cooking process. Drain; refrigerate until completely chilled.

Storing Fresh Asparagus
Keep in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer away from ethylene-producing fruit like apples and pears, which toughen the stalks. Note that storing bunches upright in water may cause the tips to open.

Rinse and Snap

The tender tips can be particularly sandy. Holding the bunch upside down, gently swish it in cold water. Then to snap off the tough woody ends, bending the stalks at the natural breaking point (where the color changes from white to green), just 1 - 2 inches from the base.

Making Dressings
A hand-held stick blender is one of my absolutely favorite tools. You can whisk dressings in the provided carafe. Or, puree directly inside a wide-mouth canning jar, and then cover tightly with a 2-part canning jar lid.


Sharon Anne

All affiliate links are your convenience; you won't pay any more, and I just get small referral amounts - everything helps. Thank you! -- Sharon Anne

Cuisinart Stick Blender, w/ Mini Food Processor & Whisk

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wendy's Chili - Copycat Recipe

Are you a Wendy's Chili fan?

This Wendy's Chili recipe clone fits the bill anytime, especially on a cold winter's night. The original source is from Todd Wilbur's Top Secret Recipes, and now I've adapted it just a bit too.

prefer to cook with dry beans because they are healthier and more cost effective than canned beans.

However, I'm all for convenience too... 

I regularly pre-cook and freeze my beans (in multiple batches), reserving the broth in Mason jars. Label & date to use later!

Wendy's Chili - Copycat Recipe
Serves: 8

Use Either: Canned Beans
1 (28-oz) can pinto beans, undrained
1 (28-oz) can red kidney beans, undrained

1 1/2 cups water

Or Substitute: See Bean Conversions (below)*
3 cups COOKED red kidney beans, or frozen & unthawed
Discard red kidney bean broth

3 cups COOKED pinto beans, or frozen & unthawed
1 1/2 cups pinto bean broth, (reserved from cooking) or frozen & thawed

For Chili:
1-lb ground beef, browned
1 medium onion, diced & sautéed 
1 celery rib, diced & sautéed 
1 (29-oz) can tomato puree 
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes, with green chilies
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp black pepper

Monterey jack cheese, shredded
Green onion, sliced


Beans: Combine the beans, (water or broth) in a large stockpot. 

For Chili: In a skillet, brown the ground beef, onions, and celery; drain off fat, and transfer to the pot with the beans. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring the pot to a boil over MED-HIGH heat. Then cover and reduce the heat down to MED-LOW. Simmer until the flavors have blended nicely and the chili has reached your desired thickness. 

To Serve: Garnish with shredded cheese and sliced green onion.


Sharon Anne
I hope I don't just confuse you! Please comment and ask questions if I have. Basically...

2 (28-oz) canned beans, undrained = 6 cups cooked beans
2 cups uncooked dry beans = 6 cups cooked beans 

Always cook different types of beans separately, yet you can surely cook in larger batches and freeze the leftovers.

See: Cooking Beans (for more info)

Cook: Beans Separately
1 cup (8-oz) dry red kidney beans, pre-soaked
3 cups filtered or distilled water
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt, reduces blow-outs (pressure cooker)
Discard red kidney bean broth

Cook: Beans Separately
1 cup (8-oz) dry pinto beans, pre-soaked
3 cups filtered or distilled water
1 tsp minced garlic 
1/4 tsp salt, reduces blow-outs (pressure cooker)
1 1/2 cups pinto bean broth (reserved from cooking)


Freezing Beans: See Cooking Beans, scroll down that page

(19-oz) bag cooked red kidney beans, frozen & unthawed
(19-oz) bag cooked pinto beans, frozen unthawed
1 1/2 cups pinto bean broth (from cooking) frozen & thawed 


Recipe Adaptations: 
  • I've not made the recipe with canned beans, just cooked dry beans and it's terrific. 
  • I cut the ground beef in half from the original recipe, reducing the fat by half too. My hubby still thought it tasted very much like Wendy's Chili. He said he never would have noticed, had I not told him. Then, being a man, he wouldn't have minded if there WAS twice as much meat in it! 😉 
  • Instead of fresh tomatoes, I use canned diced with green chilies. 
  • I've adjusted the seasonings to suit our tastes. 
  • The more water you add, the longer it takes to simmer off, so it's a personal choice on how much to add. 
  • I love that Wendy's Chili and this clone recipe are both Gluten Free.

Per Serving: (w/ 1-lb ground beef) 247 Calories; 11g Fat (38.7% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 25g Carbohydrate; 9g Dietary Fiber; 32mg Cholesterol; 537mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat.
Adapted From:
Per Serving: (Original Recipe) 365 Calories; 21g Fat (51.1% calories from fat); 21g Protein; 25g Carbohydrate; 9g Dietary Fiber; 64mg Cholesterol; 562mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 3 Fat.
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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Homemade Tomato Soup - Creamy Tomato Bisque Recipe

Nutritional Analysis Added: 2/7/17

Oh my goodness, what can I say?

Homemade Tomato Soup - Creamy Tomato Bisque

This homemade tomato soup hits the spot...

It's pure comfort food and tastes exactly like you'd expect a bowl of tomato soup should taste! 

  • If you grew up adding milk or cream to your tomato soup, you'll LOVE this!
  • If you grew up adding only water or want to save on calories, skip the cream.
  • Since it's NOT thickened with wheat flour but long-grain-rice, also makes it also Gluten Free.
  • Thickening and pureeing this Homemade Creamy Tomato Soup makes it a BISQUE. 

Yup! The real reason to eat tomato soup... is a cheese sandwich!

Homemade Tomato Soup
Serves: 6

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 qt chicken broth, plus more as needed
Or 4 cups water + 4 tsp Tones chicken base paste
1 (28-oz) canned crushed tomatoes, Cento San Marzano
Or 3 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Dash cayenne
1/2 tsp plain paprika (or smoked)
3 Tbsp long-grain white rice, Jasmine
1 to 2 tsp sugar, to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream

Fresh parsley or basil
Additional heavy cream
Gluten Free croutons

Heat the oil in a stockpot over MED heat, sauté to sweat onions and celery. Toss in a pinch of salt to coax out the liquids, stir occasionally 5-7 minutes to soften, until clear but not brown. Add garlic and stir 1 minute without browning.

Pour in the chicken broth and tomatoes, bring up the heat to HIGH and start to simmer the soup. Add the pepper, cayenne, and paprika. Stir in the rice and reduce the heat as it simmers. Cook for 30-45 minutes until the rice and vegetables are extremely softSeason more to taste, particularly tasting for additional salt, and add the sugar for sweetness.

With an immersion blender, blend the soup 2-3 minutes until completely smooth. Serve the soup as is, or whisk in enough optional cream to your liking. If the soup is too thick, add additional broth or hot water. Heat through and serve in warm bowls, garnished with fresh cream, a parsley sprig or chopped basil, and croutons.

Per Serving (w/o added cream): 87 Calories; 3g Fat (34.2% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 546mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Per Serving (w/ cream added): 156 Calories; 11g Fat (61.1% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 27mg Cholesterol; 554mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Most Warmly!

Sharon Anne

  • Here's a nonsense BISQUE video from Studio C!

"Bisque! Tomato Bisque, do you like tomatoes?"

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