First Tuesday Recipes for May

One of the things I’ve been reading about is that people are cooking more during this pandemic. The grocery store shelves bear this out, at least in the baking aisle: there’s no yeast, no cake mix, and limited flour and sugar. At our local store, there has been a limit on the number of eggs one can buy, too. Is it any wonder that images of baked goods look even better than usual right now?

This month I’m focusing on things you can make mostly without baking ingredients. Hopefully these recipes have ingredients that are easier to find at the moment. I’ve got a hearty salad, a soup that even the kids will eat, and a chicken noodle casserole.

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Avocado Salad

with thanks to my aunt!

Salad:

1 ripe avocado, sliced

1 small can Mandarin oranges

1 handful black olives, sliced

1/2 small red onion, sliced

Dressing:

1 T. white wine vinegar

4 T. vegetable oil

1/2 t. Dijon mustard

pinch salt and pepper

Place salad ingredients in large bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients; pour over salad and toss gently to coat. Serves 2.

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

with thanks to my mom!

1 10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped broccoli

1 can cream of mushroom soup*

1 soup can milk

4″ Velveeta cheese, cubed

Cook broccoli according to package directions and drain well.

In a medium saucepan, whisk soup and milk. Heat slowly over low heat and add cubes of cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. If necessary, add a little more milk to thin the soup. Add broccoli and cook, stirring, until heated through.  Serves 4.

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Jeanne’s Noodle Casserole

2 c. egg noodles, cooked in salted water according to package directions

1/2 – 1 c. cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 c. frozen peas

1/2 c. sliced mushrooms

1 can cream of chicken soup*

1/2 soup can milk

Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine cooked noodles, chicken, peas, and mushrooms.

In a small bowl, whisk soup and milk. If the mixture is thicker than heavy cream, add a little more milk to thin it. Pour soup mixture over noodle mixture and mix to coat well.

Pour into greased 1 1/2-qt. casserole dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for one hour.

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*If you prefer not to use canned soup (which is high in sodium) or if it is not available, the following mixture works well as a substitute. I use it all the time. You’ll still need to add the milk called for in the main recipe.

1 T. butter

3 T. flour

1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 c. milk

pepper

handful sautéed mushrooms, if recipe calls for cream of mushroom soup

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and whisk until smooth and bubbly. I’ve found it necessary sometimes to add a little more butter. Remove from heat.

Add chicken broth and milk, a little at a time, stirring until mixture is smooth.

Heat mixture over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Cook until mixture is slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add pepper to taste.

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Enjoy!

Until next time,

Amy

 

First Tuesday Recipes for April

I hope all of you are doing well and staying mentally and physically healthy as we find ourselves in this unprecedented worldwide pandemic.

Since my work is pretty solitary and I work from home, I think I’ve had an easier time adjusting to the temporary new normal. But for lots of people, this is uncomfortable and strange. It helps if you stick with a routine and get outdoors for some fresh air if you can. It also helps to turn off the television! You’re better able to focus and stay positive if you don’t have the news media in your face all the time telling you how horrible life has become.

If you get my newsletter, in early March I provided subscribers with a list of places to find free things to do while they’re isolating in the house. They ranged from virtual tours of world-famous museums to listening to the archived Berlin Philharmonic concerts. If you don’t get my newsletter, you can sign up here and I’ll send you the latest one.

At our house, we’ve been doing a lot of fun “cooking.” We’ve made pickles, gelato, rice pudding, and some other fun foods. I’ve also been writing and staying busy on social media every day, just like I do all the time.

And I’ve been learning Greek! It’s slow going, but I’m enjoying it. If you visit https://www.duolingo.com, you can choose from a huge list of languages to learn and it’s all free!

This month I’ve chosen to share three recipes that can be made with simple ingredients that many of us have on hand, since visits to the grocery store are fewer and farther between. I hope you enjoy them. If you have any go-to meals that are easy and don’t call for many ingredients, please share in the comments!

 

Broccoli Casserole

2 10-oz. pkgs. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1/2 can cream of celery or cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
3 T. chopped onion
3 T. mayo
3 T. butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 t. pepper
crushed Ritz crackers (or Townhouse, Club, etc.)
extra butter, cold
Mix first eight ingredients (through pepper) in a large mixing bowl.  Spread in a greased 8×8′ casserole dish and sprinkle generously with crushed crackers.  Dot with small pats of cold butter.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.
Lemon Squares
Recipes for lemon squares are everywhere, but I thought I’d share my favorite one with you.
Crust:
1 c. flour
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. butter, chilled
Filling:
2 eggs
1 c. sugar
2 T. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. grated lemon peel
2 T. lemon juice
Topping:
powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine filling ingredients until crumbly. Pat into the bottom of an 8 x 8″ square baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
While crust is baking, prepare filling. Beat eggs and sugar until light yellow. Add remaining ingredients and beat well. Pour over hot crust. Bake 18-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
When cool, dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares.
Poppy Seed Bread
This recipe makes two loaves: one for now, one to freeze for later.
Bread:
3 c. flour
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder
2 1/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/8 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 T. poppy seeds
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 t. almond extract
Glaze:
1 c. powdered sugar
1-2 t. water
1-2 t. almond extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans.
Combine all bread ingredients and mix well with an electric mixer. Divide batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for about an hour or until the loaves test done. Mix the glaze ingredients until you have the consistency you desire and glaze the loaves while they are still warm
Enjoy!
Until next time,
Amy
P.S. Sorry about the spacing in this post. WordPress was being uncooperative when I wrote it.

First Tuesday Recipes for March

I hope I’m not speaking prematurely, but spring seems to be in the air! As I write this it’s supposed to be almost 60 degrees this afternoon and it’s beautiful and sunny out.

My thoughts are turning to spring meals. I’ve got two desserts and a decadent soup for you this month—and they feature lemons, strawberries, and asparagus. It doesn’t get much more spring-y than that!

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Asparagus Soup with Parmesan Custards

For the custards:

2 1/2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

1 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. milk

1/2 c. whole large eggs

2 lg. egg yolks

1/8 t. salt

pepper

For the soup:

1 lg. leek, white and pale green parts only, finely chopped

1/2 c. shallot, finely chopped

1/2 t. salt

pepper

1 t. unsalted butter

2 1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-in. pieces

3 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 c. water

1/4 c. heavy cream

For this recipe, you’ll need 6 2-inch ramekins. If you don’t have them, you can order them from Amazon here. I have a set of them and I use them often for dips, garnishes at the table, etc.

 

Make the custards:

Butter ramekins and set aside.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring cheese, cream, and milk just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and steep for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pour steeped cream through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing lightly on the cheese solids. Discard cheese solids. Whisk together eggs, egg yolks, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add steeped cream in a thin stream, whisking until smooth. Divide among ramekins.

Place ramekins in a baking dish and fill dish with a hot water bath about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. I use a kettle to boil the water while the cream steeps so the water is hot and ready to pour into the baking dish when the ramekins go in.

Bake in center of oven for 40-45 minutes or until centers of custards are completely set. Transfer ramekins with tongs to a cooling rack and cool for five minutes. Do not cool longer than five minutes. Run a knife around the ramekin to loosen the custard, place a soup bowl over the ramekin, and invert so the custard is in the soup bowl.

While the cream steeps and the custards bake, make the soup:

Wash the chopped leeks in a bowl of cold water and drain well. Pat dry. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leeks, shallots, salt, and pepper; cook until leeks are softened, about 3 minutes. Add asparagus, broth, and water; simmer, covered, until asparagus is just tender, about 10-12 minutes. After 2-4 minutes, remove 6 asparagus tips, cut each in half, and reserve for garnish.

Use an immersion blender to purée soup or purée in batches using a blender. Transfer soup to a large bowl and wipe out saucepan. Pour soup through a sieve into the saucepan; discard any solids. Stir in cream, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook over medium-low heat until hot.

Ladle soup over custards, garnish with reserved asparagus tips and extra shaved cheese, if desired. Serve hot.

 

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Lemon Chiffon Crunch

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs

1/3 c. light brown sugar

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/3 c. melted butter

1 3-oz. pkg. lemon Jell-O

3/4 c. boiling water

1/2 c. sugar

Juice and peel of one lemon peel, zested and chopped

12 oz. evaporated milk

 

Combine first four ingredients; mix until crumbly. Reserve 3 T. crumb mixture; press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of a buttered 9-inch square pan; chill.

Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water; add sugar, lemon juice, and peel. Chill to consistency of unbeaten egg whites. Ten minutes later, pour evaporated milk into a freezer tray and freeze until ice crystals form around the edges. Turn into chilled bowl; whip until stiff. Fold whipped evaporated milk into Jell-O mixture. Spoon into pan on top of crumb layer. Sprinkle top with reserved crumbs. Chill until set.

 

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Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Crust:

3 c. flour

2 1/2 t. sugar

3/4 t. salt

2/3 c. chilled shortening, cut into pieces

1 1/4 sticks chilled butter, cut into pieces

10 T. ice water

Filling:

3 1/2 c. rhubarb, trimmed and sliced 1/2-inch thick

16 oz. strawberries, hulled and halved (for very large berries, cut into quarters)

1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 c. cornstarch

1 t. ground cinnamon

1/4 t. salt

Egg wash:

1 lg. egg yolk

1 t. water

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add shortening and butter and mix with a fork or pastry knife until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add ice water, 1 T. at a time, until dough comes together in a ball. Divide dough into two disks and chill. When chilled, roll out disks into two circles. Place one circle into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate.

Mix filling ingredients in a large bowl. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes. Spoon filling into pie crust. Roll out second disk of dough and place on top of the pie. Trim edges. Whisk egg yolk and water; brush over top of pie.

Place pie on baking sheet and cook in 400-degree oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, lower oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook pie for another hour and 25 minutes. Cover crust with foil if it is browning too fast.

 

Remember that readers are always invited to share recipes. Just email them to me at amymreadeauthor[at]gmail[dot]com and I’ll put them in a future post.

Enjoy!

 

Until next time,

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes for May

Has anyone else noticed how quickly 2019 is going? It’s already May! The weather here in New Jersey is getting warmer and the frost-free date is upon us. It’s time for a few recipes to use springtime produce! In this post, as I’ve done a couple times in the past, I’ll post links to recipes I’ve enjoyed rather than writing out my own. Click on the title of the recipe to link to the original.

Asparagus and Goat Cheese QuicheThis recipe is one I found in Southern Living Magazine and two of my children, both of whom hate asparagus and leeks, loved it. I did have some trouble with the filling overflowing the crust, so next time I would make it in a pie plate or a springform pan rather than a tart pan.

Strawberry, Kiwi, and Spinach Salad. This salad is perfect for a light meal. If you prefer to have it with a larger meal, it’s great with pork!

Cold Sesame Noodles with Crunchy Vegetables. This is a great dish if you’re looking for something meatless (which, as I look at the recipes I’ve given you, seems to be a theme this month) and filling. Change up the vegetables you use so it’s different every time! I use peanut butter in this recipe instead of tahini or another nut butter, but I bet those substitutions would be good, too. Spaghetti works just fine in this recipe, so don’t go nuts looking for Chinese egg noodles. And one more thing: I don’t use the hot sauce/Tabasco, but I put it on the table to pass in case someone else wants it.

Let me know if you try any of these! And please remember that I love to have submissions from readers, so don’t hesitate to send me any recipes you’d like to share.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Amy