Sausage and White Bean Soup with Winter Greens

img_0586

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 package (12 oz) chicken sausage, sliced
  • 1 can (16 oz) white beans
  • 1 can (15 oz) “no salt added” diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
  • 1 can (15 oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped baby kale, spinach or chard
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add sausage slices and cook 2 minutes. Add undrained beans, undrained tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Add greens and cook just until they are bright green and tender, about 2 minutes. Season with pepper to taster.

Advertisements

Açaí Bowls

FullSizeRender copy

Açaí Bowls have become the newest hip thing. We have a lot of places here in Arizona that serve them. I use Sambazon frozen Açaí to make my Açaí Bowls. I usually find it at Sprouts or Whole Foods. Açaí is a berry that grows on a species of palm trees in South America that contains powerful antioxidants and healthy omegas. Here’s the recipe found on the back of the Sambazon package for a traditional bowl.

2 Sambazon Original Smoothie Packs

1/2 Banana

Dash of Lime Juice

1/8 c Apple Juice

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Scoop into a bowl and top with granola and banana slices.

FullSizeRender

Great Finds

ps3

My friend and I love looking for good finds at Trader Joe’s. She is the master at coming up with great party snacks from there. Here are a couple of recent items I picked up lately. The first is their pesto and quinoa in a jar. I love putting this on chicken or salads. Quinoa is obviously a big thing these days and I enjoy coming up with new recipes that include it. But to pair it with pesto (one of my favs), I have enjoyed this product. The Kale sprouts have been a great new side item for me. I made them for a friend the other night and we both agreed they are a hit. I’m looking forward to digging up some more extra goodies at the Joe’s.

ps2

Chicken with pesto quinoa and kale sprouts

ps1

Pesto quinoa on salad

 

Beckett’s Table

I’ve been doing Restaurant Week for years. It’s my way to check out new restaurants at a good price. I’ve had a few on my list that I have been wanting to go to and the hard part for me planning them throughout my already busy week. But Beckett’s Table came highly recommended and my friend Lisa Marie was available to join. You get a choice from a 3 course dinner menu for $30. I started off with the achiote citrus poached n chilled shrimp with avocado puree and black beans. For my main course, I tried the cola braised pulled pork with cole slaw. This was amazing! The meat was so tender and I loved the cola aftertaste that followed. For dessert, I tried the bacon chocolate s’mores with caramel sauce and peanut butter mousse. Now I’m not quite getting the bacon flavor trend going on, but I can see how bacon and chocolate are paired up. You get this rich chocolate flavor at first followed by a bacon aftertaste – very interesting. I loved the peanut butter mousse. This was an amazing experience and I look forward to visiting again.

* – From Restaurant Week website 

Beckett’s Table is a new class of American eatery with chef driven food, an awarded wine list, and exemplary service. Chef Justin Beckett pairs sophisticated comfort food and international wines with genuine hospitality in a relaxed urban ambiance at an exceptional value.

Click to add a blog post for Beckett's Table on Zomato

Inside the Bungalow

IMG_0124.JPG

Downtown Mesa is really taking shape these days with the art center and all the cute little shops everywhere. Inside the Bungalow is both a cafe and a wedding venue and has been downtown for some time. It’s an old house with cozy furniture with a large grassy outdoor area. The cafe serves up a variety of sandwiches, salads and pasties that are cooked up daily. In their coffeehouse, they use Fair Trade coffee that is roasted locally. This place is a beautiful location for weddings as they have an outdoor courtyard big enough to accommodate a large wedding party. I had a nice quiet day studying here in one of their rooms and enjoyed looking at some of the old books on the bookshelf.

IMG_1806

IMG_1790

IMG_1794

IMG_1795

IMG_1796

IMG_1803

IMG_1804

Inside the Bungalow Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Crab Cakes and a Caprese Salad

Tonight it was Crab cakes. This was a light delicious meal from a recipe on Pinterest. We actually mixed and matched with another recipe, but the main recipe is posted below. The caprese salad was the perfect side item to go with it. A little wine and some chocolates made for a fun night of cooking.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces shelled cooked crab $
  • 1/4 cup finely diced celery $
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise $
  • 1 large egg $
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups panko (see notes) or fine dried bread crumbs $
  • Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli (recipe follows)
  • Fresh chives, rinsed and cut into 1-inch lengths

Preparation

  1. Sort through crab and discard any bits of shell.
  2. In a large bowl, combine celery, minced chives, mayonnaise, egg, mustard, and hot sauce; mix well with a fork. Add crab and 1/4 cup panko; stir gently just to mix.
  3. Put remaining 1 cup panko in a shallow bowl. Shape crab mixture into 24 cakes, each about 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Turn each cake in panko to coat on all sides, pressing gently to make crumbs adhere. Place cakes slightly apart in an oiled 12- by 17-inch baking pan.
  4. Bake in a 475° regular or convection oven until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. With a spatula, transfer crab cakes to a platter. Spoon a dollop of Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli onto each cake. Garnish platter with fresh chives. Serve hot.
  5. Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli. In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup chopped drained canned roasted red peppers, 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Makes about 1/2 cup.

DSC01980

DSC01982

DSC01986

DSC01990

Comfort food on the Patio

Chicken-Chickpea Salad with Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette

Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
Freshly ground black pepper
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped cooked chicken breast
1/4 cup pitted olives, sliced or halved
8 grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and oregano; season with pepper. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Combine in a large bowl with chicken, olives, tomatoes and onion. Add dressing and feta; toss to combine. Serve immediately, alone or over lettuce.

0127021711

I enjoyed this light snack with some green tea on my new patio set while reading and doing homework. It was was easy to make and very good and healthy. I’m looking forward to spring and having many quiet moments like this eating and making time for God.