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CLASSIC FRENCH ONION SOUP

From a tiny BEACH kitchen:

French Onion Soup is one of my favs to order in a restaurant.  It always seemed to be a treat with a pound of cheese melted down the sides of the crock, and a roll (carbs!) floating in the broth.  It never occurred to me that I could make it better, and lighter, at home.  This recipe changed my mind.

If you have a food processor, use it.  Slicing the onions will take no time at all.  Please don’t pile a bag of shredded low fat cheese on top of this soup.  It won’t do it justice.  Buy a block of Gruyere and shred it yourself.  A small amount of Gruyere melted on top of a thin piece of toasted sourdough or french bread is all you need to experience a fantastic full, rich flavor with less calories.  The bread holds up the cheese so it doesn’t sink to the bottom.

I love wine but wasn’t sure what kind of wine to use in this recipe.  Well, that’s what Google is for.   The drier the wine, the less sugar in it, the less sweet ~ but with more alcohol.  Not to worry, the alcohol evaporates when cooking.  Long story short, want a good flavor?  Put in a good wine: a chardonnay or sauvignon blanc ~ and remember to pour yourself a glass. Slainte!

~Sheryl

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 large red or yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups of beef stock
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1-2 bay leafs
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 slices of toasted French, or crusty,  bread
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Romano cheese

In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 20 minutes. Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the caramelization.

Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock, wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil.  Simmer for 2 hours.  Discard the bay leaf.

To serve you can either use individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish.  Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately- or the bread will begin to soak up the broth.

Roasted Cauliflower

From Rita:

I got this recipe from an old friend many years ago and have never stopped making it as the combination of flavors is fab.  It takes little time to prepare-  which I love.  This could be prepped ahead of time if necessary and put in a large zip lock bag, refrigerated and baked later.  

We hope you all enjoy this as a new side dish to accompany any meal.  I used some of the leftovers and made an egg white and feta scramble one weekend morning and I loved it. You may also make a warm veggie wrap and add bit of goat cheese when the veggies are warm and let it melt in.  I use many leftovers so many different ways and it always becomes a treat to eat!  Those of us who love food will really will love this one!

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 tablespoons jarred garlic
  • 1 big handful chopped flat leaf parsley ( not curly)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients in a large bowl being sure to get everything coated nicely.  Put into a roasting pan and roast at 400′ for about 45 minutes or until the cauliflower is fork tender.  Be sure to flip over a couple of times so nothing gets charred in the oven during the cooking process.
 
 
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SIMPLE CROCK POT ROAST RECIPE

FROM a tiny BEACH kitchen:

This dinner can feed a hungry crowd and makes for great leftovers.  Don’t have a crockpot? Go buy one.  Definately a  must have in a busy kitchen.  This recipe is just for the roast and gravy.  (You can add potatoes and carrots to the crock pot if you like).  Simple.   

You can assemble this meal in 15 minutes in the morning. Go about your day.    When you come home, your house will smell amazing!   We were home all day while it was cooking and dinner could not come fast enough.   Some great sides….. mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, green beans.  Don’t forget the Cabernet Sauvignon.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 pound chuck roast
  • cup of beef broth
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • package of baby portabello mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper

Wash chuck roast.  Season generously with salt and pepper and crushed garlic.  Coat with flour.  Place in oiled skillet and brown lightly on all sides.

While browning roast.  Add diced onions to skillet and saute until tender. 

NOTE:  When dicing onions, peel onion but leave the “stem” on the onion.  Put slices in onion but  do NOT slice all the way thru to the stem- turn onion halfway and add more slices- again, do not slice all the way thru to the stem.  The STEM will hold the onion together until you dice top to bottom.   I saw this trick on the food channel and it has changed my life.   Onion is diced in seconds and I don’t have to grab for the  kleenex to wipe my teary eyes.  I used to have to wear swim goggles dicing an onion.  Quite a sight!

Transfer roast and onions to crock pot sprayed with Olive Oil.  Toss in garlic and bay leaf.   Add mushrooms.  Pour in the beef broth, and add salt and pepper.   Cook on low 8- 10 hours. 

The crockpot will be full of tasty beef broth.  You can serve broth as is, or put a cup of the broth in a saucepan with a tablespoon or 2 of cornstarch to thicken into a gravy. Stir. Stir. Stir!   

~SHERYL

 

 

  

GREEK WHITE BEAN SOUP (FASOLATHA)

From PEACH:

I learned of this wonderful and delicious Greek White Bean Soup in my mom’s kitchen as a child. Traditionally, made with dry white beans, I have found canned beans to be much easier without giving up the  taste.  In no time at all, the soup is finished.  Just wonderful and so very good for you.

Ingredients: (makes 12 hearty cups)

  • 3 – 1 lb 13 oz Goya Small White Beans
  • 1 –  28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 8 oz can of tomatoe sauce
  • 2 TBSP chopped garlic
  • 6 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock (Recommend Minor’s Chicken Base, can be found at BJ’s)
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano (rub between palms of hands to release flavors)
  • 1 TBSP black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot.  Bring to a full boil. Stir.  Stir. Stir!!

Reduce to simmer.  Cover.  Cook for 30 minutes or until veggies are tender.  Remember to stir periodically.

EASY BREEZY CHICKEN THIGHS

From a tiny BEACH kitchen:

What could be easier or faster?  With just a few items from your panty, you will have dinner on the table in short order.

Look for a package of chicken thighs devoid of skin and fat.  Cut away the fat as much as you can.   Less sit ups tomorrow.  Seriously.  

You don’t have to slice and dice.  Just  buy vegetables already cut up.  Saves time and is always worth it.  This dish also works well with petite canned tomatoes.  It’s tough to find good tomatoes in winter~  unless you live near my Dad… in Florida.   

Ingredients:

  • Package of chicken thighs
  • 3 fresh tomatoes / or can of petite diced tomatoes
  • teaspoon of capers
  • diced garlic clove, or three
  • Half of chopped medium red onion
  • Small package of sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • Handful of green olives
  • Cup of chicken broth

Let’s get started!

Saute the chicken thighs in EVOO (extra virgin Olive Oil) or Pam Spray if that works for you.  Brown on both sides and add crushed pepper and salt.   This can take up to 5 minutes on each side.  Keep the heat medium to avoid smoking up your kitchen.   

See how  the thighs are good and brown?   Now simply add half a cup of chicken broth, 3 real chopped tomatoes,( or a can of diced tomatoes) a teaspoon of capers, half a diced red onion, a few olives, clove of diced garlic, & the entire package of sliced mushrooms. 

Let everything hang out together uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes on medium heat until vegetables are soft.    Boil up some pasta if have the time.  Or serve with a crusty bread to scoop up the sauce. 

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