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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Soup for Supper - A Quick and Easy Lentil and Spinach Soup

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Now that it's cooler, I've started to think about soups and stews again. I clipped some recipes this summer and I've been waiting to to give this lentil and spinach soup a try. Well, the weather broke two days ago, and along with cooler temperatures there was a downpour that kept me housebound long enough to test the recipe for this simple pantry soup. Having made it, I think those of you who try it will like it as much as we did, and end up adding the recipe to your regular rotation. This is a simple pantry soup and chances are you already have the ingredients you need to make it on hand. Despite its lack of meat, the soup is substantial enough to serve for supper. Freshly made, this is a thick soup, but like most soups made with legumes it becomes stew-like as the lentils sit and soak up the liquid in the pot. That can be remedied by adding additional stock or water as needed. Years ago, I would never dream of serving soup for dinner, but I've relaxed my standards in retirement. These days, I add freshly made bread and a seasonal salad to the table and call it supper. I do hope you'll give this soup a try. It is jam-packed with vegetables and it is delicious. Here is how it is made.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Baked Western Omelet

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...We had much needed rain yesterday. It wasn't a deluge, but it was a welcome start after a bone dry summer. I was tracking the weather forecast when I heard the Oregon coast was experiencing high winds but had no rain. I love the ocean when its riled and head toward it when others are going the other way. I'm not a storm chaser but the romantic in me can't resist the roar of an angry sea. So, we put aside the day's errands and headed to the coast where we found an ocean that looked like a latte with with a layer of foam that spread at least a mile from shore. The winds were high but not howling and we were actually cold for the first time in months. It was worth the trip. We did, however, spend more time exploring than we had planned and as a result got home quite late. I decided to make one of my favorite breakfast for dinner dishes. It takes about 10 minutes to put this omelet together and while it takes up to an hour to cook, it is amazing simple to make. I found the recipe on a blog called The Seasoned Mom which you can find here. I know those of you who try the recipe will be pleased. Here is how this effortless omelet is made. It would be perfect for a lite supper on Meatless Monday.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

An Old-Fashioned Apple Butter Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...When I was quite young apple butter was the breakfast spread of choice. Butter and sugar were rationed, so back in the day those wise old cooks used recipes, some of which predated colonial America, to make a highly concentrated form of apple sauce that was spreadable and could be used in place of butter on morning toast. Fruit butters are sweet spreads made of fruits that are cooked to a paste and then lightly sweetened. Apple butter has a longer shelf life than applesauce and it is a wonderful way to use the last of the apple crop. I mention this, because I came across a recipe for an apple butter cake that sounded much like the one I had as a child. In order to make it, I thought I'd put-by my own apple butter, but on reflection, I wasn't sure I wanted 12 pints of it taking up my limited pantry space. I called around and found a store that carried apple butter, so there was no reason not to give the cake a try. The recipe is simple and as close to can't fail as they come, the cake is inexpensive to make and it is perfect way to end an informal fall meal. These cakes have a tendency to be dry, so be sure to spoon the flour into your measure and level off the excess, rather than scooping it directly into the cup. I'd also advise using a liquid rather than a dry measure for the apple butter and buttermilk. The apple butter gives this cake a subtle apple flavor, but in my opinion it is more like a spice cake. I've cut back on the ground cloves that appeared in the original recipe, and have used mace to replace most of it. You can experiment with the spices until you come up with a combination that is to your liking. This is a simple cake, so I dress it up a bit by using a flour buttercream to frost it. I've shared that frosting recipe before, but if you need a reminder you can find the recipe here. Here is how the apple butter-spice cake is made. Do give it a try.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Lower Calorie Rice + An Unusual Cabbage Fried Rice

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Scientists have found a method for cooking white rice that reduces the starch and calories it contains by 10 to 12 percent. White rice is made up of digestible and resistant starches. Resistant starch takes a long time to digest and it is not converted into simple sugars, so it has fewer calories. Cooking alters how much of each type of starch there is in a food. Researchers in Sri Lanka have found a cooking method that reduces calories in rice because it increases the amount of resistant starch that rice kernels contain. Their method is simple. They add oil to the rice pot. The oil interacts with the starches in rice and converts digestible to resistant starch. A prolonged period of refrigeration further changes its composition, making it healthier and lower in calories than is usually the case. Here is the recommended method for cooking healthier rice.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Quick and Creamy Chicken Marsala

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I keep this recipe on hand for those evenings when I want a quick, company-worthy meal that gives the appearance of being more special than it actually is. This Marsala recipe is one of the easiest I've come across, and because it is basically a pantry meal, I usually have the ingredients I need to make it on hand. While the recipe is quite basic, I take some additional shortcuts that make it even easier to prepare. Rather than pound the breasts into submission, I slice them in half lengthwise and get on with the rest of the prep work. I've also cut back on the amount of oil and butter that was used in the original recipe. The recipe generates enough sauce to serve with rice or pasta, so you can have a full meal in a short amount time. If you are looking for a quick version of Chicken Marsala, keep this one in mind, or better yet, give it a try. Here is how the chicken is made.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mid-Week Musings

Courtesy of John Pritchett
The Sky is Falling

Remember Chicken Little? "Help! Help! The sky is falling! We're running for our lives!" While, the sky isn't falling, at least not yet, it's been a banner year for natural disasters. Typhoons hammered the Philippines, drought plagued California, tornadoes swirled in the Midwest, fires blazed in Washington state and Oregonians were warned the Cascadia fault is likely to trigger an earthquake and tsunami that will devastate the economy of the Pacific Northwest and claim thousands of lives. I wish I could be more upbeat, but I'm standing in flood water and a lava flow is heading my way. What's a gal to do?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Italian-Style Potato Wedges

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...We're still at the lake, and since this our last night with friends, a special dinner seemed to be in order. The guys, who were suppose to be fishing, came back from ye old fishing hole with grass fed T-bone steaks instead of salmon. I can't help but wonder what kind of bait they used. At any rate, since the steaks would be grilled, that left the TWO burner range and small oven for preparation of what was suppose to be a special meal. These potatoes wedges are perfect to serve with plain grilled meat or poultry and they are simple to make. The potatoes, along with fresh sweet corn and a Caesar salad, could all be prepared in the small kitchen without straining the kitchen or the cooks and left time enough to make a blackberry shortcake for dessert. It was a lovely meal and the company was great, but now that the smoke is clearing from the valley, it is time for us to head home with grateful thoughts of friends who took in orphans of the storm. I do hope you'll give these gutsy potatoes a try. The recipe comes from a blog called Creme de la Crumb, which you can find here. I think you'll love them for their flavor and ease of preparation. They are especially good when served with a remoulade or green goddess-type dressing for dipping. Here is how they are made.

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