Thursday, August 29, 2013

Slowcooker Chicken Breasts with Creamy Chive Sauce

(Adapted from "Better Homes and Garden 
Slow Cooker for Family Dinners")


2lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
8 ozs. white mushrooms, chopped
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2 - 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Worchestershire Sauce
1/4th cup butter & 2 -3 pats of butter
1 0.75 oz package of Italian salad dressing mix
1 10.75 oz. can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup of dry white wine
4 ozs. of cream cheese with onions and chives (the tub variety works best)

Fresh chives, chopped for garnish


1. Sauté garlic and shallot in pats of butter with Worchestershire Sauce, then set aside; sauté mushrooms in butter and place in bottom of slow cooker. Place chicken breasts on top.

2. Melt the half-cup of butter in a medium saucepan; stir in Italian dressing mix. Add mushroom soup, cream cheese, and wine; heat over medium heat and stir until all ingredients are combined. Pour over chicken; likewise pour sautéed shallot and garlic over as well.

3. Cook on low for 4 - 41/2 hours; serve over rice or noodles, sprinkled with fresh chives.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Spicy Syrian Lentil Soup

adapted from "Bean by Bean: 
A Cookbook" by Crescent 
Dragonwagon, Workman 
Publishing, 2011)


1 cup split red or yellow lentils
2 tablespoons uncooked rice
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno or serrano chili, deseeded and chopped
3 -4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
8 ozs. diced, fireroasted tomatoes
8 ozs. coarsely chopped sweet fireroasted pimento or other peppers
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

For garnish:

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
lemon slices
finely chopped fresh cilantro
sour cream or yogurt


1. Combine lentils, rice, and carrot with 2 quarts (8 cups)
of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Then lower 
heat to simmer and cook covered for 10 minutes or so.

2. Meanwhile, heat large frying pan with the olive oil over
medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until they
become translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Then stir in
chili and garlic and continue to cook for another 5 minutes
or so.

3. Stir onions, chili, garlic, tomatoes, and peppers into the
soup and add the spices. Simmer covered about 15 minutes.

4. Remove soup from stove and pour into food processor,
pureeing the ingredients. Alternatively, use an immersion
blender to puree the soup.

5. Return pot and reheat, stirring in the lemon juice. Serve
garnished with cilantro, thin lemon slices. If desired, add a
dollop of sour cream or yogurt to each bowl, then serve.


1. The finished soup is quite thin; personally, I prefer a much
thicker, almost stew-like consistency myself, so just before
serving I stir 2 - 4 heaping tablespoons of cooked rice into each

2. I think I'm going to use vegetable broth instead of water then next
time I make this soup, for some additional body and flavor.

3. Since only 1 pepper is used, this soup is only mildly spicy; upping the pepper count would make for a spicier soup.

Black-Eyed Pea and Lentil Soup

A thick, hearty soup for colder weather

(Adapted from "1.001 Delicious Soups and
Stews" by Sue Spitler & Linda Yoakam)


1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
6 - 8 cups of vegetable broth
3/4 cup dried black-eyed peas
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
salt and pepper to taste


1. Sauté carrots, celery, onions, and garlic in oil in large saucepan for 6 or 7 minutes. Add 6 cups of broth and stir in black-eyed peas and herbs; heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer, covered for 45 minutes to one hour, until peas are almost done.

2. Add lentils and simmer, covered, 30 to 45 minutes, until peas and lentils are tender. Add additional broth if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf before serving.


1. The soup holds over in the refrigerator for several days but thickens; add a small amount of broth when reheating.

2. A variant version calls for adding 10 ozs. of diced, fire-roasted tomatoes when the lentils are added.

3. A spicier version can be made by including a teaspoon of hot paprika, cayenne paper, or red paper flakes. Or one could use a deseeded and finely chopped jalapeno or serrano pepper or a fire-roasted Hatch pepper.

4. This is the vegan version of this soup; one could use chicken stock instead.