Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup

This is a great soup!  I adapted the recipe to include more veggies and I left out the rice.  I was going to add in some barley, but my pot was too full!  But honestly I don’t think anyone missed it.  Everyone went back for seconds, and I was glad I’d made enough that we’d have some leftovers too.  This is easily scaled up or down depending on your gathering.  But I think leftovers would freeze excellently.  This soup does have a bit of a kick to it, but it was prefect for a fall night.  My 9-year-old-cousin loved it and thought it was just the right amount of spicy…she did keep calling it chili, but as long as she thinks it’s good chili that’s fine by me!

Stuffed Bell Pepper SoupStuffed Bell Pepper Soup (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12

Adapted from Barefeet in the Kitchen

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 6 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 5 large bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 48 oz low sodium beef stock
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp poultry seasoning (or Italian seasoning)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

In a large pot, sauté onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent.  Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup meal (A Seat at the Table)Add ground beef and break apart the beef while it cooks.  Add carrots and celery and continue to cook for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper.  Add remaining ingredients, cover and let simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Soup is done when peppers are tender.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, bread, rice or as is and enjoy!

Lemon-Rosemary Roasted Chicken Breasts

I don’t usually do a lot of cooking on the weekdays.  I usually try out new recipes on the weekends when I have more time and have had a chance to pick out a new recipe, and do the grocery shopping for it, etc.  However, this week my uncle and cousin are staying with us while their house is undergoing some renovations.  So obviously when company is over (even though it’s family), it’s time to pull out the stops and cook a real, hearty meal.  This recipe definitely fits the bill.  It’s a great one-dish meal that’s mostly hands-off, leaving plenty of time for other things.  This is also something you’ll want extra of since it’s great as leftovers too, or would be easily turned into a soup.

This is easily customizable with the vegetables you have on hand.  I think sweet potatoes would be delicious in this, celery would also be good and add some green.  Mix it up, just make sure that your vegetables are roughly the same size so they cook evenly.

My cousin, Naomi, also discovered that she likes parsnips by eating this dish!  So it’s a great way to introduce new vegetables!  It’s always a thrill for me when someone discovers that they like something new!

Lemon-Rosemary Roasted Chicken Breasts with Roasted VegetablesLemon-Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Roasted Vegetables (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 8

  • 1 acorn squash, seeded and cut in 1 1/2″ chunks (I left the skin on and it was soft enough to eat)
  • 5 small new potatoes, quartered
  • 6 parsnips, cut in 1 1/2″ chunks
  • 6 carrots, cut in 1″ chunks
  • 2 red onions, cut into large segments
  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease the bottom of a large roasting pan with cooking spray.

Spread vegetables over the bottom of the pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and just a sprinkle of kosher salt.  Top with chicken breasts.  Drizzle chicken breasts with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.  Flip breasts over and season the other side with salt, pepper, and rosemary.  Top chicken with lemon slices and squeeze a little lemon juice over the chicken.Lemon-Rosemary Roasted Chicken Breasts (A Seat at the Table)

Roast the chicken for about 45 minutes.  Check to see how things are cooking, if vegetables seem to be drying out, add chicken stock.  Continue to cook until chicken is cooked through.  This took about 1 1/2 hours for me, but they were some awfully big chicken breasts.

Ham and Green Bean Soup

This is an old family recipe.  My mom’s grandma would make this every spring just as the green beans came up in the garden.  It’s a great, easy recipe that’s total comfort food.  I actually made this using a frozen ham hock that we saved from Easter.  You can also just buy a ham hock at the store, or make this soup whenever you’re making a ham and freeze it for later.  If green beans aren’t in season, you can use frozen green beans, just throw them in in the last few minutes and cook until heated through.

Ham and Green Bean SoupHam and Green Bean Soup (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 10-12

  • 1 large ham hock
  • water to cover the hock (about 10-15 cups)
  • 3 Tbsp salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley (optional)
  • 6 medium red potatoes, cubed
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 5 large carrots, diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 5 cups green beans, cut in “1 pieces
  • 2-3 cups diced ham
  • 2 Tbsp dried dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sour cream or plain Greek yogurt to garnish

In a large stock pot, combine ham hock, water, salt, bay leaves and dried parsley.  Bring to a boil, then let simmer for about two hours, stirring occasionally.  Remove the ham hock from the pot and let cool.  Pick any remaining ham off the bone and reserve for later.

Add potatoes and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until beginning to get tender.  Add onion, carrots, and celery and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until vegetables are fork-tender.  Add green beans and ham to the pot and cook for about 8 minutes, or until green beans are bright green and tender and the ham is heated through.  Add dill, taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Bacon Fried Rice

This is a childhood classic.   My mom would make this fairly regularly when we were growing up.  It’s a great way to reinvent leftovers.  This is perfect if you have some leftover rice from getting take-out, or just make a bit extra and save it for this.  Day old rice is perfect in this recipe.  Other than the rice and bacon, you can add whatever you like.  Frozen peas were classic growing up, but whatever veggies you have on hand will be great in this.  It comes together quickly in just one pan, now that’s what I call comfort food!

Bacon Fried RiceBacon Fried Rice (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 6-8

  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 4 cups rice
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium high heat with about 1 tsp canola oil (this helps the bacon crisp).  When bacon is cooked, add the onion and sauté until translucent, then add the carrots and celery.  When the vegetables are tender, wilt the kale.  Add the rice and mix well.  When the rice begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, add the remaining oil, and mix well.  Make a space in the skillet and pour in the eggs.  Scramble the eggs briefly, then mix them into the rest of the fried rice.   Pour soy sauce over the top and season with salt and pepper, then mix well.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

Roasted Carrot Soup

This is a wonderfully simple soup.  The flavors are delicate and warm.  I think it would be a great soup for when you’re feeling a little under the weather, or when you just need a light but delicious soup.  Roasting the carrots brings out their sweetness, and the ginger and thyme infused vegetable stock adds a nice warmth and earthiness in the background.  I think you could make this even easier by roasting the onions with the carrots.  This was very popular at the last School of Christian Living class of the term.  I served it with Black Bean, Quinoa and Citrus Salad and a Dark Chocolate Cardamom Mousse, but this would also be sublime with a sandwich, or a simple green salad.

Roasted Carrot SoupRoasted Carrot Soup

Serves 12-14

Adapted from Food 52

  • 5 lbs carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2″ rounds
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (more to taste)
  • 3 1/2 (32oz) boxes good quality vegetable stock
  • 3 one-inch pieces of ginger, peeled
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the chopped carrots with half the olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.  Set oven rack 6-8 inches from the broiler and turn the broiler on.  Broil for about 10-15 minutes, rotating the carrots every 4-5 minutes until they’ve got some color and are tender.

Meanwhile, bring stock to a boil in a large pot with the ginger and thyme in it, simmer for 15 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and sauté for a couple of minutes, then add garlic and sauté until fragrant and onions begin to brown.

Remove ginger and thyme from the stock pot and then carefully add onion/garlic, the roasted carrots, and ground ginger.  Simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes until carrots are soft enough to puree.  Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Carrot Cake

This is a great recipe.  It comes from another woman from my church (don’t church ladies just have the best recipes?).  I got a marriage proposal out of this recipe…you know, if he wasn’t twice my age and already engaged… If that doesn’t say enough about how good this recipe is, I don’t know what will.  It’s moist without those horrible surprise raisins.  It’s delicately spiced paired with my favorite cream cheese frosting.

Kate’s Carrot Cake

Makes a 9″ layer cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 cups grated carrots (about 1 lb)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease two 9″ cake pans or three 8″ cake pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until lemon colored and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Beat in oil and sugar.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, soda, salt and cinnamon.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined.  Fold in the nuts and carrots.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until cake pulls away from the sides of the pan.  Cool in pan before removing.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 (8oz) pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add butter and beat until well mixed.  Slowly beat in the sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.

Tri-Color Slaw

I have a problem.  I am completely unable to estimate amounts.  For the Seekers luncheon we had enough food to feed at least 100 (I’m halving all the amounts I used for a more realistic serving size).  However it’s really hard to guess how much a recipe will make.  For example, the recipe for this slaw says it serves at least 8, but when I quadrupled it it made enough to serve at least 80.  I’m sure part of the problem is what one serves with it, you’re probably not going to take as much slaw if you’re having other salads as opposed to how much you’d take if it was the only salad and you were having burgers.

If you have any advice on how to estimate serving amounts I could definitely use the help!  I’m going to try to start thinking about how much will fill a plate, but I can use a lot of help in this area!

Tri-Color Slaw

Serves 45-50 maybe

Adapted from The Kitchn

  • 1 head green cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 head red cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 2 lbs carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 2-3 large bunches cilantro, chopped
  • 6-7 limes, juiced (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 1/3 cup oil (I used half canola and half olive oil)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste (at least 1 tsp each)

Combine cabbage, carrots and cilantro in a large bowl.  Whisk together the lime juice, oil, sugar, salt and pepper.  An hour before serving pour dressing over the slaw and mix well.

Carrot Herb Rolls

My kneading muscles (who knew that was a thing) are out of shape!

Monday I spent most of the day making delicious rolls.  I think this was the first time I’ve ever made rolls myself, although I’m sure I’ve been around when my grandma or mom made them.  It’s definitely not a quick process, but it was very satisfying.  I made two recipes (not a double because they need space to rise, so I had two separate doughs going at the same time) which worked really well.  If you’re going through all the effort and time you might as well get twice as much out of it!  I was also able to try one recipe with white whole wheat flour, and one with regular all-purpose flour.  They were both delicious (I didn’t notice much of a taste difference), the all-purpose flour were a bit fluffier/bigger, so use whatever is on hand and convenient for you.

I followed this recipe, but without any special equipment (like a thermometer or a plastic bin for the bread).

Carrot Herb Roll

Makes 16 3″ rolls

Adapted from Farmgirl Fare

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 1/4 cups carrots, finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt

Mix the bread flour, white whole wheat flour, and yeast in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and pour in the water and melted butter.  Stir until combined.  Mix in the carrots, parsley, rosemary, and thyme and stir until a soft sticky dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead 5 minutes, sprinkling on a little more bread flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the work surface.

Cover the dough with bowl and let rest 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough and knead for another 5 minutes until the salt is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth and still slightly sticky, adding more flour if necessary.

Put the bowl in a large, warm, greased mixing bowl covered by a damp towel (just damp enough so that the dough won’t stick to the towel).  Let dough rise until doubled in size about 1 to 2 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Let rest 10 minutes, then divide into 16 pieces. Press down on each piece to expel any air bubbles, then shape into balls.  Place rolls on parchment paper covered baking sheets, cover with a towel and let rise until double in size, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Just before placing rolls in oven brush on a little salted water for a light shine and crisp baked crust.  Bake  until tops are golden brown and the bottoms ound hollow when tapped, about 25 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Store in an airtight container or freeze.  If desired, reheat at 350°F for 5 to 10 minutes before serving, this will crisp the crust up again.