Often when a recipe is calling for a small amount of a fresh ingredient, like a 1/4 cup of diced onions or celery, some sliced mushrooms, a couple of tablespoons of chickpeas, etc., and that’s all you’re going to need of that ingredient for the week…you can save some trouble, money, and wasted food, by buying just the exact amount you need from the salad bar!
A favorite “Salad Bar” Recipe…
(If your favorite store doesn’t have a salad bar, your local hospital cafeteria probably will. Don’t cringe, it’s likely to be cleaner and more sanitary than that salad bar at your favorite restaurant, lol.)
The higher “cost per pound” is mitigated by the small amounts you’re actually buying for your recipes and the fact that you’re not paying for any waste or trim.
Plus, someone else has prepped it for you!
Chef’s Tip: most salad bars stay stocked with the same ingredients all the time. Sneak a quick picture of yours, with your phone or tablet, and save it as a reference when planning your shopping.
Had great fun being back on AM Northwest last week (watch the clip, below), and got to talk about one of my all-time favorite subjects…comfort food. It’s getting chilly up here in the PNW, and nothing warms you back up like a good pot of soup.
One of my Facebook friends commented that whenever I’m on the show, I always do Italian recipes.
I love French food, and Asian food, and pretty much ANY food, but if I’m going to present the best version of something, something you can taste the love in, it’s probably going to be an old Italian Grandmother’s recipe.
I love this recipe, not just because it’s delicious, and brings back great childhood memories, but because it’s one of those dishes that proves you don’t have to spend a lot, to make an amazing meal. Pasta is cheap. Beans are cheap. Carrots, onions, celery? Cheap. Add whatever leftover meat and veggies from last night’s dinner, and presto…you have soup!
1 lb meat, cooked and chopped (roast chicken, sausage, hamburger, etc.) 36 oz “Quick and Easy Chicken Stock“ 28 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained (or 6 Romas, freshly roasted*) 15 oz tomato sauce 1 large onion, chopped 2 Tbs olive oil 4 celery ribs, diced 2 medium carrots, sliced 2 cups beans (cannellini, kidney beans, etc,) rinsed and drained 2 tsp minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 tsp coarse black pepper 8 ounces uncooked pasta (ditalini, macaroni, etc.) 4 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
Additional veggies: Whatcha’got? Pretty much any leftover veggies will compliment this soup. Peas, corn, sauteed mushrooms, green beans, cabbage…empty that fridge!
Make the mirepoix: In a saute pan, heat oil over medium low, and saute onions, celery, and carrots until just beginning to soften. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat, and transfer to a stock pot.
Add broth, sauce, beans, oregano, and black pepper.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Add pasta, parsley, and any additional veggies; simmer, covered, 10-14 minutes or until pasta is tender.
Stir in meat, and serve with crusty, warm bread.
Yield: 10-12 servings
*To roast your own: Place 6 Roma tomatoes on a very hot grill, under a broiler, or directly on above a gas burner. Char, rotating frequently, until blackened on all sides. Place tomatoes in a large zip bag and seal, allowing them to steam 20-30 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the bag, and peel off most of the charred skin (I ike to leave a little, for flavor). Dice the tomatoes, place in a bowl, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, and just cover with hot water. Allow to come to room temp before using the tomatoes and water in this recipe.