White Bean and Kale Soup

I recently had a similar version of this soup at lunch one Sunday with my husband and thought it was delicious. I decided to try making it at home the following week. This soup is easy, filling and most importantly packed with flavor. Did I mention it is full of beautiful colors!?

White Bean and Kale Soup - Double Knotted Apron

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 bundle of fresh kale (or you can use the prepackaged kale in the produce section)
  • 2 cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed (also known as white kidney beans)
  • 1 can unsalted diced tomatoes, strained
  • 4 cups no salt added chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 – 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 – 2 tbsp of kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp of freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a large pot, drizzle 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil around the bottom and turn the heat on medium-high. After peeling and chopping the carrots add them to the heated olive oil. Stir for 3 – 4 minutes or until slight softening. The oil will start to take on a slight orange hue. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the carrots while cooking.

While the carrots are sautéing, peel and chop half an onion and then add to the pot. Sauté until translucent and reduce the heat to medium. Add one cup of water for now.

Meanwhile, remove the kale leaves from the stems and give the leaves a fine chop. Rinse the leaves and drain really well. Add to the pot along with another pinch of salt and pepper then put on the lid. You want to add salt and pepper to each layer of the soup since the stock was not salted. It’s always easier to add more than to take away too much. Let the leaves wilt for about 3 or 4 minutes before removing the lid, simmering on medium-low heat. Give all of the veggies a good toss and stir.

Add in the 4 cups of chicken broth and extra cup of water. Salt and pepper the soup again. A pinch of two of each. Drain and rinse the two cans of beans and add to the soup. You also want to drain the liquid from the diced tomatoes and set aside. Add just the tomato pieces to the soup. Stir and cover. Once the soup comes to a slight boil, taste and see if you need to add any more salt or pepper and do so accordingly. It’s definitely a taste preference. After the soup boils, reduce the heat to a low simmer and let it simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. This will help the flavors really come together.

If you are serving the soup the same day garnish it with a toasty slice of garlic parmesan bread or croutons. If you are making the soup in advance, the longer it sets, the better it gets! I would recommend no more than 4 – 5 days in the fridge. Freeze the remaining soup if you have leftovers or are making weeks in advance.

If you are vegetarian, this soup is still perfect for you. Switch out the chicken stock for vegetable stock and you are good to go!

Enjoy! Stay warm!

xo-M

Giada’s Winter Minestrone

Mmm Mmm Good! Campbell’s has the slogan right when it comes to a good soup, but they have nothing on Giada De Laurentiis’ Winter Minestrone. I love watching her show and her recipes. I decided it was time to try out one of her fabulous looking, smelling and tasting soups. It’s Fall after all!

I used her entire recipe below except I added ground turkey meat instead of pancetta. Feel free to use either one you like, but that was my preference for this first go around.

Winter Minestrone Ingredients

Giada’s Winter Minestrone

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 oz thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped (or 1lb. lean ground turkey)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb Swiss chard, stems trimmed and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 (14 1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (14 oz) cans of beef broth, low sodium
  • 1 oz piece Parmesan cheese rind
  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pancetta (or if using browned turkey add when you add the pureed bean mixture below), and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and potato; saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprigs. Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan cheese rind to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard the rosemary sprigs (the leaves will have fallen off of the stem). Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Giada's Winter Minestrone - Simmering - Double Knotted Apron

Giada's Winter Minestrone - Bowl and Serve - Double Knotted Apron

This soup is so warm and lovely. Not only will it smell amazing but it tastes wonderful with all of the fresh ingredients and herbs. I can’t wait to make it again and next time I plan to use pancetta as well as add some mini shell pasta for a little extra texture and depth.
I hope you enjoy Giada’s dish as much as my husband and I did. Thanks Giada!!
xo – M

Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Onion and Garlic

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Now this is one delicious dish. Whether you decide to pair it with pasta or add as a side like my husband and I did tonight, you can’t go wrong! The roasted flavors bring out the Italian in us all!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 dozen grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp parsley
  • 2-3 tbsp EVOO (olive oil)
  • salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with tin foil, shiny side down, and spray with non stick spray.

Rinse the tomatoes and peel the onion and garlic cloves. Slice each grape tomato in half, coarsely chop the onion and garlic.

Grape Tomatoes with Onion and Garlic - Double Knotted Apron

Add these three ingredients into a small mixing bowl and coat with olive oil, parsley and basil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and then mix with a spatula.

Add EVOO basil and parsley - Double Knotted Apron

Once completely coated pour and spread evenly onto a prepared baking sheet.

Spread veggies on pan and roast - Double Knotted Apron

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Just wait until you smell how wonderful this dish is, ohhhh mama!

Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Onion and Garlic - Double Knotted Apron

We enjoyed this dish as a side with our New York strips, steamed lemon pepper broccoli and baked sweet potatoes.

Use as a side or a main dish - Double Knotted Apron

You can serve the tomatoes on angel hair pasta, a toasted Italian loaf or as a side like my husband and I did!

Enjoy!

xo – M

Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Onion and Garlic Recipe Card – Double Knotted Apron

 

Cooking for Independence…Day

American Flag - Double Knotted Apron

As Americans all around the world celebrate our independence today, we will be doing so by grilling, snacking, three-legged racing and shooting off beautiful firework displays. I want to wish everyone a Happy Independence Day but also a safe one. I have listed a few tips below to help prevent food borne illnesses during your celebration whether its a picnic, BBQ or snacking at your city’s center.

Tips:

  • Make sure you keep hand sanitizer on hand and use before each meal or snack. Hand to mouth contact is one of the number one causes of germ transfers so be sure to keep those digits clean.
  • When grilling or preparing any meat be sure to cook it thoroughly to kill any bacteria that the meat may harbor.
  • If you take cold or hot dish to a picnic or party keep the dish cold or hot by insulated bags and ice packs. If you don’t have any insulation to help with this simply take the food inside if the whether starts to affect the food’s temperature.
  • Use a new plate or platter each time you pick up new food to help prevent cross contamination.
  • Keep in mind when you are celebrating today that not everyone takes precautions when preparing food and use your judgement on what you decide to eat, drink or snack on. It can be the difference in a HAPPY HEALTHY FOURTH or a sickly fourth.

Enjoy today wherever you may be and remember to thank those who so graciously and selflessly fight for our freedom and our country.

GOD BLESS AMERICA! 

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xo-M

Simple Homemade California Roll

Simple Homemade California Roll - Double Knotted Apron

Making your own sushi at home can seem intimidating, but trust me – it’s not! This quick tutorial will show you how easy it is to create your own sushi masterpiece in your kitchen!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 sheet of Nori (dried seaweed sheet)
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 piece imitation crab
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled

Bring two cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the cup of rice to the boiling water with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. Transfer the cooked rice into a shallow pan to cool and add the rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Mix well and let cool.

Prepare the crab and cucumber by cutting into long strips, place to the side.

Crab and Cucumber - Double Knotted Apron

You will need a sheet of wax paper to aid in the rolling process and a kitchen towel for any clean up.

Once the rice has cooled you are ready to begin. Remove a sheet of the Nori from the package and place smooth side down. Scoop some rice and spread evenly across one half of the Nori.

Sushi Rice - Double Knotted Apron

This part may be a little messy and require you to rinse your fingers in cold water. It will help remove the excess rice from sticking and allow you to spread the rice out to cover all edges. Next add the cucumber and crab strips.

Crab and Cucumber Sushi Roll Prep - Double Knotted Apron

Once you have all of the filler ingredients added, you will begin the rolling process. This will be really easy, but you must maintain a tight grip on the roll and continue stuffing the ingredients as you roll the Nori.

Place the kitchen towel on a solid surface and then the sheet of wax paper on top of the towel. Next place the Nori sheet on top of the wax paper and make sure the sheet is even with the end of the wax paper. Begin rolling the Nori over the rice, cucumber and crab slowly while keeping the wax paper on top of the Nori sheet. This will help keep all of the ingredients in the roll. Continue rolling and stuffing very slowly to keep the roll as tight as possible. You may have to adjust the wax paper to keep it from being a part of your roll. Once completely rolled up use the wax paper to go over the outside of the Nori to help shape it.

Sushi Roll - Double Knotted Apron

It is recommended to use a sushi knife to cut the roll into bite size pieces, but honestly who has one of those lying around. I use a paring knife and it works perfectly! The blades are typically much thinner and sharper than larger knives, so it easily cuts through the seaweed without squishing or damaging. Cut the pieces in about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch pieces. You should be able to get at least eight pieces out of each roll you make.

You will probably have some leftover rice and my guess is extra sheets of Nori in the package, so now that you are a sushi expert, roll another!

California Roll Sushi - Double Knotted Apron

Use your creativity when it comes to arranging your sushi on the plate. Be sure to have some chopsticks handy along with ginger and wasabi!

Enjoy this delicious dish you created like a pro!

xo-M

Quick Cucumber and Onion Salad

Quick Cucumber and Onion Salad - Double Knotted Apron

If you are looking for a quick chilled side dish for lunch or dinner this week, this one is a great addition. I also recommend this for anyone with too many cucumbers coming from their garden, like mine.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp dill
  • 1/8 tsp celery salt
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl add the cucumber and onion. Fold in the sour cream and then add the dill, celery salt, salt and pepper. Let chill for an hour or two before serving. This dish is also yummy after sitting over night in the fridge. The flavors really come alive! *This recipe makes two servings.

Cucmber Onion Salad - Double Knotted Apron

Enjoy!

xo – M

Cucumber and Onion Salad Recipe Card – Double Knotted Apron

Double Berry Banana Smoothie – With a Surprise Ingredient!

Double Berry Banana Smoothie With a Surprising Ingredient - Double Knotted Apron

You will love this Double Berry Banana Smoothie this summer, or any time of year. It’s creamy, full of flavor and has a surprising ingredient that gives it an incredibly refreshing flavor!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 large banana, peeled
  • 3 large strawberries, cut off the leaves
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 6 – 7 ice cubes
  • SURPRISE INGREDIENT: Orange Juice (1/4 cup)

Add the ice cubes to the blender first, followed by the yogurt, orange juice and then the fruit. Make sure you cut the banana into four or five pieces and cut the strawberries into halves.

Double Berry Banana Smoothie Ingredients - Double Knotted Apron

Once everything is in the blender, use the ice crush function for the first few seconds to grind up the cubes and then start blending. Blend until smooth and serve immediately. This recipe makes one delicious serving!!

Double Berry Banana Smoothie - Double Knotted Apron

Enjoy!

xo-M

Double Berry Banana Smoothie Recipe Card – Double Knotted Apron