Chicken and Vegetable Soup

I don’t know about you, but I’m very busy around this time of year.

It could have to do that on top of the holidays, I’m settling into a new job, adjusting to married life and, oh yea, writing final papers.

So these days, dinner’s about ease – easy to make and easy to clean up.

And anything that doubles duty? Cha ching!

So let me introduce you to my new friend, the store-bought rotisserie chicken.


Now, you’ve probably all seen these little guys in your grocery store and contemplated just buying one and calling it dinner.

But then the guilt probably kicked in.

Oh no! I must make my family a home-cooked meal. I must know how everything was prepared!

Listen up. Pop open a bottle of wine and relax a little. It’s okay to not make every single thing that hits the table. A store-bought rotisserie chicken is totally fine.

But, if you feel so inclined, you can jazz it up a bit.

I took this chicken, shredded it up (okay hubs shredded it) and turned it into two dinners and a week’s worth of lunches.


Up first, a hearty chicken and vegetable soup.

Drizzle some olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan.

Toss in a diced onion, 2 diced carrots and 3 diced celery stalks. Cook until the onions are translucent.


Next add two cloves of garlic, minced.


Pour a can of whole peeled tomatoes into a bowl, and, using your hands, break them into small, bite-sized pieces.


And add them to the pot.


Give it a stir and let this cook on low for about 5 minutes, just to warm the tomatoes through.


Next, pour in 32 oz of chicken broth.


And add in a few handfuls of baby spinach.


Give it a stir and cook until the leaves wilt.


Next add about half a cup of small pasta. I used vermicelli, but broken up spaghetti or ditalini works too.


Finally, add a handful or two of the shredded chicken.


Give it a big stir and let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes.


Shrimp, Corn and Tomato Bake

It’s been absolute madness lately so I have been really neglecting the whole cooking, eating, blogging thing.

Okay, not the eating thing. I always eat. No matter how crazy busy it is.

I know the crisp breezes of fall are in the air and thoughts are turning to squash and pumpkins and big steamy bowls of chili.

But, this recipe holds onto summer for just a little bit longer.

This is a great, fast, no-mess dinner, that you can throw together on even the busiest of weeknights.

All you need:

  • frozen shrimp (cleaned and deveined, shells and tails on)
  • corn on the cob
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • old bay seasoning
  • aluminum foil

Preheat the oven to 400.

Start by cutting your corn cobs into thirds and placing the thirds into a large bowl. I did one piece of corn per person.


Next, add your halved cherry tomatoes


And your shrimp


Drizzle with olive oil and season with old bay. you can really do whatever spice blend you like here- from the simple salt and pepper to a complex spice rub. I love old bay because it reminds me of the Delaware beaches where I spent my summers as a kid.


Give everything a good mix.


Lay out two sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil.


And dump the mixture into the center


Pull the edges to the center and fold the foil into a little packet. Place the packet on a cookie sheet or baking sheet.


Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes (until the shrimp are pink)

Carefully unwrap the foil packet (steam will escape and it will be really hot!)


And there you have a shrimp, corn, tomato bake and no clean up!

Spinach Artichoke Quiche

Spinach Artichoke dip is one of the greatest food inventions. Ever. Period.

However, it can’t be consumed in large quantities. Or with great frequency.

Especially not when your waistline is still recovering from the croissants and the crepes and the baguettes from your trip to Paris.

With Paris still on my mind, I started thinking about the fantastic foods we ate and I landed on quiche. My fiance’s cousin made an absolutely fantastic traditional quiche lorraine for us while we were there, loaded with cream and cheese and ham and a buttery crust. I knew my tummy couldn’t handle quite the same flavor bomb, but I thought I could lighten it up and mash it up with spinach artichoke dip.

And that’s how spinach artichoke quiche came to be.

This quiche doesn’t have a crust, which helps eliminate loads of calories right there, and is jam packed with spinach and artichokes, so the filling is more veggie than egg and cheese.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, drained
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • grated gruyere (I leave the amount to you)
  • parmesan cheese (again, I will never limit your cheese intake)

Preheat the oven to 375 and lightly butter a 9 inch pie pan.

In a large skillet, drizzle some olive oil and sautee the spinach and the artichokes. I just broke up the artichoke hearts into chunks with my hands. You can chop nicely if you wish.


When the spinach is nice and wilted, season with salt and pepper and then transfer the mixture to the pie pan.


In a large bowl, crack four eggs and toss in the gruyere and the parmesan cheese.


Using a fork, stir to combine.


Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the spinach and artichokes and add a sprinkling of parmesan to the top.


Bake for about 30-40 minutes until the eggs are set.


Slice it up and enjoy the mash-up of a quick Parisian meal with your favorite bar snack.


Sushi Cravings – Avocado, Asparagus Crab Salad

I had a sushi craving today.

This happens fairly often.

But I’m being good. I had yogurt and berries and homemade granola for lunch. I went to the gym after work.

I will not ruin this with sushi out. (I’d much rather ruin it with some of those funfetti cookies that are, surprisingly, still left).

I started thinking about the deconstructed spicy tuna roll salad we made recently and then I started thinking about the rolls we always order at Tenzan (our favorite sushi place that’s right in our neighborhood). There are two we always always get: avocado asparagus cucumber roll and spicy crunchy crab roll. This is the only sushi place I’ve had asparagus in a maki roll. It’s amazing. And unexpected and pairs so well with the cool crunchy cucumber and the soft, creamy avocado. And spicy crunchy crab? Crab meat, spicy mayo and crunch? In. All in.

I thought about the flavors and textures of the rolls and broke them down to their parts.

I started with the spicy dressing from the tuna roll salad. (Recipe here)

For the salad part you will need:

  • baby spinach
  • avocado
  • shredded cabbage
  • scallions
  • baby bok choy
  • asparagus
  • cucumber
  • crab meat

We decided to eliminate the rice from the salad this time to keep the meal cleaner and as plant based as possible (minus, ya know, the crab. But crab’s super good for you- packed with protein!)

So I decided to add another dimension to the salad by roasting the asparagus and the baby bok choy so that there’s a mix of temperatures and textures.

Preheat the oven to 400.

This meal gets made in a large bowl and on a foil-lined baking sheet. So there’s only one pot to clean. There’s minimal cooking here, too, as we’re only roasting up some veggies.

Chop up the asparagus into bite size chunks, trimming and discarding the woody ends.


Dump on the foil-lined cookie sheet, spreading the pieces out. Drizzle with olive oil, some salt and some pepper.


This is where most Food Network chefs tell you to put the vegetables in a bowl and toss them with the oil and the seasoning. Who has that many bowls? Who wants to clean that many bowls? Who has enough counter space for a bowl AND a cookie sheet?

So drizzle with olive oil, give the asparagus spears a little toss and pop them in the oven for about ten minutes.

Meanwhile make the dressing in a big bowl.

When the dressing is blended, add the baby spinach, the diced avocado, the shredded cabbage and the chopped cucumber to the bowl.


At this point, the asparagus should be almost completely roasted. They should be brown but still a little bit crisp, not completely cooked through. Pull the pan from the oven, push the asparagus over to one side of the pan and add the baby bok choy, ripped into pieces to the other side of the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and pop back in the oven. The bok choy will roast quickly, maybe 5-7 minutes.


When the bok choy is wilted down, remove the pan from the oven and add the asparagus and bok choy to the salad bowl.

Mix it all up so the dressing coats all the veggies.

Plate up the salads on nice big dishes. Top the greens with the crab meat.


My grocery store always has jumbo lump crab meat, cooked, picked over and ready to eat. If it’s not readily available by you, you can change the crab for shrimp, or you can use your favorite fish and cook it simply by broiling it with a touch of oil.

But you can’t beat spicy dressing, avocado and crab. You just can’t.

Sprinkle with some chopped scallions and you are good to go.

Another deconstructed sushi night at home.

And, you don’t have to feel guilty about going for seconds.

Or about eating two cookies for dessert.