Friday, November 21, 2014

Avgolemono Soup (Greek Creamy Lemon Soup)

 If you are looking for a new kind of soup to try, this is the one. It's tangy from the lemon, creamy from the egg, and protein-filled (for the men among us). This is my spin off the of original Greek recipe. See what you think!

The key to this recipe is homemade chicken stock. The flavor will stand out, as there really aren't any other heavy flavors involved. Keep it simple--just cook a whole chicken one night and then add the carcass into a stock pot or crock pot with an onion, some carrots, and some celery. Cover it all with water and simmer it for 8-12 hours. Strain through a fine mesh into a jug or pitcher. Boom, done. After it cools to room temperature, you may want to skim any fat off of the surface, but that's not a big deal.


-1.5 lbs. chicken breasts or thighs (whichever you prefer)
-2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
-1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
-3 large carrots, shredded
-1 tsp. dried oregano
-7 cups of homemade chicken stock
-4 eggs
-1/2 cup lemon juice from good-quality lemons
-1.5 tsp. salt
-2 tbsp. fresh dill

-1/2 cup dry orzo pasta (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375F. Cover a pan with foil and lay out your chicken. Drizzle each piece with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Rub it all in. When the oven is preheated, slide it on in and let them cook from about 20-30 minutes, until done.

In the meanwhile, chop your onion and shred the carrots. Set a soup pot over medium heat. Once it's hot, add in your butter or olive oil and then the onion and carrot. Let simmer away until it's softened and golden.

Once the chicken is done, set it aside to cool for a moment. Then, shred it up. Pour your chicken stock into the pot and add the oregano. Bring to a simmer. If you are adding the orzo, this is the time to do it, and then cover the pot and continue to simmer for about 8 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk up your eggs with the lemon juice really well, and when the orzo is cooked (if using) whisk the egg mixture into the simmering soup (not boiling!) in a slow stream. Yes, the whisk will probably get a bunch of veg stuck in it, but the world isn't over. The whisk is the best way to ensure that you don't end up with scrambled eggs. Do not bring the soup to a boil after this. Simmer for about 5 minutes, add in the shredded chicken, dill, and add salt and pepper to taste. Taste, and then serve. Make sure you turn the heat down to low so it doesn't curdle while you aren't looking.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding (Family Recipe!)

When we talk about comfort food that reminds you of cozy winter evenings at home with the family, filled with laughter, warmth, and Harry Potter marathons this meal is what comes to my mind. There is nothing more satisfying than a beautiful roast beef with succulent gravy, roast veg, and some crispy and soft Yorkshire Pudding.

Today I am sharing one of my favorite recipes of all time. Gravy is non-negotiable! It must be home made and it must be delicious!

Roast Beef:

-3.5 lb. well-marbled beef roast, preferably on the bone (you can go as cheap or as fancy as you like! We use prime rib at Christmas, but something much cheaper at other times)
-1 bulb of garlic, pulled apart, but not peeled
-2 onions, halved
-2 carrots, peeled and halved
-1 small bundle of herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or sage (or a combination!)
-salt and pepper
-olive oil

Drizzle some olive oil over your roast and rub salt and pepper into it. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 475F and prep your vegetables. Get out a roasting pan that your roast can have some extra room in. Toss the veg in your roasting pan with some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Once the oven is preheated and everything is ready, lay your roast over the vegetables (you can also use a rack to raise the roast above the veg) and place in the preheated oven. Turn the heat down to 400F immediately. Roast for about 1 hour for medium.

In the meantime, get cracking on  your Yorkshire and any other vegetables for roasting by taking out a muffin pan and pouring 1 tsp. oil into each cup. Place the pan in the 400F oven with the roast. Also, get another roasting pan and pour about 3 mm of oil into it. Place this in the oven alongside the muffin tin.

Roasted Parsnips/Potatoes/Carrots:

Peel and cut vegetables to a uniform size.

If using potatoes, boil them until fork tender, and strain (before the roast even goes in). Dump them back in the empty, hot pot and shake them around so they get all rough and starchy on the outside (this gives the hot oil something to cling to). These guys can sit around until you are ready to roast.

About 1/2 an hour before the roast comes out, take your preheated roasting pan out of the oven and carefully place in your peeled veg and/or potatoes. turn them all in the oil and sprinkle a bit of salt over them. Set them back in the oven. They should take about 30-40 minutes to become golden brown and crisp. You may turn them over half way through to get both sides.

Yorkshire Pudding:

-7/8 cup of flour (just estimate this as close as you can by using 3 1/4 cups and then a half-full 1/4 cup)
-1 tsp. salt
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup cold milk
-1/2 cup ice water

While your roast is cooking away, get this mix done. It can sit out for a half hour or so.

Dump your flour and salt into a bowl. Create a "well" in the center of the flour and add in your two eggs and liquids. Use a fork to whisk it all up until the egg is completely blended. There should be lumps of flour--it essentially looks like pancake mix.

Set aside until the roast comes out of the oven. Then, quickly pull out the muffin pan with the preheated oil and pour your Yorkshire batter into each pan--filling each one about half way. This usually makes about 10. Put it back in the oven immediately. Bake for 25-30 minutes until deep golden brown and super puffy.

Finishing up the Roast:

Take the roast out of the oven after about 1 hour. Check the internal cooking temperature by sticking a meat thermometer into the center. It should be at about 160F for medium, or 145F for medium-rare. If you don't have a thermometer, you can do it the old fashioned way and cut into the center to see if it's done to your liking.

Pick up the roast and let it rest on a board or large plate and cover it with foil to keep it warm. 


-1 heaped tablespoon flour
-1 glass of red or white wine
-4 cups of beef stock

To create your gravy, hold your pan and tilt it on an angle. Scoop out as much of the fat off of the surface of the pan juices that you can. Then, take a potato masher and mash up all of the vegetables like crazy. Sprinkle over your flour and keep mashing it all up until you've got a pulpy-consistency. 

Now, turn one of the stove burners to medium-high heat and set your pan over it. Use a whisk to start scraping up the brown bits from the pan and get this mixture really hot. Pour in your stock and continue whisking until it comes to a simmer. Keep going until the gravy reaches a consistency that you like--about 10 minutes. 

Once it's ready, use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the gravy into a gravy boat. Use a ladle to push all of the vegetabley-goodness through. 

So....I know this sounds like a lot. So, lets break this down into parts:

(If making potatoes, boil those first) Then...

1. Get the roast in the oven.

2. While the roast is cooking, prep your vegetables.

3. When the roast has a half hour to spare, Place your roasting veg in the oven. 

4. Prep your Yorkshire batter. 

5. When the roast comes out of the oven and is resting, pour your Yorkshire batter and get that in the oven. 

6. While the veg are roasting and the Yorkshires are baking, work on your gravy. 

7. Serve everything together. 

See, it's really not that bad... And you end up with a fantastic meal!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Low Carb Asian Style Meatloaf

So, this low carb diet is going surprisingly well. I believe I have come to a place where I have really changed my eating habits for good. Who knows how long I will keep losing weight. It's still coming off at an even pace and I am at 24 pounds today! 

In celebration this this milestone, I thought I would share my dinner with you...

I've never been a fan of the idea of a "meat loaf." The whole thing sounds rather unappetizing--in the same way as boxed "mashed potatoes" or canned "green beans." Well, for some odd reason I found myself standing in the meat section of the grocery store actually wanting to try out a meatloaf. How odd. Now, I obviously omitted the gross parts of a normal meatloaf: ketchup and breadcrumbs. Check out what I came up with instead!


-2 lbs. ground chuck (stick with 80-90% for moisture)
-2 rashers of bacon, finely diced
-1 tbsp. onion powder
-1 tsp. parsley flakes
-1 tsp. dried chives
-1/2 tsp. ginger
-2 shallots, finely chopped
-2 eggs
-3 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
-3 tbsp. tomato paste
-2 tbsp (or more) Asian sriracha sauce
-1 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Spread mixture into a pie plate or casserole dish. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until done in the center. Remove and cool for about 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite vegetable side (ours is broccoli today).

*Now, at this point you may notice there is a lot of juice and fat immersing the loaf. Yes, please cut it in pieces and lay the pieces on a serving plate or something--and dump out that liquid ASAP like it never happened.  Of course, it's necessary for cooking and we love our moist and tender meat, but don't subject your family to the horrors of over-zealous meat juice.*