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August 26, 2016

Marinated Chicken Skewers

Serves 4
Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

4 Tbsp plain yogurt
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp tomato paste (optional)
3 cloves garlic, crushed in a mortar and pestle with 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground paprika
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne) (optional)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut into large cubes

Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, oil, tomato paste (if using), garlic, paprika, cayenne (if using), allspice and black pepper in a medium bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat; refrigerate at least 1 hour but up to 4 hours.

Use your hands to remove any excess marinade from the chicken pieces and thread the chicken onto skewers.

Grill until fully cooked, about 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through.

Note: If you don't have a grill, this chicken can also be skewered, cooked in the oven, and then browned briefly under a broiler. If you want to forgo the skewering altogether, you can cook it on the stovetop in a large skillet with a little oil and some sliced onion. Cooked this way, it makes a fantastic sandwich filling.

Spiced Carrot Soup

Serves 8

1 large onion, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp honey
pinch of cayenne pepper
6 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plain yogurt
chopped fresh mint, cilantro, or flat-leaf parsley (optional)

In a small skillet, cook the onion in the oil over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Scrape the onion into a large slow cooker. Add the carrots, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, honey, cayenne, and broth. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the carrots are very tender. Let cool slightly.

Transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth, or use an immersion blender. Add the lemon juice and taste for seasonings. Reheat the soup if necessary. Spoon the soup into bowls, top with a little yogurt and the herbs, if using, and serve.

Potato Soup

2-3 large russet potatoes
1/2 medium yellow onion
3-4 scallions
2 stalks celery
3 cups chicken stock or broth (or enough to cover the vegetables)
12-oz can of evaporated milk
salt and pepper

Before you begin: Wash, peel, and quarter the potatoes. Peel the onion. Wash the scallions and celery.

1. Cut the potatoes, onions, celery and scallions into small pieces.
2. Put all the vegetables into a pot. Cover them with the chicken stock.
3. Adult: Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes)
4. When the vegetables are tender, stir in the evaporated milk.
5. Adult: Simmer for 5 more minutes.
6. Taste the soup. Add salt and pepper as needed.

August 8, 2016

Almost Black They're So Cocoa Cookies

Yield: About 5 dozen cookies

2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, good quality
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, and vanilla, one at a time, beating well between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Place the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl and mix well. Gradually add to the butter mixture and beat until everything is well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again.

Place heaping teaspoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart on the prepared cooking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake until the edges begin to firm up, 12-14 minutes; do not over bake. For crispy cookies, let cool on the cookie sheet. Transfer to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining dough.

Note: Can substitute broken peppermint sticks for the nuts.

Fun Alphabet Soup

Makes 5-6 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 6 1/2 - 8 1/2 hours

1/2 lb beef stewing meat, or round steak, cubed
14 1/2 oz can stewed tomatoes
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
10 oz pkg frozen vegetables, partially thawed
1/2 cup uncooked alphabet noodles

Place the cubed meat in your slow cooker.

Use a safety can opener to open the stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Carefully pour them into your slow cooker. Stir well.

Add the water and soup mix to the tomato mixture in the slow cooker.

Cover your slow cooker. Cook the soup on low for 6-8 hours, until the meat is tender but not dry. Ask an adult to help you check if the meat is done cooking after it has cooked for 6 hours.

Then turn your slow cooker heat to high.

Use a potholder to remove the lid. Stir in the vegetables and alphabet noodles.

Add more water if the soup looks too thick and dry.

Use the potholder to put a cover on the slow cooker. Cook the soup on high for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked.

Serving suggestion: Serve with crackers if you wish.

Blueberry Fancy

Makes 12 servings

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking Time: 3-4 hours

1 loaf Italian bread
1 pint blueberries
8 oz pkg cream cheese
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla

Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces. Place half of the bread pieces into the slow cooker.

Drop half of the blueberries on top of the bread.

Have an adult help you cut the cream cheese into cubes, each about 1/2-inch square.

Sprinkle half of the cream cheese cubes over the blueberries.

Put the rest of the bread pieces on top of the cream cheese in the slow cooker.

Then layer the rest of the blueberries on top of the bread.

Finally, layer the rest of the cream cheese cubes on top of the blueberries.

Have an adult help you break the eggs into a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Add the milk and vanilla to the eggs and whisk them together until they are well mixed.

Carefully spoon or pour the egg mixture over the bread, blueberries, and cream cheese.

Cover your slow cooker. Cook on low for 3-4 hours, until the dish is set. You will know that it is set if you move the slow cooker gently and the food does not move!

Serving Suggestion: Serve with maple syrup or blueberry sauce drizzled over top.