Summer “Chicken”-Vegetable Soup

This was okay. I used 1 bag of Morningstar Farms Chik’n Strips in place of the chicken (I browned them in a pan and shredded them a little in a food processor). It was a little bland, so I had to add some Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Seasonings to it. Son did like it, daughter ate it, and we thought it was okay. No one had seconds.

rating: 7

Summer “Chicken”-Vegetable Soup
(Food Network Magazine, July/Aug. 2017)


serves 4
time needed: 30 min.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
2 small yellow squash, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped (white and green parts separated)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 15-ounce can white chili beans
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (skin removed; about 12 ounces)- I used 1 bag of Morningstar Farms Chik’n Strips
3 ears of corn, kernels cut off
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese and sour cream, for topping


Melt the butter in a medium Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the yellow squash and scallion whites and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper to the vegetables and stir. Add 2 cups water and the chili beans; bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken and corn and simmer until the corn is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the basil and lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Top each serving with shredded cheese, sour cream and the scallion greens.

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Jeff’s Warm Farro Salad with Charred Corn

Have I mentioned lately how much I am loving farro?? It’s my new favorite thing! This recipe was really good! I did have a problem with the amount of water needed to cook the farro. It seemed like a LOT of water, so I ended up draining off a bunch. Not sure if that amount is a typo or not. I didn’t have pistachios so I ended up subbing chopped hazelnuts. They worked! My kids didn’t love this, but husband and I thought it was great. Note: I had this for lunch the next day and I added chopped avocado. Yum!

rating: 9.3

Jeff’s Warm Farro Salad with Charred Corn
(Food Network Magazine, July/Aug. 2017)

serves 6-8
time needed: 55 min.



For the vinaigrette:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced shallot
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:

6 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups farro
3 ears of corn, shucked
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives
2 tablespoons chiffonade fresh basil


Start by making the vinaigrette: In a bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, mustard and shallot; season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the salad, combine the cherry tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Set aside.

Preheat a grill to high. Fill a large saucepan with 1 1/2 quarts water; add 1 tablespoon salt and the vinegar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the farro and gently simmer until al dente, 15 to 20 minutes; drain well. While the farro is warm, immediately mix with about three-quarters of the vinaigrette (set aside the rest to punch up or remoisten the salad later if necessary).

While the farro is cooking, brush the corn with the vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on the hot grill, turning with tongs, until charred, 10 minutes. Cut off the kernels.

Stir the corn kernels, tomatoes, olives, pistachios and chives into the farro. Gently toss to combine; add more vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the basil.

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Fried “Chicken” Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

I have modified this recipe a bit from the magazine version. I added bacon bits and avocado, and subbed in vegetarian chicken nuggets for fried chicken. This salad was good! The dressing is excellent! I doubled the dressing amounts so I would have plenty and I do have some left over for today’s lunch! This was a great lite dinner for a hot summer night!

rating: 9

Fried “Chicken” Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
(based on a recipe from Eating Well magazine)



2 heads butter lettuce, trimmed
1 package Quorn Chik’n Nuggets
1 tomato, sliced into wedges
1 avocado, sliced
bacon bits (to taste)
1.5 cups fresh corn (from 2 ears)
handful of chives
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt



Prepare chicken nuggets according to package directions. Make dressing: combine buttermilk, mayo, chives, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk. Set aside.
Divide lettuce, tomatoes, corn, avocado, bacon bits and chicken nuggets among 4 plates. Drizzle with dressing.

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Crispy Garlic Butter Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

I was planning on making Salt and Vinegar Smashed Potatoes, but I realized we were out of white vinegar! So I found this recipe at the last minute and happened to have all ingredients on hand. This recipe is similar to the much-loved crash hot potatoes I have made many times. They are basically crash hot potatoes with butter, garlic, and cheese! They were good! They were actually very similar in taste to crash hot potatoes. The cheese was an okay addition, but the added garlic was better.

rating: 9

Crispy Garlic Butter Parmesan Smashed Potatoes



2 lbs | 1kg potatoes Yukon Gold or Carisma
A light spray of olive oil
3 tablespoons melted butter
4 cloves garlic , crushed
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese



Pre-heat your oven to broil (or grill) settings to medium-high heat (about 200°C | 400°F).
Place potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Bring to the boil; cook, covered for 30-35 minutes or until just fork-tender. Drain well.
Lightly grease a large baking sheet or tray with cooking oil spray. Arrange potatoes onto the sheet and use a potato masher to LIGHTLY flatten the potatoes in one piece (not too hard or they will end up mashed).
Mix together the butter, garlic and parsley. Pour the mixture over each potato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and lightly spray with olive oil spray.
Broil (or grill) until they are golden and crispy (about 10-15 minutes). Remove from oven, sprinkle over the parmesan cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is melted.
To serve, season with a little extra salt and parsley, and serve immediately.

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Copycat Chick-Fil-A “Chicken” Salad

I have never had Chick-Fil-A’s chicken salad, but this vegetarian version is great! I have made several versions of a chicken salad using vegetarian chicken, but I think the secret to this one is the relish! That really did add a little zing to it. Husband ate two of these sandwiches, and commented twice how good it was.

rating: 9

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Salad


2 cups leftover cooked whitemeat chicken, chopped (I used 2 bags of Beyond Meat Grilled Chicken Strips)
⅓ cup celery, chopped- I omitted
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
¼ cup sweet pickle relish
¾ cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
8 slices whole wheat bread (I used a country loaf)
loose leaf lettuce



Mix together the chicken, celery, egg, mayonnaise, relish, salt and pepper.
Toast bread and top half with lettuce.
Spread ¼ of the copycat chicken salad over each, and top with remaining toast slices.


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Product Review: The Beyond Burger by Beyond Meat

Last weekend we ate at our favorite veggie restaurant in the area, Bean. When visiting Bean, I usually order the “crab cake” sandwich or something similar, since you can’t find those at most places. I never order a burger, because veggie burgers are pretty common in restaurants now. However, last weekend I decided to order the Cowboy Burger on a whim. I had read somewhere that it had won an award or something, so I was curious about it. My husband ordered it as well. Well, that burger is AWESOME! We couldn’t stop raving about it, and I even told the server that it was the BEST veggie burger I have ever had! So…cut to Tuesday. I had bought some of the Beyond Burgers at Whole Foods and figured we could try those and some hot dogs for the 4th of July. I fried them in some oil for about 3 minutes on each side. These burgers straight out of the package LOOK like raw meat. Once you cook them, they are still kind of pink inside. My husband wanted to grill them, but I wasn’t sure if they would hold up or not (according to the internet, I can grill them, so we will do that next time). We took one bite and husband exclaimed “Oh my God.” These, THESE are the best veggie burgers we have ever had (and they are VEGAN)! My 10 year old ate his whole burger and said it was his favorite burger ever. Husband said for sure this could fool a meat eater. This will be our go-to burger from now on. Beyond Meat has truly done it! If I could work for this company I totally would. I truly believe this product is revolutionary and is the future (fingers crossed!). Try it!


note: I felt that photo #2 doesn’t really show you how “meaty” this burger is, so I took a photo of my burger halfway through eating it.

rating: 10




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Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken

I had a bag of Gardein’s Chik’n Scallopini in the freezer, and needed a recipe to go with it. I searched on Pinterest for “chicken recipes”, and this one caught my eye. I decided to try it and serve it over angel hair pasta. I just subbed in the Gardein for the real chicken and followed the recipe. This dish was EXCELLENT! I couldn’t believe how good it was! We all liked it (even the 6 year old). Next time I will double it. This was just super easy and really wowed us all.

rating: 9.8

Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins

Serves: 4-6



1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced (I used 1 bag of Gardein Chik’n Scallopini)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 cup spinach, chopped
½ cup sun dried tomatoes


In a large skillet add olive oil and cook the chicken on medium high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown on each side and cooked until no longer pink in center. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate.
Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese. Whisk over medium high heat until it starts to thicken. Add the spinach and sundried tomatoes and let it simmer until the spinach starts to wilt. Add the chicken back to the pan and serve over pasta if desired.

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