Cooking with K-Sav

Kristin Savidge

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Tomato Soup

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, in juice
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 to 1/3 cup cream

Puree the tomatoes, celery and broth in a blender until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Season with lemon juice and maple syrup. Stir in cream.
Transfer to a microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave on HIGH until warmed through, about 4 minutes. (Alternatively heat the old-fashioned way in a pan.) Pour hot soup into an air-tight thermos. Pack in a lunch sack and send off to school.

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

1 3/4 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
One 10 to 12-ounce jar strawberry preserves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan.
Mix together the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Press half the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Spread with the strawberry preserves. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly. Bake until light brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely, and then cut into squares.

Mini Taco Bar

4 thin slices roast beef (about 3 ounces)
4 (6-inch) soft flour tortillas
1/3 cup shredded Cheddar, Monterey jack or "Mexican blend" cheese
1/4 cup Quickie Guacamole, recipe follows, or store-bought fresh guacamole
1/4 cup Speedy Salsa, recipe follows, or store-bought fresh salsa
2 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt, optional
Mini bottle hot sauce
Multi-compartment lunch box
Speedy Salsa:
2 ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound), halved
1/4 small red onion or white, halved
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves or fresh mint leaves, optional
Quickie Guacamole:
1 ripe Hass avocado, halved and seeded
1 lime, halved
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup diced tomatoes, mango, or quartered seedless grapes, optional

Fold 1 slice roast beef inside each of 2 soft tortillas and sprinkle with cheese. Pack in the biggest compartment of the lunch box. Pack other compartments with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and other favorite toppings. Seal and send off to school.
Speedy Salsa:
Grate tomatoes on the largest holes of a box grater into a bowl all the way down to the skins. Discard the skins. Grate the onion into the tomato. Stir in olive oil. Season with salt, to taste. Serve with cilantro leaves on the side, or stirred in, if desired.
Quickie Guacamole:
Scoop the flesh from the shell with a spoon into a medium bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over the avocado and stir to coat evenly. Add the salt. Use a fork to stir and mash into a chunky guacamole. Stir in tomatoes or fruit, if desired.

Panko Chicken Nuggets

1 large egg
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
Ranch, honey mustard or barbecue sauce for dipping, optional
Carrot, cucumber and or celery sticks, optional

Whisk the egg and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Soak chicken pieces in egg mixture while you gather remaining ingredients. Meanwhile, in another shallow bowl combine panko with paprika, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper, to taste. Set a rack on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Lift chicken from buttermilk, letting excess liquid drain back into the bowl, then dip into panko and turn to coat on all sides.
Carefully place chicken in oil and cook until they are golden and crispy and cooked through, about for 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to the rack to cool. Place in sealed container. Pack in a lunch box with their favorite veggies and ranch, honey mustard or barbecue sauce for dipping.

Cheesy Chicken Empanadas

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1 jalapeno, finely diced, seeded and ribs removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded then diced cooked chicken breasts (from leftover chicken)
1 cup shredded Monterey and Cheddar cheese blend
4 ounces cream cheese, diced
Dash of hot sauce

1 egg
Flour, for rolling
1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough
1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
Chili Lime Dipping Sauce, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Place a large saute pan over medium heat and add oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, green onions and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, cheese, cream cheese, sauteed mixture and hot sauce together.Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Set aside. Sprinkle flour on your work surface and unroll the pie dough.Roll out each round to a 13-inch circle. Cut each crust into 8 (4-inch) circles with a biscuit cutter. You can knead the scraps and then roll out, if necessary. Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon of the chicken mixture into the center of each round. Brush the edges with the egg wash and fold each circle in half. Gently press on the top of the empanada to release any air. Seal the edges with a fork and brush the top with the remaining egg wash. Sprinkle with chile powder. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Sausage Pizza Rolls


2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/2 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
One 15-ounce can tomato puree
12 large leaves fresh basil
Pinch red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces Italian sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed and at room temperature
2 cups Italian blend shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of the oregano, season with 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, 1/4 cup water, 5 torn basil leaves and the red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage rounds and brown on both sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Mix the Parmesan with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oregano in a small bowl.
Divide the pizza dough into 8 portions. Flatten into 4-inch squares either by stretching with your hands or using a rolling pin. Spoon 1 tablespoon of sauce onto a square and spread around. Top with 1/4 cup of the Italian cheese blend, one-eighth of the sausage and 1 basil leaf. Wrap the dough around the filling and pinch the edge and ends to seal. Place seam-side down the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and ingredients.
Brush the rolls with olive oil and sprinkle with the Parmesan oregano mixture. Cut 2 slashes across the top. Bake until golden and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with the remaining sauce on the side for dipping.

Mac 'n' Cheese Bites

Cooking spray
Kosher salt
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 small clove garlic, finely grated
1 cup shredded mild Cheddar (about 3 ounces)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Hot sauce, for serving, optional

Special equipment: 2 or 3 mini muffin trays (for 36 muffins), mini muffin liners
Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line 2 or 3 mini muffin trays with liners, and coat the liners generously with cooking spray.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni, and follow package directions for al dente. Drain the macaroni, and rinse in cold water until it is cool. Shake off any excess water.
Put the heavy cream, cream cheese, eggs, mustard, paprika and garlic in a large bowl. Beat on low speed with an electric mixer until combined (the mixture may have small lumps). Add the cooked macaroni, Cheddar and Monterey Jack, and stir until combined.
Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the macaroni mixture into the prepared muffin liners. Combine the breadcrumbs and butter with your fingers in a small bowl until the mixture is the texture of wet sand. Sprinkle the top of each macaroni mound with buttered breadcrumbs.
Bake until the cheese is melted and the bites are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving hot or at room temperature. Serve with hot sauce on the side if desired.

Broccoli Soup

pin2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
Pinch dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
4 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli, thawed
2 to 4 tablespoons cream or half-and-half, optional
Freshly ground black pepper
Optional toppings: shaved Parmesan, shredded cheddar or crumbled bacon

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potato, thyme, salt, and broth and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook uncovered until the potato is fork tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broccoli and simmer for 3 minutes.
Puree the soup in batches in a blender or with an immersion blender. Return soup to the pot and add the cream. Bring to a simmer, taste, and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with optional toppings.

Slow Cooker Beef Paprikash

1 medium onion, sliced
2 pounds cubed beef stew meat (about 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup freshly chopped dill and/or parsley
Hot boiled egg noodles or potatoes, for serving

Spread the onions in the bottom of an 8-cup slow cooker. Toss the beef with the flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and place on top of the onions. Top with the bell peppers and garlic. Stir together the broth, paprika, tomato paste and caraway and pour over the beef. Cover and cook until the meat is very tender, either on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
Uncover and let stand at least 10 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and dill and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over egg noodles or potatoes.

Chorizo and Shrimp Quesadillas

2 ripe Haas avocados
1 lime, juiced
A couple pinches salt
1/4 cup sour cream, 3 rounded tablespoonfuls
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, available in cans on specialty food aisle in Mexican section
1/2 pound chorizo sausage, sliced thin on an angle
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
1 clove garlic, cracked away from skin and crushed
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed, ask for easy-peels at fish counter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (12- inch) flour tortillas
1/2 pound, 2 cups, shredded pepper Jack cheese

Cut avocados all the way around with a sharp knife. Scoop out the pit, then spoon avocado flesh away from skin into a food processor. Add the juice of 1 lime, a couple of pinches salt, sour cream and chipotles in adobo. Pulse guacamole until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Brown chorizo 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from pan. Add oil, garlic, then shrimp. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and cook shrimp until pink, 2 or 3 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
Add a drizzle of oil to the pan and a large tortilla. Cook tortilla 30 seconds, then turn. Cover 1/2 of the tortilla with a couple of handfuls of cheese. Arrange a layer of chorizo and shrimp over the cheese and fold tortilla over. Press down gently with a spatula and cook tortilla a minute or so on each side to melt cheese and crisp. Remove quesadilla to large cutting board and repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut each quesadilla into 5 wedges and transfer to plates with your spatula. Top wedges of quesadillas with liberal amounts of smoky guacamole.