Lockdown Lunch – Potato Soup

It never ceases to amaze me how, no matter what the circumstance, the Holy Spirit is aware and always provides.  A couple of weeks ago, I had driven home from a rehab facility with my sister, who was recovering from surgery. Because of Covid-19 and the possibility of exposure at the Rehab facility, we both went on a 2-week quarantine.  We had all kinds of food options available to enjoy, but my recovering sister basically wanted homemade soups! After having gone through zucchini, butternut squash, vegetable, chicken—I was running out of ideas, until I spotted a few potatoes in a basket. That’s it! And after picking more chives in the back yard for a garnish, we sat down to a delicious lockdown lunch!  

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Lockdown Lunch
SERVINGS
2
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
20
PREP TIME
20
READY IN
40

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Sauté onion and celery until soft and translucent; set aside
  2. Add chopped potatoes to chicken broth in sauce pan, and boil until potatoes are fork tender, about 12 minutes
  3. After cooling for a few minutes, spoon the potatoes into a blender, carefully pouring in some of the hot broth and adding the onion and celery.
  4. When thoroughly blended, pour back into sauce pan. It should be fairly thick at this point. (If it seems a little too thin before adding milk, boil for a few minutes until thickened.) Then add milk or cream to desired consistency.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste
  6. Blend in ¼ cup of sour cream
  7. Garnish with the rest of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese and chopped chives

One-pot Chicken Curry

The idea of a one-pot meal has always appealed to me. The fact that a whole meal can be prepared and everything you need for sustenance is in one pot? Magical. The absence of extra dishes piling up on the counters during meal prep also doesn’t hurt, either.

During a quarantine-inspired cleaning frenzy, I came across a cookbook that was given to us as a gift, “Cook It In Your Dutch Oven.” This tried-and-true kitchen essential from the clever folks at America’s Test Kitchen is an absolute treasure. This dish-defying cookbook was a welcome find, with recipes for one-pot meals, bread (bread!) and other side accompaniments. This week’s blog is adapted from the recipe for Classic Chicken Curry. I hope you give it a try! 

Don’t have a Dutch oven? No problem! Swap it out for a soup or stock pot, slow-cooker crock pot or any heavy deep pot you have in the kitchen. For this recipe, I used a cast iron pot. 

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One-pot Chicken Curry
Adapted from Cook It In Your Dutch Oven, an America’s Test Kitchen publication
SERVINGS
4
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
40minutes
PREP TIME
20minutes
READY IN
1hour

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in the bottom of the Dutch oven or pot of choice on medium heat. Add curry powder, optional spices (if desired), salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant.
  2. Add onion and cook until translucent. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add chicken and water to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover pot and reduce heat to low until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees, about 22 minutes. Turn the chicken halfway through cooking. When done, remove from pot and let cool.
  4. Add potatoes to pot with a pinch of salt. Cover and cook until just fork tender. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally until potatoes are fully cooked, about 15 minutes.
  5. While potatoes are cooking, shred chicken into roughly 2 inch pieces with a fork and set aside.
  6. Once potatoes are cooked, stir in chicken and peas until just warmed through. Turn off the heat and add yogurt. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

*As curry is a blend of spices, I like to add an extra pinch of my favorites: turmeric and cumin. These can be found in traditional curry blends and I like to play these up a little more. Feel free to omit, or try your own variation based on your tastes. 

The Beauty of Spring – Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

What encouragement from God as we move through these challenging days! Hope coming up against fear; love and care for one another, binding us together. And often, this can take place in the simplest of ways. Sometimes a group of our Sisters prepares a surprise treat in the middle of a hard day. The sharing of time, generosity, and love in the form of delicious food reminds us of this essential truth: God is Victor over all—He is with us in all circumstances!

Here’s a delicious and fun treat for your family.

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The Beauty of Spring - Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies
SERVINGS
12whoopie pies
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
whoopie pies
COOK TIME
10minutes
PREP TIME
40minutes
READY IN
50minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

Pie Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Whisk flour and dry ingredients together and set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in vanilla.
  4. Gradually add dry ingredients until just combined; fold in grated carrots.
  5. Using a tablespoon, scoop out 12 generous “balls” onto a baking sheet. With dampened fingers dipped in brown sugar, gently flatten,
Frosting Instructions
  1. Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth
  2. Add powdered sugar and beat until creamy and lump-free
  3. Add vanilla, coconut and coconut flavoring and salt
  4. When the cookies have cooled, match up sizes and fill with frosting!

Ethiopian Honey Bread

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Matthew 26:26

As we come to the end of Holy Week, many symbols and traditions come to mind: foot washing on Maundy Thursday, the meaningful services which mark Good Friday, the vigil of Holy Saturday and finally the joy of Easter Sunday. Tucked among these landmarks of Holy Week is the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples–the breaking of bread.

Throughout the Bible, bread serves as a vehicle for miracles, teaching illustrations and as symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice. It is also in the act of breaking bread that revealed his identity as the risen Christ. In this spirit, I am sharing one of my most favorite bread recipes.

Join with us this Holy Week as we break bread, united as the Body of Christ around our tables and throughout the world. With prayers for a healthy and joyful Eastertide!

 

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Ethiopian Honey Bread
SERVINGS
1loaf
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
loaf
COOK TIME
1hour
PREP TIME
15minutes
READY IN
3 hrs25 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix yeast with warm water and allow the yeast to activate, about 10 minutes. It will be ready when bubbles form at the top.
  2. In a saucepan, heat milk and butter while yeast is activating.
  3. Whisk the egg, honey, spices and salt together in a small bowl. When ready, add yeast, and milk and butter mixture.
  4. Gently stir 2 c of the flour into the liquid mixture. Add flour 1/2 c at a time while mixing, and keep adding 1/2 cups of flour until the dough is smooth.
  5. Knead the dough on a lightly floured counter until it is smooth and elastic.
  6. Place in a lightly oiled metal or glass bowl and cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  7. Punch the dough down and form into a round loaf. Place it on the baking sheet, covered with a towel in a warm place for another 45 minutes.
  8. While dough is rising a second time, preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  9. Bake for 1 hour, rotating the baking sheet halfway through.
  10. lnsert a thermometer into the middle of the bread. If it registers between 180-190 the bread is finished.
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Easy and Delicious – Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

There is no better time than the present to spread some JOY! Thanks to our friends at King Arthur Flour, I did some baking this weekend. In our Convent, Sr. Elizabeth loves to bake chocolate chip cookies, and if you’re lucky enough to be walking through the kitchen when she’s baking, she’ll always stop and give you the one “that didn’t come out quite perfect.”

With children home from school and spouses trying to work remotely, why not take some time to make a batch of these yummy cookies and enjoy the smiles they’ll bring. Another side benefit are the wonderful smells that come into your kitchen. In these uncertain times, warm cookies fresh from the oven warm hearts as well!

(Note: If you use a digital scale to measure the ingredients, they will come out perfectly!)

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Rating: 5
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Easy and Delicious - Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
SERVINGS
50cookies
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cookies
COOK TIME
12-13minutes
PREP TIME
12minutes
READY IN
45minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 4 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugars until smooth.
  3. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
  4. Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and add to the butter mixture in the bowl.
  5. Mix until everything is incorporated (no need to over mix), scraping the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips
  7. Using a 1" cookie scoop or ice cream scoop, drop a dozen cookies on each sheet pan in rows of 3 - spreading evenly apart.
  8. Bake at 325° for 12 to 13 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Remove from the oven, cool on the sheet pan for another couple of minutes (they will continue baking slightly)and then carefully slide the parchment with cookies to the counter to cool. This recipe will make 50 cookies.

Springtime Borscht

Recently, another Sister and I shared our borscht recipes and memories! Like any well-loved food, memories play a part in its enjoyment. Our experiences of eating borscht are different but surprisingly parallel. Sr. Monica spent two months living at a Convent in Estonia when it was still part of the USSR. She has vivid memories of being there as the coup occurred when Gorbachev was still in power. I remember it too, because I was in Poland at the time, singing with our choir, Gloriae Dei Cantores. We had no way to communicate with our Sisters in Estonia since cell phones and e-mail were unavailable to us in 1991. We relied on prayer for their safety.  Often, a particular recipe is a vehicle for comfort, even solace. We have had difficult times in the past, but we know God’s love is available to us. We offer this heartwarming recipe to you, along with our prayers for a healthy spring.

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Springtime Borscht
SERVINGS
8
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
1hour
PREP TIME
4.5hours
READY IN
5.5hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Put the meat in a crockpot with 8 cups cold water, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and 1 Tbsp salt. Set on high for 4 hours. Cook until fork tender. Remove meat and strain and reserve the broth. Set aside
  2. While the Beef is cooking, wrap beets in foil and place in a 400 degree oven—roast for 1hr. until fork tender. Cool slightly, but while they are still warm, remove the top, bottom and skin with a pairing knife (skins should come off easily if properly cooked) and either grate or julienne the beets. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large stockpot and add 4 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp. butter and sauté onion for 2 min. Add diced potato and sauté another 5 min or until beginning to soften. Add the grated carrot, cabbage and garlic and 2 Tbsp vinegar and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to med/low and add the beets, 2 Tbsp sugar and 2 Tbsp tomato paste. Mix thoroughly and add the reserved strained broth and extra 2-3 cups beef broth. (I used' Better than Bouillon' Roasted Beef Base)
  5. Simmer and cover until vegetables are tender. Add the diced, cooked Beef and 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill. Remove from heat and leave covered until flavors meld. Add 1/4 tsp pepper (If desired), and salt to taste. Adjust flavors to taste (you may want to add a bit more vinegar or sugar)
  6. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill.