Roasted Cornish Game Hen

What is a sister to do when she is supposed to prepare a lovely meal for a special guest that is gluten free, does not eat meat and dislikes seafood? Not the easiest assignment, but if she prays and uses a little ingenuity she always comes up with not only a solution, but often a very remarkable  one. Last week the sister doing Bethany guest cooking actually faced this challenge. What did she do? It was the first day of Autumn and she wanted the meal to reflect that.

She chose a plump little Cornish Hen for the star of the meal, and served it chock-full of healthy, wholesome selection of wild rice, dried fruits, and nuts. Roasted with fresh garden herbs, garlic and lemon, some butternut squash and fresh broccoli accompanied the plump little bird, and the result: great satisfaction all the way around.

PS: No need to reserve this meal for the gluten free and those who abstain from meat and fish!

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Roasted Cornish Game Hen
SERVINGS
1-2servings, depending on the size of the hen
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings, depending on the size of the hen
COOK TIME
1hr
PREP TIME
10mins
READY IN
1 hr10 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Gather a small bunch fresh herbs of your choice, 1 peeled garlic clove, half a lemon and 2 tablespoons of butter. For this meal we used fresh Rosemary and Thyme from the garden.
  3. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and gently separate the skin from the top of the hen.
  4. Place a small bunch of the herbs and butter under the skin, and put the garlic clove, lemon half and another small bunch of herbs in the chicken. Lightly drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast the chicken for 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Baste occasionally with chicken broth and white wine.
  6. Serve on a bed of wild long grain rice with cranberries, sunflower seeds and walnuts for a festive autumn meal!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

We continue to look for new ways to include more whole grains in our diet. Years ago long before it was as well known as it now, a friend of  mine, who at that time was considered a health food zealot introduced me to quinoa. I became fascinated with this grain sometimes referred to as Aztec gold because it is a complete protein in itself, and a valuable source of food to the Aztec Indians

Stuffed pepper have always been a real favorite with our family over many years, but always,( over all those many years),  we had them stuffed with rice. Recently it occurred to me that they might be good stuffed with quinoa, so yesterday I decided to give it a try for one of our summer night suppers. What a pleasant and satisfying surprise! You might like to try it yourself and see how you feel about it.

I used a little Italian sausage in ours but no need to if you would rather keep it vegan.  Remember this grain is a complete protein in itself…. That’s why it is known as the “Gold of the Andes.”

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Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
SERVINGS
6-8servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
45mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN
1 hr5 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the quinoa and broth in a saucepan, and bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage until evenly browned.
  3. Remove the tops and seeds of the bell peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward. (Slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright.)
  4. In a bowl, mix the browned sausage, cooked quinoa, 1 can tomato sauce, onion salt, and pepper. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper.
  5. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the stuffed peppers. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, basting with sauce every 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

Braised Baby Bok Choy

Last week in honor of Chinese New Year, a lovely case of fresh baby bok choy — straight from Chinatown — was delivered to our Convent door, a generous gift from the parents of one of our Sisters. In the middle of winter, it’s a real treat to add fresh and tasty vegetables to our dinner. Baby Bok Choy is the tender rendition of a Chinese cabbage and a great source of beta carotene, which has been scientifically proven to act as a dietary antioxidant. Its name is derived from the Chinese name for “soup spoon” because of the shape of its leaves. Baby Bok Choy requires delicate cooking and is a wonderful accompaniment to fish, tofu, pork and poultry. We hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

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Braised Baby Bok Choy
SERVINGS
2people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
1​0​ - 15minutes
PREP TIME
5minutes
READY IN
1​5minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. ​Slice baby bok choy in 1/2 lengthwise and place in a large bowl of cold water to soak.
  2. Using a large non-stick fry pan, melt the butter and add the smashed garlic. Move around in the pan to infuse the butter, but don't let it burn.
  3. Place the bok choy, cut side down ​in the pan and saute until golden.
  4. Add the white wine and sugar and reduce until almost all the liquid is gone.
  5. Flip the bok choy over and add the broth.
  6. 6. Continue to cook until almost all the liquid is absorbed.
  7. Serve the bok choy with the thickened broth spooned over it, and garnish with sliced green onions.

Thai Chicken, Spinach and Rice Noodle Soup

This week’s recipe was inspired by an Asian guest that we were hosting for lunch at our guest house. As a novice learning to cook, I was always taught by the Sisters to really think about the person that I was cooking for: What would they like to eat? What would bless them? Subtle subtext here: it’s not about what I like to cook, or what blesses ME! So a gluten-free, colorful Thai soup came to mind — a recipe that I squirreled away awhile ago in hopes that some time I would have the opportunity to make it. I made a few adaptions which resulted in the recipe below.

As I was chopping, I noticed that all of the ingredients were vibrant shades of green, so I dubbed them the liturgical ingredients of ‘ordinary time’. We rounded this lunch off with a delicate spinach and spring mix salad topped with avocado, fresh strawberries and candied almonds, and pita crisps. The dessert was a homemade Mango and Vanilla Panna Cotta — a recipe that I hope to share in future weeks!

** This recipe was adapted from Once Upon a Chef **

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Thai Chicken, Spinach and Rice Noodle Soup
SERVINGS
4people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
15minutes
PREP TIME
10minutes
READY IN
25minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a medium soup pot over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the shallots and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the green curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more.
  4. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, and turmeric; bring to a gentle simmer. Continue simmering, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. If not using immediately, let them sit in a bowl of cold water.
  6. When ready to serve, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning.
  7. Gently reheat the noodles in the microwave, if necessary (remove from water first!).
  8. Place baby spinach in the bottom of the serving bowl, place the rice noodles and shredded chicken on top and ladle the hot broth over top and sprinkle with cilantro and scallions.
  9. Serve with a lime wedge for garnish.

Butternut, Sweet Potato and Apple Soup

As we enjoy these cool crisp days, my taste buds long for a creamy soup to warm my body. This soup is a treasure. The smell of it is a potpourri to scent your entire house! It has become our favorite soup for the season. Recently, we served this as the first course to the luncheon we hosted pre-performance for Elements Theater Company’s performance of “All My Sons”. We received so many recipe requests, we thought we should share it. We are filled with gratitude for each of you. Happy Thanksgiving and a blessed Advent!

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Butternut, Sweet Potato and Apple Soup
SERVINGS
6-8
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
45minutes
PREP TIME
30minutes
READY IN
1 1/4hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the butternut squash, sweet potatoes, chicken broth, salt and pepper to pot. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes or more.
  3. Turn off the heat. Add the diced apple and purée the soup with a handheld immersion blender until very smooth and creamy. Pour the blended soup into a clean pot.
  4. Add the honey, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg and heavy cream and stir. Bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If you like a sweeter soup, add more honey.

Note: This soup thickens as it cools. If necessary, add a bit of cream to thin it back to desired consistency.

With thanks to Once Upon a Chef for inspiration of this recipe!

butternut-sweet-potato-soup-3

Vegetable and Lentil Soup from a Monastery Kitchen

Our Lenten journey has begun.  The church has been dressed in violet and our promises to God for these forty days have been made.  The chants for the season speak of hope, transformation and a return to God.  In the monastery, it is traditional to simplify life, not only in our work but also in our attitudes and our eating.  Many monastic houses fast from meat during Lent – a simple soup and bread for lunch and dinner are the norm.  As we harvest the last of our winter squash from our garden, this simple yet hearty soup is the perfect beginning to this special season of the church year.

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Vegetable and Lentil Soup from a Monastery Kitchen
SERVINGS
6people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
25minutes
PREP TIME
45minutes
READY IN
75minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a heavy bottomed stock pot. Add the diced leeks, celery, carrots, parsnips, butternut squash and a small amount of the dill and parsley and sauté until golden and the vegetables are beginning to soften, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat so the vegetables are sauteing, but not burning.
  2. Add the lentils and continue to sauté for a few more minutes.
  3. Add 6 cups of hot chicken or vegetable stock and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  4. Cook for about 8 min. over medium heat, simmer, but do not boil.
  5. Add the diced zucchini and continue simmering until the lentils are cooked and the vegetables are softened, about 15 min.
  6. Remove from heat and add the baby spinach, the herbs and the lemon zest and juice and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. If desired, serve with grated parmesan cheese.