Miso Soup! 

I can never get sick of miso soup. It’s one of my favorites. For this recipe, you can save a lot of time by using instant Dashi. It’s like the Japanese version of chicken bouillon except it isn’t chicken. Traditional Dashi is actually made with kombu and bonito flakes. If you’re not sure what kombu is, it’s an edible kelp aka seaweed. Bonito flakes are dried, fermented, and smoked young bonito (type of tuna fish – similar to skipjack tuna). Using instant Dashi will save you time and I do also go for Shiro Miso because it’s lighter and less salty. 


Anyway, here’s a picture of the ingredients I used to make this soup. I’m sure some of you guys will appreciate a photo reference since some of these products are found in Asian food stores. I bought these ingredients from an amazing Japanese supermarket called Mitsuwa and it’s in Edgewater, NJ! Make sure you go visit if you’ve never been there before. It’s AMAZING. 


Ingredients:

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon instant Dashi (I used the HonDashi brand – it does say Bonito Soup Stock on the label)
  • 1/4 cup miso paste (I used Honzukuri’s Shinshu Shiro Miso)
  • 1 tablespoon dried seaweed (soak in a bowl of cold water so it can expand) 
  • 1/2 cup soft tofu (I used 1/2 of a 14oz package)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions/scallions

Directions:

  1. Pour 8 cups of water in a soup pot. Bring to a boil. 
  2. Add the instant Dashi to the pot and whisk to dissolve. 
  3. Turn heat to medium-low. Add in tofu and drained seaweed. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Turn the heat off. Put miso paste in a small bowl and pour 1/2 cup of soup broth from the pot into the bowl. Whisk the miso paste/soup mixture until it’s smooth. 
  5. Pour this miso paste mixture back into the pot. Stir well. Taste the soup and see if it tastes fine to your liking. You can add 1 or 2 tablespoons of miso paste if you feel like the soup needs more. 
  6. Ladle in bowls and serve with chopped green onions on top. 

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Veal Piccata Meatloaf 

This lemon-scented loaf is delicious! Veal is tender and is considered a delicacy. It is sometimes hard to find ground but your butcher should be able to prepare it for you. This meatloaf is made with ground veal with mushrooms and the flavors of the famous Italian dish veal piccata. 


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 4 oz mushrooms, chopped 
  • 3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teasooon pepper
  • 1/2 lemon slices (approximately 3 slices)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Mix everything EXCEPT for lemon slices. 
  3. Place mixture in a greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan (I prefer a glass loaf pan for this)
  4. Gently pat down the mixture. Make sure it’s even. Bake for 45 minutes. 
  5. Top meatloaf with three slices of lemon and bake again for about 15 minutes. 
  6. Let it stand in the loaf pan for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. 

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Baked Spaghetti Squash with Beef and Vegetables Casserole 

This is a very delicious healthy casserole! The spaghetti squash is the star in this recipe. 


Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 pound ground beef (I always go for the most lean kind)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano in it (I use the Tuttorosso brand) – drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Place squash on a baking dish with the cut half side up. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool. When cool, shred the pulp with a fork. 
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. 
  4. In a skillet on medium-high heat, brown ground beef until evenly browned. Add diced peppers and minced garlic. Cook until vegetables are tender. 
  5. Add in shredded spaghetti squash and drained diced tomatoes. Cook until heated through. 
  6. Add in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and make sure it’s melted before you remove it from the heat. 
  7. Grease a 13″ x 9″ glass baking dish. Pour contents in this dish. 
  8. Bake for 25 minutes. Then take it out. 
  9. Add 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, bake again for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

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Roasted Chicken Breasts with Caramelized Shallots

You can’t ever go wrong with caramelized onions especially SHALLOTS!! They’re so good. This recipe takes very little prep time and is ready in approximately 20 minutes. It’s a great recipe for one of those busy week nights. 


Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 large shallots, peeled and diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 thick chicken breasts (make sure they’re all of the same thickness for even cooking)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 
  2. In a large baking dish (I used the 13″ by 9″ glass baking dish), mix in the olive oil, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, diced shallots, salt and pepper. 
  3. Toss the chicken in the mixture. Flip them over. Make sure they’re coated in this sauce and the shallots. 
  4. Roast for about 20 minutes. Halfway through the roasting time you should flip the chicken breasts over. 
  5. When 20 minutes is up, I continue to cook the chicken breasts under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to give it a nice color. 
  6. Serve with caramelized shallots on top of each chicken breast. 

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Farfalle Con Piselli

This is one of these quick pasta dishes. The light creamy sauce is easy to whip up in no time. Farfalle con piselli roughly translates to “butterflies with peas” 


Ingredients:

  • 1 box of bow tie pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup thawed frozen peas (we love our peas in my house so I tend to grab these 10oz bagged frozen peas and use the whole thing)
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • a little bit of ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook bow tie pasta according to package’s instructions. 
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and minced garlic. Cook and stir occasionally. Make sure it becomes tender but not browned. Approximately 5 minutes. 
  3. Add peas, light cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. When it boils, it’s ready. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm or leave it on low heat. 
  4. When the pasta finishes cooking, drain it. Mix it with the pea sauce. 
  5. Serve hot. 

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Unstuffed Cabbage

We love eating stuffed cabbage in our house. Sometimes we just don’t have the time to make it. This is the “lazy” version or what we called the “unstuffed” cabbage. This is a quick and easy main dish that’s inexpensive to make. 


Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large (or 2 small) onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small cabbage, chopped
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper 

Directions:

  1. Brown the ground beef with diced onions in a large pot. Break the ground beef down into pieces. 
  2. When the beef is browned, add in minced garlic. Mix well and let it cook for one minute. 
  3. Add chopped cabbage, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, water, salt and pepper to the pot. Mix well. Cook on high heat. 
  4. Bring to boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for between 20-30 minutes or until cabbage is tender. 

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Simple Russian Meatball Soup

This soup is simple and yet satisfying. We make this often in our home and I hope you’ll be willing to give this one a try! 


Ingredients:

For the Soup:

  • 15 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6 to 8 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup small shaped pasta (optional)
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vegeta (or you can use Mrs. Dash)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Meatballs:

  • 2 pounds ground pork (or you can use ground chicken if you want)
  • 1 teaspoon Vegeta (or you can use Mrs. Dash All Seasoning)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon water (or use one egg)

Directions:

  1. Pour 15 cups of water in a large soup pot. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the chopped potatoes. Bring to boil and let it cook for 10 minutes. 
  2. Add sliced carrots and 1/2 cup of whatever small shaped pasta you want to the soup pot. 
  3. Now mix all the meatballs ingredients together. I don’t use an egg and use 1 tablespoon of water in it. But you can skip the water and add an egg instead if desired. 
  4. Roll small meatballs with your hands. Keep adding them to the soup pot as you make them. 
  5. Heat a pan on medium-high heat. Add oil, onions and celery. Sauté until soft and golden. Add this mixture to the soup pot. 
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of dill and 1/2 teaspoon of Vegeta (or Mrs. Dash) and 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper.
  7. Cook for another 5-10 minutes. Serve. Enjoy. 

Note: Vegeta is often found in Eastern European food stores or Russian stores. It looks like this.  If you cannot find it, you can use Mrs. Dash or your favorite all-purpose seasoning mix. 

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