White Beans with Fennel

White Beans with Fennel.

White Beans with Fennel.

Since I’ve cut back sharply on the amount of carbohydrates we are eating, I’ve been leaning pretty heavily on vegetables.  We have 2 – 3 veggies at each main meal.  In this dish you get three vegetables all getting cozy together.  So if you are trying to make healthy choices, this dish might be a good thing to incorporate into your menu plan.  It has white beans to provide some protein and complex carbohydrates, fennel for flavor and fiber, and spinach for color, and vitamins.

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Lunch is often the most difficult meal for me to get right.  I wait until I’m starving, then head for the kitchen to grab what ever is quickest to fill that empty hole, and often that’s peanut butter on toast.  ( Oh no, I just revealed my secret vice.)  Oh well, it was bound to come out sometime, so now you know I’m not perfect.  But I could be if I had a bowl of white beans and fennel in my refrigerator to munch on when I get hungry.  Actually a bowl of anything that’s healthy is a very good thing to have on hand when lunch-time hungries strike.   Good, hearty, real food that isn’t scrambled eggs, that you can eat right from the fridge….if you’re into that sort of thing, and aren’t we all?  This tastes as good cold as it does hot!

All I’m saying is,  if you decide to make this dish, make enough so you’ll have some left over for that bowl of real healthy food to munch on whenever hunger strikes.

WHITE BEANS WITH FENNEL

Yield:  Makes about 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large fennel bulb, cut in half vertically, core removedIMG_9290
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained (any white bean will do)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 450*F.  Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray.

2.  Slice fennel into 1/4-inch thick slices.  In a medium bowl, toss with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and minced garlic.

 

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Arrange on baking sheet and bake at 450*F. for 15 minutes or until it is beginning to brown.  Stir.  Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and bake for 5 minutes more.

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3.  In a large skillet heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat.  Add the beans and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the fennel and baby spinach, plus 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Sauté beans then add fennel and spinach.

Sauté beans then add fennel and spinach.

Cook 2 minutes to heat through.  Add the splash of lemon juice and stir in.

Ready to serve.

Ready to serve.

 

Serve with salmon or other fillet of fish.  Add a salad and you will have a wonderful meal.

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SOURCE:    Unknown

 

 

Salad: Apple and Fennel with Pistachios and Apricot

Salad:  Apple+Fennel+Arugula+Apricots+Pistachios

Salad: Apple+Fennel+Arugula+Apricots+Pistachios

How strange it is!   It’s not quite over, but it’s over.  Is it the same where you are?  Here where I live, September should have felt like the soft days at the end of summer, but instead it’s gotten cool way too soon.   Mornings have been down right chilly–sweater and jacket chilly.   I’m hoping that Mother Nature will change her mind (just like a woman does), and bring back some warmth.

But now that October is here, we’re in the middle of things;  in a transition period, when we have to put away the bathing suits, shorts and flip flops, and maybe bring out that infinity scarf.  A pumpkin spice latte tastes really good.  Seasons don’t change in a snap, there’s always a transition period, a time to settle in, take a deep breath, absorb the last of warm breezes, and get ready for crisp, cool nights, apples and cider, and the world around us bursting with vibrant color.

This salad feels like a lovely transition.  Fresh apples and fennel make it easy to move into Autumn.  Add some arugula for its peppery notes, salty roasted pistachios, sweet dried apricots, and some salty Parmesan.  It’s all about balance–sweet, salty, and spicy!

Pretty colors go into this salad.

Pretty colors go into this salad.

It’s also very versatile!   Substitute currants or dried cranberries for the apricots.  Add spinach and parsley instead of arugula.  Try a balsamic vinaigrette instead of lemon juice.  This salad can be exactly what you want it to be.IMG_8138

What’s also great about this salad is that most of it can be assembled long before it’s served.  Everything but the greens can be tossed together and left covered in the refrigerator for a day and then tossed with the arugula ( or your preferred greens), just before serving.    Easy breezy as we transition into Autumn.

SALAD:  APPLE + FENNEL+PISTACHIOS+ APRICOT

Yield:  Serves 4   Adjust ingredients accordingly to make more.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Fuji or Golden Delicious apple, cored and thinly slicedIMG_8139
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 large handfuls arugula, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red onions
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely diced dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  In a large bowl toss together the thinly sliced apples, fennel, arugula, and red onions.  Drizzle with lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil.  Add the dried apricot pieces, pistachios and cheese.  Toss to incorporate.  Season with salt and pepper and toss just before serving.   Serve soon after assembling.

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SOURCE:  All Recipes

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Onion

Roasted chicken thighs with fennel and onions.

Roasted chicken thighs with fennel and onions.

Weekend suppers usually revolve around an oven baked dish in my household, especially during the cold weather months.  We love chicken in all its many forms and (dis)guises.  Roasting a whole chicken is great when you have a lot of time, but sometimes you would like roast chicken without spending the time.  I’m not talking about rotisserie chicken here, although that’s always good, too.  You can get the end result of roast chicken by using smaller pieces that cook so much faster.

For a weekend meal I prepared a chicken dish that I haven’t made in quite a long while:  bone-in chicken with a herb-garlic mixture rubbed under the skin,  on a bed of fennel, and onions.  Here is my 45-minute version.

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FENNEL AND ONION CHICKEN

Yield:   serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon  olive oil
  • 4 large bone-in chicken thighs

    Cutting up the fennel and onion.

    Cutting up the fennel and onion.

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 large bulb fennel, cut into wedges
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.

2.  Combine 1 teaspoon olive oil, garlic, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.  Loosen skin on thighs by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.  Rub garlic mixture under loosened skin.

Make a paste with oil and herbs.  Rub under skin of thighs.

Make a paste with oil and herbs. Rub under skin of thighs.

3.  Heat a large ovenproof skillet oer medium-high heat.  Add 1 teaspoon oil; swirl to coat.  Add chicken thighs to pan, skin side down; cook 4 minutes.  Turn thighs over and brown other side.   Remove from pan and set aside, reserving any pan drippings.

Brown the thighs and set aside.

Brown the thighs and set aside.

4.  Into the drippings in the skillet, add the fennel and onions.  Over medium heat, toss to coat and brown them a little.  Pour in chicken broth.  Remove skillet from heat.

Lightly brown the fennel and onions.

Lightly brown the fennel and onions.

5.  Place chicken thighs on top of vegetables and place skillet in the hot oven.  Bake for 40-45 minutes until chicken juices are clear and vegetables are tender.

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SOURCE:    Rachael Ray magazine

Pork with Fennel and Potatoes

Pork with Fennel and Potatoes

Pork with Fennel and Potatoes

This morning I found a package of boneless pork chops in the freezer that had been in there for a while and needed to be used.  The usual question arose—how shall I cook them?  Boneless chops can be quite dry since they have little or no fat on them, so I wanted something that would make a sauce or gravy for moisture.

In looking through my file of “pork recipes” I came across this one that called for using pork tenderloin that by serving time would be sliced anyway,  so why not substitute the chops  instead?   So—that’s what I did.  As I hoped, this dish turned out to be very flavorful with thyme as the seasoning of choice, and moist with its sauce made of chicken broth and heavy cream.  YUM!

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The potatoes and vegetable get cooked along with the pork making this almost a one-pot meal.  I sautéed some sliced apples in butter to serve with it.  An added bonus is that one serving equals 482 calories.  Not bad!  It tastes richer than that.IMG_5659

PORK WITH FENNEL AND POTATOES

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 pounds pork tenderloin (1 large or 2 small) trimmed

    Pork chops, fennel and red-skin potatoes, a good blending of flavors.

    Pork chops, fennel and red-skin potatoes, a good blending of flavors.

  • 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 3/4 tsp. dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound small red-skinned potatoes quartered
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (or equal amount chicken broth)
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.  Halve the pork tenderloin crosswise; sprinkle with 1 tsp. thyme (1/2 tsp. dry thyme) and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper.  Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the pork and cook, turning, until browned all over, about 5 minutes.

Browning up the chops.

Browning up the chops.

Transfer to a roasting pan, roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork registers 140*,  12 – 15 minutes.  I cooked the chops for 12 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the fennel, garlic, potatoes, wine and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper.  Stir, then cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are almost tender, 15 minutes.

Add fennel and potatoes to the skillet.

Add fennel and potatoes to the skillet.

3.  Uncover and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Add the broth and the remaining 1/2 tsp. thyme (1/4 tsp. dried thyme).  Simmer until slightly reduced, 1 minute.  Add the cream; increase the heat and gently boil until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

Add in the heavy cream and cook to thicken a bit.

Add in the heavy cream and cook to thicken a bit.

Season with salt and pepper.  Slice the pork and serve with the vegetables and sauce.  Top with chopped parsley.

Served with sautéed apples, a wonderful week night meal.

Served with sautéed apples, a wonderful week night meal.

SOURCE:  Cooking Light

Fennel and Potato Hash Browns

Fennel and Potato Hash Browns

Fennel and Potato Hash Browns

A bag  of frozen hash brown potatoes from the supermarket is a great timesaver, so occasionally I will buy one to keep in the freezer.  There are times when a skillet of brown and crispy hash browns is the perfect side dish, and I really love them, but who wants to shred raw potatoes to make them from scratch.  Definitely not me,  thus the frozen variety in the freezer.

Last weekend I was making a fast meal on a hot evening and a wanted a side dish to go with the salmon kebabs and white bean salad, so I thought about the hash browns as a good go-with.  However I wanted to “doctor” them up a little, so I quickly added some thinly sliced fennel and some onion.  These were then sautéed together in a little olive oil till tender and nicely browned.  Wow! were they good.  Sometimes the most unexpected combinations turn out to be the best.  This is what I did:

FENNEL-POTATO HASH BROWNS

Slicing up the fennel and onion.

Slicing up the fennel and onion.

Servings:  about 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 2 cups cored, thinly sliced fennel bulb
  • 1/2 cup  (1 medium) vertically sliced yellow onion
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp. fennel fronds, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

1.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan; swirl to coat.

2.  Add the hash browns, fennel, and onion to the pan;  cook about 12 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.

Cook it all together till nice and brown with crispy bits.

Cook it all together till nice and brown with crispy bits.

3.  Remove from heat; stir in the fennel fronds, salt and pepper.

Serve on a platter, garnished with fennel fronds.

Serve on a platter, garnished with fennel fronds.

SOURCE:  a Carolyn Original

Sausage, Fennel and Ricotta Pizza

Sausage, fennel and ricotta pizza.

Sausage, fennel and ricotta pizza.

Friday evenings feel like pizza night to me.  Not always, but quite frequently I make it for dinner.  When you make it often you need a variety of toppings to fall back on- at least I do.   As I have said previously,  variety is the spice of my life.  I get bored easily with the repetition of the same foods, and pizza is one of those foods that lends itself to whatever you may have on hand to put on it.

Last week’s version ended up with a crazy combination of things, that somehow worked together, and became an instant favorite.  I’m writing this down so that I don’t forget it.   It started with a roll of refrigerated pizza dough from the supermarket.  This was my first time using this particular product.  I usually use a ball of dough from the bakery department.  The pizza dough was very easy to use.  Just unroll it onto your pan and with your fingers press it out to fit.  Make it thick or thin;  however you like it.

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The toppings consisted of half pound of sausage meat,  half a fennel bulb, thinly sliced, some sliced red onion, and ricotta cheese to which I added some Italian herbs and minced garlic.  A pizza like this could be vegetarian by omitting the sausage and adding in some other vegetables like broccoli, and/or peppers.  In place of the fennel, you might use baby spinach.

SAUSAGE, FENNEL AND RICOTTA PIZZA

YIELD:   8 slices

INGREDIENTS

  • 1   12 oz. roll refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1 -2 links Italian turkey or pork sausage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
  • 1 Tablespoon cornmeal
  • 2 Tablespoons pesto
  • 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1.   Remove pizza dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature while oven preheats.   Preheat oven to 450*F.  Lightly grease a pizza pan,  baking sheet, or pizza stone.   Sprinkle cornmeal evenly on baking pan or stone.

2.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Remove casings form sausage.  Crumble and add to pan, cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned.    Add fennel bulb; cook 4 minutes or until tender.

3.  Roll pizza dough into a 16 – inch oval and place on baking sheet, or press into the pan with your fingers.

4.  Brush the dough evenly with the pesto.  Sprinkle the sausage mixture evenly over the dough.  Combine ricotta with the minced garlic and Italian seasoning in a small bowl;  top pizza with teaspoonfuls of ricotta mixture.  Sprinkle red onion and remaining ingredients evenly over pizza.

Layer on all the ingredients.

Layer on all the ingredients.

5.  Bake at 450*F for 10 – 11 minutes or until golden.  Cut into 8 slices.

In my version, the crust was thin and crispy.

In my version, the crust was thin and crispy.

Served with a hearty salad this made a very filling meal.

We never get tired of pizza.

We never get tired of pizza.

SOURCE:    My own creation

Braised Potatoes and Fennel

Braised Potatoes and Fennel

Braised Potatoes and Fennel

This is a neat little recipe to have up your sleeve for when you want to cook potatoes yet another way.  Besides the potato, fennel is included in this really easy way to make a side dish that goes with most any kind of meat or other vegetables.

Use 1 pound of potatoes that are similar in size so that they will cook uniformly. Slice them into 1/4 inch slices.

When selecting a bulb of fennel choose one that is firm, pale in color, with strong stalks and feathery fronds.

Fresh Fennel.

Fresh Fennel.

To prepare the fennel, cut off the stalks, cut the bulb in half lengthwise, and remove the hard core at the bottom.  Then slice it into 1/4-inch wedges.  Reserve the fronds.

BRAISED POTATOES AND FENNEL

SERVINGS:   4

  • 1 pound small potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 medium bulb fennel, sliced into 1/4 inch wedges  Reserve some of the fronds.
  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges, optional

1.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.

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Heat skillet and melt butter with olive oil.

Add potatoes and cook, turning occasionally until golden in color.  Do this in 2 or 3 batches.  Potatoes will brown better if they are not crowded in the pan.

Potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick.

Potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick.

Golden brown potatoes.

Golden brown potatoes.

Add fennel and cook until golden, about 3-4 minutes.

Add in the fennel and continue cooking.

Add in the fennel and continue cooking.

2.   Stir in the chicken broth.  Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes.  Before serving sprinkle with fennel fronds.  Serve with lemon wedges if desired.

Braised Potatoes and Fennel

Braised Potatoes and Fennel

SOURCE:   slightly adapted from   EVERYDAY FOODS

Wasabi Salmon

As I have mentioned before, we eat salmon quite frequently, and so I am always open to different ways to prepare it.  This version of salmon was prepared for  me and my husband last summer by a family member whom we were visiting.  We thought it was delicious:  crispy around the edges, while remaining moist inside, and baked on a bed of vegetables that consisted of strips of multi-colored peppers and sliced onions.  Potatoes baked in the oven along with the fish, and a green salad made a complete meal with very little “hands-on” time.

I have cooked salmon this way several times since last summer and each time I vary the vegetables depending on what is available.  One vegetable I really like is fennel.  I think it is an under used vegetable.  It is delicious raw in salads with its faint anise flavor, but when it is cooked that flavor is not noticeable .  It is most like cooked celery, and blends very well with other vegetables, particularly onions.  When I made this dish most recently, I combined peppers with fennel and onions.  In an effort to save time and labor, I purchased a mixture of red, yellow and orange pepper strips from the grocery store salad bar.  This is a dish that goes together without a recipe, so there are no exact measurements. This is how I proceed;  adjust amounts to your taste.

INGREDIENTS

Serves  4

  • 1 fillet of salmon weighing between 1 – 1.5 pounds
  • Gold’s Wasabi Sauce with Ginger
  • seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
  • 2 cups pepper strips in assorted colors
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, stalks, fronds, and core removed;  thinly sliced.
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced.
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking dish with baking spray.  I used a 7″ x 11″ pan, whatever your salmon will fit into.

Layer the peppers, onion and fennel in the baking dish.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Drizzle melted buyer over the top.

Lay the salmon fillet on top of the vegetables.  Sprinkle with seafood seasoning, about 1/2 teaspoon.  Then “frost” the salmon with the Wasabi Sauce so its pretty well covered.  Place in a 400 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, depends on thickness of  your salmon fillet.  Test at 45 minutes by piercing with the tip of a knife.  If fish flakes easily its done.  Vegetables should be tender.

A glass of crisp Chardonnay goes very well with this dish!

SOURCE:   A Carolyn Original