Romaine Salad with Cranberry-Walnut Topping

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you how to make salad. I just wanted to share my simple salad method and the scrumptious salad topping that goes with it. In my (almost) 60 years of cooking, I’ve made salad a dozen different ways to satisfy my mom and/or the rest of the people at the table. Now I only have to satisfy my husband and anyone else who shows up will just have to live with our salad. 😉 

We love salad with dinner. We also love those packets of salad toppings available in the produce and salad dressing sections of the supermarket. The problem with those packets is the price – and the additives!

Unfortunately, we don’t like the same dressing, so I make individual salads (never any leftover salad to put/throw away) and top them off with crumbled feta and homemade cranberry-walnut salad topping. The topping adds just the right amount of color and flavor, not to mention that anything with cranberries and walnuts has to be good! This topping uses lower-carb glazed walnuts to remove a little guilt. Admonitions against heating low-calorie sweeteners are ignored; there’s not enough of it used, or eaten, to worry us. I experimented with aspartame, stevia, and saccharine-based sweeteners, but aspartame gave the best end result.

Properly dried topping can be vacuum-sealed and stored for up to 2 months in the pantry, or stored in the refrigerator in ziplock bags. I have stored sealed jars of this topping for several months but this requires a good vacuum sealer, like a Foodsaver®.

The topping can be used on any salad, but this is how we do salad!

Romaine Salad with Cranberry-Walnut Topping
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This is the simplest of individual salads - and the way we do salad at our house!

The topping adds just the right amount of color and flavor, not to mention that anything with cranberries and walnuts has to be good!  The topping uses lower-carb glazed walnuts to mollify a little guilt.

Course: Salad, Topping
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Author: WW
Ingredients
Salad
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce hearts cut in 1/2" slices
  • 1 ea. tomato, medium large dice
  • 1/2 ea. sweet onion sliced into 4 sections
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
Topping
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups walnuts chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp. artificial sweetener aspartame (recommended), stevia, or other
  • 2 tbsp. Cranberry-Walnut topping (made ahead and used from storage)
Instructions
Salad
  1. Topping should be made ahead of time and used from storage!

    Cut lettuce into 1/2" slices and distribute evenly into 4 salad bowls

  2. Dice onion and distribute evenly into each salad bowl

  3. Dice tomato and distribute evenly into salad bowls

  4. Add 2 tbsp. topping to each salad

  5. Top with crumbled feta cheese

  6. Add salad dressings of choice

Topping
  1. Preheat oven to 170°F

  2. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper

  3. Heat water in a 1-quart saucepan to simmer and remove from heat

  4. Add sweetener and stir to dissolve

  5. Add walnuts and stir to coat completely

  6. Spread walnuts on cookie sheet and mix in cranberries

  7. Place in oven for about 20 minutes (longer if needed) to dry mixture

  8. Vacuum-seal in half-pint canning jars or pint vacuum bags

  9. Alternately, divide topping into sandwich bags and store in refrigerator

Recipe Notes
  1. This topping will work on any leafy green type salad
  2. Store vacuum-sealed topping in pantry
  3. Store ziplock bags of topping in refrigerator

 

©2018 Warrior Woman's Kitchen

 

Seasoned Oven-Roasted Potatoes

 There’s nothing like a good old baked potato (boring), but sometimes we want something with a little more kick. I want another way to use up a bag of potatoes, because with just two of us, that bag will contain too many ‘eyes’ before it’s empty!

Seasoned roasted potatoes are the perfect break from boring, and so easy to make. Garlic, Italian seasoning, Cajun: the seasoning options are endless and, while I like to create my own, it’s even easier using dry dressing packets. These can be jazzed up by adding your own spices (I am partial to red pepper flakes).

Seasoned Roasted Potatoes
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

Seasoned roasted potatoes are the perfect break from boring, and so easy to make. 

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Author: WW
Ingredients
  • 10 ea. baby red potatoes or 2-4 medium potatoes, any type
  • 1 packet dry salad dressing mix Italian, garlic, ranch, balsamic, etc.
  • other seasonings as desired
  • olive oil nonstick cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 

  2. Lightly coat an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet with non-stick spray

  3. Cut skin-on potatoes into bite-size pieces and place in gallon zip-lock bag

  4. Spray potato pieces with non-stick cooking spray (about 5 seconds)

  5. Sprinkle in dressing mix and other seasonings if desired

  6. Close bag and shake well to thoroughly coat potato pieces

  7. Spread potato pieces on the cookie sheet; arrange to make sure pieces lay as flat as possible

  8. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender, crisp on the outside, and sizzling

Recipe Notes
  1. If using bulk or homemade dry dressing mix, 1/8 cup

 

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

My husband is down with a cold; time for some chicken soup! There’s no canned soup in the pantry, BUT I do have a quart of frozen chicken broth leftover from my last takeout ‘chicken noodles soup’ (we always eat the noodles and have lots of extra broth), plenty of frozen chicken, a bag of egg noodles, and all the fresh veggies I need to make my own soup.

Dicing is not my favorite task. As my mom’s kitchen slave, I’ve diced more vegetables than I want to remember. Now my Chop Wizard does it for me. My sister gave me this for Christmas many years ago but it’s still one of the handiest gadgets in my kitchen!

Chicken Noodle Soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

This is a great way to use up frozen leftover chicken stock, but it works just as well with a box of chicken broth from the grocery store. If using broth, add extra chicken powder to give it that chicken-y flavor you want. You will have leftover soup but without any noodles! Cooking the noodles separately and adding the soup broth to them in individual servings will ensure that your noodles will always be firm and not mushy...

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Author: WW
Ingredients
Chicken and Broth
  • 1 qt. chicken stock or broth
  • 1 ea. boneless skinless chicken breast thawed if using frozen
  • 1 ea. boneless skinless chicken thigh thawed if using frozen
  • 2 qt. water
  • 1 cup yellow onion diced
  • 1 cup carrots diced
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • 2 tsp. salt plus more for final taste adjustment if needed
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper ground
  • 1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried chives
  • 1 ea. bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. chicken powder
Noodles
  • 6 oz. egg noodles substitute rice noodles if desired
  • 4 qt. water
Instructions
  1. Put leftover broth into large stockpot. Heat on lowest setting until defrosted, if frozen.

  2. Bring to a simmer and add diced veggies, chives, parsley, bay leaf, sage, salt, and pepper.

  3. Cover and cook on low while chicken cooks in second stockpot.

  4. Place thawed (or fresh) chicken in a stock pot with 2 quarts water

  5. Cook on low boil/high simmer until fully cooked; remove and let cool

  6. Skim liquid in stockpot to remove chicken protein ('scum')

  7. Chop or dice chicken and add to first stockpot.

  8. Add 1 tsp chicken powder to second stockpot. Cook at rolling boil for about 15 minutes.

  9. Transfer liquid from second stockpot to first stockpot and simmer for 30 minutes. 

  10. In the second stockpot, add 4 quarts salted water and bring to a boil.

  11. Add 4-6 oz. of noodles. Cook according to package directions.

  12. Drain noodles in colander and rinse (briefly). 

  13. Add a serving of noodles to each soup bowl and cover with soup broth.

  14. Serve with hot biscuits.

Recipe Notes
  1. Leftover soup can be frozen to use again; you will only need to cook some noodles or rice to complete the soup.
  2. Freezing in canning jars works very well. Use the size jar that will provide enough for the number of servings needed. Fill jars to within 1" of top, as the soup will expand when frozen.
  3. Double or triple the recipe and pressure can if desired. Vegetables may tend to be overly soft when pressure canned.

 

©2018 Warrior Woman's Kitchen

Chicken Cacciatore

I fell in love with chicken cacciatore when I was 16 years old, and all that was required was to throw two pouches (one rotini and one cacciatore) into a pan of boiling water and wait for it to be done. Ah, the good ol’ boil-in-bag days!

My husband is Italian and loves Italian food: spaghetti, rigatoni, shells, tortellini, ricotta gnocchi, meatballs with big chunks of onions…  While surfing the internet, I found a few recipes for chicken cacciatore but couldn’t find one that sounded/looked like my 16-year-old dream cacciatore , so I decided to come up with my own highly-modified recipe. Slow-cooker recipes leave me a lot more time to play in the kitchen, so this one uses a slow-cooker.

Even though my cacciatore is served over rotini, my husband loves rigatoni, so I played the dutiful wife and made him a happy camper when it was time for dinner 😉  

Chicken Cacciatore
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
8 hrs
Total Time
8 hrs 15 mins
 

Even though my cacciatore is served over rotini, my husband loves rigatoni, so I played the dutiful wife and made him a happy camper when it was time for dinner 😉  

My mom gave me a 4-qt. West Bend slow cooker many years ago and, like everything I have left to remind me of her, I cherish it and use it every chance I get...

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 people
Author: WW
Ingredients
  • 4 ea. boneless skinless fresh chicken breasts thawed and drained if using frozen
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 qt. red sauce (spaghetti sauce) homemade or canned
  • 1 ea. green bell pepper seeded and cut in strips
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced fresh or frozen
  • 1 ea. yellow onion, medium roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced fresh or prepackaged
  • 4 oz. black olives, sliced small can
  • 1 tsp. oregano more or less to taste
  • 1 tsp. basil more or less to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes more or less to taste
  • 1 tsp. salt more or less to taste
  • 8 oz. pasta (rotini, angel hair, penne, rigatoni, or other) more or less depending on number of servings desired
  • 4 qt. water
Instructions
  1. Dredge chicken breasts in flour and place in bottom of 4-qt. or larger slow cooker
  2. Add rest of ingredients except pasta

  3. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or until chicken is cooked; be careful to overcook

  4. Remove chicken and shred into medium pieces (if chicken does not shred easily, continue cooking, checking every 30 minutes)

  5. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker and cook on low another 30 minutes 

  6. Turn slow cooker to lowest setting/warm

  7. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and add pasta

  8. Cook until al dente, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking

  9. Drain and top with cacciatore

  10. Serve with Romaine Salad

Recipe Notes

Leftover cacciatore can be frozen. I always freeze our leftovers for those days when I spent too much time playing in the kitchen and not enough time planning dinner  😳 

 

Bourbon Glazed Boston Butt

To celebrate the New Year, we decided to cook a Boston butt pork roast in the NuWave Pro Plus oven. This is a handy piece of kitchen equipment; it cooks faster than the oven and doesn’t heat up the whole kitchen (although, with this cold wave being experienced in NE Florida, would that be a bad thing?).

I had leftover bourbon from making Mini Bourbon Fruitcakes, so I decided to make a glaze using some of it. It was perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside, juicy, and fork-tender. I served this with steamed cabbage, freshly harvested from my garden. Next time around, I’ll add a photo.

Bourbon Glazed Boston Butt
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 10 mins
 

To celebrate the New Year, we decided to cook a Boston butt pork roast in the NuWave Pro Plus oven...I had leftover bourbon from making Mini Bourbon Fruitcakes, so I decided to make a glaze using some of it.  

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Author: WW
Ingredients
Ingredients
  • 4 lb. Boston Butt roast
Glaze
  • 1/8 cup spicy brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar light or dark
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil extra virgin
Instructions
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, add all glaze ingredients and whisk until blended
  2. Place roast fat side up on 1" rack in NuWave oven

  3. Spoon glaze over top and sides of roast

  4. Place dome over roast and place oven head on dome, twisting to lock

  5. Plug in oven and set Temp to 350 ºF and Time to 2:00 (2 hours); press Start

  6. After 1 hour, turn roast over and cook for another hour; roast should be browned and sizzling
  7. Remove dome/oven head to dome rest, and let roast rest for 10-15 minutes before removing to carving plate

  8. Slice, or shred if using for pulled pork