Lemon Garlic Green Beans

This is an adaptation of a recipe by Patrick and Gina Neely. I’ve never made it with frozen green beans, but I think it could be easily adapted for that. This is one of my favorite and easiest recipes for green beans.

1 pound green beans, ends trimmed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon lemon zest (or to taste)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Blanch green beans in a large stock pot of well salted boiling water until bright green in color and tender crisp, roughly 2 minutes. Drain and shock in a bowl of ice water to stop from cooking. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and the butter. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beans and continue to saute until coated in the butter and heated through, about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.

Chicken Noodle Soup

This is one I have made for years. And if you use a rotisserie chicken (whole or breast only) from the grocery store instead of cooking your own chicken, it can be made pretty quickly. This is a versatile recipe. You can add whatever vegetables you want. You can add more or less broth depending on how “soupy” you want it. You can add more or less noodles depending on your preference. If you prefer, “fine” noodles can be used (or even orzo). You could also skip the chicken, use vegetable broth instead of chicken, and make this vegetarian.

1 Bone-in Chicken Breast (2, if you want lots of chicken)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3/4 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced or finely grated
4-6 cups of chicken broth
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1-2 cups “wide” noodles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a dutch oven (or heavy pot; it needs to be oven proof) over medium high. Add the olive oil. Season the chicken breast on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the hot pan, skin-side down, and cover. Reduce heat to medium. Let this cook and steam for five minutes. After five minutes, flip the chicken so the skin-side is up. Cover again and let the chicken continue to cook and steam for 2-3 minutes. Place the dutch oven in the oven for 20-30 minutes. The length of time will depend on the size of the chicken breast. When the chicken is just cooked through, remove it to a bowl with any liquid that accumulated in the bottom of the dutch oven and allow the chicken to cool.

Return the dutch oven to the stove and place over medium. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Allow the vegetables to soften for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and parsley and increase the heat to high. Bring the broth to a simmer. Allow to simmer with the lid on for 5 minutes. Add the noodles and stir and bring back to a simmer. Simmer with the lid on for 10-12 minutes until the noodles are done to your taste. (Pull a noodle out and see if it’s done to your liking.) While the noodles are cooking, remove the chicken from the bone, and cut it into bite-size pieces. When the noodles are done, add the chicken to the soup and any collected juices from the chicken into the soup. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Cover and remove from the heat. Let the soup sit off the heat for about five minutes. Serve and enjoy.

I’ve made several variations on this recipe.

You can add different vegetables like corn, green beans, etc. If I add these vegetables, they are usually coming out of the freezer, so I put them in when I add the chicken toward the end. If they are fresh, I would add them when I added the chicken broth and allow them to cook in the simmering broth.

You can also add different herbs and spices to change the character of the soup.

For an Asain flair, add grated ginger root (1 – 2 teaspoons) and soy sauce (about two tablespoons) when you add the broth. Then garnish individual bowls with more soy sauce (and maybe sesame oil, and green onions) at the end.

For an Italian flair, add a little oregano or thyme when you add the broth. Then add grated parmesan cheese and stir it in right before you add the chicken back in.

Custard Pie

My Dad loved custard pie. He loved cherry as well, but I think custard was his favorite. I don’t think I will ever make a custard pie without thinking of him. Custard pie was something his mother always made. I think it’s the only pie I remember her making. I have her original recipe and I have a recipe from an old cookbook, Cooking From Quilt Country by Marcia Adams. The two recipes were almost exactly alike, except for the scalded milk. So I decided to try scalding the milk first, and it really does make a difference. So I’ve done that step ever since. If you’re in a hurry, you can skip scalding the milk. But it really does make for a lighter more delicate custard. The recipe from Marcia Adams is called Velvet Custard Pie. I think this is an apt description and the scalding is what makes for the velvety filling. Enjoy!

  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Grated Nutmeg (to taste)

Unbaked pie shell means the pie crust dough has been rolled out and placed in the pie plate. Flute the edge of the pie crust. Keep the pie plate with its dough in the refrigerator until ready to add the filling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust an oven rack to the lowest position. Put a half sheet pan (cookie sheet) on this rack so that the pan heats with the oven.

Scald the milk [Pour milk into a saucepan. Slowly heat milk over medium-low heat. The key here is to heat the milk, but not to bring it to a boil. Stir continuously to prevent milk from thickening, burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Look for steam and small bubbles around the edges of your heavy saucepan, then remove immediately from heat. Allow your scalded milk to cool before adding. (Scalded milk is milk that has been heated to 180 degrees F). Do not heat over 212 degrees F.  You can use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.]

Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt to a large mixing bowl. With either a hand mixer or stand mixer, thoroughly mix these ingredients. While still mixing the egg mixture on medium-low speed, add one cup of the scalded milk. Add the rest of the milk and continue to beat slowly.

Pour the custard mixture into the prepared pie shell. Sprinkle the custard with nutmeg. Carefully place the pie on the preheated sheet pan in the oven. Bake the pie for 40 – 50 minutes until it is golden brown. If you gently giggle the pie, the center of the pie should giggle just slightly. If it giggles a lot, bake for another 5 minutes. You can also test the doneness by inserting a table knife into the center of the pie. The knife should be clean after inserting it.

Remove the pie from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let the pie cool completely before cutting and serving.